"Tron" or Windows vs. GNU/Linux

For Christmas, I received "Tron" (The 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition). Things have settled down enough so that I was able to view it today. It has been a few years since I last saw it, and then I was a little distracted and didn’t catch some of the things I did this time.

Before I get going to far, as word of self-introduction. My name is Josiah Ritchie (flickerfly as I’m known on Buzzing Bye, my blog) and I am an IT pro using Gentoo Linux, Windows 2000, XP and 2003. I’m a huge fan of Gentoo and not of the other OSs in that list. I am a moderate fan of several other distros. I have been a Christian for 19 years. I hope to acquire my AA (and move onto a BA) at Washington Bible College at the end of this semester, when I pass “English Comp 2”, a notoriously heavy work-load class that I’m looking forward to with a touch of trepidation. Someday, I’m going to figure out how to use my conglomeration of skills on the mission field. Back to our regularly, scheduled program…

First, "Tron" is a cute allegory between the digital realm and the physical realm. Within that digital realm, I see another allegory, not intended, but interesting in the concept of foreshadowing. Within the digital realm, there is a good force and a bad force. The bad/rouge “Master Control Program” is a program designed to learn by assimilating the programs found on other networks into himself. Eventually, the MCP determines that he could improve the management of earth by 900 to 1200 percent and begins the process of doing without man, much in the same way as Asimov’s “I, Robot” short story collection theorizes and the recent movie by the same name with Will Smith.

Anyway, to the software development corollary. I suggest that the MCP is Windows and those fighting against the MCP are Linux. The MCP is the one big thing in charge. It integrates lots of things into one marriage of lots of features. In the movie, the MCP appears to be so unweidly that the humans lose control of it and it develops as it chooses. Linux, rather is a conglomeration of many different parts that the user organizes together as it sees fit to accomplish the task at hand. The operating system itself is developed as a kernel, “Linux”, and the programs that make it possible to work with the kernel, “GNU”. Hence the GNU/Linux name many people use. Outside of that, you have a multitude of other lesser utilities like grep, tr, sort, sed, locate, cat and less. That is, as any experienced shell coder knows only a very small collection of what is available. Piping these together makes the GNU/Linux OS powerful in a way that Windows couldn’t imagine, but is working towards emulating. We can even break this down to the kernel. The Linux kernel is normally compiled in a modular way allowing the admin to add or remove the ability to work with certain devices or complete certain tasks at will. This is somewhat emulatable in Windows, but only to a degree.

In the long run I’m saying that things are much more under control, both in development and by the end-users as it is much easier to work with small, not so complicated things than it is to try to wrestle with one big part. That is, afterall, one of the basic tenents of troubleshooting, and who hasn’t heard of the ever so popular acronym KISS?

In the movie, the monster MCP tries to take over the world by trusting in itself and is taken down by the smaller and more agile programs that are able to be easily worked with by users.

Maybe, for my next post I will coorelate the MCP vs. the programs struggle to aspects of faith…

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