Home : Software

The Linux Revolution

Being a software professional, I certainly have a few things to say about the Linux operating system. Ever since my exposure to Linux in 1994, I've been an avid user, running it about 99% of the time on my home machine.

Here is a brief summary of why I enjoy Linux as my operating system of choice:

  • Stable - In my entire time of using Linux, I have only managed to crash the kernel a handful of times. This is quite a boon any developer wishing to make more use of time.

  • Efficient - Linux makes very effective use of my hardware, obviating the need for frequent and expensive upgrades.

  • UNIX - Linux is a free version of UNIX, with all of the powerful standard utilities UNIX users have come to expect over the last 30 years.

  • Free - Operating systems have become a commodity item for the home computer user. As such, it makes sense that it is available at no charge.

  • Open source - Bug fixes are very rapid due to the exposure of the source code to thousands of programmers.

So far, my favorite distribution has been Red Hat Linux. Currently, I'm running Red Hat Linux on this web server.

Here are some links to Linux software and resources:

  • RpmFind - A great location for thousands of packages installable in Red Hat Linux's RPM format.
  • SourceForge - Open source projects hosted on a central server.
  • Linux Kernel - This is the site for latest news on the Linux kernel.

Living with Windows

Unfortunately, Windows is poorly equipped for the developer. It lacks by default any of the standard UNIX utilities and editors that the Linux community takes for granted.

With all of this said, Windows is the de facto standard platform for the end-user desktop. As such, as software engineers, we must understand this demographic and develop accordingly.

I've put together a few packages which can help make life easier on the utility side of things.


GNU Utilities 2.4: download (4.0MB)

These utilities provide the standard UNIX command-line functions, as well as a tcsh, a basic perl interpreter, and GNU make. The package includes a set of basic configuration files to get you started with tcsh.

  1. Unzip these utilities into C:/
  2. Put /bin and /usr/bin into your PATH.
  3. Set HOME to c:/home/user
  4. Read the instructions in /etc/README.txt

JED Editor v0.99.11: download (1.1MB)

This editor is a powerful, yet lightweight, EMACS-like programmer's editor. It runs in both terminal and GUI modes and is available for a wide variety of platforms.
Go to: The JED Editor Homepage

VirtuaWin 2.4: download (290KB)

Life is not complete without a virtual window manager. This package allows you to have more than one virtual desktop, switching between them with either the mouse or hotkeys. It's lightweight and stable, making it an obvious choice.
Go to: VirtuaWin Homepage

Wonderful Icon: download (450KB)

An interesting name for an interesting program. This little icon provides more hotkeys than you can imagine. All sorts of events can be triggered using hotkeys. Furthermore, it seems to be able to grab these keys regardless of which application has the focus, making very very useful.
Go to: The Wonderful Icon Homepage

NTP v4.0.99j: download (820KB)

The system clock on most PCs has a tendency to drift at an alarming rate. This package is a free Windows implementation of the network time protocol. You can set it up to synchronize to a variety of public time servers.
Go to: NTP Homepage
Go to: Public NTP Time Servers

SSHD for WinNT: download (472KB)

It's often nice to log into a system remotely over the network. This is a feature that UNIX has taken for granted since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, it is also a feature which is sorely missing in Windows. This package installs a Windows SSH service so that you can security log into your NT machine over the network.
Go to: SSHD for WinNT Homepage

Home | About | Music | Puzzles | Humor | Software | Science

© Kumaran Santhanam. All rights reserved.