LINUX Questionnaire

27 03 2003

Recently, I answered a survey by one of our students. And I want to share with you my answers (with addendum):

Questions

1 Why use Linux?

I use Linux because:
a. it lets me configure/compile only those applications i want and i need;
b. it gives me the freedom to change any settings in my computer; and
c. it is free.

2 Is Linux for everyone?

There are two types of Linux: linux for the server & linux for the desktop. The server version is not for everyone nor for the faint of heart, I admit. They are used by developers and administrators. The desktop version, though, is for everyone.

3 What benefits can a person get from learning about Linux and its use?

The user is able to understand how applications work, how his computer internals interact with the operating system, how the operating system makes effective use of the computer peripherals in doing its work, etc, etc.

4 What are the uses of Linux?

Server:
file server (Samba)
web server (Apache)
database server (PostgreSQL/MySQL)
proxy server (Squid/SquidGuard)
domain name server (Bind)
firewall (IPChains/IPTables)
development (C/C++, Python, Ruby, Java, PHP)
application server

Desktop:
everything you can think of doing in a desktop

5 What are the differences between Linux and MS Windows?

There are lots of differences, I don’t even know where to begin. But, IMHO, I would say that the LICENSING marks the greatest differences between the two. The licensing of Windows states that only one computer unit must have the installation for the current license. This means that if you have more than one computer, you need to buy additional licenses for those as well.

With Linux under the GNU/GPL (GPL means General Public License. more about his later), you can install the OS in any number of computers. Also, GPL does not prevent the owner of the CD from burning additional copies of the CD and giving this out, or profiting from them, to other people as well, which you cannot definitely do with Windows.

6 Is Linux compatible with every desktop or Mac user?

Actually, it is. If you know how to use a pointing device (a mouse, for instance) to move and to point & click in either Windows or MacOS, you would definitely be able to use a Linux desktop, either GNOME or KDE.

But if you’d rather use the console (like I do) rather than the desktop, it would be a little harder if you haven’;t gone through DOS, and just zipped on by using Windows

7 Can Linux and MS Windows be installed in the same computer?

Dual-booting? Multi-booting even? Why, yes!

This can actually be done. What you need to do first is to install all the Windows version first, followed lastly by Linux. For example, you’d want to install Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, and Mandrake Linux 9.1 in your home desktop. First you’ll have to install the Windows OSes by year, meaning 98 first, 2000 second, and XP third. After this is done, you can finally install Linux.

This is because the OS loader of Windows does not recognize that of Linux, but they understand each other. So, after installing all three versions of Windows, you will see after booting up the three in a menu-like interface, waiting for you to make a choice between them.

When you instal Linux, it will install LILO (LInux LOader) as well into the MBR (master boot record). LILO understands Windows (and all its quirks) and will include all 3 in the menu of LILO.

8 What are the drawbacks in using Linux?

Drawbacks for whom and for what?

Whenever I am asked this, especially by supposed-to-be-technically-inclined people, I become sarcastic in a sense. Because the drawbacks they are really looking for are those that will drive the use of Linux to the ground. For desktop users, it will be the same drawbacks you experienced when you were first learning to use it.

But for the server, the only drawback (for others, not for me) is that all applications must be configured using a text file (what’s so hard about that?) and that you must understand all about paths, and daemons (not the evil kind), and processes (how and when to kill ’em), and how to start/restart-stop a runnning daemon or process.

9 What is the meaning of the Linux GNU/GPL?their site.

Simply, the license wants you to enjoy Linux for the least cost by: installing in more than one computer unit, copying the CDs and giving these out to friends, and by having the source codes of the applications so that you may change them as you see fit.

10 What should I do to be able to avail of Linux?

There are several ways, actually.

Number one, you can go to linuxiso.org and download Linux distributions from them or from their mirror sites. For beginners, I suggest you download first the KNOPPIX distribution. This is a live-cd which you can just pop in to your CD drive and run from the CD.

Number two, you can come to the ITRG office at the 5th floor, bring blank CDs, pay for CD burning, and we’ll burn your CD for you.

11 Which do you prefer: Linux or MS Windows or both?CrossOver Office and VMWare, Linux apps that emulates Windows, bugs and all, I deleted my NTFS partitions. Instead, I installed VMWare in my Linux desktop, and only boot to it whenever I want to play.

For serious work, I use Linux, period.

12 Why is the school (Asia Pacific College) not using Linux as their (desktop) operating system?

I have always pushed for the use of Linux in the desktop. But the arguments of those opposed range form “Linux is not yet a mature operating system” to “Linux is very hard to understand.” While these were true a few years back (like, I wouldn’t even think of migrating all our PCs, all 800+ of them, to Linux back in 1999), not anymore today.

Any computer-savvy kid can now install Linux in no time, and use KDE without even blinking an eye. It is now very mature that Microsoft itself said that in the Halloween Documents that they ARE afraid of the rise of Linux.

And of course, the instructors themselves teaching computer-related subjects are very application-centric. C++ instructors MUST teach them using Microsoft Visual C++, Groupware instructors must teach them Lotus Notes! Why? I ask you. Why do this if we can have license-free and headache free applications like GCC or phpGroupware as alternatives to these applications?

Of course, for the servers, we are using SuSE Linux versions 7.3 and 8.0. I am also now in the process of creating our own distribution. For lack of a more catchy name, I’ll be calling that (for now) APC Linux and I am currently in version 0.03.

So, thatt’s it for now, folks! Will APC finally wake up to the realization that Linux is the wave of the future (wave daw, o!!!)? Only time will tell…

Ciao, baby… 8)

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