Re: Learning UNIX

Subject: Re: Learning UNIX
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 10:45:59 -0700

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com wrote:

> Linux is currently the most popular Unix variant, but *BSD is probably the
> best implementation of Unix. (This is, however, probably even more likely
> to start a fight than Mac v. Windows, so I will not insist upon it, nor
> will I suggest you say anything like the above in a room full of techies,
> without a preplanned escape route.)

Actually, "User-Friendly" cartoons aside, most of the experienced
Linux geeks I know dabble with in the various versions of BSD
fairly freely (and BeOs, and even some non-commercial operating
systems that most people haven't heard of, such as Sprite). Once
you've tried two operating systems, trying a third or a fourth
isn't much of a stretch.

The major objection to BSD isn't likely to be technical, but
philosophical. Many geeks prefer the GNU Public License that is
frequently used in Linux to the BSD license because of its
insistence that work derived from free software must also be free

> Linux, etc., is not ready for the average user's desktop.

Of course, this is a matter of opinion, so we probably won't
settle this issue. However, given that you can use a graphical
interface and a full-featured office suite, and even get many of
the most popular games on Linux, I'm curious about the basis for
this statement.

It's true that you frequently have to drop down to the command
line for administration and configuration. However, Linux shells
are much easier to use than DOS, and can include paste, history
and spell-checking features, depending on the one you use.

More importantly, how much administration or configuration does
the average Windows user ever do? I know of dozens of people from
receptionists to CEOs who use Linux for office work, and find it
no harder to use on a daily basis than Windows.

At any rate, anyone who is comfortable enough with computers to
write software manuals for a living should have no trouble
learning Linux.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"But why ask questions now, and yet there's no denying
There's emptiness in heart and soul
When someone's been deceived."
- Eileen McGann, "Westminster Bridge"

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