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Can Linux Do it? 70

Dark Fiber writes "The AGE newspaper has a big article (great big 3 page spread) on Linux that is very interesting. Lotta questions, Lotta answers." One of the better mainstream articles- it gets distributions right, covers the GNU/Linux connection, and more.
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Can Linux Do it?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, Linux is chasing taillights in many ways. But not so much in the way as suggested. Linux and any software tries to emulate practices and methods to accomplish a task in a manner that people understand. Did Microslip invent the spreadsheet or word processesor? No, and I guess they are chasing the taillights of Lotus with Excel, which chased (name excapes me) the original CP/M spreadsheet, which chased a paper method, which chased the abacus and rocks.

    Something wrong with making an app capable of reading an M$ Word document? It's not because they do it better, your partner sends you Word, you need to read it.

    Samba tries to make *nix* work in a Windoze environment because that's what is already there not because we concede it's the best way and we only want to clone it. And just sometimes, the clone is better than the real thing. Certainly makes more machines talk, M$ isn't going to do it.

    We do need new and different *methods* (hardware and software is faster [software is slower actually] and more feature rich but it is the same old technology, everyone is chasing taillights). But anything really different is slow to adopt and in the end, we only need to get the job done.

    We can't be so fanatical as to blind ourselves. I hate M$ too but have to live with it and make the best (sometimes by throwing it out the / but I can't do that everytime) I can with it and can deal with it as I bet many of us do and don't admit it.

    And you Canada bashers, lighten up. Who cares where or who does what better. Use what's best and not paint yourself into a corner. No borders, remember?

    "an eye for an eye makes both sides blind"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well overall the article was ok. Nitpicking time now.

    "Dan Kusnetzky, the operating environment program director of the research firm IDC,boldly predicts that GNU/Linux will be the fastest growing PC environment until 2003."
    Why until 2003? What will happen in 2003?

    "Debian comes with 2,250 free software packages, many of which are small utilities - things you would expect to be built into a commercial operating system.This is an important point: you have to cobble the environment together yourself."

    Depends. Is the default enviroment acceptable?
    If it isn't then only a few changes might be needed to be made to make it acceptable.

    "To set up GNU/Linux properly you will need expert installers. This is also the case with big Microsoft Windows rollouts too, but after an initial Windows installation, power users or
    less experienced IT staff are more likely to be able to set up subsequent machines."

    Umm with Linuxes better consistency someone who is doing multiple installations will find it easier.
    Anyone who's done windows installation is familiar with its non-determanistic nature.

    ""They told me: 'No need for powering down the box, Linux is stable enough to run for months and does not need periodic shutdowns like some systems.' They didn't even think people paying the power bills might power down their computers when they are unused.""

    The above quote came from the server side of the article. Most servers are kept running in a nearly continuoes bases anyway. besides the cost of keeping them on isn't that great and the reliability is improved by not stressing your system thru thermal cycling.

    "But according to project leader Lalo Martins, "Ox" as he calls it, is having difficulty garnering support.

    "There was a lot of manifest interest in a 'complete' object model like Ox," he says. "Even Richard Stallman liked the idea and embraced it into the GNU project. But it is a very experimental field, and there weren't enough developers to really get the project off the ground. It's a pity. I'd really like to see free software once more do something that hasn't been done yet, instead of playing catch-up on proprietary software."

    Umm, two things Lalo.
    One you need to get the word out about your project. I can't begin to tell you the number of projects I've stumbled across in my searches that don't seem to be commonly known.
    Two how many in the Linux development community are well versed in Object Oriented technologies?

    "The sentiments of Martins lend credibility to the view of Microsoft vice-president Jim Alchin that the rebel OS is just "chasing the tail-lights" of the others. And to deliver a business advantage to its users a platform must offer services which are beyond that of its competitors"

    Microsoft isn't noted in the industry for creating innovation (marketing excepted). This until fairly recently was a sore point with Bill Gates.
    A lot of MSes so called "taillight technology" has really came from outside the company, not within.
    So Jim Alchin and MS really don't have as much bragging rights as they would like to think.
    Come up with something that was as great a step as the WIMP interface was from the command line, and then you can start bragging. Otherwise your just another "follow the leader".

