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From: allard@isi.edu (Dennis Allard)
Subject: Linux vs. the world
Date: 4 Aug 92 23:33:20 GMT
Reply-To: allard@isi.edu (Dennis Allard)


I have followed the this newsgroup, like the copyleft concept,
and look forward to joining the Linux community.  However, I have
the following questions.

1. Is there any relationship between Linux and the BSD Unix implementation
   which was outlined over the past year or two in Dr. Dobb's journal?

2. What, if any, other shareware Unixes exist and how do they compare
   to Linux.

3. I am eager to help get as many people in the world using a PC platform
   with X window, networking, and SLIP or PPP capabilities.  Is Linux a
   good candidate for such a platform (e.g., as compared to DV/X)?

Dennis Allard
allard@isi.edu

From: wirzeniu@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Lars Wirzenius)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: 5 Aug 92 16:34:40 GMT

allard@isi.edu (Dennis Allard) writes:
>1. Is there any relationship between Linux and the BSD Unix implementation
>   which was outlined over the past year or two in Dr. Dobb's journal?

Linus read at least some of the articles.  That's all the connection.

>2. What, if any, other shareware Unixes exist and how do they compare
>   to Linux.

Linux and 386BSD are not shareware.  Absolutely not.  They are freely
distributable, usable and modifyable.  I will assume this is what you
meant.  The answer is: None that I know of.  There are Minix, sold by
some publishing company, and Coherent, by Mark Williams Company, both
are commercial but fairly cheap (around 100 to 150 dollars).  For Minix
you even get the source code.  Neither has all of the sexy features
Linux and 386bsd have, IMHO.  Minix in the form it is sold has 64 kB
segments, I think Coherent lacks the kind of support for virtual memory
that Linux has, etc.  Neither of them have X, I think.

>3. I am eager to help get as many people in the world using a PC platform
>   with X window, networking, and SLIP or PPP capabilities.  Is Linux a
>   good candidate for such a platform (e.g., as compared to DV/X)?

No.  Linux currently lacks networking, and in any case it is not stable
enough for many people.  Basically, unless you know how to apply
patches, hack the kernel and otherwise like to do things the hard way,
you might want to wait for a more stable kernel.

--
Lars.Wirzenius@helsinki.fi

From: kennu@mits.mdata.fi (Kenneth Falck)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1992 19:27:48 GMT

In article <1992Aug5.163440.27332@klaava.Helsinki.FI> 
wirzeniu@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Lars Wirzenius) writes:
>No.  Linux currently lacks networking, and in any case it is not stable
>enough for many people.  Basically, unless you know how to apply
>patches, hack the kernel and otherwise like to do things the hard way,
>you might want to wait for a more stable kernel.

By the way, have there been any plans about a v1.0 release that
would be the "real" Linux for some time? I mean, currently there
seem to be several competetive software-collections, and also
the kernel gets updated nearly every other day, and an old
DOS-user like me gets annoyed when you have to "ps U" etc.
and recompile all the time :-)

Maybe it's good to have plenty of choice, but what's also 
annoying is that the ftp-sites contain a lot of old and
useless software, and it's hard to tell what is meant to be
used with the current kernel...

So what I mean is that since everyone always wants to get the 
latest kernel whenever one is released, and a new kernel always
brings some trouble, kernels shouldn't be released too frequently 
after 1.0. Maybe this is what Linus has planned, I don't know..

Also I hope that if 1.0 becomes the main release for some time,
old and useless stuff could be deleted or archived to some special
directory on ftp-sites.

(Just my two cents worth...)

>--
>Lars.Wirzenius@helsinki.fi

-- 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi
Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.

From: chad@src.umd.edu (R Michael McMahon)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: 5 Aug 92 21:52:32 GMT
Reply-To: chad@src.umd.edu (R Michael McMahon)

In article <1992Aug5.192748.23519@mits.mdata.fi>, 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi (Kenneth Falck) writes:`

> By the way, have there been any plans about a v1.0 release that
> would be the "real" Linux for some time? I mean, currently there
> seem to be several competetive software-collections, and also
> the kernel gets updated nearly every other day, and an old
> DOS-user like me gets annoyed when you have to "ps U" etc.
> and recompile all the time :-)
> 
> Maybe it's good to have plenty of choice, but what's also 
> annoying is that the ftp-sites contain a lot of old and
> useless software, and it's hard to tell what is meant to be
> used with the current kernel...

True.

> 
> So what I mean is that since everyone always wants to get the 
> latest kernel whenever one is released, and a new kernel always
> brings some trouble, kernels shouldn't be released too frequently 
> after 1.0. Maybe this is what Linus has planned, I don't know..

I couldn't disagree with you more here. I see Linux as an educational
tool first and foremost, and as a useful (as in practical)  O.S. second
(maybe third, just after "infinite time-sink").

While it would be nice to have a stable, solid release availible for
many non-programmer types, I believe lots of us demented sickos 
actually *enjoy* making kernel patches, adding new features, and 
trying not to break things in the process. The engineer in me says..
"if it ain't broke, fix it anyway, or at least improve it!" I hope 
Linus shares this view, rather than looking towards potential market
value (at least for now: you *are* staying for PhD, right Linus?!)

> 
> Also I hope that if 1.0 becomes the main release for some time,
> old and useless stuff could be deleted or archived to some special
> directory on ftp-sites.

