What is the more popular UNIX flavor? - Unix

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  1. What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    I am an IT trainer and I usually train different product like ORACLE,
    SQL Server and C # and windows server. I am pondering about studying
    a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer repertory. However I haven't
    been able to choose between solaris, AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat
    linux.
    I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to read
    a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is more common
    among commercial companies.
    Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?


  2. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Artificer writes:

    > I am an IT trainer and I usually train different product like ORACLE,
    > SQL Server and C # and windows server. I am pondering about studying
    > a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer repertory. However I haven't
    > been able to choose between solaris, AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat
    > linux.
    > I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to read
    > a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is more common
    > among commercial companies.
    > Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    > the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?


    Thank god, a Windows centric trainer who is clueful enough to
    entertain learning a second OS! Kudos.

    These are educated guesses:

    Linux (though technically not a UNIX) would be by far the most
    installed. RedHat used to be an easy choice of distro to aim at for
    enterprise stuff. I think that may still be the case.

    Solaris I'm guessing is probably second by a healthy margin.

    AIX and HP-UX... too close for me to hazard a guess.

    --
    Todd H.
    http://www.toddh.net/

  3. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Thanks a lot! Anybody else with opinions?



  4. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Artificer writes:

    >Thanks a lot! Anybody else with opinions?


    OS-X?

    --
    Chris.

  5. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Mon, 12 Nov 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.unix.questions, in article
    <1194896895.215131.116710@50g2000hsm.googlegroups.c om>, Artificer wrote:

    NOTE: Posting from groups.google.com (or some web-forums) dramatically
    reduces the chance of your post being seen. Find a real news server.

    >I am pondering about studying a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer
    >repertory. However I haven't been able to choose between solaris,
    >AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat linux.


    OK - let's get technical first, and then drop it:

    http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/ Identifies those O/S
    allowed to call themselves "UNIX" which is a trademark. Linux isn't
    one of them. This is because no one has dropped the coins to have
    a distribution (there are around 300[1]) of Linux tested. You get a
    bunch of flame-wars over this subject. Outside of the trolls and
    lawyers, few people care (and I'm one who doesn't).

    >I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to
    >read a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is
    >more common among commercial companies.


    The problem is as you state - regional. I'll agree with Todd's
    rankings - Solaris is pretty popular. I've got a few dozen Sol 9
    and Sol 10 boxes here, and almost as many FreeBSD, but we're mainly
    a Linux house. We _also_ have two lonely HPUX 11.11 boxes for some
    bizarre reason - don't ask me, I'm a network guy. I vaguely recall
    having an AIX 5.something box about two years ago, along with a couple
    of SGI boxes running IRIX 6.5.something. They don't seem to be here
    any more (or at least aren't running/connected to any of my wires).

    >Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    >the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?


    Two things to think about. First, *nix is a family of operating
    systems that share a lot of traits/kinks/warts. If you _learn_ (to
    the point that you are comfortable at the command line) ANY of them,
    you'd be able to hack it - admittedly with some difficulty - in just
    about any other. An interesting thought is that

    [compton ~]$ ls `echo $PATH | tr ':' ' '` | egrep -vc '(:|^$)'
    1435
    [compton ~]$ find `echo $PATH | tr ':' ' '` -type f -atime -30 -print
    | wc -l
    168
    [compton ~]$

    The first command says to count the number of files in the directories
    in my PATH. On this system (a version of Linux), there are 1435. But
    the interesting part is the second command. Of those 1435, only 168
    have been "used" in the last 30 days. There's a lot there - but you
    rarely use even a significant amount of it. By the way, the '$'
    prompt suggests I'm doing this as an ordinary user running a Bourne
    style shell. If I ran this as root, there would be more in the first
    result, but not the second (more commands available - about the same
    number of a different selection used).

    Second thing to think about is that each flavor of *nix (and most
    specifically each distribution of Linux) has a lot of distribution
    specific tools, and desktop eye-candy. And it is exactly that -
    specific to a UNIX product, or a Linux distribution. Knowing how to
    use Red Hat's toy administration tool isn't going to do you any good
    on Mandriva, SUSE or Ubuntu (three other "popular" distributions of
    Linux) much less Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, or OSX. _THAT_ is why that
    command line knowledge is desirable.

    http://www.distrowatch.com/ is a Free and Open Operating System
    centric website - caters more to Linux than any other, but you may
    determine some rankings from the content. But taking it back to
    your point about regions - what do _your_ customers use? The entire
    rest of the world might use $FOO, but if your customers are using
    $BAR or $BAZ, you'd better know $BAR and $BAZ - what-ever they are.

    Old guy

    [1] 300 distributions - not as bad as it seems, as a lot are just
    clones of another i.e., WhiteBox, PinkTie, CentOS, and several more
    are GPL copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

  6. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Chris McDonald writes:

    > Artificer writes:
    >
    > >Thanks a lot! Anybody else with opinions?

    >
    > OS-X?


    Chris makes a good point to the letter of the question. Heh.

