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Re: Random thoughts - A spanner in the works

> If I may be permitted to 'throw a spanner'
> I am using [not mine] a 386sx/40 8M Ram/100M HDD/16 
> colour/sound card/9Meg Swap file
> .
> OS DOS 6.22 - WIN 3.1
> On board 
> a) the usual Win stuff - Notepad, Write, Screen Savers, Card game 
> 	recording stuff, Paintbrush/MS Works and so on including a 	
> 	/system directory full of no longer needed files + 
> b) Internet - 28.8 Modem + fast comm prog/Trumpet 	
> 	Winsock/Pegusus Mail/WS FTP/Free 	Agent/Iexplorer (now 	
> 	trying Opera - less disk)/ICQ [Win32s]
> All the above works fine reasonably fast (2.6 - 3.0K download) 
> except I do need to reboot with GPF [but not too often]
> So, my spanner is this: If I can do all the above with a GUI {and 
> many people who will receive a ComputerBank machine may have 
> had some similar experience} WHY should I go and use this "new" 
> "funny" OS called Linux and only use text based progs??

OK, some hard-headed reasons...

If we have a new chunk of hardware who's OS is scrambled or
something we don't want, can we reformat the hard drive and install
DOS 6.22 and Win 3.1? Well there is no legal way of doing it.
You cannot BUY this operating system, it is officially obsolete.
We could take a clone of your box and it would probably work quite
well (though if the hardware was different we may need to fiddle a bit)
but even if it worked it would not be legal, we would be pirates.
Since this operation is going to be very visible, any piracy would soon
be detected and no doubt trouble would start.

Second reason (if we manage to get around the first), the upgrade
path for a future user of Win 3.1 is not particularly good. Should
they want to learn to program, they will need a 16 bit compiler like
Turbo-C, then when they inevitably want to move to a 32 bit system
some day they must re-learn what they have done (not completely but
quite a lot). Also, should they want a new application for their
Win 3.1 box they can't get it from anywhere because no one makes them.

If we have a user with special needs such as limited eyesight
or a shaky mouse hand for example, since you have no source code
to Win 3.1, you can't change things around to help this person.
With linux you can redirect the text to a speech converter or
hack a low-pass filter right into the mouse driver. Since these
hacks are easy to do, many people are out there doing them so you
have a resource of active developers.

> Excepting that I want to get out of the DOS/MS envir AND learn a 
> lot more than I know now - If I was given a machine with only text 
> based clients I would probably reformat the HD and put DOS/MS 
> on board.

As I said above, doing this is illegal.

Also, maybe you underestimate text based clients. I do have X windows
running quite well on my machine but I often use text mode anyhow.
When I do use X, most of my programs are just text running in a window.
The reason is that the text based clients do the job, do it fast and
I don't have to fiddle around with mouse clicks (since my typing is
far faster than my mouse manipulation).

Also, I do a lot of work over the network, running apps on remote
machines. The text interface stays quite consistent when running over
a modem or ethernet, etc. It's much less trouble for me not to have
to think about it.

If you were to switch your 386 over to linux and stick to text
apps, I can guarantee that the speed difference to Win 3.1 apps would
amaze you. Maybe speed is not everything, I have seen Win 3.1 on a 386
and it's quite usable but somehow still seems a little sluggish.

	- Tel