[SOLVED] On The Fence About Crossing Over To Linux, Have A Few Concerns And Questions
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I was wondering more along the lines if there was some form of connection between Perl and Linux. That Linux book I want to buy has plenty of coverage on it, it comes standard in many distros, and I know little of Linux. I'm just curious if there would be a point to learning it or if it is just like any other programming language, relevance wise, in that you learn to program if you want to make stuff. I'm wondering if Perl is somehow tied into the Linux OS in any way as far as importance goes.
For the record I am not a newbie to Linux. I ran a dedicated server for two years (Debian) for gaming and websites. I've recently ran both Ubuntu and CentOS as well as tried out both the KDE and Gnome GUI's. I know enough of Linux to have an idea of what I'm getting myself into. What I am trying to figure out is if Linux can truly replace Windows for me. I hate Windows and Microsoft's recent announcement that "We apologize for how much time passed has passed between the release of XP and Vista. We plan to roll out a new version of Windows every two to three years".
I'd love to get rid of Windows. What is important to me is that I ask the folks who use Linux regularly what their thoughts and general usage are in relation to topics I am curious about. I apologize for not revealing my past Linux experience earlier.
I'm afraid that you are getting yourself on too many side roads....
What connection between Perl and Linux are you looking for? One is a very common scripting /interpreted programming language, the other is an operating system.
Perhaps it would be useful to define some categories of languages:
1. Compiled languages use to build software where a maximum of speed and efficiency are important. In this context, "software" includes operating systems, drivers, etc.. Some common compiled languages include Assembly, C, and C++.
2. Shells: These are an integral part of any operating system and serve to "connect" the user with the kernel and drivers. Shells are typically used with scripts which are written to control the machine bootup and configuration, and for automating routine tasks. The shell language is typically augmented with a range of utilities--some of which could be scripts written in the shell language, or something like Perl or Python.
3. General-purpose Interpreted Languages: This is a broad category which is used in any situation where the speed of a compiled program is not important. There are numerous examples.
4. Special-purpose languages: Any language, compiled or interpreted, which is designed for a specific purpose--eg web programming.
A real programmer is surely going to pick this apart. Meanwhile, it might give you a bit of perspective.
One footnote: An example of a relationship between OS and language is Unix and C -- they essentially grew up together, and Unix was written in C from the very early days.
I have no idea what kind of connection to look for. I just found it very curious that Perl would get coverage in a learning Linux book. I was just wondering if Perl played a big part in becoming a Linux guru. I honestly had no idea what to expect or look for. Thank you very much for your response
Years ago I ran Mandrake Linux. It favored using Perl for it's configuration programs. Other distro's use bash. How important it is to learn perl may depend on the distro you install. Learning to use the bash shell and common utilities such as sed and grep may be more important to learn at first.
If you work a lot producing multimedia, you might want to look at the debian based 64Studio distro.
For the record I am not a newbie to Linux. I ran a dedicated server for two years (Debian) for gaming and websites. I've recently ran both Ubuntu and CentOS as well as tried out both the KDE and Gnome GUI's. I know enough of Linux to have an idea of what I'm getting myself into.
This makes it less than clear why you be asking 'what would I be getting myself into' type questions.
What I am trying to figure out is if Linux can truly replace Windows for me.
Ultimately, there is exactly one person who can answer that question and pixellany has made exactly the suggestion that you need to take this forward. I would add that you should not ask anything more here, but try specific things and ask very specific questions as a result. I would therefore suggest to you that this thread has gone well beyond its 'best before' date and probably should just be allowed to die quietly (unless someone feels it appropriate to take the more active type of action and close it.).
I was wondering more along the lines if there was some form of connection between Perl and Linux.
I should think it's because Perl is included by default in most distros.
Yes, but so is almost everything else, including dinosaurs such as fortran (included by default, not installed by default). I did set about learning Perl once, until I realised that Python was much more to my taste. I have never found it necessary to learn perl, nor is any of the kernel of Linux written in Perl, but that is not to deny that it has its applications, and I'm sure that you'll find some distros that use it in their install routines, or something.
In fact, I'd suggest that if you have a particular mindset, Perl might be just the language for you and learning languages is rarely bad. But, if I was writing a Linux book, Perl wouldn't have a particularly privileged place, so I am a bit unsure why anyone would choose to do that, except to help their book gain traction in a crowded marketplace by giving it a USP.
(whoops...just seen jschiwal's post and obviously mandrake is one example of such a distro)
I think the reason Perl is such a "hit" in Linux is that it is very, very, very good at handling and manipulating text, and a lot of system maintenance, administration is messing with text. This is the primary reason is is/was used so heavily in bioinformatics as well. And, as others have pointed out, Perl doesn't really have data types the way most programming languages do. That means that someone who knows their way around perl can crank out quick and dirty solutions very quickly. I'm functionally illiterate in Perl, but to be honest, I only rarely need it for Linux tasks and even then there are almost always alternatives.
Back to the easy update/don't have to reinstall part of your questions -- Debian is a great choice. If you run Debian stable branch, I've never had a problem upgrading to the next version without reinstalling.
There's also a keen way to export/import the package list (i.e. application list) if you do need to reinstall.