spinning back up

June 25th, 2001

I’ve been away on holiday for a while and am only now getting the cogs grinding again. So, a few small things.

Tim Morgan does some way cool things with DHTML.

Kevin Dangoor continues to have a brain which is quite well attached to his powers of expression.

Robert Scoble has seen the man behind the curtain, and he has a perennially bad haircut and nerdy glasses.

Adam Bosworth has a lot to say about n-tiered XML-based services (via Joel).

In true blog fashion, I’m linking to others who think the same way I do. I’m gonna have to start reading and linking to crap that I find malodourous and unconscionable, when I get the time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why Doc feels it important to advertise the uptime on his Linux box (Uptime: 105 days.. etc). My guess is that it’s part of the “Linux is way more stable than Windows” thing.

I know I’m fishing for a black eye here, but I contend that it’s not even particularly relevant for a desktop system, and isn’t really an issue with most server configurations.

Desktop systems, because they’re not serving stuff to others, don’t need to be running all the time. I always leave my desktop running all day in case I need to use it, but it goes off at night and gets turned back on in the morning. I use Win2000’s hibernation feature,
so it doesn’t actually cause a reboot, but I’ve usually closed all programs by then anyhow, so it’s just a matter of what will boot up faster. I guess with Hibernate, I only boot once a month or less, but again, on a desktop, it’s not very relevant.

Server-wise, I want the machine running all the time. I set up the services running on it and then off it goes. Other than power failures, my NT4/SP4 box was up from December to June before I forced a boot with the SP6 upgrade to fix some security issues. No unexpected downtimes or runaway memory. I use this machine for HTTP/FTP/SMTP and some sundry stuff I do via remote control.

That reboot was necessary because various in-use system DLLs were replaced. With Windows, the operating system and its associated services aren’t as granulated as with *nix, so this happens. With Linux, messing with the Kernel is the only thing that will really require a reboot.

Other things will only require stopping and starting the particular program or daemon in question. For a dedicated web server, for instance, whether you reboot the whole system or just stop and start web services is moot – the single task the system is serving is interrupted.

My argument is with those folks who continue to write program installers for Win2000 as though they were dealing with Win3.1, and force a reboot on you although it is not necessary. They’re simply too lazy to write the shutdown/change/startup sequence stuff in case there is some unexpected state happening, so they write onBoot
installer stuff to force a known condition.

Culturally, nobody has ever written *nix installers that way, so they aren’t about to start, Unfortunately, Windows’ ability to have unobtrusive installations arrived after installation developers got used to having to force reboots on you, so some people continue to do it.

It’s mostly about the users. I don’t need to reboot my NT machine because I’m a nerdy guy who knows when and why to boot and not to boot. The vast majority of Linux users have a clue about their machine and take care to do things accordingly. When I’m using Linux however, I’m booting all the time in order to correct some damn thing that I don’t care to take the time to figure out how to fix without a reboot. Of course, if I start to use it in a professional atmosphere, I’ll act professionally about it and get a clue.

Unfortunately, Windows, like automatic transmission and cruise control in cars, has taught people that it’s neither necessary nor desirable to have a technical clue about the machinery you’re careening about in. Until people are forced to prove some real aptitude with the technology before using it, we’ll simply continue to have lots of crashes and their consequences.

And I’m sure that will happen as soon as you need to pass an exam before you can parent a child.

With that italicized glib remark at the end, I think I’ve managed to bring todays blog into complete compliance with disenchanted’s blog rant. Oops – except for a word-of-the-day. Now let’s see… serendipity.

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