Selecting a Linux CD
As the Linux movement has grown, so has the size of a Linux distribution. Buying a CD-ROM is now the only practical way to get a complete distribution. Fortunately, as the amount of code has grown, so have the buyer's choices in terms of distributions on CDs. And it continues to grow every month.
Linux is a very stable product with some people running distributions many months old. (Our server system at Linux Journal is running a distribution from October, 1993.) But each new release offers new features and new bug fixes. This means that new CDs are appearing virtually weekly. Here are some shopping hints.
Although the name Linux really applies to the kernel, packages that include this kernel with lots of utilities and applications are commonly called Linux packages. Some of these packages are designed for a specific (and generally non-commercial) purpose. Others are designed specifically to be a retail product and others are a combination of the two.
To add to the confusion, there are the companies that develop the content of the CD and have them manufactured and there are companies that just distribute CDs manufactured by others or include mostly a distribution developed by someone else.
As the distinction between someone who has developed their own package and one who just sells code gets muddled more and more, the real issue comes up: is the product supported? Will the company that sold you the CD (or the manufacturer of the CD) offer you support if you need it?
This doesn't necessarily mean free support or support included with the product. The amount of support you can expect with a $20-$50 package is minimal, although that minimal “hand-holding” to get the package initially running might be important.
Some people are buying Linux to “hack”. If this is the case, support is probably not an issue. But if you plan to have the operation of your company depend on Linux (which is happening more and more today), make sure you can get the support you need before you jump in. That said, on to what is available.
Yggdrasil Computing is clearly the biggest of those who make their own package. Yggdrasil put together their own package (the first was called LGX and the current product is called Plug-and-Play) by selecting from available code. They then developed their own installation package running under X-Windows and made other decisions independent of most other Linux development.
Yggdrasil (and Yggdrasil distributors) sells a package which includes a boot disk and 90-page manual for $34.95. On the plus side, you get a shrink-wrapped complete package. But on the down side, you get Yggdrasil's idea of the system layout and utilities, making it harder to add other software at a later time.
If you want to follow the development mainstream, there are choices. The most popular Linux package today is Slackware, produced by Patrick Volkerding. It followed the general idea of the SLS package, which was to have an easy installation method that would allow the addition of more packages. The package has been freely distributed on the Internet, which means that it has most of the kinks worked out. Pat never intended to make such a package (he just wanted to clean up a few problems with SLS) but it just happened because it worked so well.
Many commercial packagers jumped on the Slackware bandwagon, including Trans-Ameritech, Morse Commu-nications and InfoMagic. But they did it in different ways. Trans-Ameritech produces a CD that includes Slackware plus BSD. The CD comes with bootable kernels and programs to write the floppy boot disks. The CD is $29.95.
Morse Communications produces The Linux Quarterly. They try to add value to each CD produced. The Spring 1994 edition includes programs that run under Microsoft Windows that allow you to read documentation and build the boot disk. It also includes the complete contents of the tsx-11.mit.edu archive site. This CD is $29.95.
Morse also has a Linux Professional package that consists of Pat Volkerding's Slackware and Matt Welsh's Installation and Getting Started book in a shrink-wrapped package. [At the time of this writing we haven't seen this package; it may contain other things as well.] It sells for $49.95.
InfoMagic has decided to offer everything available in the way of code at a reasonable price. Their current distribution consists of two CDs which include all the Linux archives on both tsx-11.mit.edu and sunsite.unc.edu as well as the GNU archive from prep.ai.mit.edu, all of the Linux HOWTO documents with a browser that runs under Microsoft Windows, and the complete Slackware 2.0, SLS 1.0.5, Debian 0.91 beta and TAMU 1.0A distributions. The two-CD set sells for $20.00.
Other vendors who offer Linux on CD-ROM (but haven't yet sent us their products to review) include Red Hat Software, Nascent Technologies, S.u.S.E. GmbH (Germany) and Unifix Software GmbH (Germany).
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide