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From: mic...@cybtrans.com (Michael Hoffman)
Subject: NT will kill Unix in a year, OS war & Web revolution
Date: 1996/02/25
Message-ID: <4goa2q$9n5@shellx.best.com>
X-Deja-AN: 140979490
organization: cybtrans.com
reply-to: mic...@cybtrans.com
newsgroups: comp.os.ms-windows.nt.advocacy,comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy,
comp.infosystems.www.advocacy,comp.os.linux.advocacy,comp.os.os2.advocacy,
comp.os.amiga.advocacy,comp.sys.mac.advocacy,comp.unix.advocacy,
comp.sys.next.advocacy

Sorry if I'm excessively cross-posting here.  I'm exploring the
relationship between the OS war and the Web revolution.  I should
probably differentiate these issues into 2 or 3 threads, but they are
interconnected in my mind.  I hope this combination of concerns is
interesting to you.  If the thread explodes or wastes bandwidth, maybe
someone out there can extinguish it.


I am becoming a professional Web developer.  I have to decide what
tools to learn and what skills to develop.  I'm pretty much at the
start of my career, and I want to learn systems that will be relevant
in the future.

Currently, most Web servers run Unix.  But NT and the free MS server
software have been getting favorable results.  If I just looked at a
static snapshot of today's dominant platforms, I would say that
learning the Unix environment for Web development is a much better
idea than committing to an NT environment.  However, looking at the
*direction* that things are going, looking at the latest *trends*, I
think NT has a much better future than Unix.

I think that technical arguments can miss the point.  Superiority of a
technology does not correspond with dominance of that technology.

I am confident that NT will quickly become the dominant operating
system for the next few years, whether or not it is technologically
superior.  I think it's a better career move to align myself with
NT-based Web development, than Unix-based Web development.

I am facing some hard decisions now.  Currently, the recommended way
to write CGI scripts is to code in Perl on Unix.  But I think there
will be greater demand for NT-based CGI programming, over the next few
years.

I'm facing a similar hard choice between Java and Visual Basic Script.
I am sure that I want to become a specialist in Microsoft solutions,
because I like Microsoft products and they are going to become the
most popular.  Microsoft skills will have the greatest demand.

I want to learn the most appropriate Microsoft-oriented tools and
environments for Web development.  I don't want to be ignorant of
Unix, Perl, and Java, but I find I have to resist jumping into the
Unix/Perl camp, which is currently dominant and tries to pull me in.
Unix is yesterday's revolution and I'd rather minimize my involvement
with it.  NT is far from perfect, but the NT environment and mentality
is far more up-to-date than Unix, which has its roots in the early
70s.  The Unix mentality is obsolete, never mind the technical
details.

While Unix will live on, it will be killed in the sense of being
overwhelmed by NT, as everyone in the world becomes involved in
computers.  The 90% of people who have not yet touched a computer will
not buy into Unix; they will buy into NT.

Internet terminals will shield the masses from dirtying their hands
with either NT or Unix.  These terminals will be served by Unix
servers at first, but soon, the entire business world will switch to
NT.  Technical issues aside, Unix has no future; Microsoft is rapidly
becoming the OS monopoly.  OS/2 is completely out of the picture.

Technical people might hate this trend, but based on reading the
technology and business magazines and reports, NT and Microsoft are
unstoppable.  Whether or not this is desirable, it's happening, and
I'm going along with it.


_________________

Microsoft is the right balance of price, consistency, and popularity.

I've always hated Apple because they were overpriced when I bought my
first computer in 1988.

I've always hated Unix because it's essentially an antiquated, chaotic
character-mode environment with no serious GUI and poor compatibility
among the zillion flavors.

I've always hated OS/2 because it's made by IBM.

I've always liked Windows because it's affordable and dedicated to
consistency of user interface.
________________


Windows may suck in some ways technically.  But technological
superiority is not the driving factor for popularity.  The important
thing is the balance of price, popularity, and ease-of-use, as well as
technically being good enough.

Windows is technically good *enough*.

In choosing and advocating an operating environment, find the best
*balance* of:

o  ease-of-use
o  price
o  popularity/ubiquity
o  technical performance

Linux or OS/2 or NextStep may be in some ways technically better than
NT.  Macintosh may in some ways have better ease-of-use than NT.
Amiga may in some ways have better price/performance than NT (or 95).

But the real deciding factor is *balance*.

