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Peachy

Linux vs Win 2000/XP kernel

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Peachy

I'd like to raise an interesting topic for discussion amongst us OSphiles. Given that the Linux Kernel is a monolithic kernel in which all the major OS services are compiled into it versus the Windows NT micro kernel wherein very few core services are built in but rather interface with higher level processes called executive services, which OS do you think provides the best performance and stability?I would say that neither, at the moment is inherently better or worse than the other. For example, with Linux, the graphical user interface is a user process. The X Window system does not integrate with the kernel and therefore if a badly written X Window code crashes your GUI, your OS doesn't get taken down with it, you just get a console window.On the other hand, with NT (and this includes 2000 and XP since they are both derivatives of NT), because the GUI is integrated in the kernel, video card drivers have access to the kernel's process areas in memory and if that code is buggy, the result is usually a Blue Screen of Death!Conversely with an integrated GUI, you get a more consistent look and feel with various application windows, whereas in the X Window environment, X only defines the basic set of window drawing programming code and you end up with a variety of window managers like KDE, GNOME, FVWM, AfterStep, etc., all drawing application windows slightly differently than the others.The interesting thing about this discussion for me is whether or not your arguments will reflect your philosophy about Open Source versus proprietary software code. Or put another way, how do the two programming models affect the type of OS that is developed?And to make sure everyone is on the same page, let's define Open Source using Richard Stallman's Free Software model which actually states that the source code should be provided *FREE* regardless of whether you also sell the software as prepackaged or downloaded binaries. Proprietary software can be sold or given away as freeware/sharware, but the source code is not provided or it is for a high fee (as was AT&T's UNIX back in the early '80s.)

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Maxlor

First, let me say that I'm using FreeBSD, which uses an even more monolithic kernel than Linux - I don't load any modules, all my drivers are in the kernel.Whether that's better than having a microkernel or not, I don't know. I suppose it's easier to update drivers with microkernels if you don't have to recompile and reinstall the kernel (on the other hand, this takes only a few minutes on my athlon 1.4GHz). Ah well. suppose this is really something for a kernel hacker to talk about, which I'm not.I can comment on the GUI though: it's not entirely accurate what you say about crashes. If there's a bug in the nVidia drivers, you might just as well find your system panicking and rebooting, since the driver runs in kernel space too. So basically you face the same issues here. On the other hand, not every crash of a GUI component takes down windows. With more recent windows versions, thankfully an explorer crash doesn't do much harm, since it'll be restarted automatically. This was much worse with Win9x, where you could end up with a blank screen and no other option than pressing ctrl-alt-delete.Windows uses a microkernel. The GUI is not integrated into it anymore than the hardware drivers are.As for X's looks: There's two things here I'd like to point out: first, there's quite a few different toolkits that applications use. Imho that's a disadvantage, because the applications simply won't have a common look, and since both gtk and qt have their killer apps, you're likely to use applications from both camps. This sucks, because it contributes to the uglyness of the X Desktop. Then, there's the fact that you're free to choose one of a myriad window managers. I think that's a great thing, not only because you can adjust your computer to your personal taste much better, but because it also gives you a great deal of flexibility as far as hardware is concerned. Have a >1GHz system and want all the bells and whistles? Just use KDE. Do you have pentium with mere 16MB RAM? Then windowmaker or *box will be pleasant to use.Lastly, you mention how open source affects me. Well, I notice that open source software tends to annoy me less. You have to see that with proprietary software, there's a few conflicts of interest: First, the customer want's as much value for as little money as possible (or even better, for free) while the developer wants to get as much money for as little work as possible. And second, if the developer creates a perfect product, he won't be able to sell any upgrades. With open source software, the software is important enough for the developer that he wastes his free time on writing it, and often they're writing it to satisfy their own needs. This shows, imho. And then there's of course the advantage of having the source available. Just an example: mplayer displays this annoying warning that your comp is too slow if it drops a certain number of frames. I only needed to comment out one single line in the source code do get rid of it, but without the source code I would have had to live with it. Same with bugs in software - I don't have to wait till the developer patches a bug (which maybe happens never), I can patch it myself and not be annoyed by that bug. I realize that this requires quite a bit of programming knowledge that most people don't possess, but hey, you asked my opinion :unsure: Besides, if enough people stumble into a bug, eventually someone will stumble in it who can fix it.