    Problem with it of course, from a learning perspective, is that you
    can be fancied an advanced user of OS X and not even know where the
    Terminal program is hidden. :-)

    That's a testament to the elegance of the gui, I suppose.

    --
    Todd H.
    http://www.toddh.net/

  7. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Todd H. wrote:
    > Chris McDonald writes:
    >
    >> Artificer writes:
    >>
    >>> Thanks a lot! Anybody else with opinions?

    >> OS-X?

    >
    > Chris makes a good point to the letter of the question. Heh.
    >
    > Problem with it of course, from a learning perspective, is that you
    > can be fancied an advanced user of OS X and not even know where the
    > Terminal program is hidden. :-)


    That's why he should have said Darwin.

    > That's a testament to the elegance of the gui, I suppose.
    >


  8. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Nov 12, 2:48 pm, Artificer wrote:
    > I am an IT trainer and I usually train different product like ORACLE,
    > SQL Server and C # and windows server. I am pondering about studying
    > a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer repertory. However I haven't
    > been able to choose between solaris, AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat
    > linux.
    > I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to read
    > a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is more common
    > among commercial companies.
    > Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    > the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?


    This is a bit late of a follow-up, but cygwin must be right up there.
    You get the simultaneous M$ Windows, Unix shells, and X-windows.
    Launching M$ apps from the unix shell is simple ("cygstart").

  9. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Wed, 5 Dec 2007 03:41:39 -0800 (PST), Mister.Fred.Ma@gmail.com wrote:

    >On Nov 12, 2:48 pm, Artificer wrote:
    >> I am an IT trainer and I usually train different product like ORACLE,
    >> SQL Server and C # and windows server. I am pondering about studying
    >> a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer repertory. However I haven't
    >> been able to choose between solaris, AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat
    >> linux.
    >> I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to read
    >> a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is more common
    >> among commercial companies.
    >> Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    >> the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?

    >
    >This is a bit late of a follow-up, but cygwin must be right up there.
    >You get the simultaneous M$ Windows, Unix shells, and X-windows.
    >Launching M$ apps from the unix shell is simple ("cygstart").


    Yes, but you don't get the full unix flavour, because basic OS elements
    are missing in windoze

    Grant.


  10. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Dec 5, 4:29 pm, Grant wrote:
    > On Wed, 5 Dec 2007 03:41:39 -0800 (PST), Mister.Fred...@gmail.com wrote:
    > >On Nov 12, 2:48 pm, Artificer wrote:
    > >> I am an IT trainer and I usually train different product like ORACLE,
    > >> SQL Server and C # and windows server. I am pondering about studying
    > >> a Unix Flavor to add it to my trainer repertory. However I haven't
    > >> been able to choose between solaris, AIX, HP UX and maybe redhat
    > >> linux.
    > >> I know that this question depend on the region but I will like to read
    > >> a couple of opinions about what is the UNIX flavor that is more common
    > >> among commercial companies.
    > >> Since I usually train mid size companies I would like to study first
    > >> the flavor that is more common. Any Suggestions?

    >
    > >This is a bit late of a follow-up, but cygwin must be right up there.
    > >You get the simultaneous M$ Windows, Unix shells, and X-windows.
    > >Launching M$ apps from the unix shell is simple ("cygstart").

    >
    > Yes, but you don't get the full unix flavour, because basic OS elements
    > are missing in windoze


    Would you be speaking from a network admin perspective? From a plain-
    old user perspective, I found cygwin to be more flexible and up-to-
    date than a solaris system I was using. The plain-old user can update
    and add cygwin packages whenever he/she wishes, while only a sysadmin
    can do that on a more traditional networked unix . Well, you still
    need admin privileges on your own PC, but that's a typically
    considered a lesser risk than in a sysadmin on networked unix.

    Fred

  11. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    Begin <9e187b53-1aa2-4a87-8f03-3f980b4d86c2@d21g2000prf.googlegroups.com>
    On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 18:33:12 -0800 (PST),
    Mister.Fred.Ma@gmail.com wrote:
    > On Dec 5, 4:29 pm, Grant wrote:

    [snip!]
    >> Yes, but you don't get the full unix flavour, because basic OS elements
    >> are missing in windoze

    >
    > Would you be speaking from a network admin perspective? From a
    > plain-old user perspective, I found cygwin to be more flexible and
    > up-to- date than a solaris system I was using.


    That would depend on what respective versions you were using, would it not?

    I'm pretty sure he wasn't strictly speaking from an administrative
    perspective. Cygwin is but a thin veneer that makes windows more usable
    but it cannot make it a full unix.


    > The plain-old user can update and add cygwin packages whenever he/she
    > wishes, while only a sysadmin can do that on a more traditional
    > networked unix . Well, you still need admin privileges on your own PC,
    > but that's a typically considered a lesser risk than in a sysadmin on
    > networked unix.


    That is an assumption from widespread (mal)practice. Windows was never
    designed with security in mind and as such has its version of that
    bolted on repeatedly, but it never really sticks. For one, securing
    windows is quite a bit of work because far too many defaults still are
    wide open to favour the ``user experience'' over all else.

