Ask some Windows users why they aren’t using Linux and chances are you will hear “because [program] doesn’t have a Linux version.” Although cross-platform software is popping up all over the place, there are still a number of applications that are restricted to a single platform – and for a lot of software, that platform is Microsoft Windows.
However, all is not lost. Although Linux has its own executable format and set of system libraries, a tool exists that will allows us to run a good portion of our Windows applications directly in Linux. This tool is of course, Wine. Wine initially began as a small project that was designed to run simple 16-bit Windows applications. As time went on, the target shifted to 32-bit applications and the long and hard process of rewriting Windows’ user-mode libraries began.
This week’s Question of the Week comes from MaxMaxie, and is about command line usage in Linux:
I’ve found myself using the
-vflag for lots of applications less and less (especially for trivial stuff like
cp). However, when I did and I was, say, unzipping a large file, it would take longer than when I didn’t use the
-vflag. I assume this is because the terminal has to process the text and I’m filling up whatever buffer it might have. But my question is, does this make the application actually run slower or does it complete in the same amount of time and what I’m seeing is the terminal trying to catch up?
According to Matt Jenkins, it does indeed. His explanation of why is an interesting read, but the question remains: exactly how much does it slow things down? I decided to find out – read on to see just how much of a difference verbose flags can make.
There are a wealth of programs available for Linux that do pretty much everything imaginable. In this article, I’m going to take a look at some common applications as well as some that are perhaps not so well known. I’ll provide a brief description of the application as well as basic usage instructions.
Just as in the last article, I will be using Ubuntu for the instructions below. Since each distribution has its own package management system, it would be impossible to cover all of them here.
Ask someone what operating system they’re using, and chances are they’ll reply with some version of Windows. It’s hard to find a PC for sale anywhere that doesn’t have some version of Windows pre-installed on it. However, with recent privacy and security threats, Windows has taken a lot of heat for vulnerabilities found within the operating system. For that reason and perhaps others, many are beginning to look at alternatives. One such alternative is Linux.
The decision to migrate to Linux might be based on a number of factors such as performance, security, or stability. Linux is widely known for its robust kernel and raw speed. Many web servers run Linux – in fact, according to Wikipedia, the majority of websites are powered by Linux. Despite its huge presence in the server market though, it does not enjoy the same widespread usage on typical desktop computers – probably the two biggest reasons for that are education and compatibility.
A lot of people are surprised to find out that the same software they use on Windows is either available for Linux or a program with equivalent functionality can be used. In some cases, it is even possible to run Windows applications in Linux using a compatibility layer (such as Wine or Mono). In order to understand Linux a little better, we’ll take a look at its history.
On April 28th, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) will be released. 11.04 is slated to be the first Ubuntu release that will use Unity, in place of GNOME, as the default desktop shell.
What is Unity?
Unity is a shell interface for the GNOME desktop environment developed for Ubuntu. Ubuntu 11.04 will still be based on GNOME 3 – the underlying infrastructure, applications, etc will not change; Unity just defines what your desktop looks like (similar to Windows Explorer). Unity was originally designed for netbooks, but over the last few months has shown that it is suitable for desktops as well. Unity puts major emphasis on screen space; every pixel is utilized.
Unity is much more then just a few menu/window tweaks though. Unity is part of a larger project called Ayatana, which adds things like: