Linux vs. Unixware
Note that this is from 1999 - a LOT has changed since then!
From: email@example.com (Warren Young) Newsgroups: comp.unix.unixware.misc,comp.unix.sco.misc Subject: UnixWare vs. Linux, a feature comparison Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 07:20:25 GMT Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> References: <376DE957.BB5D0474@kryz.es>
<376F7971.4A1EB047@zwg.zicl.co.uk> This comparison was sparked by the following post in comp.unix.unixware.misc: Nige <email@example.com> wrote:
>> I'm a Linux User migrating to Unixware and I need documentation about >> this system. I need all kind of docs including instalation system and >> setup it. Where can I find these docs??? > >Don't know, but I'm a Unixware user possibly migrating to Linux. Where can >I find out the differences? First, note that none of the items below deal with opinion, only fact. It is not my purpose to ignite a flame war here, but simply to give potential UnixWare deserters an idea of what to expect from Linux. Flames go to /dev/null, but if you have other items to add to this list, please post them. I don't care which OS they favor -- I probably already know about the difference, but just forgot to put it here. Nothing has been left out due to bias or malice. If my facts are wrong, please correct me calmly -- it's only ones and zeroes, after all. I may post a revised list here later, or among my web pages. 1. UnixWare has better support for high-end apps like terabyte databases. This stems from having support for Intel's 64 GB memory hack (anyone who thinks differently of this feature probably also thinks that the x86 chip architecture is elegant) and for having support for larger filesystems. (1 terabyte filesystems in the UnixWare case with 1 TB maximum file size; 2 TB filesystems in the Linux case, but only 2 GB files.) On the other hand, Linux on an Alpha or UltraSparc box supports 64-bit memory addressing and file sizes, which makes memory and file size limitations a hardware problem rather than an OS problem. The filesystem limitations in 32-bit Linux are also being worked on -- Linux 2.4 will probably push these back quite a bit, especially if the newly open-sourced SGI XFS filesystem is accepted into the kernel. See also item 16, which bears on this issue. 2. Linux has much better hardware support than UW does, especially user-level hardware like laptops/PCMCIA, IRDA, TV/radio boards, CD-ROM burners, 3-D graphics boards, alternative input devices (graphics tablets, etc.), USB, parallel port devices (NICs, Zip drives, external IDE) as well as adequate PnP support (better than NT4, at any rate!) This also extends to common hardware categories: NICs, graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI cards and printers (by way of built-in support for ghostscript) all have broader support under Linux. There are a few cases where UW supports something that Linux doesn't. For example, UW supports telephony cards, whereas until recently, Linux didn't; the Linux support for these cards is still somewhat immature. There are other examples, especially in high-end server hardware like the more exotic types of RAID controllers. If you count Sequent's efforts, UW has better top-end SMP support than Linux, though Linux has been known to run well on 14-processor UltraSPARC systems. 3. It's much easier to get freeware to run on Linux, in general. The reason for this is that Linux is almost always considered a primary target platform from day one, whereas UnixWare and other SCO OSes are usually after-the-fact ports. For the same reason, the typical Linux distribution comes with more and newer versions of freeware packages, even when you take Skunkware into account. (Skunkware is around 120 packages, whereas even a relatively slim distribution like Red Hat has perhaps 400 non-core packages. Distributions like SuSE and Debian have thousands of packages, all installable at the same time as the base system.) Many of the packages in a Linux distribution overlap, because choice is preferred, whereas in UnixWare, only one package (or just a few) from the available ones is provided. A good example is text editors: Red Hat provides vim, elvis, nvi, emacs, pico, jed, jove, the KDE editor (forgot the name; knote?), gnotepad+, GXedit and gEdit. UnixWare provides vi, pico and the "Typewriter" Motif thingy. Oh, and both OSes support ed(1). Gotta have ed. B-> 4. Third-party software support (binary payware) is similar for both OSes, but very much non-overlapping. In the low-end server and user-level apps arenas Linux has the advantage, whereas UnixWare has ports of some high-end server apps that Linux doesn't. Often, one system will have a port of a package that the other doesn't, but a similar competing product is available for the other OS. Example: Reliant/HA on UnixWare, Net/Equater on Linux. Another traditional UnixWare stronghold is vertical market apps and small business apps (bookkeeping, POS, etc.).
