Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: is the

Author: Robert Hyatt

Date: 06:51:29 08/02/98

Go up one level in this thread

On August 01, 1998 at 07:46:41, Don Dailey wrote:

>>Hi Don,
>>Thank you for your informative post - it's made me think more seriously about
>>making the switch, at some point even if not now. My requirements of an OS are
>>certainly not most peoples' idea of what they want, but then you made some very
>>good points about usage. Personally, I hate flashy gizmo gimmicks. My PC was an
>>extravagance, but having bought the best I could afford it's all mine - that is
>>to say, no-one else uses it like family and so on. Unlike most computer users, I
>>use the computer more for writing programs than for running them. Most of what
>>you say about Unix and Linux sounds perfect for me. Do you know a good site to
>>take a closer look, maybe dowload some info about it? The idea of an OS
>>comprised of a large number of utility programs sounds similar to the way DOS
>>functioned, and I had no trouble with that. Is the syntax very different?
>>I am at a disadvantage to some extent, because everything seems to be coded in
>>C, and I program in Basic. I am, however, quite pleased with the compiler that I
>>use - it's a new product, a 32-bit compiler, but it depends on a Windows based
>>OS. Interestingly though, the vendor (PowerBasic Inc) has announced their
>>intention to develop versions for Unix and Linux. I would probably wait for that
>>to happen before making the switch, but in the mean time I would be interested
>>to find out more. It sounds like one or the other of these is probably the best
>>choice for my particular needs.
>>Thanks again,
>Hi Roberto,
>I don't know how standard different versions of Basic are, but there is
>a "Quickbasic to C" conversion program available.   There is also a basic
>interpreter but I think it's a fairly minimal implementation.  You may
>want to wait for PowerBasic.   I have programmed in many different
>dialects of Basic in the past, a couple of microsoft versions,
>"north star basic",  a powerful DEC version of Basic and 2 or 3 other
>microcomputer Basics.  The DEC Basic was really powerful and the OS
>it ran on was very unix like, sort of like a Unix with Basic as the
>fundamental language instead of C.  It was pretty cool.
>If you get a chance, try to install a version of linux on a spare
>computer or small disk partition.  You can install very little of
>it or quite a bit of it depending on how much disk space you have
>free for it.  A minimal installation (without xwindows) can be
>quite small and you still get several consoles to work on, alt-fkeyN
>will switch from one virtual console to the other.  There is no
>other OS, in my opinion, that is as cool to work on with no graphical
>support because the command line interface blows away anything else
>and virtual consoles gives you much of the functionality of multiple
>windows.  But very few people run unix without Xwindows, Xwindows is
>is very nice and gives you all the bells and whistles of a GUI and
>a lot more programs and utilities (graphical) come with it than Windows.
>There are also several ways to program xwindows applications that will
>just already be there when you do a full install.   This is usually
>the way it is with Linux, the stuff you need is just there already,
>no need to surf for weeks gathering your tools and compilers together
>and spending lot's of money.  However in your case, with Basic there
>is not a compiler but only an interpreter.  There are still many
>things you CAN add to your system but they are not usually the
>hard core items you can't live without.  An example of this is
>compression utilities, you have to dig them up for Windows unless
>this has changed recently.
>Even as a chess programmer, if you do a full linux install you will
>boot up your machine and Xboard and gnuchessx will already be ready
>to run, fully ready to go!  This is not unusual, it's typical of
>linux.  If you like graphics editors, there are 2 or 3 already there,
>one of them (gimp) is supposed to be extremely powerful like photoshop
>but I cannot vouch for this since I'm not interested in this kind of
>I'm not crazy about the editor choices however.  Emacs is the most
>powerful editor and is incredibly powerful, more than any editor
>I have ever seen.  But I just don't like it for aesthetic reasons.
>It's the only one I use and I'm quite comfortable  with it but
>never have learned to love it.  I used to use brief and think it's
>wonderful.  I understand there are commercial look-alike versions
>for sale for unix and am considering getting this.  Linux has a
>choice of 4 or 5 editors but I don't like any of them!  But it
>turns out a lot of people absolutely love emacs, so I may just be
>the exception.   I recently downloaded a free editor for linux that
>I might be very happy with, time will tell.
>Linux is more at home on the internet and Web than other OS's
>are, since the internet was built around unix.  If you  do a
>full install you will have a full blown web server built into your
>OS!  People can dial in, or get to your machine via the internet and
>ftp files, log in to your machine (if you give them an account)
>or even run graphical programs FROM your machine.  If they are
>on an Xwindows machine or device of any kind they might forget
>they are on your machine, everything looks and acts the same.
>Before I was at MIT, most of my ISP's used LINUX.  The only
>one who didn't used NT and it was the least reliable one.  If
>your ISP in UNIX based, you probably also have an account and
>password and can log onto their machine and run programs assuming
>they don't restrict this.  I actually logged in and WROTE programs
>on my ISP's computer!  You won't be doing this with a Windows ISP
>since you do not even have the option of remote logging onto any
>windows machine.  Of course that's probably not why you would use
>an ISP anyway, but it's just another example of how Unix is designed
>to give you as much power as possible, not to control your use of it.
>Anyway, you can find out for yourself, just do a search for linux on
>the web.  There is a ton of stuff on it.  There a several distributions
>of linux available, I recommend RedHat version 5.1 or greater.  You
>might start with  or something similar.   You can go to
>ANY bookstore and find a ton of books on Linux too.  The number of
>linux users is growing incredibly fast and wishful thinkers are hoping
>it will overtake windows, but this is completely unlikely unless
>it "dumbs down" to attract the new computer user.  I would never
>recommend a new computer user start with Linux and changing linux
>for this kind of user would probably be counterproductive and hurt
>I probably won't post any more on this subject since it is a bit off
>topic and I have subjected everyone to it but if you decide to give
>it a try someday, send me some email and let me know how you like
>it.  It's an OS you can really get excited about and it's absolutely
>- Don

not to mention that it supports multiprocessing, plus the normal networking
tools like NFS, ftp, www, and so forth.  All included on the CD.

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