Merced - and the ol' Unix story (was Re: OT, but info needed: RAM uprade)

From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Mon Jan 18 12:02:57 1999

> > Thats it, why unix like systems are sill freak places and
> > why windoze rulez. I am a USER (ok, at least sometimes) and
> > I want instant applications running, and not recompiling
> > the OS, half apps and forgett about the other half because
> > of missing sources, or some 'changes' and 'patches' I have
> > to do - instant on and instant working (playing, what ever).

> My experience is exactly the opposite!.

(I guess we both have sometimes a _very_ privat way to
talk without listening :)

If you had quoted the whole message or at least the context,
you see that our viewpoint in't _very_ different. Note, the
difference between Unix (and Linux) in general and Linux as
x86 OS. As a x86 OS Linux _is_ comperable to Windows, OS/2 or
what ever. Insert a CD and have a menue driven instalation,
for almost anything needed (ok, SAA like alpha menues, not
'real' graphic like in Windows, but who cares, it's easy),
and if you need any application, there is a ready to use
rpm package on the distribution, or can be downloaded somewhere.
No compiling, scripting or what ever - just use a tool
like YaST to select and install the package.

For example, my gateway system (a 486-133) was installed
by my whife, with only a minor supervison, about things
she couldn't know like partition size, swap or some other
settings (She is a strict enduser, she can handle Windows,
OS/2 and MacOS, and manage a DOS prompt to start apps or
games). With SuSE 5.3 she installed the system, including
ISDN internet connection and LAN without any trouble, using
the SuSE installation UI and YaST. She also did some admin
tasks (like adding Users, Groups and Printers) without
troubble via YaST). I guess, if She had continued with X
(But as gate I just need an alpha term), she eventualy
will end up with a usable desktop machine without ever
entering any Unix command (KDE will cover quite a lot).
Thats what I call comparable to other OSes.

(BTW: this system has no C compiler installed - you
may not belive it, but Linux cann runn well without :)

But for other processors (and other Unixes) you still have
the compile and install tast - even when it is someimes as
simple as running 2 or 3 make jobs, it's still not as _enduser_
friendly as with x86 Linux or Windows. And my rant was about
Unixes != x86 Linux, where this is still a dream, especialy
when you want any Software not from your primary vendor.

> Over 90% of the time, installing something on this linux machine (which
> is anything but standard) consists of unpacking the tar archive and
> typing make. That's it. No fiddling about, it just compiles and installs.
> Sometimes there's a configuration script to run, but that's no real problem

He said the word, there it is again .... COMPILE.

> The other 10% of the time? OK, I have to grab K&R and a unix manual and
> patch the source. But that's a lot easier than having to patch the
> binaries of a commercial product that doesn't come with source (and yes,
> I have had to do that _far_ too often). I have never had to recompile the
> kernel, or recomile other parts of my system to install application
> programs. Maybe I'm just lucky.

Of course, you and most of the people here are able to configure,
runn and maintain a Unix system (or most other HW of the world)
at Guru level - but we are more like an apendix and not the most
common users. We could still live fine with an CP/M system, so why
the world evolved beyond CP/M ?

> But I have had no end of problems with commercial programs that make
> silly assumptions about the machine (MS-DOS software often assumes that
> the floppy drive is A: and the hard disk is C: - and refuses to let you
> change this!). Or that misdetect the hardware I have (my enhanced CGA
> card has memory at A8000, and is often misdetected as a CGA card) or
> whatever. Sorting out that sort of problem is a lot worse than patching C
> source.

I know this (remember, I have a 4 FD XT system :), especialy
if you have a complete non compatible computer - like the
SIEMENS PC-D (best PC ever) who had a 80186 and _no_ realy
_no_ I/O device like the IBM, and of course no device at the
same address than the PC... It was a lot of fun to patch
applications :)

> I don't think I've bought a commercial program for a long time that
> installed with no problems. But linux stuff is no problem at all.

A lot of games install good on my W98 box (a pure game box),
althrough I sometimes whish to have more controll.


Ich denke, also bin ich, also gut
Received on Mon Jan 18 1999 - 12:02:57 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:07 BST