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Old 09-24-2003, 09:58 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 77

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Serious Discussion


I'm totally newbie to linux. I've been to some site that discuss linux vs windows. I have decided to install linux to my laptop and may have one computer (in the office) in linux to test it, before really deciding on major things. Allow me to share some things that I think are important.

I am here to discuss not to debate. I want things resolved to feel confident about any decisions that I come up in the end. And any decisions that I've made must be from objective reasoning and importantly, not carried by hype.

1) "The linux is an OS with multiple variations."

This is frustrating because which linux is linux and which linux is not linux. I've read that they all have the same kernel but is it really the same? Is Red Hat's kernel (with patch) still the same kernel with SOT Linux, BSD, and the likes? Which linux is secure and which is not?

Is there not a linux kernel organization - like W3C - to make things sane? The work of the organization is to ensure one standard kernel.

Recommendation: If Linux want to be serious contender of any OS then the community must make immediate standardization and pull all resources together rather than implement ad hoc standards and create their own path that may not be fully compatible from others.

2) Compatibility of Applications

With different implementation of the kernel what makes me sure that all applications (i mean ALL, not majority) that runs in BSD can run in other implementation of Linux?

(Sometimes I'm having some - stupid i guess - thought of a JAVA Based OS. All programs are in classes because applications are expected to run anywhere).

Recommendation: Linux Kernel Organization, is there?

3) Productivity Tools (Office)

Now we come to features of applications; specifically productivity tools. Are the productivity tools in linux stand closer to those of Windows or Macs?

Winx emulators can run MSOffice but I want to dish Windows Application. I mean, null. So, cross platform solution is not acceptable for me (IMO).

The Open office site I visitied states the spreadsheet program have to be improved to accept more rows. I dunno about StarOffice but it seems to be commercial product.

This is one of the issues that make me hesitate to do full consideration of linux.

Recommendation: Linux community must really unite to come up with serious applications. I mean, applications with full packed features or better yet each feature is a plug-in to the product. Object-oriented approach (am I really making sense here? ). forgive me.

4) Ease of Use

As a server administrator I would consider linux for its security. But if maintenance gives a headache then I may dump it for other OS with costumizable settings through GUI.

Not all server administrators are programmers (in the real world). GUI does not make any user dumb it simply make their job easier and do it intuitively. And, if the Admin wants to edit the file setting then the GUI will simply load and show the settings.

I do not hate the CLI or console mode but it must only be an option. CLI mode is good for limited resource. In the real world a computers can now stack a lot of ram - 512 MB or more and even run in GigaHertz (back my younger days in 640Kb and, was that 40 khz or mhz?) . Speed and Memory requirement is a minor issue IMO.

Reliability, security would be the first factor in considering any server OS, IMO.

But what if Reliability and Security can be had with Win or Mac OS? would you still use one that requires opening file for settings and running /a /? or -h -f in CLI or one that lets you do things easily and intuitively? Time is gold and Life is precious I want to feel life rather than stare the monitor for locating files in CLI. (Hmmm, then why am I a programmer in profession? he-he-he)

I can work with switches but, honestly speaking, after a month not using the program I would be forced to look at the switches again. Take for example, UNZIP and PKUnZIP for DOS good software but a GUI Version would be better because you do not need to memorize or determine the switches you should use. And, most of the time I do not spend a lot of time memorizing and determining all the switches only those I need at the moment. If I want some new things done I have to check the switches again and ,alas, it may no may not be there.

Recommendation: Ease of Use must be address in linux. With the number of linux desktop out there - we go back to standardization issue again.

5)Future Path

What is the future path of Linux? As, a newbie i dunno but with the number of variations it is really hard to pinpoint where Linux is going from here? (It all depends on the linux you are using I think.)

If the linux community is only out there to bash Win OS or Mac Os then it can simply be considered as a second alternative. It will simply be following the path of the one being imitated or contested.

What if the linux I downloaded now becomes a second best in the future? I have to download another variation and simply accept its limitations. I've no choice but to accept even if the feature I love from one variation cannot be found in the new.

Of course, I have the option to change the source code but I'd rather create applications for business for my costumer (i.e. inventory, payroll) to earn a living (and may support the Open Source Foundation) than debug an OS. I'm not against open source, in fact, i'm developing one for the future but the downside is --- it's in VB6 -- will M$ sue me for that? (Gosh I really haven't read the EULA. It's a waste of time. I hope there's no demonic allegiance written in there. )

Recommendations: There must be strong solid future direction for linux. But this cannot happen and it cannot evolve into a futuristic operating system unless solid standardization have been set. It's a reliable, solid, secure OS as I've been told and it would be a dismay to know the future plans and path are dim. If developers of these variations have united their effort I believe Linux would have gone farther in features than Windows or Mac OS.

If that have happened --- would it still be free?