    Still ``most people'' run their windows peecee with administrative
    rights all the time, for a variety of reasons, often including not
    knowing better. One result of that poor security environment is zombie
    peecees the world over. It is indeed very easy to add software in that
    environment.

    As a counter example, in large corporations with massive windows
    roll-outs the standard windows installation tends to be locked down
    to avoid any further program installations unless approved by the IT
    department. It helps, but it's not something the average user can pull
    off. Sure, they might learn, but then cease to be ``average'' and move
    on to be ``advanced windows user''.

    If you run your own unix machine you are your own sysadmin. The
    difference is that on unices separating administrative and user roles
    is much easier and that the knowledge that it is a good idea and that
    assuming the administrative role requires a bit more care and knowledge
    than the role of user is much more widely accepted.

    So your argument is one that reflects the status quo, and I'm saying the
    status quo does not represent best current practices.


    --
    j p d (at) d s b (dot) t u d e l f t (dot) n l .
    This message was originally posted on Usenet in plain text.
    Any other representation, additions, or changes do not have my
    consent and may be a violation of international copyright law.

  12. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Dec 7, 5:53 am, jpd wrote:
    > Begin <9e187b53-1aa2-4a87-8f03-3f980b4d8...@d21g2000prf.googlegroups.com>
    > On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 18:33:12 -0800 (PST),
    >
    > Mister.Fred...@gmail.com wrote:
    > > On Dec 5, 4:29 pm, Grant wrote:

    > [snip!]
    > >> Yes, but you don't get the full unix flavour, because basic OS elements
    > >> are missing in windoze

    >
    > > Would you be speaking from a network admin perspective? From a
    > > plain-old user perspective, I found cygwin to be more flexible and
    > > up-to- date than a solaris system I was using.

    >
    > That would depend on what respective versions you were using, would it not?


    Did you mean version of solaris or cygwin? Assuming you mean solaris,
    why would it matter? The solaris system I was using went through
    continual upgrades, but the problem was that a plain user had to go
    through many hoops to "make" applications of interest and tailor the
    build process to the environment (details of which the user might not
    be familiar with). Sometimes, they build is successful, with enough
    detours to build prerequisite software. At least, that was my
    experience. Cygwin upgrades and inclusion of packages of interest
    were really painless.

    > I'm pretty sure he wasn't strictly speaking from an administrative
    > perspective. Cygwin is but a thin veneer that makes windows more usable
    > but it cannot make it a full unix.


    Yes, that was my impression of his meaning. I was wondering if he
    could provide examples of functionality that users would typically
    want out of full unix but can't get on cygwin. I'm not saying it
    doesn't exist. I might even agree with him, given examples that I
    could relate to.

    > > The plain-old user can update and add cygwin packages whenever he/she
    > > wishes, while only a sysadmin can do that on a more traditional
    > > networked unix . Well, you still need admin privileges on your own PC,
    > > but that's a typically considered a lesser risk than in a sysadmin on
    > > networked unix.

    >
    > That is an assumption from widespread (mal)practice. Windows was never
    > designed with security in mind and as such has its version of that
    > bolted on repeatedly, but it never really sticks. For one, securing
    > windows is quite a bit of work because far too many defaults still are
    > wide open to favour the ``user experience'' over all else.


    You're right, IT people in the places I've worked are pretty
    "attentive" about PC security. But in my experience, there's never
    been a problem. This is not to say that invasions of PCs on a
    workplace network doesn't happen. It is just that I've been lucky
    enough never to have seen it, and I hope never to see it. On the
    other hand, I've seen a solaris system commandeered by intruders from
    overseas, who set up hidden servers doing who knows what (I didn't
    ask). I believe it was an educational experience.

    > Still ``most people'' run their windows peecee with administrative
    > rights all the time, for a variety of reasons, often including not
    > knowing better. One result of that poor security environment is zombie
    > peecees the world over. It is indeed very easy to add software in that
    > environment.


    I guess I should clarify that I am referring to professional
    environments, be it work or university. In my experience, the default
    in such environments is for people to not have local PC admin
    privileges, and those who do have shown enough awareness to not
    routinesly use such privileged accounts.

    I wasn't referring to home users, where there are more people who
    would be unaware of many security issues, and there is no IT staff
    policing security practices. Those home users would probably not be
    interested in cygwin anyway.

    > As a counter example, in large corporations with massive windows
    > roll-outs the standard windows installation tends to be locked down
    > to avoid any further program installations unless approved by the IT
    > department. It helps, but it's not something the average user can pull
    > off. Sure, they might learn, but then cease to be ``average'' and move
    > on to be ``advanced windows user''.


    Yes, I guess we are talking about the same thing. Then again, when we
    talk unix entusiasts, we aren't talking average users (at least these
    days, it seems). In my opinion, we should confine our discussion to
    this crowd.

    > If you run your own unix machine you are your own sysadmin. The
    > difference is that on unices separating administrative and user roles
    > is much easier and that the knowledge that it is a good idea and that
    > assuming the administrative role requires a bit more care and knowledge
    > than the role of user is much more widely accepted.


