Josef “Jeff” Sipek

Why Is Linux Awesome

Linux is simply awesome. Why, you ask? Good. Today I went to Stony Brook and after reading 3 papers (2 works in progress, 1 about to be resubmitted) I decided to hack the kernel a bit. I grabbed the nearest computer (0.3m away) and ssh’d into my desktop. I had a bunch of xterms open. The box was running RH Enterprise Server 4 (I’m guessing it was 4, beacuse it used 2.6 kernel and to my knowledge there is no official 2.6 kernel for pre-RHES4) and after 4 hours of work I decided to run one command just for fun…

$ uname -a

I don’t have the exact output, but it told me that there are two processors — which was cool, and that they are IA64! How cool is that? I’m using stock install of RH for four hours and I don’t even know that it’s a completely different architecture than what I have at home! That is why Linux is cool.


  1. How is that different from any other operating system you've used? That's pretty much what I would expect from most of the ones I've used over the last 30 years.

    Comment by Alfred Thompson — July 12, 2005 @ 10:57

  2. What I wanted to say was, Itanium and x86 architectures are not in any way compatible. You cannot just take an OS from one and install it on another. At least, that seems to be the rule.

    I actually mean different architectures, not just the minute differences between AMD and Intel (x86) processors.

    Here's a quick list of OSes from the past 20-30 years that I compiled; most of the OSes are very architecture specific, but some do support more than one. I am not including all the Unixes, both propriatary (Solaris, ..) and free (*BSD) as well as Linux.

    * OS/2 - 286/386+ depending on version, originally MS/IBM project, but since Win 3.0 days, IBM is the sole contributor
    * MacOS pre X - Motorola 68k or PPC depending on how old it is
    * MacOS X - based on BSD (= Unix), but heavily modified by Apple, PPC only, although they are working on x86 version
    * VMS - DEC hardware only
    * BeOS - BeBox (PPC, x86
    * CM/P - 8086, Z-80, 8080, 8085 - depending on the clone
    * Xerox 8010 "Star" - proprietary

    And some Microsoft OS versions:

    * DOS - x86 only
    * Win 3.11 and earlier - x86 only
    * Win 9x - x86 only
    * Win NT (all) - x86 only, except NT 3.41 (I think) which ran on Alpha as well

    Comment by JeffPC — July 14, 2005 @ 20:58

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