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Sergio L Aponte

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Apr 3, 1992, 2:04:50 PM4/3/92
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Can somebody give me a two-three liner description of what is LINUX
and what hardware it runs on?

I have been trying to figure it out by reading the group, so far
I got "FREE BSD for 80386 PCs". Is this the right track?

Inquiring minds want to know...

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Sergio L. Aponte, SMTS @ Ingres, an ASK Company <*,*>
Internet : ser...@coqui.ingres.com [`-'] Keko
UUCP : {sun,mtxinu,pyramid,pacbell}!ingres!coqui!sergio _"_"_ Jones

Charles Hedrick

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Apr 4, 1992, 1:42:36 AM4/4/92
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ser...@Ingres.COM (Sergio L Aponte) writes:

> I have been trying to figure it out by reading the group, so far
> I got "FREE BSD for 80386 PCs". Is this the right track?

It's right that it's free and for the 386. Actually, 386, 386sx, and
486, as long as you have an AT bus. There seem to be timing problems
with some 486 systems, though workarounds are known. A 387 is not
required -- the kernel will emulate it if necessary. There's
beginning to be support for the major SCSI adapters. The major
omissions are networking and windowing. However an X port is
progressing -- all the system facilities needed are present.
Networking is going to be the big problem. There's a user-mode SLIP
(TCP/IP over serial lines, using KA9Q), and I'm sure we'll find some
way to support SLIP for X. But I don't know what's being done to
support Ethernet. It's probably not reasonable to do that in user
mode.

But as for BSD, not exactly. In fact Linux is turning out to be Gnu
with a different kernel. (I'm sort of surprised FSF hasn't become
more involved. You'd think an OS that's released under the Gnu
copyleft, and uses all the Gnu software, could be viewed as a sort of
release 0 of GnuOS.) Libc (at least once gcc 2.1 is released) and all
the major utilities are from Gnu. The only thing I can think of that
would be different about the Gnu OS when it's released is that it will
have a kernel written by Gnu. But that may not matter as much as it
seems. I assume GnuOS will have new stuff like threads. But for the
basic Unix functionality, it's going to have to look like a superset
of Linux, since they're both being accessed through the same
libraries, and both are being written to the POSIX spec.

From the point of view of someone familiar with traditional Unix,
Linux feels sort of like BSD with a System V API. That is, the system
calls, include files, and subroutines follow POSIX, which is roughly
based on System V. The utilities (and when gcc 2.1 comes out) the
libraries are all Gnu, which claims to be POSIX-based. However
there's a certainly overall Berkeley feel to it. That's because Gnu
has generally started with the POSIX specs, but added in BSD or
BSD-inspired features. In this regard it may be similar in overall
style to what Berkeley 4.4 is going to be, since 4.4 will also be
POSIX-compatible, but presumably will retain the Berkeley flavor. The
same is true of other recent systems, such as OSF/1 (at least in the
DEC implementation I've seen), and (if you believe the original
statements about goals) System V release 4. I generally hate System
V. However I find that I like Linux. Certainly any new Unix variant
should use the POSIX specs, not the old Berkeley ones, given that even
Berkeley is adopting POSIX.

The other major thing is that the kernel is small and is written
"close to the iron". There's some philosophical similarity to Minix.
And of course the file system is from Minix, which is probably closer
to the Berkeley fast file system than System V (though it's still got
the short file names). However Minix is intended to have a version 7
flavor. Its author is attempting to resist attempts to add Berkeley
features. A number of people claim that Linux feels fast, but since I
haven't run any other Unix variant on my system, I have no good
comparison. Certainly I have no performance complaints.

Linus Benedict Torvalds

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Apr 4, 1992, 5:22:25 AM4/4/92
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In article <1992Apr3.1...@pony.Ingres.COM> ser...@Ingres.COM (Sergio L Aponte) writes:
>
> Can somebody give me a two-three liner description of what is LINUX
> and what hardware it runs on?

Ok, this has come up so many times I'd better send out the info-sheet.
The FAQ is maintained by corsini@?? and he'll send out the newest
version just as soon as this newsgroup gets that far.

This info-sheet is basically the old 0.12 info-sheet with very minor
modifications: I've changed it slightly, but it's not completely up to
date.

Linus

----------


LINUX INFORMATION SHEET
(last updated 13 Jan 1992 (with changes by Linus 4.4.92))

1. WHAT IS LINUX 0.95a
LINUX 0.95a is a freely distributable UNIX clone. It implements a
subset of System V and POSIX functionality. LINUX has been written
from scratch, and therefore does not contain any AT&T or MINIX
code--not in the kernel, the compiler, the utilities, or the libraries.
For this reason it can be made available with complete source code by
anonymous FTP. LINUX runs only on 386/486 AT-bus machines; porting to
non-Intel architectures is likely to be difficult, as the kernel makes
extensive use of 386 memory management and task primitives.

