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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

The Pace of Linux
It keeps getting better

 6:06 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Its been a little over a year since I made the switch full time to Linux. It started out as a way to be able to admin a dedicated linux server and has turned into a big productivity booster.

A year ago with my first install of Redhat 7.2 there were many problems to work through to make the box productive. Font rendering was terrible (almost unreadable), printing and scanner issues and several apps that were not quite ready for prime time.

Currently with a fresh Redhat 8.0 install its amazing how far its come. The Font's, icon crispness and overall look is light years from where it was. Scanner and printing problems are not an issue at all.

From a apps standpoint almost every one is better then it was. Two apps that were unusabe (for me) a year ago have just become staples for me, gnucash and bluefish gtk2. I have also installed Mozilla 1.3a using the Redhat xft rpms and the fonts are excelent. The Gimp, Open Office and Sane are a few more that keep getting better.

At this pace it makes you wonder what a linux box will be like a year from now.



 7:05 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you need a vector graphics app, you should check out sodipodi.


You need 0.28 if you use gtk 1.2, and 0.29 if you use gtk2.

Great program, great fun.



 7:37 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's also been a year since I made the linux switch and im still impressed.

I normaly use linux for development purposes, but find tht I am gradualy using it a lot more for general web work such as surfing, and email.

The main reason I went for linux was as you mentioned for running a server and testing sites before uploading to their intended web server. It just went from there. KDE has made linux a lot more user friendly and once you learn the basics of the consols it is simply amazing how much more productive you will become. The main benefit i find is being able to customize scripts whilst they are in location as oposed to edit and upload. Simply being able to browse and edit on the server is a blessing.

I think as minux evolves yet further it is only a matter of time befoire we find it going mainstream as the default OS on some computers. I know lindows and kmart have touched on this market, but im sure the best is yet to come.


 8:00 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

running a server and testing sites before uploading

That should be reason enough for everybody here at WebmasterWorld who is using a host running GNU/Linux to have their own testing server running GNU/Linux as well.



 8:08 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Every release they jump lightyears ahead, for simplicity, I run mandrake on linux client PCs and it's SOOO easy to install, it is honestly easier to install than windows.


 12:34 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

For smaller low traffic sites there is also the option of udsing your linux box as your host via your broad band or adsl line. Just the amount of time you save by not haxing to ftp over the web and simply transfering across your lan. I think the next major step for linus will be when you can use all programs through the menu, as oposed to command line.


 5:54 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

> I think the next major step for linux will be when you can use all programs through the menu, as oposed to command line.

One thing I have noticed here and otherwhere is that when people have learned to use the command line well, they experience a marked increase in productivity. Exactly why I don't know, but maybe the steep learning curve to get there means they know their OS better and therefore use it more efficiently.

One thing that is much faster with a command line is file handling. Moving files around, changing names and permissions, making little changes are done so much faster than with a graphical file manager, at least with the ones I have tried.



 6:14 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yep command line does certainly speed up the simple tasks and I agree it does help you to get to know your OS. For example ask a windows user where windows is instaled and they probably wont know. On the other hand ask a linux user where mysql is installed and the chances are they will be able to tell you. Using linux gives you a far greater knowledge of computing in general.


 7:05 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

The thing about Linux, and Open Source software in general is that it really can be all things to all people. Everybody is free to pursue their own tastes and modes.

KDE has done an incredible job, check out the screenshots of KDE 3.1 [promo.kde.org]. Though I hardly ever use KDE, I believe it is THE killer app that converts users over to Linux desktop. KDE3+ is what is going to suck in the newbies and keep them using Linux.

Gnome2 is also looking quite nice.

Here's a silly analogy, but this is how I see using Linux:
computer == horse
desktop/window manager == how you ride the horse

KDE/Microsoft Desktop/Mac's Aqua == a plush carriage
Gnome2 == a bit lighter, a but less plush carriage
Enlightenment == Chariot
IceWM == work wagon
Fluxbox/Blackbox/PWM and such == saddled riding
Pure command line == riding bare back and hanging onto the mane (okay that one doesn't work that well)

Non geeks are use to riding in a carriage. A lot of geeks like the control and speed of riding saddle, though some of us get lazy and like riding in carriages every once in a while.

