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Old 07-09-2012, 07:09 PM   #1
earlfox
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Returning to UNIX philosophy basics


When I started to learn Linux/BSD/UNIX systems I didn't had such a deep idea or philosophy which I have now, but I still not that good learner, that's why I need your help to strengthen my ability to "market" the UNIX, for this purposes I need to know deeper, what's UNIX or Linux's about.

In this topic I'm just asking you to mention your reasons why are you fan of Linux. Let me become Linux fan too.

First off let me tell what do I think about this:
1. Its definitely flexible, but it takes a lots of skills to operate any task on it (not user friendly)
2. Its stable, but still sometimes slower than some versions of Windows.
3. Its stable and flexible, but sometimes different distributions bring more confusion. When you learn Linux/BSD, your time multiplies on variety of software, on difficulty of its installation & operation and all of it multiplies on quantity of distributions which not makes the process of learning how to work with that, easier.

According to this 3 statements I come to these conclusions:
- You should have developer-oriented mind and good memory / organizational skills to operate Linux-machines, plus a lots of times and nerves to get through all the toughness of the situations Linux has to offer us.
- I've got personal opinion that I have to stick to one Linux distribution and never change it, but I have chosen it yet, because with switching jobs there comes necessity to learn new Linux distributions which I try to avoid.
-- According to the previous opinion as a user environment I for my user experience I choose Mac OS X and iOS systems, because they're also based on BSD, and if it was up to me, I would used them everywhere for narrowing quantity of distributions to one (I give my choice to Mac OS because its user experience developed by Apple's money, therefore it means that this distribution got the most time spent on)
- According to my previous experience, MS Windows operating systems work better with broken hardware (you'll say that the place of broken hardware is the trash, but I kinda like reusing it sometimes), so it makes me feel that because of that Linux is limited.
- Linux is about free software, but I hate the fact that there's still lots of space for optimization. My best friend/ASM-programmer&pedantic-code-optimizer told me that if you will compare Windows core & Linux programming core, then you will find out that even though Windows is not flexible and not stable, it has much more optimized code (in terms of performance and quantity of diskspace which the core programs take on HDD)


And that's why for now my old laptop still has Windows XP, and using Linux machines for my business needs & at my job, while dreaming about Mac.

What do you think about all these things? Can you tell me something which could stop me from using my Windows and dreaming about Mac immediately? (I want to believe in Linux the same way some of my friends do)

Do you have some opposite facts to the ones I've mentioned?
I would be glad to hear any thoughts why Linux matters the most for you, and why my thoughts aren't right.
 
Old 07-09-2012, 07:35 PM   #2
chrism01
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Quote:
1. Its definitely flexible, but it takes a lots of skills to operate any task on it (not user friendly)
Any OS takes more knowledge (but also more power/capability) at the cli than GUI; all 3 you mentioned have both options...
Quote:
2. Its stable, but still sometimes slower than some versions of Windows.
Citation needed; I've always heard the opposite i.e. Linux works on lower spec HW and/or a bit faster than MSW on the same HW.
Quote:
3. Its stable and flexible, but sometimes different distributions bring more confusion. When you learn Linux/BSD, your time multiplies on variety of software, on difficulty of its installation & operation and all of it multiplies on quantity of distributions which not makes the process of learning how to work with that, easier.
There are many versions of MSW; have you never heard/seen all the complaints/screams from users every time they have to upgrade and MSW changes the interface etc... ??
 
Old 07-09-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earlfox View Post
1. Its definitely flexible, but it takes a lots of skills to operate any task on it (not user friendly)
It is what you consider user friendly. If you are total dumbass and you are able to install a scanner by following the directions on screen? Or when Windows has a problem you have two options for solving: reboot for small problems, re-install for large problems? Unix requires skills, but then the job is easier and done with less effort and better results. 99% of all computer users don't want to invest the slightest amount of time in improving their skills, so they accept hugely inefficient working methods. And that is called user friendly.

jlinkels
 
Old 07-09-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
nixblog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrism01 View Post
There are many versions of MSW; have you never heard/seen all the complaints/screams from users every time they have to upgrade and MSW changes the interface etc... ??
Much like certain Linux DE's of late then...
 
Old 07-09-2012, 08:01 PM   #5
chrism01
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Indeed

I was just pointing out that its not just a Linux issue..., see also jlinkels' comment, which applies to most users regardless of OS.
 