    As I said, I was thinking about unix enthusiasts considering options
    for working in that environment. That is the crowd that I assumed is
    being referred to in this thread.

    > So your argument is one that reflects the status quo, and I'm saying the
    > status quo does not represent best current practices.


    I got a bit lost in that last sentence. You made a number of points
    about current practice. Which deficiency about the status quo you are
    referring to?

    Thanks.

    Fred

  13. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On 2007-12-08, Mister.Fred.Ma@gmail.com wrote:
    > On Dec 7, 5:53 am, jpd wrote:
    >>
    >> That would depend on what respective versions you were using, would it not?

    >
    > Did you mean version of solaris or cygwin? Assuming you mean solaris,
    > why would it matter? The solaris system I was using went through


    Re-read the sentence. He refers to the versions of _both_ systems.

    > continual upgrades, but the problem was that a plain user had to go
    > through many hoops to "make" applications of interest and tailor the
    > build process to the environment (details of which the user might not
    > be familiar with). Sometimes, they build is successful, with enough
    > detours to build prerequisite software. At least, that was my
    > experience. Cygwin upgrades and inclusion of packages of interest
    > were really painless.


    This is a silly point to argue about. You appear to be complaining
    that it is easier to install a pre-built package than it is to take
    a source archive, unpack it, configure and compile it and finally
    install it. This surprises you? It is like buying a kit car and
    then complaining that you have to put it together before you can
    drive it away.

    >> I'm pretty sure he wasn't strictly speaking from an administrative
    >> perspective. Cygwin is but a thin veneer that makes windows more usable
    >> but it cannot make it a full unix.

    >
    > Yes, that was my impression of his meaning. I was wondering if he
    > could provide examples of functionality that users would typically
    > want out of full unix but can't get on cygwin. I'm not saying it
    > doesn't exist. I might even agree with him, given examples that I
    > could relate to.


    My complaints about the Unix-on-Windows systems in general is that
    you simply don't know what they are going to do. Hard links?
    Sparse files? Most of the systems support these things but you
    are never quite sure how and if they are really doing the Right
    Thing or some ugly kludge simply to get things working regardless
    of what is happening under the hood. Then of course, they are all
    incomplete to a greater or lesser extent. If you find yourself
    needing eg tftp you only need to activate on a Unix system. It'll
    probably need installing first on the equivalent Windows system.

    > You're right, IT people in the places I've worked are pretty
    > "attentive" about PC security. But in my experience, there's never
    > been a problem. This is not to say that invasions of PCs on a
    > workplace network doesn't happen. It is just that I've been lucky
    > enough never to have seen it, and I hope never to see it. On the
    > other hand, I've seen a solaris system commandeered by intruders from
    > overseas, who set up hidden servers doing who knows what (I didn't
    > ask). I believe it was an educational experience.


    > I guess I should clarify that I am referring to professional
    > environments, be it work or university. In my experience, the default
    > in such environments is for people to not have local PC admin
    > privileges, and those who do have shown enough awareness to not
    > routinesly use such privileged accounts.


    If you've never seen malware on a Windows system I doubt how much
    experience you actually have. It is truly endemic in many places.
    Also, many commercial establishments are not the big organisations
    with hundreds of users and dedicated IT departments that you seem
    to suggest. They are much smaller outfits, maybe half a dozen
    machines, possibly networked. There is no IT department, just
    someone around who knows a little more about computers than the
    others. Those are the places where you have trouble.

    >> So your argument is one that reflects the status quo, and I'm saying the
    >> status quo does not represent best current practices.

    >
    > I got a bit lost in that last sentence. You made a number of points
    > about current practice. Which deficiency about the status quo you are
    > referring to?


    The standard practices of your typical Windows user. Running as
    a privileged user as default, installing and possibly removing
    various pieces of crap from e.g. magazine cover discs that they
    don't need simply to have a play with them. Not backing up. Poor
    security settings because no one can be bothered...

    --
    Andrew Smallshaw
    andrews@sdf.lonestar.org

  14. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Dec 8, 2:52 pm, Andrew Smallshaw wrote:
    > On 2007-12-08, Mister.Fred...@gmail.com wrote:
    >
    >> On Dec 7, 5:53 am, jpd wrote:

    >
    >>> That would depend on what respective versions you were using,
    >>> would it not?

    >
    >> Did you mean version of solaris or cygwin? Assuming you mean
    >> solaris, why would it matter? The solaris system I was using went
    >> through

    >
    > Re-read the sentence. He refers to the versions of _both_ systems.


    Please reread the message you responded to and over-zealously
    snipped. Your comment is redundant.

    >> continual upgrades, but the problem was that a plain user had to go
    >> through many hoops to "make" applications of interest and tailor
    >> the build process to the environment (details of which the user
    >> might not be familiar with). Sometimes, they build is successful,
    >> with enough detours to build prerequisite software. At least, that
    >> was my experience. Cygwin upgrades and inclusion of packages of
    >> interest were really painless.

