Installing Linux, 1998 Style

Installing Linux in the 1990s was an “adventure”. This video, using authentic 1990s hardware, makes it seem way less painful than my recollection. Just getting ihe system nstalled from the CD-ROM onto a hard drive (which you had to partition manually) was just the first in a series of hurdles which included getting your display to run X Windows and then at something higher than base VGA resolution, getting the Ethernet card to work and configured to access your Internet connection (DHCP—what’s that?), figuring out why your sound card that worked fine with Windows was suddenly deaf and dumb, and if you had any out of the ordinary peripherals such as Zip drives, a scanner, and the like, off you went on a treasure hunt trying to find a driver, build it from source code, and perhaps learn all about building a custom kernel.

What fun! As I recall, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that I managed to install Linux on a laptop computer and have networking, graphics, and sound all work “out of the box”. Today, things are enormously better, as illustrated by the narrative of bringing up my new development machine, “Roswell”, where all of the difficulty was due to Microsoft and my foolish desire to be able to boot into Windows 11 in order to test things that only run on that regrettable not-so-operating system.