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Re: Is Linux Unix?

furufuru@ccsr.u-tokyo.ac.jp (Ryo Furue) writes:

> "Steven Jones" <Steven.Jones@vuw.ac.nz> wrote in message news:<2keyS-1CX-9@gated-at.bofh.it>...
>> Working in a MS, Solaris, Linux, Tru64 shop, I find that for the vast 
>> majority of our servers the usability of Linux is as good as Unix if not 
>> better. While Unix might have high end bits Linux lacks for 95% of the 
>> world's servers that small missing % I suspect is not an issue.
> This is not a Linux-vs-Unix issue, but I've recently been experiencing
> a downside of Linux.  I think one of the biggest problems for developers
> of commercial software for Linux is that there's no such thing as "the"
> Linux OS.  There are simply too many combinations of the kernel version,
> libc version, pthreads version, etc. to support all.  The consequence is
> usually the vendor supports only the RedHat Linux.

That's a downside of any OS.  Try running WinNT binaries on a Win9x
machine.  Or OS9 binaries on a OSX machine or vice-versa.  Same problem.
Same solution.

You distribute with the lowest common denominator.  In Linux, this means
a tarball or a .deb[1].

nVidia still has a lot to learn about user-friendly licensing, but at
least they give you a self-extracting tarball that does all the hard
work for you (though with the obscene license nVidia has overshadowing
everything they do software-wise, this should be taken as serious
condemnation with a very faint hint of praise).

> I'm using the Intel Fortran Compiler (IFC).  Its version 7 runs on
> Debian without any problem whatsoever, although Intel doesn't support
> Debian.  But, last year Intel released a total rewrite of the
> compiler, version 8, with which my Fortran programs don't work at all
> (*).  Since Debian isn't supported, even if I paid (which I don't),
> Intel wouldn't fix my problem.  (If paying would fix it, I would pay.)
> This is a big headache.  Uniformity is sometimes good.

However, as explained above, uniformity does not exist.  Quick, tell me
which RPM I need, as a Debian user, to easily and cleanly install the
software like the packager intended: Mandrake, Red Hat, Fedora, SuSE...

> I also heard from a programmer that her company develops software only
> for Windows because it's so uniform and ubiguitous.

I usually feel sorry for people like that.  They miss the fact that unix
is everywhere, has been everywhere for decades, and will probably be
around long after the commercial software fad fades back into relative

> Her company, being small, wouldn't be able to support Linux.  If a
> costomer doesn't have a Windows machine, the company makes the
> costomer buy one.  (The sofwares so expensive that the cost of a lowly
> Windows machine is nothing.)

If the software is that expensive to start with, I think that explains
why money is so tight at that company.  If I'm paying so much just to
get screwed into a consumer-hostile license agreement that hardware
becomes an impulse item on the checkout line (so to speak), the vendor
better damn well be prepared to bend over backwards to make it to *my*
spec, not their idea of what they think I need[2].

> Unfortunately, uniformity and community efforts don't come together.

Riiiiight.  That's why all the open browsers are standards compliant,
and IE is not.  Why pretty much every network service out there has a
free, standards compliant implimentation, yet Microsoft still insists on
breaking the uniformity and charging infinitely more for it.

[1] RPM considered catastrophically harmful.  Until RPM actually
*standardizes* with standard package names, standard filesystem, real
dependency resolution, and permanent removal of file dependencies, rpm
will always be the proof-of-concept and dpkg the proper implimentation
of automated package management.  Though this assumes that RPM-based
distros actually meet the same high standard of quality assurance
usually found in Mexican tap water.  It's 2004: Using RPM should not
make users start clenching their colons and dread ever touching a
computer.  If people want to know why so many people say, "I tried
Linux, but it sucked, so I put Windows back on," they should look no
farther than RPM.

[2] Besides, why lose the revenue to Win4Lin, VMWare or Transgaming when
you can do it right the first time and know that it will work without
having to fart around with bloaty virtual machines or limited emulation.

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