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Peachy

Hmm,some good points. The notion of compiling the device drivers into the kernel rather than dynamically loading them is an interesting one. I like the idea that you can optimize your kernel by recompiling the drivers you want into it which you definitely can't do with Windows. On the other hand, kernel recompilation is not something most people put at the top of their todo list. :unsure:

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Bruno

Re-compiling the kernel to your own needs is an enormous advantage of the Linux kernel. If you take in account that every little part of the distro can be adapted too, you will be able to end up with a “custom made†OS.Many distro's using the same kernel means that it is tested in many different environments and tweaked for ultimate performance.As for the gui, sure in windows there is skinning, but that is only a skin covering the same lay-out. As in windows I hated their gui and did use windowblinds to soften the pain, well we all know what that does to you resources. ( and the number of blue screens you get )In Linux the gui consumes resources too but then there is a choice: The difference from KDE to blackbox are huge, there is a window-manager for every (extreme) taste and computing power.My 1½ centsBruno

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Peachy

Do you wanna know what's really cool about X Windows? The ability to run it over a network! Image this scenario: You have two computers. One is a high-end workstation that can run the GIMP with no problem. The other is a slower machine, with less memory, etc. But if both are running Linux, you can have the slower machine ssh into the faster machine, run GIMP on the faster machine, and the output is sent back in an X Window on the slower machine. It can be done in Windows with Remote Desktop but only if the host is Windows XP Pro or Windows 2000 Server with Terminal Services installed, and you still have to have fast hardware on both ends.

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Bruno

Yummy ! ;) ;) Bruno

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havnblast

Great Topic for the mind!!I feel most people have no clue about Kernals and are looking purely at what is user friendly, without knowing what they are really getting.Both have their advantages at their own costs. I have yet to recompile my own kernal in linux, but I love the idea that I can. A custom made kernal is a great advantage. I run the KDE desktop and I like it better than WinXP GUI, which I have set to classic look. The eye candy is hard on resources. I can speak that even in WinXP if your video card crashes it kills everything and ends up dumping. I have had to tweak my Voodoo 3 card drivers to make it work with Tribes 2 and now when ever I hit shockwave on the net it crashes big time. Sure I could put a normal driver in and it would work but than I loose Tribes 2. Yes I am looking at a G4 4200ti card for even a better solution.Windows has the ease and that is about it. Once you get to know linux enough you will see it's not bad at all - it's just getting to that point. Self doers are gonna excel at linux. Windows lic vs. GNU - no comparison GNU is only way and I know windows lic is only going to get worse and more expensive. Who ever reads that EULA in windows - holy man

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Jeber
I feel most people have no clue about Kernals and are looking purely at what is user friendly, without knowing what they are really getting.
Just a quick comment (don't intend to go off-topic entirely :lol: ) I find there's a large wall of misunderstanding between computer users over this very issue. In the world of personal comp users, there are those who are only interested in what their computer does for them, and those to whom the workings of their computer is of as much interest as what it does. Kind of like the difference between the person who fixes their own vehicle, and the person who just drives and drives, then drops the thing off at the shop. There are those who think "linux/unix" when they see the word "kernal", and those who think "Iowa". What can become contentious is when people of both camps are family. And family has computers. And they think Iowa.

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Maxlor

Just a quick note, it's kernel.As for recompiling the kernel, it depends a lot on what OS you use. I remember my first Linux experience with SuSE 5.2, and recompiling the kernel was difficult. First because it took me quite a few tries until I got it to compile, and second because on that 386 it took a while.These days I'm using FreeBSD, and recompiling the kernel is a breeze. You edit a simple text file containing configuration options like, say, "DEVICE xl" to compile in the xl driver (which is the driver running 3com cards) or "OPTION IPFW" to compile in the IPFW firewall. There's a little checking program that checks for syntax and configuration errors before you start compiling. And then, compiling itself takes only a few minutes on my athlon 1.4GHz, and it only takes two commands (make buildkernel; make installkernel - the two are separated so you can continue working normally while it's building the kernel and defer installing it 'till you're ready to reboot.)As for X forwarding: Well, I think that these days it's inferior to Windows' terminal server, which, quite frankly, delivers amazing performance. Of course, not many people have it, so the comparison might be unfair. And X has the huge advantage that it's platform independent.An example: In my system programming lecture, we discussed assembler. We used sparc assembler. Now, I don't have any Sun sparc machines at home, nor does anyone I know, and the labs are always overcrowded. The solution? Sit down at home at my PC and use X11 forwarding and SSH to work on the sparcs remotely. Worked great.Just to not be one-sided, X11 has it's downsides too. Basically the thing is outdated, huge and sluggish. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who'd wish for a complete redesign. Ah well. I guess we'll be stuck with it for some more time. (Btw, Trolltech proves that one can do better with their Qtopia environment for pocket pcs. I hear nothing but praise. Now if they released a Desktop PC version...)

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Peachy
Just to not be one-sided, X11 has it's downsides too. Basically the thing is outdated, huge and sluggish. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who'd wish for a complete redesign. Ah well. I guess we'll be stuck with it for some more time. (Btw, Trolltech proves that one can do better with their Qtopia environment for pocket pcs. I hear nothing but praise. Now if they released a Desktop PC version...)
Interestingly, I read this story about 2 weeks ago about one of the creators of X11 being kicked off the island because he dared to start a new development model for X11. It will be interesting to see what happens o X in the next couple of years.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Well, yes there is a great potentials when it comes to building your own kernel, but I have not done much research on building the kernel, so I can't comment much on it. Sure.. I can read howto's, and people always praise about those "howto's" document, but I feel it is a drawback in *NIX community. I would rather spend more time just to deal with my own data than getting little tiny task to work. Windows on the other hand is quite user friendly, and whenever I install something, I know what it is doing, and the minutes I finish installation, I can start working in that application right away.Speaking of GUIs, here is the test. On a 200 Mhz Pentium MMX machine with only 64 Mb of member + 4.5 gig of hard drive. X runs sluggish on it while Windows 2000 GUI runs like charm. Opening up Microsoft Office 2000/Xp was a breeze on that 200 Mhz box, and whereas, it might take up to 5+ min to load up OpenOffice on the same box. What's more? It takes another 5+ min, if I want to select a different font before typing. Well, Linux used to be known as slim and can run "better" than Windows on older machine, but I don't believe that's true.X is slow, and not easy to get it to work. Luckily, I am happy with emacs in console, which does almost everything I need in a *NIX box. SSH is certainly a plus. As of today, I haven't been able to get X forwarding to work except with the aid from VNC. Like Maxior said, Windows Terminal Service is much surperior than X forward. It is slim and it is fast, and the command rdesktop let you connect to Windows terminal server in no time. my favorite terminal server iscaen-ntts.engin.umich.eduIn Windows, you use Remote Desktop to access itIn Linux, you type rdesktop caen-ntts.engin.umich.eduWell, unfortunately, you can only make it this far to the login page, and since I have access to it, I can use it.

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Maxlor
Windows on the other hand is quite user friendly, and whenever I install something, I know what it is doing, and the minutes I finish installation, I can start working in that application right away.
I doubt very much that you do. It's doing something, but I'd be very much surprised if you could tell me just like what what registry keys it creates, what files it dumps into my documents or program files/shared... And you also don't know what cruft it leaves behind when you uninstall it again.
On a 200 Mhz Pentium MMX machine with only 64 Mb of member , 4.5 gig of hard drive. X runs sluggish on it while Windows 2000 GUI runs like charm.<!--QuoteEnd]Opening up Microsoft Office 2000/Xp was a breeze on that 200 Mhz box, and whereas, it might take up to 5+ min to load up OpenOffice on the same box. What's more? It takes another 5+ min, if I want to select a different font before typing.
Pff simply not true. Besides, you don't have to use OpenOffice.org, you can use, say, Abiword, which is quite fast (and free too).
Well, Linux used to be known as slim and can run "better" than Windows on older machine, but I don't believe that's true.
The newest FreeBSD version, FreeBSD version 5.0, needs about 600MB with X installed (educated guess). It also runs well on old machines with chips even in the low-2-digit Mhz range. Can't exactly be said of Windows XP. Of course you won't be able to use KDE, but at least you've got the option to use a low-profile window manager. Linux is no different from FreeBSD in this respect. And as far as HD space is concerned: when I installed XP on my fresh 5GB partition, the very first message I got was that it's out of HD space.
As of today, I haven't been able to get X forwarding to work except with the aid from VNC.
It's actually as simple as supplying ssh with the -X parameter. That's all that's needed. Really.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Oh yes, to your surprise, I know what files are being put my system, and I know which directory that files are being installed. Also, what registry keys are being inserted. I browse registry as frequent as if I use Windows Explorer. In fact, I hate the way Linux treats its program. It is soo loosy. You have this files in /etc...configuration files under ~/ and then executables under either /bin or /sbin or somewhere else. For god sake, I couldn't understand where my files are until I start using BSD system.Now, I believe it is true because I am comparing two things that are closely equilivant. I am actually talking about the whole office programs, instead of just one single program like Word. AbiWord sucks pretty bad, and KWord does better job than AbiWord for my computing purpose. I care about functionality too, not just performance. You telling me AbiWord is fast..sure it is, but it is useless to me.When I say slim and fast, it includes GUI support. **** I can run DOS 5.0 on 2 digits Mhz processor as well, so it is not really right to compare Linux console with Windows. The X in Linux simply requires too much resources, and it is cumbersome. I can still load GUI much faster in Windows than *NIX on that 200 Mhz box. As of now, I have that box as OpenBSD blackbox. NO GUI, cuz it is too slow to load.Well, thanks for the parameter guide. I didn't know that before. But still. I feel a lot more comfortable with VNC and Remote Desktop.

