June 24th, 2005 Comments Off on Tao

I’ve been working with UNIX and UNIX-like systems for a long time already and I never cease to be amazed at the differences in philosophy between those systems and other operating systems.

Recently, I was moving a system from a server to another, and, for various reasons, I had to modify every page in the system. In a Windows system that would require me to use a variety of complete applications, but on Linux it took me only two utilities: a recursive wget to download the system from a server to the other, and a similarly recursive rpl to change the things I needed in each page — directly in the server’s command line. The use of wget was required because I had only FTP access to the first server.

On Windows, even if I had remote access to the server, I would likely have to install a FTP client, a complete application, to download the files. Then I would have to install a text editor with support for recursive search and replace. That’s not hard, but I still would have to install them. (And most times when I’m consulting on Windows, I find exactly this setup in clients’ servers: FTP clients and text editors). Without remote access, something Windows administrators don’t like to grant, unlike UNIX administrators, it would have been even harder.

Of course, you can simulate a UNIX environment on Windows. But the unholy trinity power-flexibility-simplicity I so value in any computing environment is not inherent to Windows as it is for Linux, out of the box.

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