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[P]
What is Linux : Propaganda Piece

By Anonymous 242 in News
Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:55:15 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

With the recent story on kuro5hin wondering about using K5 as a forum for peer review of articles, I'd thought I'd submit a fluff piece I've written to help explain just what Linux is to my 100+ co-workers at the Cincinatti Branch of the consulting firm I work for. I'd greatly appreciate constructive feed back from anyone that cares. I'm most interested in hearing (1) what I need to include that I left out, (2) corrections to statement of fact, (3) grammar, and (4) style.


What is Linux?

Linux is a free operating system designed to be source code compatible with the AT&T Unix operating system. The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, created Linux as a project to help him understand the intracacies of the Intel 80386 micro-processor while he was a student of electrical engineering at the Univeristy of Helsinki in Finland. Linus' original idea was to create an operating system kernel using the published specifications of AT&T's Unix system.

Linus took his project to the internet community and asked for help in implementing his brainchild. Eventually he released the entire project under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's General Public License (which is known as the GPL). Being released under the GPL made Linux free (that is, free as in free speech, not necessarily free as in free lunch). What the GPL states (in a nutshell) is that anyone who distributes Linux (either by giving it away or by selling it) must also include the source code along with any modifications that have been made by the distributor. The distributor is also not allowed to place any further restrictions on re-distribution of the product in question. For further information on free software and the GPL, visit the Free Software Foundation's discussion of the topic at: http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

The bottom line of Linus Torvalds choosing to distribute Linux under the GPL is that anyone who likes can build and distribute his or her own variant of Linux. This is precisely what is happening, today some seven years after Linus unveiled his first version of Linux. Corporations as diverse as SGI, the Santa Cruz Organization (SCO), Corel (makers of Corel Draw and WordPerfect Office) and the not-for-profit corporation Software in the Public Interest (SPI) have all either announced their intention to distribute their own flavor of Linux or have already done so. Other companies such as Red Hat, Mandrake and TurboLinux have been built on the practice of putting together and selling distributions of Linux.

Many hardware vendors (SGI, IBM, Gateway and Dell to name a few) now offer Linux as an alternative to or addition to non-free operating systems such as Windows, IRIX and AIX. Other hardware vendors such as VALinux and Penguin Computing have rocketed into the lime light offering hardware with Linux pre-installed.

One of the more astonishing aspects of Linux is that it has been ported to almost every conceivable hardware platform capable of bearing it. Linux can run on devices as small as Palm Computing's Palm platform to devices as industrial strengthed as IBM's System/390. In between those extremes, Linux can run on the Macintosh platform, the IBM compatible PC platform, the Compaq Alpha platform, SGI's MIPS based workstations, Intel's StrongARM chip, Sun Sparc and UltraSparc platforms and more.

Another astonishing aspect of Linux is that in a world of desktop operating systems dominated by Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh, Linux has had such large companies as IBM, Corel and Adobe start porting their desktop applications to Linux. This phenomenon extends also to the server side with vendors such as HP, Oracle, IBM and Informix porting their software to Linux.

For those who want to explore Linux, the first step is to choose a distribution. Linux, techinically speaking, is just the kernel of an operating system. Just as people expect more to be delivered with Microsoft Windows and Apple's MacOS than simply the OS kernel, people expect more to be delivered with Linux than simply the kernel. Most Linux distributions ship with not only the kernel, but clones of the entire Unix tool kit from ANSI C compilers right up to an implementation of the X Windowing System. Also included is a plethora of user land software including web browsers, mail clients, chat clients, text editors, games, system administration tools, and more.

Distributions are put together by an assortment of commercial entities and not-for-profit groups. Each of which tries to differentiate their distribution through some sort of added value. Some distributors, such as Debian, pride themselves on their strict quality control process that delivers a rock solid end product. Other distributors, such as Mandrake, attempt to the bleeding edge distribution that has the latest version of everything. Some distributors differentiate themselves by bundling off-shelf-commerical applications such as Partition Magic, Word Perfect, or Via Voice. Other distributors differentiate by making their distribtion easier to install, or easier to maintain. Still others, such as the Linux Router Project, differentiate by focusing on a particular niche application.

I've personally installed Mandrake, Redhat, Debian, Caldera, and Storm Linux. Caldera's OpenLinux was the absolute easiest to install operating system I've ever had the priviledge of installing. I've installed multiple versions of DOS, Windows (9x and NT), OS/2 and Linux. Caldera OpenLinux has the slickest set of installation routines I've ever seen. Other Linux distributions, such as Red Hat, Mandrake, Corel, and SuSE come pretty close to Caldera's ease of installation.

