#Author: Peter Slupski #Title: Getting your head around UNIXES, especially - LINUX #Thesis: Linux Rox!

From leet to noob - what Linuxes are not. #Date of creation: 25.09.2008 #License: #You may copy and share this information IN THE FORM IT IS SUPPLIED, #WITH __NO CHANGES__ EITHER IN THE TOPIC OR IDEAS OR CONTENT OF THE ARTICLE #AS LONG AS THE INFORMATION ABOUT ME IS SUPPLIED IN THE INFO. #___ DO NOT DELETE THE LINES THAT START WITH AN # ____ #Description: This article is written by a programmer with three years of experience, #electronic engineering student, and an open-minded person, #that uses linux on his normal pc and laptop for about a year and a half. #It's also written as a statement coming from once a simple Windows user #and now a satisfied linux user. Welcome! You've propably stumbled upon this article while browsing scribd.com. The article is about operating systems, philosophy and ideas that govern todays world. It's also about fact - and by facts I mean tested and trustworthy information that you can figure out either by yourself or thanks to your own information search/browse engines (or get to know the facts from a friend of course ;)). Fact #1 : We live in a UNIX based reality. The UNIX system was born in 1969 in Bell Labs (now part of Alcatel-Lucent). It was written in the C programming language, a language designed for system programming. The system branched into a whole family of *nix based systems, the more important being the *BSD family and the GNU/Linux family (originating from MINIX - Linus Torvalds did that ;)). Since a lot of fully UNIX-compliant systems are either corporate OS'es (HP's - HPX, IBM's AIX and Sun's Solaris - I mean those that can actually be called a UNIX in the light shed by the UNIX license) or of closed license, if you're curious about how an operating system works and want to get a grip of the *X architecture, I suggest you get a Linux. Ubuntu is the best distro for starters. It makes the transition from a Windows OS to a *X OS almost painless (as long as you use your computer for tasks other than gaming !). I personally use Archlinux and Gentoo. The facts to support the topic sentence are as follows : ALL THE INTERNET is run on systems that are *NIX-based. Whether it will be FreeBSD, OpenBSD, ArchLinux, Gentoo or Slackware, they are all POSIX compliant and, hmmm... they just work. Whenever you need a reliable webserver, mailserver, firewall or router, there is only one sane choice - and it is a *NIX. The problem is that huge companies have the monetary ability of advertising their products for small business customers and home users. Technological companies (O2 in Poland, Google, Yahoo, IBM) all use *NIX based systems when it comes to serious tasks. What does it mean for a user that wants their system to 'just work' - and by that I mean, play DVD's, games, record music, write documents or just use an IM ? Fact #2: "Normal" people don't need a *NIX ! (oh rly? >:->) Well, if you've never seen a *NIX at work, its ok. It means that either you do not need a system that challenges different than everyday problems or you're not interested in the whole technological rant that flows around the media. There may come a time when you're not satisifed with your current operating system (of course I presume you've got an MS OS, this article wouldn't see daylight if that

