NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Clay Shir » Tue, 08 Dec 1998 04:00:00



One of the ironies of the 'Linux vs. NT' debate is that NT itself made
the idea of Linux on the desktop possible. NT was the first product to
erase the difference in the minds of the consumer between 'personal
computer' and 'workstation', which in turn paved the way for press and
consumer consideration of the idea of using Linux as a desktop
operating system and not just as another flavor of Unix.

The next line to be blurred is between personal computer' and
'server', and as more people running Linux discover that they have a
functioning Web server on their desktops, I believe that they will put
it to many of the uses - document publishing and sharing,
collaborative work environments - currently taken care of by
client/server architecture.

-clay

--
Clay Shirky
Sign The Petition: The US Government Should Evalaute Open Source
http://www.shirky.com/opensource/petition.html

 
 
 

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Brian Hu » Tue, 08 Dec 1998 04:00:00



>One of the ironies of the 'Linux vs. NT' debate is that NT itself made
>the idea of Linux on the desktop possible. NT was the first product to
>erase the difference in the minds of the consumer between 'personal
>computer' and 'workstation', which in turn paved the way for press and
>consumer consideration of the idea of using Linux as a desktop
>operating system and not just as another flavor of Unix.

Hmm.  Let me understand this.  A Compaq PC running Solaris/x86 or SCO or
Xenix or BSD is a "workstation", while the same machine running Windows
3.1 is a "desktop PC".  NT managed to erase this distinction.  We'll ignore
the fact that at one point the best Sun you could buy had the same CPU
as an Amiga or Macintosh (25MHz 68030).

If anything, I'd be more inclined that between Intel screwing up the 286
and Microsoft dropping OS/2 to work on their own NT, they managed to
delay erasing that line by a decade or more.  By 1991, machines powerful
enough to run Unix and as powerful as five-year-old "real workstations"
became cheap enough that even poor Finish grad students could afford
them.  At that point, Microsoft still had four years of Windows 3.1
ahead of it.  Had AT&T not sued Berkley, the current "Linux attack"
would have occurred four years ago and been the "BSD attack".

Brian

 
 
 

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Mark Woodwar » Tue, 08 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Yes!! Someone with historical recollection!!
Linux is a good OS, the one I choose to use. BSD would have been just as
good, and probably better because of the licensing.

However, The person you are responding back too has a point. I am not
saying Microsoft "did" anything except make a dirty little secret
public.

Up to and including the 80286, the Intel based PC was a piece of crap.
Weak MMU, poor process management, poor protection, laughable virtual
memory. The 80386 was the turning point in the ISA machine empire.

A workstation is not a device, it is a system, both hardware and
software. What Microsoft did with NT was blur the distinction between
server and desktop. When NT was being dog and pony'd the average server
system as a text screen and the average desktop had a silly little GUI
(Windows/Mac/GEM). What Microsoft did is say, geez these 80386 machines
are powerfull enough to a lot more than we have been doing. (Something
we, no doubt, have been saying for a while) Had BSD been unencombered,
or SCO and Sun had reasonable pricing, Windows would not be where it is
today.



> >One of the ironies of the 'Linux vs. NT' debate is that NT itself made
> >the idea of Linux on the desktop possible. NT was the first product to
> >erase the difference in the minds of the consumer between 'personal
> >computer' and 'workstation', which in turn paved the way for press and
> >consumer consideration of the idea of using Linux as a desktop
> >operating system and not just as another flavor of Unix.

> Hmm.  Let me understand this.  A Compaq PC running Solaris/x86 or SCO or
> Xenix or BSD is a "workstation", while the same machine running Windows
> 3.1 is a "desktop PC".  NT managed to erase this distinction.  We'll ignore
> the fact that at one point the best Sun you could buy had the same CPU
> as an Amiga or Macintosh (25MHz 68030).

> If anything, I'd be more inclined that between Intel screwing up the 286
> and Microsoft dropping OS/2 to work on their own NT, they managed to
> delay erasing that line by a decade or more.  By 1991, machines powerful
> enough to run Unix and as powerful as five-year-old "real workstations"
> became cheap enough that even poor Finish grad students could afford
> them.  At that point, Microsoft still had four years of Windows 3.1
> ahead of it.  Had AT&T not sued Berkley, the current "Linux attack"
> would have occurred four years ago and been the "BSD attack".

> Brian

--
Mohawk Software
Windows 95, Windows NT, UNIX, Linux. Applications, drivers, support.
Visit the Mohawk Software website: www.mohawksoft.com
 
 
 

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Brian Hu » Wed, 09 Dec 1998 04:00:00



>Yes!! Someone with historical recollection!!
>A workstation is not a device, it is a system, both hardware and
>software. What Microsoft did with NT was blur the distinction between
>server and desktop. When NT was being dog and pony'd the average server
>system as a text screen and the average desktop had a silly little GUI
>(Windows/Mac/GEM). What Microsoft did is say, geez these 80386 machines
>are powerfull enough to a lot more than we have been doing. (Something
>we, no doubt, have been saying for a while) Had BSD been unencombered,
>or SCO and Sun had reasonable pricing, Windows would not be where it is
>today.

From your paragraph, NT did two things:
1) Put the most popular desktop GUI on a server-OS
2) Bring pricing down.

You can't even claim that NT brought a GUI to servers- Unix had a GUI
back in the Windows 1.0 era.

