After Week 1 With Linux -- licking wounds.

After Week 1 With Linux -- licking wounds.

Post by David T. Bla » Mon, 15 Mar 1999 04:00:00




Quote:>This marks the end of my first week with Linux.

>First, let me state:  This is not a troll.  I am going to criticize
>Linux, but not bash it.  I have a great deal of respect for it and the
>enormous amount of effort so may have put in to developing and advocating
>it.

First, let me say. Your cross-posting habits are a little
rude. If you are going to start a cross-posted thread,
at least have the decency to set followups.
comp.os.linux.development.system is not particularly relevant.

Quote:>It has taken me a full week to even get Linux installed and operating
>correctly with my machine's hardware.  The network card itself took 3
>days and calling a Unix geek friend of mine over who ultimately found
>a solution so esoteric that I would have never been able to find it.
>The phrase, "God this sucks" was muttered many many times.  Even
>trying to get the desired color depth, resolution, and refresh rate
>from my monitor was scary.

Live and learn. Your best resource is in /usr/doc/HOWTO.
If that fails, try dejanews. If that fails, use the source.

Quote:>But Unix is not a modern OS.  It is an extension of 20 year old
>philosophies when it comes to computing and UI, and this is one of the
>reasons NT (as bad as it may be) has taken such a huge bite out of the
>Unix market.

Now, you have it totally wrong. NT is not really biting the
UNIX market. It is a crappy server, and a decent easy-to-get-
started-on workstation. It is growing in the workstation
market, but not really on the server side, where various
Unix flavors are SO MUCH easier to maintain.

Quote:>This is not to say Unix sucks.  At the core, it is a great OS -- very
>reliable, fast, and powerful.  But it cannot be reasonably approached
>by anyone but the most savvy and even still, takes considerable time
>to become educated on and gain a reasonable working ability with.

>After using only Macs for 10 years, it took me all of a day to
>install NT 4.0 on a new PC, configure it as a server and put it to
>work in a variety of ways.  I rarely needed a manual and even the
>toughest config problems I've run into have yet to take more than a
>day to resolve.

>With Linux, it took me a full day just to figure out how to set my
>monitor's settings the way I wanted it.  This is unacceptable.

I agree. You should not use Linux.

Quote:>I know, I know.. Linux is still in its infancy.  What I'm trying to
>communicate here is that modern popular expectations from an OS are quite
>different from what many Unix geeks may think.

I agree completely. You should stay with NT and tolerate the
M$ licensing and pay more for a development environment, and
tolerate repetetive crashes. Did you know that Windows 95 and 98
have a bug that locks the system after 49.7 days of uptime ?
And it took them 4 years to find the bug ?? There is still some
question about whether there was actually a machine on which this
bug could be consistently duplicated.

Quote:>Linux developers: Study the Mac and Windows GUI's.  There's a lot to
>be said in these for what makes a computer truly usable and powerful.

This is not your corporate OS. If you don't like it, you can
fix it. There is nothing that the developers have that you
don't - it is all in the source.

Quote:>**** I hope that someday Linux won't look anything like Unix.  

I suspect you still don't have a good idea of the variety of
looks Unix can take. KDE or GNOME/enlightenment, for example,
look and feel a lot better on the GUI than Windows. CDE, as another
example, is not nearly as nice on the eyes. If you get GNOME 1.0
installed, for example, it will be a brave new world of computing.

Quote:>Sorry for all the ranting... You all talked me into trying Linux and
>I'm a bit peeved over my initial experience, and I felt the need to
>express some of that.  I want to encourage a thread that will discuss
>where Linux is going in the terms of what I laid out above.

Well, you may want to keep trying. Unlike Windows, linux
gets more accessible every day, and you only need to configure
it once. Once configured, crashes are rare to non-existent.
I have found linux is consistently easier to install than
Windows. And you have to reboot a whole lot less.

--
Dave Blake

 
 
 

After Week 1 With Linux -- licking wounds.