Installation, however is only the first step in using an operating system. I've long since switched to Debian and Debian's commercial derivative, Storm from OpenLinux for this reason. The Debian package management utility makes installing and updating one's system incredibly easy. If a particular piece of software has been packaged to Debian's specifications, downloading, installing and configuring is usually as simple as a one line command. Storm adds value to Debian by adding an installer that does a good deal of hardware autodection that Debian does not do.

When choosing distributions, one should also keep in mind, Linux's cousins, the BSD family. OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and NetBSD are three variants of the original AT&T Unix source code that are very similiar to Linux. While Linux was designed to be API compatible with Unix, the BSDs are actually Unix. All three of the BSDs are binary compatible with Linux, meaning that they can run software that has been compiled for Linux. As with Linux, each of the BSD's has a niche that differentiates itself from the others.

OpenBSD's niche is a secure platform. Every line of code in the kernel and most of the tool chain in OpenBSD has been audited to eliminate buffer overflows and other security holes. It has been over a year since OpenBSD has had a security flaw in its default installation.

FreeBSD has found its niche in performance. While, now ported to other architectures, FreeBSD got its start in being an Intel x86 optimized operating system.

NetBSD aims to be the most widely ported of the three.

One situation where Linux came in handy for me is that I bought an old laptop on Ebay for $200. This computer came so cheap because it came with no software (not even an operating system). This was not a problem for me, I simply downloaded the Debian base system onto floppies (7 of them), loaded Debian, configured the PCMCIA modem, downloaded X Windows, Netscape, Emacs, gcc and g++ (c and c++ compilers), perl, and perl-tk. Now I can code and keep my mind busy during what had grown to be a somewhat tedious daily bus ride to and from work.

Other people like Linux because of the large number of free productivity programs available. Packages such as spreadsheets (Gnumeric, Xcalc and Siag to name a few), graphics programs (The Gimp, Killustrator and Gyve to name a few), word processors (Abi Word, Pathetic Writer and Lyx to name a few) are abundant in the free software world. Most of these programs have not been ported to Windows.

Other people find Linux useful because of the tremendous number of development tools that are available as free software. The standard Linux distribution comes with Python, Perl, C, C++, Objective C, Pascal, Tcl/Tk, and shell programming languages. There are also Smalltalk, Basic and Java tool kits available for Linux. The only programming language I have not been able to find a quality free implementation of on Linux is COBOL. Other tools, such as CORBA orbs, RAD environments, diagramming programs, etc. are also freely available for Linux.

Others find Linux useful as a server. For less than the cost of single Windows NT license, one finds available in Linux, relational databases (such as PostgreSQL, mSQL, and MySQL), file and print services (through NFS, SMB, and/or Appletalk), web and ftp servers, and more. Linux, being free, does not have a per-user license fee, which makes it an extremely cost effective solution.

Linux has long outgrown its roots as a project for learning about the Intel x86 family of processors. Linux has grown to be one of the most widely ported pieces of software available. Linux is comfortable in the enterprise as a server and as a workstation and in the home as educational tool or as an internet appliance.

Related Links

Some of the more popular distributions of Linux

Storm Linux http://www.stormlinux.com
Intel x86 only

Mandrake http://www.linux-mandrake.com
Intel x86 only

Corel http://linux.corel.com
Intel x86 only

SuSE http://www.suse.com
Intel x86 only

Redhat http://www.redhat.com
Intel x86, Compaq Alpha

Caldera http://www.calderasystems.com
Intel x86 only

Debian http://www.debian.org
Intel x86, Compaq Alpha, Motorala PowerPC, ARM StrongARM

Slackware http://www.slackware.org
Intel x86 only

LinuxPPC http://www.linuxppc.com
Motorola PowerPC only

The BSD family

FreeBSD http://www.freebsd.org

OpenBSD http://www.openbsd.org

NetBSD http://www.netbsd.org

Other useful Linux related links

Linux Planet http://www.linuxplanet.com
news

Linux.org http://www.linux.org
News, Hardware Compatibility, Newbie Help

Linux Weekly News http://www.lwn.net
news

Fresh Meat http://www.freshmeat.net Catalogue of software for Linux

Source Forge http://www.sourceforge.net
host site for free software projects

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Freshmeat
o http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
o Ebay
o http://www .stormlinux.com
o http://www .linux-mandrake.com
o http://lin ux.corel.com
o http://www .suse.com
o http://www .redhat.com
o http://www .calderasystems.com
o http://www .debian.org
o http://www .slackware.org
o http://www .linuxppc.com
o http://www .freebsd.org
o http://www .openbsd.org
o http://www .netbsd.org
o http://www .linuxplanet.com
o http://www .linux.org
o http://www .lwn.net
o http://www .freshmeat.net
o http://www .sourceforge.net
o Also by Anonymous 242


Display: Sort:
What is Linux : Propaganda Piece | 62 comments (62 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Just skimmed it -- looks decent to ... (none / 0) (#25)
by AArthur on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:39:47 PM EST

AArthur voted 1 on this story.