Version 0.95a is still a beta release, but it already provides much
of the functionality of a System V.3 kernel. For example, various
users have been able to port programs such as bison/flex without having
to modify code at all. Another indication of its maturity is that
it is now possible to do LINUX kernel development using LINUX itself
and freely-available programming tools.

2. LINUX features
- System call compatible with a subset of System V and POSIX
- Full multiprogramming (multiple programs can run at once)
- Memory paging with copy-on-write
- Demand loading of executables
- Page sharing of executables
- Virtual memory: swapping to disk when out of RAM
- POSIX job control
- virtual consoles
- pty's
- some 387-emulation
- ANSI compliant C compiler (gcc)
- A complete set of compiler writing tools
(bison as yacc-replacement, flex as lex replacement)
- The GNU 'Bourne again' shell (bash) (as well as 'ash', 'rc' etc)
- Micro emacs
- most utilities you need for development
(cat, cp, kermit, ls, make, etc.)
- Over 200 library procedures (atoi, fork, malloc, read, stdio, etc.)
- Currently 6 national keyboards: Finnish/US/German/French/British/Danish
- Full source code (in C) for the OS is freely distributable
- Full source code of the tools can be gotten from many anonymous ftp sites
(Almost the entire suite of GNU programs has been ported to Linux.)
- Runs in protected mode on 386 and above
- Support for extended memory up to 16M on 386 and above
- RS-232 serial line support with terminal emulation, kermit, zmodem, etc.
- Supports the real time clock


3. HARDWARE REQUIRED
- A 386 or 486 machine with an AT-bus. (EISA will probably work, also,
but you will need an AT-bus hard disk controller.) Both DX and SX
processors will work.
- A hard disk implementing the standard AT hard disk interface -- for
example, an IDE drive. In addition, some SCSI drives are supported
with additional kernel patches.
- A high-density disk drive--either 5.25" (1.2MB) or 3.5" (1.44MB).
- At least 2 megabytes of RAM. (LINUX will boot in 2 Mb. To use gcc
4 MB is a good idea.)
- Any video card of the following: Hercules,CGA,EGA,VGA

In addition, LINUX supports
- Up to four serial lines (2 active at a time)
- A real time clock

4. PARTIAL LIST OF UTILITIES INCLUDED IN OR AVAILABLE FOR LINUX 0.95a
- The MTOOLS package (reading/writing to DOS filesystems)
- The complete GNU filetools (ls, cat, cp, mv, ...)
- The GNU C and C++ compiler with GNU assembler, linker, ar, ...
- bison
- flex
- rcs
- pmake (BSD 4.3 Reno/BSD 4.4 make)
- kermit
- Micro emacs
- less
- mkfs
- fsck
- mount/umount
- TeX, dvips
- and lots more...

5. LINUX BINARIES
The LINUX binaries and sources are available at several different
anonymous FTP sites. The biggest are:

nic.funet.fi:/pub/OS/Linux
tsx-11.mit.edu:/pub/linux


6. LEGAL STATUS OF LINUX
Although LINUX is supplied with the complete source code, it is
copyrighted software. Unlike MINIX, however, it is available for free,
provided you obey to the rules specified in the LINUX copyright.

Linux is (C) Linus Torvalds, but the copyright is the GNU copyleft:
get a copy of the copyleft at your nearest ftp-archive..

7. NEWS ABOUT LINUX
There are now two newsgroups devoted to linux articles: an older
alt.os.linux and the new comp.os.linux group. The alt-group will be
phased out as the comp-group gets a wider propagation. Additionally,
there are a couple of mailing-lists: linux-a...@niksula.hut.fi is
the original mailing-list, and it now supports sub-threads (notably the
gcc-2 beta-testing list). There is also a linux-standards mailing list
as well as a newsgroup-service for those that can get mail but are
unable to read the newsgroups. For the current status of LINUX, do a
"finger torv...@kruuna.helsinki.fi".


8. FUTURE PLANS
Work is underway on LINUX version 1.0, which will close some of the
gaps in the present implementation. Various people are currently working
on:
- A more complete virtual filesystem layer
- STREAMS
- Interprocess communication
- IEEE POSIX P1003.1 / P1003.2 compatibility
- more complete SCSI support
If you want to help, mail the various activists or post to the newsgroups.