Post by Don Bacc » Mon, 15 Mar 1999 04:00:00



>>This is not to say Unix sucks.  At the core, it is a great OS -- very
>>reliable, fast, and powerful.  But it cannot be reasonably approached
>>by anyone but the most savvy and even still, takes considerable time
>>to become educated on and gain a reasonable working ability with.
>>After using only Macs for 10 years, it took me all of a day to
>>install NT 4.0 on a new PC, configure it as a server and put it to
>>work in a variety of ways.  I rarely needed a manual and even the
>>toughest config problems I've run into have yet to take more than a
>>day to resolve.
>>With Linux, it took me a full day just to figure out how to set my
>>monitor's settings the way I wanted it.  This is unacceptable.

This really has nothing to do with the operating system,
per se.  MS has invested a lot of money into making NT
configurable via the GUI.  Linux and Unix systems in
particular tend to assume you know the operating system
well.  That's been a valid assumption for a very long
time.  The domination of Unix in the software engineering,
internet, and server worlds has been so complete that
nearly everyone charged with system administration duties
in such environments is well versed in at least one Unix
variant, and usually multiple variants.

So if linux, or any unix variant, is to become mainstream
it will need to be packaged in such a way that folks with
no prior Unix knowledge can get things up and running
easily.

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was
to get RedHat up and running on my P200 box, including
configuring it to perform ip masquerading for my win98
box.

Then, again, I've been forced to do Unix sysadmin at
times in my life, on a small scale, and have been a
software engineer for many, many years and have worked
on more Unix variants on more workstations built by
more companies (most no longer in existence!) than I
care to think about.

But ... this says nothing about the underlying engine.

If MS paid more attention to internal design and less
attention to the GUI, NT might be as stable and reliable
as Linux ... or HPUX ... or a number of Unix variants.

As far as "unix is old, NT is young", Dave Cutler (chief
designer of NT) was the designer of RSX-11M for DEC in
the early 70s, VMS later, and finally NT.  These three
operating systems share important attributes, namely
being bloated, inefficient, and in general unreliable
compared to the Unix variants available on the same
platforms.  RSX-11M in particular was a total kludge.
I'm not convinced Culter's learned much since those
days.  While it certainly isn't true that "NT is
an RSX-11 variant", it also isn't true that modern
Unix variants are direct descendants of the old
PDP-11 Unix (in the sense of carrying on actual
code).  Kernals have been written by several
groups, and there are tons of things that one thinks
of as being "part of unix" that are much younger than
Unix per se.

Quote:>>I know, I know.. Linux is still in its infancy.

The notion of having Unix take a significant share
of the casual end-user market certainly is in its
infancy.  That really wasn't the point, the point
was to make a free Unix available for those with
the knowledge and/or motivation to learn how to
administer a system which pretty much assumes you
already know how to administer it.

The HOWTOs are a great resource for learning.

Quote:>>What I'm trying to
>>communicate here is that modern popular expectations from an OS are quite
>>different from what many Unix geeks may think.

Unix geeks don't think differently.  Personally, I don't
really CARE.  It's a great tool for someone like me, and
if it never becomes a great tool for the masses, I don't
mind.

The main reason computer freaks like myself would love
to see Linux packaged in such a way that it would be
easily used by casual computer owners is that we HATE
BILL GATES.  That's the REAL motivation, not the desire
to see everyone use Unix.  Many of us probably secretly
were rooting for Next Corp. a few years ago, simply
because Jobs is an nicer guy than Bill.

Quote:>>Linux developers: Study the Mac and Windows GUI's.  There's a lot to
>>be said in these for what makes a computer truly usable and powerful.

Now, this depends ENTIRELY on what you're doing.  If I'm
putting up a database-backed web server (which is what
I AM doing at home, come to think of it), the GUI is
irrelevant.  What's important is how many DB hits I
can sustain and how many times I have to fly home from
photography trips to reboot the damned server.