  • by Gleef ( 86 )
    Linus Torvalds is a Swede, born and raised in Finland, currently residing in California. Check out the Linus FAQ [] for more info.
  • AFAIK, Linux is much faster than Solaris on single processor Sparcs, and Solaris is much faster than Linux on multi-processor UltraSparcs. Linux is closing the gap, though.
  • I stand corrected. My bad.
  • The thing that struck me about the article was this:

    "Lie-nucks" is an OK translation for English speakers, but "linn-ucks" (with a short "i" as in "pit") is not acceptable, the FAQ says.

    I was under the impression that "linn-ucks" was the preferred pronunciation, with "lie-nucks" as an acceptable substitute. Since the author didn't bother with a link to where he found this information, what the FAQ is he talking about?

  • Posted by Lothario:

    I've never understood how people relate the cost of an OS with IT workforce demand. The marketplace has a demand for valuable applications. That demand is what drives job creation, not what is charged for shrinkwrapped software. MS's denial that control of computing environments is being driven to the user's enterprise is a dangerous oversight. The barriers to customized software and OSes have dropped and organizations can now obtain exact solutions for their needs, not just the best guess that a mega-conglomerate can offer. That's where the job market will continue to grow, offsetting the losses we'll see in the shrinkwrap sector.
  • Linus isn't a Swede, he's a Swedish speaking Finn (as many others pointed out before me). Saying that Linus is Swedish is like saying that RMS is English.
  • I find the article quite balanced, and this quotation is interesting:
    "One way is the dumbing down of computing and IT by increasing reliance on monolithic solutions from a single supplier. The other is increasing the knowledge base at every level of computing and choosing from an increasing range of sources."

    It goes on to describe how the adoption of Linux would create more jobs for technical people.

    This arguments contradict quite nicely the guy at that argued that free-software would cause job losses.

    In reality it can change the focus from ant-like programmers working for Microsoft to independent programmers/admins working for the small companies empowered by Linux.

  • it depends on what they want. i like it for
    myself and recomend it to those who want to learn
    directly. i like what red hat does and want to
    support them, but their dist is just not my taste.
    may go with them or debian for a little while anyway, the whole libc6 / libc5 thing is annoying...
  • >When is Berst going to catch a clue?

    He did! Note that he didn't say anything about suing a commercial vendor if something goes wrong, just about having a salesperson to berate if it did. He's learning. Just a bit, but it *is* progress.
  • So what, precisely, is wrong with the current crop of office apps, or even Oracle8 on an 8-way Xeon?
  • Articles about Linux are now quoting the DH Brown report, just because it's the first one of its kind. How soon before they start quoting the Mindcrafty study? I bet not long.

    If Red Hat or VAR don't do some serious Linux benchmarking soon, and prove its SMP capabilities, then Linux will simply get this information perpetuated. Hurry up with those benchmarks!!!

    (Oh, and someone needs to write some performance tuning docs, including SMP + Large memory info...)


  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Tuesday April 20, 1999 @12:32PM (#1925135)
    I don't suppose you've been using lmbench have you? I had someone quoting me Linux VS Solaris on Sparc the other day, using lmbench, and was somewhat dubious as to the results. That's not to say they were rigged, but more like they were not representative of real world situations, especially since I have used Solaris, Linux and also FreeBSD in real world server situations for quite a while.

