Viruses on the mailing list [off topic]

Zoltan Kocsi zoltan at
Fri May 17 09:42:38 UTC 2002

 > But if you need to use Cad,PCB,Analizer,EMulator,Programmers,bla,bla,bla...
 > Can you help me to find this kind of software in linux?

You can find a lot of stuff under Linux these days. Indeed, far less
than for Windows, but a lot. You *can* do development (HW/SW/FPGA)
under Linux, if you are really desperate. 

The fact that 85% of the OS market is Windows does not mean that
all development is done with it. Unix has been designed from the
ground up to be a development environment and is full of utilities
and capabilities to accomodate that type of work.

Windows became mainstream in R&D when buying a proper unix system
(a Sun or a HP or alike) was financially unfeasible for smaller
companies. PCs were affordable and thus there was a demand for
development SW on them. They were not a *better* solution for 
development than unix, they were an *affordable* solution.
Now that you can have unix on the same HW which runs Windows, the 
trend seems to change slowly. Apparently the demand for Linux tools
increases. The fact that for example Altera and Xilinx are porting
their tools to Linux is an indication of real demand. They have a
monopoly for their tools and they, for a long time, *forced* you to 
use Windows for their FPGA suites. Now they offer Linux versions.
There must be a growing market if they spend the money and effort,
because they have no competitor on their own playground and still
they do it.

 > Needs the staff change the OS because the engineers want Linux/Unix like
 > tool?

No. The staff can use whatever they want, why would it have any effect 
on the engineers' OS? Linux can happily co-exist with Windows on a
LAN, your only problem might be the Office tools and some Win admin
tools, if the management makes their use mandatatory.

On the other hand, when one office in a company upgrades their Office
to the newest Office, everybody must do the same because the old
version often dies on the new version's formats. Nobody seems to
complain about that, although it is the same issue: just because
say Human Resources wants to use Office 2002 does everybody else
have to change their Office '99 (or whatever, I don't know the 
Office's numbering scheme)? Yes, they have to, and they do. 

 > Is Wine M$ in linux perhaphs?
No, Wine is not Microsoft. It allows you to run software written for
a Microsoft OS, but it has nothing to do with MS. You can use that 
as a half-solution, but with Wine you lose a lot of functionality 
offered by the unix environment. It's quite hard to construct automatic 
make-controlled builds with Wine, partially because of the problems
of exit codes, file system differences and alike and partially because
most Windows tools have a completely different mindset from the unix
ones. They tend to be self contained and are not designed to be part
of a development environment envisioned by the engineer and shaped
by the problem - they give you a framework and you massage your
problem to fit the frame. 

 > Perhaphs is not there enough software linux availiable?

That is certainly true. Depending on what you have to do, though, you
can do a lot even with that limited amount.

 > I like Linux but the real world is the real world.

It is also a personal preference. Not everyone likes the unix way,
you can't state ex-cathedra that one or the other is better.
I personally live with Linux because I much prefer make over a
clickety-click interface, I like to build my own development
environment that suits the particular project, with its FPGAs
and several different kind of CPUs connected in various ways, 
one of which actually can and does run RTEMS. I like the fact 
that I can write scripts that generate code for the various 
chips and there never will be a 'shit, I forgot to update that
file when I changed this one' because make and the other tools
make sure that everything is always in sync. Not everybody likes
to write awk and sed and make and shell files and there's nothing
wrong with that. But if you really want, you can use Linux for
a *lot* of things. My CPU selection is limited because I only use
a chip if I can find devtools on Linux (preferably gcc so that the
compiler behaves identically for every chip). I can live with that,
because my environment can accept if I use an AVR instead of an
8051 or if I don't use the latest and greatest Mitsubishi ultra cheap
controller, for which there is no Linux support (although they
promised which means that there is *demand* for that!). If you 
live under different conditions, you may not be able to use Linux.
But often you can.

What you lose in tool availability, you can gain back in the fact 
that you don't have to worry about reboots, viruses, applications 
changing shared DLLs and all the other nasty things that are usually 
associated with Windows. You can build a very robust development 
envirnment that suits *your* needs and reflects the problem, rather 
than the mindset of the tool designer. 

The more people switch, the more tools will become available, because
the increased demand will force vendors to support Linux. This *is*
happening and it is much easier to run a Linux-only dev. shop than
it was say 7 years ago.

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