In part of my world, being able to serve up bits quickly
and reliability is what makes a computer "truly usuable
and powerful".

In other parts of my world, access to the latest Adobe tools
and the like is very important, and Linux isn't the right
choice for that side of me (the photographer who *s
to the national magazine market).  Yet. :)

--


  Nature photos, on-line guides, at http://www.veryComputer.com/

 
 
 

After Week 1 With Linux -- licking wounds.

Post by Don Bacc » Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:00:00




Quote:>Here's one point I've noticed.  When people install NT, or especially
>Win95, they often do so in a very simple way that results in
>inefficiency.  When people install Linux they often do so in a complex
>way that results in more efficiency.

Which again reflects the underlying assumption.  Linux
(and Unix variants in general) is presumed to be distributed
to people knowledgable enough to make such decisions, and
your are introduced to such options right up front.

Win95/98 is presumed to be distributed to people who
don't have and never will have the knowledge to make
such decisions.  Not only are such decisions hidden
from the casual user, but the experienced user has
far fewer options to tailor the system.

In one sense the whole discussion's mute.  Most Win98
buyers don't install their own operating system, it's done
by whoever they buy the machine from.  Upgrading from
say Win 3.1 to Win 98 isn't necessarily a trivial
task, as I recently found out when helping a friend.

But most folks are masked from that.  And when not,
they do what's done here - they ask someone more
knowledgable for help!

Anyway, Win98 users mostly don't face installation
to begin with.  Linux users don't.  However, it
doesn't NEED to be that way, for instance NetExpress
in the bay area sells workstations and servers
with Linux loaded and gives you a very wide range
of decent peripherals to choose from.  A bleepin'
newbie could simply order a workstation system
from them, take it out of the box, turn it on,
and voila - "login:".  All devices working.

I'd argue that a lot of the perceived additional
complexity of Linux has as much to do with the
mode of buying it ("oh, I've got an old 486
around with a bunch of arcane hardware" as
opposed to "oh, I'll just buy a cheapo Win98
box...") as anything.

Quote:>Of course, that commentator did point out the fact, often overlooked,
>that most Windows users never installed Windows anyway, it came
>already loaded.

Exactly!  And I missed it, I guess I'm being
redunant above.  

Quote:>You can get Linux preinstalled if you want.

And "Exactly!" again :)

Quote:>> That's been a valid assumption for a very long
>> time.  The domination of Unix in the software engineering,
>> internet, and server worlds has been so complete that
>> nearly everyone charged with system administration duties
>> in such environments is well versed in at least one Unix
>> variant, and usually multiple variants.
>This has been changing, especially with small and midsize companies.

It's been changing faster than the Linux/Unix world has
been, I guess that's my point.  Yes, it's starting to
pop up more often in environments - home, and professional
both - where the assumption that the person administrating the
system is already knowledgable no longer holds.

That, though, doesn't mean the operating system per se
is inherently too complex for such users to tackle without
a large investment in learning.  My background is in the
Unix (and other "old" operating systems), not NT.  It had
been years since I'd done any Unix sysadmin type stuff
when I installed redhat a couple of weeks ago -
I use Unix every day as a software engineer but in an
environment where sysadmins take care of those chores.

Yet it only took me a couple of days to figure out how
to configure my two 3c509b cards and get ip masquerading
up and running on the linux box.

I *KNOW* it would've taken me longer on an NT system,
simply because I've never used NT except casually as
a user a few times a year.  I'm as ignorant of how
to configure an NT firewall as an NT admin would be
of Linux.

And most Win98 users would be perplexed regardless.
They don't typically know anything about the structure
of network addresses, or the principle behind shuffling
packets between two separate networks.

So I think the complexity issue's overated.

[interesting stuff about corporate IT department
 politics and chances for promotion deleted...]