    For a bit of fun, the other day, I wrote a simple little Perl script to do some simple benchmarking:

    use strict;
    use Time::HiRes qw(gettimeofday);

    my $test_dir = "t/";
    my @tests = (\&create_files,\&delete_files);

    foreach my $no_files (10, 30, 100, 300, 1000, 3000, 10000) {
    foreach my $test (@tests) {
    my $start_time = gettimeofday();
    my $name = &$test($no_files);
    my $end_time = gettimeofday();
    printf("%6d %10s: %s\n", $no_files, $name, 1000*($end_time-$start_time) / $no_files);


    sub delete_files {
    my ($max) = @_;
    my $num;
    foreach $num (1..$max) {
    my $file = $test_dir.$num;
    unlink($file) || die "Failed to delete '$file' :$!";
    return "Delete files";

    sub create_files {
    my ($max) = @_;
    my $num;
    foreach $num (1..$max) {
    my $file = $test_dir.$num;
    open(DA_FILE, "> $file") || die "failed to open '$file' :$!";
    return "Create files";

    # Results - the values are average time per file in mili-seconds.
    # SPARC Solaris 2.6
    # 10 Create files: 17.3946022987366
    # 10 Delete files: 8.25690031051636
    # 30 Create files: 16.6551351547241
    # 30 Delete files: 8.31733147303263
    # 100 Create files: 16.6641497612
    # 100 Delete files: 8.32810044288635
    # 300 Create files: 17.0558432737986
    # 300 Delete files: 8.49879026412964
    # 1000 Create files: 19.0030739307404
    # 1000 Delete files: 8.36658298969269
    # Linux 2.2 x86
    # 10 Create files: 0.0998973846435547
    # 10 Delete files: 0.678598880767822
    # 30 Create files: 0.0572681427001953
    # 30 Delete files: 0.0586668650309245
    # 100 Create files: 0.0708794593811035
    # 100 Delete files: 0.0524997711181641
    # 300 Create files: 0.0964502493540446
    # 300 Delete files: 0.0535901387532552
    # 1000 Create files: 0.223060011863708
    # 1000 Delete files: 0.0744880437850952
    # 3000 Create files: 0.529780666033427
    # 3000 Delete files: 0.0793236494064331
    # 10000 Create files: 1.90500370264053
    # 10000 Delete files: 0.145310199260712

    The Solaris 2.6 system above is a 270Mhz Ultra 5, with a simple SCSI setup. The Linux 2.2 system is a 400Mhz PII system with striped SCSI - ie it had the better discs as well as processor. I did also benchmark a 3 year old Ultra2 (it had a 200Mhz UltraSparc-II - I didn't even know they went that slow!) but that had Solaris 7, and I put file-journaling on (file-jounaling is a standard option on Solaris 7, even free Solaris 7 for x86) - but I don't have the exact numbers for that. But it was pretty steady at around 2ms per file for create/delete, even up to 10000 files. I've also benchmarked on a Solaris 7 x86 (300 Mhz K6-2) with an IDE drive, which was a bit faster than the Ultra2 system - for file creation, it was faster than the Linux system above, for the 10000 files value. Sorry I don't have the exact numbers - the two Solaris 7 boxes aren't available to me at the moment. (this looks dodgy I know, but I wasn't expecting to be quoting these figures right now)

    Incidentaly, on FreeBSD (2.2.8 anyway) it was a bit slower than Solaris 2.6 on a similarly spec'ed machine.

    I criticise lmbench above. The same criticism can be equally applied to my program - it's pretty rare you get cases like this.

    I certainly don't have much problem accepting that the standard Linux FS is faster than the standard Solaris FS. However, I do know that the Linux FS does cache very agresively. Some would say too much - problems with file-system integrity are much more common on Linux than Solaris or FreeBSD. This also means that if memory useage is heavy, the Linux file-system will slow down much more compared for FreeBSD and Solaris. Basically, with the Linux fs even though the operation has completed, what is on the hard disc is another matter. Because they cache much less for writes, on FreeBSD and Solaris when the tests finish, the hard disk is up to date, ignoring the hard disc's own cache. (I'm only mentioning FreeBSD and Solaris because that's what I've used. It would be pretty similar on other Unix systems)

