mac vs. unix OS

Brian R. Smith brsmith at cs.umn.edu
Wed Feb 27 13:14:01 EST 1991

In <9102270127.AA00156 at largo.ig.com> JMILLER%VXBIO.SPAN at STAR.STANFORD.EDU writes:

>MAC vs. UNIX part 1

>In the following I consider Brian Fristensky's commentary on 
>the mac vs. unix OS. I found it an good summary of the
>problems with the mac, and advantages of unix in similar situations,
>(especially for programmers). Since much biosci software is not
>developed professionally, this is an important consideration.
>Additional nasty things to say about unix(X)

[And a somewhat nasty reply.  I've tried to hold it below a flame.]

>unix is slow, and X is slower 

This statement is very subjective.  What unix box are you running?

SunOS and the MIT X11R4 server on a SparcStation seems pretty peppy to
me.  With MacOS windowing, anything with less guts than a Mac II makes
me impatient.  And Unix/X deal much more gracefully with multiple
concurrent tasks.  (Something which weighs heavily on my mind while the
watch hands rotate...)

>I've noticed that a lot of unix people actually like the mac--I
>think it is because they are used to waiting around. A cold boot of
>a unix machine brings back fond memories of my 1984 mac 128 starting
>up. And what goes for unix goes double for X--it that 128k look like
>a speed demon. This is why many users prefer DOS to unix--things 
>happen faster, even though the hardware usually is slower.

Again, what unix machine?

If you want REAL speed on bootup, try a Timex/Sinclair 1000.  It's
up and running in less than a second!  Why, you could turn it on
and off all day long!  :-)

When you have a unix box on a network, you usually DON'T turn it off.
It runs scheduled operations at night, and may have to deal with
network connections at any hour.  What does bootup speed matter when
you boot once a month?

>Is connectivity all that good?

Yes, regardless of whether you're on MacOS or Unix.  Try out NCSA
Telnet, HyperFTP, HyperFinger, etc. on a Mac sometime.  (All require
MacTCP first, though, from Apple.)

>Why does one want to be SO close to everyone. The first worldwide X
>virus that comes roaring in over everyone's ethernet will make it
>seem less than a good idea.

[Warning: next paragraph contains heavy sarcasm.]

X virus?  Kinda makes you wonder why it hasn't happened yet, eh?  What
with all those Mac and PC viruses (viri?), and I haven't YET seen a
Unix "virus".  Perhaps Unix isn't as susceptible to viruses as
single-user, no-memory-protection, no-file-protection machines are...

"What about the internet virus?" you say.  It wasn't a virus, it was a
worm.  Possibly nitpicking.  What IS important, though, was that it
propagated though HOLES in Unix security (many of which were well
known and easily fixed).  PC and Mac viruses propagate through the
complete LACK of security.

On the other hand, look what networks (the internet, anyway) get you:
  Instant access to terabytes of software, databases, images, sounds.
  Email to other sites delivered in minutes (sometimes seconds).
  Real-time communication with other folks on the net.
  News (USENET, seperate from internet access).

>Why do I need the sysop rooting around in my files?

Maybe you need an honest sysop.  Or, if extremely paranoid, a quick
lesson in how to use "crypt".

Of course, every janitor in the building has a key to YOUR office, and
can turn on your Mac or PC and copy files all they like.  Unless you
invest in some kind of non-standard third-party security stick-on.

>The reason everyone bought personal computers in the first place
>(this includes PCs as well as macs, even more so for PCs) was so that
>they wouldn't have the sysop telling them they had to learn things a
>certain way, or have their computing witheld!

Really?  I thought you said they wanted to use word processors and

Hiring a sysop is not buying a "Big Brother".  Sysops take care of
nitty-gritties - dumps, installing software, fixing hardware, etc.
There are Mac sysops, as well as Unix ones.  But the expertise level
must be higher for Unix.

>The one place connectivity is fantastic is in mail/ftp type
>communication. This is because you use it mostly to talk to other
>people, with advantages identical to those provided by answering

It sounds like you've never really used mail or ftp.  Try transferring
130 meg of data via an answering machine.
Brian  (on simmer)
brsmith at cs.umn.edu

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