Good point. Make 1.0 easy for the masses, while the rest of us
continue the current effort.

> 
> (Just my two cents worth...)
> 
> -- 
> kennu@mits.mdata.fi
> Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.
> 

R Michael McMahon       chad@src.umd.edu

From: kennu@mits.mdata.fi (Kenneth Falck)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: 5 Aug 92 23:33:23 GMT

In article <1992Aug5.215232.12697@src.umd.edu> 
chad@src.umd.edu (R Michael McMahon) writes:
>While it would be nice to have a stable, solid release availible for
>many non-programmer types, I believe lots of us demented sickos 
>actually *enjoy* making kernel patches, adding new features, and 
>trying not to break things in the process. The engineer in me says..
>"if it ain't broke, fix it anyway, or at least improve it!" I hope 
>Linus shares this view, rather than looking towards potential market
>value (at least for now: you *are* staying for PhD, right Linus?!)

I see only one problem there; if all the hackish kind of programmers
that actually port the largest and most difficult programs use
new "hackers'" kernels, won't the ports easily become incompatible 
with the old kernels and everyone has to update his/her kernel anyway?

This depends, of course, on how big the kernel changes are... 

Personally, I just would like to be able to use Linux in peace
without upgrading all the time, and also knowing that nobody
else is running a better kernel than I am :-)

(I hope nobody understands my comments wrongly, I don't mean to
demand anything only for my personal welfare, just trying to 
be intellectually productive...)

>R Michael McMahon      chad@src.umd.edu

-- 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi
Pretend to spank me - I'm a pseudo-masochist.

From: drew@hamlet.cs.colorado.edu (Drew Eckhardt)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1992 03:52:26 GMT

In article <1992Aug5.233323.27200@mits.mdata.fi> 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi (Kenneth Falck) writes:
>In article <1992Aug5.215232.12697@src.umd.edu> 
>chad@src.umd.edu (R Michael McMahon) writes:
>>While it would be nice to have a stable, solid release availible for
>>many non-programmer types, I believe lots of us demented sickos 
>>actually *enjoy* making kernel patches, adding new features, and 
>>trying not to break things in the process. The engineer in me says..
>>"if it ain't broke, fix it anyway, or at least improve it!" I hope 
>>Linus shares this view, rather than looking towards potential market
>>value (at least for now: you *are* staying for PhD, right Linus?!)
>
>I see only one problem there; if all the hackish kind of programmers
>that actually port the largest and most difficult programs use
>new "hackers'" kernels, won't the ports easily become incompatible 
>with the old kernels and everyone has to update his/her kernel anyway?

Probably not.  Most well behaved programs (This does not include 
windowing systems, that need some hackish way of accessing the hardware
directly) use a standard interface to the syscalls.  While the 
underlying code for the sys calls may change in newer kernels, 
the interface remains the same and user level software will be portable
across the different systems.

Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as the MGR and X11 ports 
which needed the IO permissions bitmap, mmap(), and unix domain sockets, 
and the new mount(2) call that works with different types of file
systems.


From: kennu@mits.mdata.fi (Kenneth Falck)
Subject: Re: Linux vs. the world
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1992 18:34:37 GMT

In article <1992Aug8.035226.29102@colorado.edu> 
drew@hamlet.cs.colorado.edu (Drew Eckhardt) writes:
>>I see only one problem there; if all the hackish kind of programmers
>>that actually port the largest and most difficult programs use
>>new "hackers'" kernels, won't the ports easily become incompatible 
>>with the old kernels and everyone has to update his/her kernel anyway?
>
>Probably not.  Most well behaved programs (This does not include 
>windowing systems, that need some hackish way of accessing the hardware
>directly) use a standard interface to the syscalls.  While the 
>underlying code for the sys calls may change in newer kernels, 
>the interface remains the same and user level software will be portable
>across the different systems.
>
>Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as the MGR and X11 ports 
>which needed the IO permissions bitmap, mmap(), and unix domain sockets, 
>and the new mount(2) call that works with different types of file
>systems.

Hmm.. I wonder if releases of this "really big" software like
X-windows (and maybe also MGR) could be synchronized with the 
major Linux releases; so that for some time we would have
"Linux 1.0", "X for Linux 1.0", "MGR for Linux 1.0", "GCC for 
Linux 1.0", and then after some time "Linux 1.1", "X for Linux 
1.1", etc... 

Of course, nothing would prevent releasing something like
"GCC 1.1 for Linux 1.0", but it'd be cool if you could always
always tell just what version of Linux the software is meant
to be run on just by checking the program's version.

As far as I can tell, this far you've usually had to check 
comp.os.linux all the time or try by yourself to see whether
some big piece of software works with some kernel. (Of course,
usually everything works with the latest kernel...)

I don't know then, would this work nicely if everyone recompiles
his/her kernels and makes big changes to them. I hope the kernel
becomes more externally configurable in the future, though I 
suppose most of the changes people make themselves are just
little bug patches or keyboard configuration.

I wonder if there should be (or is there?) some "Linux committee"
that would coordinate everything, as I'm sure Linus can't do 
everything by himself. (I don't think this newsgroup acts as 
any kind of authority, but I haven't introduced myself to the 
mailing lists yet though.)

-- 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi
<here's where the dumb quote is supposed to be>

-- 
kennu@mits.mdata.fi

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