    So, for the file-system, Linux has sacrificed some stability and reliability for performance. For desktop users this probably isn't too bad, but I (most sysadmin I know agree) wouldn't find it acceptable for anything 'mission critical'. Indeed, I have had a Linux installation die on me, and have had to bounce Linux servers, which always makes me kinda nervous. I've also seen Linux run fsck on bootup, even when I did a 'clean' reboot. However, on Solaris 7 (with file journaling on) fsck doesn't even need to be run on bootup because of the way file jounaling works. (incidentally, you can even turn file journalaing on/off under Solaris 7 while the system is running)

    On another note, Linux does have a file jounaling file system in the works (I don't know if it is a full log file system) which would make things even faster, and also, more reliable. However, Solaris does have full log file systems available now (there's one from Sun, another from Veritas, and maybe even others), and they have been available for some time. (you just gotta pay for them). Most other commercial Unixes have file logging/journaling.

    I have also seen cases where for servers under heavy load, Solaris could cope, but Linux couldn't - this was on indentical x86 hardware. This does reflect that fact that Solaris scales better than Linux. You can actually see this on the values I quote above - as the number of files in increased, the speed under Solaris was pretty constant, but with Linux it started to slow down - basicaly as the limits of Linux's cachine was started to being pushed.

    However, this all proves very little because nothing I have shown here is even close to being a proper test. I'm not an expert on these things either... but maybe it'll give you some things to think about.

  • "The main problem with present distributions is their authors are unable to throw away the old Unix thinking," he says. "Once I suggested to the Red Hat people they should ship another 'cron', [a scheduling program] which doesn't require the box being powered up at 3am for running maintenance tasks.

    "They told me: 'No need for powering down the box, Linux is stable enough to run for months and does not need periodic shutdowns like some systems.' They didn't even think people paying the power bills might power down their computers when they are unused."

    So they want RedHat to write a new version of Cron that will operate when the computer is turned off?
  • In the beginning there was an .au ..
    and on that .au was a sound
    and the sound was Linus
    and his sound was (in english)
    "Hello, this is Linus Torvalds and I pronounce Linux as Linux"
    or by pronounciation...
    "Hello, this is Leenus Torvalds and I pronounce Leenux as Leenux"

    These sounds (both swedish and english) are at http://www.[YOUR COUNTRY'S EXTENSION] /

  • Aye! I'm starting to offer dual boot windows/linux systems as an option to my customers. Most people are afraid to take the plunge into Linux cold turkey. At least with the dual boot, they can go back into windows when they need to surround themselves with the familiar. One such person I helped go dual boot has been spending more time in the Linux side than the Windows side...and she really doesn't know all that much about computers. She knows how to install from source, she can make config changes.

    Basicly, Linux may not be for the masses yet, but if a novice can learn it with the help of a "Linux for Dummies" book, then that goal can't be far behind
  • "Linus isn't a Swede, he's a Swedish speaking Finn (as many others pointed out before me). Saying that Linus is Swedish is like saying that RMS is English."

    Saying that he's "a Swede" is like saying that he is ethnically Swedish, which is true. I don't know what it's like where you are, but growing up in NE Wisconsin, USA we used to have "ethnicity competitions" of a sort - the person who was descended from the most different ethnic groups won. I had 4: I'm a quarter German, a quarter Finnish, a quarter mixed British (mostly English, I think) and a quarter French Canadian. I think there was a guy in my class who had 6, although I don't remember what they were.

    So anyway, saying that Linus is a Swede is like saying that I'm a quarter German. It doesn't imply Swedish (or German) citizenship or anything like that. Likewise, if RMS is descended from predominantly English people, it can be said that he's English when referring to his ancestry.
  • Bästa sättet att skilja på oss måste ju vara att vi svenskar kan spela hockey :)
  • Hvorfor ikke lade Linus vaere Scandinav saa vi Danske ogsaa kan faa lidt af hans glorie?? ;)
  • by pen ( 7191 )
    I really don't understand the difference between a Packard Bell shipping with Linux or Windows. Either way, the first computer buyer can't do much if he accidentally screws something over. That's why the home computers come with a 'Restore CD' that wipes the hard drive and restores the factory settings. So the chances of a newbie actually screwing something over in Linux are less if the computer doesn't log in as root by default. The biggest problem I see so far is that AOL doesn't have a Linux client yet. Not that it ever will... but newbies need their AOL.

