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Unix vs Windows

This is a very long email I composed extolling the virtues of Unix as compared to Windows.

From owner-access@straylight.connectnet.com  Sat Aug 31 23:50:49 1996
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Date: Sat, 31 Aug 1996 23:49:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Tracy R. Reed" 
To: Darin Reed , Jim Farquharson ,
        ths@straylight.connectnet.com,
        Charlie 
Subject: Re: Winblows Vs.Eunuchs. (fwd)
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This is a very long email I composed extolling the virtues of Unix as
compared to Windows. I spent most of a morning writing it to a clueless
user who didn't even bother to reply back to me. Since I spent so much
time on it and hate to see such a marvelous composition wasted  I
shall now inflict it on you in the hope that you may attain enlightenment
and recognize the One True(tm) Operating System. 

----------
Tracy Reed
http://rohan.sdsu.edu/home/treed
http://www.linux.org - Escape the Gates of Hell


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 10:59:07 -0700
From: "Tracy R. Reed" 
To: Michael & Michelle Martinez 
Subject: Re: Winblows Vs.Eunuchs.

Michael & Michelle Martinez thoughtlessly babbled:
> 
> Personally, as I have said before, I prefer dos.
> 
> But I see you guys going on and on and on and on about unix this and
> unix that and unix the other.
> 
> So my question is this:  Isn't "better" a matter of opinion?  I have

[This email is quite long, and I've spent most of the morning working on
it. I do this because you seem like a bright and intelligent person who
has not yet learned the beauty of Unix. That is a crying shame.] 

In many cases, what you said is quite true. But in this case, it is not.
Overall, unix is definitely better. The only field which windows excells
in is ease of use. So we'll just say that windows is by far easier to
use (although a properly set up unix machine *can* be as easy to use, if
someone else administrates it and you are just a user) right up front. 

> been usining IBM pc's for 10 years (it it noteworthy though, that most
> of my knowledge is in hardware.), and I am not connected to a network,
> so therefore, why would I find unix useful at all?  I like to play

How often does your windows machine crash? Can you count on it always
being there for you? If my unix machine (I'm using Solaris on this
machine at work, but I use Linux on my personal machine at home. Those
are just two brands of Unix.) were to crash and lock up right now, I'd
die of shock. My unix machine at home was running for a month straight
under heavy load and didn't even hickup. It would have gone for longer
if I didn't have to reboot it to install some RAM. The machine I am
using here at work has been up for over 3 months now!!! At my old job we
had win95 machines. They crashed every day. And couldn't even do as much
with the same hardware. They were painfully slow compared to my unix
machines which ran on lesser hardware.

> games, I run wordprocessing utilities, some business stuff, and a few
> other things, and all of it works just fine under winblows.  I will

Sure, it works just fine under winblows. But what sort of winblows
machine is it? Windows is quite inefficient. It is huge, takes up gobs
of ram, is slow, doesn't multitask worth crap (it only *barely*
multitasks at all), and has tons of backwards compatibility in it which
makes things extremely complicated and limits what you can do with it.
If your machine were running unix, I bet you could do the exact same
things you are doing now with a cpu that is only half as fast (maybe
less). And there are some excellent games (quake, doom, lots of other
stuff) as well as word processors, business software, anything you can
imagine. 

> admit that I don't have extensive knowledge of unix, but again, I
> haven't found the need to learn, and I dare say, neither have most of
> you.  I do know that unix is very large, as os's go, and don't go
> there, I don't use 95, and that most of it's power is lost to
> individual users because unix is a networking operating system.  I
> suppose that that comes in handy if you like to forge headers and
> whatnot, but I am giving you guys more credit than that, and I hope
> that most of you are over 13 years old and are above such nonsense.

You haven't found the need to learn (like most people) because you don't
know what it can do for you. UNIX is actually much smaller than Win95. I
can get Linux up and running, multitasking, etc using just two 1.44M
floppy disks. That's an ENTIRE OS on two disks!  But that does NOT
include the graphical interface. That`ll be another  10M at most. So I
can get a whole unix OS plus GUI in 12M easy. How big is win95 now?
However, most unix OS's come WITH a ton of applications!

