> It's a fair bet that anyone running linux (of any version) will be
> running the GNU fileutils (of some non-ancient version).
> It is very nice to notice that the NT advocates are using Linux; I
> don't see many Linux advocates using NT ;-)
No, I am not using it but at least I tried. My Experience with
it showed that it is inferior to Unix in many parts of its design.
The system I used is a 2 years old i586/66 with 56 MB of RAM. I
have 2 IDE and 1 SCSI drive, total about 4MB of storage space (not
counting all kinds of removable media) on my home box. I installed
NT 4.0 Workstation on a 300MB ( /dev/hda1 or C:\ in DOS terms )
partition, just to try it out and see what's all about. First thing
that I didn't like: install process did recognize my Panasonic CDROM
drive (connected to a SoundBlaster card) but didn't install a driver
for it, so, upon completion of the install process, I could not access
my CDROM. I rebooted into Linux, copied that driver (looked very hard
for it among 8+3 cryptic names) onto a floppy from NT 4.0 CDROM and
rebooted into NT. Now, how do I add the driver? Recompiling kernel
is out of the question for obvious reasons. I am familiar with Win 3.1
and Dos ways of doing things, so I thought I would copy the driver
onto C:\ and reference it in AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS. Then I
thought: "Hmm... real mode drivers in NT? Is not it supposed to be a
multitasking system running in protected mode? There's gotta be
another way of doing it. Started Control Panel. Clicked on "Devices"
icon. CD drive is a device, right? How the h*ll do I install a driver
for it? After 15 minutes of clicking on everything and reading through
not so helpful "Help" (what, no man pages??) I figured out that I
might be able to install the driver using SCSI icon on the control
panel, but I did have to adjust something under 'devices' item, I
I had to add it as "enable on system bootup" or something like that.
Anyway, why SCSI?? My CDROM drive is not SCSI! It's an IDE CDROM
connected to my sound card. Not very intuitive, Microsoft, even 10
year old schoolboys know the difference between SCSI and IDE these days.
And, btw, my QD8580 IDE controller card was recognized as some ATAPI
controller card although I don't have any ATAPI CDROMs but two IDE
drives connected to it. Anyway, I went through about 6 or 7 reboots
manipulating and (mis)configuring things until I got it right (compared
to 2 kernel recompiles on Linux until I got everything right the first
time). Next project was to configure ZIP drive. Why wasn't a driver
installed for it in the first place? Even RedHat 4.0 includes a driver
(actually, a module) for it on their startup disk. I looked through NT
CDROM, nothing resembling IOMEGA or ZIP was found. Hmm, let's dial up
and grab it from IOMEGA web site. Wait a second, here's a problem: my
modem doesn't have a proper driver. Rebooted into Linux, dialed up,
d-loaded modem drivers, d-loaded IOMEGA drivers, booted into NT again.
Installing IOMEGA drivers was relatively easy since I once already
installed such a drive for someone using Win95. Now, the modem. It's
a 28,800 Creatix with all that nifty stuff like error correction, V42
bis, upgradable to 56,xxx and so on. Clicked on Modems icon in Control
Panel. Windows said "Looking for modems...", my mouse became jerky for
20 or 30 seconds when it was probing COM2. Probing COM3 and COM4...
"No modems found". Clicked on "Have disk" button, pointed at the
directory where I downloaded the modem drivers. It installed the drivers
and said: "your modem has been succesfully setup", then I had to reboot
again for "the setting to take effect". Rebooted. Clicked on dialup
entered my ISP parameters, number to dial and other stuff. Double
to initiate the connection. "Modem is not responding". I didn't get it.
It did say previously that "is succesfully setup", how come it's not
responding? Started looking at my COM ports under Control panel. Com3
IRQ4?? My modem is on IRQ5! Changed on IRQ5. Rebooted again. Modem still
"isn't responding". Changed COM3 and IRQ5 on a different I/O. Rebooted
again. Dialled up my ISP. Now, I need to d-load Netscape. Went to
line FTP, grabbed Netscape, installed it. Strange thing, max transfer
rate I got was 14,400. Disconnected, rebooted, dialled up again, worked
fine. Now, let's check email. Started my email client (Connectsoft
Email Connection) that always worked succesfully under Win3.1 on other
computers. Client started but didn't work. Whatever buttons I pressed,
just nothing happened. Eventually I got some errors about "unresolved
kernel symbols". Hmm. Wasn't NT supposed to be compatible with 16 bit
apps? Configured netscape mail, it worked fine. What about my other
programs? CorelDraw5. Paid $300 for it 2 years ago. Doesn't work either.