    Just my $.02...


  • As far as I know they can choose between swedish and english in schools, and most of them choose english...

    Thomas Berg
  • Considering Linus himself has been pronouncing it "Linn-ucks" lately, the FAQ needs some updating. I've actually switched from "Lie-nucks" to "Linn-ucks" myself.

    Multiple brandings, multiple distributions, multiple pronunciations. I love it. Hail Eris.
  • You've got it wrong. Firstly , no-one has to right anything new since there are already versions of cron that are suited to a box that is turned off sometimes , such as hc-cron.
    The idea is that if you turn the box off, the machine should have a way of "catching up" with cron jobs that are skipped when the box is switched off. Since many home users do not have their machines on after midnight,
    it is quite probable that the standard vixie cron setup will miss jobs. The point of this is that Redhat really seem to be thinking for people whose machines are connected via the ethernet and are up 24/7.

    -- Donovan

  • Independence is conceptualy similar to mandrake- it's redhat with some stuff added on to make it friendlier to the home user. It's admittedly pushing it to say that it's "popular" since we do not as yet have a release on CD ( though it's downloadable ). Still, when the CDs are burned , I'd recommend it to newbies, as it's fully compatible with the most popular distribution.

    -- Donovan

  • the sweet thing about linux is that it is (and always will be) a choice. very few linux vendors are trying to force themselves on customers; they are simply presenting linux as an alternative to windows and other unix systems (with certain cost advantages, of course). linux does have its disadvantages, but those will be addressed in time, and by people who care about the system and not the dollars it may generate.
  • The article says "The free OS comes in a number of relatively compatible flavours known as "distributions". Debian and Independence ( are two popular distributions."

    This kind of baffled me, because Debian was the last of the "Big Four" that I heard of, and this is the first I've ever heard of Independence, and I just researched the heck out of distributions about 9 months ago. (When I finally stopped dinking with other people's machines and set up my own.)

    I won't guess which one is the most popular, but wonder why the author chose to put these at the front of the article, as if these were the ones that people who are unfamiliar with Linux should choose.

    (And no, I won't call it GNU/Linux. Circular logic [GNU's not Unix] in the name, even if technically proper, would only create confusion among the pointy-haired and promote an image of dorkiness for Linux and those who recommend it.)
  • In the Business(read Suit) world they believe you get what you pay for, literaly. If you don't have to pay for it then it must not be worth/or as good as something you pay for. They also pay for support which is pretty big for them too.

  • /** Preliminary Warning **/
    This post is so far off topic as to be nearly
    back on topic. You have been warned.
    /** End Preliminary Warning **/

    i've found a number of ontological problems in the discussion up to here...

    1) "Saying that he's 'a Swede' is like saying that he is ethnically Swedish, which is true." I'd have to disagree here. Strictly speaking, saying that he's a Swede is actually more like saying he was born in Sweden or made a citizen of Sweden. i'll explore this further... *grin*

    2) Language != Ethnicity (at least not a priori)
    I am an american (italian-american to be exact) and I speak english, but it is not my "first" language even though i speak little else. Being that both my parents are deaf, the first language I learned was sign-language. This does not make me deaf (as I am not). Moreover, this does not make me (a priori) a member of the deaf culture/ethnicity (as I am not). Knowing sign, being raised by deaf parents, and constantly interacting with deaf people throughout my life have all contributed to a deeper understanding of the deaf culture than most people have, but I am still not a "member" of the deaf culture.

