Three or four years after that, the horrific wounds had largely healed into unattractive but vaguely manly scar tissue. I decided to have another go, with that Debian that I'd heard so many nice things about. Figures out package dependencies for you. How cool is that? This was relatively successful - while it was completely broken at first, I managed to fix things with the help of a housemate, until I tried to install drivers for my nforce motherboard. oopsie. Somehow (and I really don't know how), it not only shafted the install completely, but also managed to overwrite the boot loader, completely hosing my PC.
And now. Now I return, a veteran of long linux , mac os pseudo-unix, and solaris use. While lacking in experience of full on administration, I was confident that I would be able to manage just fine. Linux has improved, my skills are infinitely greater, and there is more help available on The Internet that isn't just pages and pages of 'lol read the man page lol'.
I wasn't naive, though. I went for easy mode, trying an ubunto live cd first. booting leaves me with a screen full of crap. Oh dear. Still, that young, immature implementation was clearly just lacking when it came to hardware detection. Another try, with the old stalwart Debian. I really did like the package management system, after all. A brief, surprisingly simple install later, I rejoice in the presence of...
A screen full of crap.
five and a half hours later, I think I may have sorted it. We shall see. Seriously, I love using *nix, but installing it is still a complete nightmare for the inexperienced.