Just skimmed it -- looks decent to me.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264

For the record, I fixed some glarin... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:52:27 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

For the record, I fixed some glaring spelling errors and typos. The references to "Linux Torvalds" in particular. You spelled it right in other places, so I know it was just a typo. :-)

____
Not the real rusty

You're conflating the operating sys... (none / 0) (#15)
by Decklin Foster on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:52:29 PM EST

Decklin Foster voted -1 on this story.

You're conflating the operating system and the kernel. sysv != POSIX. Also, it's rather long-winded and not organized into logical sections.

Maybe mention more of the possibili... (none / 0) (#35)
by MrEd on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:55:49 PM EST

MrEd voted 1 on this story.

Maybe mention more of the possibility of generating custom solutions based on Linux for in-house use on the cheap. And emphasize how many new things are being worked on... a bit of vapor doesn't hurt when it comes to converting newbies. Or so I say.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


Yow! Topic +1, Depth +1 (OK, I'll ... (none / 0) (#18)
by Arkady on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:04:02 PM EST

Arkady voted 1 on this story.

Yow! Topic +1, Depth +1 (OK, I'll stop, I can't vote higher than 1 anyway). Not that I agree with the characterizations of all the OSs, but that's not the point. This is well done.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


This is not quite a story, but a "c... (none / 0) (#32)
by cfe on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:25:18 PM EST

cfe voted 1 on this story.

This is not quite a story, but a "community" essay. A good approach, but this should have a section of its own.

Errors anyone? ... (none / 0) (#26)
by pin0cchio on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:40:37 PM EST

pin0cchio voted 1 on this story.

Errors anyone?

Nice piece. Can anyone find any inaccuracies?
lj65

That should be http://www.slackware... (none / 0) (#27)
by homeless on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:41:06 PM EST

homeless voted 1 on this story.

That should be http://www.slackware.com/ ...
----------------------------------
'SYN! .. SYN|ACK! .. ACK!' - the mating call of the internet --Bert Hubert

fabulous, just fabulous, I haven't ... (none / 0) (#24)
by feline on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:44:34 PM EST

feline voted 1 on this story.

fabulous, just fabulous, I haven't seen an explanation this good in quite a while.

First paragraph under 'What is Linux?': '... intracacies of the Intel 80386 micro-processor while he was a student...' could probably be better said saying '...of the Intel x86 line of micro-processors while...'

oh, and while I remember, you might want to link to the gpl.

'...Linux can run on the Macintosh platform...' it should be '...can run on the power pc platform...'

'...the IBM compatible PC platform...' could probably be better as '...Intel's x86 platform...'

I really, really liked the part explaining how Linux is the kernel, not the libraries, and apps, and such. Most people just say 'Linux is not an operating system, not a kernel' and refuse to elaborate.

I think it'd be wise to loose the part about the BSDs, it's an interesting side note, but certainly not deserving of four paragraphs.

I just seearcded <a href=http://freshmeat.net>freshmeat and <a href="http://freshmeat.net/search.php3?query=cobol>found about three cobol 74 compilers.
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

Re: fabulous, just fabulous, I haven't ... (none / 0) (#39)
by RichN on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:41:39 AM EST

I think it'd be wise to loose the part about the BSDs, it's an interesting side note, but certainly not deserving of four paragraphs.

And some of us BSD users think a single paragraph devoted to Linux is too much!

:-)


-- Rich
[ Parent ]
Re: fabulous, just fabulous, I haven't ... (none / 0) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:43:55 AM EST

I think it'd be wise to loose the part about the BSDs, it's an interesting side note, but certainly not deserving of four paragraphs.

Because clearly people don't want to hear about alternatives...especially ones with better performance/portability/security. :p

[ Parent ]

Cincinnati is spelled "Cincinnati" ... (none / 0) (#31)
by GreenLight on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:51:03 PM EST

GreenLight voted -1 on this story.

Cincinnati is spelled "Cincinnati"

Hmm... well if it's simply peer re... (none / 0) (#21)
by marm on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:03:00 PM EST

marm voted -1 on this story.

