Re: Why Linux?
> I have
> never seen a piece of hardware that
> comes with drivers for commercieal
Hmmn. How about AMI RAID cards? Mine shipped with SCO and Solaris/x86 drivers and tools on the CD.
NVidia has Linux and FreeBSD drivers for download, but that isn't quite the same as shipping on the CD.
a few corrections the author should consider
"just ask all the hardcore Unix users who have tried to change their OS X settings using configuration files in /etc, only to find all their changes ignored. Apple's Unix-like operating system uses NetInfo, for a configuration datastore, something more akin to the Windows registry we all know and hate."
Point one: If you're a NIS or NIS+ client, you can't just go mucking around with a lot of that stuff anyway.
Point two: I'm a seasoned UNIX user (started with SVR2.4, how about you?), and I like it. I think you'll find that NetInfo not only predates the windows registry, but it's also very different. It's what NIS+ wanted to be. Also, it's free, open source, and available for Linux. It may be different, but it's also better. If you feel the need to do it the old way, just nidump and niload.
"Consider, too, that any Unix users poking around an OS X box will be surprised to find a "Unix" with no gcc. Or gdb."
Hmmn... Name a branded UNIX that came with those before just recently. NONE. NeXTStep/OpenStep, just like MacOS X, has gcc as its standard c compiler and gdb as its debugger, but they are available as part of a developer's kit.
"Original versions didn't even have bash. And Unix's beloved fortune, who dutifully greets us upon login, is missing."
Bash isn't included by default with any UNIX-like OS I know of other than Linux. Certainly not with a real UNIX. Fortune is not exactly common either. I thought you used Solaris and HP-UX on a regular basis?
So, since I have all of the above, and X, on a Win2K machine, is it suddenly to your liking?
"That's because all of those utilities that arguably make a "Unix system" a Unix system don't come by default"
So, you mention tools that don't ship with commercial unixes and aren't installed by most UNIX-like systems by default and then claim that the lack of these tools makes these UNIX systems non-UNIX. Your argument is invalid.
You mention the dev kit, " but which is not part of the operating system distribution." Most desktop users have no need for these tools, so why waste disk space?. Consider the target market. Yes, market. This is a product, not a project.
Where's the HP-UX dev kit? Oh, it costs a lot more. Where's the Solaris dev kit? Oh, it costs a lot more too. How about AIX? IRIX? That's the big four (arguably, the big two and slightly smaller two), and they don't include a dev kit. Strangely, they're all UNIX.
"Speaking of xterm, where is X?"
I've used many UNIX systems without X installed. I have even used them where X wasn't available and you had to use NeWS. You remember NeWS, don't you? Not the Sony workstation, the Network Extensible Windowing System. All Display PS, very nifty. X11 (or X10, or whatever) certainly does not make a system Unix.
"you have to "enable" the root user before you can login as root... "Unix" indeed"
Most seasoned UNIX admins never log in as root if they can avoid it anyway. And remember, this is a DESKTOP OS. Why should Joe User log in as root?
"show me a Linux distribution that doesn't ship gcc, gdb, X, and all those other utilities"
I can think of a few where they are not installed by default and have to be added as packages, just like OS X. Slackware, Debian, etc. To me, that's like saying 'show me a distribution that doesn't ship with Mozilla, because that's what I use to browse.'
"I refuse to spend weekends and late nights fiddling, Linux-hacker-style, with the scripts and codes and config files...". This sentiment reinforces that these users shouldn't have been using Linux in the first place."
Perhaps that's the best point in your whole editorial. If the user is sick and tired of fiddling with things and going through what you called the 'endless cycles' of configuration, perhaps OS X is the solution.
"Like most long time-Linux users, I know the pain of spending what seems like endless "cycles" trying to figure something out. But unlike other operating systems, once I hack those "scripts and codes and config files", it all "just works", and it continues to "just work" until I introduce a new variable into the equation."
Or, until a new variable is introduced without you. Or, until you leave your job and someone else is forced to maintain your hodgepodge of scripts.
"under which an application modifying something somewhere in some binary NetInfo registry could break something else."
Such as? Given the structure of NetInfo, it's quite unlikely to happen. Not impossible, but unlikely. You're clearly confusing it with the Windows registry. Have you used NetInfo yet?
"The development of a "desktop environment" on Linux, in the form of KDE, Gnome, and -- in the tradition of Open Source -- software we haven't heard of yet, will continue and is of value to those who are using the Linux platform for the right reasons in the first place."
I'm assume that the 'right reasons' you mention involve free software, fiddling with configurations for fun, and being on the elite bleeding edge of near stability. Please correct me if I'm wrong.