The UNIX Effect ( Blindedfolds Removed )

July 21, 2007 at 11:10 am | Posted in History | 6 Comments

I wrote this article in July of 2007, just a few months ago, but things I have described here I started to feel in December of 2006. I lost many of the thoughts that crossed my mind during those 7 months time but I never took time to write them down, someday just out of frustration with my education system, I just sat and wrote down the things I felt and thats why this blog.

My interactions with the computer started when I took admission into Bachelors of Science at SD College, sector-32 Chandigarh in year 2000 and they threw a junk you people call Windows, onto my face. I was very much happy with it and even 14 computers at Computer-Lab of college ran Windows 98.

In 2006, when I started to use Fedora I did not even know that a kernel named Linux exists, at that time I already passed my Bachelors and did 2 years of selling of personal loans. i wanted to use Fedora because I wanted to sell my old Celeron 600 MHz hardware.

STRANGE ? well here is the full sentence:

I wanted to use Fedora because i wanted to sell my old Celeron 600 MHz PC. my old PC always gave me weired, difficult to understand and impossible to solve problems. and one day when I was still a salesman, talking to my friend “Dinesh” about my hardware problems. Now Dinesh was a brilliant hardware-guy. At that time his work included selling, maintaining and repairing computer hardware and he was an ACE at his work. He even modified some hardware to do some amazing things. Dinesh told me something, then communication happened like this:

 

me: Dinesh, I want to sell my old 600 MHc PC, it has 256 MB RAM with 20 GB hard disk.

Dinesh: why you want to sell ? it looks ok to me.

me: no it is not OK, it is running form last 4 years and hence it had worn out so it gives me lots and lots of hardware problems.

Dinesh: So you want to sell it because of the problems you have ?

me: YES, 100%

Dinesh: can you explain the problems to me ?

me: Yes, it is old 600 MHz Celeron processor and it hangs when i am working. at that time I have to reboot which solves the problem. sometimes I have to reboot 4 times a day. Sometimes an application just crashes in the middle and no matter how much you click the icon in “Start menu”, it does not run but reboot solves this problem. also i have to reinstall drivers for the external modem of D-Link at EVERY boot because it get blocked every time i reboot. there must be some problem with its connection on Motherboard. weired HANGS solved on reboots, hence my hard-disk is corrupt.

There is also an anti-virus problem. also i get weired VIRUSES when i connect to internet and Norton Anti Virus says they are not viruses. also Norton Anti-Virus Firewall just does not work, somebody cracked into my computer and disconnected me form the net 😦

Dinesh: you use WIndowsXP, right ?

me: how you know ? i did not tell you.

Dinesh: arnuld, your computer hangs/freezes because Windows hangs, there is no problem in Celeron processor or your motherboard. OK.. these are the only problems you have ?

me: NO, 3 more. my WindowsXP Home CD had stopped booting. I installed from it 3 months ago, it was bootable at that time and now it does not boot. 2, my Window 2000 Advanced Server CD had lost some files. I installed from it successfully on 6 different computers of my friends and mine too but today it says “can not find ….. file” . 3, sometimes when i start my computer i get a blue-screen rather than Windows , saying something like “0x7777865 dumping hard-disk” . I format the disk and reinstall Windows and problem solved, i do so 3 times a month as i have this problem nearly every week. I am sure both my CD-Writer and CD-ROM have gone crazy. how can a CD loose files ?

Dinesh: hmm….. these are your *major* problems ?

me: yes

Dinesh: ok, Windows is the problem. your hardware is OK.

me: how do you know ? you never even saw my PC.

Dinesh: Its your own will, if you want to solve the problems install Linux.

me: I am graduate in computers from #4 ranked University in India, why can’t I solve the problems.

Dinesh: All those graduate are idiots

me: how ?

Dinesh: buy Red Hat Linux, that will tell you.

me: Red Hat Linux. what is that ? I heard UNIX, is it the next version of UNIX ?

Dinesh: it is an OS. not UNIX but it is like-UNIX

me: OS … ??? but if I install it then how will my computer run. you need Windows to run a computer.

Dinesh: an OS runs a computer and Windows is a quality-less OS

me: don’t disrespect Bill Gates. he is nice and brilliant guy who made computers run. the man who told this world how to create “icons” and “shortcuts”. the man who made computers possible. you can not even listen a song, watch video or check YAHOO mail without Windows. we use internet everyday and Bill Gates is the one who created Internet Explorer to use the internet. without Internet Explorer you can not use internet.

