[ray-traced, shiny `Linux']

How to Become a Real Stud Hombre Cybermuffin

Greg was a long-time supporter of OS/2, but there's just no getting around the fact that Linux is about the coolest operating system known to man (or woman). As Dave Taylor (co-author of Linux Doom, Linux Quake, Linux Abuse and Linux Golgotha) said, ``Linux gives me a woody.''

The fact that you can play Doom, Quake I/II/III, Unreal Tournament, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and many other games natively under Linux -- both full-screen and X versions in the case of Doom, with full sound effects and (at last!) music, including Doom II and Ultimate Doom -- is certainly a large part of Linux's user appeal, as is its stability (incredible), price (free) and the fact that full source code is available (also free). Greg is absolutely fascinated by the pace of development and the fact that as soon as a cool new piece of hardware is available on the market, someone is busy writing a driver for it. (The sole exception is hardware for which technical information is unavailable; fortunately, there are very few major holdouts anymore.) And let us not forget that most of Titanic was rendered on a couple hundred Linux/Alpha boxes...

He also derives no end of amusement from the subjective datum that a low-end Intel box (33MHz i486) with a reasonably cheap graphics card (ATI GUP 2MB for ISA bus) could outperform what used to be a mid-level and outrageously expensive Sun SPARCstation (SS10 model 30). [That model was discontinued long ago, but the comparison also held for a cheap Pentium-100 and a Sparc20, and it still pretty much holds for a high-end Pentium III vs. a high-end UltraSPARC. The comparisons get even better when you start comparing Linux to x86 Solaris, or SparcLinux to SPARC Solaris, or UltraPenguin to anything else on UltraSPARC. Yow!] This is due in no small part to the efforts of the XFree86 Project, whose accelerated X11R6 servers (free!) really kick some serious hiney. You can even run more than one of them at the same time -- for example, if you want to run a high-resolution 16-bit server for day-to-day tasks but a lower-resolution (or lower-refresh) 32-bit server for occasional image editing. One hot key and you're off in high-res land...

For the record, the official English pronunciation of ``Linux'' is with a short `i' and accent on the first syllable, like ``linen'' -- that is, LINN-ucks. Linus himself actually used to pronounce it LEE-nucks (roughly) in both English and his native Swedish (as of early 1993 or so; note that Linus is actually Finnish), but a standard foreigner-to-English filter will render that as LIH-nucks for native English-speakers. More to the point, he now pronounces it LINN-ucks just like any other normal, red-blooded-yet-clueful American Linuxoid, at least when speaking in English; Greg paid particular attention to that at the Future of Linux panel discussion in Santa Clara on 14 July 1998. And to top it all off, at some point in the dim past Linus noted that the name was intended to be reminiscent of ``Minix,'' the operating system which served as the genesis for the Linux project. The common long-`i' mispronunciation (LYE-nucks) is simply incorrect (even if Linus doesn't care how anyone else pronounces it).

Greg's Linux box (meltdown) used to double as his OS/2 box (yahoobers), thanks to the magic of OS/2's most excellent Boot Manager, but it has been more than six years since Greg bothered to boot OS/2 for more than a few minutes. (By the way, Linux has at least two or three versions of ``Boot Manager,'' called LILO, GRUB, and the like. Not only do they perform the same functions, they're now just as flashy [if any boot manager can be flashy] and convenient.) In fact, the Linux system has access to every partition on his disks, including both FAT partitions (read-write) and OS/2 HPFS partitions (read-only, though read/write code is available). Greg's Linux system at work also has an old Win95 partition, to which Linux can (of course!) read and write long filenames. Linux emulates Sun's /dev/audio using the 16-bit half of a PAS-16 sound card and emulates DOS floppy commands via the mtools package. Greg can even boot DOS itself under Linux, using the dosemu package. There is a Windoze emulation under development as well (called Wine), but our hero has no particular need for that.

And to top it all off, Linux even has its own monthly journal (take that, NetBSD!), to which Greg of course subscribes. Yes, SSC publishes the Linux Journal, a fine work of literary geeknitude full of the latest and greatest Linux news, reviews, interviews, hackery and ads. SSC can be reached at info@ssc.com, and they even have a bodacious web page, with a complete section on Linux resources maintained in conjunction with www.linux.org.

Cool Linux Images [Craig, Brian and Greg's `Powered By Linux' virtual-beer logo]

The image at the top of this page is by Steven ``World Wide'' Webb (and if it doesn't look transparent, get a real browser!). Click on the Linux Quality Assurance Seal above to see some other really cool Linux images (three pages' worth!).

Big-time Linux Links [`Linux 2.0 SMP']

To learn more about Linux, check out the official Linux Home Page; the Linux Documentation Project; the Linux Weekly News (Greg's favorite site, and well worth subscribing to!); and the Linux Journal and Linux Gazette home pages.

Click here to see the really cool Linux logos.
Click here to see a nifty PNG interlacing demo, ray-traced under Linux.
Click here to go to Greg's OS/2 page.
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Last modified 31 December 2004 by Greg Roelofs, you betcha.