Re: Linux at work (real world)

Subject: Re: Linux at work (real world)
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 13:29:01 -0800

Hart, Geoff wrote:

I can't speak about Linux from personal experience, but I can say that
everything I've read suggests there's a tough learning curve with Linux for
those who don't already have Unix experience, and that you should carefully
investigate the support community before committing to one version of Unix
over another. Hacker friends who have played with Linux (both Red Hat and
Suse) have loved it, but on the down side, they spend hours tweaking it
trying to get it to work the way they want.

No, not really. Hackers spend hours tweaking Linux because they enjoy tweaking, not, in many cases, because they actually need to. I mean, do you really need to download and install the latest version of the kernel every five weeks or so? By the same token, you'd steer people away from Windows, because you need to be an expert to customize it exactly to your liking.

Today, Linux can generally be installed in half an hour. It can be used from a desktop that anyone used to Windows or the MacOS can figure out almost immediately, and it can be used for most routine office tasks by even inexperienced users.

There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of "a tough learning curve" unless you want to learn how to configure the operating system or write scripts. If you don't do these things in Windows or on the Mac, then you probably won't do them under Linux, either. But, if you do, you'll find them much easier to do. The BASH shell, for example, is extremely powerful, and, if your experience of a command line comes from DOS, you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to use.

I mean, if I can master this stuff, anyone can.

In addition to Linux, you should carefully look at other alternative forms
of Unix before committing; many of these have been around for more than a
decade, and are thus more stable and secure than Linux.
The various types of BSD are all good choices. However, their claims for being superior to Linux are dubious, and only emphasize that you're entering cultish territory. To be truthful, I haven't seen much difference between Linux, OpenBSD and FreeBSD in terms of stability, security, or tool availability. I doubt the average user would even notice.

About the only difference that matters is that you can probably find support for Linux more easily than for any of the BSD flavours. But, if support is the main concern, why would anyone consider any of them rather than Windows?

And to borrow an advertising slogan, "why not do both?" With a little
planning, you can run both Linux and Windows on the same computer--though
probably not at the same time.
You can use an emulator to run Windows programs right from the Linux desktop (or, in the case of VMware, run Linux programs from the Windows desktop). Some of these emulators are actually faster and run on less memory than a regular Windows installation. For example, using Win4Lin, I can use 30 megabytes of RAM for doing things that I would need 90 megabytes in a regular Windows installation.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"But here's the latest phrase you hear as you walk down the street,
Oh, you can't be up-to-date if you don't call out when you meet,
'Are you working?' 'No, are you?'"
-British Music Hall Song, 1922


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Linux at work (real world): From: Hart, Geoff

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