Truly Understanding the "Unix Philosophy" - Psychology, Philosophy, and Licenses
jkl
(13-09-2016, 04:12 PM)pranomostro Wrote: I guess we're not all enough die-hard unix people to give up all that for a near-perfect system.

Who said Unix can't do that?
venam
(13-09-2016, 03:43 PM)jkl Wrote: It amazes me that so many people who like the Unix philosophy decided to use Linux instead of an actual Unix, regardless of Linux's tendency to become a bloated monolith (see: systemd). Why is that so?

(11-09-2016, 04:07 PM)rocx Wrote:
Quote:Most BSDs and Linux don't adhere to them, only the proprietary Unices do.
The difference between a certified POSIX system and a POSIX-compliant system is the fancy certificate.

The only true Unix are the proprietary ones:
  • AIX
  • HP-UX
  • Inspur K-UX
  • OS X
  • Solaris
  • z/OS
But you'd be suprised how not Unixy they feel to most people and how stuck you can feel using those systems.
Most of those proprietary Unix certified systems barely do anything to keep the Unix-philosophy alive.

As previously mentioned, the Unix-philosophy isn't about the standards, it's about culture.
And if you think the BSDs are more "unixy" than Linux based OSs you might be in part wrong.


(11-09-2016, 08:29 AM)pranomostro Wrote:
Quote:What a Unix-like OS is is more than that, like all big generic concept, it's social first, it's a state of mind.
This is a nice quote. It remands me of 'In the beginning was the command line', where Neal Stephenson remarks that unix could be reimplemented from scratch without any documents because hackers in the world have memorized it, and it is much more a culture than an operating system.
rocx
(13-09-2016, 03:43 PM)jkl Wrote: It amazes me that so many people who like the Unix philosophy decided to use Linux instead of an actual Unix, regardless of Linux's tendency to become a bloated monolith (see: systemd). Why is that so?

UNIX was on its way out the door even in the '90s; the folks at Bell Labs thought they were making the future of it by making the famed (amongst us) Plan 9. Even they knew UNIX had its flaws and were on the project to fix them. Besides that and proprietary UNIX systems, there isn't much of anything now unless you'd consider *BSD a "real Unix".

There's also GNU to praise/blame (depending on your outlook of free software and/or GNU's rather dismal code quality) for the rise of Linux. Perhaps we're better off with it rising than if it didn't. Who knows?

tl;dr People want things that work and do the things they want. That's why they're many who even acknowledge the choice in operating systems still stick with Windows in the first place.
jkl
I'm not stuck with Windows, I just prefer my Windows workflow over any other workflow. and no, I don't think GNU should be "praised". Without GNU (the "alternative to Unix"), Unix would probably not have fallen all the way down.

Indeed, OS X does not feel "unixy" at all, neither in terms of usability nor in terms of general system reliability. To be fair, OS X is very little unixy as of today, with all its weird GNUisms having been added over the years. Yes, Unix is proprietary, it always has been - so? Does that mean it's worse? It's actually better: If an operating system is sold for (a lot of) money, see AIX, chances are that its developing company will invest quite much effort to keep it going.

Linux has such a bad overall quality because no one really cares as it's free. They don't need to make sure that the sales will be steady over the next years because there are no sales.

Have you ever thought about why Microsoft hires security specialists to harden their Windows? Because Windows's quality is tied to actual money while Linux companies mainly make money with support, installation and other trivial things.
pranomostro
(13-09-2016, 04:27 PM)jkl Wrote:
Quote:I guess we're not all enough die-hard unix people to give up all that for a near-perfect system.
Who said Unix can't do that?

It maybe can, and probably even better, but my experience shows that the suckiness of a system correlates with general support (software support, web-browsers, games, drivers).
(13-09-2016, 04:28 PM)venam Wrote: But you'd be suprised how not Unixy they feel to most people and how stuck you can feel using those systems.
Most of those proprietary Unix certified systems barely do anything to keep the Unix-philosophy alive.