When you consider the *balance* of factors, Microsoft Windows and NT
has trounced the others and deserves to become predominant.
Technological superiority of Linux or OS/2 is merely one factor to
consider.  I respect technological considerations, but they are just
one consideration among several.

I've never had to think deeply about justifying my commitment to
Windows until the opportunity to become a Web developer came along.
Now I must decide whether to learn Java or Visual Basic Script, Unix
or NT, and coding CGI in Perl or Basic.  I concretely faced these
decisions when standing in the largest bookstore in the region -- the
Stanford campus bookstore, which currently has many more books about
the Unix operating system than on the Windows operating system.  Each
substantial book costs $50.  Should I buy a $50 Unix book, or a $50 NT
book?  A $50 Visual Basic book, or a $50 Perl&CGI book?  I still am
unclear about which tools and skills to master to specialize in Web
development for Windows, and the problem is exploding as the entire
world realigns itself around the Web.

I would appreciate any insight you can give me, especially regarding
Unix vs. NT trends relating to a Web development career.  I hope the
responses, if any, contain *substantial* insights or criticism, not
just empty flames that waste everyone's time.

The OS wars are being affected in several ways by the Web revolution,
including the Internet terminal concept and Java, which supposedly
render the OS war irrelevant.


-- Michael Hoffman, EE, technical writer, Web developer,
techno-trendmonger

From: pet...@netcom.com (Loren Petrich)
Subject: Re: NT will kill Unix in a year, OS war & Web revolution
Date: 1996/02/26
Message-ID: <petrichDnE220.Dny@netcom.com>
X-Deja-AN: 141203910
sender: pet...@netcom18.netcom.com
references: <4goa2q$9n5@shellx.best.com>
organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
newsgroups: comp.os.ms-windows.nt.advocacy,comp.os.ms-windows.advocacy,
comp.infosystems.www.advocacy,comp.os.linux.advocacy,comp.os.os2.advocacy,
comp.os.amiga.advocacy,comp.sys.mac.advocacy,comp.unix.advocacy,
comp.sys.next.advocacy

In article <4goa2q$9...@shellx.best.com>,
Michael Hoffman <mic...@cybtrans.com> wrote:
>Sorry if I'm excessively cross-posting here.  I'm exploring the
>relationship between the OS war and the Web revolution. ...

>I am becoming a professional Web developer.  I have to decide what
>tools to learn and what skills to develop. ...

	I'd recommend learning something that's just emerging, so you'll 
get a jump on other people. And one thing that is doing so is electronic 
commerce. The idea would be that one would do one's catalog-viewing, 
order-composing, and paying online, and thus avoid a heck of a lot of 
intermediaries. For that, you'll need to know about encryption (can't 
have fake order forms :-), and some AI at both the client (Java) and 
server (CGI scripts) ends. One problem here is what is the appropriate 
division of labor between client and server -- should the server do all 
the work, or should it upload a Java applet and let the client do all the 
work -- or anything in between.

... However, looking at the
>*direction* that things are going, looking at the latest *trends*, I
>think NT has a much better future than Unix.

	I don't think that the UNIX guys will take this lying down :-)

	And this argument ignores all the WWW servers running the MacOS. 
Yes, that fruit company's OS. I suggest that you check it out, because it 
is absolutely uncrackable (there was a competition to do just that, and 
it got no entries), and that will be vital for e-commerce.

>I think that technical arguments can miss the point.  Superiority of a
>technology does not correspond with dominance of that technology.

	Ever heard of a niche market? You could do well in such a market, 
because you will simply have less competition.

	[NT vs. UNIX...]

>I am facing some hard decisions now.  Currently, the recommended way
>to write CGI scripts is to code in Perl on Unix.  But I think there
>will be greater demand for NT-based CGI programming, over the next few
>years.

	With the MacOS, one can write CGI scripts in AppleScript, which I 
find to be a very elegant programming language. Currently, it is rather 
slow, but if one uses the time span you suggest, then Apple will have 
released Copland (System 8), and AppleScript will be much faster. Copland 
will also have preemptive multitasking and protected memory, though 
user-interactive processes will share one memory space and will have a 
faked-out cooperative multitasking between them. However, file and 
network stuff, what are essential to WWW servers, will have both of these 
PM's.

	Copland will have the advantage over NT of less resource 
requirements -- unless, of course, M$ hires some *really* good 
programmers :-) Unless Apple commits some serious design blunder, which 
is unlikely, it will be at least as bulletproof as NT, and be as 
uncrackable as the current MacOS (System 7.5). And it will also have a 
superior user interface and compatibility with several years of 32-bit 
MacOS apps (the MacOS has been 32-bit since Day One).