Back on topic...
Yeah, it is going to keep getting better and better. GNU/Linux is becoming an unstoppable force.


 8:12 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

What bothers me is that all this has been heard before. Being a unix user/programmer/administrator from before MS Windows 2 was first published, I switched to Linux in 1992 when I bought my first PC, and almost every year somebody has been predicting that Linux was about to take over the desktop. This is at least from 1995 onward.

Still it is probably less than 1% of the desktops that run Linux.

I have for a long time put my faith in the third world (is there a better term?) A less established user base and less financial means might give Linux an edge here. Obvious MS is aware of this, since Gates is roaming those countries donating money every time some country talks about deploying Linux on a large scale (think India and Peru).

I think the really big show stopper is document and browser compatibility. The problem is not Linux specific. Apple has the same problems, even though they have native MS applications on their platform.

I am afraid there is still a long road ahead before Linux is a serious player on the desktop, which means at least a 15-20% market share.



 9:08 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

>better term
Developing world

Re: MS vs. Linux, we avoid that topic in the particular forum.

It doesn't matter if Linux becomes dominant on the desktop anyway, what is more relevant to me (and probably most Linux desktop users) is that Linux is here to stay, and that it is only going to get better in time.

Another very good thing for Linux user's is that hardware manufacturers are starting to offer computers with Linux pre-installed or OS free computers. Rumor has it that HP and Dell are about to fallow Walmart's.


 4:32 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

it is honestly easier to install than windows

Absolutely. Just to keep me aware of the horror, the universe arranged for me to do an install of Windows XP yesterday. It's easier to install than NT4, but that's all the credit I'm giving it.

almost every year somebody has been predicting that Linux was about to take over the desktop.

Which one? It took over mine years ago. My wife thinks my computer is so horrible that it won't likely get another chance at hers for years to come. My father is in between - he wants it to take over his desktop, but he keeps running into trouble trying to let it. He does run a lot of Free desktop tools, though. Last I looked OpenOffice.org was the standard office suite in his home network, and Mozilla the standard browser.

As for Dell shipping pre-installed Linux, well, I'll believe it once I (a) see it and (b) look again in three months and it's still there. Since HP hasn't previously announced that they were doing so and then changed their minds, I might take seeing it from them.
(Of course, if I have the money on hand at the time (a) might be enough to get me to buy a laptop.)


 4:40 am on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

In case you didn't already know, Dell's Linux section:

A interesting thing caught my eye under "News and information" and that is "Dell Announces Factory Installation of Red Hat Linux 8.0". That has no link to it, maybe they are not ready for the big announcement just yet?

If I remember right, a few years ago Dell tried selling RH on the desktop but it did not last long because they said nobody was buying it. If they are going to sell it on the desktop, hopefully it will sell like hot cakes. I'd also like to see them offer desktops without a os.

From what I have read Linux has come a very long way and I'm very happy that it has. With the exception of going though Nvidia hell with RH 8 I'm still amazed at how easy RH is to use.


 5:08 am on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd also like to see them offer desktops without a os.

I seem to recall seeing a story about M$ forcing maufacturers not to sell machines without OSes on them, and Dell getting around it by shipping with FreeDOS installed to clients who really wanted bare machines. It was a while ago, though, so I'm not certain.

Nvidia hell - yeah, I strictly avoid hardware with binary-only drivers. I'm a happy ATI customer, and expect to be again with my next computer.


 5:31 am on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the major issues when buying hardware for use with Linux is to research the driver support for the hardware *before* buying.

The situation has become quite a bit better in the later years, with several hardware manufacturers supplying drivers themselves or at least giving the necessary specifications to independent driver developers, but there are still manufacturers who haven't "seen the light" or try to resist its call. They are best avoided.

The very best is to send them an email explaining that their lack of full support for OS drivers for the hardware was the decisive factor in not chosing them. In that way we can all apply a little pressure to change things to the better.



 12:37 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Linux has a way of addressing whatever the chief complaint against it at any given time, so that every eighteen months or so the old one is history and a new one has replaced it.

My rough recollection of the progression is:

  • "it's unstable"
  • "it's hard to install"
  • "you have to know the command line"
  • "it's ugly"
  • "you can't work with Microsoft Office files"
  • "no companies support it"

    One by one these objections have been addressed well enough to attract new kinds of users over time.

    No one knows how far this process will go, but it's fun to watch.

    And: Linux puts price, feature, and standards-compliance pressure on Microsoft. That's a benefit everyone can enjoy. :)

  • dingman

     4:28 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

    "you can't work with Microsoft Office files"

    That one has always puzzled me. The first Linux program I downloaded separately from Debian (whose collection of packages used to be small enough that you actually did that from time to time) was Star Office 4.0. With which I manipulated Office files.

    It wasn't Free at the time, but it was free. And though it didn't save a Free software zealot from the impossibility of manipulating Office files without proprietary software, it did at least offer a way to do so without an entirely proprietary operating environment.

    'fraid I'm too much of a kid to recall the "unstable" argument. I started switching my primary desktop into Linux when I noticed that my computer never crashed when I was in Linux instead of Windows :)


     4:51 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

    "it's unstable"

    This has never been true. I have used Linux for all work since june 1992, kernel version 0.99.12, and the number of crashes I have experience can be counted on one or two hands.



     5:13 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

    > "it's hard to install"

    Steps to install Linux
    1) Put cd in cd-rom drive
    2) Follow on screen instructions
    3) Select what you want
    4) Wander off and do stuff
    5) Use

    I can remember installing (Redhat) Linux and Win98 side-by-side. Windows98 managed to reboot four times...

    I tend to see Linux as an O/S to get stuff done. Windows is nice and pretty but I tend want to get stuff done and then go out with friends, rather than wasting time indoors with computers.


     6:09 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

    ... but I tend want to get stuff done and then go out with friends, rather than wasting time indoors with computers.

    What a weird attitude! Is that what some people call having a life?



     2:21 pm on Feb 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Yes -- its a rare attitude. I set up computers once. I don't expect to do it again unless *I* say so. Don't want to deal with viruses. Don't want to deal with Microsoft Updates changing things. Don't want to deal with malicious programs.

    Also my machine at home has things it should be doing. Downloading email. Burning cds. Collating information for downloading onto my Palm. Then I can walk into my flat, pick up my Palm and go.


     12:04 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)


    The first time I ever heard about Linux, the story went, "it's cool, but it can hose your hard drive."

    That information may have been outdated even then, but it's the basis for my including instability in the list.

    I personally have never lost data to an OS-related problem under Linux or FreeBSD, both of which I've used intensively in various jobs and projects over the last five years. :)


    I used to have trouble round-tripping Microsoft Office files between StarOffice 5.2 and my colleagues' Windows 2K/Office 97 machines. Usually small formatting issues like font sizes--nothing that would bother a geek, but enough to make a document less-than-presentable in a business situation.

    I haven't tried StarOffice 6.0/OpenOffice.org 1.0; I use Microsoft Office v.X under Mac OS X, which a good combination when it doesn't come out of your own pocket.


     4:28 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Thanks Seindal

    Sodipodi :)
    I am going to get alot of good out of this!


     8:32 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

    there we alway benefits for windows
    may in a few years that will change

    linux is very good, but the
    graphic thing is not so well

    also it's slower than win2k
    I've 513MByte so that's not the problem


     11:42 pm on Feb 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

    belgian_su, please, no Linux vs. Windows talk.
    We've been down that road too many times, and it always crashes and burns.


     1:29 am on Feb 8, 2003 (gmt 0)



    Is there a possibility for the grub or lilo
    boot loader to wait for my request wich os
    i want to boot.

    Now it goes automaticly after a few seconds my default os

    I start my pc and then i do other thinks, i come back
    and my default os is running.



     9:37 am on Feb 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Is there a possibility for the grub or lilo
    boot loader to wait for my request wich os
    i want to boot.

    Lilo can be to wait indefinitely. Just set


    in you /etc/lilo.conf


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