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Re: Deploring *nix Philosophy ( Was Re : Splitting archives across floppies )

Parameshwara Bhat wrote:

Hello Mr. Erik & Mr.Robin,

I thank you both for taking the pains to respond in such details. I am trying to clarify my position ( to myself first and the list ) help make issues clear.Dear List,please excuse me for the lenght.I can't help.

We all have to learn sometime. After using Linux since 1994, I am still learning and loving it more.

I felt you both were mistaken in understanding me. Maybe that stems from our different understanding of 'Desktop Installation'. I understand by 'Desktop Installation' - installation on a single home PC shared by different family members but not networked or similar.Though all resources are shared, timespan is different and for one only at a time. I expect a good OS to be able to figure out what settings are required in this condition - either through the choice of installation type or even by the absence of a network card and network settings. I setup user accounts for different family members and root account is managed by the more knowledgeable member of the family or in combination.

I don't think there is a mis-understanding. The problem isn't the OS figuring out the aspect of your installation as much as confirming to the OS that this is what you want. Windows (until recently) did not take security as a necessity. It is easy to allow any user to change the world as required. Now Windows installations are more restrictive (at least what I have seen with XP) and as difficult to configure (or more so) than Linux. I don't do a desktop installation as I want to play with other tools.

Now I have soundcard, modem to dial-up,Cd-Rom / Cd RW and floppy which all of us use.I appreciate the ability in Linux to setup the usage patterns differently for each according to needs. Question is, how does the installation itself sets them up? Every member should have sound, should be able to connect to Internet and read and play CDs ( not everybody write, if you prefer )

But should every account have sound enabled? Reading and playing CD's is another issue as well. Do I want my children playing CD on the computer? Again this is an administration issue. Default setups can be configured to work across the board. I haven't played with the settings but I haven't had the need to. Remember some hardware won't work in Linux and from an article I read this morning, not all hardware will work in Windows.

Consider fstab as a fresh Fedora installation gave me.Even if you have floppies and CDs automounted, as user I couldn't unmount ( permission denied or device busy , even after one has closed all file manager and application windows ) and hence eject it.You are stuck. You have to either sudo or go to root account to wriggle out.Now either I share root password with each user to enable them to change CDs and floppies when they need it, which compromises system health or go to fstab and change the entry there, which I did after much digging into the OS and after a few days. OS has no clues or helping scripts,or GUIs to help me.( Till I know about mount / unmount and fstab file ) I can't go to help - in the windows way - search on CD or floppies and get all the information the system has to offer. Mind, I am new to Linux. Now,my question is, if this is the way this needs to be done - security compromised or not compromised - why the installation script itself doesn't do it understanding that from the installation type chosen and options exercised ? Why should I be required to do a research on the subject, distracted from my main work ? There is Autofs built in Fedora which can be used to sense and mount and unmount automatically any removable media without your knowledge, inobtrusively. Fedora doesn't set it up either - not using one of Autofs's abilities.( I do not know why it doesn't want supermount )

In the menu under System Tools is Disk Management. I can mount, unmount and format disks using this tool. As *nix looks at the device differently, unmounting the device before removal does make more sense. I have wrecked floppies and CD's in Windows by removing them before the FAT was updated and all writing was complete. Being totally automatic is nice but can cause problems. This is more than a security issue. It is a reliability issue.

Ditto about modem and dial up. A user cannot run kppp or wvdial out of the box. You must sudo or be root itself . On this I was helped by the list. But even to go to the list or HOW-TOs, I either had to work as root - again compromising security or go to Windows and do it. Now,if Linux is really so security centric, isn't it wrong for it to force me to be root to use the main resources of my computer or does it expect me not to use them , to keep them as decorations ? Or the other option - going to Windows ? Should any self - respecting OS expect you to use any other OS so that you can set it up ? Ultimately you have to change the original scheme of security as given by installation to be able to use them, why shouldn't the OS or installation be designed to enable all these fundamental resources of a PC ( without which PC is useless ) to it's normal users and offer them full security, data integrity and all ? That way - not being root where you shouldn't be, or fiddling with security scheme given - are you going to enhance security or lower it ?