And I don't think NT has served to bring prices down all that
signifigantly, especially for servers.  Price out a Compaq Server
machine (not a desktop machine pressed into a server roll- a machine
marketed as a server) with NT4.0 Server (or better yet, NT4.0
Enterprise) and licenses for 150 Winterm users and 150 Exchange users.

Microsoft _did_ blur the lines- but the lines were simple marketing
lines to begin with, and not technical.  They blurred them because they
wished to start playing in a new market (the workstation and server
markets) and wished to leverage their monopoly in the desktop PC
market.

Brian

 
 
 

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Josef Fritsche » Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:00:00



> Yes!! Someone with historical recollection!!
> Linux is a good OS, the one I choose to use. BSD would have been just as
> good, and probably better because of the licensing.

> However, The person you are responding back too has a point. I am not
> saying Microsoft "did" anything except make a dirty little secret
> public.

> Up to and including the 80286, the Intel based PC was a piece of crap.
> Weak MMU, poor process management, poor protection, laughable virtual
> memory. The 80386 was the turning point in the ISA machine empire.

Well, I disgree here! Although the 386 was an improvement, ISA bus was
(and still is) crap. IBM and Compaq came up with alternatives because
they saw it. But MicroChannel (IBM) was sort of proprietory, and EISA
(Compaq)
came too late. I believe the real change was the introduction of VESA
local
bus. It was neither from Intel nor from MS, was compatible, but faster.
With the introduction of PCI (a re-furbished local bus concept by Intel)
PC's made a big step towards workstations, because:

- Plug'n'Play was possible (inherently in workstations)
- comparable bus performace (as to workstations in the same time frame)
- reduction of the functionality of the BIOS to a simple boot-loader

- Joe
--

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The stone as they said, contains the mountain.
                                  ("Always Coming Home", Ursula LeGuin)

 
 
 

NT makes Linux on the Desktop possible

Post by Pim van Rieze » Sat, 12 Dec 1998 04:00:00




> > Yes!! Someone with historical recollection!!
> > Linux is a good OS, the one I choose to use. BSD would have been just as
> > good, and probably better because of the licensing.

> > However, The person you are responding back too has a point. I am not
> > saying Microsoft "did" anything except make a dirty little secret
> > public.

> > Up to and including the 80286, the Intel based PC was a piece of crap.
> > Weak MMU, poor process management, poor protection, laughable virtual
> > memory. The 80386 was the turning point in the ISA machine empire.

> Well, I disgree here! Although the 386 was an improvement, ISA bus was
> (and still is) crap. IBM and Compaq came up with alternatives because
> they saw it. But MicroChannel (IBM) was sort of proprietory, and EISA
> (Compaq)
> came too late. I believe the real change was the introduction of VESA
> local
> bus. It was neither from Intel nor from MS, was compatible, but faster.
> With the introduction of PCI (a re-furbished local bus concept by Intel)
> PC's made a big step towards workstations, because:

> - Plug'n'Play was possible (inherently in workstations)

Plug'n'Play and workstations aren't necessarily related. I spent 5 hours
getting an Indigo R3000 to recognize a graphics board. What workstations
HAVE lacked from the beginning, though, is the hardcoded (dipswitched)
addressing modes that ISA inherited from the 8086 days when PCs only had
2 slots. The correct terms for workstations at that time versus the ISA
PC would be:

plug'n'try'n'unplug'n'replug'n'try'n'unplug'n'fiddle'n'play

versus

plug'n'boot'n'configure'n'readmanpages'n'cuss'n'buildkernel'n'play

:-)

--
"I'm at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk, where shall we meet?"

Operations - SaltLake.UT.US.Undernet.Org
Channel LART - #linux Undernet
Programmer sometimes LART - Microhill Automation
Cat5 Monkey - Webcity / Internet Facilities Europe
Eerie-eyed Visionair Software Developer - StealthTech Networking

 
 
 

1. Linux vs. NT on the desktop: The one thing NT is good for!

The one thing that is good about NT, from a "management" point of view, is
that you can put an NT box on a user's desk and not give them the
administrator password, and they won't be able to screw it up.  It becomes
like the proverbial toaster - "no user serviceable parts inside".

As far as I can tell (having just started looking at NT), none of the other
Intel OS's have this - certainly not DOS or OS/2.  In fact, I think this is
a real reason why Linux on the user desktop just ain't gonna happen.

My questions are these:

        1) I know that people are going to chime in and say you can do the
same thing with Linux by not giving them the root password (and setting
up their user account to only do what they should do).  Unfortunately,
consider how many times we see in this very newsgroup posts with
subjects like "Forgot my root password - please help!".  Everytime I see a
post like this, I wonder a) if it is the poster's machine that he wants
root on and b) whether his management has specifically set it up this way.

The point is that we all know that with physical access to the machine,
there is no security for Unix systems.

        2) Is NT really secure in this way?  From what I can tell it is, but
then again, is it the case that if I posted "I forgot my administrator
password in NT - please help!" in an NT group, some helpful soul would
tell me how to make a boot disk and hack my way in?

Just for clarification, my orientation/bona fides on this is that,
in spirit, I agree with Richard Stallman (see "man su" on a Linux system
for the full text) and feel that idiot users should be fired, not
catered to, but I'm also enough of a realist (and becoming involved in
the management side of things enough lately to see their side of things)
to realize that that (firing the incomps) is another thing that
"just ain't gonna happen."

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10. NT desktop market share implies death of Linux/UNIX

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