We had no Internet and support to speak of... First there was shell/acc (which was too expensive) and the dial up modems. I recall few people had heard of Linux/GNU in our circles. I once subscriber to a national level mailing list... as my software modem (sm56) would not work under Linux... I was overwhelmed by the huge volumes of emails in my inbox. Over 300 mails in 2 days.. It did not make any sense too.. (to be true mostly flame wars and ego trips). Had to unsubscribe in just four days.
I was given the typical RTFM treatment, and asked to grind the soft modem type advise... being on dial-up and raking up huge phone bills... where I was paying by the seconds did not help.. need less to say I was put off .... After a few years I did try Mandrake Linux and that did work with my dial up. I had to actually mail the maintainer of sm56 kernel module maintenance. He was kind enough to write out step by step commands. I did a actual compile of a custom kernel and module.. all without realizing the depth or importance of it. All I remember is that it took like three hours and forever..... on my PIII :P
Now we are seeing a new wave of support issues, many places still don't have xDSL/cable or fiber. Many people are on slow connections like GPRS, dial up even today. Many have just begun to taste the fruits of 3G wireless Internet. From what I have seen is 3G can be great enabler and can even used at places that do not have land-lines/xdsl. In this way my friends in the western countries are way better off.