Hex editor: doesn't work. Paint Shop Pro: doesn't work, complains that
"such and such *dll is missing". A couple of older DOS utils gave me
"divided by zero". Ohh. At least, let's see what I have with NT: No Web
servers were bundled. No sendmail. No procmail. But 10 connection
limitation in its license (yes, I read it from top to bottom). No C/C++.
No decent scripting language. I guess I can d-load some of it but why
should I? For such big $$ I expect to have more than I actually need.
On a typical Linux or BSD CDROM you will find hundreds of programs,
from compilers and debuggers to shells and utilities. Press Tab (or
Esc) key two times in your typical Linux box and you will see (depending
on your installation):
There are 1654 possibilities. Do you really
wish to see them all? (y or n)
Why does NT that cost 10 times as much doesn't have even half of
Why do I have to exit the GUI to login as a different user? I
expect to be able to login as 1, 2 or 50 users as I go without
restarting anything. Normaly, in X, I work as a user but for
occasional management or corrections I "su" or "sudo" to root
for a minute in an xterm and back. This doesn't seem to be possible
in NT: I have to "Close all the programs and login as a different
Why reboot when changing modem port? I expect to be able to switch
a jumper on the modem, to run something like "setserial" and
Where's chown, chmod and chgrp? I want to configure a user that
can use PPP, can ftp in, can surf the web but can't read newsgroups.
I want the same user to be able to access my ZIP drive and access
CDROM but prohibit him making backups and prohibit him from running
more then 50 processes at a time and limit his disk usage to 5 MB
only. I want the same user not to be able to write anywhere but his
own directory. In despair I even created "c:\home\user" for him but
NT doesn't keep preferences there. So, no separate /home partition?
The Admin tools are not flexible enough.
Why COMMAND.COM (or whatever shell interpreter is supplied with NT)
is the only shell? You can have an infinite number of shells on
a Unix box, typically 6 or 7 shells come with a Linux CD.
I click on some program and don't like what it does. I want to
delete it. But I get "such and such is in use by Windows". Why
is there no "kill" or no "ps" command? I have to reboot and
then delete it.
Each time I try to start Duke Nukem, it makes the display go
black for 50 seconds, then the white mouse cursor appears on
the black screen and I have to almost blindly click on the taskbar
and 'close all the programs and login as a different user' looking
at some strange animations on the display? Then it stops in a
minute or so. I tried to tweak some parameters but never got even
to the black screen after that, just an error message. The same game
works under Linux DOSEMU with just a few quirks.
Where's crontab? I don't see any intuitive way of scheduling
tasks. E.g. I want my pop email to be checked once in 5 minutes,
make backups every night at 2:45, trim log files once a week
and play fart.wave every morning at 9:00 to wake up everyone.
Yes, I want it all automatic like crontab does, once setup and
without any additional user interference. I also want all users
to have their individual crontabs like the ones I created by
'crontab -e' at my ISP (who runs FreeBSD) through telnet. If
my ISP ran NT nothing like the setup I am having now would be
Why there's no "intuitive way" of copying and pasting to
a DOS window like I do in an xterm? Why can't I become an Admin
status in a DOS window while generally logged on as a user?
No loopback. At least I didn't see any by default. I can't
ping/telnet/ftp to 127.0.0.1. Maybe it's configurable but
why bother? Loopback is enabled by default after installation
on many Unices I tried.
Interoperability: Linux is able to access disks formatted and
partitioned under OS/2, BSD, MSDOS, VFAT, Coherent, Macintosh,
Minix, ext2, ext and even NT (read-only) and NT can only recognize
DOS, VFAT and HPFS? Where are emulators? I want to run my existing
16 bit DOS programs, Mac Desktop publishing app and ocassionaly
SCO applications... NT doesn't even seem to run most of Win 3.1
programs. Oh, I forgot, "NT" means "New Technology", and is
supposed to do away with "legacy" apps in a revolutionary way of
refusing to run them. Fork out big $$ for new apps that run under
NT. Oh well.
Why there's no proper documentation on NT boot loader? Compare it
with abundance of man pages and README's for LILO or FreeBSD
Why can't I edit icons? In X Window System I just open an XPM icon
file with an editor or Xpaint and restart my Window Manager.
It might be possible in Nt but I don't see any intuitive ways.
Are they hard coded in executable files?
Why did it install MS IE 2.0 without asking me? Yes, It will
rather run out of disk space but will install crap I don't need.
And the last thing: Why does the OS tell me what to do all the time
instead of _me_ telling it what to do? Does it pretend to be
Now, advantages of ...
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