General discussion


Windows vs Linux

By rkuhn ·
Ok, these discussions are out of hand.

Anytime there is a discussion of Linux vs Windows, without laying down some background, it is almost impossible to have a meaningful discussion.

For example, there are substantial differences between rolling out Linux in a business environment vs rolling it out to a home user with minimal PC skills vs rolling it out to an experienced IT home user.

I'll start 3 threads to reflect this and let me hear the arguments.

For example, for a inexperienced home user, I don't want to hear about "cheap" printers when it comes to drivers. Let's face it, home users buy cheap printers...that's a fact of life.

Conversely, in a business environment, you do have time, money, etc for a roll out whereas in a home environment, you don't.

Let's agree to some variables. Corporate environments typically have time to train, get support, tweak, whatever.

Home users typically just want things to work, buy cheaper and more generic components, etc.

Let's hear your opinions now...

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Ain't no thang.

by apotheon In reply to actually

Linux isn't Windows -- or, really, anything much like it. It's reasonable that it'll take some adjustment, especially for someone that knows Windows pretty well and thus has assumptions about the architecture that don't apply.

The partitions themselves are actually called things like "hda1" and "hdb3". The hard drives are designated "hd", or "sd", typically -- h for an IDE drive and s for a SCSI drive. The next letter, a, b, et cetera, indicates which drive it is. For instance, if you have two drives on the master IDE controller, they're hda and hdb. The trailing number indicates which partition it is on the drive.

You can access the drive device by a "filename" (everything in a POSIX filesystem is a "file") within the /dev directory, which holds filenames for direct hardware access to devices. Thus, if you have hda1, you'll find /dev/hda1 within your filesystem. This isn't what you use to actually access files on the partitions, though. For that you mount them within the virtual filesystem (the filesystem as it appears to the user). For instance, if /var is a separate partition, that means that some partition (perhaps /dev/hda3, for instance) is mounted at /var so that it looks like part of the same virtual filesystem.

That may be more information than you needed, but there it is. Maybe I should just write an article about this.

To learn more about mounting partitions within the virtual filesystem -- within the filesystem hierarchy -- you can open a terminal emulator (such as xterm or kterm) and enter "man mount" there. You can exit the manpage for the mount command by pressing the Q key, and use the arrow and PgUp/PgDn keys to move around within the document.

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by X-MarCap In reply to actually

Give the man a Ceegar!!!

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It comes from ParcPlace

by X-MarCap In reply to The partition names mean ...

Everything else merely thinks it is OO. Everything that claimes it is OO really tries to emulate Smalltalk. If you want to know OO do Smalltalk...


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about that

by apotheon In reply to Why do you assume rickk h ...

1. Yeah, I do know what to do with contradictory observations and premises. Of course, I also know what to do with assumptions: question them. I do not assume that rickk's intentions are necessarily that ill-conceived. As such, I still entertain the notion that he's operating out of willful ignorance at least as much as actual malevolence. He certainly seems intent on proving he's a waste of my time, though.

2. Mandriva (aka Mandrake) is simply not designed for lean installs. As with any Linux system, you can still pare it down to only what you need, but Mandriva makes it distinctly difficult to get there without basically breaking everything that makes it Mandriva. If you want to customize the system extensively, you may want to look into other distributions.

Debian is my favorite for such purposes. Fedora also provides an environment within which it is easier to reach those ends (though not as easy as Debian). Most other distributions are either not designed to make it easy to slim it down or not designed to make it easy to manage it on a day-to-day basis for general desktop use.

For the time being, though, you can easily get along with Mandriva and learn what you're doing there. It lacks in some of what would help to really understand Linux beyond the pretty clicky stuff -- for instance, it has a very incomplete man system -- but you can probably get by just fine with it, without even noticing a problem, until you're ready to move on and try a different distro if you like.

The best book I've ever seen for familiarizing oneself with Linux beyond the distro-specific stuff is called A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, written by Mark G. Sobell. As much as I recommend this thing (and yes, that's a really long title), he should be paying me a cut of his royalties. You can get it here:

Aside from that book, my recommendations don't involve books, for general Linux references. Oh, sure, there are some subject-specific books that I recommend (such as O'Reilly's Linux Security Cookbook, Linux Network Administrator's Guide, Linux in a Windows World, and Linux Server Security), but not really books about general-purpose Linux subjects.

Instead, I would recommend getting yourself a mentor and joining a LUG (Linux User Group) mailing list or two. I'm currently a member of no less than three LUG lists, and attend meetings for the one of those three that is local to me. You can find LUGs in your area by way of this URL:

You could also contact me by way of the "Send private message" link in my Member Profile here at TR, and thus get in touch with me via means other than forum discussions like this if you want my personal help. I'd be happy to help out where I can through email and/or IMs.

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Thanks, I will send PM

by Absolutely In reply to about that

When I have a worthwhile question! For now, I'm going to switch to Debian, because apt-get and synaptic were really easy to use to customize. I can't guess how much reading it will take before I run into a question that I can't answer from that reading list, but I appreciate the offer immensely.

Good premises.

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another free place for linux books

by Jaqui In reply to about that

they have the system admin guide, network admin guide, bash scripting and advanced bash scripting guides there to name a few.

all available free.

plus a huge number of how-to documents. with very active Q&A forums, wikis, blogs etc all on linux.

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Industry Wide Problem

by rkuhn In reply to Windows vs Linux

While we are all arguing about which OS is more security or better or whatever, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the entire industry isn't doing enough:

I for one don't think security is a Windows problem, a Linux problem or a Mac problem. It is everwhere, admit it or not.

Sure, some OS'es have it worse than others, but all OS'es have issues.

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That . . .

by apotheon In reply to Industry Wide Problem

. . . isn't even relevant to this discussion.

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The Horse has died.

by X-MarCap In reply to Windows vs Linux

Beaten to death by both sides. I now see Windows people can't open up to the fact that Windows is not a stable OS, and that it is brain damaged. If you want more than 24 mounted drives (This happens all the time in real systems.) You are SOL.

Linux people have an eye in the land of the blind. Explaining blue to the blind is fruitless. The problem with the comparisons and the explanations is that when they don't have the vocabulary to understand, you peeve them off. Then it gets more personal...

Let's forget about Rickk and other flaming idiots. Let's get back to work helping our companies and ourselves...

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