[LWN Logo]

Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 16:12:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: Peter Rasmussen <plr@isgtec.com>
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Translated Swedish article

I took a look at the Swedish article that you had a link to, mentioned by
Martin Skj÷ldebrand, and did a rough translation of the main-text, which I 
appended below :-)

Have fun,


Entusiasm drives Linux ahead, by Bo Norlin

Linux is a variant of UNIX.The operating system is free, but is stil of the
highest quality. Linux is used by hobby-entusiasts, but also in commercial
situations will it provide savings of 10,000'nds of dollars.

It is said that the best in life is free. Perhaps this holds true for operating
systems as well. Linux happens to be free and have gathered a devoted following
of users. According to various studies, Linux is installed on between 5 and 7
million computers worldwide. It is a fullblown operating system with technical
merits that compare well with Windows NT.

Linux started as a hobby-project by a Finnish student with the name Linus
Torvalds. His first name combined with UNIX, which is the forerunner to Linux,
gave the OS its name. Linux may be downloaded for free on the Internet and may
be used at no cost. The whole source code is public and anyone may do changes
and additions of their own. If you want to distribute your changes to others
you are obliged to also make the source code public and available to others.

This is the reason Linux has developed so quickly. Programmers around the world
cooperates in a kind of virtual development department, and in order not to
make a big mess out of it, Linus Torvalds is supervising the project. He selects
the parts that go into the official Linux kernel and also participates in the
actual development.

Old subscriber to MikroDatorn
Linus Torvalds has Swedish as his mother tongue and has previously subscribed
to the magazine "MikroDatorn" (red: "The MicroComputer").
- I remember MikroDatorn, says Linus Torvalds. I subscribed to it a long time

Now he works for the company Transmeta in California, but is still very busy
working with Linux.
- My work with Linux changes a lot, says Linus Torvalds. This week I used most
of my time coding for Linux, but otherwise most of my time is spent reading
email and be project leader, rather than writing code.

Linus Torvalds uses at least two hours a day, seven days a week, reading email
and organizing the work. Sometimes it adds up to 10 - 12 hours a day, but mostly
he is taking care of his normal assignments at Transmeta. The time he is able
to spend on Linux depends on the current projects he is working on there.

Despite his efforts, Linus Torvalds makes no money on Linux. He has no plans
selling Linux as shareware.
- I never liked shareware. I used to call it guiltware. The reason being that
most users don't pay for it and probably feels guilty about it. The fact being
that shareware has the worst from free- and commercial software. They don't
come with the source code and are missing all the functionality that commercial
software usually has.

Linus Torvalds sees other rewards from Linux than the actual economical ones.
- I have been very satisfied with Linux as free software. I get no cash compen-
sation from it, but because of Linux I have a very interesting work and are in
contact with a lot of nice and interesting people.

Linus Torvalds emphasizes the price, performance and stability as the strong
points of Linux. And the fact that the source code is freely available, should
you need it.

Linus is a clear contender against Windows NT
The only weekness Linus Torvalds sees in his operating system is that the
amount of available application software isn't as big as for Windows. He does,
however think that it is growing rapidly, even though the number of options
aren't as many and are harder to get to, compared to Windows applications. He
still think that Linus is a clear contender against Windows NT.

- Linux may not be as visible as Windows NT, but there are probably as many
Linux users as NT-users. It is also the same kind of people that uses Linux and
NT, ie. technically savvy people.

Then, Linus Torvalds doesn't see Windows NT as a particularly dangerous or
interesting competitor.
- It is just a more stabil version of Windows and you can't even run every
Windows sofware on NT. Technically NT is a time-bomb, and it shall be 
interesting to see how long Microsoft will be able to keep the system going
without loosing stability. Even though Windows95 is a technically poorer 
operating system than NT, it is more interesting seen from a Linux point of
view. Windows95 has what Linux is missing, a large base of application software
running on it.

The work with Linux is forging ahead, but Linus Torvalds isn't too happy about
providing a fixed roadmap for the development.
- I only have one goal for Linux, to make it the best operating system there is.
I am consciously trying to avoid having future plans, because time has shown
that the situation changes so quickly that there isn't any point in planning
ahead too far.
- Just a few years ago, I thoght that multi-CPU systems would continue to be
too expensive and it wouldn't be worth the effort. But now I am using most of
my time with computers with multiple CPUs. For us, it was easy to go ahead with
such changes because we hadn't comitted to any rigid plans.

News and visions for Linux
Linus Torvalds still points at some important news about future versions. In the
future, Linux will work in clusters where several computers will work as one
unit. It will also be possible to use Intels future 64 bit CPU Merced. Even
today it exists for the two 64 bit CPUs Alpha and Sparc64.