    3) heritage != ethnicity != cultural/national membership
    strictly speaking, heritage claims are normally expressed as a prefix to one's cultural/national membership (ie. italian-american, african-american, german-irish-chinese-french, etc.) and for any such hyphenated string of national/cultural labels, all but the last label point out ethnic/racial/heritage-based components of a person whereas the last label (and none but) points out that person's nationality. as a corrolary to this, one's heritage need have no effect on one's ethnicity nor one's personality...i know a lot of italian-americans (myself included) who couldn't pass for italian at midnight in a heavy fog irregardless of the situation. going further, one's main/first/natural language (when included, since it's usually implied that someone of, say, american nationality speaks english by default...although this is not always the case and, as such, it should be seen as a connotation only and not a denotation) is usually communicated as a prefix to the above string, delimited by the word "speaking" (ie. swedish-speaking-finn, cantonese-speaking-irish-french-canadian-martian, etc.) and, again, has absolutely no reflection on anything except the language that person uses/has learned as their main/first/natural language. one last bit, just to be complete...unless naturalized, a person living in a country other than their native country is normally expressed (in our lovely hyphenated string) as a suffix, delimited by the string "living-in" (ie. swedish-speaking-finn-living-in-america, cantonese-speaking-irish-french-canadian-martian-l iving-in-the-fiery-pits-of-hell, etc.) and, again, has absolutely nothing to do with anything except for denoting the physical place in which that person currently dwells.

    so what, you ask? well, if my argument stands up, that would make Linus a Swedish-speaking-Finn-living-in-America. In an attempt to truncate this to a one-word label of what Linus' nationality is we would first lop off everything after (and including) the words "living-in" which gives us Swedish-speaking-Finn, and then rid ourselves of everything up to and including the word "speaking" which leaves us with Finn, _not_ Swede. Just for clarity if we were to truncate cantonese-speaking-irish-french-canadian-martian-l iving-in-the-fiery-pits-of-hell we would lose the same stuff as above, leaving us with irish-french-canadian-martian, then we would proceed to take our leave of the ancestral modifiers by sending all but the last label to the great void of /dev/null, leaving us with Martian. :)

    Thus, by my reasoning, Linus is a Finn.

  • So they want RedHat to write a new version of Cron that will operate when the computer is turned off?

    No, they were probably asking for another package such as anacron [] to be a more visible option. anacron gives you most of the goodies of cron without having to keep the system powered up at all times.

    The same thing came up earlier on debian-devel.

  • Next year won't cut it. Ever heard of internet time?

    Linux is missing some really important software. Industrial strength RDBM, system- and network administration tools (i.e. CA's TNG, Tivoli TME, HP's OV), ERP, good office suite. All these have been announced, but you don't make get anything done on announced software.

    And no, Applixware and StarOffice won't cut it until they get bigger. The risk of them disappearing (ever heard of Describe?) are too big, and there are compatible issues with MS Office (no matter how much everybody else seems to hate the idea, the latest MS docs are the standard).
  • In Finland there are a quite a number of people that speak Swedish as their primary language instead of Finnish...

    Linus Torvalds is one of them.

    (The unfortunate bit about this is that all Finnish students are requried to learn to speak Swedish in schools and can be quite aggressive against Swedish speaking people du to that ...)

    // Cthu
  • It'll be a long battle, but if the media continues to tell the TRUTH (true truth, not gates truth) about linux, then It'll get the attention it needs from the non-geek community.

  • Try []. It's a much better collection of screen savers than you would get with Windows, and (of course) it's free software. The 3D ones require Mesa, however. libXpm is also required or recommended for a few others.

  • Just out of interest are there any sites trying to build online searchable help for linux.

    I guess a good model might be along the lines of slashdot - a main howto with a discussion group associated with it.

    Provided that comments could be scored (perhaps by allowing votes to be submitted) newbies could then be presented with the main howto and then a sequence of inteligent comments on them.

    These howto's could then be examined on a semi-regular basis by any trusted site admin and the best comments worked into the main body.

    Would probably turn into a very heavy load server (its primary feature being searches) but its disk usage would probably be quite modest (not more than several Gigs even including posts - after all I am only expecting plain text - on second thoughts some diagrams would be good but I would imagine that these would only be localy stored if they where part of the Howto so I would expect space usage to grow slowly and be quite controlable).

