I Wish to Make a Complaint!
Sometimes, it's difficult to be the guy who complains when all around seem satisfied. However, criticism, when well-founded, has its place. It's an idealogical equivalent of an attack, and you sometimes make things stronger by attacking them. For example, in nature, only the hardiest and most efficient creatures win the evolution game when competition exists. The more pressure a species is placed under, the stronger it becomes. It has to.
So it is with Linux, but sometimes a sense of loyalty forces people to hold back from honest criticism. Yet I encourage people to embark on a program of criticizing Linux whenever they reasonably can. I have a favorite maxim for situations like these: you don't have to be loyal to something that is genuinely good.
My attitude is inspired by my early experiences from a time before anyone other than Linus knew what Linux was. As a British schoolboy, in the 1990s, PCs and Macs weren't that popular amongst my friends. We all aspired to own machines like the Commodore Amiga and my own dear Acorn Archimedes (the origin of the ARM processor). If you aren't familiar with these systems, and you have any interest at all in computer history, look them up. They were dynamite with a mouse attached (and a lack of adequate separation between processes). They fell over a lot but did amazing things with hardware that would seem comical by modern standards. If they were one thing, they were miles ahead of the mainstream "serious" platforms. However, odds are, you're not using one to read this.
Both platforms started out with an amazing technological lead. The Amiga had graphics that were only bettered by dedicated workstations that cost as much as a car. The processor on the Archimedes was about twice as fast as anything else on the market. When did you last hear of a new system with that much of a lead on the competition? But apart from an enthusiast community, both platforms are long dead. If you're wondering what killed them, I'll give you an answer that might surprise you: It was loyalty.
These were machines that were beloved by their users but the machines themselves quickly began to loose the massive lead they had started with. "Pah," was the cry from the forums, "why would I want more than 256 colors?". Other forum dwellers would tell you that they didn't need a faster processor, crash free multitasking and the that the Internet was a passing fad. Tragically, a loyal backbone of users were prepared to keep using their favorite platform even when it wasn't as good, and that's death for a computer platform.
Things are the same with Linux. There are some areas in which it's a bit weak. Take one of my personal annoyances: setting up the screen. Somewhere, a Linux developer probably has a perfect reference setup of monitor, graphics card and computer that works properly, but the rest of us are not so lucky. There is something very wrong with screen setup under Linux, and as often as not, I have spend far too long fiddling with text files in order to get a new install working. In short, it's just not good enough and it's a sufficiently serious problem to drive away potential new users. And yet, I've seen people almost accused of lying when they complain about this problem on the forums. Another common one is the dubious defensive logic of "it worked for me, you must be doing it wrong."
Linux has other problems as well such as poor performance in some areas (flash for example), occasional, unacceptable hardware support regressions and network setup tools that tell you that your wireless network is set up and working when it isn't. Frankly, I don't think that Mac owners would sit back and accept problems of this sort. Trust me, complain whenever you can, you're far more likely to do some good than any harm.
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.
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