Unauthorized COLA FAQ 3/5 23-Jun-2002

Unauthorized COLA FAQ 3/5 23-Jun-2002

Post by Kenneth Down » Mon, 24 Jun 2002 21:56:54

#  Changes 23-Jun-2002:
#  Finally got all links right, and learned to count to four
#  minor rewording by Amused.


                           TABLE OF CONTENTS - PART 3

          3.0   Part 3, Common Misconceptions About Linux

         What is FUD?  Why do People FUD Linux?
         FUD Defined and Described
         The Inevitable Discussion of Microsoft

         Common Misconceptions About Linux
         General or Vague Misconceptions
         Technical Misconceptions
         Misconceptions About the Community
         Misconceptions about Linux's Future
         Financial Misconceptions

     Other Debunking Sites


      Copyright (c)  2002.  This document is copyright by the individuals
      named in the credits, section

      Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
      under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1
      or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.
      A copy of the license can be viewed at:


          ============================================================  What is FUD?  Why do People FUD Linux?  FUD Defined and Described

    FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.  It refers to the
    competitive practice of promoting your own product by planting fear,
    uncertainty and doubt in the mind of the customer regarding your
    competitor's product.  There is a nice definition at


    and a discussion here:

       http://www.attrition.org/~jericho/works/security/fud.html  The Inevitable Discussion of Microsoft

    Because Linux threatens Microsoft's revenues, one would expect
    Microsoft to extol the virtues of their products and to downplay
    any advantages that Linux has.  They tend to do this by using words
    like "cancerous" and "anti-capitalistic" in describing Linux and
    the General Public License.

    Since early 2002 Microsoft spokespersons have been heavily attacking
    the GPL as a destroyer of jobs, decrying the alleged lack of support
    that those who choose free software will suffer, and promoting their
    own roles as innovators and protectors of standards.  

    Microsoft has also declared that the GPL directly harms intellectual
    property and has, as of this writing, outlawed the use of GPL
    software in at least one situation in the licensing terms of its
    CIFS networking products:


    The list of Microsoft arguments is long, but to read a penetrating
    and devasting refutation of Microsoft FUD, try this link:


    For definitions of the terms "free software" and to review the General
    Public License, see these two links, respectively.


    The term "open source" is often used interchangeably with "free
    software", but this technically is not correct.  To find out more about
    "open source", see the site for the Open Source Initiative:

        http://www.opensource.org/  Common Misconceptions About Linux  General or Vague Misconceptions "Linux is hard to use"

      Most people here on COLA answer this with their own experience,
      which tends to run along these themes:

      -> It sometimes seems harder at first because I was not used
         to it, but it actually makes a lot more sense than, say, Windows,
         when you get into it, and is well worth a little learning because
         it is so powerful.

      -> I read the manual and did what it said and it worked, what's
         the problem?

      -> I thought it was harder and I wasted a lot of time making it
         harder than it was.  It's not hard.  Just get a good book, read
         it, and do it.

      -> Bullshit!  (this is often the opinion of quarrelsome unix
         veterans.  But it's simple and succint, unlike  
         this parenthetical comment).

      To get a little more serious, Linux as unix is based on a philosophy
      of building up a complex system out of simple parts, each of which
      does one job very well.  This allows the user/admin/programmer to
      learn a few simple principles and then extrapolate in any situation.

      [Maintainer's Note:  I had some difficulty myself getting into this
       mindset, most often because I kept expecting Linux to be
       hard, when it is not.  It is detailed, but these details
       build up according to consistent design ideas, which makes Linux
       rather simple after all.]

      A great deal of thought, decisions about what is a "proper" design,
      goes into making sure that those extrapolations remain consistent.

      It does not happen by accident and things which break or ignore that
      precept need to be far better than what came before to continue
      being used.  "Linux has no GUI"

      There are two answers to this myth.  If you are new to Linux,
      then the simple answer is that this is false, because all modern
      distributions that go by the name "Linux" contain not just one,
      but several GUIs to choose from.  If you are considering a first-
      time plunge into Linux, don't worry, anything you buy or download
      will have a GUI, and you can get deeper into the technical stuff
      at your own speed.

      From a purely technical standpoint, however, the statement is true,
      because "Linux" proper refers only to the kernel, the innermost
      part of a complete operating system, and that kernel does not support
      a GUI.

      In fact, there are several GUIs that are commonly used on Linux.  
      Many distributions include most or all of the popular ones
      listed here.

      The "mainstream" GUIS are often cited as being easiest for those
      who are coming from other popular systems such as Windows:

        KDE    at http://www.kde.org  
        GNOME  at http://www.gnome.org

      The specialty GUIs, used most often because they require less
      resources than KDE or Gnome, or because they better fit the personal
      preferences of the user:

        IceWM        at http://www.icewm.org
        blackbox     at http://www.blackbox.alug.org
        fluxbox      at http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net
        fvwm         at http://www.fvwm.org
        Window Maker at http://www.windowmaker.org
        xfce         at http://www.xfce.org

      To keep things simple, the above paragraphs have used the word "GUI"
      in an over-generalized way.  The GUI itself is actually broken up
      into the X Server, the Window Manager, and the Desktop (where even
      the word "Desktop" is a little vague, a collection of programs and
      libraries that create a certain look and feel). A complete
      discussion of this system is far beyond the scope of this FAQ, but
      generally when people talk about a Linux GUI they mean the X Windowing
      system, plus a window manager and desktop (listed above).  You can
      find out more at http://www.xfree86.org.