    I don't see any reason why documentation can not be treated the same as code - I hate the idea of writting an entire manual - but reworking a paragraph thats not very helpful is entirely different.

    Better still compressed versions of the sites Howtos (and perhaps the 10 best associated articals) could be mirrored in distributions. I do incidently mean mirror the site - if you are going to ship a web server you might as well make use of that fact :)

    Is there currently a project like this?

    anyone know where we could get the server space for it?

    Perhaps some of the big companies would like to provide a home for this?

    Anyone interested in moderating - could this become an offshoot of slashdot (I'd guess not but it don't hurt to ask).

    just some thoughts

  • The only question is why the standard install configure a machine using ufs

    Because I believe that the journaling filesystem and logical volume support for Solaris is an extra cost 3rd party add-on.

  • Why would you if you don't want to!

    Do you know about ftp and image etc...?

    Heck buy one CD for 1.85$

    I don't do it, but cheapos like you could I think do it from Linux central!
  • In the tests I've done, Linux is overwhelmingly faster than Solaris on the same hardware. Do some file system benchmarking.. ufs vs. ext2. You'll see what I mean. Talk to the Sparc/Ultra Linux boyz.. they have done an incredible job of actually taking full advantage of the Sun hardware.

    This article -seems- to be reasonably okay, but I see a great deal of off the cuff remarks that are unsubstantiated. Yes, I realize they are obtusely referring to non-technical issues, however that is not entirely made clear here.

    They make a couple of good points, I think, about the difficulty of migrating to Linux from Windows, but then that's not a Linux issue, is it? It's a culture issue.

    And the statement about how there are a 'miniscule' amount of apps on Linux compared to Windows.. umm.. I think that's a bit harsh. It's true that you can't just go to EggHead and buy a paperclip energized office suite, or a nifty 3D screen saver, but Linux has a fair amount of apps. And more to come in the next year. :)

    So overall, I think the article was a good read, but was biased a bit, and lacking vision. Heh. Grade: C.

  • This article reminds me of a posting someone made a week or two back criticizing the fact that Linux comes in many distributions. MS doesn't only ship their OS in 2 flavours, they ship 2 completely different OSs!

    Okay, so they are similar in terms of their interface, but no-one would seriously use a Win9x box as a file server or web server would they? NT for servers, WIn9x for clients. So we have Debian, Slackware, maybe RH for serious serving and Caldera, and others for serious click-here-dummy client machines. And they are a heck-of-a-lot more compatable with each other than NT and Win9x!

  • I have my home machine powered down most of the time (it's a Laptop) so I miss jobs. But I think the last thing I want when switching it on to quickly check something is for updatedb to hog all my disk & CPU access. How intelligent are these cron replacements?
  • I use Slackware and will forever, as far as I can tell. I was really surprised when they said that RedHat and Independence were the two biggest distributions. I knew RedHat was, but I think I only heard of Independence once, quite a while ago.

    I don't believe that setting up a linux box is any harder than setting up a Winblows box. I still have problems getting Win98 to see our whole network at home, but our Linux systems (mine is Slack and my roomie uses SUSE... *sheesh* foreigners ;)) see the whole network without even blinking. And they took less time to set up and configure. It was working and nfs mounting disks from the server in about 20 mins, while Win98 took like 38mins (according to the clock that they use that can't tell time) just to install (and that was after trying to get Windows to recognize my cdrom thats been discontinued for over an hour), and about 30 mins to configure.

