Linux newbie

Questions about the project and the distribution - obviously no support questions here please

Linux newbie

Postby moley on Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:03 pm

Hi to all the Mint supporters, I have been experimenting with numerous distros' for many months and have tried plenty of live boot versions of linux, I took the plunge recently of installing to hard disk after managing to build a second system put together from bits scrounged and gifted to me. The whole learning process as been enjoyable, occasionally frustrating as I try to adapt to the terminology after many years of microsoft use. I am using Linux more and more and try to use my Xp machine as little as possible.

Mint is by far the best distribution I have come across, I have spent time going through the forums to learn as much as possible and things are slowly falling into place. Keep up the good work at Mint and I look forward to the new Bianca final release and future developments.

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Postby clem on Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:28 am

Thanks Moley.

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Re: Linux newbie

Postby marcus0263 on Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:23 pm

moley wrote:Hi to all the Mint supporters, I have been experimenting with numerous distros' for many months and have tried plenty of live boot versions of linux, I took the plunge recently of installing to hard disk after managing to build a second system put together from bits scrounged and gifted to me. The whole learning process as been enjoyable, occasionally frustrating as I try to adapt to the terminology after many years of microsoft use. I am using Linux more and more and try to use my Xp machine as little as possible.

Mint is by far the best distribution I have come across, I have spent time going through the forums to learn as much as possible and things are slowly falling into place. Keep up the good work at Mint and I look forward to the new Bianca final release and future developments.

Moley

If you really want to know Linux and in a realitivly short amount of time -

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
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Re: Linux newbie

Postby keithdw on Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:37 pm

I've also been trying to ditch Windows and had been using Ubuntu for a few months, but the frustration finally got the better of me and I gave up and returned to Windows.

With Linux it seems, nothing just works. Having read about Linux Mint I decided to give that a try and indeed am writing this using it. But again, things don't just work.

I downloaded the install CD from the LinuxMint site and installed it alongside WinXP Pro on my laptop. The things that really get on my nerves annoy me and I'm soo close with giving up again and just sticking with windows are.

    * Linux Mint has some cool applications MintDisk, MintWiFi, etc which are compelling reasons to use this distribution. They are not installed as part of the installation and the repository isn't even installed by standard to add them later with the Synaptic Package Manager.
    * A bittorrent client is installed with the distribution, but this will not work because the relevant ports are locked down.
    * Many software titles which appear in Synaptic when installed, simply don't work. For example, install the Nvidia Drivers using synaptic instead of Automatix and there's trouble, try installing Wings3D and that won't work either.
    * Automatix is still an essential tool to install the major missing bits, and install them so they work!.
    * The correct Nvidia drivers are not installed by default, this required Automatix. Installing the correct Nvidia drivers spoils the login page by making the font too big.
    * Streaming mp3s from a network share seems to work with Mint, this was a major bug bear with Ubuntu, but streaming video does not (Quicktime HD, AVI).
    * Network manager is installed as standard (instead of MintWiFi), but this does not work correctly as it asks for permission to access the keyring system on login, meaning the login password has to be entered twice at bootup (I eventually found how to fix this, but I shouldn't have to fix software installed by default!).


Anyway, my experience to date has been that I spend more time reading forums and trying to get Linux to do what I want, than I actually spend doing what I want. Spend 2 hours getting it to play a 30minute video file. From a financial point of view, if I'd set aside £10 for every hour of my free time that I've spent trying to get Linux to do what I want, I could easily have bought a fully licensed version of Windows Vista, which I'm pretty confident would do everything I want out of the box, which at the end of the day is what most people want.
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Postby clem on Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:20 pm

You're exactly right, and most people think exactly like you. This is why most people are happy with running Windows and why Linux is not for them. Why do you even try? Leave Linux to people who like spending time with their computers...

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Postby .ee on Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:19 pm

clem wrote: Leave Linux to people who like spending time with their computers...

Clem


Well, this is not what most Linux enthusiasts really want, isn't it?
If this is really the snobbish attitude of the community, I would rather abandon any hope to use linux on my laptop and remain an unhappy windowid till the end of my days. :cry:

I like to use Linux on my university's server, when it is administered by someone for me. However, it is very difficult for me to learn how to tune and configure it on my laptop (I would have less trouble if it were desktop).
Last edited by .ee on Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby antiquexray on Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:45 pm

clem wrote:Leave Linux to people who like spending time with their computers...

Clem


My 2 cents (how much is that in Euros?)...anyway, I like Linux for a number of reason, the 1st because I think it's crime to charge the amount of money MS does for it's operating software. Another is that Linux (UNIX) is a time proven, near bullet proof OS with more advantages than disadvantages. Besides, large .com companies can't be wrong...Ebay, Paypal, Google, and who knows who else, use Linux servers because they are more stable.

The biggest disadvantage I see to Linux is going back to a command line, just like in the DOS days before Windows (anyone else remember those days), but in this case, you have to learn a new language. For me, this is not easy. That's why even after using Linux for a year and a half I still consider myself a newbie.

Example of this newbie...I'm still fighting with messages from Ebay. A friend of mine told be to check my security system...I didn't even know I had one, non the less check it:(
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Still not great

Postby keithdw on Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:00 pm

I too was against the Microsoft Windows domination, and the is why a few months ago I decided to give Linux a try. A friend suggested trying Ubuntu, which I have since switched to Mint.

As a life long MS DOS, Windows user the switch is not smooth, in fact it is very difficult (the command line is very different, so much so that it's impossible to switch from MS DOS to Linux without problems). I really would like to switch from Windows to Linux and was hoping Ubuntu / Mint was the answer, but to be honest that is not the case. I am just a normal computer user, who does not wish to spend most of my time getting my OS to do what I want, I'd rather spend my time doing WHAT I want. It's for this reason that I think that if people make a real informed decision, they will choose Windows every time, because it just works, it does what they want, out of the box.

Linux is too difficult, too many things just don't work out of the box, too many things still require command line intervention to get anywhere, and that just isn't happening.

My private time is valuable to me; how valuable I have recently learned. Would I rather spend hours and hours getting linux to work for me or would I rather splash out a few hundred pounds to get windows which doesn't require any additional work / intervention. My feeling at the moment is that I'd rather spash out the cash and get Vista which I'm sure will just work than spend any more time trying to get Linux to work for me.
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Postby Uncle Bob on Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:06 pm

keithdw, I'm new to Linux myself, however I'm excited with it. Yes, I also have a lot of frustrations with trying to get things the way I like it, and that's why there are things like forums. Stick with it as every time you tinker with the machine, you pick something new up, or you read about it on a forum, try it on your machine and when it works, that buzz-feeling of achievement you get makes it worth it. I get a better "WOW" effect from that compared to all the flashy bells and whistles that comes with Vista. Besides, all the suave graphical things of Vista was available to Linux long before. Quick example - Beryl, to name but one.

You complain about spending all that time trying to watch a movie? What type of movie was this that caused you so much grief? I have found that I'm able to watch a lot more different types of movie formats with Linux compared to Windows.

You then point out "shortcomings" in Mint that you had to correct with Automatix. First of all; that's the beauty of Linux; you get what you need from wherever you can and it integrates nicely together. Best of it; its free. You could say that automatix is the Linux version of a Windows Installer : "install - next - next - finish"

Most (if not all) Linux developers (excluding commercial like suse, redhat etc) have a normal day-job and do their Linux development, tweaking, improvement and application design in their own free time and then they give it away for free. The only "price" you pay for it is to give the guy/gal recognition for their efforts.

Anyway, go ahead and waste 300 quid on Vista plus whatever amount of money to upgrade your hardware.

Id rather spend that money going to Spain over a bank holiday weekend, drink Sangria, get laid, drink more sangria, have a good time, then go back home and watch movies on my Linux machine streamed from my NAS via my wifi connection.
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Postby keithdw on Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:38 pm

Uncle Bob. I was excited about Linux also, until I sat down and realised just how much time I was spending playing about / trying to get things to work. I hadn't noticed until I sat down and thought about it.

