From: Ronan Waide To: Subject: Re: [GEEKSRV] re linux v nt Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 14:52:57 +0100 (IST) Devil's advocate: On April 9, said: > > Some other good things about working in a unix environment: > > (1) Command line editing, !!, !$, C^P, C^N, C^A, C^K > Command-line editing via DOSKEY, CMD on NT or one of the 4DOS variants: up arrow, return == !! 4dos has an equiv. for !$, IIRC ^P and ^N are just up/down arrow. 4DOS has a pop-up history; DOSKEY has a 'seek last command that started with this string', among other things. ^A = HOME 4dos may also have an equiv for this. > (2) Good simple data collecion tools, who, ps etc... > Um. Depends on the data you're collecting. Much of the data you'd want to list on a Linux box isn't even present on a Windows 95 box, and the rest can be obtained with command line tools if you do a little netsurfing - ps being a good example. > (3) Good ways to search and organise that data, grep, egrep, > awk, sed. > Erk. I'd call these _powerful_, not good. Try explaining regular expressions to someone who's just getting the hang of case-insensitive searching. Now try explaining why all of the above use subtlely different regular expressions and how you're supposed to know which ones to use. Oh, and you left out wc and nl :) > (4) Regular expressions. > See previous. Also, don't forget the whole regexp vs. glob thing, where .* means either ". followed by anything" or "anything" depending on which wildcarding you're dealing with. > (5) Good windowmanagers. Very customisable and suprisingly easy > to use. > *cough* You know how LONG I've left FVWM unchanged from the default setup because of the pain involved in configuring it? Same applies for MWM and OLWM; the latter, default install on Solaris, appears to ignore all my attempts to configure it via the official configuration interface. Oh, and because X is distinct from the window manager, it's a pain in the nads to switch resolutions/colour depths unless you set it up correctly first time through. As for sound cards, well, I hope you like building kernels and filling in magic numbers... > (6) Good development tools and good debuggers i.e gcc, clearcase, > rcs, gdb et al.. > Right, well, this I can't fault. Much. :) > (7) Good windoze emulators, Reflections, Windd et al.. > XWindows (assorted) and Vnc for windows. > (8) More open formats are common on unix systems like PDF. > Foo. Will your browser automatically launch a .pdf file *embedded in the browser window*, as if the browser itself actually understood pdf? I think not. PDF is as, if not more, popular on win* anyhow. And windows supports a lot more open formats in the interests of picking up other peoples' work and folding it into the windows core - e.g. RealAudio, mp3, etc. are now handled by Media Player, for example. > (10) Less frustration with the operating system (caveat, when > you know what you're doing). > Heh. Okay, I guess a Linux box /will/ stay running for more than 49.7 days. > (11) Super open source efforts like Linux, GIMP, Apache web server, > Perl. These are originally only developed for unix but are so > good that the windoze people need them. At present apache is > working for windows, as is perl. GIMP, I don't know if there are > plans to port but who cases as long as it runs on unix. Linux > should definitely be ported to windows :)) > I think someone did do a one-off gimp port, yes. Still, I think one of the main reasons you don't get open-source as much on windows, aside from the sheer cost of being a windows developer, is that there's no need. All the drivers you could want are already available, as are 90% of the apps - if not 100%. Sure, it'll cost you, and it'll crash, but it's a -product- with -idiot support- and -documentation-, two things which are frequently (and crucially) absent from your average open source effort. > (12) A class editor like Emacs, with VM for a mailer and BBDB for > organising your life. > :) Hey, I not only ran NTemacs for most of my time in Cognotec, I contributed to the elisp source and found a bug in 'real' emacs in the process. > So, in summary, Unix is a good operating system for people who are > willing to put in a bit of time to learn it (a couple of years > probably) because at the end of that time the operating system > actually seems to be trying to help you rather than trying to > hinder you. > Windows et al. are good operating systems for people who want to use a computer for day-to-day mundanery. Linux et al. are good operating systems for developers in general and hackers in particular, and for heavy-duty server work. Their relative popularity reflects this pretty accurately - Robert A. Wilson theorizes that humanity consists of 10% neologists (people who like to play with stuff, i.e. hackers) and 90% neophobes (people who like things to just work, thanks), hence the market split of ~10% non-windows vs. 90% windows AND yes I am generalising HUGELY here. > If you need testemonials from someone who underwent this transition > recently you should get on to BPC ( who learn unix > in a couple of months from tinkering with it. He has a way to go but > his knowledge has improved a lot and serves his needs. > On the other hand, you look at my mom who learned windows in a couple of weeks from tinkering with it. There's your target audience. When my mom can run linux, it's user-friendly. > Dermot. Waider. Actually, my mom's a geek by some people's standards. On April 9, said: > > Ah yes, but 4DOS didn't have IO redirection and piping of processes. > But I take you point. > bzzt. 4DOS has I/O redirection, including differentiating between STDOUT and STDERR, if I'm not mistaken (IINM? how come that's not a standard acronym? Are hackers not supposed to admit they might be mistaken?) and it does have piping, albeit not simultaneous process piping since the underlying OS don't support it. 4NT and whatever the 4DOS windows shell is called both support 'real' pipes. > Yes, wc (word count/line count) is a very useful command. I didn't > even know that nl existed (line numbering filter) until just now.. > :) I found it after working out a piece of shell code to do the same thing. > Bar. Yes my browser does automatically launch a .pdf file *embedded > in the browser window*. Netscape Communicator 4.5 BTW. It uses a > freely available plug-in to achieve this miracle of technology... > :) Dang. Never could get it working, and the same with the RA plugin. You live and learn... > RealAudio is good, MP3 is good. Competition is good. > Actually, what I had meant to say was that yes, Windows et. al. support a raft of open standards, albeit sometimes in the "embrace and extend" fashion. However, Windows also supports a raft of proprietary formats that Linux et. al. can never truly support unless the formats remain static - which, in the case of (for example) MS Office, is a futile hope. > Your mistake Waider is getting good at everything really quickly :)) > What happens when you run out of toys....? > :) I doubt that'll never happen. You've two options: specialize, or generalize. Specializing means you learn more and more about less and less, until eventually you know all there is to know about one specific area. I don't have the inclination to do this; I get bored. Generalizing is my route; learn enough about everything you can, and work on that. You'll never be an expert in anything, but you'll still be bloody useful. > What percentage of humanity comprises the neophytes ? > :) > Dermot. Waider.