Hmm... well if it's simply peer review of course we're not going to post it to the main page :) Otherwise... this is a nice piece, but just scanning over it quickly reveals a mistake or two - "OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and NetBSD are three variants of the original AT&T Unix source code"? I think not... Also there's nothing whatsoever about the GNU tools or their origins, and given that they are far more important (and visible) to the typical user than the Linux kernel itself, this is unforgivable. You might also want to write a paragraph or two about Linux GUIs, given that most new users are making the transition from a fully-GUIized environment.

Don't post it, but put it in that "... (none / 0) (#22)
by _cbj on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:14:54 PM EST

_cbj voted 0 on this story.

Don't post it, but put it in that "review my work" pile we all thought was a good idea and that doesn't yet exist.

Here are a few errors I noticed. N... (none / 0) (#34)
by polarsteam on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:20:36 PM EST

polarsteam voted 1 on this story.

Here are a few errors I noticed. Note that some of these are personal opinions, not necessarily grammatical mistakes; I've tried to note these. Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to have found them all, and I certainly could have made a mistake in my list of corrections. Also, I think the paragraph numbers are correct, but I could have counted incorrectly =) Paragraph 1 - intracacies should be spelled intricacies Paragraph 5 - "industrial strengthed" doesn't sound right to me... maybe "industrially strong"? Paragraph 5 - change "Sun Sparc and UltraSparc" to "Sun's Sparc and UltraSparc" Paragraph 7 - you use a comma before the "and more" but don't in Paragraph 5. Consistency =) Paragraph 8 - sentence 2 is a fragment. One fix is to change the period after sentence 1 to a comma. Paragraph 10 - add a comma after "OpenLinux" ("Storm for OpenLinux" should be entirely set off by commas as it could be removed from the sentence and the sentence would still make sense) Paragraph 11 - remove the comma after "keep in mind" Paragraph 12 - (personal preference) I'd change "secure platform" to "security" Paragraph 15 - Change the comma after "This was not a problem for me" to a semicolon or a period. Paragraph 16 - (personal preference) Try not to use "to name a few" so many times. Paragraph 17 - I thought "tool kits" was actually one word, but I'm not positive. Paragraph 17 - "CORBA orbs" should be "CORBA ORBs" Paragraph 18 - The second sentence doesn't sound right. Perhaps "... NT license, one finds the following available in Linux: relational ..."

whoops... (none / 0) (#45)
by polarsteam on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 11:27:04 AM EST

Sorry about the lack of line breaks, my mistake.

[ Parent ]
Oh, that's awesome. ... (none / 0) (#10)
by pwhysall on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:22:49 PM EST

pwhysall voted 1 on this story.

Oh, that's awesome.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

Well written piece for the most par... (none / 0) (#16)
by Rand Race on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:47:25 PM EST

Rand Race voted -1 on this story.

Well written piece for the most part. The only factual flaw I noted was the part about the BSDs. As far as I know Free, Open, and Net -BSD are variants of the original Berkeley distribution which was a clone of AT&T System V Unix built from the ground up (no actual source code shared) rather than a variant.

I voted -1 because I think it is a bit to basic for K5's audience. A very good introduction to Linux though.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Re: Well written piece for the most par... (none / 0) (#50)
by BlaisePascal on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:12:59 PM EST

BSD was originally based on UNIX Version 7, from Bell Labs. BSD Unix was not completely free of AT&T code until BSD 4.4Lite (I believe), which was right before Berkeley stopped supporting BSD development. As far as I recall, there wasn't a push to completely eliminate AT&T code from BSD until after 4.3 was released.

It may be fair to say that BSD is a clone, but it is completely inaccurate to say that the original BSD distribution had no code shared with AT&T.


[ Parent ]
Re: Well written piece for the most par... (none / 0) (#51)
by feline on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:37:24 PM EST

voted -1 because I think it is a bit to basic for K5's audience. A very good ntroduction to Linux though.

He said that he wanted our feedback on how he might explain this to co-workers who are unexperienced with Unix, not for Gods, like ourselves =)
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'
[ Parent ]

Good article to pass around to thos... (none / 0) (#9)
by ejbst25 on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 07:49:24 PM EST

ejbst25 voted 1 on this story.

Good article to pass around to those who don't know. But we all know this stuff. I just think this is relative to point other people to who are looking to define Linux. I know as an RHCE who works at a large company (IBM)...I am having to explain "Why Linux?" all too often. I wrote a piece like this...and I know everyone can benefit from having looked at this...beacseu sometimes we don't look objectively ebnough to explain to others.