When I installed Linux, it took up 300M on my HD. 12 of that is the OS,
GUI, etc. The rest is editors, compilers, networking software, huge
(powerful) programming languages, games, utilities, LOADS of stuff that
would cost you tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars if you went out
and bought all of this stuff and set up a similarly equipped Windows
machine. What does windows come with? Notepad, some com software (really
basic), a couple games, and that's about it. To do anything useful
you'll need to buy extra stuff. I got nearly EVERYTHING I need in my
Linux distribution. Anything else I can ftp off the net for free.

What do I do with the networking capabilities? I run my own email
mailing lists to hold discussions on my favorite topics, I share files
with my friends, I send and receive email on my own server, all sorts of
things that make life faster and easier. In fact, this email I am
sending you is being written in the netscape news reader. I am at work,
but I normally read news at home so that is where my preferences, what
newsgroups I read, etc are stored. I didn't want to have to copy all of
that over here and copy it back later, so what did I do? I telnetted
from here to my machine at home, told it to display any graphical
programs I may run on my screen here instead of the one at home, and ran
netscape on my machine at home. A second later the netscape screen
appeared on my screen here at work. So Netscape is running off of my cpu
and hard drive at home, but using my screen here at work because that is
where I am physically located. Let's see windows do that! You can't even
log into a windows machine remotely except for some really basic file
sharing.

> So tell me, why would I want to use unix?  If you aren't connected to
> a network, don't respond to this, as I will not believe that you know
> what you are talking about.

Every one of my unix machines is connected to a network. :) Some are on
T1's (work) and some on 28.8 (home).


> I believe that in the future, almost every computer will be hooked up
> to one form of network or another, but that time is not now, and even
> when that time comes, Unix will be replaced by a better os anyway.

Guess how long Unix has been around? Nearly 30 years. Why hasn't it been
replaced by something better? Because there is nothing better, and
probaly won't be for another 30 years. Guess how many *brands* of Unix
there are running at this very moment? You see, there is no ONE
operating system called "Unix". Unix is a whole class of operating
systems. There's Solaris, SunOS, IRIX, HP/UX, OSF/1, AIX, Linux, SCO,
FreeBSD, NetBSD, UnixWare, Unicos, etc. etc. There's probably a couple
dozen different flavors of Unix out there at the moment. There's a kind
of Unix to run on virtually any cpu out there. All of these OS's are
made by different companies. Some are given away completely free of
charge, like Linux. They all adhere to a loose standard so they are all
somewhat compatible and look pretty much the same.

What is the secret behind the success of Unix? Source code. Most
programs in the unix world are distributed as source code. And most of
that source code is freely available and can be looked at by anyone,
modified, improved, and recompiled on whatever machine you like. Say a
big cpu manufacturer (we'll call them SpIntel :) decides to make a new
microchip taking advantage of all of the latest technologies and it's
gonna be screaming fast.

The marketing guys say, "Wait!!! If you make it so different and modern,
Windows95 won't run on it anymore and nobody will buy it because there
is no OS for it and there's no software to support it! We'll have to
write it all ourselves and people will have to learn how to use it all
over again!" The engineers at SpIntel who design the cpu say, "Shit."
Then they say, "Wait! Let's run Unix on it! Then all we need to do is
write our own optimizing compiler for it (which you always have to do
anyway), recompile our existing version of Unix for this new cpu and
Voila! Instant OS! Then we recompile all of the word processors, etc for
the new CPU and sell them as applications to go along with the OS!" So
you get a state of the art cpu, and operating system that fully supports
it (thanks to the compiler), software to go along with it (again thanks
to the compiler), yet it all looks the same and everyone knows how to
use it. Want to make a change to improve the OS or the software? Just
change the source code and recompile it for whatever cpu's you want it
to run on. 

However, Microsoft decided to do the exact opposite. Not only did they
make some bogus design decisions in their OS to start with, but they
decided to make it all backwards compatible and capable of running the
same software for which NOBODY outside of Microsoft can get the source
code. The worst thing is that this has gone on for 15 years now. Your
PPro running Windows95 can still run the same software the old 8088 ran
way back in 1981. But they've tried to add many new and modern features
to the cpu and the OS while trying very hard not to lose backwards
compatibility. There's TONS of things they would love to do which would
greatly increase performance and reliability, but it would cost
compatibility, and they just can't have that because it's the only thing
they have going for them. Thus the entire OS is extremely complicated,
huge, slow, and may fall apart at any moment.

If all went well, you should now be enlightened. :) 

----------
Tracy Reed
http://rohan.sdsu.edu/home/treed
http://www.linux.org - Escape the Gates of Hell
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