As previously mentioned, the Unix-philosophy isn't about the standards, it's about culture.
And if you think the BSDs are more "unixy" than Linux based OSs you might be in part wrong.

Interesting. I thought the BSDs were certified systems as well. But okay, I care more about where the food is on my plate than about the question whether or not my system is a certified unix. I mean, nobody needs a fortran compiler, amirite?

(13-09-2016, 08:18 PM)rocx Wrote: There's also GNU to praise/blame (depending on your outlook of free software and/or GNU's rather dismal code quality) for the rise of Linux. Perhaps we're better off with it rising than if it didn't. Who knows?

I think we wouldn't be better off. If you perceive them as a political movement and not a technological one, they have done great work, spreading the idea of freedom of information, convincing the BSD guys to go open source, and establishing the four laws of free software. Technologically, I don't think we would be off better, I am convinced that at all points in time, 90% (95%?) of all software was shitty.

(13-09-2016, 08:18 PM)rocx Wrote: Even they knew UNIX had its flaws and were on the project to fix them.
Right. They saw the flaws and attempted to fix them, beginning of the 90's. Now, how outdated is unix today? How many unfixed warts are left? What could be improved?
jkl
(14-09-2016, 07:18 AM)pranomostro Wrote: I thought the BSDs were certified systems as well.

Usually, SysV systems have a better chance to be a "certified UNIX". BSD has come a long way since their first Unix distribution.

(14-09-2016, 07:18 AM)pranomostro Wrote: I mean, nobody needs a fortran compiler, amirite?

Wrong. I even need a COBOL compiler. (OK, I don't. But it's nice to have one at hand.)

(14-09-2016, 07:18 AM)pranomostro Wrote: If you perceive them as a political movement and not a technological one, they have done great work

Oh yes, replacing the Public Domain (as it was common in the 60s: just share your tapes) by a long text about what you are not allowed to do. Awesome.
There are reasons why I try to avoid using GPL software at all.

(14-09-2016, 07:18 AM)pranomostro Wrote: convincing the BSD guys to go open source

BSD was "open source" from the beginning. Unix was not. (That's why the early 90s were seeing the first "free BSD": The non-free code parts by AT&T had to be rewritten first.)
venam
(14-09-2016, 07:24 AM)jkl Wrote: BSD was "open source" from the beginning. Unix was not. (That's why the early 90s were seeing the first "free BSD": The non-free code parts by AT&T had to be rewritten first.)
Actually, that's not totally accurate.
Most softwares of the time were distributed with their source code as a license, Unix is no different.
It was shipped as a big package of self contained environment for programming, documentation, source code, etc..

It's when the proprietary train started that what you mention happened.

Again, the idea was to have an open environment for development, research, and education, that is easy to grasp and cheap.

The commercial certified Unix of today don't achieve this.
They certainly have the title of Unix but not the philosophy and spirit of the communal operating system people get around to hack with.

Now the definition itself depends on your view of the matter.
jkl
The "spirit" of an "operating system people get around to hack with" was never a part of what Unix tried to provide. Just because it was possible for a short while, it was not automatically planned this way.
venam
(14-09-2016, 08:15 AM)jkl Wrote: The "spirit" of an "operating system people get around to hack with" was never a part of what Unix tried to provide. Just because it was possible for a short while, it was not automatically planned this way.
I quote Dennis Ritchie's vision of Unix:
Quote:What we wanted to preserve was not just a good environment in which to do programming, but a system around which a fellowship could form. We knew from experience that the essence of communal computing, as supplied by remote-access, time-shared machines, is not just to type programs into a terminal instead of a keypunch, but to encourage close communication.
jkl
Interesting quote, but I honestly doubt that Ritchie had talked to Thompson about this before making it. Just like C, Unix was not there to please as many people as possible but to work on what hardware was there.




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