      It is also very common to run servers without a GUI to save those
      megabytes of RAM for serving data over the wire.  The ability to
      eliminate the GUI altogether, an ability not shared by all
      contenders for the server market, is often cited as an advantage for
      Linux. "Linux help is terrible"

      First, it is the universal advice on COLA to anyone getting started
      with Linux is to buy a good book.  There is a strong liking of
      anything by O'Reilly ( http://www.oreilly.com ), and the book
      "Linux in a Nutshell" (currently in 3rd ed) is often mentioned.

      Now, to be completely technical, when we speak of help for a
      Linux system, we do not usually mean help for that single piece,
      the kernel, that is Linux proper.  We usually tend to assume people
      are talking about help for the GNU command line tools, the X
      windowing system, or other popular free/open software that is commonly
      included with a Linux distribution.  That being said...

      The general feeling about the actual myth is that it is not true,
      because Linux has a lot of different types of help, each of which
      addresses a certain need.  Trying to find what you need in the wrong
      place can be very frustrating, so let's go through the types of help
      that are available (we've already  mentioned that a good book is an
      enormous help).

      Task-oriented documentation is found in what we call the HOWTOs and
      Mini-HOWTOs.  These are useful for specific tasks like setting up
      a dual-boot machine.  Find these at http://www.linuxdoc.org.

      Purely reference material is found in the man system, while the info
      system tends to more expository text, examples, and explanations.
      We can make the following generalizations about them:

      ->  The actual help text is stored in two systems, called the
          "man" pages and the "info" pages.
      ->  Man pages tend to be self-contained, treating one command
          or idea to completion in a single concise document.  They
          are also intended to look good when printed.  The "info"
          system is a more comprehensive cross-linked library.
      ->  Both systems can access a topic from the command line with
          simple commands like

read more »


Unauthorized COLA FAQ 3/5 23-Jun-2002

Post by rapska » Tue, 25 Jun 2002 07:24:01

Error Log for Sun, 23 Jun 2002 15:56:54 -0400: segfault in module "Kenneth
Downs" - dump details are as follows...

Quote:>           ============================================================

>                            TABLE OF CONTENTS - PART 3

>           3.0   Part 3, Common Misconceptions About Linux

>          What is FUD?  Why do People FUD Linux?
>          FUD Defined and Described
>          The Inevitable Discussion of Microsoft

>          Common Misconceptions About Linux
>          General or Vague Misconceptions
>                Technical Misconceptions
>          Misconceptions About the Community
>                Misconceptions about Linux's Future    Financial
>                Misconceptions

>      Other Debunking Sites

>           ============================================================

Just some quick observations:  "Linux has no GUI"

"The specialty GUIs, used most often because they require less
      resources than KDE or Gnome, or because they better fit the personal
      preferences of the user:

     IceWM        at http://www.icewm.org
     blackbox     at http://www.blackbox.alug.org
        fluxbox      at http://fluxbox.sourceforge.net
        fvwm         at http://www.fvwm.org
     Window Maker at http://www.windowmaker.org
        xfce         at http://www.xfce.org"

Strange that Enlightenment is not mentioned in this list. I know that this list isn't meant to be exhaustive, but I think it deserves honorable mention:


== "Linux does not have a journaling filesystem"

Odd that we still hear this one, since Linux now supports at least
      four journaling filesystems, being ext3, jfs, [xfs] and the Reiser
      filsystem, with links at:

     JFS:    http://oss.software.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/jfs/
     EXT3:   http://www.zip.com.au/~akpm/linux/ext3/
        XFS:    http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs/
        Reiser: http://www.reiserfs.org

== "Linux Has No Defragmentation Tool"

  [...]a harddrive has data scattered all over {the harddrive}.

This sounds kind of redundant, perhaps just "it" would be better?

This FAQ is looking better and better.  Awesome job, Ken!

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Unauthorized COLA FAQ 3/5 23-Jun-2002

Post by Mike » Wed, 26 Jun 2002 20:44:22

Quote:> "Linux has [insert number here] security issues!
> #  I think I found the link that is the source of this stuff:
> #         http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/2/12/61225/8865

That article has a link to:


which is what I was thinking of as being "the source".  So:

   SecurityFocus maintained a list of vulnerabilities on various
   platforms, including Microsoft Windows and several different
   distributions of the Linux operating system.  These provided much
   ammunition for the anti-Linux crowd, as the 2001 survey showed that
   Mandrake 7.2 had 33 vulnerabilities, while Windows 2000 had "only"

   What these people (somehow) failed to note however, was that the
   numbers represent completely different things for a Linux distro
   versus Windows.  In a nutshell, the vulnerabilities listed for a
   linux distribution include all packages included in it (whether they
   are installed by default or not), while those listed for Windows
   include only the core OS itself.

   As we all know, Windows comes with very little in and of itself; it
   requires a fair few third-party applications to actually make it
   useful.  What's more, even some programs which would normally be
   considered as part of the OS, such as the Explorer shell, are listed
   as seperate sub-packages.  Therefore, any vulnerability in Explorer
   is not listed in the Windows statistics.

   Keeping these discrepencies in mind, it's pretty clear that you
   can't read anything particularly interesting into these statistics.

Okay, somebody rework that... ;-)
Mike.  /* remove "-spam" to mail me */