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Linus' Other Gift to the World

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i'm-sure-his-kids-are-great-too dept.

Open Source 177

Glyn Moody writes "Linus is widely recognised for initiating two major developments: Linux and Git (it's an interesting discussion which of the two in the long term will be regarded as more important). But there's a third, which people tend to overlook: he also pioneered the key ideas behind what later came to be called open innovation. As more and more companies open up to embrace customer-generated ideas, and the idea spreads to other areas like open government, perhaps it's time to add open innovation to the list of Linus' achievements."

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I love git!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36461954)

Git is super amazing!!

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36461990)

All the SVN tards on here will disagree with you, no doubt.

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462084)

I think most here would prefer Git. SVN is far more corporate.

Re:I love git!! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463624)

SVN has all kinds of issues. It really needs a therapist at this point. Git is the best of the open-source systems. Of the closed systems, Perforce and Plastic are the only serious contenders, but I've had a hell of a time with Plastic due to the way it identifies individuals, problems with unmerging and database organization that's kludgy at best. Perforce is ancient, has some amazingly bad quirks, and is more expensive than hell above a couple of users.

I've burned many brain cycles trying to decide what to do, since Git just doesn't have the kind of front-end I'd like but does have a nicely-designed engine. At present, it's like driving a Volkswagon Beetle with a Formula 1 engine - the power is amazing, the capacity is staggering, the risk of ploughing off the road and over a cliff unrivalled. Everything else is like driving a Fornula 1 car with a Volkswagon Beetle engine - safe in the same way other statues are.

More corporate (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463828)

While I prefer git, it's worth remembering that just a couple of years ago, svn was the young rebel upstart (hence the name "subversion") -- most commercial shops were using cvs until recently. It's a hard sell to get IT departments to shift again ("why, just a few years ago you nerds made us switch to svn when cvs was working just fine. Now you want to shift again?")

Re:More corporate (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36464086)

SVN is still widely considered one of the best at what it does, so if it works for your current requirements there is probably no need to switch. A lot of companies using it will remain there because they have no particular reason to move (i.e. the shortcomings that can be resolved with something else like git don't affect them in a way they are aware of) and it is integrated into their key processes like build and test.

Companies moving from something else (something proprietary and/or order than subversion) or starting from scratch are more likely to go for git though, which I think is where most of its current momentum comes from.

The interface(s) to git are a major factor that will keep some companies away for some time. While we experienced unix-a-like people are perfectly fine with it and other with a decent brain between there ears will pick it up quick enough too, there are a lot of people out there who won't cope with it as-is so many companies will keep back until there is a nice well-rounded stable official GUI (preferably that integrates well with VS in the Windows world). And it isn't just junior/bad developers to worry about - in a small company the PHB will expect to be able to look at what you are working on so will want access (in a larger company there are several levels of shielding between the PHBs and the source repositories, but not in smaller ones) and I don't know about you but I don't fancy being the one who has to try explain git to my line-manager's boss...

FYI: I'm starting to use git for my own stuff, but I'll not be recommending it for here just yet.

Re:I love git!! (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462324)

I find Git conceptually interesting but it took me a while to grasp the beauty of it, mainly because everyone I knew who I asked to explain it to me would point me to various "explanations" of Git which were huge swaths of text and graphs that described all the nitty-gritty technical details but skipped basic "big picture" explanations of it. So I pretty much came away from it knowing as much as I did before reading the "guides", that it was some form of decentralized VCS...

Eventually I took it upon myself to read up on it a bit more and began to see the usefulness of it although I have found an alarming number of guides and explanations of Git that deal with the question of how to set up your own "central" Git repository for all your code (pretty popular with geeks who, like myself, have a home server with redundant storage and regular backups) with "You're not supposed to do that! AAAGH YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!!11".

Re:I love git!! (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462938)

So i'm still getting my hands dirty with git, having not really used a code versioning system before. I have come across a lot of information of the type that you describe so am still in the "some form of decentralized VCS" camp. I do not yet see the big picture.

What is it for you that made you see the picture, and can you explain it easily like the sites I have seen can't?

Also, I too want a 'central' git repository and I too have seen the "You're not supposed to do that!" but I still don't get why. I want to be able to sync the project on any computer i'm working on and be up to date, surely centralised is the way to go?

