The Humble Beginnings of Linux
All during the development of the kernel, concurrent development was being done on the tools I've mentioned, as well as others. One of the topics of discussion by users was what they collected for their system. Since new users didn't want to hunt the net for the critical pieces, the idea of a “standard distribution” was established.
One common medium of exchange has been the floppy disk, so the distribution kits have generally been cast in terms of images of MS-DOS-readable disks. One can copy a friend's disk set and then bootstrap Linux. If you're anywhere near a large community, chances are there is a Linux or Unix users group nearby. If you're lucky, you'll find a set of floppies to borrow. If that fails, it's almost certain you'll find someone who will copy their distribution to your floppies.
Distribution kits include: Debian, MCC, Slackware, Software Landing Systems (SLS), SUSE, TAMU, Yggdrasil.
These distribution kits are generally deposited or maintained on an ftp site and mirrored to other ftp sites. Many bulletin boards maintain copies of these distributions. This gives you a second path to acquire Linux: all you have to do is download 50 Mbyte via modem.
The third and, I think, most significant path to acquiring Linux is CD-ROM. A number of companies publish one or more (I've seen as many as four) distributions on a single CD-ROM. The companies add lots of other material, such as X-Windows, the GNU sources and snapshots of archive sites (which contain other, non-distribution kit software), to their packages and sell them for $20 to $40. Since you can easily spend $20 in floppy disks for a distribution kit alone, this is quite a bargain! When one can now buy a single-speed CD-ROM drive for less than $100, getting a distribution by way of CD-ROM is very attractive.
Some of the current Linux CD-ROM publishers include: InfoMagic, Morse Telecommunication, Nascent, Red Hat Software, Trans-Ameritech, Walnut Creek and Yggdrasil Computing, Inc.
It should be noted that distribution kits have different numbering than the kernel itself, and CD-ROMs may have yet another way of identifying versions. This can lead to confusion when someone refers to “the Fall 1993 release” or “the 2.0 release”. If you look at /usr/src/linux/Makefile, you'll find the version, patch level, and sub-level in the first few lines. Look at the README-type files in the root of the distribution to determine the kit's version.
My first experience with Unix was in 1980, when I was handed three 2400' reels of half-inch magnetic tape and a two-foot high stack of xerographed manual pages. I was pointed to the VAX and wished the best of luck.
Those were heady times, living on the edge, working without a safety net. One's phone list (of other system administrators) was critical to one's survival. Everyone (the system administrators and select students) had the source code, and one was expected to dive into the kernel and fix things.
But things got boring for a while in the late 1980s: vendors distributed only object files for their Unix systems and there were commercially-available support groups to call. One was expected to manage configuration files and submit bug reports—and then wait for a correction.
In a conversation just last week, I pointed out that those golden days are with us again, only better. First, the number of sites and kernel programmers has grown ten-fold or a hundred-fold, so there are more folks contributing fixes and improvements. Second, since we're running on personal computers, the effects of our changes are localized, and we're even more free to explore. Finally, with widespread Internet service, we're so much better connected to one another.
These are such interesting times!
Randolph Bentson (email@example.com) has been programming for money since 1969-writing more tasking kernels in assembly code than he wants to admit. His first high-level language operating system was the UCSD P-system. For nearly 14 years he has been working with Unix and for the last year he's been enjoying Linux. Randy is the author of the Linux driver for the Cyclades serial I/O card.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
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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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