The problem with newbies 'messing' about with linux is that if a mistake is made, that's it, the whole thing is knackered (there doesn't seem to be an undo / restore feature). That's why I gave up with Ubuntu. I tried to install a piece of software from an official Ubuntu bug fix forum, which explained how to fix the bug that meant that files could not be streamed over an SMB network share. This bug fix was available for the next release of Ubuntu, but not the current release. However, the necessary 'fixed' files were available for the current release (Edgy). Installing these files, apparently removed a number of important files and I was no longer able to boot my Linux installation. With no Restore feature available, I had to revert to Windows and I've suck with that ever since.

At the end of the day, I've realised that you get what you pay for. A free OS is not as good as a paid for OS. True, Linux has a noble ideal, but at the end of the day people just want their computer to do what they want. I have spent a lot of time trying to get Linux to work for me (wireless network, network streaming, colour correction (icc profiles), various media codecs etc etc etc). And it's great that I can do this, but the fact of the matter is that I would rather spend my time doing what I want and not so much time working out HOW to get my OS to allow me to do what I want.

I am no way a Windows / Microsoft puppet, but at the end of the day, they do what I want and Linux does not (as it stands), and as time is money, by my reckoning most new converts will waste less time (money) by sticking with Windows than they will by converting to Linux (maybe the paid linux distributions are more rounded and do just work, I don't know as so far I've only tried, Kubuntu, Ubuntu and Mint).
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Postby .ee on Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:58 pm

keithdw,

thanks for your arguments.

In fact, windows is not that "out of box" as you present. Before buying my laptop I was just using linux system at the university as a user and I did not want to hear about windows. The laptop sold with preinstalled windows has forced me to learn how to use windows. However, I was not able to do everything I need: I need emacs, I need Latex, I need scientific graphics, fortran, etc. It was not easy for me to get all this working under windows. Add to this everyday viruses and malware concerns. Actually, to minimize my trauma, I just started to use cygwin under windows (what a perversion, someone can say here!). After having managed all that I feel that I am not happy with what I got, and I decided to go Linux on my notebook, even if it requires real learning effort (and I am absolutely not a fan of computers and programming). I hope to get in the end what I need and love. Well, I could have paid several hundreds euro to some Linux guru to preinstall all I need on my notebook. However, I don't know one who would do it the way I like. It is no problem for me to install some Red Hat version like the one we have at the university (but I don't like it) but it doesn't work the way it should on the notebook (hardware recognition problems). Our administrator, for example, doesn't know the notebook specifics, etc... Moreover, if someone would install and configure linux for me, I still need to know how to administer my linux laptop.

Though, for the mainstream people who use computers to edit photos and films, to use internet, and to play games, windows or mac are much easier an option than linux, and linux for them is (imho) just a way to spend time playing with their PC.

Another annoying aspect of Window$ is that it restricts you in what you may/can/allowed to do with your software. Linux is free. The fact that you can get it for free is just secondary. Some software I may need under Linux is not free anyway.


PS: You guys are talking about "automatix" here. I even don't know what it is :roll:, so I have to learn it. :oops: :evil:
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Postby marcus0263 on Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:47 pm

What it really comes down it this, Linux is different from Microsoft and with Microsoft's brilliant marketing Microsoft became the dominate OS in the desktop world. When things go wrong you get nothing but a blue screen and it tells you NOTHING. You have to break out the credit card and call M$ and that's it. Then to add insult to injury Microsoft is "offering" what they call an additional service, that service is paying them to fix their flaws in their product, like I said they're brilliant marketer's.

Let's look at Linux, it's modeled from the Unix OS. Computer networking, the Internet, etc.. comes from Unix, it's built on Unix. The simplicity of Unix is what makes it so powerful and at the same time difficult to master. Fact is if anyone tells you they know almost everything about Unix they are lying.

