[sf-lug] Linux user questionnaire [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)]

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 19 20:36:52 PDT 2009

> From: tigakub at mac.com (Edward Janne)
> Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 10:47:42 -0700
> Subject: [sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)] What makes a true  
> Linux user

> Question 1: What makes a true Linux user?
Hmmmm, as opposed to what, an untrue user of Linux or a user of untrue
Linux?  Perhaps one was wondering about devotee, advocate, proponent,
evangelist, etc., and/or with some particular point of view espoused
and/or practiced, and whether or not or when that might be a "true Linux

> From: tigakub at mac.com (Edward Janne)
> Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 14:17:37 -0700
> Subject: [sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)] How did you become  
> a Linux user?

> Question 2: How did you become a Linux user?
The short answer: by using Linux.
The longer answer:  Once upon a time I was exposed to UNIX.  Subsequent
to that, when I no longer had access to UNIX, and was exposed to or had
to work with other operating systems, my perspective was generally
along the lines of "this rather sucks, UNIX is so much better, and can
do so much more".  Time passes, and I get to work on UNIX (and various
ports thereof, e.g. XENIX).  Eventually time to purchase my own x86
hardware - I do, ... and for it, I choose a UNIX (XENIX at the time)
operating system - quite a bit more cost for the operating system at
the time (e.g. compared to Microsoft DOS 3.3), but well worth it in
terms of functionality and what I wanted to be able to do.  Time
passes, I keep getting nickel and dimed (more like $100.00 USD or more
at a pop) with UNIX (I'd since upgraded from XENIX to UNIX) for
upgrades, support, etc. - and though it was still pretty good (okay,
much better than), compared to, e.g. other "popular" x86 operating
systems of the day (e.g. Microsoft DOS/Windows), I was starting to get
rather annoyed at the "nickel and dimed" part (>=$100.00 USD a pop for
anything), and lack of source code, and sucky support.  E.g. I paid for
support, I'd find and report bug, but the responses I always got were
of the nature, "Thanks, we confirmed the bug, but we don't consider it
important enough to fix in the current release".  If I had the source I
could've fixed the bug myself - even contributed the patch back to the
vendor - but no source access was provided (source licenses were about
$10,000.00 USD in that timeframe - well outside what I could or would
spend) - and of course upgrading to the next release almost always
involved additional costs - and generally had no guarantees that they'd
have fixed the bugs I'd earlier reported.  Also, lots of "features"
were extra costs.  E.g. I had the development (and text processing)
systems which I'd purchased with XENIX ... when I upgraded to UNIX that
didn't include the development and text processing systems - if I
wanted to upgrade those too, that would be a few hundred more dollars
... each - so I painstakingly grafted the (binary compatible)
development and text processing systems onto/into my UNIX system (quite
a hack - basically worked, but had some limitations - e.g. no means to
use system calls present in UNIX that weren't present in XENIX - such
as anything related to symbolic links).  Along the way, I also got an
SMP motherboard (supported two CPUs) - want an SMP UNIX kernel - no
problem - just another $100.00 USD or more.  Want TCP/IP networking?
Sure, ... just add another $100.00 USD or more.  Want X11?  Sure, ...
just another $100.00 USD or more - oh, and we don't support your
hardware for X11 - you'll have to upgrade your graphics card and
monitor too.  In the meantime, Linux is continuing to advance
impressively, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I made the
jump.  So I researched - picked my distribution - Debian (and never
regretted that choice and it's still my distribution of choice), and
started working to get myself converted from UNIX to Debian (I had code
I wanted to port over, and other considerations, so it wasn't an
instant conversion).  On 1998-07-16 my conversion from UNIX to Debian
GNU/Linux was completed.  Of course among the many benefits of the
freedom available in source: typically GPL or other OpenSource license
cost of source: $0.00
cost of core operating system: $0.00
cost of development system: $0.00
cost of text processing system: $0.00
cost of adding SMP support to kernel: $0.00
cost of TCP/IP networking: $0.00
cost of support: $0.00
quality of support: much better than what I'd been paying for
cost of operating system and related software upgrades: $0.00
cost of adding X11: $0.00
additional costs of adding all that to a 2nd or subsequent system: $0.00
X11 support: much better - (then) XFree86 supported (and now X.org
continues to support) my existing hardware - which couldn't have been
used for X11 with XENIX/UNIX.

> From: tigakub at mac.com (Edward Janne)
> Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 09:38:35 -0700
> Subject: [sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)] Kinds of Linux user

> Question 3: Are there different kinds or levels of Linux user? How
> would you describe them?
Yes.  I suppose it depends how you want to slice and dice them.  E.g.
one could slice and dice by, oh, skill level(s), particular areas of
expertise, common/overlapping areas of interests/skills; views,
perspectives, and practices regarding Linux and Open Source; years of
experience, height, shoe size, ...

