The Unix-Haters Handbook

vigole

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The Unix-Haters Handbook book by Simson Garfinkel (1994/IDG)
Aged but hilarious, funny to read.
The book was written 22 years ago, whining about UNIX, and it's free!

Download Link:

The Unix-Haters Handbook

Sample pages:
Page 43-44, Part 1, Chapter 1: Unix, The World’s First Computer Virus:


The features of a good virus are:
  • Small Size
    Viruses don’t do very much, so they don't need to be very big. Some folks debate whether viruses are living creatures or just pieces of destructive nucleoic acid and protein.
  • Portability
    A single virus can invade many different types of cells, and with a few changes, even more. Animal and primate viruses often mutate to attack humans. Evidence indicates that the AIDS virus may have started as a simian virus.
  • Ability to Commandeer Resources of the Host
    If the host didn’t provide the virus with safe haven and energy for replication, the virus would die.
  • Rapid Mutation
    Viruses mutate frequently into many different forms. These forms share common structure, but differ just enough to confuse the host's defense mechanisms.
Unix possesses all the hallmarks of a highly successful virus.
 

OJ

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OS history is worth studying, also from a social commentary perspective as this book seems to do. However, if you're talking about technicality then I think this stuff is not of much use. Better to use your energy to make improvements to the present offerings or, even better, write a new OS with all the problems fixed and catering to my personal tastes. Ping me when it's done. :)
 
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vigole

vigole

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However, if you're talking about technicality
No, I'm not.:)

I'm not aware of comprehensive and reliable resources about history of OSs, but as regards the history of computers and networking:
  • The First Computers: History and Architectures (Hashagen, MIT Press, 2002)
  • Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (Hafner, Simon & Schuster, 1998)
I find these books truly inspiring. These are not textbook but important.
 
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fossette

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even better, write a new OS with all the problems fixed and catering to my personal tastes. Ping me when it's done. :)
So tempted to do that sometimes... but to my personal tastes.
1) New compiler
2) New boot
3) New file system
4) New kernel
5) New UI
Then, new hardware... Oups! GOTO 1

PS: Didn't know that book too.

;-Dominique.
 
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ANOKNUSA

Aspiring Daemon

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OS history is worth studying, also from a social commentary perspective as this book seems to do. However, if you're talking about technicality then I think this stuff is not of much use.

There's a mixture of technical and historical stuff to be gleaned from it. The book dates from the tail-end of an era before the OS ecosphere was "Windows vs. Everything Else." Until the advent of IBM-compatible computing hardware, operating systems and computers were usually a package deal---operating systems were designed with specific work in mind and were written for a specific machine, or at least for a very specific combination of components (most of which could not be purchased individually anyway). You bought a computer for a specific task or set of tasks, with a specific operating system installed, from a company that handled hardware and software in-house. What made Unix different, both historically and technically, was that it was a portable operating system. (This was itself a necessity for the folks at Bell Labs, who were not legally allowed to make or market their own computer systems, and so couldn't make an operating system in the same way everybody else did at the time).

A lot of the content of that book is people complaining that Unix did not work like the very specialized operating system they were accustomed to, and ran on machines they were not accustomed to. The complaints come from people being forced to cope with the rapid spread of commercial Unix on generic machines, as the computing ecosphere quickly changed and their machines/operating systems of choice failed to see widespread adoption. Now the near-opposite is true, and the complaints people have about operating systems are less frequent and are typically more superficial, now that the underlying hardware---and many underlying operations---are virtually standardized.

OJ, your comment makes me think you may have read this one already, but for everyone else's sake: "In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson. Excellent read on computing, the lack of understanding about operating systems, and the weird cultural impact they've had. You can get it in print if you want, too.
 

OJ

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OJ, your comment makes me think you may have read this one already, but for everyone else's sake: "In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson. Excellent read on computing, the lack of understanding about operating systems, and the weird cultural impact they've had. You can get it in print if you want, too.

Yes, it's an old favourite. In case anybody else wants to read it you can do it (after downloading from above link) by using the command fold -w 65 -s command.txt >readable.txt. The original has lines that are over 4K.
 

sidetone

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I hate UNIX, I hate UNIX, I hate UNIX ...

It's why I never used FreeBSD.
 

OJ

Daemon

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Ya, I'm with you. I just come here because I'm lonely.
 

Oko

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Yes, it's an old favourite. In case anybody else wants to read it you can do it (after downloading from above link) by using the command fold -w 65 -s command.txt >readable.txt. The original has lines that are over 4K.
In all these years I used fmt command and this is first time somebody brought to my attention fold
 

SporkVillain

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I wasn't around for these days but I do remember my mom (who was a DBA in 90's working on mainframes) complaining bitterly about Unix, and moreso about Unix people. From her perspective there was kind of a "know it all" culture that turned off a lot of people in big-iron enterprise zone.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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SporkVillain In the 90s, Unix and VMS were just about everything in the enterprise zone, so you didn't have anything else to complain about. Unix came out of big-iron and computer scientists. Trying to explain things to the little people probably was pretty frustrating for them, too.
 
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