Paging Stephen Poole : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Heya, Stephen. Have you heard of the Windux operating system? It's the brainchild of a development group whose purpose was to make Linux every bit as user friendly as Windows. I have no trouble with the clear superiority of Linux on several levels, but have always been put off by the difficulty of using and learning a new O/S and GUI. Here's a link to their website: where it says,

Windux is a development project started by an experienced team of linux developers, network administrators, and webmasters, who have come together to design a line of personal computers, servers, and software all based upon Linux with all the functionality of your common windows desktop machine. The windows desktop monopoly has fostered a new and viable open source alternative that is intuitive

-- (just, December 15, 2001


Ooops... here's the link

-- (just, December 15, 2001.

Just an:

I'm sure that you know more about this stuff than I do.

We run Unix, Mac and Windows.

The problem with Unix has been throughput. When someone has been around long enough to know the verbal commands, they leave.

The problem with Windows has been with the hardware. We, primarily, do graphics analysis. It is very slow [I'm sure that you know why]. And as far as I can tell, Photoshop is completely incompatible with 2000 pro or other NT based systems [haven't tried XP].

That leaves me with Mac 9.1. My software is mostly custom and isn't available for OS 10. So, here I be; stuck in a time warp. ;o)))

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, December 15, 2001.

Hi, Z. Actually, all I needed to know I learned in kindergarten: Windows Bad, resource hog, riddled with virii trap doors. Linux Good, stable, safe, FREE. I've never used a system with a Unix- derived O/S. I'm an old person. Like millions of lazy, decadent Americans, I hate the idea of learning a new GUI. Thus, my interest.

-- (just, December 15, 2001.

Yeah, I've heard of it, but haven't tried it. There's also Linux for Windows (the very idea of which strikes me as odd -- its sort of like, "Ford Motor for Chevy, get yerz t'day!"). I'll take a look at it.

My first computer was a TI handheld, a programmable calculator. Cost several hundred dollars and stored the programs on little magnetic strips, and you programmed it in cryptic numeric codes. This was in the 70's. I wrote several engineering programs for it.

My point is that, like Z, I've been messing with these things since 256 bytes of RAM was considered a gracious plenty, though I came up from the low end and worked up.

I can be objective about Linux because I'm not really emotionally attached to any of these operating systems. It's got some real strengths, the biggest being price and stability. It's already making a *serious* dent in the WinTel monopoly, and Microsoft is, quite frankly, running scared from the whole Open Source movement in general.

But Linux ain't gonna do it by being "me, too." One of my complaints is that Mandrake, Red Hat, et. al. are trying so hard to emulate Windows themselves that at times, it almost gets in the way.

I'd seen X a few years ago when I was doing contract work for a friend back in NC. It looked fine to me (reminded me of OS/2); why the newest versions of KDE and Gnome are so determined to emulate the taskbar, Start menu and other stuff from Windows escapes me. Instead of imitating, they should *innovate.*

(When you tell a serious Linuxhead that, of course, he/she gets incensed. "We're better at the hardware level! We have true protection, true transparent background processes -- ie, daemons -- and lots of other stuff that big mainframes normally have ...")

(Uh, OK. Beta was better than VHS, too, and the argument can be made that MacOS is better than Windows. What's the point? People buy based on what they can *see*, and me-toos are ... well, me-toos.)

I am also baffled at why a system that has boasted "long file names," so to speak, almost since the beginning insists on continuing to use cryptic names like "emacs" and "awk" and "bash." :)

(But then again, I can't figure out why Bill Gates thinks I need his permission to switch off my computer, either.[g])

I'll take a look at it. I may write a COMMAND.COM clone shell for Linux myself; I haven't been able to find one on the Web.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 17, 2001.

My first computer was a TI handheld, a programmable calculator. Cost several hundred dollars and stored the programs on little magnetic strips, and you programmed it in cryptic numeric codes.

Hey, I remember those. A friend of mine had one. I loved the whirring motor as the little magnetic card slid in. He had a games card with Lunar Lander on it.

My first computer was a TRS-80 Pocket Computer. A calculator on steroids, it had a full alphanumeric keypad and a 1-line 24 character display. You could program it in BASIC until you used up the 1.7 K of memory it had. Then you could use the cassette adapter to CSAVE your program to tape. It was cool.

-- (what@i.think), December 17, 2001.

I am also baffled at why a system that has boasted "long file names," so to speak, almost since the beginning insists on continuing to use cryptic names like "emacs" and "awk" and "bash." :)

My theory is you can account for it entirely through 3 facts: 1) UNIX was written entirely by C programmers. 2) C programmers hate typing above all other things. 3) They also have an incredibly high pain threshold for memorizing cryptic, compressed, convoluted symbology.

