Thoughts on Linux…

start off with some non-techie stuff first…

I head back to see my surgeon next Monday,  where he will tell me that in another week or two I should start putting some weight on my leg (toe touch, or partial weight bearing?) when at my PT.  I am also hoping he will tell me it is okay to get my incision wet, as it has been making it very difficult to take showers!

ok, on to the good stuff.

So, I am not at home and do not have my desktop machine available for use for the last week, I have been going through withdrawal…  but having to work on someone else’s machine, and my wife’s laptop (I think I mentioned before, I gave her mine, and sold her old one) has taught me one important lesson, why I prefer Linux.

My number one reason for preferring Linux over Windows is system maintenance.  What do I mean? well, I mean keeping everything up to date, this latest round of Adobe patching should make this make sense to everyone.  I don’t use Acrobat on my Linux machines for this reason.  However; back to the point, when I need to check for updates on my Linux machine I open Yakuake with a quick hit of F12 and type “sudo yum update” and it comes back and tells me every single thing installed on my system that has an update available, period, end of statement.  On windows, I have to launch 5-8 different apps, find their “check for updates” button/link and wait for the results (I have learned by doing this that OpenOffice.org does not notify you of a new version being released, only if there are updates for your version.  example, I have 3.1 installed, and 3.2 is now available.  clicking the check for updates menu option tells my “There are no available updates for this version” (maybe not word for word, but that is just about what it says).  I run windows update, Acrobat Update, Java update, Picasa update, Chrome update, Firefox update, and on and on… (yes I know there is an Adobe Updater, but I don’t know how to initiate it in Windows, and never cared enough to look it up, but now that I have mentioned it I sure I found instructions and have put a link to them here).

Simple and easy to manage, most distros even let you run their package manager and it has a button to click to check for updates for your system, making it easier and more time consuming all at once to do the same thing.  (Yakuake is always running and it takes me about 1.5 seconds to type that line into the terminal, it takes a lot longer to load the package manager from the application menu and then click the check for updates button, but you don’t have to type that way!)

The actual GUI interface for Windows an Linux and even MAC are so similar these days, that I don’t care which I am using as far as that is concerned.  I have come to the understanding that there will always be applications/games for an OS, other than the one I am using, that I want to use/play (take iPhone for example, they have the best Air Traffic Controller game I have played, and I’ve hunted those down and played quite a number of them, but I don’t own anything made by Apple, and probably won’t ever, unless the 2nd gen iPad totally rocks… but I will be getting an Android Tablet this year (possibly the Notion Ink Adam, or the HTC Google Chrome OS tablet), so I still probably won’t get an iPad).  My concern at this point, as I spend more and more time as a Unix Admin is maintenance.  The system I use at home needs to be practically maint free, as most Linux and Unix machines are, they will run for years without being touched by an admin, the best I know of are an AIX Server and a OpenVMS server, the AIX server has been running since 1991 and has never been patched, updated, reconfigured, or messed with in any way.  It is setup to contact a NIM server for logins, so no new users have ever been added to it, it has never crashed, never lost power, never been rebooted.  That to me is the greatest achievement of humankind (in technology anyways, and some of these companies need to take a look at the AIX OS and learn something from it!!!).  The other machine, the OpenVMS machine has been running since before 1994, but has not been patched, never been upgraded, never been rebooted, since 1994.  now I know next to nothing about OpenVMS, and have not personally logged into the machine itself, but a friend and co-worker of mine used to be the sole admin for the OpenVMS machines at that company and although that one is the only one like this, it is still running today without interference from humans.  I am sure some other machines are out there doing the same, but these are two that I know.  The longest Windows Server I have heard of running without rebooting or crashing was about 2.5 – 3 years, after which the hardware components in the server failed and the machine was replaced.  Some people have told me about Windows servers being up for 4 years and then being restarted by some new guy, but I have no validation of it and they could not give me a more exact time frame.

not sure if I made a compelling argument or not, but I need some medication and to go prop my leg up, so I am done here.  Also expecting UPS sooner or later for an over night supersave shipment… and it takes me 5 mins to get downstairs…  :)

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