There are a bunch of little things ... (none / 0) (#12)
by tpck on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:08:17 PM EST

tpck voted 1 on this story.

There are a bunch of little things here which are wrong or misleading, but they are mostly insignificant.

Other companies such as Red Hat, Mandrake and TurboLinux have been built on the practice of putting together and selling distributions of Linux.

Maybe you should mention some distributions that are built by non-profits as well?

It has been over a year since OpenBSD has had a security flaw in its default installation.

From the OpenBSD website:
Three years without a remote hole in the default install!
Two years without a localhost hole in the default install!

You don't mention anything about technical support or market share. Maybe that would help a bit.

Maybe throw in a few bits about the development community.

Very nice overall though.

In your slackware reference, you co... (none / 0) (#11)
by Neuromancer on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:10:47 PM EST

Neuromancer voted 1 on this story.

In your slackware reference, you could also mention slackware.com. For those who aren't really terribly interested in the project, there is more eye candy on that site.

Educating folks about Linux is alwa... (none / 0) (#6)
by skim123 on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:08:03 PM EST

skim123 voted -1 on this story.

Educating folks about Linux is always great, but does it belong on K5? I'd assume most on K5 are already Linux-aware. This should go on some site that debates various OSes, or as an instruction guide for those who want to (you'll all like how I state this) experiment with alternative operating systems. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Not voting since we don't have a se... (none / 0) (#5)
by Demona on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:18:38 PM EST

Demona voted 0 on this story.

Not voting since we don't have a separate "editing area" yet. Decent summary, although it would have helped to provide an idea of the target audience and your thinking behind how you addressed that audience.

Do not post this. Not here.... (none / 0) (#8)
by alisdair on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:22:07 PM EST

alisdair voted -1 on this story.

Do not post this. Not here.

I'm voting to dump it due mostly to... (none / 0) (#29)
by sugarman on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:31:50 PM EST

sugarman voted -1 on this story.

I'm voting to dump it due mostly to the fact that I;m not sure that this piece would generate much in the way of discussion. The post is well written and informative, and has a decent quality. Unfortunately, I won't can't do your proofing for you, because I still do that the old fashioned way - with a printout and a big red pen, and I'm rather unwilling to kill more trees that absolutely necessary for my own use. But, as k5 is a tech site, with a linux bent, though it does seem to lack some of the zealotry seen at other *cough* sites, you'd be preaching to the converted here. The proofing and the review you are asking for is neat. It would be nice if sites could do that. Heck, if k5 had a different page / channel / section / whatever for columns in the making, and you could vote to send it there, for review, instead of commentary, I would be *SO* there. But as for generating main page discussion, it doesn't really fit. Not because it's bad; it's not. But the choir already knows this psalm, and is looking for some other stuff to sing about.
--sugarman--

Can we use what you end up with if ... (none / 0) (#20)
by Fyndalf on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:41:51 PM EST

Fyndalf voted 1 on this story.

Can we use what you end up with if we need such an article for an internal newsletter, or perhaps even a community paper or similar? Perhaps not this article in particular, but something similar, perhaps a bit less involved? It would be good if someone set up a site with all kinds of Linux advocacy articles ranging in levels of complexity that could then be submitted to all sorts of little publications and other places in order to increase general awareness. Would that happen to exist already? If someone were to want to make such an archive, where would one obtain bandwith? Is there a more general version of Sourceforge or something?

SCO = Santa Cruz Operation ... (none / 0) (#28)
by iCEBaLM on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:42:01 PM EST

iCEBaLM voted -1 on this story.

SCO = Santa Cruz Operation

Caldera's OpenLinux was the absolute easiest operating system I've ever had the priviledge of installing.

The BSD's are not actually UNIX, they are a variant of unix as linux is.

The BSD's are not 100% binary compatible with Linux



Re: SCO = Santa Cruz Operation... (none / 0) (#44)
by inspire on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 10:16:04 AM EST

Just closing the bold tag that seems to have caused a bit of mess with comments further down.

Ah, much better.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: SCO = Santa Cruz Operation... (none / 0) (#46)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:15:14 PM EST

s/priviledge/privilege/g

[ Parent ]
Re: SCO = Santa Cruz Operation... (none / 0) (#59)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:51:36 PM EST

BSD is not unix? Uhh.. Uhh... wait.. correct me if I'm wrong.... But I thought at&t sys5 and BSD were both unix... and both legally could be called unix. BSD was known as 'berkeley unix' for SOO long.

[ Parent ]
Preaching to the converted. ... (none / 0) (#14)
by jetpack on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 10:48:49 PM EST

jetpack voted 0 on this story.