Quote:>> So if linux, or any unix variant, is to become mainstream
>> it will need to be packaged in such a way that folks with
>> no prior Unix knowledge can get things up and running
>> easily.
>That's the whole issue though - should linux become mainstream or not?

True.  And I don't answer it, above.  I didn't say "Linux
must become packaged for dummies", on purpose.  I don't
really care, one way or the other.  Even if Linux "wins",
Bill Gates is still the richest man on earth...

Quote:>> If MS paid more attention to internal design and less
>> attention to the GUI, NT might be as stable and reliable
>> as Linux ... or HPUX ... or a number of Unix variants.
>Internals are difficult to justify economically.

The more it breaks, the higher the support revenue :)

Quote:>Re-architecture or re-design is something that is
>rarely paid for, at least until things get to a critical stage.  And
>Microsoft is clearly one of those companies more concerned with easily
>marketted features.

Well...you do have to give them a little credit for
NT, which is definitely superior to Win95, and for
their decision to coalesce around NT in the future.

When they hired Dave Cutler to lead the NT design
team, it was tacit acknowledgement that the whole
DOS kludge needed to go, eventually.  I'd argue
they just hired the wrong guy (anyone who's used
both Unix and VMS on VAX machines understands).

[...]

Quote:>Linux is different because it's not revenue oriented.

Well, in a sense Linux is simply "old fashioned" in
its view of the computing world.  While the (non-mainframe)
computing industry was certainly revenue oriented back
in the seventies and early 80s, it wasn't nearly as brutal.

Ma Bell handed out Unix sources from the beginning
to non-commercial folks.  Largely out of ignorance,
of course, but still, it started a tradition.  And
the Unix world has really held on to that tradition,
Linux is just a very fine example of what can happen
when a fine tradition becomes a mass movement (which
wouldn't be possible without all of these cheap
machines, for which unfortunately we must to some
degree thank MS).

The community of third-party vendors selling software
in the DEC universe tended to pass customers
along..."oh, you really oughtta call xyz company,
they can better fit your needs".

The venture vultures and the suits really changed
things a lot, and in a sense you have to admire
Gates, because he bested all of them, if you
think about it.  It really wasn't an environment
where a "nice guy" was going to win.

[...]

Quote:>In this sense, Linux is very unlike commercial UNIX offerings.  Most
>UNIX offerings were for a long time essentially just AT&T licensed
>UNIX with some added value here or there.  They had almost identical
>tools, bug for bug.  Innovation was rare.  OK, Sun did a lot in the
>early days; but where was innovation from Ultrix, AIX, HPUX, etc?
>Innovation came from BSD, the FSF, and others, not from the vendors.

Yep.  

Quote:>I seriously think a lot of the bad feelings some people have about
>UNIX comes from experiences with commercial UNIX.

I don't know about that.  My experiences with commercial
unix variants has been bad, myself.  Then again, I've
not had to pay for them, other people do.  

Quote:>So I think this means Linux has an excellent chance of becoming a
>"better UNIX than UNIX", to borrow the phrase.

You can also look at it as a throwback to the
precommercialization days, in which case it is
perhaps "the real Unix".  In spirit, if not name!
--


  Nature photos, on-line guides, at http://donb.photo.net

 
 
 

1. After Week 1 With Linux -- licking wounds.

I don't know if this was mentioned in another post (I didn't see it), but
for me as an administrator working two jobs, one with Linux and one with
NT, I see the pain I go through every day with NT.  Sure, it might be
simpler to get something working on NT - on one machine.  Multiply that by
the 200+ machines we have in our CS department, and we get a couple
full-time employees and at least two FTEE students (like myself) doing
repetitive tasks because NT took the peer-to-peer networking approach a
little too seriously.  It is absolutely ridiculous that we should spend our
time going around to each computer with a Netscape disk to install the
newest version when I could do it on one computer and update the entire
building in a UNIX installation.

Maybe it's a little harder/different for the end user to learn, but they
can get over it, especially with the new spiffy window managers available
today.

My $0.02

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