I had never owned a PC until the summer or 2008. PCs, to me, had always been work tools (work=electronic power supply and battery charger design and testing), using DOS 2.0, that I had little interest in using for recreational purposes. I finally broke down and bought a system in July 2008, just to see what all the hoopla was about. That system ( a Dell Inspiron 530S desktop unit) came with Windows Vista SP1 installed. I had not used any version of Windows extensively and had been trained only on Windows 3.1 so I was a total newb.
After using Vista for a couple of months, I bought a laptop with XP Pro installed. I found I liked XP much more than Vista so I converted everything I owned to XP. While searching EBay for reliable sources for XP install disks, I kept seeing these OS install disks offered for almost no cost for things called Ubuntu, Fedora, Open Suse, Debian, etc. This intrigued me as, at this time, I was buying, upgrading, and reselling laptops locally and Windows installs were getting expensive.
I spent a couple of months doing research on Linux and different distros. Since Ubuntu was the "BIG THING", I ordered a disk of Ubuntu 8.10 and installed it on my desktop in dual boot with XP. Of course I had the normal newbie problems with transitioning from Windows to Linux. This soured me so much on Ubuntu that for over a month I never booted into it.
During this time I read several articles and reviews that had very good things to say about Linux Mint. I bought a CD of Mint 6 Felicia on EBay in January 2009, and installed it over Ubuntu. Within 2 weeks it became my primary OS and has been ever since.
I quickly learned to download and burn my own live CDs and DVDs. Once I had this skill, I started distro hopping (always dual booting with Mint). Tried all versions of Mint, retried Ubuntu (still not crazy about it), PCLinuxOS, Freespire, Puppy, etc for about half a page. Always returned to Mint Gnome or Xfce, (sometimes LXDE or LMDE). I do not care for KDE.
I have learned a lot in the last 18 months and am learning more every day.
Registered Linux User 483387