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PICList Thread
'[OT]:Linux Distributions (was What is Windows XP?)'
2002\01\18@190505 by Dipperstein, Michael

face picon face
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Ferrell [spam_OUTjohnferrellTakeThisOuTspamSPRINTMAIL.COM]
> Sent: Friday, January 18, 2002 3:26 PM
> To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [OT]: What is Windows XP?
> As soon as I can migrate off this machine,
> Format/fdisk/reload, & migrate
> back I will have a machine available to give Linux. It may
> take 30 to 60
> days.
> The questions:
> Where do I start? What version/flavor do I get and where
> should I get it?

It really depends on what you want to do.  I have two machines running Linux at
home.  They happen to be running the Red Hat 7.1 distribution.

My wife performed the installation on her machine in about 4 hours.  She's used
a lot of software applications, but she has no special Linux installation
knowledge.  She just followed the guide book and the software.

I hear that the Mandrake distribution is also pretty easy to install.

> How much machine is needed? memory/speed/disk?
> What are the trade offs?

Both the machines at home only have 64MB RAM.  One runs at 166MHz, the other
runs at 350MHz.  To install Linux with a bunch of apps and both KDE and Gnome
(two GUI's), I think they recommend 2.4GB of hard disk space.  There are
versions that run off of floppies or CDs, but they do a lot less.

The overall speed of things is about the same as Windows 9X.  Some things run a
bit faster, others a bit slower.  Unlike the trend with windows, new revisions
of Linux applications often run faster than older ones.

Before you do the switch over, you might want to verify that all of your
peripherals (graphics card, sound card, modem, printer, scanner, ...) are Linux
compatible.  Making Linux drivers is not something most vendors do, and some
hardware is not as Linux friendly as others.

{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\18@201517 by Bourdon, Bruce


You can easily install Linux onto a Wintel (Microsoft Windows - Intel uP)
box, I've done several with Win95 and Win98, thought I haven't tried
NT/2K/XP I'm fairly sure it'd work.

I like the ability to boot Win9x to run hardware/software that is not yet
supported/replaced in Linux.

This is also great to help the weaning off of Microsoft products (kinda like
one of those nicotine patch thingies).

One of my coworkers is a longtime Microsoft supporter & MIS manager -
recently converted to Linux. He swears by the Slackware distribution, saying
it seems to be the leanest/fastest he's tried (he thinks Red Hat is too
bloated)... He LOVES the Apache server, greatly favored over anything
Microsoft-based he's ever used.

As mentioned previously, it is likely that you will run into hardware
support issues:
Modems are very common problem - most are cheap Winmodems that depend on the
CPU to do a lot of the work. Some soundcards and specialty video cards, etc.

Most hardware manufacturers seek to maximize their profits and see little
payoff in supporting Linux (at least until the user base grows), so they
only release drivers for Windows. Worse, they don't release technical info
to the people that could and would freely create Linux drivers for their
hardware (very common with the Winmodems, etc.)...

Specialty hardware is also likely to fall into this trap. The more uncommon
the more unlikely it is to have Linux support...

I am *VERY* tired of the game Microsoft plays, dramatically changing things
every two years for no other purpose than $$$ (new software sales, seminars
& books, etc)...

The key to understanding Microsoft is to remember the comment of Mr. Bill
Gates: "Make them need you."

I am very competent at writing software for older versions of Windows, from
user level applications to low level drivers... but my experience would not
be so desirable today - especially the driver level. And what with all the
"new technology" that they released and continue to relapse and will
continue to relapse forever - it is a never ending battle to keep up.

If, on the other hand, you look at a Unix/Linux guru - say one that has been
away from it for five or ten years - that person could still apply their
skill set today - they would be very valuable & desirable today (assuming
they hadn't forgotten much or at least would pick it back up reasonably

With Microsoft, its keep up with the latest stuff Bill forces everyone to
buy (note: they newer technologies definitely are not always better - in
fact often they are very bad wrappers ontop of older technology!!!) or fall
behind and lose favor with potential employers.

With Unix/Linux, it's continuous building on what you already know and have,
only discarding what you no longer want - but the decision is yours: a Unix
geek from the 70's could sit down at a Linux machine today and be

A Microsoft geek from the 80's would be lost today!!!

With Microsoft you frequently don't know why things work the way they do.
Sometimes it seems more like witchcraft than science. And the more you come
to depend on the "tools" that Microsoft provides, the more difficult it
becomes when you have to do something slightly out of the box - some
behavior that Microsoft didn't build in... MFC users take notice!!!

With Linux it's all there, all laid out. You can understand as much as you
care to.

AND there's a great big community of people out there who EAGERLY SHARE what
they have learned and what they have created!

The BIG Caveat:
Microsoft is typically much easier to get up and running and to use for the
newbie or for people who don't like to think too much. Which is good because
whatever you learn will have to be discarded in a year or two as the newest
release is forced on you...

