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Still Not As Hard As Unix

© November 1999 Tony Lawrence

Recently an "analyst" (that's somebody who is fluent in techno-babble) made the following statement in reference to Windows 2000:

While it's still easier than Unix, it's quite a bit more complex than has traditionally been the case with Windows operating systems.

Now I'd be willing to bet that this analyst doesn't know squat about Unix, and probably not much more about NT. But that's typically what you get when these guys are casting about for comparisons: Let's see, I need something hard - "rocket science" is a cliche, so's "brain surgery"., oh, yeah, almost forgot- Unix.

But let's not even argue about that. I could insist that if you really need to do anything at all unusual, any version of NT is a much greater pain in the butt than any version of Unix, but never mind- give it to 'em. Unix is hard. NT is easy. You win that round.

But Unix, my dear NT loving analyst, is a hell of a lot more fun.

Let's pretend we both want buffalo steaks for dinner, OK? The NT version of serving buffalo steaks is.. well, sorry, we don't have buffalo steaks. Would you like ostrich instead? Just click here, and you will immediately be served a nice 4 ounce serving of ostrich, cooked to a perfect medium well, with a side of reconstituted mashed potatoes, snow peas and apple juice for your beverage. Oh, you didn't want snow peas and mashed potatoes? Tough. Live with it. There is a registry hack that can get you Coke instead of apple juice, but you are on your own there, and don't blame us if that causes you to get latex condoms the next time you try to order a candy bar.

The Unix version is just a little different. First thing I need is a gun. I've built plenty of Unix guns before, and might have one hanging around that's just perfect for buffalo hunting. But if I don't, I'll clobber something up with Perl or maybe even a shell script; hell, it's only a buffalo. And then, after I've hand cast some bullets and mixed my own gunpowder from a script I found at some ftp site, I'll get a map of the plains from maps.online and I'll go looking for the beast. I'll have read the "Slaughtering and Dressing Buffalo" HOWTO before that, of course, so when I bring that sucker down with one clean shot, I'll move right in with my Unix knife and have a pile of steaks all ready in a jiffy. I'll cook up as many ounces as I want, at the rawness level I like, and my side orders will be real potatoes and veggies I grew in my Unix garden, with home made beer or wine to wash it all down.

And that's FUN, Mr. Analyst who probably wouldn't know how to break out of a telnet session if his life depended on it, that's FUN.

Not only is it fun, but the next time I need a buffalo gun or some gunpowder, I'll already have it. If *you* ever need a buffalo gun, you are plain out of luck - NT has some really pretty can openers and a little toy pistol that fires caps, but no machine shop, no foundry, no laboratory, no raw materials, no tools.. let's just hope you never need a buffalo gun. Of course, if Uncle Bill thinks you'll pay for a buffalo gun, you'll get one. He'll also want you to use it for shooting squirrels, as the handle for your car jack, as the oar for your Microsoft canoe and probably as a toothpick, too, and it will cost you an arm and a leg, but boy will it be shiny. And it will make pretty little sounds when you shoot it. Won't that be nice? Yes, it will. And you can write a stupid little quote about how the new buffalo gun-car jack-oar-toothpick is a little harder to use than that dancing paper clip you finally got rid of just last week, but.. it's still not as hard as Unix.

See also Linux sucks, Windows is better than Linux

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

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Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Numbers

Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, Second Edition

More Articles by © Tony Lawrence

what is a telnet session?
---January 8, 2005

A character based communication method:


Tue Jun 7 10:03:34 2005: 618   Felicity

So what's the happy medium?

What OS do I use if I don't want to be forced to eat ostrich, but I don't want to hand-build my own gun, read a ton of manuals on how to kill, clean, and eat my own animal, and go hunting?

What's the equivalent of getting in my car and going to Denny's and having my usual bacon cheddar burger with no sauce and no pickles?


Tue Jun 7 10:04:33 2005: 619   Felicity

PS: Now I'm hungry.

Tue Jun 7 10:26:18 2005: 621   TonyLawrence

If you really are "hungry" :-) a Mac might satisfy your cravings..

Mon Dec 19 17:44:27 2005: 1449   anonymous

This buffalo shooting thingie is crap. Get a life.

Sun Jan 8 20:35:17 2006: 1487   anonymous

That was awesome. Too bad I don't know how to do any of that stuff, although I am trying to learn. SuSE RuLEs.

Thu Jan 12 10:33:36 2006: 1502   anonymous

that buffalo this isnt a crap its a life. learn linux u'll get it too :D

fedora core 4 is antham (great)

Thu Jan 12 10:35:46 2006: 1503   anonymous

that buffalo this isnt a crap its a life. learn linux u'll get it too :D

fedora core 4 is antham (great)

Tue Dec 4 16:19:24 2007: 3294   TonyLawrence

Somebody just asked if I'd change anything here now..

Well, if anything, Windows has gotten worse with Vista (better from a security point of view, but worse from an "isolate the user" view).

And Macs? Well, for me, they've just gotten better. Leopard has all the friendliness of a kitten but access to the command line and the fact that most of it is now XML file driven means that the power user can do even more than they could before.

Mon Feb 1 16:22:43 2010: 8018   anonymous


Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala .. im still a newbie, but that is my main and only OS, so i will have to learn wether i like it or not ^_^

Fri Mar 19 02:44:15 2010: 8239   anonymous


Windows can't run games and most of the program files available on the net are .exe files... video editing software are available only in windows format... Playing different movie files encoded with different codecs in linux is impossible at present... STILL A LONG WAY BEFORE LINUX CAN ACTUALLY GIVE WINDOWS A COMPETITION...


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