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A page (or series of pages) documenting some differences between Linux and Windows. (Initially, I just wanted to use this page to record some fairly subtle differences -- as I maintain this page there are a lot more obvious and subtle differences I will gradually add.)

I should add that, to the greatest extent that I am comparing Windows 95 to Mandrake 7.2, 8.2, and later versions (as I upgrade). (Notice I didn't mention upgrading Windows wink )

See also:

See AboutThesePages.



Backup Files

<wrote too much here, need to summarize and move the details to another page.>

The common approach to creating backup files in Windows (IIRC) is to, while the file is open in say an editor, rename the file to have an extension like .bak and create a new file for the next version of the file (or write a new copy of the file with extension .bak and (now I need to check which).

A discussion came up on discuss@neditPLEASENOSPAM.org ("Timestamp on .bck file", 22 Jul 2002) about the timestamp. The contention was that the backup should maintain the timestamp of the original file, and that such was the behavior on Windows. (I'd have to check.)

Some problems with taking the same approach in Linux were raised, including that, if the file were renamed and a new original created, any hard links to the original file would be to the backup, not the new original.

The consensus (so far) seemed to be that the behavior of maintaining the original time stamp and all attributes (including executable in case it is a script) was desirable, but the implication was that it might be difficult to do in Linux.

Another difficulty pointed out was if the user does not have access to add files to the directory (adding and moving/deleting files require write access to the directory). -- "This could lead to a rename changing the source file name, and the user then being unable to create the output file. The way it is now, the backup fails, but the original file can still be written." (But this sounds sort of like a red herring based on "adding and moving/deleting files require write access to the directory" -- if you don't have write access you can't rename, and if you do have write access you can rename and create a new file -- but, if the software tries a rename and fails because it doesn't have write access, unless some error checking is built in it will then try to write a new file which will also fail (I think -- need to think this through more carefully or try it sometime.)

I wonder what the more modern multiuser versions of Windows do (I think some of them are multiuser).

App Path

from Julian Smart (Re: [wx-dev] webpage tweaks; 24 Jul 2002)

At 04:17 24/07/2002 +0100, you wrote: >If anyone feels like tweaking the webpages, here are a few issues with

Thanks, I'll make those corrections.

>The App Path discussion seems like it should be resolved and included in
>wxWindows. It seems silly to me to have a single "App Path" function. On
>Windows at least, you can get it exactly (via GetModuleFileName), and
>presumably you can do the same on some other platforms. So I think there

Unfortunately, this is not the case on Unix, and the wxFindAppPath function is only a heuristic. It seems there simply isn't a reliable way to do this on Unix (aside from the argument that you shouldn't make assumptions about the app data being in the same directory as the app).

Here is a quote from the beginning of the rather long section on http://www.wxwindows.org/technote/install.htm (viewed 24 Jul 2002) that I think is referred to above:

Tips for finding the application path

An installation issue that many people ask about is: how do I find the path of the application, so I can find the other files that the application needs? Here are some resolutions to this issue, followed by a function that may solve the problem for most people.

From Rene Rivera, on the same thread mentioned earlier:

If you have the /proc filesystem, as Linux, BSD, and others do, then it is available as the symbolic link "/proc/self/exe".

Cut and Paste

The following deserves more explanation, especially with respect to Mozilla 0.9.8.

Several differences (and inconsistencies in Linux??)

  • Middle button paste in Linux
  • Selection (??) and clipboard in Linux
  • Clipboard in Linux much smaller than Windows (Win95 pasted all of this page (http://capderec.udg.es:81/ebt-bin/nph-dweb/dynaweb/SGI_Developer/XLib_PG/@Generic__BookTextView/23865) to Wordpad, Mandrake 8.2 pasted approximately 1/6th of the page). This is fairly aggravating, as a common way for me to learn something is by "summarizing" it in my "own words". A fairly common way for me to summarize something in my own words (at least now that computers are ubiquitous) is to copy a document into an editor or word processor, and begin to cut out stuff I don't need / want to remember and gradually translate the rest to my own words. This is easy when I can cut and paste an entire document at once, and there are no good alternatives -- if I ftp an html document off the web -- well wait, I'll try saving a page as a file from Mozilla then try editing it -- but if it has all the tags in it, it needs another step, which I will not like. Ahh, but wait -- there's probably an htmltotext utility. Ok, not too bad, saved it from Mozilla as plain text -- looks pretty good -- not sure what happened to bullets, will have to see.
  • Additional confusion being created by Mozilla, especially with bugs on 0.9.8
  • Is there a difference with respect to where the paste occurs? Is Windows always at the insertion point, and Linux sometimes at the insertion point and sometimes at the pointer -- yes, I think so, but with further confusion based on Mozilla 0.9.8.
  • Windows mouse copy and paste (which I have almost never used) is different than Linux --
    • Windows: hold left MB, select, press right MB, choose copy (or cut), move to desired location, press right MB, choose paste, appears where right MB was pressed (generally)
    • Linux: similar to Windows, up until the last step, you must first left click to move insertion point to where desired, then press right MB, choose paste, appears at insertion point
  • Windows drag and drop vs Linux <later -- sometime after I use either one wink >
  • Windows insistence on automatically selecting whole words in various (all??) situations vs. more freedom with Linux (guess which I prefer)

Aside: Some of the things that I've described above are specific to Mozilla 0.9.8, and might be different in other X applications. I think Mozilla 0.9.8 has some bugs, including the random relocation of the insertion point. To the extent that Mozilla is moving to make cut, copy and paste the same across all platforms, I applaud their efforts, but as I'm trying to say, 0.9.8 ain't there yet (whatever their intent).

Other Differences

The beginning of a list of other differences:

  • Drives (C:, D:, etc.) versus a single root "/"
  • Many commands (ls vs. dir)
  • Networking (connectivity) more ubiquitous (sp?) in Linux
  • Networking (providing services) almost assumed in Linux
  • Multiuser assumed in Linux, new in Windows (permissions, etc.)
  • Everything a file (no registry) (two different differences?)
  • GUI vs. Command Line (no, not really, the ordinary user should use the GUI in Linux, the GUI must be made more than adequate for that purpose)
  • X vs. Windows (the difference is not that one is add on and the other is built in, IMHO), but that X is overkill (being able to view from another machine) and transmission heavy (IMHO), and backwards
  • Mail server vs. mail client
  • Piping and redirection -- no -- that's in dos / windows (or at least redirection -- can't recall piping offhand.

<Currently, no significant content below this line.>


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


  • (rhk) [[][]] --

Recommended for Specific Needs

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Recommended by Others

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No Recommendation

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Not Recommended

  • (rhk) [[][]] --


  • () RandyKramer - 23 Jul 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#23 Jul 2002][]]

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