With Linux, you have to think and read and learn... But what you learn
you'll be able to use for a lifetime.

One more thing regarding Linux drivers: I read somewhere where a Microsoft
Software Engineer took a look at Linux and one of the Linux Drivers books,
and worriedly said something to the effect of "it takes months if not years
of training and seminars etc to write drivers for our OS, but anyone could
do it after a weekend with this book in Linux!" - so maybe you can be the
one to provide the driver for the card you so badly want to use!

Bruce (one pissed - aint gonna take it - tired of Gates' crap - motha!).

{Original Message removed}

2002\01\19@035426 by Rudy Rudy

No kidding!  I am just about as pissed off as Bruce is in this regard.  I
started using Linux/Unix system about 5 years ago, and LOVE it since (before
that, I was all Microsoft).  To survive my job (sys ad), however, I have to
keep up with the Microsoft stuffs.  Ohhh man!!!  It's incredible!  Things
won't work, and you won't know why.  And the most common solution: "Just
reboot and call me back if you still have the problem!"

Of course, with Windows, an upgrade is 'absolutely necessary' at least once
a year (new OS, new updated software, etc).  And every upgrade, there WILL
be something wrong.  And most of the solutions don't even make sense (things
like: CTRL+ALT+DEL, and kill that @#!@#.exe program, now close that program
and double click the icon, and it should work!).  What the hell!  You never
know what's really going on, so you can't never really debug it.

But I will still give Microsoft a big plus for making it easy for people to
use.  I can't imagine telling my co-workers to use Linux.  They have a hard
time using WORD and EXCEL as of now, and to tell them that they need to use
something else, they will either kill me or jump off the building.  So, ease
of use (and don't want to think too much), use Microsoft stuff; reliability,
get away from it, use Linux/Unix instead.

Rudy Rudy

> {Original Message removed}

2002\01\19@065326 by dr. Imre Bartfai


I completely agree and I feel it touches a more general question: the life
cycle and the validity of the knowledge one collects. A small example:

on a mainframe a programmer team (including me) needed a rather complex
test file. A part of team worked hardly to write an application which is
capable to generate the needed data set. I took the good old utility IEBDG
and wrote the control card deck in a hour. So the problem was

Despite the fact the utility IEBDG (like its companions IEB*****) is the
product of 1960's it is still available on the S/390 series, the same way
it worked: continuation mark in the 72nd column, and continuation card
begins on the 16th col. Good old tools could also increase productivity as
they are tested zillion times and produces exactly what they have to do
according to the documentation. BTW I wonder how many members of PICLIST


On Fri, 18 Jan 2002, Bourdon, Bruce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2002\01\23@173221 by Martin McCormick

       I am on a couple of lists that either directly or
indirectly receive security bulletins regarding viruses, worms,
hackers, etc.  Yes, there certainly are plenty of exploits
involving Linux and other forms of UNIX, but the barrage of
advisories regarding Microsoft products is astounding.  I just
can't think of another adjective.

       Some of the vulnerabilities are understandable as any
complex OS may have things in it that can be abused to cause
trouble, but many of the worst problems have been exploites of
all those eye-candy/convenience features that Microsoft has loaded
in to their products right up to now.

       Last year, when the "Love Bug" hit and it was found to be
written in VB Script of all things, I expected Microsoft to be
shaken to its foundation.  This should have been a fire bell in
the night sort of thing.  After all, if you make it very, very
easy for people to make mischief, everybody will do it.  If you
make it harder, only the truly dedicated will.  That's why doors
have had locks for centuries and people have built and bought
better and stronger locks throughout history.

       As someone once said, "There is a little larceny in every

       I believe that most people are decent the world over, but
it is just smart to discourage the truly easy stuff by having
good doors with good locks.

       UNIX users have been learning this bitter lesson for
decades, but Microsoft which provides access to computing for
millions of non-techies has squandered what could have been a
real leadership position in responsible computing.

       When web browsers, email agents, and the OS itself are
integrated in to one big unit and the browser and email agent can
execute "arbitrary code," to para fraise many of the security
advisories, the only surprise is that certain things have taken
as long as they have to happen.

       I certainly hope something comes from a recent news story
stating that Bill Gates had directed that MS work on security and
privacy issues.  All I can say is that it is about time.

       I work for a university in Network Operations
and I wonder what world Microsoft lives in?  The world I live in
isn't terribly bad, but they're out there and it helps to keep
current on the security advisories and not make things to easy
for those who are really malicious or who just want to play a
practical joke or two.  Microsoft has erred in providing too many
ready tools and making them too easy to use.

       Most people just want a system that doesn't crash and
lets them do their job or hobby without hassles.

       I tell some folks that XP stands for Exposed Platform
based on some of the current alerts.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Network Operations Group

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