5. Linux is generally more user-friendly. This is of course due to a difference in the Linux and UW target markets. You can get KDE and other stuff from Skunkware or port it to UW, but the fact that it's a post-installation matter is significant. 6. UW tends to be more administrator-friendly, as SCO has been working on the "pretty administration tool" problem far longer than the Linux community has. (For most of the decade, if you consider sysadm, from the Novell days.) linuxconf and COAS are good examples of how this is quickly changing. 7. Some people like the single-source nature of UW. Others like the freedom of style choice in the Linux world. Those that don't like the results of these freedoms will see the Linux world as horribly fragmented. In my experience, this is only a limited problem, of concern only to those who insist on "just one way to do it". The difference between any two Linux distributions is less than the difference between UnixWare 2.1 and OpenServer, for example. (UW7, of course, brought the two much closer.) 8. UW comes with Motif and CDE in the package. Most distributions of Linux don't, because these packages aren't free. You can of course get them from third parties. 9. You get almost everything in a typical Linux distribution that SCO makes you pay extra for: SMP, SMB/CIFS file sharing, unlimited concurrent users, directory services, software RAID, a C++ compiler and Netware file/print support. 10. Online docs for UnixWare and Linux are similar in their scope, though Linux's are more spread out: man pages, GNU info files, Linux Documentation Project books, HOWTO files and any additional docs that come with the package are all provided, and they are by no means completely overlapping. With UnixWare, almost everything is in SCOhelp. 11. Both OSes come with similar amounts of paper documentation, unless you get a cheapie version of Linux, like the $1.89 CDs from Linux Mall. 12. Third-party documentation for UnixWare is hard to find. I only know of one book (the Hendriksen job) specifically for UnixWare; most of the generalist Unix books like Frisch and Nemeth et al. don't even cover UnixWare -- you have to infer the correct info from their Solaris coverage. Linux books are, by contrast, easy to find. There are even two books out that dissect the kernel code, though both still need to be updated to cover kernel 2.2. 13. Linux doesn't support NDS and WebTop, as UnixWare does. 14. Linux has better networking support than UnixWare does. This is multifaceted: more protocols (DECnet, SNA), more features (masquerading, tunneling, QoS, DHCP client), and support for popular programming standards (e.g. tools like tcpdump and code from the W. Richard Stevens networking bibles runs on Linux, but often not on UnixWare). 15. Where both OSes have the same command-line tools, the Linux counterparts are often more advanced than the ones on UnixWare. Examples: vim vs. vi, bash vs. ksh, tcsh vs. csh, less vs. more/pg, ncftp vs. plain ftp, gzip vs. compress, GNU awk, m4, ls, make, man, tar, and find vs. the SysV flavors, etc. Other good examples are vixie-cron and the Linux version of man: both are far more flexible than their UnixWare counterparts. 16. The UnixWare disk device naming scheme allows for more online storage because it can support more volumes. So far as I know, the Linux kernel doesn't have any inherent limitations in this regard, but the limitations stem from the way the OS is configured in all distributions I'm aware of. Specifically, you can easily have 240 volumes (sd[a-p][1..15]) under Linux, whereas UW supports over 1000, IIRC. More importantly, the Linux disk naming scheme doesn't have much to do with the SCSI ID or partition number. So, adding a disk to a SCSI chain with a lower ID than an existing disk can shift the /dev names assigned to the disk under Linux; under UnixWare, this would not happen. Note that Linux will be getting a System V-like naming setup in the next version. 17. Linux's loadable module support is much more powerful than UnixWare's, and more of Linux's drivers are dynamically-loadable than UnixWare's. Aside from all of the above, there are numerous style differences: 1. UnixWare believes in TLI/XTI whereas Linux believes in Berkeley sockets. (Both OSes support the other standard, but the preferences are still there.) 2. UnixWare believes in the Service Access Facility, whereas Linux believes in separate getty and lpd processes. 3. UnixWare believes in System V options for tools like ps, ping and ls whereas Linux believes in the BSD flavor. 4. UnixWare believes in /tmp as a RAM disk whereas Linux believes in /tmp as a disk-based filesystem. 5. UnixWare believes in only a basic /proc whereas Linux believes in giving away all kinds of info in /proc. (This is why Linux has more system monitoring tools: the information is readily available, and documented. In UW, you usually have to dig for it in poorly-documented kernel structures via /dev/kmem.) 6. UnixWare believes in a combination of DCU, the /etc/conf.d directory and the opaque id* tools for kernel configuration whereas Linux believes in a straightforward makefile-based system. 7. UnixWare believes in STREAMS whereas Linux does not. (Linux prefers speed to being able to dynamically reconfigure the network stack. There's an add-on STREAMS package available, but the kernel developers are adamant that it will never be part of the core distribution.) 8. The directory layouts are, of course, rather different. = Warren -- http://www.cyberport.com/~tangent/
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