    >
    > This is a silly point to argue about. You appear to be complaining
    > that it is easier to install a pre-built package than it is to take
    > a source archive, unpack it, configure and compile it and finally
    > install it. This surprises you? It is like buying a kit car and
    > then complaining that you have to put it together before you can
    > drive it away.


    I'm trying to make sense of the above paragraph. On one hand you seem
    to have a chip on your shoulder about the comparison I make about my
    experience with Solaris and Cygwin (lord nows why). On the other
    hand, you confirm my opinion that installing things on Solaris is
    harder, notwithstanding your obfuscating analogy.

    >>> I'm pretty sure he wasn't strictly speaking from an administrative
    >>> perspective. Cygwin is but a thin veneer that makes windows more
    >>> usable but it cannot make it a full unix.

    >
    >> Yes, that was my impression of his meaning. I was wondering if he
    >> could provide examples of functionality that users would typically
    >> want out of full unix but can't get on cygwin. I'm not saying it
    >> doesn't exist. I might even agree with him, given examples that I
    >> could relate to.

    >
    > My complaints about the Unix-on-Windows systems in general is that
    > you simply don't know what they are going to do. Hard links?
    > Sparse files? Most of the systems support these things but you are
    > never quite sure how and if they are really doing the Right Thing or
    > some ugly kludge simply to get things working regardless of what is
    > happening under the hood. Then of course, they are all incomplete
    > to a greater or lesser extent. If you find yourself needing eg tftp
    > you only need to activate on a Unix system. It'll probably need
    > installing first on the equivalent Windows system.


    Oh, it isn't that hard to figure out what they're doing for a guru
    like yourself. It's pretty well described in their documentation.
    What isn't described can be brought up in their forum.

    BTW, tftp does show up under a cygwin package search. Installing it
    involves checking a box. Not sure why this would be considered
    onerous.

    Anyway, I related my experience, and I'm not claiming that it
    represents yours. I never ran into the difficulties you describe. My
    experience with Cygwin has been much better than with Solaris, for the
    reasons described. Whether you consider Cygwin to be a kluge is not
    important to many people -- whatever is "happening under the hood", it
    does what is needed/wanted with minimal fuss. Hence, it is doing the
    Right Thing. I don't see how that can be considered "ugly"; quite the
    opposite, really.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have presumed an understanding that people use
    unix in different ways, and therefore have different requirements of
    their unix boxes.

    However, I thank you for providing those examples I requested, since
    it gives me an idea of what is lacking, at least for some segment of
    unix users.

    >> You're right, IT people in the places I've worked are pretty
    >> "attentive" about PC security. But in my experience, there's never
    >> been a problem. This is not to say that invasions of PCs on a
    >> workplace network doesn't happen. It is just that I've been lucky
    >> enough never to have seen it, and I hope never to see it. On the
    >> other hand, I've seen a solaris system commandeered by intruders
    >> from overseas, who set up hidden servers doing who knows what (I
    >> didn't ask). I believe it was an educational experience. I guess
    >> I should clarify that I am referring to professional environments,
    >> be it work or university. In my experience, the default in such
    >> environments is for people to not have local PC admin privileges,
    >> and those who do have shown enough awareness to not routinely use
    >> such privileged accounts.

    >
    > If you've never seen malware on a Windows system I doubt how much
    > experience you actually have.


    I didn't claim to have a specific amount of experience, but this seems
    to be an issue for you. As I said, "in my experience" means that it
    doesn't reflect your experience, specifically so that you don't get
    all up in arms about it (I have some idea of how touchy people can be
    about their operating systems). My meaning should have been blatantly
    obvious from the follow-on sentences.

    You've also misinterpretted "never been a problem" to mean "never seen
    malware". I've advised colleagues to scan for malware, and some
    relatively innocuous ones were found, and I've received spam
    apparently from colleagues who I know didn't send them. But nothing
    that really interrupted everyday activities much.

    > It is truly endemic in many places. Also, many commercial
    > establishments are not the big organisations with hundreds of users
    > and dedicated IT departments that you seem to suggest. They are
    > much smaller outfits, maybe half a dozen machines, possibly
    > networked. There is no IT department, just someone around who knows
    > a little more about computers than the others. Those are the places
    > where you have trouble.


    Granted, not all businesses are big, but isn't this thread about
    people interested in using Unix? It is reasonable to assume that they
    are not the regular end user and have a bit more familiarity with OS's
    -- even with the security paranoia required for Windows. Even if they
    don't know much about Windows, most are bound to have heard that you
    need to be careful about security.

    >>> So your argument is one that reflects the status quo, and I'm
    >>> saying the status quo does not represent best current practices.

    >
    >> I got a bit lost in that last sentence. You made a number of
    >> points about current practice. Which deficiency about the status
    >> quo you are referring to?

    >
    > The standard practices of your typical Windows user. Running as a
    > privileged user as default, installing and possibly removing various
    > pieces of crap from e.g. magazine cover discs that they don't need
    > simply to have a play with them. Not backing up. Poor security
    > settings because no one can be bothered...


    OK, thanks for clarifying. However, wasn't this thread about people
    interested in Unix? You snipped all that -- I'm not sure why.