So back to the subject at hand, the conversion from Microsoft to Linux. You just need to learn the right way of doing things, it's really not that difficult. But you do need to get out of the Microsoft thinking and do it the right way. There are tools available that give you a so called "Easy" way to accomplish the task, but if something goes wrong or if you're not doing it correctly there is almost ALWAYS a log or text file that will tell you EXACTLY what what went wrong. The beauty of Unix or any OS modeled/built from Unix is most everything can be configured through a text file and it has logs to tell you what the hell is going on.

There is a lot of Linux that is "Bleeding Edge" out there, if it's not stable either be prepared to tweak with it or don't bloody use it. Debian "stable" is rock solid, Sun Solaris is Rock solid, BSD is rock solid. But if you want to play be prepared to spend some time with it. If you want a GUI to do everything for you and be solid buy a Mac with OS X. But if you want to download and install an OS without paying the extortion of Microsoft be prepared to spend a little bit of time learning the "Correct" way of doing things, nothing is free in this world.

EOR -
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Postby quickstart on Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:07 am

Hi keithdw,

Until it comes pre installed on computers as with Microsoft and Apple, Linux will remain a niche product. I say this as someone with plenty of free time to mess around with various Linux distros. To me it's a hobby, but there you go...

Mainstream home computing will remain in the hands of Microsoft and Apple, no matter how good or bad their respective systems are, because of a lack of PRE- INSTALLED alternatives. The day you pop into PC World and pick up a Ubunbtu laptop, bundled with a couple of cds of software and maybe a start up booklet is the day Linux can say it has arrived.

I watched The Money Programme on BBC2 the other night, about the launch of Vista. I almost felt sorry for Microsoft. Billions spent, years late and just a gimmicky desktop to show for it. BUT! yeah, guess what? Every pc walking out the door at PC World will have it installed.

Talk to Mr Dell, Mr Hewlett Packard, Mr Acer etc.,
"Hey, this Linux is the way ahead. Lets see the home version for all our customers who want a desktop pc. How many distros are there? No, you don't understand, we just want to pre install a home desktop system, just the one..."

Right, I'm off to play with my recently downloaded Slax 6 live cd. 8)

Alan. (still a Linux fan...)
Celeron 2.8 Ghz 512 MB RAM 2* 80 gb HDD dual-boot Linux Mint / Xubuntu 6.10

AMD Duron 800Mhz 256 MB RAM 20 gb HDD Xubuntu 6.10
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Postby scorp123 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:28 pm

keithdw wrote: I was excited about Linux also, until I sat down and realised just how much time I was spending playing about / trying to get things to work.
The same can be said about Windows. Especially the new Vista. Good luck with broken drivers, DRM, security features getting on your nerves (You moved your mouse!! Allow or deny?) and software not working yet (e.g. Apple iTunes!)

I by far find Windows the far more frustrating mis-experience! If you know what you do, and if you know how to tell it Linux, it will do as you say. For that I highly recommend beginners' books such as "Linux for Dummies" or "UNIX for Dummies". I always use those books when training new apprentices (doing so since 2002) and so far I had great success.

keithdw wrote:I hadn't noticed until I sat down and thought about it.
Think again. How many times per year does a Windows user have to reinstall his Windows because some stupid spyware and/or virus (multiple infections not being a rarity but rather a normal thing !!) has managed to infect the PC and you can't get rid of it, regardless how many of all those "cool" tools you try? Kaspersky, Avast, Norton, Symantec, McAfee, AdAware, and all these tools, and all the money they cost, and yet sometimes it's all in vain and you plain and simple have to reinstall .... How broken and inherently stupid must an operating system such as Windows be that a market for such tools can even come into existence??

There is no such thing on Linux, it has all the tools on-board, and the only third-party tools a (professional) user might ever need are third-party network backup or network monitoring solutions for very large installations, but that's about it. You install it once, and if you don't do anything stupid it will run for years without reboot (Kernel patches being the only real reason why one would have to reboot once in a few months).

