The Beauty of Age is Wisdom

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One can see this quite clearly when one compares the ancient (*nix) operating systems with the upstart (Windows).

The ancients rely on cooperation, interoperability, and tradition.

The upstart relies on sole-source, monopoly, and 'innovation' (er, freakin' *CONSTANT* re-training).

So, for example, when I needed to find a way to make a multi-boot Windows machine (that actually multi-booted things other than Windows), I had to purchase a third-party software product (System Commander).  Of course, there are plenty of other equivalents out there, but the point is that the Windows internal isn't designed to be 'interoperable' or 'cooperative' (in fact, in many instances, the installation of Windows *destroyed* other OSes present).

So I'm looking up the info on not just 'multi-boot' but 'network-multi-boot' info, and on the *nix side, I find that not only is the setup for the PXEBOOT product clear (just some text files that define how it operates), but it's almost the *identical* syntax for two other products which do roughly the same thing (Grub and SYSLinux).

This is nearly the definition of the 'wisdom' I'm looking at.

I started on *nix in '87.  I use the same editor today to edit my code that I did back then.  It has a few more features (not a whole lot, though, since it was already a twenty-year old product when I started using it).

I was fascinated with the REGEX pattern matching language.  This language has been incorporated into nearly every product produced for *nix since then.

I have to admit there are a few 'styles' of code on *nix, but if you note, most languages on *nix are 'feature compatible' (they all can accomplish the same stuff, pretty much).  I realized this today when I started to make a 'convention' and realized that if I were to merely change my convention by one pair of characters, I'd have a 'standard' that would work fine as a template in two different programming languages (Perl and PHP).

The idea that Windows might have an equivalent to this (yeah, like they've got *another* programming language that's specific to Windows besides paper-tape-BASIC on steroids), is fruitless.

I mean, these folks *still* haven't hit the level of usefulness that AT&T System V was at in 1987 (I had eight separate screens on one terminal, could run programs in the background, could run programs in a detachable screen that I left running while I logged out and came back later--perhaps via telephone, to see the results).  They haven't come *close* to the simple disk functionality that I started out with (they offer neither proper soft, nor *any* hard links to files--they only have those lame 'shortcut' droppings).

On the new model (GUI level, 'runlevel 5') I can have 'n' 'desktops' (four by default), plus, I still have the same terminal screens available (save one for the GUI screen).  I can change it from GUI to text-only mode with a command to tell it to go to runlevel 3, or I can put it in single-user mode and change out drivers and such (all while it's running).

Of course, like all products of this age, it's by design secure (one has to 'open up' a *nix box to the network pretty explicitly, unlike Windows, which will chatter incessantly with Seattle as long as you allow it to, from the moment it's booted up the first time).  It's impossible to 'infect' one (unless one were to do so intentionally somehow, since you have to be 'root' to change software settings).

So, it's massively more capable as a machine (and there's scads of software for it), it's a much more discoverable system (as all the configuration is done in text files, which follow nearly identical syntax across both devices and products),  and this product is *free*.

So the idea that it's in third-place, still, only confirms that I live in a nation of morons.

I think it might be safe to say that the vast majority of wisdom is in the more aged, but the converse is not true (just because it's old doesn't mean it's good).

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This page contains a single entry by writch published on May 27, 2009 5:10 AM.

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