Old 07-09-2012, 08:13 PM   #6
nixblog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
Or when Windows has a problem you have two options for solving: reboot for small problems, re-install for large problems?
Yes, two options but not the only options. To be fair, you can troubleshoot issues in Windows by config changes etc in a similar way you would in Linux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
99% of all computer users don't want to invest the slightest amount of time in improving their skills, so they accept hugely inefficient working methods. And that is called user friendly.
In the same way that 99% of car drivers don't invest in a car maintenance course or study the internal workings of a combustion engine - they want a car that just works to get them from one place to another and if it breaks down then someone else with the knowhow to fix it gets called in.
 
Old 07-09-2012, 08:41 PM   #7
TroN-0074
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Is the purpose of this thread to start some flaming fire?
 
Old 07-09-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
nixblog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroN-0074 View Post
Is the purpose of this thread to start some flaming fire?
Do you have your asbestos undies on?
 
Old 07-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #9
TobiSGD
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OK, my two cents about this, assuming that you mean the OS with Linux, not the kernel:
Quote:
Originally Posted by earlfox View Post
1. Its definitely flexible, but it takes a lots of skills to operate any task on it (not user friendly)
You first have to differentiate. There is not one Linux, there are many Linux distributions. Some of them are special purpose distributions and therefore need special knowledge, some of them are created with the more experienced user in mind (or people that want to become more experienced) and some of them are specially designed for the new user. These distributions have a GUI dialog for almost everything and can install software using easy to use programs like, for example, Ubuntu's Software Center. This makes it actually easier for the end user to maintain a clean and save environment, since there is no downloading of software from obscure sources, no such things like installing adware when you forget to uncheck a box, the packages are made especially for your distribution so that they simply work, are secured with GPG keys and, unlike Windows, the package manager will update automatically every program you install, not only the core OS.
This is about administration, end user tasks are basically the same, there is no difference in using Firefox, OpenOffice or GIMP in Linux compared to Windows.

Quote:
2. Its stable, but still sometimes slower than some versions of Windows.
Here again, one has to differentiate. The biggest resource consumer in an end user desktop is, besides some performance-hungry applications, the desktop environment. In Windows you can't change the desktop environment, so Windows has fixed minimum system requirements to function at a reasonable speed even if you don't run other applications. This is different in Linux. You can run different desktop environments or even just a window manager and the minimum system requirements differ between them. For example, you can run an up to date antiX system on a machine which just 128MB of RAM (don't even think about trying that with Windows 7). You can also choose one of the more resource hungry desktop environments, like Gnome 3, Unity or KDE 4. They resemble somewhat more the amount of features a modern Windows desktop has, but have higher minimum requirements. But since you are free to choose you can do a nifty trick: If you use one of the less resource hungry desktop environments you have more resources left for the programs you run. This can, depending on the application, make the same task faster in comparison to Windows.

Quote:
3. Its stable and flexible, but sometimes different distributions bring more confusion. When you learn Linux/BSD, your time multiplies on variety of software, on difficulty of its installation & operation and all of it multiplies on quantity of distributions which not makes the process of learning how to work with that, easier.
Partially right. There are different distributions with different aims and different ways to do tasks. This can confuse the end user, but not really more than a change from Windows XP to Windows 7 (and many users will be really confused when it comes to Windows 8). The Software Center is the same on Ubuntu and Mint, Gnome's "Add/Remove Software" application is the similar, regardless if you use Fedora or Debian.
This may be different if you are a system administrator, but as such you are paid to do your job and have to learn it anyways.

Quote:
You should have developer-oriented mind and good memory / organizational skills to operate Linux-machines, plus a lots of times and nerves to get through all the toughness of the situations Linux has to offer us.
If you have never used a computer before that is true for every operating system. People often forget that they had to properly use learn Windows, also. Basically, for every new tool you want to use you have first to learn how to use it.

Quote:
I've got personal opinion that I have to stick to one Linux distribution and never change it, but I have chosen it yet, because with switching jobs there comes necessity to learn new Linux distributions which I try to avoid.
I would see the possibility to change the distro rather as advantage than as disadvantage. At first, you can choose the best tool for the job. Of course there are multi-purpose distributions like Debian, Slackware or RHEL/CentOS that can be turned in anything you want, from file-server to simple jukebox to kiosk system for web browsing to multimedia system to workstation to number-cruncher on HPC systems. Slackware even runs the Space Shuttle. But there also specialized distributions that are easy to deploy and from a administrative point of view similar to your main distribution and you don't have the hassle to customize it for the specific job.
But there is a different thing that makes having the choice an advantage. Let's assume that Microsoft or Apple make a design decision for their OS that changes the OS in a way that you don't like, like Windows Metro for example. You can't simply change to a different Windows version or a different MacOS X/iOS version. But if that happens to users of a Linux distribution they can simply change to a distribution that handles things to their likings.

