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I had been exposed to Linux as a kid, when my mom used it for a brief period. At that time, it wasn't very useable from my perspective, but I'd heard things about how it had improved drastically since then.
Before starting a new university program, I went computer shopping. I wanted a laptop, so I got a little 13" one. At the time, I'd been using an old desktop running Win2K, since XP was too big to run efficiently on it. I found Windows was going the way of the mass appeal.. Make everything beautiful, and no one will complain it doesn't work.
Vista was, for me, the end of the line. I had this new computer that was barely useable and certainly not customizable. None of the hardware was supported by Win2K and it would have taken some serious expertise to get XP running on it, not to mention the expense!
So, I hit google and typed in "Linux for window users". Almost all the results were for this thing called Ubuntu. I didn't know much about it, but I knew it had to be better than what I had now!
I made a liveCD and dove in feet first. I tried to run the CD to check if my drivers worked, and ended up installing it as a dual boot. Oops. Anyway, it worked great, so I installed it alone, found the community to help me out with things like "why can't I run an mp3?" and "what's a .deb?" and was off to the races. That was almost 2 full years ago now, and I've converted most of my household's computers to Ubuntu/Xubuntu. And a handful of friends and acquaintances. My only regret is that I haven't been able to attend an UbuntuVancouver event yet. When are you guys coming up to the interior? :)