    The real problem seems to be in people's perception of Linux. "Oh no!!! They said Linux, a Unix clone. That's supposed to be real hard to setup so I won't even try." Install-fests are a good idea to let people who want to try Linux see how easy it actually is to set up.
  • As you seem Swedish I'm suprised that you aren't aware of the Swedish speaking minority in Finland, often called finlands-svenskar. They have nothing to do with Sweden as such, but speak a variation of swedish that is pretty similar to the one native Swedes speak. They do, however, usually speak finnish too.
  • I read the FAQ and it clearly states that Torvalds is a Finn, not a Swede. It does mention that his native tongue is swedish, but that does not make him a Swede. This seems to be an all too frequent mistake made by US residents, which is quite unfortunate.
  • It says that Linus is a Swede, while he's Finnish
    (although he belongs to the Swedish minority: se_FI)
  • "Some schools"?

    Nononooo... all of them. We have to study swedish in schools, it's obligatory.

  • Whether Win2000 comes out in 2000 or 2001, the fact is: rely on Wine now and you're in trouble when it's there. Kind of the same situation as the people who switched to OS/2 around '94, relied on WinOS2, and today are still stuck with old 16 bit Windows applications like Word 6. This is quite a common situation today in German banks. So anyone who switches to Linux now "because I can use Wine and keep my Windows applications" is calling for trouble.
  • Swedish minority..., what do you meen ?
  • Hehe, svensk är han inte i alla fall, så svårt skall det väl inte vara att skilja på oss :)
  • Okey, i guess the grave psychic confusing caused by calling linus swedish is wearing off now ;)

    / I knew some people spoke swedish in findland but didn'y know linus did, nor that some schools requested that
  • I find it ironic that MS describes Linux as "chasing taillights" of proprietary software vendors.

    Last time I checked, Standard Operating Procedure for MS is to let someone else innovate, then copy the innovation while adding their own proprietary enhancements.

    MP3 audio
    Web browsers

    And let's face it -- before NT, Windows was strictly a desktop OS. Microsoft got jilted by AT&T when they tried to move into the Unix market, so they decided to create something to compete with Unix. In that respect, NT is chasing the taillights of Unix.
  • I admin 15 servers, all running Slackware...

    And they run so well, I have time to goof off and post silly messages to /. :o)

    So I guess no, you're not the only one..

    (oh, my desktop system is Mandrake :o)
  • Is that (aside from the obvious errors already pointed out,) is the author referring to "Windows 2000 being released next year"

    My guess is that this guy does nothing but read press reports, and doesn't actually do any form of research...
  • by ^BR ( 37824 )

    I'm pretty sure that Solaris can use a journalized
    filesystem, as well as logical volume etc...

    The only question is why the standard install configure a machine using ufs

  • If you mount any *BSD ffs partition async you'll have about the same level of performance as ext2fs, but also the same level of security. If you use softupdates you'll be just a little slower and it'll still be crash resistant.
  • by yoshi ( 38533 )
    This article is a good example of the sad state of technical journalism. I won't even address the issues; I don't have that kind of free time. A few points on his *ahem* style:
    • while he gets kudos for giving a brief, straightforward explanation of GNU, Linux, and the GNU/Linux moniker, he then uses them interchangeably - consistency is key
    • his sequencing needs work - the focus of his business-use analysis is on server-side, so why does he start with looking at the desktop?
    • he includes many URLs, including some for distros, so why doesn't he include the main URL for RedHat?
    • don't even get me started about the copy editing
    This rant against style and formatting might seem odd, but the net effect is significant; the very text of the story, regardless of content, causes Linux and the GNU toolset to look fragmented, and RedHat's distro, IMHO a better business distro than Debian's, isn't even validated in context. in short, I think the author's amateurish writing, and his editor's failure to bring this piece to publication-level quality, causes Linux and the free software movement to seem unsophisticated and perhaps even childish. The implication is that this is not a serious subject, and thereforce not treated as such.
  • I noticed that the article didn't mention Slackware.

    Am I the only person who uses Slackware? I've got five machines running Slackware Linux and they all run fine -- never have to reboot them. Why would I pay for Redhat when I can download the install files for free?
  • I stand corrected. In my native language there is no distinction between the words 'french' and 'France' (except for the capital letter of course, at least I got that one right). Ja aina pitää saada viimeinen sana...

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault