[Haifux] advanced of programming in Linux
eli at billauer.co.il
Mon Nov 2 16:53:47 IST 2009
Since this issue is very related to my blitz lecture on Wednesday, I'll
tell you what my approach is.
I think that the "you can do this on Linux but not on Windows" claim
(along with its derivatives) is hopeless. When you compare upfront
features and differences, it's not really clear who wins. We see Linux'
features, but that's because we like Linux.
The great difference between the traditional free software and non-free
software is that the maintainers are the software's heavy users, who act
for their own good. (The word "traditional" excludes software that is
free technically, but is driven by good-old-marketing). That's why the
software we like to use stands by us in the long run and under
challenging conditions, while proprietary software tends to play dirty
tricks when the going gets tough. This difference in quality can't be
quantified by features or "you can do this". There will always be a
counterexample and a counter-counterexample.
I'm going to try explaining this issue on Wednesday, in terms of the
evolution of software: In free software, the surviving "mutation"
(software patch, if you like) is the one that makes the software run
better for its regular users. In proprietary software, it's the
"mutation" that will make the software appear better to the one who
considers buying it. That's why free software tends to look less
impressive, and proprietary software not to do so well when things get
I'm also going to mention non-traditional free software, such as
OpenOffice and Eclipse, which differ from Microsoft's versions more or
less by the fact that they are free. Unfortunately, when you install
Linux today, these are the things that meet your eye.
This, along with the fact that Linux is growing in desktops, servers and
consumer electronics (read "there will be Linux jobs") is more or less
my message on Wednesday. How students will take this is still to see.
Shahar Dag wrote:
> To extent Elli's question:
> We try to convince our students that programming on Linux is easier /
> faster relative to Windows, so they better learn how to work with Linux.
> We claim that using the build in shell commands and pipes we can
> compose a solution for complex problem (almost) without programming.
> Can you point us for real life examples that prove our claims?
> Thanks in advanced
> Shahar Dag
> System & Software Development Laboratory (SSDL)
> Computer Science Department
> Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
> Haifa, Israel
> Tel. 972-4-829-4880
> Fax 972-4-829-4878
> Haifux mailing list
> Haifux at haifux.org
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