[Haifux] advanced of programming in Linux

Eli Billauer eli at billauer.co.il
Mon Nov 2 17:53:47 MSK 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:

> Hello
> 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
> http://hamakor.org.il/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/haifux

Web: http://www.billauer.co.il

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://haifux.org/pipermail/haifux/attachments/20091102/44b86252/attachment.html 

More information about the Haifux mailing list