I had to learn HP-UX in order to complete my engineering course and so I was exposed to UNIX in the days before I had my own computer.

When I finally got my own computer (after university, once I had a job) I was keen to put something non-windows on it, having seen the difference between the well-set-up, secure, powerful, HP-UX system I used for working on engineering projects, and the rag-tag bunch of Windows NT boxes my college had in its computer room. (at Cambridge, you live in a college, and are taught in a separate department).

Anyway, one of my friends from Uni already used Debian and so had roughly explained to me that it was a UNIX-a-like, but free, so I gave it a go. I used Turbolinux, Debian, SuSE, Debian again, Ubuntu when I got myself a Mac Mini, and now back to Debian (Ubuntu have dropped official support for PPC).

I started with GNU/Linux and carry on using it because I want freedom and control and I don't mind a temporary sacrifice of ease-of-use if necessary. I like the fact that I can generally expect things not necessarily to "work-out-of-the-box", but more importantly, to BE POSSIBLE. Nowadays more things really are working "out-of-the-box", and that's great, but the best thing is that we are free to try stuff out for no charge. Things taken for granted in Linux that you can't get easily in windows:

* decent shell language comparable to bash and the other GNU tools
* remote log-in with ssh and all the tricks you can play with it
* ability to just act as a server for as many or few services as you like, no need to buy a special "server" edition or pay anything extra.
* a fine-grained method for installing exactly what you want and nothing more
* ability to back up and copy however the hell you like.

Anyway, freedom and control of what I do, that's why.