assumption wasn't true ;p), what then? People nowadays are used to clicking themselves to death - its what huge companies call 'intuitive interface' or 'do things - faster'. Have you ever thought, that writing one line of a command (ONE LINE!) can install a driver, or setup a wireless connection, or install OpenOffice? Or an email client, or an IM, or an audio editor? You see, when it comes to getting to know the *NIXes, you just have to stay humble. And patient. It's a process. A normal Operating System would never, ever manage to record a cd or allow you to view a HD movie. It would never allow you to 'just' play a game. Along with what is called an OS kernel, which handles information exchange between the hardware and you, you recieve tons of compiled code to handle 'normal' stuff while installing your MS Windows. The code is compiled, so to make a long story short, you'll never be able to change the way your system works. You're using something that 'just works', only as long as there is a company to take care of your OS and sooth you with security updates and other redundant stuff. Because, if we belived in ads, why would security updates be needed in the first place ?! And why is it even called an update - it's just a hole in the code of the OS that emerged along the process of writing the operating system and its parts (and yes, MSW is also written in C), that's being stitched and plastered just to get the system to work. So, where does a linux kick the door down and enter the house? It turns out that all applications that are 'open source' are things that YOU have DIRECTLY AND EXPLICITLY under control. For example, if you would want to, you might take a shot at reading the code of a specific library, or the linux kernel, or an open-source game or a window manager. What people do not understand is the underlying philosophy of open-source. It allows the user to have their very own programs, built exactly as the user wishes and doing exactly what the user wishes. Huge projects gone opensource, Java for instance, SQLite, wxWidgets. Compilers are builtin into a linux by default. What do corporate wankers and shallowthinkers presume about open-source is that its free and sucks. But what kind of an opinion can you expound when you just use your Word and visit spankwire - and pay no attention to what's happening in the open-source world. Of course, this is just the majority. The people that know what they are talking about usually agree Windows is good because its popular. And as an OS for people who don't care about whats actually happening inside your PC/laptop, it will suit you perfectly. Though tons of programs had been written for windows, I shed a tear everytime someone tries to link libraries in MSW using Visual Studio. Its like climbing the Everest with flipflops on. Seems impossible, but you never know if someone wouldn't do that. Many people do... really ;). Even while installing Archlinux (one of the most lightweight and fast distributions of Linux) you get the binutils package that makes compiling a dream. Easy and quick. Fact #3: Drivers, software and hardware It is a common argument against linux - "It doesn't have drivers! No highend applications! No compatible hardware!". Those claims are made by people who usually draw something in their stolen Photoshop, in a stolen MSW, or are frustrated at life. Seriosuly. Before I stopped using Windows for good, I had a lot of problems with basic stuff - like installing your soundcard and alike. The problem about linux is that there is an abundance of distributions that differ, sometimes significantly. And there is not a single good book that explains EVERYTHING. Once you install a linux, you're on your own - its either books, or wiki's or internet boards. Kinda messy - but if you experience problems, trust me, people encountered them before you - it's a question of consistent searching for your answers. Sometimes wiki+google is your best friend. As long as you don't know what to do after installing a core installation of Archlinux, so long should you consider yourself a noob. And to make it clear - being a noob is not always a bad

thing... for some. Lets approach software first. I've once read an article that stated that I'm a mad man. Because there is no photoshop in linux, no cad, and that Open Source users would like to see them in linuxes - the author stated that its irrational to expect something professional to be free thus people that work on linux are madmen and should use something that allows to increase productivity. BULLSHIT! What we'd like to see is indeed photoshop or cad - but who the heck says it should be free!? Why not create a simple license and just supply every buyer with an open source ?! If I don't need some specific features of, lets say, PS, should I be forced to have them on my system? Linux users use linux because they usually want to follow licenses. So if Adobe would generate a license correctly, why should they expect a series of hacked photoshops to suddenly emerge?! Firstly, not everyone could afford the cost of PS, secondly, you can always use gimp (which is, in my opinion, superior to PS - faster, lighter and more intuitive). Drivers - well... The problem is, that hardware manufacturers supply drivers for whats popular. If a specific OS has a 90% share of the OS market, why care about the other 10%? In this way linux users are left behind. But a lot of drivers are supported anyway, and the bigger companies usually supply linux drivers. Maybe because of good taste? There is one thing you simply cannot do in MS. And in Apple's OS for that matter. You can't write your drivers from piston up (from a home user point of view). As far as linux goes, it allows modules of code to be working with the kernel that allow you to communicate with whatever appliance you may create. Plus, you can embed linux onto almost every electronic device. A lot of hardware platforms are *NIX compatible. #4 (not a fact ... ;)) : Conclusion and best wishes The conclusion is brief. If you want a system that works, blinds you with fireworks, introduces UNIX solutions as 'innovation', allows you to play games, videos, music, use Photoshop - choose MSW or Apple's OS (which is also a UNIX). All media players, games and other entertainment suits the system well. And it will suit you well. A costly solution, and a very easy one. Satisfactory. If you want a system that works - whenever you make it work just as you want it to choose linux.

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