Dinesh: an OS is the thing that runs a hardware, your computer. Windows is a cheap class OS. By the way, you use a Browser to use net. Not Operating System

me: so what exactly can i do with *your* so called OS ?

Dinesh: you can create icons, shortcuts, listen to the songs and check YAHOO mail and best of all you can watch your favourite “The Matrix”.

me: WHAT ? i can watch “The Matrix” on Red Hat Linux ?

me: ok, whatever but will Red Hat Linux solve my hardware-problems ?

Dinesh: yes, because your problems are not hardware specific.

me: it will solve my hang problem, I can watch movies, do internet and create documents. you must be joking.

me: so this Red Hat thing is the solution ?

Dinesh: yes

me: BTW, what is the full-form of OS ?

Dinesh: Operating System

me: it is strange to hear that a computer can run without Windows. I wish i could believe that.

Dinesh: Linux will turn upside-down whatever you know about computers. an advice beforehand, it is painful.

me: Red Hat Linux. right ?

Dinesh: yes, use it.

me: from where i can get it and for how much ?

Dinesh: from the book shop and it costs around 400 rupees, along with a book (50 rupees = $1)

me: W…H…A…T… just 400 rupees. it mus be crap then. look, WindowsXP original CD costs more than 10,000 rupees( IIRC, it was 20,000) and that is why it is best of the best . Bill Gates has done lots of hard work to create this new Universe called Windows. he made run computers, he is the next after GOD.

…..400 rupees…. huh… must be a crap.

Dinesh: arnuld ?

me: …… (silent)…….. (silent)… OK, tell me the name of the book shop.

next, i went to buy the Red Hat Linux at book shop and after 8 hours of search I was back to his home. It was evening, 6 PM I guess and I entered his home.

Dinesh: I don’t see any book in your hands. You did nto buy the Linux ?

me: I did not find any book int he whole market

Dinesh: you sure

me: yes. All I see are books on Fedora Core 2, I don’t see any book on Red Hat Linux

Dinesh: Fedora Core is the Red Hat Linux. They have changed the name.

Poor me. I got Fedora Core 2 and installed it and never looked back, though 1st 6 months were a big PITA (Pain In The Ass 🙂 here is my journey :

 

Windows 98 -> Windows 2000 professional -> Windows 2000 advanced server -> WindowsXP -> Fedora Core -> Debian -> Arch -> Foresight -> UTUTO -> BLAG -> FreeBSD -> KATEOS -> PLD -> gnewSense -> Gentoo -> Fedora -> DragonFlyBSD -> Frugalware -> OpenBSD -> Gentoo -> Arch

i still want to use Gentoo, it is amazing distro but really hate its USE flags approach. my Desktop to command-line transition is like this:

Widnows -> KDE (14 days) -> GNOME (1.5 years) -> Xfce -> Ratpoison -> WIndowmaker -> sawfish -> Windowmaker -> Fvwm -> Windowmaker -> Ratpoison -> wmii

Windows is the one i used for the longest time, 3 years at Univerity + 1 year at home, BUT that is the *fault* of Indian Educations system which exists to ruin the life of software students.

4 years of Windows, still used and loved and took great-pride in “point-&-click” Desktops when in reality i had ZERO idea of anything at all & 1.5 years with GNU and no Desktops, no fancy icons but only “wmii” and “urxvt” and here is mine good looking modifications from “~/.stumpwmrc”:

;; -*-lisp-*-;;;; change what package(in-package :stumpwm)

;; setting a high-debug level(setf stumpwm::*debug-level* 10)
;; run some shell commands
(run-shell-command “feh –bg-scale /home/arnuld/.local/wallpapers/background_stump”)

;; setting window colors
(setf *focus-color* “green”)

(setf *unfocus-color “black”)
;; change the “prefix key”

;; that useless Super key can be used here
;; 🙂

(set-prefix-key (kbd “s-p”))
;; bind some keys
(define-key *root-map* (kbd “c”) “exec urxvt”)

(define-key *root-map* (kbd “f”) “exec firefox”)
(define-key *root-map* (kbd “x”) “exec xchat”)

(define-key *root-map* (kbd “m”) “exec limewire”)
;; screen locker

(define-key *root-map* (kbd “C-l”) “exec xlock”)
;; hook begins

;;
;; hook from “male” at IRC chaannel #stumpwm

;; this will show the curent group name when you will switch the group
(defun focus-group (newg oldg)