You run a company? Calculate again! Downtime with Windows and viruses cost real money. UNIX-like operating systems such as FreeBSD and Linux will run for months and years.

keithdw wrote: The problem with newbies 'messing' about with linux is that if a mistake is made, that's it, the whole thing is knackered (there doesn't seem to be an undo / restore feature).
That's why when I was a newbie back in 1996 I soon learned the beauty of backups and how to get stuff back :lol: It can be done. It just needs a little reading and asking the right people the right questions. And now? Ten years later I make way over 130'000 Swiss Francs per year for being a UNIX / Linux pro. For someone who doesn't have any university or doctor titles (I don't have any!) that's a damn lot around here. Talk about "pay off". My decision to "waste" my time with Linux back in 1996 was probably the best one in my life 8)

keithdw wrote: That's why I gave up with Ubuntu.
That's something I fail to understand. Why does everyone think that Ubuntu is newbie-friendly when in fact it's not?
There are other distros out there which are by far more newbie-friendly and offer a far better starting point. Ubuntu lacks a lot of polish, it very often forces you to do stuff manually on the shell (and even I consider this unfriendly; although I don't really mind using the shell ... but you get the point), and I sometimes feel Ubuntu take their users for stupid (I don't like some of the assumptions that are made about what I as user like or dislike, and I really don't like some of the config defaults there). That's BTW what drove me to Mint, it has far better defaults.

keithdw wrote: I tried to install a piece of software from an official Ubuntu bug fix forum, which explained how to fix the bug that meant that files could not be streamed over an SMB network share. This bug fix was available for the next release of Ubuntu, but not the current release. However, the necessary 'fixed' files were available for the current release (Edgy). Installing these files, apparently removed a number of important files and I was no longer able to boot my Linux installation. With no Restore feature available,
First, when you install a package the package manager will usually tell you what it is going to do. It will tell you that it is removing packages. Why did you click "yes" then? I mean: You see that something must be wrong when it wants to remove a lot of packages, and although you see that you tell your system "yes, go ahead". Why didn't you stop right there and ask in a forum before you did anything? And as for the restore feature: At least openSUSE 10.2 has a "failsafe" boot option in its boot menu and a "Rescue Mode" on its install CD / DVD. That's what I mean about polish: Ubuntu doesn't have that, they're still discussing about this ... I really fail to see why everyone thinks that Ubuntu is newbie-friendly when it's apparent that it is not ... :roll:

keithdw wrote: I had to revert to Windows and I've suck with that ever since.
You never tried to boot e.g. a live CD and at least try to get your data from /home before considering a reinstallation? Just because you can't boot your Linux at the moment doesn't mean that all data is lost. You can probably still access it if you use a live CD.

keithdw wrote: At the end of the day, I've realised that you get what you pay for.
Not true :wink: For Windows you pay an awful lot and you get next to nothing.

keithdw wrote: A free OS is not as good as a paid for OS.
No, it's by far better and way superior than any of the commercial BS money could buy. :wink:

keithdw wrote: but at the end of the day people just want their computer to do what they want.
Exactly, and that's why I in my case I stopped wasting my time with Windoze back in 1996 and use Linux ever since. A decision I never regretted. :D

keithdw wrote: I have spent a lot of time trying to get Linux to work for me (wireless network, network streaming, colour correction (icc profiles)
See above. You tried distributions that are too advanced for you. Picking up your argument about "you get what you pay for": Why don't you consider Linspire, Xandros, or such? They are too much Windows-like for my taste but I guess that makes them friendly for converts. Once you discover the limits you can still switch to "less friendly" distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, or whatever will fit your bill one day. Or ... Why don't you buy a Apple machine? They come with Mac OS X and as far as I can tell that's a really friendly and cool OS ... plus it's UNIX-based too :wink:

keithdw wrote: but the fact of the matter is that I would rather spend my time doing what I want
See above. Once you know your ways around you will do precisely that: What you want. The problem is getting around that learning curve. But that's something you shouldn't be afraid of, instead you should welcome and embrace this little challenge. You can only win :wink:

keithdw wrote: and not so much time working out HOW to get my OS to allow me to do what I want.
I rather have this problem whenever I have to touch one of those Windoze machines in our company :?

keithdw wrote: and as time is money
Precisely!! Starting to mess around with Linux was the best time investment I ever did in my 34 years of life and now it's paying off like mad :wink: You have to think long-term. The time you "waste" on Linux today is time saved and money earned tomorrow. :D

keithdw wrote: by my reckoning most new converts will waste less time (money) by sticking with Windows
But then they wouldn't be converts, would they? :wink:

But I am curious: Why did you even bother to try Linux when it is Windows that you want? What drove you to Ubuntu? And as you brought up the argument "you get what you pay for": Why not buy a Macintosh from Apple? They are sexy, they "just work", and maybe Mac OS X is the answer to your problems?