    Now, back to the original thread, which asked what unix systems were
    being used. Whether you personally like Cygwin or not (for whatever
    reason), many users do, and they use it alot. Furthemore, in a
    corporate environment, it's often the only unix option available for
    one's personal computer.

    I can attest that from a user's standpoint, cygwin does everything
    that I've ever wanted out of a Unix box and much more (since it lets
    me administrate, couples so well with Windows, and simplifies
    applications inclusion/upgrade). This includes my experience using
    solaris, HPUX, and linux. I'm sure there are some for whom this is
    not true, but it is for them to write about their experiences.

    On top of that, I have full and simultaneous access to my Windows
    XP/2000 environment at the same time. This is utterly invaluable for
    interactivity with others.

    I would also hazard a guess that for those trying to transition to
    unix, such a mixed environment is far gentler and impacts productivity
    much less than throwing the poor bugger whole-hog into an unix
    environment devoid of Windows. However, I've only encountered crusty
    unix veterans trying to co-exist with Windows rather than Windows
    veterans wanting to go Unix. Therefore, I retract that guess (which
    might have raised lots of uninteresting debate).

    In closing, when the motivations to use Cygwin are compared to the
    shortcomings cited above, which I've never heard of before this
    posting, the pro's far outweigh the con's for my purposes.

    Cheers!

    Fred

  15. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On 2007-12-10, Mister.Fred.Ma@gmail.com wrote:
    > On Dec 8, 2:52 pm, Andrew Smallshaw wrote:
    >
    >>> continual upgrades, but the problem was that a plain user had to go
    >>> through many hoops to "make" applications of interest and tailor
    >>> the build process to the environment (details of which the user
    >>> might not be familiar with). Sometimes, they build is successful,
    >>> with enough detours to build prerequisite software. At least, that
    >>> was my experience. Cygwin upgrades and inclusion of packages of
    >>> interest were really painless.

    >>
    >> This is a silly point to argue about. You appear to be complaining
    >> that it is easier to install a pre-built package than it is to take
    >> a source archive, unpack it, configure and compile it and finally
    >> install it. This surprises you? It is like buying a kit car and
    >> then complaining that you have to put it together before you can
    >> drive it away.

    >
    > I'm trying to make sense of the above paragraph. On one hand you seem
    > to have a chip on your shoulder about the comparison I make about my
    > experience with Solaris and Cygwin (lord nows why). On the other
    > hand, you confirm my opinion that installing things on Solaris is
    > harder, notwithstanding your obfuscating analogy.


    Pre-built packages are available for either platform. Source code
    can be compiled for either platform. Compiling code is harder than
    installing packages (although you do gain flexibility). The
    comparision between installing a package on one platform and
    compiling that program from source on the other is not a fair one.
    BTW I don't have anything against cygwin per se. I must admit that
    I prefer Microsoft's grossly-misnamed Windows Services for Unix
    but that's just my preference.

    >> My complaints about the Unix-on-Windows systems in general is that
    >> you simply don't know what they are going to do. Hard links?
    >> Sparse files? Most of the systems support these things but you are
    >> never quite sure how and if they are really doing the Right Thing or
    >> some ugly kludge simply to get things working regardless of what is
    >> happening under the hood. Then of course, they are all incomplete
    >> to a greater or lesser extent. If you find yourself needing eg tftp
    >> you only need to activate on a Unix system. It'll probably need
    >> installing first on the equivalent Windows system.

    >
    > Oh, it isn't that hard to figure out what they're doing for a guru
    > like yourself. It's pretty well described in their documentation.
    > What isn't described can be brought up in their forum.
    >
    > BTW, tftp does show up under a cygwin package search. Installing it
    > involves checking a box. Not sure why this would be considered
    > onerous.


    Nice to know, but that was my point. I used tftp as an instance
    of a tool that isn't needed all that much nowadays, but when you
    do it is likely to be critical (it is typically used for netbooting
    systems - that isn't too common today but when you need to do it
    the nonavailability of tools is likely to be a show stopper). I
    prefer things like that to be installed as standard rather than
    have to install them manually. What happens if the machine you
    need to netboot is the machine that connects you to the internet,
    for example?

    > Anyway, I related my experience, and I'm not claiming that it
    > represents yours. I never ran into the difficulties you describe. My
    > experience with Cygwin has been much better than with Solaris, for the
    > reasons described. Whether you consider Cygwin to be a kluge is not
    > important to many people -- whatever is "happening under the hood", it
    > does what is needed/wanted with minimal fuss. Hence, it is doing the
    > Right Thing. I don't see how that can be considered "ugly"; quite the
    > opposite, really.


    Fair comment, although I still would want to know what is happening.
    The semantics of having a hard link to a file are quite different
    to having a copy of that file, for instance. If things like that
    are done without your knowledge then there are all kinds of problems
    that can crop up later. I haven't checked to see what cygwin does
    but that is my point - you can't assume anything so you have to check
    everything.

