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Re: Deploring *nix Philosophy

> Parameshwara Bhat wrote:
> ... :
> >>
> >>> Yes,that does work.But what I was looking for was not just meeting an
> >>> actual need.But a technological question as to why Linux can't do it or
> >>> doesn't do it or hasn't thought fo doing it ? What you suggest is a two
> >>> way work .But Winzip has been spanning floppies for many years and it
> >>> appears so simple a task in Windows.Why this feature not in Linux ? I
> >>> guess because of it's clumsy mount and unmount ?
> >>

I can sense your frustration.  UNIX/Linux comes from a fundamentally
different paradigm than Windows.  The basic assumption is that multiple
users are concurrently performing multiple tasks on the system.  Common
resources such as disks must be managed so they can be shared among many
users at the same time.

Even if a workstation is only used by a single person who logs in at the
console, the multiple-user requirement must be enforced.  As an ordinary
user I can schedule tasks to be done via cron, batch, or at.  I do not
have to be logged in to execute jobs.

Now to the question about spanning floppies.  It's a similar one to the
notion of spanning hard disks or tapes (only the capacities are
smaller).  If I have a cron job that expects to write to a disk device,
I cannot have that device removed by other users at will.  In addition,
the device needs to be protected for I/O buffering.  If writes are
pending, removing disk media will corrupt the disk.  

To avoid these problems, floppies, just like hard disks and tape
devices, need to be mounted before they are used and unmounted before
they are stopped or removed.  It's not an issue of respect for users,
but of maintaining data integrity under all conditions.

Nowadays, I don't use floppies as much as I used to, but the behavior I
recall under Windows is sequential writes.  It's not possible to
interrupt a write to a floppy, and not possible to write two different
files to a floppy simultaneously.  That's very simplistic behavior that
avoids the need for much media management.

> >>
> >> It's more a philosophical point.
> >> ( Rest read and snipped ! )
> > 
> > 
> > It indeed is ! Well I can't see the situation in your place, in my place 
> > I am one attracted to FS /OSS for it's idealism and trying to keep 
> > myself afloat on Linux in the sea of Windows and all personal computers 
> > . Now I see that CDs cost a bit less than or at most equal to floppies 
> > and my point perhaps makes no sense.
> > 
> > But in this lonely attempt,many times I felt frustrated at the 
> > complicated ways even KDE and GNOME and Fedora think!Look at the 
> > stupidity of denying access to floppies and CD-roms to user accounts(You 
> > can't unmount a CD and not hope to eject)in a desktop installation of 
> > Fedora ( choice offered in Anaconda )  I am both root and user.I am 
> > advised not to work as root.But I can't take out a CD and put another 
> > one in !

The same issue applies for CDs in terms of the mount and unmount.  On my
Fedora system, I am able to insert a CD and have it mounted
automatically.  When I eject the CD from the menu, it is unmounted
cleanly.  As far as I know, I did a plain vanilla install.  Perhaps
there's a configuration issue on your system that prevents this?

>  I must be root to do that.I can't dial up to internet 
> > connection as a user.I must be root to do that and you are not supposed 
> > to be that connecting to internet.

I'm not sure I understand this part of the problem.  Again, I haven't
seen this problem on any of my systems.  It is possible to prevent
ordinary users from modifying network interfaces, but that is a good
idea.  The logic is the same.  If I am running a program that uses the
network, another user should not be able to commandeer that shared
resource and take it away.

> It is not all that complicated to 
> > surmount this,but as a new user from the world of Windows,each required 
> > great deal of wondering and digging.It is as much an effort getting sound !
> > 
> > This  is a common trait of all *nixes as I am learning.Whatever are the 
> > inner strenghts and ideals,the above examples are born out of a lack of 
> > respect for the common computer user.Clear message - computer not for 
> > non-programmers and non-geeks!

On this point I agree with you.  UNIX and Linux were indeed aimed at
generally knowledgeable computer workers.  UNIX actually represents a
good deal less complexity in many respects than the mainframe OS's that
are its original contemporaries.  

An analogy is that of driving an automobile.  It's fairly easy to drive
an automobile, and straightforward to change from one automobile to
another.  But no one would be allowed behind the wheel of an auto
without legally required training, testing and licensing.  Driving a car
is important and affects others.  Drivers must learn and maintain their
skills to do it. Even with the training and testing, novice drivers have
a significantly higher rate of crashes than experienced ones.  Despite
this, many, many people still drive cars!  They decide the benefit of a
car makes it worth the effort.

> And as much out of a lack of 
> > imagination.What else for it should offer you a desktop installation and 
> > not bother to do the simple settings for you ?

You would help me a great deal to perhaps offer an example of a setting
that should be setup but which isn't.  I'm sincerely NOT trying to be
flippant or rude here, I truly don't understand your point.  I continue
to be amazed at how complicated "simple" things often turn out to be.  

Years ago, you could log in to a remote UNIX system by just firing up a
getty process, exchanging a login and password with a few prompts and be
done.  Today, the process needs to be just as straightforward, but doing
this responsibly requires a TCP stack, SSH, exchange of 1024-bit public
keys, and on-the-fly encryption and decryption of the transmissions. 
Ouch!  Oh for the days when life was easy, users and networks could be
trusted, and Control-G really rang a bell!

> > I am an educated,thinking individual,but not in computers! but the world 
> > of Linux and Unixes have no respect for people like me.They do not seem 
> > to want us ( I do not mean to offend all those of you who have so 
> > voluntarily shared my troulbes taking them upon you ! )

It sounds as though you are learning like the rest of us.  Here's
another viewpoint.  Since you are comparing Windows to UNIX, ask
yourself when you first encountered Windows.  If you, like many people,
can remember the debut of Windows 3.1, you have about 20 years
experience with Windows.  Even if you only have used Windows '95 you
have almost a decade of usage behind you.  Given this experience, a
newcomer to UNIX will find a lot that is unfamiliar and which seems to
make little sense.

Good luck with your system.  I will help if I can.   Erik

> > 
> > Rgds,
> > 
> > Parameshwara Bhat
> > 

Erik Hemdal <ehemdal townisp com>

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