-- Little Nipper (, December 17, 2001.

Well, y'all are over my head with all your C+, whirring magnetic dealies. I still use the cheat card to remember the graffiti for my Palm Pilot ;-)

Stephen, if you get a chance to check out windux, let me know your opinion. I'd really like to use a Unix derived O/S, but not if it requires a "Linux for Dummys" book to learn it.

-- (just, December 17, 2001.


Yeah, that whirring magnetic strip reader was cool, if noisy. Hard to work late at night without waking someone up, if you had to read in some data. :)

This is just the first computer I *owned*, mind you. Radio has been using computers and control systems since before Intel invented the microprocessor, so it was natural that I'd be interested in them.

Shoot, our insurance agency had a Remington *mechanical* calculator that weighed a ton and took up to two minutes to work a complex division problem. It was noisy, too. :)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 18, 2001.


Heh. You might be onto something there ... and don't forget, C programmers hate uppercase, too. :)


There are a few other projects that might catch your interest, then. Some folks that I used to hang out with in the Dr. Dobbs forum on Compuserve have been working at cloning the Win32 API, for example. Their work could lead to the first real clone of Windows.

I might check out Windux this weekend. Shoot, I've already got several operating systems installed on this poor machine; why not one more? :)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 18, 2001.

LN and Steven:

I got involved with Unix to a very limited extent in the early 90s. I surmised that the creators of Unix were trying to keep it a priesthood, and that Exhibit A was the perfectly awful text editor that Unix had. It was called "vi", if memory serves. You didn't use the arrow keys, you got into move mode and used a diamond of regular keys, etc. I felt there was no excuse for that kind of crap.

-- Peter Errington (, December 18, 2001.

Yes, vi. What a piece of...! I'm seriously thinking about cleaning off all Microsoft software and bringing in something else to take its place, but just the thought of vi is enough to reconsider.

-- Anita (, December 18, 2001.

I've had to dive back into Unix in a big way lately, as I have become an Oracle DBA. Our Senior DBA tells me I've got to use vi. Only good reason to use it in my opinion is in an emergency when you have no other access to the box other than through the console. Then, of course, you'll have to make heavy use of the man pages. I'll do anything I can to avoid vi. We use Xmanager which has a nice text editor built into it. If I don't have that I'll ftp the darn file over to a PC, edit it, and ftp it back rather than dealing with vi. Old programmers will remember there are worse creatures than vi, edlin for instance.

-- Buddy (, December 18, 2001.

Edlin was a piece of crap in its time as well. That was what we had to use as an editor on our VAX based systems and those old PDP-11 and 11/04's we used to use in the factory... Thank god for new equipment!

Diggin' a hole for a 11/04... (GRRRR...)

The Dog

-- The Dog (, December 18, 2001.

Oh BTW... Remember 8" floppies???

Tossin' the disk like a frisbee...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, December 18, 2001.

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,

Not a peripheral was stirring, not even a mouse;

The modem was hung by the keyboard with care

In hopes that a download soon would be there.

The pirates were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of unprotects danced in their heads

And Kathleen in her kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap

When up on the hard drive there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!

Away to the monitor I flew like a flash

Sat down at the keyboard, gave the spacebar a mash.

The sight on the screen, a'flicker with snow,

Gave the luster of power surge to the menu below.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

but an autoexec.bat that seemed rather queer.

With a little print driver so lively and quick

I knew in a moment I had seen a new trick!

More rapid than eagles my cursor it came;

my voice box whistled, and shouted, and called me by name.

"Now format, now rename, now copy, and enter!

On num lock, on caps lock, on scroll lock and printer!

To the top of the page, to the top of the doc,

now tab it and hold it and merge it and block."

As utilities that build up the CPU speed

Clash with just the programs I need

So up to the screen top the cursor it flew

With a RAM full of memory and an extension board too.

And then, in a twinkling I heard on the speaker,

The grinding of the hard drive growing much weaker.

As I tried to reboot and turn it around

The attributes changed from blue into brown.

I hit the control, the alt, the delete.

The message it gave me, I cannot repeat.

It asked me to ignore, retry or abort.

It told me the parallel had become the comm port.

It's lights how they twinkled; it's pixels how merry.

It's prompts were all scrambled, like a bowl full of cherries.

It sounded just like it wanted to blow;

the screen was suddenly white like the snow.

It scrolled the directory before my very eyes

With programs I did not even recognize.

It wouldn't see D, It wouldn't see E.

I couldn't get out of B into C.

Norton's tried to read it;

It finally found the FAT;

But alas, the disk was faulty,

and could not reformat.

Away flew the DBase;

Away flew the DOSes;

Away flew the Wordstar;

Right out with the Windows.

The spreadsheets were spreading;

The footers were heading;

What once had been memory

Was close to forgetting.

When the grinding was over

And the smoke had all cleared,

I looked at the unit

And it was just as I'd feared.

The 40 Meg wonder had crashed in the night.

I'll never be able to block out that sight!

So tell everyone to avoid my plight....

Back up! Back up! Merry Christmas, and good night!

-- Pammy (this@is.cute), December 18, 2001.

I was fond of edlin, lol. My very first lesson on my IBM-PC was autoexec.bat, and edlin was the magic key into it. So I was pretty thrilled (at the time). I had a good mentor and with a good mentor you can be enthusiastic about anything!

-- Debbie (, December 18, 2001.

OK, computer whizbangs, what do you get when you cross Lee Iococca with a vampire?

-- Mr. Laffs (ho@ho.ho), December 18, 2001.

Peter (and Anita),

You'd have more experience than me at that sort of thing, but just for the record: in Linux, anyway, "vi" is still around. And yes, it reminds me of something from the 50's.

(1850's. Maybe.[g])

Mandrake had enough sense to include a few other editors in the package, though, including one that I really like (can't remember the name at the moment).

Anita, one of the nice things about the Mandrake and RedHat distributions is that they include tons of different software. Several different multimedia players, several different editors, three or four Web browsers (that I've discovered so far -- there may be more!).

I am really impressed with Star Office. It lacks a few features that Microsoft's product offers, but considering the price, it's amazing. You *can* read and edit anything sent to you in Word or Excel format.

But it doesn't have Microsoft's Help Kitty. I miss my Help Kitty. :(

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 18, 2001.


Edlin? *Gack*. [g]

I first migrated onto the PC when I was a trainer at Heilig Meyers back in the 80's. The people in the PC support department there loved edlin; I hated it. We had a word processor called "WatchWord" that would output plain-text ASCII, and I used it instead.

(Or just entered stuff at the DOS prompt with a "copy con," followed by a CTRL-Z when I was done. Had to be careful, though ...)

(One must ALWAYS exercise caution when controlling a "Z".)


-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 18, 2001.

It's AUTOEXEC.BAT, dodos!

-- Mr. Laffs (ho@ho.ho), December 18, 2001.



-- helen cheers wildly for pammy (good@one.there), December 18, 2001.

Lee Iococca and a vampire = Autoexec.bat! LOL!!

Stephen, thanks for the answer. Anywhere online that I could take a look at what those folks are doing with Win32 API? I've used StarOffice, and agree it's wonderfully functional for professional or personal use. And, at $0 - $35, it's damn impressive.

-- (just, December 19, 2001.

OK, I looked at Windux. It's just another effort to make Linux easier to install and use, no different (IMNHO) from Mandrake, SuSE and Red Hat. The package is very similar to the Mandrake distribution that I'm using.

The key difference, from what I could tell, is that WinDux wants to concentrate on releasing machines with Linux preloaded, much as Windows is pre-installed on most PCs now.

Their Web site makes me nervous, too. I clicked on the two buttons for their discussion forum and got 404'd each time; I never saw the forum. That doesn't impress.

Nor did it impress me when I visited Mandrake's site and they were discussion ways to make the company profitable -- including donations.

If you want to try Linux, here's my honest opinion and a few random thoughts.

1. Make sure you have plenty of hard drive space and RAM. I bought a 30 gig drive and 128 Meg of RAM; I partitioned 8 of the drive for Windows 98 and the remaining 20-22 for Linux. If your drive is already partitioned entirely for Windows, you may have a little work to do. If you have the $$$, easiest just to buy another drive.

2. Get Mandrake or RedHat. Get the *latest* distribution (8.1 on Mandrake, as of this writing). Go ahead and spring for the CDs; I saw the base distribution for $30 at CompUsa. But *be warned*: read the label carefully! Check that version number! Some of these stores keep the older distributions in stock long after they've been superceded!

3. As long as you have a reasonably standard PC, it'll install and recognize most of your hardware - especially if your machine is 1-2 years old (as is mine -- an AMD 350Mhz). Better yet, the installer will arrange a boot manager so that you can choose between Linux and Windows (I still use Windows for DOS games[g]).

4. You will have to enter some Geek stuff to get Linux to work, for example, with the Web. But the manuals show you how to get all of the info you need from the "My Computer : Control Panel : System" folder under Windows.

5. On my system, the boot time is about the same as Windows NT; it's about 3 times as fast as NT's. The KDE X-windows session itself appears to run faster than Windows 98's desktop (and it *screams* past NT [g]).

6. Having Windows on a separate partition gives you time to get familiar with Linux, without losing the ability to do what you like. I'm slowly but surely learning where everything is.

7. Drawbacks: there's still a lot of Geek stuff in Linux, like the aforementioned cryptic file names, unfamiliar folder layout (Linux makes a "folder" for everything, including processes, hardware, etc.). On a single-user machine, Linux acts like a single-station network, with you as the single logged-on user. That takes a little getting used to.

X-Windows, KDE desktop: the fonts and desktop are a bit unfamiliar-looking to Windows users (though not quite so much to MacOS adherents).

All in all, though, it's a worthwhile move. If you're a developer, you will go wild discovering all the goodies they throw in *FOR FREE* -- like a top-notch C++ compiler with complete development environment.

(NASM, the assembler included in the package, annoys me a bit and strikes me as limited, but that's only because I'm so used to MASM 6.xx and have been spoiled by it.)

Star Office, as mentioned, works great, it *IS* Office2000 compatible, and you will very quickly get used to it. (If only it had my Help Kitty. :(


-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 19, 2001.

Ooops. Mikey the cat jumped into my lap as I was typing Number 5, which should read,

5. On my system, the boot time is about the same as Windows 98; it's about 3 times as fast as NT's.

(Mikey was just trying to be helpful.)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 19, 2001.

Stephpen, thank you! I missed this earlier today and didn't realize you'd given an in-depth and informative response to my questions. It's exactly the geek stuff that worries me most about Linux. But, I may be working myself up to biting the bullet. Windoze, in all its iterations, including 2000 and XP, is just so darn annoying! There is just no excuse acceptable to this consumer for Micro$oft to continue allowing their software to be a hacker's playground. Or, for all their SP's.

After all this time, why can't they get it right??!!?? Bloaty, Buggy, Booby-trapped. If I wanted all that, I wouldn't have divorced my ex!

-- (just, December 20, 2001.

Just an,

Your quandry is simple, start using Apple hardware and OS, sure it's not totally worry free but compared to my PC buds I have been 99.9% stress free.If you want the stability of Linux and an easy, user friendly interface the Mac is THE only way to go.

Dump the microshit and start livin!!!!!!!!

-- capnfun (, December 20, 2001.


Capn's suggestion has merit, too -- provided you don't mind buying a new computer. :)

(If you don't, though, seriously: check out the Mac.)

I warned everyone who'd listen (all three of my fans) about three years ago that the day that Microsoft started concentrating solely on the NT codebase, that would do it for me.

Well, for all practical purposes, they've done just that with XP. To me, it's also VERY ominous that Microsoft's Web site is essentially saying that they will no longer support 95 or 98 after this year. They are abandoning the (relatively) simple 95/98/ME codebase in favor of the bloated, slow and needlessly complex NT model.

I mean, let's be fair here: for a home user's desktop system, Linux is probably overkill, too -- but not so much so as NT.

The straw that breaks the camel's back, though, is that Microsoft is *seriously* considering doing nothing but OS *subscriptions* in the future -- in other words, you don't just buy a copy of ME or XP and be done with it; you must subscribe to continual upgrades. When your subscription runs out, you will no longer have an operating system unless you renew it.

To me, that's just plain wrong.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 21, 2001.

And the hell of it is, I can't see the logical conclusion that the MS corporate people are gaming for, it's allmost to see just how much marketshare they can lose.Is Bill that stupid? or just that arrogant?

Step away from the windows box, away from the darkside and let the Mac force be with you : )

-- capnfun (, December 21, 2001.


One of the first public letters that Gates ever wrote was a screed decrying the fact that a few people had made what he considered "illegal copies" of Microsoft's BASIC, way back in the 70's. The man has *always* looked for any way to leverage the last possible nickle out of *anything* that he did.

Microsoft didn't get into the Web just for the Web's sake, or introduce IE just to "get" Netscape (though that was certainly a motivation). A couple of Seattle reporters quoted him as saying that they wanted to have all e-business vector through MSN -- especially banking -- and then, said Gates, "[expletive deleted], we'll make the money."

Gate's stated goal is for Microsoft to be the only software that ever runs on any computer anywhere. They have consistently worked toward that goal since day one, slowly, patiently and -- give credit where due -- brilliantly and ruthlessly.

I had a subscription to the MS developer's net a few years ago. It so happened that there was another developer named Stephen M. Poole who worked for Hewlett Packard in California. The mailing program at Microsoft decided to consolidate us and stop sending two subscriptions to two different addresses. I never did get the last part of my subscription, no matter how I argued with them. Because the company that purchased my subscription lost the receipt, nothing I said or did would change their minds.

Sure, every business wants to maximize profits, but Microsoft takes it to ridiculous extremes. My Bro is the business guy in the Poole family, and he'll point out that most businesses will accept *some* "slippage" and loss as part of the cost of doing business. Sometimes you give people freebies to keep them as customers.

Not Microsoft! They use their dominant position to dominate. Period. In any way that they can, leveraging every last conceivable penny from any business transaction that they do.

Of course, you *do* know that Microsoft owns part of Apple now, don't you? Sigh.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 21, 2001.

Don't let anything happen to you before I'm done with the transition [if I even decide to MAKE the transition, Stephen.] I've been E- mailing with my son on this thought. HE'D also like to create a Linux system, but his fears are much like mine...He's afraid he'll screw things up so badly that he'll be computer-less! The horror!

I've only got a 3 gig 'chine, so it looks like I'm gonna have to purchase more storage no matter WHAT I do. [I remember when 3 gig was a LOT!] Rich mentioned a while back that storage was pretty cheap these days. I'm not a hardware person. I've never dealt with "inserting storage cards" or whatever. I can deal with any software as long as I have a manual, but my only strength is that I can read.

My son is more computer savvy and may be coming after Christmas. Maybe we could find a sale then on storage and he could help me with the install. I'm sure he'd feel more comfortable "testing his skills" on MY machine rather than his. BTW, his theory is that IBM and the Linux folks are tag-teaming in an attempt to create a market outside of Microsoft.

-- Anita (, December 21, 2001.

What's this I hear about a Windex operating system? Why, Windex doesn't need an operating system more complicated than the spray cap it comes with. I just can't believe that people never seem to stop trying to fix something when it isn't broke. You know, I think people should stand up and protest all these fancy highfalutin new gimmicks that are supposed to improve window cleaning in every which way -- that all these "inventors" should just take a break from it all and just be happy with everything we DO have for cleaning windows. In fact I have a petition here that I hope all of you who won't stand for.....

("Um...Eve -- he said WinDUX operating system. That's WinDUX")



-- Eve (, December 21, 2001.

Eve, Eve, Eve. LOL!!

Okay, Stephen and cap, here's the deal with Apple as far as I know. Polar opposite of Anita, my software/programming knowledge is nearly zip, but I LOVE hardware tweaks and tinkers. Like, when the Soundblaster Audiology card came out...gotta have that! Or, Seagate's fluid-dynamic bearings technology...Oooo...MINE! With a PC, just pop out the old, pop in the new. There are the occasional driver issues with Windoze, but never insurmountable. Some of the tweaking ease is probably lost with Linux, but not impossible. Doesn't Apple use proprietary hardware? Please correct me if that's wrong.

BTW, Stephen, here's another interesting Linux-derived O/S development: Lindows

"Lindows, ( has a name that in itself is genius. It's software that combines Linux and Windows without violating any trademark or copyright--although I bet Microsoft will sue at some point. The concept is to make a cheap OS that runs both Linux and Windows code, but that looks and runs like Windows. The Lindows concept was dreamed up by entrepreneur Michael Robertson, and is encountering skepticism. Nobody is taking it too seriously except me. I think Lindows might fly if it can conquer one simple roadblock, and that's running Microsoft Office 97, 2000, and XP. If Lindows can run these versions of Office, then look out below. Bombs away."---PC Magazine

What makes it appear that it might have some legs as a Windoze contender is that Micro$oft is suing the company for trademark infringement on their name, something that Gates hasn't bothered doing with the other pretenders to the throne, such as Windux. Hmmm...

-- (just, December 21, 2001.


An even better example is X-Windows. That's much closer to an outright infringement than "Windux." As a result, I'm not so sure Microsoft has a good case. Ask Bayer about what happened to them when they failed to adequately defend the name "Aspirin." :)

Microsoft has tried to ignore Linux in the past, thinking that it would be a flash in the pan that would go away eventually. I suspect that's the reason they never said anything about X-Windows -- and it would be difficult for them to press a case on that now.

But since Linux has become a real threat -- especially in their bread and butter business, pre-installation on machines leaving the factory -- they've targeted it for the usual Microsoft treatment.

Have a look at the infamous Halloween Document sometime; it shows that, by 1998, Microsoft was beginning to take Linux *VERY* seriously. :)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 21, 2001.

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