>I'm facing a similar hard choice between Java and Visual Basic Script.

	I'd go with Java, since Sun is more committed to openness than 
M$. Also, Java plug-ins are now more available than Visual Basic ones. 
Even M$ has given in and decided to go along with Java.

>I am sure that I want to become a specialist in Microsoft solutions,
>because I like Microsoft products and they are going to become the
>most popular.  Microsoft skills will have the greatest demand.

	If you *like* M$ products, I'm not going to deprive you of your 
fun, but I don't, with exceptions such as Excel. Do you know what my 
favorite utility for managing files on PeeCee disks is? The MacOS Finder.

>Technical people might hate this trend, but based on reading the
>technology and business magazines and reports, NT and Microsoft are
>unstoppable.  Whether or not this is desirable, it's happening, and
>I'm going along with it.

	I wonder if the M$ guys slip the reporters some under-the-table 
payments :-)

	More seriously, M$ has remarkable gifts of self-hype; it has the
ability to make itself seem like it invented practically *everything*. 
Apple is almost *totally* lacking in anything comparable, despite
occasional flashes of brilliance such as "1984". Thus, it was reported by
someone here that someone noticed a Macintosh and said that there was a
computer already running Windoze95. 

>Microsoft is the right balance of price, consistency, and popularity.

	I disagree, for numerous reasons.

>I've always hated Apple because they were overpriced when I bought my
>first computer in 1988.

	Apple's repented of that disaster, happy to say. You'd be 
surprised at how low some Apple prices now are. Furthermore, one can now 
choose some Mac clones, such as those made by Power Computing. In the 
months to come, the PowerPC Platform (PPCP; formerly the Common Hardware 
Reference Platform [CHRP]) boxes will start coming out, and there will be 
cloners galore competing in this market. You'll be able to run Copland, 
any of several flavors of UNIX (AIX, Solaris, Linux, ...), and yes, 
WindozeNT. And multi-boot will be built in to all but el-cheapo boxes, so 
you can try out different OSes. And some PPCP-box makers will almost be a 
*LOT* better at self-hype than Apple (it's hard to do worse :-).

>I've always hated Unix because it's essentially an antiquated, chaotic
>character-mode environment with no serious GUI and poor compatibility
>among the zillion flavors.

	I agree with that assessment -- I've found UNIX *very* 
user-hostile -- worse than other CLI OSes I've used, like VMS and even 
VM/CMS (I still miss VMS after all these years).

>I've always hated OS/2 because it's made by IBM.

	I don't feel that inclined to spite IBM.

>I've always liked Windows because it's affordable and dedicated to
>consistency of user interface.

	I find DOS and Windoze to be piles of something whose mention
would seriously agitate Senator Exon. The Windoze File "Manager" is so
clumsy and cruddy (can't rename files by editing their names in place, to
name just *ONE* example) that I often use straight DOS or that
aforementioned PeeCee-disk file utility. MDI content-free root windows? 
Yecch. And my only comment about DOS is what can make 7 out of 8 megabytes
of a computer's memory totally inaccessible without special software? 

... Macintosh may in some ways have better ease-of-use than NT.

	I did see a copy of WindozeNT running -- it had the same cruddy
Windoze3.x interface. And by the time that WindozeNT 4.0 comes out, Apple 
will be a *lot* further along with Copland.
-- 
Loren Petrich				Happiness is a fast Macintosh
pet...@netcom.com			And a fast train
My home page: ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/pe/petrich/home.html
Or ftp to ftp.netcom.com and go to /pub/pe/petrich

From: "H.J. Lu" <h...@gnu.ai.mit.edu>
Subject: Re: NT will kill Unix in a year, OS war & Web revolution
Date: 1996/02/28
Message-ID: <313488E8.167EB0E7@gnu.ai.mit.edu>#1/1
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> >I've always hated Unix because it's essentially an antiquated, chaotic
> >character-mode environment with no serious GUI and poor compatibility
> >among the zillion flavors.
> 
>         I agree with that assessment -- I've found UNIX *very*
> user-hostile -- worse than other CLI OSes I've used, like VMS and even
> VM/CMS (I still miss VMS after all these years).

I found quite opposite. I can do almost whatever I want under Unix. But
it is a pain under Windows95 when your hardware is slightly different
than what Microsoft thought.


H.J.

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