I would love to hear your opinions please send them to [mail][/mail]
Old 09-24-2003, 10:51 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2003
Location: Malaysia
Distribution: Slackware, LFS, CentOS
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Hi nbjayme and welcome to LQ,

I think this thread is more suitable in Linux - General... but I'll try to give my point of view on some things which I think I can answer.

1) The variations of Linux are called distributions, or abbreviated as distros. If it has the Linux kernel in it then its a Linux distro. Some distros are commercial, like SuSE for example... some are personal creations, like Slackware... some are community driven, like Debian... and some are mixtures of the mentioned categories.

The main kernel tree (as near as official you can get with Linux), is maintained by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. However, there are some other trees of the kernel maintained by other individuals, eg. Alan Cox, and groups. You can even start your own tree and decide on what to put in and pull out of it. Check out for more info.

Linux is not meant to be standardised, it's meant to accomodate you, the user, and not the other way around like some OSs insist it should be. Granted, not many people will be comfortable with this especially after years of being a Windows sheep, but hey... at least there's a choice now

2) If you have the source code, and there's a suitable compiler for the language under Linux, then compatibility is not an issue

3) The OO version I'm using is 1.1Beta and Calc has 32000 row limit. This is good enough for me, but if you think that this is insufficient, you could code the feature yourself, or wait patiently until its implimented, or pay someone to add it for you.

StarOffice is commercial in a sense, but so is MS Office... not to mention StarOffice costs waaaaayyy less than MS Office Anyway, what's wrong with being commercial?

4) That is your opinion, however, another side to the story is there command line apps are more versatile because you can automate a lot of things. This is something you can't do easily with GUI apps. From my experience, using the command line actually saves me more time than using GUI apps, for example, try unzipping 500 tarballs using WinZip, something which I can do in a snap just by using one line of command.

Anyway, you can also make the command line more user friendly by using aliases for long and/or often used apps (with their switches).

5) Linux future is not in any single person's particular direction. So many companies and individuals have made Linux more to their liking (or what they think others will like). You can decide what you want Linux to be for you and make it head towards that direction, however, I never said it will be easy. You have to come up with the resources for that.

Hope this helps
Old 09-24-2003, 11:49 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Posts: 77

Original Poster
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Hello Azmeen,

Sorry, if my post was in the wrong forum. I appreciate your reply and does shed insight on me.

1) Itís reassuring to note that there is a known single entity who is maintaining the kernel (Linus Torvalds). With this info, I may then decide for SOT Linux.
Yes, it is not meant to be standardized but I hope the community would come up with a single official Linux candidate to contend with other OS. This does not mean though that other variations cannot exist. As a Window$ user, I would be confident that I have downloaded a Linux that would be considered Linux to the whole community. Later if I may decide on other features then I can download an ad hoc variant.


2) Having the source code is good, if you are a programmer + with the curve to learn the language it was coded. But not all computer users are programmers. I just hope that there will be a solution to this in order for the Linux (if a single official version is recognized) be widely use in general.

How many are programmers around the Globe? That would be the likely share of linux against other OS.

This area is one blocking factor in promoting Linux to general users.


3) Thereís nothing wrong with commercial software. Iím sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

For me, (who is still migrating to Linux and still discovering the power) IMO, it would be a waste of money to spend something youíre not sure with. StarOffice may cost less than MSOffice but what if the features I want are not there? Is there a money back guarantee, especially if your living in a foreign region with lots of Window$ geeks around?

4) True there are times that CLI are faster. I still find myself using the console mode of Window$ to do DIR, CD, and even find files DIR/S.

But it would not be an excuse not to do a GUI Version anyway. GUI simply provides an intuitive manner at accomplishing the work.

I really have no idea about the 500 tarballs you mentioned. But if the software lacks the ability to decompress more than one zip file then itís simply a question of including that feature. Through GUI you may highlight all the zip files you want to decompress then click that and there and youíre done.

As a server application linux may be the choice but as a desktop application (I mean workstations with simple users Ė like my grandma or grandpa) it may be a downside, IMO. This may be due to the lack of GUI to do some simple settings. (Of course, this is basing from the sites I visited and read some views minus the cursed remarks ).

I believe a GUI can be perfectly implemented in linux itís just a question of who and when. But as I recommend, have an official organization that will really look into the future of linux.


5) Iím all OK for variations but it would help the future of linux if one solid standard is recognize. All features are concentrated on that one package (Iím vouching for SOT Linux. Not that Iím a fan of Linus Torvalds but as an appreciation for what he started). If all basic and useful features from different variations were combined (from ease of setup or use, to admin tools, to gui, to games, etc) I believe linux would have now been far from the competition. And, we would not have this M$ vs Linux issues clogging the net of unuseful bashing.

It Ďs Linux period. Donít you think?

But the scenario is different thus linux simply becomes a choice to most (this is my opinion) large business organizations when economics is not on their side.



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