Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Jan 2006 22:22 UTC, submitted by letsrock
Linux "Linux is not Windows, and although there are some similarities, you must realize that there may be a few 'new ways of doing things' to learn before you can be comfortable in Linux. Linux is an open-source clone of UNIX, a secure operating system that predates DOS and Windows and is designed for multiple users. The items in the following list generally apply to any UNIX-based *nix system, such as Linux and the various BSD's. For the purposes of this article, assume that it's all Linux."
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Really bad article - slow news day ?
by bb_matt on Fri 6th Jan 2006 23:14 UTC
bb_matt
Member since:
2006-01-04

I'm sorry, but this is just a terrible article.

The screenshot of the file structure similarities with red lines is a poor starting point showing little insight.

The line "It is less than half the age of Microsoft Windows" is incorrect.

The assumption that "Linux" is more than the kernel and is in fact, to quote "and graphically equal (if not superior) to this costly, buggy OS from Redmond."

I won't go any further, except to say, please vet such articles a little bit more closely before considering them newsworthy.

Edited 2006-01-06 23:14

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This is indeed not the best article ever written, but hey, not everything can be top notch.

Reply Score: 5

Resolution Member since:
2005-11-14

Not everything can be top notch, but at least make it accurate. I'm still wondering why the home partition is pointing to the D: drive in that first image...

Reply Score: 2

Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

Maybe it's because D: is used by most power window users as a home directory and for non os apps so you can blow away the os on C:, format and re-intall the entire os without endangering everything important to you. Quite useful in the 3.0->3.1->WFW->ME->98->2k->2kpro->XP sleigh ride.

Reply Score: 1

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, I do the same thing with my work (XP) computer. Much safer to keep critical things away from the OS itself. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Richard James Member since:
2005-07-07

I think many people misunderstand that image. On the left is a Linux filesystem tree and on the right a Windows one. The red lines indicate where on Linux (not Windows) that a particular directory might be mounted in relation to where the drive letters in Windows are. The lines should have arrow heads on the right side.

It is very common for Linux users to create a seperate partition for the home directory so that they can blow away the rest of the OS and still keep all their files safe.

In windows there is no true indication from that tree that D: is /dev/hdb or /dev/hda2 or something else.

Reply Score: 1

bb_matt Member since:
2006-01-04

Fair enough, but misconceptions about what OsNews may publish can be difficult. To date, you've really kept the quality of your articles high and chosen to link to high quality articles.

I can understand a motive behind linking to such a simplistic article and I'm sure the author is probably a bit miffed about any comments made, but hey, that's what writing for the public is all about. Your going to get critisised and hopefully, it'll make you a better writer (and researcher)

I can understand the motive behind the article and it's a noble idea, however, a little more work (especially on the 70k jpeg? diagram) would not have gone amiss.

There's a wealth of information to draw from in researching this topic, which is essentially "linux for windows users", the first port of call should've been what Linux really is. A single paragraph mentioning Torvalds, that Linux is the Kernel and a brief mention of GNU, would've gone a long way to making the article more factually correct.

Also, getting the file system concepts correct - for starters, ditch the whole idea of having a D: partition for home, as it's way off the mark.

/home is /Documents and Settings and is by default located on the partition which windows is installed on.

It's misleading and assumes that everyone partitions their drives in windows, which is clearly not the case.

Many pre-installed windows PC's now ship with an additional partition, which is usually used to store the windows install files.

Some less savvy windows users may be wondering why their CDROM drive is "home"

Worse still, the E drive in that diagram points to "Music"

The author needs to step back, take a look and think "Hmm, wait a minute, that's how I do things, what is the default ?"

Reply Score: 1

gizzlon Member since:
2005-12-18

Figure A is hilarious ;)

Reply Score: 1

Errors
by ma_d on Fri 6th Jan 2006 23:28 UTC
ma_d
Member since:
2005-06-29

"Linux has come a long way in the few short years of its existence. It is less than half the age of Microsoft Windows"
This is somewhat close for Linux alone, if you consider Windows 1.0 to be in any way the same as Windows XP (but I'd argue that in that respect Unix is a natural precursor to Linux and should be called the same thing, especially since Unix software usually runs on Linux ;) ). However, if you consider the rest of your software:
KDE is half the age of Windows, I believe it was first released in 1996 or so? Gnome was started around 1997 IIRC.
The GNU project started around the same time as Windows, depending on what you consider its start (release of Emacs, when RMS announced it, when the AI lab became desolate; I'd go for the second option).