I have no experience with modems and modern linux. Last time I setup a modem in Linux was in 1995.

Presently I have a problem with using my sound as normal user - again some permission issue.( Which I only realised today after asking on the list a question about initialising the sound card ) But the above examples explain enough my expectation and position.

On the odd occasion I have had issues with Sound and I think alot of that will change with ALSA. I don't know yet. For most purposes, sound works great at home for all users. I didn't have to change anything for this to work. I think I have had two issues where a program did not exit for another user. I have had issues with volume being changed but I haven't thought about it.

Now RH itself is a decade old and in it's 10th version . I believe it wants to be in PC space - the one I explained which makes up the biggest chunk of PC consumers where the original Unix paradigm is irrelevant.But wanting to be in this space, but not understanding the changed paradigm itself, what does that speak about RH ? But RH is not alone in this.I have tried Mandrake, Knoppix ( debian ),ElxLinux. All of them do ditto.Whose cause are they serving - Linux's or the Redmond Giant's ?

Windows is even older and it is now looking at where they went wrong. Security is a new word at Redmond and this is being forced onto the sofware writers as a fix. From what I am reading, there are allot of applications and procedures that will change on Windows XP after the installation of SP2. If this is true, there will be allot of unhappy users. Many users have followed the adage of install and forget. Even not doing virus updates and package updates.

Try going from Windows 3.1 to Windows XP. (I have used both on the same day) There are alot of changes. *nix systems are still similiar to systems that were made 10 years ago. Many of the commands are still the same though some options have changed. Why, they work. In many cases, many old applications can be compiled and still work on a current version. Now try running Windows old applications on a new version. This is one of the major upgrade costs for Windows, updating applications.

Let's come to Erik's example . Should a driver of a car be a Mechanical or Automobile engineer and be a master of Engine , Transmission system, Sophisticated Instrumentation and all other things that go with them ? If I am an Economics professional and want to drive my car to workplace, do you expect me to study the internal mechanisms of the car or have a technician seated beside so that I can drive my car ? Over and above, if this car can recognise me and does not let my wife and son anywhere near - how do you think about it ? Cars are what they are because their manufacturers were not foolish enough to expect that of their users and ditto for Windows.( Yes, for all its failures )

But a driver of a car does need to know how to drive, signal and meet some basic standards test. I have seen cases of people that don't know enough about cars try putting oil into the car via the dipstick. There are rules to the road and experience that allows you to drive to work without having an accident. How many people can go purchase a car and drive it without having taken a driving test? Would you want those people on the road? I don't. I wouldn't let my wife drive until she had her license to drive. Maybe we should implement licenses to purchase computers and use them. :)

People purchase computers and don't have any knowledge of how they work or how they should be maintained. They don't know about updates, anti-virus programs etc. Microsoft EULA are now wanting to do updates to you computer even if you don't know about it. Is this correct? Of course, you don't purchase Microsoft Windows, you only license it for usage.

If you don't know enough about your car to do basic maintenance you hire someone else to do it. Do you do your own oil changes? How about tire repairs? Now using this anology, some computer work for some people requires paying someone else to do it.

Windows does have it's issues and many people have to get outside help to get things working. I have made some good money from this in the past. I don't now as I don't have the patience to learn the Windows Registry nightmare.

Notice that some auto manufacturers are now looking at personal identification as theft deterent.

I believe I have been fair ( and forthright ). I have no hesitation in correcting myself if I am not.

Parameshwara Bhat

Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/

We are here to learn and any civil discussion. Some of the issues that have been in this thread are issues that I have thought about as well. I learn look at other issues due to discussions. I never looked at the comparison between cars and using computers before reading this post.

I would rather learn how to work within Linux security than deal with all the headaches of having to re-install Windows once a year just to clean up the registry.

Robin Laing

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