    > You've also misinterpretted "never been a problem" to mean "never seen
    > malware". I've advised colleagues to scan for malware, and some
    > relatively innocuous ones were found, and I've received spam
    > apparently from colleagues who I know didn't send them. But nothing
    > that really interrupted everyday activities much.


    I would interpret that as being a problem, but of course that is
    my interpretation, not yours.

    > Granted, not all businesses are big, but isn't this thread about
    > people interested in using Unix? It is reasonable to assume that they
    > are not the regular end user and have a bit more familiarity with OS's
    > -- even with the security paranoia required for Windows. Even if they
    > don't know much about Windows, most are bound to have heard that you
    > need to be careful about security.


    For general desktop use I would agree with you that in general a
    Unix user is more likely to be technically savvy than the equivalent
    Windows user. However, you also see Unix in semi-embedded environments
    where there is no-one there who is competent to administer the
    system. Things like the tills in one of the pubs I frequent are
    ultimately connected to a Unix server on site, that kind of thing.
    The bar staff there are using Unix without even being aware of it.
    There isn't _anybody_ working there that I'd consider a competent
    computer user.

    > On top of that, I have full and simultaneous access to my Windows
    > XP/2000 environment at the same time. This is utterly invaluable for
    > interactivity with others.


    I'm not knocking that for a moment. Personally I find I have only
    occasional need of a Windows machine. When I do, thanks to Windows
    Terminal Services I can start rdesktop and have Windows running in
    a window on my desktop. That is a real Windows machine, not an
    ugly half-way house. Works great for me, although I'll grant you
    it will not suit or prove practical for everybody.

    --
    Andrew Smallshaw
    andrews@sdf.lonestar.org

  16. Re: What is the more popular UNIX flavor?

    On Dec 10, 11:02 am, Andrew Smallshaw
    wrote:
    > On 2007-12-10, Mister.Fred...@gmail.com
    > wrote:
    >> On Dec 8, 2:52 pm, Andrew Smallshaw
    >> wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>> continual upgrades, but the problem was that a plain user had to
    >>>> go through many hoops to "make" applications of interest and
    >>>> tailor the build process to the environment (details of which the
    >>>> user might not be familiar with). Sometimes, they build is
    >>>> successful, with enough detours to build prerequisite software.
    >>>> At least, that was my experience. Cygwin upgrades and inclusion
    >>>> of packages of interest were really painless.
    >>>
    >>> This is a silly point to argue about. You appear to be
    >>> complaining that it is easier to install a pre-built package than
    >>> it is to take a source archive, unpack it, configure and compile
    >>> it and finally install it. This surprises you? It is like buying
    >>> a kit car and then complaining that you have to put it together
    >>> before you can drive it away.

    >>
    >> I'm trying to make sense of the above paragraph. On one hand you
    >> seem to have a chip on your shoulder about the comparison I make
    >> about my experience with Solaris and Cygwin (lord nows why). On
    >> the other hand, you confirm my opinion that installing things on
    >> Solaris is harder, notwithstanding your obfuscating analogy.

    >
    > Pre-built packages are available for either platform. Source code
    > can be compiled for either platform. Compiling code is harder than
    > installing packages (although you do gain flexibility). The
    > comparision between installing a package on one platform and
    > compiling that program from source on the other is not a fair one.


    I've been repeatedly specifying that my account of my experience was
    from a user perspective. Those two options are in fact a fair
    comparison of the options faced by a plain ol' user in most (if not
    all) of the networked environments that I have used in the past two
    decades. You have no admin rights on the Unix box (understandably),
    and often have local admin rights on the Windows box (or can get it if
    you demonstrate the required awareness of the security-related care).
    My point was that as a user in such an environment, unless you want to
    be the bane of the existence of the overtasked sysadmin, you compile
    your own software upgrades or installations, which often can be as
    arduous as I described for the reasons I described, and might get
    nothing out at the end of it. You might trash 10 unproductive days
    trying to compile gcc, to no avail (or was it simply that the testing
    phase was incomprehensible to a nondeveloper? Can't remember). Or it
    might fail for some other reason related to admin rights/access.

    So no, it doesn't surprise me that building your own can be infinitely
    more time consuming and riskier, depending on how much one's
    background leans towards development or sysadmin. And I suppose you
    can call it a complaint to give a hard-nosed account of that. But
    bottom line is that is the option faced by the user, versus checking
    off boxes in the cygwin update.

    >>> My complaints about the Unix-on-Windows systems in general is that
    >>> you simply don't know what they are going to do. Hard links?
    >>> Sparse files? Most of the systems support these things but you
    >>> are never quite sure how and if they are really doing the Right
    >>> Thing or some ugly kludge simply to get things working regardless
    >>> of what is happening under the hood. Then of course, they are all
    >>> incomplete to a greater or lesser extent. If you find yourself
    >>> needing eg tftp you only need to activate on a Unix system. It'll
    >>> probably need installing first on the equivalent Windows system.

    >>
    >> Oh, it isn't that hard to figure out what they're doing for a guru
    >> like yourself. It's pretty well described in their documentation.
    >> What isn't described can be brought up in their forum.
    >>
    >> BTW, tftp does show up under a cygwin package search. Installing
    >> it involves checking a box. Not sure why this would be considered
    >> onerous.

    >
    > Nice to know, but that was my point. I used tftp as an instance of
    > a tool that isn't needed all that much nowadays


    I guess that was part of my point in describing your problem points as
    apps I've never heard of. For *many* people who want basic
    computation done, it doesn't matter. For the specialist, it might,
    but cygwin doesn't claim to be an environment tailored for particular
    specialists in particular areas -- though I find repeatedly find its
    coverage to be surprisingly complete.

    > but when you do it is likely to be critical (it is typically used
    > for netbooting systems - that isn't too common today but when you
    > need to do it the nonavailability of tools is likely to be a show
    > stopper). I prefer things like that to be installed as standard
    > rather than have to install them manually. What happens if the
    > machine you need to netboot is the machine that connects you to the
    > internet, for example?


    I'm not sure. Being a user rather than sysadmin, it's not an area of
    my experience, hence the user vantage point from which I posted.

    However, one can always create a cygwin installation CD/DVD/mem-stick
    in advance from any net-connected box, checking off the packages that
    one wants. You would be the best judge of whether that addresses your
    problem above.

    >> Anyway, I related my experience, and I'm not claiming that it
    >> represents yours. I never ran into the difficulties you describe.
    >> My experience with Cygwin has been much better than with Solaris,
    >> for the reasons described. Whether you consider Cygwin to be a
    >> kluge is not important to many people -- whatever is "happening
    >> under the hood", it does what is needed/wanted with minimal fuss.
    >> Hence, it is doing the Right Thing. I don't see how that can be
    >> considered "ugly"; quite the opposite, really.

    >
    > Fair comment, although I still would want to know what is happening.
    > The semantics of having a hard link to a file are quite different to
    > having a copy of that file, for instance. If things like that are
    > done without your knowledge then there are all kinds of problems
    > that can crop up later.


    Can't say it's ever been a problem in my usage. Then again, I don't
    know too many unix users who even know what hard links are, much less
    use them. I would hazard a guess that it falls in the realm of
    professional applications developers and IT specialists rather than
    engineers and scientists.

    I'd say that if the ratio of users to developers and IT specialists is
    one-to-one, that's a pretty heavy overhead. Usually, an
    infrastructure person has many users (or even customers, in the case
    of a commercial apps developer). So there are many more people who
    probably don't care *too* much about the internals and just want to
    get the computation/analysis done. Not knowing what's under the hood
    will serve this majority of unix users fine.

    > I haven't checked to see what cygwin does but that is my point - you
    > can't assume anything so you have to check everything.


    Yes, well I'd have to do that no matter what system I use, for the
    details that matter to me.

    >> You've also misinterpretted "never been a problem" to mean "never
    >> seen malware". I've advised colleagues to scan for malware, and
    >> some relatively innocuous ones were found, and I've received spam
    >> apparently from colleagues who I know didn't send them. But
    >> nothing that really interrupted everyday activities much.

    >
    > I would interpret that as being a problem, but of course that is my
    > interpretation, not yours.


    If that is considered a problem, then the intruders that set up hidden
    servers in my comparison example would be something far, far bigger.

    Don't forget that when you run something like AdAware or SpyBot, much
    of the "malware" they come up with is from a just-in-case viewpoint.
    Many of the hits are not something that a lot of users would want to
    get rid of.

    >> Granted, not all businesses are big, but isn't this thread about
    >> people interested in using Unix? It is reasonable to assume that
    >> they are not the regular end user and have a bit more familiarity
    >> with OS's -- even with the security paranoia required for Windows.
    >> Even if they don't know much about Windows, most are bound to have
    >> heard that you need to be careful about security.

    >
    > For general desktop use I would agree with you that in general a
    > Unix user is more likely to be technically savvy than the equivalent
    > Windows user. However, you also see Unix in semi-embedded
    > environments where there is no-one there who is competent to
    > administer the system. Things like the tills in one of the pubs I
    > frequent are ultimately connected to a Unix server on site, that
    > kind of thing. The bar staff there are using Unix without even
    > being aware of it. There isn't _anybody_ working there that I'd
    > consider a competent computer user.


    Would that be cygwin they are using? I was speaking about my
    experience with unix on Windows, which is limited to cygwin. I can't
    speak to others. Cygwin is usually sought by unix enthusiasts.

    >> On top of that, I have full and simultaneous access to my Windows
    >> XP/2000 environment at the same time. This is utterly invaluable
    >> for interactivity with others.

    >
    > I'm not knocking that for a moment. Personally I find I have only
    > occasional need of a Windows machine. When I do, thanks to Windows
    > Terminal Services I can start rdesktop and have Windows running in a
    > window on my desktop. That is a real Windows machine, not an ugly
    > half-way house. Works great for me, although I'll grant you it will
    > not suit or prove practical for everybody.


    Our situations differ alot. I need the full Office Suite, and more,
    and my bash command line and X-windows, as my native working
    environment. Not that Office was a choice -- when you work with
    others, it is essential.

    Fred

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