I first experienced Linux when I was in university (probably some time in 1999). Back then, I was using Mandrake (at first) and then Red Hat.
The operating system clearly had potential and I used it exclusively during my Diploma in Computer Science year.
However, my interest waned when I started working as I had no ongoing need for it and it was far from being a productive desktop operating system at the time. Things changed last week.
When I was away in Ludlow, my brother called me to tell me his computer would no longer boot up. I suspect his hard disk is dead. He'd obviously been listening to me as he had backed up a lot of his work prior to the failure - but not all. In any case, restoring everything to a new disk (if that is, indeed, the problem) will be a pain for him.
It reminded me that I really do need to get smarter about backups for myself. My work laptop is configured to backup its data to TSM but, for convenience, I keep personal stuff on there, too, and I explicitly ensure that data is not backed up to the central server (it may be acceptable to keep legally acquired music on the laptop, for example, but it wouldn't be reasonable to expect the company to pay for storage to back it up!)
So, during my week off, I have been investigating options. I considered true network-attached storage devices (e.g. see this PCPro review). I also considered a cheap and cheerful solution from Maplin. Unfortunately, the Maplin device doesn't seem to take modern SATA drives, which is all I seem to be able to find in local shops and the devices in PCPro are very expensive.
I then remembered there is an old desktop PC sitting in the cupboard.
A few hours later, Ubuntu Linux is installed, I've installed and configured Samba and all the laptops in the flat now have a Z: drive mapped to a user account on the Linux box. We can now just use Windows XP's backup software to do what we need. Result!
(Not quite... SMB is flaky and a single 15Gb backup was never going to work... so I had to break the initial images into smaller chunks). That done, however, the incrementals should be relatively painless.
Who'd have thought it... I do have room for Linux in my life.