So, he's really pretty crazily wrong about that statement. Besides, modern Windows started in 1988 when NT was started.


The article is generally awfully short. I do like his diagram about the filesystems. That's nice. His section on permissions is unwarranted and useless. His section on CLI is too short to do more than confuse.

I did get one thing out of it. I never knew xkill could be activated with ctl+alt+escape!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Errors
by fizzled on Fri 6th Jan 2006 23:35 UTC in reply to "Errors"
fizzled Member since:
2006-01-06

"I did get one thing out of it. I never knew xkill could be activated with ctl+alt+escape!"

Neither did I... but it's not working for me. I'm using xfce on top of Ubuntu 5.10-- maybe xfce doesn't support it an gnome & kde do.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Errors
by chemical_scum on Sat 7th Jan 2006 00:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Errors"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

"I did get one thing out of it. I never knew xkill could be activated with ctl+alt+escape!"

Neither did I... but it's not working for me. I'm using xfce on top of Ubuntu 5.10-- maybe xfce doesn't support it an gnome & kde do.


Same here in GNOME on my old Mandrake 10.1 system

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Errors
by Chris on Sat 7th Jan 2006 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Errors"
Chris Member since:
2005-09-28

>>
"I did get one thing out of it. I never knew xkill could be activated with ctl+alt+escape!"

Neither did I... but it's not working for me. I'm using xfce on top of Ubuntu 5.10-- maybe xfce doesn't support it an gnome & kde do.

Same here in GNOME on my old Mandrake 10.1 system
>>

I believe it's a kde only feature..

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Errors
by Sphinx on Sat 7th Jan 2006 01:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Errors"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

Please, you're in X, map any key to any event or any command your heart so desires. The commands may vary a bit from wm to wm but it's built right into every one of them.

I would hate to have someone think Ubuntu desktop may not be as polished as it's hype suggests.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Errors
by fizzled on Sat 7th Jan 2006 02:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Errors"
fizzled Member since:
2006-01-06

"Please, you're in X, map any key to any event or any command your heart so desires. The commands may vary a bit from wm to wm but it's built right into every one of them.

I would hate to have someone think Ubuntu desktop may not be as polished as it's hype suggests."

I know that I can map the key combination. The impression from the article is that ctrl-alt-esc is a standard keymapping across all different distributions. I'm using a less common window manager, so I'll accept the possiblity that it's not configured as most. This doesn't seem to be the case; it's a specific configuration in whatever distro the author is using and not every installation (as the article suggested.)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Errors
by ma_d on Sat 7th Jan 2006 06:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Errors"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Just bind it to the program `xkill`. I'm using KDE and it probably has it bound by default.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Errors
by bogomipz on Sat 7th Jan 2006 21:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Errors"
bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

The author also mentions that you can hit escape to abort xkill. That means that whatever desktop he's using (the screenshots suggest KDE) interacts with xkill beyond regular keybindings. By simply binding it to a key in another WM you *have* to kill a program once you've activated xkill.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Errors
by rayiner on Fri 6th Jan 2006 23:38 UTC in reply to "Errors"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

The age argument is a little bit simplistic, but I think its important to consider what the author was going for. The fact that Linux started in 1991 and NT in 1988 doesn't really mean much. How much code is left in modern Linux or modern Windows from those early versions? How much code and design work was carried over into NT from previoius versions?

The more salient thing to look at is not years, but man-years. How many man years of effort have gone into Windows XP, including the amount reused from pre-NT versions of Windows? How many have gone into Linux + KDE/GNOME, including the amount reused from previous UNIXes, and things like X Windows?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Errors
by ma_d on Sat 7th Jan 2006 06:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Errors"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

I know what you're saying and I hate to contradict you but. I really think more time has gone into a comparable Linux system as Windows. Let's just say:
Linux, binutils, emacs, kde, gcc, xorg.
Compared to.
Windows XP, Visual Studio.

I think more time has gone into linux and kde than Windows XP...

The reason I say this is two fold:
1.) There are faaar more features in linux+kde+xorg than in Windows XP
2.) The bazaar development method is not a monicker of efficiency. You've got thousands of people making small modifications. To do that you have to waste time getting to know the project. In a more cathedral environment you only get used to the code once.