Preaching to the converted.
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */

In the fourth paragraph, I would re... (none / 0) (#23)
by l4m3 on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 11:16:32 PM EST

l4m3 voted 1 on this story.

In the fourth paragraph, I would reorder either the hardware vendors or the operating systems listed such that they are in the same order, such as: Many hardware vendors (Gateway, Dell, IBM and SGI to name a few) now offer Linux as an alternative to or addition to non-free operating systems such as Windows, AIX and IRIX. Other hardware vendors such as VALinux and Penguin Computing have rocketed into the lime light offering hardware with Linux pre-installed. I am not sure if you have already or not, but in the fifth paragraph try ordering the hardware "In between those extremes" in the order of relavance to your firm. The last sentance of the ninth paragraph seems a little off, how about "Ease of install is something every major Linux distrubition is currently working toward, most have the option of a graphical install." In the last line of the 12th paragraph you claim OpenBSD has had over a year since it's default install had a security hole in it, it has been 3 years since there has been a remote hole, and 2 since there was a local hole. You may want to try and point this out more, or you may want to leave it as is so as to keep the focus on Linux. Paragraph's 16-18 all start with very similar wording you may want to try to change the wording slightly. You may also want to point out the windows counterparts for some of the applications you list in paragraph 16.

I think having an open forum for pe... (none / 0) (#13)
by Eimi on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 11:53:59 PM EST

Eimi voted -1 on this story.

I think having an open forum for peer review is an interesting idea, but I really don't think this is the place for it. At least not on the frontpage. Nothing against this piece per se, tho.

I don't like any OS evangelism piec... (none / 0) (#2)
by ebunga on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 11:56:23 PM EST

ebunga voted -1 on this story.

I don't like any OS evangelism pieces, as they just lead to OS religous wars. Also, this is just a repeat of about 49,301 other things that say the exact thing you say. Perhaps it would be better to find something similar by a person that is well respected, but not in the Linux community, but in the computer industry as a whole, better yet, a person that is well known, even by those that aren't deep into computers. Which would have more impact? You saying the above, or some famous person?

Yay, Linux! But do we (K5 readers)... (none / 0) (#19)
by SwellJoe on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:00:16 AM EST

SwellJoe voted -1 on this story.

Yay, Linux! But do we (K5 readers) really need to hear this? I don't.

no. go talk to your english teache... (none / 0) (#3)
by ramses0 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:26:27 AM EST

ramses0 voted -1 on this story.

no. go talk to your english teacher.
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

This is good, and I'd like to see i... (none / 0) (#4)
by Nyarlathotep on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:26:57 AM EST

Nyarlathotep voted -1 on this story.

This is good, and I'd like to see it posted, but I just can't vote for more Linux propoganda. It will ruin the neighborhood.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

As far as I know, BSD* Unixes have ... (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by Dacta on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 01:38:00 AM EST

Dacta voted 1 on this story.

As far as I know, BSD* Unixes have no AT&T code left in them - it is all Berkley unix.

Infact, there is no "AT&T Unix", and there hasn't been for years now. There are Unicies derived from it, though.

Instead of talking about AT&T Unix compatibility, you should talk about Posix.

Also, you could add a few companies using unix, now, especially for webservers.

Well written, but I'm not that inte... (none / 0) (#17)
by Dries on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:05:16 AM EST

Dries voted 0 on this story.

Well written, but I'm not that interested in reading yet another Linux intro. ;)
-- Dries

Whoa!! This is a really well writt... (none / 0) (#36)
by z00100 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 03:54:41 AM EST

z00100 voted 1 on this story.

Whoa!! This is a really well written if a little long winded post. But a good read none the less.
I can't think of a sig. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

Hmm. Was long. Not sure I read it... (none / 0) (#33)
by kellyrc on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:17:19 AM EST

kellyrc voted 1 on this story.

Hmm. Was long. Not sure I read it all. But I liked the parts I did read. Would be helpful for peoples looking for is-linux-right-for-me type of info. Ok need burrito.

Nice cover piece without getting to... (none / 0) (#30)
by martin on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 05:55:15 AM EST

martin voted 1 on this story.

Nice cover piece without getting too biased.

Needs some sub-headings (none / 0) (#37)
by dgph on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 06:25:59 AM EST

It's a bit daunting just to look at. It needs a few sub-headings -- they are good for the reader, good for the writer.

Roundtalbe. (none / 0) (#38)
by current on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:21:45 AM EST

From the mission statement:
"Kuro5hin.org is a community of people who like to think."