Linus Torvalds isn't the only one who is enthusiastisc about Linux. There are 
lots of people using Linux privately and commercially.

Jiri Gaisler works with ESA (European Space Agency) in Holland, but are at the
moment also finishing off a Ph.D. at Chalmers University in Gottenburg. Jiri
Gaisler uses Linux on a PC at home. AT work he has a workstation from Sun with
Sun's version of UNIX called Solaris. He is among other things developing
compilers and development environments and is able to bring assignments home
to his Linux machines.
- To me, there is no other reasonable alternative than Linux, says Jiri Gaisler.
Windows is way too instable and is 100 years behind Linux on that issue. A PC
with Linux is much cheaper than a workstation and is just as good.

Jiri Gaisler has used Linux for about three years and has never experienced a
crash of the operating system. The graphical part X Windows has crashed a few
times, but the most recent incident was more than a year ago. When comparing
operating systems, Jiri Gaisler prefers Linux to Solaris. The reason being that
with Linux the source code is available, and additions and improvements are
continuosly provided. The only backside being that some software, for example
word-processing software that will read the latest format of Word, are missing.

Jiri Gaisler would like to have a version of Framemake for Linux and also so
called VHDL-simulators that he needs for his work with integrated circuits. Jiri
Gaisler uses the distribution Slackware, which he finds is the best for a UNIX
hacker. One of the alternatives are RedHat, which is simpler to install.

Linux may with advantage be used as a server operating system. The National 
Science History Museum saves 10,000'nds of dollars (USD) per year by using
Linux. All in all Linux is used on roughly six servers that deals with the
muesums connection to the Internet. Linux also takes care of email, has a 
firewall set up and runs a list-server.

The big leap from Netware to Linux
Changing to Linux took place in 1993. Before that they used Netware 3.11, but
eventually it was evident that the Internet part of Netware wasn't compatible
with other software.
- Linux works great, says Cary Karp, who is IT manager at The National Science 
History Museum. It practically never happens that a server hangs. That was much
more common with Netware 3.11.

Safety was an issue when The National Science History Museum was thinking about
changing operating system for the servers.
- It has shown that safety is better with Linux, says Cary Karp. When a safety
problem is discovered, it doesn't take many hours before an updated version has
been published on the Internet.

Cary Karp has compared the cost and maintenance at other museums that have
chosen a commercial UNIX or NT as server operating system.
- They have to pay 10,000'nds or dollars more per year for service contracts
and licenses, but they haven't got rid of problems anyway.

Seen as a server operating system, Cary Karp doesn't see any faults with Linux.
There is plenty of software that is both good and often free. Some things are
still missing, though, for example there isn't any image-database, which the
museum uses and because of that they still have NT servers as well on the

If you want to see a Linux-server that works you may visit the National Science
History Museum's site on "www.nrm.se". For the desktop it may be more difficult
to find software for Linux. Wordprocessors and spreadsheets exists even for
Linux, but the width isn't as big as for Windows, and then there is always the
problem with reading the latest formats from Windows software.

- We work with computers at the museum and has poured a lot of sweat with Linux,
says Cary Karp. We have learned a lot since we began and it hasn't always been
easy. But, adds Cary Karp, vi have had a lot of fun.

Linux is a great alternative for the technically minded
Thord Nilson is another satisfied user of Linux. He foremost uses Linux at home
and mostly to connect to the Internet and for programming.
- Linux is probably not the best choice for a beginner who wants to use a word
processor, says Thord Nilson, but for those who wants to do a little more and
that are technically minded, Linux is a great alternative.

Thord Nilson also has Windows95 installed on his computer, and that is mostly
used for various games. Via multiboot it is simple to choose what operating
system to run when the computer starts. Thord Nilson sees many advantages with
Linux. It is free and has good functionality for networking and the Internet.
With the selection of free software that is available for Linux it is possible
to set up a Linux box as NFS-, Windows- or Netware-server. There are also plenty
of development tools for Linux and the available source code makes it a lot
easier to understand the basics or continue with something that is a part of

Linux works well, even without high demands on the hardware. A 386 will give
you a fully functional machine, at least if you don't demand it to run 
X Windows, the graphical windows system that is available for Linux.

Drivers for older graphic cards
- If you choose Linux, you should probably not try to use the latest hardware
in graphic- and sound-cards, unless you are inclined to produce your own driver
says Thord Nilson.

Cards that are from one to two years old are easier to make work with Linux
because then there are drivers available for them.

Linux is alive and exists on the Internet. Without the Internet the operating
system would probably not exist in its present form, and not in the numbers
that it has now.

If you want to learn about Linux yourself, you may begin by looking at the
following web-site "www.li.org". There you will find useful links to other
web-sites, discussion groups and email-lists, and they are all about Linux.