Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Not just a think tank. An entire army of think.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Play around with Unix

  [vote for,

A Unix server anyone can connect to (via Telnet or a graphical environment). As guest, you see advertising, and you are given a little disk space to play around. For a small fee, you are given decent resources.

This would be great way to learn Unix and programming on your spare time, if you have a Windows machine at the job.

GusLacerda, Apr 12 2001

freeshell.org telnet:freeshell.org
These folks will (guess what?) give you a free unix shell. [wiml, Apr 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

In the Beginning was the Command Line http://www.cryptono....com/beginning.html
[egnor, Apr 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

w3m http://www.w3m.org/
Text web browser, better than lynx. [egnor, Apr 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

links http://artax.karlin....cz/~mikulas/links/
Likewise. I prefer 'links' to 'w3m', personally. It supports incremental reflow, background downloading, and tends to look nicer. The 'w3m' author has a funny taste in color (just look at the screenshots), though of course this is customizable. [egnor, Apr 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Workspot http://www.workspot.com/
Provides access to Linux systems through VNC (see appspot) [gd, Apr 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]



       Emulating a Unix system could take up a lot of resources on a small machine.   

       I also have crashed Unix, but I don't know of any way to crash the machine connected to a Unix server. Oh, do you mean at the server's side? I can see the problem, but if, as you said, they already crash, what difference does it make if it's caused by an anonymous user?
GusLacerda, Apr 12 2001

       Baked, sliced, buttered and eaten. For a small fee, you can have your own Unix box. A used P90 16M/2G, for example, is a fine learner's UNIX machine (I keep my web sites on one), and can be purchased for about $150+$50 for a monitor, less at a garage sale. The software is free over the net, or less than $40 on CD-ROM. Amortized over a year, thats $20 a month. (It's even cheaper to dual-boot the machine you would have us telnetting from.)
td, Apr 12 2001

       baked and stale. linux.glen.org is a 486 i picked out of the corner of a friend's garage and loaded the os through the nic. it has not gone down since spring 1998.   

       there are a dozen places on the net that will give you free shell accts.
gnormal, Apr 12 2001

       PS, it's possible for a user to crash many (not all) unix systems, but in practice it's not a problem. Lots of ISPs will give you a shell account for $5/month or less, and some will give you an account for free (see link).
wiml, Apr 15 2001

       Forgive my ignorance, but what is a shell account, and what can you do with it?
PotatoStew, Apr 19 2001

       A shell is a program that manages the execution, execution enviornment, input, and output of commands. Typically, it's text based; typically, it runs on a Unix system. As an old-style Unix user, interacting with a shell is my basic mode of existence; it's how I think.   

       When owning a shell account, you use one Internet provider only to pass your stream of IP packets to a second provider; you authenticate yourself to the second provider, and that authentication program ("login") executes as its last step a shell (and you can influence which - tastes differ) that then reads textual commands from you for the rest of your session. (Since Unix commands eat, dream, and breathe text, this isn't restrictive the way you'd think; it also doesn't entirely preclude using X Windows or similar to remotely draw on your real terminal; that's just usually too slow to be comfortable.)   

       Having a shell account separate from your primary Internet Service Provider frequently lets you choose a provider you like, rather than just one that offers service in your area; and it may get you storage and web-hosting facilities and a work environment that the original provider doesn't allow. (This is part of the old power vs. complexity trade off; if you offer fewer services, you don't have to explain them.)
jutta, Apr 19 2001

       Ok, I think I kind of get that... you're basically doing work on another computer remotely through the shell program, right? But what's a specific example of a task or two that you would do on the shell account, and why wouldn't you just do it locally on your own machine? I feel like there's a chunk of the whole concept that I'm missing.
PotatoStew, Apr 19 2001

       Bandwidth: my pipe to my shell provider is thinner than the shell provider's to the outside world, so it's cheaper to delete spam from my inbox or read USENET there, interactively, than to download it to my system.   

       Management: They do the backups. They install the software. I don't have to worry about it.   

       Reliability: My web server doesn't go down when my cable modem does.   

       Flexibility: I can connect to my shell account from anywhere, while traveling, and access the same familiar environment, even if I'm not schlepping my laptop around.
jutta, Apr 19 2001

       Ah... so is it correct to say that most of what you would do with the shell account would relate to running a website (coding and deploying the web pages/scripts, configuring the server, etc?) You aren't getting on it to do word processing or run Photoshop, correct? Sorry if these questions seem daft... It's the kind of thing where if I could watch someone doing it for a few minutes, I think I'd get it...
PotatoStew, Apr 19 2001

       Not Photoshop, but word processing, certainly (though you might not recognize it as such at first glance). For most of the things you do with a computer that aren't intrinsically graphical, there is some analogue that a Unix "power user" would do with a text interface.   

       Neal Stephenson explains this whole thing quite well, though you'll need to be very patient with his rambling style. See link.
egnor, Apr 19 2001

       A lot of people I know still use lynx regularly (as do I). Not exclusively, but often. It still indicates shoddy design if a web site isn't usable with lynx.
wiml, Apr 19 2001

       The big problem with Lynx is that it doesn't handle tables worth a damn.   

       There are much better text mode browsers available now; "links" and "w3m" are two examples. They both do a credible job of rendering most sites, including table layout, colors and the like. Images are obviously missing, but even some "normal" users turn off images to save bandwidth, so "ALT tags" are a good idea regardless.
egnor, Apr 20 2001

       "It still indicates shoddy design if a web site isn't usable with lynx."   

       That's a pretty sweeping generalization, wiml. It depends on the purpose of the site and the way the site designer is trying to communicate. Some sites are mainly visual, and communicate through images and wouldn't make any sense in lynx. That doesn't necessarily mean they're poorly designed, it just might indicate a different focus or approach.   

       I can agree more with that statement as far as it applies to sites that are attempting to communicate mostly textual information, although I would say that there are probably even exceptions there.
PotatoStew, Apr 20 2001

       Has this been idea been superceded by linux live distros? Boot into linux direct from CD without installing anything on your harddrive. As the OS is on a read-only medium, and it doesn't write to your hard drive, you can't damage either your usual or your new linux environment.
ChangeSomething, Nov 11 2005

       Or as an alternative to the live CDs, a user mode linux or xen virtual machine on a hosted server. There are plenty of those available, too.
NoOneYouKnow, Nov 11 2005


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle