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osOpinion: On the Ignorance of the IT Press and the Fragmentation of Linux

[ Thanks to Kelly
McNeill
for this link. ]

“Linux is often equated with Unix. On the surface it is very
similar to commercial Unices, but look “under the hood” and you
will find it was coded from scratch. It has all the functionality
of Unix but supports a much wider range of hardware and file
systems. Many articles often give the impression that Linus is the
sole author of Linux, but a typical Linux distro includes apps from
thousands of programmers. Linux users are described as “fanatics”
or “zealots” when the truth is that most of them (including me) are
pragmatic enough to use Win98 sometimes. Linux can’t do it all…
not yet.”

“Journalists know on which side their bread is buttered.
Mainstream webzines get little advertising revenue from Apple
Computer and Linux firms, so they can ridicule Macintosh and Linux
with impunity. But if a journalist publishes an article critical of
Microsoft software, he will receive a call from the editor.
Witness the firewalk performed by Internet Week upon the
release of Windows 2000. They found many problems installing Win2k,
but still managed to wax rhapsodic about it. If it had been Linux
they would have given up, saying, “It isn’t worth the
hassle….

“Fragmentation” is Microspeak for “freedom of choice.” When was
the last time you heard a Penguinista wailing about the
fragmentation of the Linux desktop? Am I bewildered by the variety
of window managers? Linux WM’s use the X Window System. Unlike the
Windows WM (if there were such a thing), X does not prescribe the
style of widgets, meaning “window gadgets.” Those are frames,
scrollbars, sliders, buttons and the like. Because the Linux GUI is
separate from the Linux kernel, X binaries will work with any WM.
If X starts acting strange, you can go to a terminal without
rebooting. For the Linux GUI, fragmentation is a Good Thing(tm).
Microsoft likes to trumpet “the tight integration between apps and
the operating system” as the big advantage of Windows. Actually
it’s the biggest drawback.”


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