> From: tigakub at mac.com (Edward Janne)
> Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 10:42:20 -0700
> Subject: [sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)] Linux applications

> Question 4: What programs do you run on Linux? Does software that
> starts out exclusively Linux often get ported to other platforms? What
> is the motivation for this? Beyond being open source, what
> functionality is unique to Linux?
Lots of programs, ... let's see - taking a look at what's presently
running, and stuff in my history, we have (many of these are local
utilities or aliases or shell built-ins; on my host vi executes nvi and
vip is another alias that also executes nvi):
-bash, -su, >, >>, apmd, atd, bash, boinc, cal, cardmgr, cat, cd,
chmod, clear, cp, cron, dbus-daemon-1, df, dhcpd3, dig, dingding,
dirmngr, do, done, echo, env, ex, exim4, expr, fc, fg, fgrep, file,
for, ftp, fvwm, gconfd-2, gdm, getty, gpg, gpg-agent, gpm, grep, gzip,
head, hostname, init, jobs, kaffe-bin, kdm, kdm_greet, klogd, less,
login, ls, man, md5sum, mdadm, mkdir, mv, named, netstat, noflushd,
ntpd, nvi, pcscd, perl, pgp-clean, ping, powertweakd, ps, pwd,
python2.3, rm, SCREEN, sendpage, sh, sleep, sleepd, sort, spell, ssh,
ssh-agent, sshd, su, syslogd, tcptraceroute, tf, touch, type, ud,
umask, unset, update-alternatives, vi, view, viewman, vim, vip, wc,
wget, whois, X, xclock, xconsole, xdm, xfs, xinetd, Xprt, xterm,
[bdflush], [kapmd], [keventd], [khubd], [kjournald], [kreiserfsd],
[ksoftirqd_CPU0], [kswapd], [kupdated], [mdrecoveryd], [scsi_eh_1],
[scsi_eh_2], [scsi_eh_3], [scsi_eh_4], [usb-storage-0],
[usb-storage-1], [usb-storage-2], [usb-storage-3]
I'm not going to attempt to enumerate "What programs do you run on
Linux", but the above should give an approximate sampling of what I'm
running currently or have run fairly recently (or aliases or scripts,
etc., which invoke other stuff).

"Does software that starts out exclusively Linux often get ported to
other platforms?"
The short answer: Yes.
The longer answer: "often" - definition typically "many times;
frequently", etc.; "software" - not qualified by "all" or most, etc., so
"any" would met the question criteria, so yes, if there exists any such
software that's often thus ported, the answer is logically yes.  And if
one hasn't yet noticed, us more technical folks (e.g. programmers,
systems administrators, etc.) will often take statements/questions quite
literally and logically.  As for "most" or "all"? ... probably "lots",
but not likely "most" (well, perhaps "most" to BSD and the like, but not
so much for Microsoft Windows and the like), and certainly not "all".

"What is the motivation for this?"
That varies a lot.  It's OpenSource - so if someone wanted, to, could,
and was motivated ... well, it tends to happen - most notably where it
reasonably makes sense - i.e. it "fits" (e.g. where other non-Linux
platforms make good targets - such as it's useful there, and reasonable
to port).

"Beyond being open source, what functionality is unique to Linux?"
Many things are (or were) unique to Linux.  Too many to enumerate.
Inspect the source code for specifics (and compare against other source
- or functionality where source isn't available), or research some
other higher-level summaries.  This also tends, to a large extent,
continue to be subject to change - e.g. since Linux is OpenSource -
much of it's functionality - if not code - may be adopted and used
elsewhere (e.g. BSD).

"Question 4" - that probably should have been "Questions 4" - as you did
manage to "sneak" 4 questions in there.

> From: tigakub at mac.com (Edward Janne)
> Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 09:38:46 -0700
> Subject: [sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE (sic)] Linux growth

> Question 5: Is the Linux user base growing fast enough? What do the
> members of the group do to encourage adoption of the platform?
Fast enough ... for what or to what end?  Faster would probably be
generally better ... to a point, ... but really depends a lot on how,
and what's driving it.  Various folks do various stuff to encourage
adoption - e.g. random support like answering
questions(/questionnaires), assisting with installations,
troubleshooting, needs/requirements assessments, working to generally
increase awareness and understanding of Linux and OpenSource,
volunteering to be active in various Linux/OpenSource projects (code
contribution, documenting, community outreach, etc.), participating in
user groups, lists, conferences, etc., donating funds, equipment,
resources, employee's time, etc. to OpenSource projects, etc.

Also, might want to check your spelling before you and others
significantly replicate spelling error(s).  See also: spell(1).

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