Linux and the 'clssic' computing world

Grant Taylor cctalk at
Tue Sep 28 11:41:11 CDT 2021

On 9/28/21 12:26 AM, Tor Arntsen via cctalk wrote:
> Everything I personally develop for Linux will build on all Linux 
> distros, and also IRIX, Solaris, AIX, and, until recently, Tru64 
> (because I have access to those systems, except for Tru64 now). And 
> to some extent BSD variants.

Kudos to you.  I mean that sincerely and with respect.

> It's not hard at all.

I'm not a developer by any stretch of the imagination.  But I know from 
a Unix systems administrator standpoint, creating shell scripts / 
command structures (think HereDocs run through SSH redirection) that 
doing so in a cross platform way is non-trivial.  I found the biggest 
hurtle was knowing what commands ~> syntax / utilities my target 
platforms (AIX 5~7, Solaris 8~10, OpenServer 5, UnixWare 7, Red Hat / 
CentOS 4~6, SuSE 7~9, Gentoo (~2008), FreeBSD (?), and others I don't 
remember) had in common.  File paths and what command were one thing. 
Command flags ~> syntax was another.  Elevating privilege to root via su 
or sudo or doas was ... tedious.

Unfortunately I think that it's unreasonable reasonable to expect 
someone that has a myopic view of their singular platform to have any 
idea how to do things on other platforms as well as they can on their 
platform of choice.  --  Is it reasonable to expect a mechanic that 
works on lawn mowers to be as proficient on tractor trailers or 
motorcycles?  I don't think so.

I would expect that someone that has a working understanding of any 
platform to be able to muddle their way through most other platforms. 
But muddling your way through something is definitely not the same level 
of support.

So, I sincerely mean kudos to anyone that even attempts to do things on 
multiple platforms.  I believe it's a laudable goal.

I believe that each supported platform adds an order of magnitude of 
complexity to the overall task at hand.

> As for the various Linux distros, the issue isn't really that they 
> are that different, it's that they don't have the same version of 
> core software - in particular moving targets like the C++ compiler 
> (and this goes for various releases of the same distro too).

I had not considered what you are describing.  But it sounds like a more 
development centric version of what I described above.

> I started testing Linux just for fun in early 1992 (because unlike 
> 386BSD, Linux supported disk partitions, and that meant I could test 
> it on a 486 where the primary OS was OS/2).  When my X terminal then 
> broke down in April 1991 I replaced it with a 486 system running Linux, 
> kernel 0.95c. And I was an early tester for the ext file system and 
> X11.

I'd be interested in sharing a beverage and hearing (horror) stories. 
Hopefully I'd learn a thing or three.

> Even that early that Linux box was good enough to replace an X 
> terminal, even though most of the development I did was by accessing a 
> remote Sun box.  And I never looked back - it's *always* been "ready 
> for the desktop" for me.

My year of the Linux desktop was '99.  I switched from a release 
candidate of Windows 98 to Slackware '96 (an old book that someone lent 
me).  I've almost completely used Linux as my chosen platform ever 
sense.  I've moved around between Linux distros, but have always either 
directly used or SSHed to a Linux box for my core work.

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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