Of course, 2 has its own advantages that come with that. For one, more people complaining about things that are hard to understand is going to get them changed; which will aid later maintainability.
And another, I think people program a little differently when they think someone smarter than a manager is reading their code. It's pride.

Also, I really think the Windows UI was rushed and has been left largely unfixed because it's probably a nightmare. Now, by UI, I don't mean GDI, I don't mean Windows Forms. I mean explorer. I mean the single program that manages your whole desktop and hasn't had a new feature since its inception.

Reply Score: 2

Not so bad
by Sphinx on Fri 6th Jan 2006 23:55 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

Without nitpicking I thought it was pretty good and might be quite useful for someone just parachuting into Linuxland or raised in a Windows only convent without internet access.

Thought the illustration proved the point rather well too on the difference between the two hierarchies given the above audience.

Just how old are they? I started programming for Windows version 1.0 in 1984, Linux 1.0 was released in 1994. Given you're not talking about starting when they were just a gleam in Linus'/Bill's eye and allow for gestation to full release that would make Win 22 and Linux 12, depending on the month he wrote the article that may just be an incredibly accurate statement.

How much insight his audience could digest at once would be something I'd leave for the author to decide.

Keep 'em coming Thom.

Reply Score: 1

People would be better off
by microshag on Sat 7th Jan 2006 00:09 UTC
microshag
Member since:
2005-11-30

Reading Unix for Dummies. It's a really good introduction to the *Nix world for beginners.

Reply Score: 1

RE: People would be better off
by Sphinx on Sat 7th Jan 2006 06:00 UTC in reply to "People would be better off"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

Dude go to the well, "The UNIX Programming Environment", by Brian W. Kernighan and Robert Pike.

Note from the publisher:
Designed for first-time and experienced users, this book describes the UNIX programming environment and philosophy in detail. Readers will gain an understanding not only of how to use the system, its components, and the programs, but also how these fit into the total environment.

One of the greatest reads of all time.

Reply Score: 1

DOH
by dylansmrjones on Sat 7th Jan 2006 00:41 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

He's description of the file system hierachy is all wrong.

I believe the many errors in the article would make the *nix experience more confusing for newbie, rather than less confusing.

Reply Score: 1

RE: DOH
by Sphinx on Sat 7th Jan 2006 01:30 UTC in reply to "DOH"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

What part of his file system description did you see as wrong? Linux, windows or both?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: DOH
by dylansmrjones on Sat 7th Jan 2006 15:37 UTC in reply to "RE: DOH"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Well, he got them sort of right, but the comparison between them is wrong.

Settings / equal to C: is wrong for an instance.

/ is more equal to 'My Computer' than to C:

Another thing is that Windows doesn't have a really equivalent to /

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: DOH
by Sphinx on Sat 7th Jan 2006 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: DOH"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

True, true, but I really do have to give the guy props just for trying to correlate the two, not that easy a call to make.

Reply Score: 1

Was Ok.
by Bajan on Sat 7th Jan 2006 01:36 UTC
Bajan
Member since:
2006-01-05

I learnt some neat stuff from the article.Was ok.

The X Kill thing. I first saw it in Mandrake 8.X or 9.X as a menu option.Never knew there was a keystroke combination.

Reply Score: 1

Lets write one
by alcibiades on Sat 7th Jan 2006 09:54 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

It is not a very good article, and the diagram is particularly misleading. But why don't we have a small friendly competition, and write an alternative one that's better? There is certainly a need for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Lets write one
by ma_d on Sat 7th Jan 2006 17:32 UTC in reply to "Lets write one"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

There are thousands of these around. I've even written one...

Reply Score: 1

Ok
by korpenkraxar on Sat 7th Jan 2006 10:27 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

I think this was a pretty nice article actually. Quite similar to the 10 minute or so introduction I give people that are new to Linux.

Reply Score: 2

Linux introduction article contest
by monkeymartin on Sat 7th Jan 2006 18:30 UTC
monkeymartin
Member since:
2006-01-07

Osnews should run a contest to see who can write the best Linux introduction article

what do you think?

Reply Score: 1

raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Agreed.

Although, it should be Xandros or Linspire that they base the article on.

Then there should be articles for intermediate users for Mandriva/Suse/Debian/Fedora/Ubuntu

Reply Score: 1