Don Marti

Sun 17 Apr 2005 08:33:51 PM PDT

close cooperation on shell boxes

Most people have a pretty decent collection of local aliases and tweaks in in .bash_profile or some other appropriate file.

Isn't it convenient to take a quick peek at a working system? I routinely ssh to a Linux Journal server, or to a friend's system, and look at the example config files in /etc/skel, to people's own config files if they make them world-readable, and the system-wide config files for customizable programs such as Vim and Mutt. If you don't have that ability to pop in to a working system and grab something, you end up reinventing a bunch of stuff.

But what about the people who start using Linux as root on their own box, and don't have someone else's machine to log in to? That's like volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and not being able to check how the next person is doing his bit of the house. Dennis Ritchie said it best:

"We knew from experience that the essence of communal computing, as supplied by remote-access, time-shared machines, is not just to type programs into a terminal instead of a keypunch, but to encourage close communication."

There's cooperation and learning potential in the old university Unix boxes that modern Linux could benefit from.