In the late 90's, I touched Linux a little here and there to test it out, but I honestly can't remember what distro it was... it may have even been FreeBSD. For some reason, Debian comes to mind, but I don't know for sure.
I didn't like it, perhaps because I was too young, didn't fully understand what I was doing, and/or it just feel too clunky/buggy. Because of that, I stuck with Win95/Win98.
It wasn't until the early 2000's, like 2005ish, maybe earlier, that I stuck it on something again, to give it a real go, and that was Ubuntu 4 or 5.something. Back then I was deep into 2003/WindowsXP, so I compared it to that. And again, it didn't compare. But it was a so much better experience than before. That's when I realized it was actually something worth using.
It wasn't until I started using it as servers a few years later that I actually preferred it for some tasks over Windows.
Today, I prefer Fedora for home/business use, where I can get away with it if it makes sense where appropriate.