As mentioned many times before this is a linux friendly tech site. The linux propaganda belongs here. If you want help doing it ask from us, an it shall be given.

After all if i needed help online Openly from linux/tech people id contact K5.

This is the meaning of a forum. Open dicussion. If you dont like to see it moving to www, stay within usenet.

The article itself was exellent.

btw linus studied Computer Science at University of helsinki

--
The Eternal Meta-Discussion


Good article. Some comments (none / 0) (#41)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:49:54 AM EST

You may want to target specific users with their own sections. Example...

sysadmins - you can troubleshoot network problems easier using open comm protocols. You also join a community of other sysadmins doing the same thing as you, and so you get all of their experience and advice. You are not addicted to having to fork over half of you budget for licensing and service. No hanging on the phone for 2 hours while some phone jockey tries to look up your problem in a database of previously reported problems/solutions.

engineering - a stable system that will run amny commercial CAD packages. No more wondering if your autotrace will complete before your system hangs mysteriously. Software guys can compile projects AND update their documentation withoutthe worry of a lockup.

marketing - OK, you might want to use a Mac so you can use Photoshop. At least until you convince the print shop to use the GIMP!

accounting - you really don't care which OS is running so long as your software comes up on the screen.

saider

Thanks and questions on POSIX (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:50:22 AM EST

I just wanted to say thanks to all of the people that offered feeback. I plan on doing revisions over the weekend and will post the article to my geocities account. I will explicity put the next revision of the article in the public domain. The url will be: http://www.geocities.com/lee_malatesta/writ/whatislinux.html. Visiting that url before Sunday afternoon will be guaranteed to get you a file not found error.

One question: I know the difference between Sys V, BSD, and POSIX from reading Stevens' APUE, but I don't think I could explain it briefly and succinctly and do justice to the differentiation. Has any body read or seen any writings that clearly and concisely explains the difference that I could link to?

AFAIK, Linux pretty much used man pages for design documents. I don't think POSIX compatibility was any sort of issue until later on in the design cycle. Can anyone correct this understanding if it is not correct?

Thanks again for all your insight.

limelight (none / 0) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:33:33 PM EST

Looks good - One comment: It's not lime light but limelight. The former is a green light, the latter is.. well to quote Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: 1lime·light
Pronunciation: -"lIt
Function: noun
Date: 1826
1 a : a stage lighting instrument producing illumination by means of an oxyhydrogen flame directed on a cylinder of lime and usually equipped with a lens to concentrate the light in a beam b : the white light produced by such an instrument c British : SPOTLIGHT
2 : the center of public attention

You want meaning #2

Grammer Suggestions (none / 0) (#48)
by DontEatTheGlass on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:49:18 PM EST

I was pretty good at this stuff in high school and college.

Paragraph 2, Sentence 2:
Eventually he released the entire project under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's General Public License (GPL).

Paragraph 2, Sentence 3:
What the GPL states, in a nutshell, is that anyone who distributes Linux either by giving it away or by selling it must also include the source code along with any modifications that have been made by the distributor.

Paragraph 3, Sentence 2:
Today, this is precisely what is happening some seven years after Linus unveiled his first version of Linux.

Paragraph 5, Sentence 2:
Linux can run on devices as small as Palm Computing's Palm platform to industrial strength machines like IBM's System/390.

Paragraph 7, Sentence 2:
[Delete the whole sentence. It is wordy and people should be able to get your point that you get more than just a kernal with the following two sentences.]

Paragraph 14, Sentence 3:
This was not a problem for me, I simply downloaded the Debian base system onto 7 floppies, ...

This is all nitpicking of course. Overall I think it is a very good piece to introduce people to Linux.
DontEatTheGlass
/**************
If you understand, things are just as they are.
If you do not understand, things are just as they are.
**************/
Side effect (none / 0) (#49)
by rusty on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 02:49:10 PM EST

Interestingly, your links managed to break my "Related Links" algorithm in two different and fairly subtle ways! Thanks for the debugging assistance. ;-)

Hey Inoshiro-- I think you've got some competition for the 'cat /dev/urandom >> rusty_program' award!

____
Not the real rusty

not a whole lot new here (none / 0) (#52)
by mercenary on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:48:39 PM EST

It's solid, but I don't see anything wildly new here that hasn't already been beaten to death in the mass media. I'm more interested in unique ways that Linux and BSD increases company productivity and keeps TCO down.