(declare (ignore oldg))
(message “:: ~a ::” (group-name newg)))
;; macro for faster startups

(defmacro replace-hook (hook fn)
`(remove-hook, hook, fn)

`(add-hook, hook, fn))
(replace-hook *focus-group-hook* ‘focus-group)

;;

;; hook ended

 

Any Windows user will go crazy if i show him this file and tell him what it does. he will barely kill me if I tell him that a Desktop consists of Window system and Window Manager along with a File-Manager and I only use Window Manager on my computer and that is tiled one.

For 1st 6 months, I kept my system in dual-booting mode with WindowsXP and always asking to my friends for Windows based softwares because i always thought Linux can not replace Windows. see i do not have any Media player. i can not run “Kundli” and WINAMP on Linux. but after 6 months i had some courage and got rid of Windows and for next 3 months completely used Fedora, i did not hear any single song, no videos because i did not have internet then and when internet hit my town, on the 1st day I downloaded XINE 🙂

today i am dual booting my computer with HURD and Arch and i am willing to become a full time programmer only because of 3 people: Ken Thompson, DMR and RMS, the UNIX and the GNU. if there was no UNIX then there could not be any GNU Operating System and if there was no GPL a.k.a GNU a.k.a RMS , I could never even thought of becoming a programmer because that way, UNIX could never have been available as a Free Desktop OS.

 

I always hated computers because computers give weired and unsolvable problems. am i right ? of course not, computers do not give problems, Windows does and Windows is excellent at that. If there is another person to whom i want to say thanks then that is my friend “Dinesh”. he does not even know that i have a BLOG and i have mentioned him here but he guided me into the correct direction. his one answer changed the course of my life.

why did i become a salesman, rather than doing Post-Graduation because i had weired problems and why i had weired problems because 20 computers at the computer lab of my college used Windows 98 and today my college has a biggy-big IT block running 250 computers with 3 computers labs on 2nd and 3rd floors of IT block and all run WindowsXP now. they got loads of money but no common-sense….

 

what happens when an IDIOT with 2 hands gets a computer: he installs Windows

. What if you say you are not idiot , what if I say you are an idiot because you got a friend like Dinesh who wanted to show you the path but you never trusted him.

What happens when a frustrated Windows user searches for a solution to his problems: he installs Red Hat Linux (and in near Future he comes to know that he is using GNU Operating System not Linux)

but how the hell i heard about UNIX ? at one corner of my University’s syllabus there was a line saying: UNIX fundamentals. i asked my teachers:

 

me: Sir, what is UNIX ?

teacher: its not for you.

me: No Sir, it is in our syllabus, see: “UNIX Fundamentals – B.Sc 3rd year”

and next he gave me the “you can not use it, 1st learn Windows” look.

i asked another teacher and he gave me “Windows is the prerequisite for UNIX” expressions on his face.

i asked the one and only one Female teacher we had at that time and she said “this is of no use to you.” i said i want to become a brilliant programmer, she said “ok, the 1st learn Windows properly and she advised to buy 670 rupees worth of book on DOS”….aaarghhhhh….

I asked one of my classmates, the Brilliant C Programmer. ( that was *exactly* what whole class called him – “Brilliant C Programmer”.) , and he advised me to stay away from UNIX by saying this UNIX is not for programmers, all companies use Windows so you must use Windows and worse part is UNIX has no tools, no mouse, no audio player, no VC++, UNIX has only black screen which is for Ph.D. guys with gray beards a.k.a theoretical-world, definitely not for young programmers and practical people and then he shew me his name waving across the monitor and said, this is HTML programming.

I ask you what you will do as a young, 19 year old student who has not touched the world yet. he takes admission into a university for a better future. whom you will trust, of course, your teachers, the college environment and then the top-performing C Programmers in your class who always say “make sure you use #include <conio.h> from Standard Library” …….

….WTF…..