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Maxlor
Oh yes, to your surprise, I know what files are being put my system, and I know which directory that files are being installed. Also, what registry keys are being inserted. I browse registry as frequent as if I use Windows Explorer.
Ok, then you just impressed me :unsure: Me, I would every so often find keys left behind in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software, and the current machine branch, but who knows what else proggies put into the registry, eg in the file classes branch.
Now, I believe it is true because I am comparing two things that are closely equilivant. I am actually talking about the whole office programs, instead of just one single program like Word. AbiWord sucks pretty bad, and KWord does better job than AbiWord for my computing purpose. I care about functionality too, not just performance. You telling me AbiWord is fast..sure it is, but it is useless to me.
Heh well to be honest, abiword doesn't impress me that much either. I use OpenOffice.org (but then I have the horsepower). There are other options though - Applixware has been around for the longest time, So I assume it runs decently too.
When I say slim and fast, it includes GUI support. **** I can run DOS 5.0 on 2 digits Mhz processor as well, so it is not really right to compare Linux console with Windows. The X in Linux simply requires too much resources, and it is cumbersome. I can still load GUI much faster in Windows than *NIX on that 200 Mhz box. As of now, I have that box as OpenBSD blackbox. NO GUI, cuz it is too slow to load.
I don't think you're being fair. First, it's very well possible to load X on a 200MHz machine, especially with 64MB RAM. I've seen it. Second, You're comparing an up to date version of X and the software with an outdated windows version (or do you really want to tell me that you're running WinXP on that box, and that it's faster too?).
But still. I feel a lot more comfortable with VNC and Remote Desktop.
Ah well you've got to try it to see the advantage :ph34r: Just an example: You can display apps that you've started remotely and apps that you've started on the same box at the same time - there's no distinctive difference between them. Granted, it's not quite as simple as VNC. Ah well. In the end, it's best to choose whichever system you're most comfortable with. The only thing that's important is to make an informed decision, one that builds on facts and not hearsay. And second, diversity is good :) Makes the computing world less vulnerable and more interesting.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Well, to address your issue with left behind keys, there is this program that does the trick. It is RegCleaner It is not the one from Microsoft, and yet, it is more powerfulYeah, I can run X in that 200 Mhz box if I want to, but it is just very slow. Partly, it is because KDE uses too much ram. Perhaps, it is unfair, but seriously though. If I go back to old X, it doesn't even work on that 200 Mhz box..so like I said, I am counting on the first version of X that works for my hardware, which in this case, 3.2.. I could run 4.x, but that slows down much more. Windows Xp doesn't run on that 200 Mhz box for sure because it requires 128 Mb of RAM, and I only have 64 Mb, but 64 Mb is quite decent for Windows 2000. I don't really think Windows 2000 is outdated because there are still more businesses using Windows 2000 than Xp. Xp has new features that aren't much suitable for business use if you know what i mean.Yeah, I tried that on Solaris the other day, and it works, but it works the best when both machines (server and host) are in intranet. Now if you move the machines to Internet, the performance is quite inferior in comparison to VNC and Windows Terminal Service.

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