Gary D. Duzan

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Apr 4, 1992, 12:46:36 PM4/4/92
to
In article <Apr.4.01.42....@dartagnan.rutgers.edu> hed...@dartagnan.rutgers.edu (Charles Hedrick) writes:

=\>But as for BSD, not exactly. In fact Linux is turning out to be Gnu
=\>with a different kernel. (I'm sort of surprised FSF hasn't become
=\>more involved. You'd think an OS that's released under the Gnu
=\>copyleft, and uses all the Gnu software, could be viewed as a sort of
=\>release 0 of GnuOS.) Libc (at least once gcc 2.1 is released) and all
=\>the major utilities are from Gnu. The only thing I can think of that
=\>would be different about the Gnu OS when it's released is that it will
=\>have a kernel written by Gnu. But that may not matter as much as it
=\>seems. I assume GnuOS will have new stuff like threads. But for the
=\>basic Unix functionality, it's going to have to look like a superset
=\>of Linux, since they're both being accessed through the same
=\>libraries, and both are being written to the POSIX spec.
=\>
From what I understand, POSIX is pretty much irrelevant once you get
past the basic semantics of the interface. GNU is comprised of the Mach 3.0
microkernel and a collection of user-level OS services build on top of it
know as the GNU Hurd. While binary compatability with BSD is one of the
design goals of GNU, they are also looking beyond it. GNU supports things
like special files for compatability's sake, but they will also provide
an interface that uses Mach IPC to communicate directly with the device
driver, circumventing the file system. Hurd will also provide the ability
for users to install their own file servers and exec servers, given the
proper permissions. One example of the possibilities for this sort of thing
is the Plan 9 /proc file system. There are more extensions planned, but
it has been a while since I have read over them.
So while you would be correct in your assessment on the basic Unix
functionality point, that rather overlooks the major changes in the
underlying GNU structure.

Gary Duzan
Time Lord
Third Regeneration

--
du...@cis.udel.edu
_o_ ------------------ _o_
[|o o|] Virtual Reality? No thanks, I've already got one. [|o o|]
|_o_| Disclaimer: I have no idea what I am talking about. |_o_|

Tor Lillqvist

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Apr 5, 1992, 10:45:41 AM4/5/92
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The only thing I can think of that would be different about the Gnu
OS when it's released is that it will have a kernel written by Gnu.

Aren't you forgetting that Linux (at least according to the info I
have read here, I haven't looked at the sources yet) is written for
the 386 architecture only, while Mach is presumably more
architecture-independent. On the other hand, I don't know if the
architecture-specific bits of Mach are less or more, line-count-wise,
than those parts of Linux that are 386-specific. The 386 can't show
through on every level of Linux, can it?

For the "hacker" wanting a cheap but powerful system with free UNIX
complete with sources, nowadays the question is probably moot. There
doesn't seem to be much question that a generic 386 or 486 box gives
the best MIPS/$ ratio. I certainly don't have any warm and fuzzy
feeling about the 386 or the AT architecture per se, but am still
beginning to accept that maybe I haven't got much choice when I
finally some day buy a home system... (But certainly, I won't run DOS
on it.) But who knows what happens in five years?
--
Tor Lillqvist,
working, but not speaking, for the Technical Research Centre of Finland

Bill Flowers

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Apr 7, 1992, 4:17:03 PM4/7/92
to

Has anyone run IOZONE on Linux? With what results?

Networking Research

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Apr 8, 1992, 4:34:40 AM4/8/92
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In article <Apr.4.01.42....@dartagnan.rutgers.edu> hed...@dartagnan.rutgers.edu (Charles Hedrick) writes:
>features. A number of people claim that Linux feels fast, but since I
>haven't run any other Unix variant on my system, I have no good

Well, on a 386/25, no cache, Linux *feels* as fast as my Mach386 486/33C,
in serous processing the 486 blows away the 386 of course, but Linux has
a distinctly snappier OS response than Mach386. Same is true for SCO Open
DeathTop. I can definately report that on a 386/25, Linux outruns DeathTop
significantly. I'd guess that in the sense of operating system spped, Linux
will perform much better than any of the "big name" Unixes available for
the {3,4}86. They're not written right down on the hardware, and most of them
are bloated SVR4 beasts anyhow. (I do like Mach386 though, it's Mach+BSD4.3)

Keep adding features to Linux, surely, but keep the core small and stream-
lined. If things can stay small while adding networking and such, Linux
has the potential for being a real alternative for those who want extra
performance and don't require a megalithic company behind their OS.

Just as a sidenote. I just upgraded to 0.95a (I've got the patches to c,
just havn't doen them yet) from 0.12, and while I was impressed with 0.12,
I'm *very* impressed with 0.95a! My thanks to everybody who's been
contributing to the effort, and my profound respect to Linus for getting this
to this point in just a year!

-Mark Holden
l00...@eeyore.stcloud.msus.edu

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