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Is Linux the One True Religion?

© October 2009 Anthony Lawrence

I don't know when or why I wrote this. It couldn't have been too long ago; I first bought an iBook in December of 2002. It apparently was in response to someone who said their professor advised them not to use Linux. Whatever, whenever, here it is:

Oh, I found it at Plex86.org. I thank them for preserving it - I had forgotten it entirely.

There is only one true religion, though it's impossible to know whether it's Linuxism, BSDism or SysVism. Some extremely deluded folks once thought it was McBridism but that's generally considered to have been falsified. So you have a one in three shot at salvation.

The problem is, if you guess wrong, you are doomed to spend eternity crawling through the Mines of Misery with a Tandy Model 100 computer as your only companion. The Gods of *ix are jealous gods and won't stand for competition and false idolatry.

The only certain thing is that the Microsoft guys are screwed. If you worship at the altar of Linux, you may end up pecking at the Model 100's keys while the stench of Unicorn dung fills your nostrils, but at least you have a shot at your own Camel Beast and all the other perks that go along with having chosen the Right Religion.

My feeling is to embrace 'em all and believe in nothing. You might call me a Secular Posixist. I'm typing at an iBook keyboard, have one terminal window open to a Linux website I run, and another to my BSD based site. May the gods have mercy on my soul, but I still have some SCO customers here and there (though I've moved more than a few to Linux).

Who cares what some P-thing (Pastor or Professor) thinks? Linux is not real Unix, but Unix isn't real Linux either. Think for yourself - it may seem strange at first, but it's habit forming. Just imagine making up your own mind about something.. I know, it's scary taking responsibility for your own opinions. When you do that, you can't say "God says I have to hate gays" or "My professor says I shouldn't use Linux". Nope, you'll have to take full responsibility for your own opinions. I don't mean that you have responsibility to other people necessarily; primarily your responsibility is to yourself. You are the captain of your ship and shouldn't be letting other people tell you how to trim the sails. Sure, you'll listen to the tales of those with more experience, but remember that ultimately it's your course to chart, not theirs.

So give the Professor a big old smile and agree wholeheartedly:

Yessiree, Linux is not real Unix. And so?

Got something to add? Send me email.

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Thu Nov 12 20:28:11 2009: 7533   Dan

The purists answer is that Linux is not UNIX. UNIX is owned by Microsoft through Novell now. As Bill found out, the "UNIX" code is properly licensed by Sun, IBM, and HPUX and there is nothing he can do about it.
Linux kernel does not use the UNIX kernel produced by the UNIX Gods back in 1970s (and 1969). Its kernel was written separately to do the same thing.
Identical situation was the Mitsubishi Jeep, Mitsubishi found out Jeep was a brand not a design. So they renamed it the LandCruiser or J40. Mits made a CJ5 like creature, identical in every way, but it was not made by jeep so it is not a jeep. Same for the Cobra, there are great "cobra's" on the street identical in every detail but they are not a cobra.

Thu Nov 12 21:28:51 2009: 7536   TonyLawrence

It was a pretty silly thing for the Professor to say. If he is teaching a course in OS design and wanted them to muck with Plan 9 or something, fine. But if it's anything else, I can't think of any reason why he'd say such nonsense.

Mon Jun 24 19:15:13 2013: 12155   Paul


Depends on what he was teaching and how much time he wanted to spend dealing with incompatibilities between distributions.

I just smile when I recall the prophecies that Linux would be on every desktop: turns out there is a commercial unix for home and office, now on millions of desktops, but it came from an unlikely source in Cupertino.

Mon Jun 24 19:25:57 2013: 12156   TonyLawrence


Ayup. And that's not real Unix either.. real enough for me, though :-)


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