Quote:
According to the previous opinion as a user environment I for my user experience I choose Mac OS X and iOS systems, because they're also based on BSD, and if it was up to me, I would used them everywhere for narrowing quantity of distributions to one (I give my choice to Mac OS because its user experience developed by Apple's money, therefore it means that this distribution got the most time spent on)
Limiting your choice is something that you can do, but I wouldn't do it. How can I know if something fits better to me than what I currently have if I don't try? Also, humans change. I began my Linux experience with Ubuntu, but as I became more experienced with it my usage of the system changed. Ubuntu was not longer what fitted me best and together with my disappointment about some of Canonical's decisions for Ubuntu this caused my change to Debian. Debian fitted my type of usage far better. But as I became more proficient with Linux I felt limited by Debian and I began distro-hopping, which lead me to Slackware, which now is the distribution that fits me best.
Regarding the amount of time spent by developers for the OS, there are hundreds, if not thousands developers working just on the core of Linux and many developers working on every aspect of it. This leads also to some kind of competition, where different developers have different ideas for the same part of the OS (like Upstart and systemd). Competition is good, since it leads to better optimized software, but since this is open source also to the incorporation of ideas from different projects. Compare that to the development model of company driven closed source OSes, where the design department (or even the marketing people) design the OS and the developers have to implement that.

Quote:
According to my previous experience, MS Windows operating systems work better with broken hardware (you'll say that the place of broken hardware is the trash, but I kinda like reusing it sometimes), so it makes me feel that because of that Linux is limited.
May be, I don't use broken hardware. But let's slightly change your sentence and see what happens:
Quote:
According to my previous experience, Linux operating systems work better with older hardware (you'll say that the place of older hardware is the trash, but I kinda like reusing it sometimes), so it makes me feel that because of that Windows is limited.
Not really that different, I would think, but I also would think that the number of old but still usable hardware is magnitudes higher than the number of broken but usable hardware.

Quote:
Linux is about free software, but I hate the fact that there's still lots of space for optimization. My best friend/ASM-programmer&pedantic-code-optimizer told me that if you will compare Windows core & Linux programming core, then you will find out that even though Windows is not flexible and not stable, it has much more optimized code (in terms of performance and quantity of diskspace which the core programs take on HDD)
I can't say much about the optimizations of the software, but I can say something about the amount of disk-space that is used. A standard install of Slackware 64 bit uses about 6.5GB of disk-space, a standard Windows 7 64 bit installation will deny the installation if you don't have 20GB or more. But the Windows installation is pretty bare bones, while the Slackware installation comes with everything and the kitchen sink, including several DEs/WMs, the Calibre office suit, GIMP, a whole bunch of different programming languages, and, and, and. On my main system, with some smaller games, audio production software, Virtualbox and some other programs the OS uses 12GB on the system partition. Not comparable to Windows.

Quote:
And that's why for now my old laptop still has Windows XP,
When Windows XP becomes unsupported you will have three choices for that machine:
1. Throw it away.
2. Upgrade the hardware, if possible, to a state that it can run a newer Windows version and purchase a license for that version.
3. Install a lightweight Linux distribution for free and use it for a few more years.

Basically, it comes down to this: Nothing that we will write here should make you to change your OS. The OS is a personal thing, like a car is. You should test-drive all options that you have and decide for yourself which OS is the one that fits you best. If you are fine with Windows than so it shall be, if you like MacOS X use that. Just keep in mind that you are free at any time to test again and may be change your mind.
I, and most others here, have made my test-drives and have decided which OS is the best for me and for me the best currently is Linux. This may change in the future, may be I change to BSD, may be a new OS appears on the horizon, who can know that.
Now it is up to you, have a nice ride.

P.S.: My Unix/BSD experience is rather limited, but I am pretty sure that most of my thoughts/opinions about Linux also apply to them.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 07-09-2012 at 09:08 PM. Reason: fixed typos
 
  


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