Now as a normal user of GNU, I know much more about my hardware, above all i *know* what is an OS , i know that my audio card is VIA VT8237 and it uses VIA82xx driver to play the sound and my ethernet card uses via-rhine form kernel and 192.168.0.2 is its IP address and 192,168.0.1 is the gatway. hey i also know i am a C++ programmer, most Post-Graduates of my college say I am a VC++ programmer 😀

 

Latest incident:

Just last week, an M.Sc (Computer Science) entered into the cyber-cafe where i was taking some print-outs of “HURD installation guide” . that cyber-cafe’s owner was much impressed with me as I told him Linux can solve his virus/spyware and sudden-freeze problems. when that M.Sc. asked to take print-outs of some C++ programs and their output, the owner pointed his finger towards me “that’s the guy who can help you, the computer graduate guy – arnuld”. here is the interesting conversation:

 

M.Sc. boy: do you have VC++ language installed on this computer

me: brother, there is no language named VC++

( he started to laugh)

me: what exactly you want ?

M.Sc. boy: VC++ Programming Language

me: there is no programming language named VC++

M.Sc. boy: what the heck ? i used that language for 2 years at my college

me: hmm…. you want C++ Programming language

M.Sc. boy: no C++, but VC++ programming language.

me: I think, you want some C++ compiler so that you can compile some C++ programmes and take the print outs of source code and output ?

M.Sc. boy: yes, i want print-outs for my project but i want VC++ programming language not C++ programming language. VC++ is better than C++

me: there is no programming language named VC++

(…M.Sc. boy got angry at me.. )

M.Sc. boy: you are a stupid graduate. my professor said to me that i need VC++ programming language to pass my exams and complete this project. he said not to use C++.

me: 😀

so now it was my turn to laugh and i was ROTFL.

 

 


Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008 Arnuld Fraser, #331/type-2/sector-1, Naya Nangal,
Distt. – Ropar, Punjab (INDIA) – 140126

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide,
without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice, and the copyright notice, are preserved.

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6 Comments »

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  1. […] was when I found that we can run our computer without installing Windows, using Red Hat UNIX: https://lispmachine.wordpress.com/200…folds-removed/ okay, its going very OT, won’t reply anymore 🙂 — http://www.lispmachine.wordpress.com my email is @ […]

  2. […] I have to go back to my earlier days, the day before I even installed Linux, the day my friend Dinesh mentioned the word Linux to me. Its all about happiness. So let me answer the question I have […]

  3. Hey, nice post. Very honest. Its impressive (and inspiring) that you got that far AFTER you graduated. But I can’t relate with you completely though. Now I can understand Linux when I want to, but the trouble is I don’t want to. 😀 Most of the time anyway.

    I do believe in your theory that if you force yourself to solve your problems with Linux it becomes less painful. I’m actually using StupWM right now but with gnome-panel on. 😀 I installed StumpWM so that I get less dependent on the GUI and user-friendliness of Ubuntu, but no sir, I just can’t get done much. Also I don’t understand what exactly I want to customize (I understand that is an advantage you get with StumpWM). Same with Emacs, I use it but I don’t customize it. I use somebody else’s .emacs at work and use many things in it. But when I come home I use the defaults again. 😀

    I think one needs a special state of mind to do things yourself, to do things efficiently etc. No matter how many tools you give to some people they will only go so far. I guess I’m one of them. 😀

    • @ Karthik

      One thing Linux teaches you is to look for lots for tools. Earlier I used StumpWM but its not my favorite, my favorite one is wmii, there is a reason behind it. Its not whether you master Linux or WIndows or not. Its whether you can accomplish your daily tasks efficiently and effiectively without wasting your precious time. Thats exactly one of the things Linux is about.

      Whether you are repairing the electrical wiring of your home, whether you are just looking at your old machine how it works or your car’s engine, it takes a technical approach unbiased from any personal point of view to understand the machien better. Why most people know that there is a spark-plug and a carbureter inside a scooter ? Now if something goes you can open it and test your spark-plug for current and check wheteher the carbureter is not blocked. Most people know abotu them (or at least heard about them) because scooters were designed from that approach, open for everyone to see, they were not designed like a closed cabinet. Did that kill any business ?

      What you call a someone if his scooter just stops in th emiddle of the road ot of no reason and rather than opening it he just hands it to agency and agency men charge him with 1200/- ruppes of bill and then tell him that his scooter stopped because patrol tank is empty with a “Thanks you Sir” attitude. I think you got a Windows user here.

  4. […] in year 2005. After I quit my sales job in February of 2005, I purchased Red Hat Linux Bible in end of April same year. It has been 5 years since then, I learned a lot about computers and it became my passion […]

  5. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude!

    Thank you so much, However I am having issues with your
    RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


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