... (none / 0) (#53)
by Chris Andreasen on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:07:38 AM EST

I'm surprised no one else caught this...
This is precisely what is happening, today some seven years after Linus unveiled his first version of Linux.
The first public release of Linux, v0.02, was released in 1991. v1.0 was released in 1994. Maybe I'm just a complete loon with no sense of time, but hasn't it been more than seven years since the first release (unless you mean v1.0, in which case it's been six years)?
Otherwise, it was a fine article.
--------
Is public worship then, a sin,
That for devotions paid to Bacchus
The lictors dare to run us in,
and resolutely thump and whack us?

Re: ... (none / 0) (#55)
by issue9mm on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:26:14 AM EST

Also (since we're nitpicking), hasn't it been over 3 years without a remote hole in OpenBSD's default install?

Possibly the author meant, literally, without flaw == 1 year, which might be possible, as I'm not a BSD nut. Anyway, nice article. I actually read it all the way through, which, given my limited attention span, says quite a bit...

-i9mm-

[ Parent ]

I would emphasize differently. (none / 0) (#54)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:07:41 AM EST

As a self-centered capitalist bastard, I would start the article by answering "for what jobs is Linux the right tool?", "who should use Linux?" and "what can Linux do for you?". I would put the history and heroics at the end -- after the reader knows why such things are interesting.

I've read that the correct way to write a news article is to put all of the hard facts at the beginning and the happy stuff at the end. The reasons for this seem to be twofold. First is that the reader can read the first couple of paragraphs and catch the main ideas. Second, the editor can blindly cut sentrances or paragraphs from the end of the article without destroying the story.

Best of luck!

some comments (none / 0) (#56)
by mourujar on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:08:24 AM EST

"student of electrical engineering at the Univeristy of Helsinki in Finland."

Ok, this is nitpicking but being also undergrad at Dep. of CS at University of Helsinki, I have to tell you Linus Torvalds studied Computer Science, not EE (which is actually taught at Helsinki University of Technology and which is wholly different place). I think he never graduated and probably never will ;)

GNU (none / 0) (#57)
by bjb74 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:54:58 AM EST

I don't want to start a holy war, here. If I did, I would probably say that you should call it "GNU/Linux", rather than "Linux". No, I'm not that fanatical. But please give a little credit to Richard Stallman. If he hadn't started the GNU project and the FSF, then Linus would never have been able to rewrite the Minix kernel to make Linux. The GNU tools are still among the most important components of Linux. Just give a little credit where it is due. I can't praise Linus enough, but he didn't exactly emerge from the wilderness with a new OS on stone tablets. He stood on the shoulders of some pretty amazing programmers.

Re: GNU (none / 0) (#58)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 12:47:08 PM EST

Uh.. rewrite minix kernel? is this really what happened? I was under the impression he was inspired by minix, but basically started from scratch.

[ Parent ]
Re: GNU (none / 0) (#60)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 05:25:24 PM EST

Every time I see a GNU/Linux plea, asking us to recognize the efforts of those who came before, I think the same thing. Why don't we call telephones Bell/telephones, or mass-produced automobiles Ford/cards, and so on? It's not that the stories of those guys has passed from our culture, but rather that it's just not convenient. I grew up knowing the word 'telephone' long before Alexander Graham Bell entered my view of the world, but I still credit him with the invention.

If I mention Linux in mixed company (a mix of the enlightened and the non-), somebody inevitably asks what Linux is. My explanation includes a brief summary of GNU and how it fits in. Maybe *that's* the tack to take, instead of hammering people for using the popular 'Linux' over the relatively-unknown 'GNU/Linux'.

(Sorry for the Anonymous bit... I'm just an occasional reader of Kuro5hin, and haven't bothered to create an account yet.)

--- Chris

[ Parent ]

SuSE ports... (none / 0) (#61)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jun 17, 2000 at 12:50:56 PM EST

SuSE is *not* x86 only. They have a PPC port. There may be one other as well (Alpha?) IIRC.

Niche? FreeBSD and BSD is NOT niche (none / 0) (#62)
by mr on Sun Jun 18, 2000 at 07:59:46 PM EST

Why don't you refer to many of the Linux Distros as Niche? FreeBSD has moved many more copies than most any one of the Linux Distros.

You also don't point out how NetBSD is on over 28 platforms. You short-shriff them with ONE paragraph.

You don't point out how RedHat is considered 'linux' and therefore some programs work with RedHat ONLY.

Considering that FreeBSD is core to Mac OS X, when Apple starts shipping Mac OS X, BSD will be outstripping Linux.

Hardly niche.

In short, a nice pro-linux article, typical of the pro-linux crowd. But, you wern't taling about OpenSource OSes....just Linux.



What is Linux : Propaganda Piece | 62 comments (62 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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