Regards,
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Postby scorp123 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:36 pm

marcus0263 wrote:The simplicity of Unix is what makes it so powerful and at the same time difficult to master. Fact is if anyone tells you they know almost everything about Unix they are lying.
In the first sentence you talk about "simplicity of Unix". I think many people would not agree with that :wink: .... And what I don't get is the second part: Why would I be a liar when I say that I know "almost everything" about Unix? Why are you assuming that anyone who has knowledge about these things is a liar? :?

As for the rest of your posting (not quoted here): I fully agree. Log files and Google are one's best friend. :D

Regards,
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Postby marcus0263 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:49 pm

scorp123 wrote: In the first sentence you talk about "simplicity of Unix". I think many people would not agree with that :wink: .... And what I don't get is the second part: Why would I be a liar when I say that I know "almost everything" about Unix? Why are you assuming that anyone who has knowledge about these things is a liar? :?

As for the rest of your posting (not quoted here): I fully agree. Log files and Google are one's best friend. :D

Regards,
scorp123
Unix is very easy to learn, difficult to master. As to people who claim to know everything about Unix, they're full of crap. I've been working with it for 15 years and the more I learn the more I realize I know diddly about it. When you do work with people who are Unix Deities they say the same. I work with a number of developers who are legitimate geniuses and have pieces of their code in Unix since Bell Labs, same thing.

I'd call your bluff anytime if you claimed to know everything or even close to everything about Unix. You know what a Door file is?

Cheers
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Postby scorp123 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:55 pm

marcus0263 wrote:Unix is very easy to learn, difficult to master. As to people who claim to know everything about Unix, they're full of crap. I've been working with it for 15 years and the more I learn the more I realize I know diddly about it. When you do work with people who are Unix Deities they say the same. I work with a number of developers who are legitimate geniuses and have pieces of their code in Unix since Bell Labs, same thing.

I'd call your bluff anytime if you claimed to know everything or even close to everything about Unix. You know what a Door file is?
OK, now I get what you mean. Fully agree with that :D
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Postby marcus0263 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:30 pm

scorp123 wrote:
marcus0263 wrote:Unix is very easy to learn, difficult to master. As to people who claim to know everything about Unix, they're full of crap. I've been working with it for 15 years and the more I learn the more I realize I know diddly about it. When you do work with people who are Unix Deities they say the same. I work with a number of developers who are legitimate geniuses and have pieces of their code in Unix since Bell Labs, same thing.

I'd call your bluff anytime if you claimed to know everything or even close to everything about Unix. You know what a Door file is?
OK, now I get what you mean. Fully agree with that :D


Cheers ;-)
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Postby scorp123 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:53 pm

marcus0263 wrote:
scorp123 wrote:OK, now I get what you mean. Fully agree with that :D


Cheers ;-)
As for doors .... I suppose you're talking about Sun and their rather obscure IPC implementation they came up with in Solaris 2.5 or 2.6 ... I don't remember which one it was precisely. I don't think I've ever seen anyone do something useful with this "doors" stuff anyway :D
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Postby marcus0263 on Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:56 pm

scorp123 wrote:
marcus0263 wrote:
scorp123 wrote:OK, now I get what you mean. Fully agree with that :D


Cheers ;-)
As for doors .... I suppose you're talking about Sun and their rather obscure IPC implementation they came up with in Solaris 2.5 or 2.6 ... I don't remember which one it was precisely. I don't think I've ever seen anyone do something useful with this "doors" stuff anyway :D

Google is a wonderful thing isn't it ;-)
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