Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Unix/Linux/OSS may have had the greatest computing influence on all of us

Unix/Linux/OSS may have had the greatest computing influence on all of us
Thread Tools
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 02:28 PM
 
This isn't an evangelism thread, but some thoughts to ponder and some theories which come out of my thinking here...

If you are an Apple fan Apple is probably often on the forefront of your mind moreso than Unix/Linux, but have you ever stopped to consider what computing would be like without Unix/Linux? For starters, the obvious...

1) Apple may not even exist today if it weren't for NeXT, which has Unix in its lineage
2) Ditto for iOS and OS X
3) The entire internet, the marketing basis of the original iMac, including network infrastructure has all sorts of Unix/Linux stuff going on
4) Ditto for the web apps you use, cloud computing, etc.

But also:

1) The stuff you use on a daily basis was likely built with stuff connected to the Unix/Linux/OSS world (compilers, programming languages, standards/formats/protocols, etc.)
2) The Android world would probably not exist (whether or not you are a fan, for better or worse, just a thing. Competition is a good thing, right?)
3) Many of the little appliances and non-computing devices you use run Linux

Again, this isn't a rah rah Unix/Linux poo poo Apple/Microsoft theory, obviously Apple and Microsoft have been hugely important too, but beyond the depth of the Unix/Linux/OSS world isn't it also amazing how long standing and resilient this technology has been? I mean, I don't think Unix/Linux has ever been completely dismantled and rebuilt the way that Mac OS or Windows NT has, or any other technology has?

I think you could also make a decent argument that Unix/Linux/OSS may have had one of the greatest impacts on human society as a whole. Thoughts?
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 03:37 PM
 
From what I understand, Unix isn't so much an actual technology or a system, but an approach to building one — more of a structural concept?

On what basis are you throwing UNIX and Linux into a single pot, though? After all, the name "Linux" in itself is a self-referential acronym denoting that it does NOT draw upon a UNIX heritage...
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
From what I understand, Unix isn't so much an actual technology or a system, but an approach to building one — more of a structural concept?

On what basis are you throwing UNIX and Linux into a single pot, though? After all, the name "Linux" in itself is a self-referential acronym denoting that it does NOT draw upon a UNIX heritage...

It's a little loose, I didn't want to pin it down that much. Maybe you could say the whole POSIX world? You're right, it is a design and approach, but there are the kernels and basic tools used in the CLI environment that have been around for freaking ever. The concept of output redirection, piping, cat, grep, awk, sed, etc. have been around for a long time. I think the GNU versions of these tools were an attempt to mimic their BSD ancestors.

I'm actually not a huge computing history nerd so I can't speak to the precise history a great deal, but there is a great deal of consistency and thoughtfulness to how these tools work in tandem with each other and how you can put together workflows that AFAIK are not radically different than the earliest generations of these tools. For instance, the whole concept of output being in plain text, manipulable via options, output to STDOUT with support for redirection and piping I *believe* was a part of the original design or at least a very early version of it.

I just think it's remarkable how as we speak there are people doing very important things with software that was basically written decades ago, and it's remarkable to think about how much we owe to some of these designers.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:00 PM
 
I mean, right now somebody is looking to see what domains are available using a front-end for whois, and there are a gazillion DNS lookups taking place. This stuff came about before many of us were born, and the differences between these tools and the earlier generation versions is relatively trivial.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:04 PM
 
If this is an homage to the foresight that people had decades ago to make choices that have survived the test of time and remain fundamentally relevant today:

Hell yes.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
If this is an homage to the foresight that people had decades ago to make choices that have survived the test of time and remain fundamentally relevant today:

Hell yes.

It is, but am I the only one that finds this pretty damn amazing?

I mean, what Apple-designed remnants of Mac OS exist in OS X or iOS? HFS, I guess, but even then I don't think HFS really became a thing until the 80s?
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:13 PM
 
IPv4 was apparently complete in 1981, 30+ years and going strong...
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It is, but am I the only one that finds this pretty damn amazing?

I mean, what Apple-designed remnants of Mac OS exist in OS X or iOS? HFS, I guess, but even then I don't think HFS really became a thing until the 80s?
HFS didn't exist until around 1986 or so. The original MFS was flat, no folders.

The Command Key is still around… That dates back to 1983. The basic key commands, Z, X, C, V, Q, P, those are, AFAIK, Mac originals, and date back to the very early 80s...
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: yes
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
HFS didn't exist until around 1986 or so. The original MFS was flat, no folders.

The Command Key is still around… That dates back to 1983. The basic key commands, Z, X, C, V, Q, P, those are, AFAIK, Mac originals, and date back to the very early 80s...

That's pretty amazing too. Perhaps the specific letters are a little arbitrary, but the fact that nobody has wanted to change them I guess made them good choices!
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 28, 2013, 04:54 PM
 
IIRC, P was obviously Print, S, obviously Save, Q was obviously Quit, W (close window) was chosen because it was next to Q, X because it invoked scissors and was next to C (copy), V because it was next to C, and Z for Undo because it was right in that row of four keys.

These letters had different meanings in terminal land (e.g. Control-C to stop printing the teletype), which is why Apple invented the Command Key and left the Control key as it was (Windows ****ed this up completely, munging stuff all over the place and leading to nonsensical things like Alt-F4 to close a window, while retroactively trying to "fix" things by adding a Windows key that nobody had any use for by the time it showed up).

http://gigaom.com/2010/09/30/mac-101...e-command-key/
     
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: France
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 29, 2013, 10:08 AM
 
Title should be "Unix may have had the greatest computing influence on all of us" since without UNIX there would be no Linux nor Open Source (due to Stallman's idea of 'freedom' for computer programs).

However, one mustn't forget the impact of IBM's mainframes, their use in banks and manufacturing well before TCP/IP was even dreamed of.
Before we begin, you must all be warned. Nothing here ... is vegetarian.
Hannibal Lecter.
     
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: France
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Jul 29, 2013, 10:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think you could also make a decent argument that Unix/Linux/OSS may have had one of the greatest impacts on human society as a whole. Thoughts?
I'd personally put cars, advances in medicine and political changes (such as democracy) far ahead of any computer operating system.
Before we begin, you must all be warned. Nothing here ... is vegetarian.
Hannibal Lecter.
     
   
Thread Tools
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:04 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2014 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2