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463438)

I was raised on CVS and then switched to SVN. Going over to git was weird at first, and it felt awkward. I kept at it though because of some of the nice features, and then one day the light clicked "on." Using CVS or SVN managing branches and tagged releases becomes very burdensome quickly. They also require you to work out the management of your repository with your team in great detail. Then when someone forgets and does something differently it can make a big mess.

With a tool like git *everything* is a branch. You just branch branch branch, and git has some very nice tools to bring branches together in a way that is very comfortable once you get used to the idea. The thing that is great about git is that it manages things with respect to the branch and the source. That way each person can manage their own repository the way they want. The system also allows different subgroups to share their work without using the main repository.

When it comes time to bring everything together you can choose which branches to push and you can choose which repository to push it up to. The result is that you have a huge amount of flexibility in how you manage commits, and a wide range of approaches can be used. git lets you decide how to handle the different branches whereas SVN dictates the way you approach the management of your repository.

In terms of branching, now days I use git for my personal projects. Even if I do not want to share my repository the branching tools make for a very natural work flow. Once you get over the idea of "branch == bad" it really frees you up to play and try things without fear of things going bad or getting your repository all clogged up.

Re:I love git!! (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463550)

For me, it's just little personal projects that I am working on. No collaboration at the moment and no branching. I just want to plod along on my little projects, keep the versioning controlled incase I make a big old f-up and have it available wherever I am (At home on my laptop, at home on the desktop, in the workshop, on the train, at work). Whenever I work in a new place, I just want to continue where I left off in the last place.

Is git the wrong tool for the job?

I understand about the branching and don't have anything against it as I don't have any pre-learned version control methodologies in my head already (other than lots of messy commenting and file renaming lol) as I have not used a cvs before. I figured from my initial research that git seems to be the way forward and that I should learn and use that rather than another.

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463758)

If you just want to keep a version history then anything will do. RCS will do that and works fine. That is how I used to view version control software. Since switching to git I have started using it as a tool to help develop and not just keep track of file histories. It has become second nature to just branch, play, test, and then if things worked out then merge back in the appropriate place. It makes it very easy to keep multiple versions and experiment with different approaches. git is more than just a tool to keep track of history. The flexibility and ease of handling branches helps make it a development tool and changes the way you approach a task.

Re:I love git!! (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463814)

Is git the wrong tool for the job?

No, not at all. It still the right tool. You still have less overhead than if you were using SVN, since you no longer need a repo server and such. But you will only really learn git when you need to collaborate with someone else, this is where it shines.

The only thing I miss from SVN is TortoiseSVN, which is a really polished and nice GUI. TortoiseGit is not even close (when I'm using Windows). On Linux I just stick to the CLI out of habit.

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462636)

I didn't much care for git when I used it from the command line. But with a nice gui (yeah, I'd rather click to stage a file than type it out), I find it generally better than svn. Branching in svn is such a pain that I didn't do it. git branching is painless. I still prefer having a central repo. My major problem is that git pushes mmap to the limit and exposes some mmap bugs in debian/arm/linux, so it's unusable on my server.

Re:I love git!! (3, Informative)

Necroman (61604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462234)

I think the better comment is "DCVS is super amazing!!"

Many people forget that there ware 2 other decent implementations of distributed source control out there (Mercurial and Bazaar), both of which function rather closely to Git. Though, from what I've seen, Git is currently the fastest and most efficient when it comes to processing various commands, but they all do everything rather quickly.

Git I would say is popular in the open source world for 2 reasons: Linus uses it and Github. My gripes still stand with it requiring Cygwin on Windows and its weird terminology (which is backwards from many of its predecessors). It's a great tool and I'm happy that its pushing people away from CVS and SVN, but it's not perfect and it's not the only DVCS on the block.

Re:I love git!! (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462402)

I don't have anything against DVCS but I personally haven't switched from SVN. SVN doesn't cause me (personally) any headaches that might be solved by DVCS. For some, I can see how it's quite useful and beneficial but I suppose you could count me in the group that doesn't prefer it.

Re:I love git!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462448)

Fast, cheap topic branches. Git knocks svn out of the park in the regard, even if you never use the distributed part.

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36464084)

that's an advantage of git over svn, not an advantage of DVCS over non-DVCS.

Re:I love git!! (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463654)

Windows support is still a little unpolished but these days you don't need Cygwin. You install msysgit which is natively compiled and comes with a bunch of Unix tools for running scripts and so on. Then you install TortoiseGit which invokes msysgit and presents things in dialogs for pushing, pulling, cloning, diffs etc. It works much the same way as TortoiseSVN.

There is also Eclipse Git which is implemented over JGit. So if you develop in Eclipse it's basically what you would expect of any source control system and very nicely integrated. Eclipse is moving to Git for development so it's likely to gain a lot more prominence in Java land.

Re:I love git!! (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462430)

Git is great but the Windows tools are still a bit poor with msysgit & TortoiseGit being about 95% the way but still a bit flakey compared to TortoiseSVN. Fortunately for Java development, EGit is coming along very nicely and supposedly part of Eclipse 3.7.

Re:I love git!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462822)

You say that, as if it were a bad thing.
The more killer features Linux has, that Windows hasn't, the better.
Look how Compiz alone made hot girls want to install Linux!
HOT GIRLS!
Seriously, I alone know 3 who installed Linux because of it.
HOT... GIRLS!!
That's like ... the be all, end all argument. Like a cat pushing a watermelon out of the ocean. Like OVER 9000!
HOT GIIIIIIRLS... WANTING LINUX!!! HOLY SHIT! ;)

Hell yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462460)

It certainly is! Just the other day my neighbour got me to help out her daughter who has a new camera and wants a photo-album, me being the go to guy for all things technical of course. At first she was asking about Picassa, the Windows photo thing and some other proprietary rubbish...after I had picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I suggested she installed a professional tool like Git to manage her photos for her. Her workflow now is really, really simple (she was also using Photoshop, I converted her to GIMP) - edit photo in GIMP, git add ., git commit -a -m "Changed contrast etc". It took an hour or two for it to sink in, but I think she got it at the end. When I left though she touched me on my shoulder, do you think she likes me? I'll take some flowers round next time and some cakes.

WTF (0)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462054)

Is this a new : trend to add colons in the middle of a sentence?

Re:WTF (3)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462132)

use Open::Innovation;

Re:WTF (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462236)

Agreed. That is much more classy.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462304)

I think this is the new global::Innovation();

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462152)

Is this a new : trend to add colons in the middle of a sentence?

should only be used to extend the sentence

Re:WTF (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462368)

No, it's also generally used to indicate the start of a list.

Re:WTF (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463658)

Depends. If we assume "later" is a time-traveling host and Open Innovation is the open port, it's ok. :: would imply that OI is IPv6-compatible.

Re:WTF (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463702)

Is this a new : trend to add colons in the middle of a sentence?

In fact, colons should only be added in the middle of a sentence.

Ummm no (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462110)

Because Linus simply did not do that.

FFS, just post a 'missed connections' in craigslist if you love the guy that deeply, don't waste space here on it.

Re:Ummm no (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462436)

Exactly my feelings. "Now, Mr. Submitter, is that GNU/Innovation that Mr. Torvalds gave us, or BSD/Innovation?"

Post-singularity enterprises (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462114)

I think in the long run people will have forgotten both Linux and git, but the open enterprise system will go on.

In the future when we will have abundant robotic power, corporations will have to be managed differently. People with managing ability today are people who are good at manipulating people, with automated systems managers must be people who are good at manipulating machines, i.e. programmers.

The catch is that programmers aren't very good at manipulating people, and that include their peers. In a typical enterprise today a lot of effort is put into negotiating between the different departments and divisions. I cannot imagine a company managed by programmers doing that.

The Linux management system will work when managers no longer have people beneath them.

Re:Post-singularity enterprises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462382)

Open source governance [wikipedia.org] is likely to be the most revolutionary, game-changing thing to happen to society since the French Revolution.

Re:Post-singularity enterprises (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462816)

I'm still waiting for it to happen, and I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Post-singularity enterprises (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463126)

I wish that were true, but I fear open source governance to date has gotten entirely away from the sort of innovative leadership Linus provided. Let's take Debian, for example. Innovation back when everyone compiled everything from source, and it was truly a bazaar model, was off the charts. Then came the Debian package manager and Debian official commiters, and multi-year release cycles, all driven with open source governance. What we have now is a cathedral model, where a minority of the community determine what goes in and what doesn't, and where any new innovation takes years to get into the stable release. What Linus provided with the Linux project was solid leadership in a bazaar model that no longer exists, except for those of us still willing to download and compile from source.
I find, now that I'm developing for Windows and Android, that innovation is more rapid there, because you can write code and have it in user's hands without the red tape. No good governing system should create barriers between innovators and users, and potential super-star leaders need to be empowered to lead. Linus ran Linux development in a way that connected users and innovators, while keeping final authority over his project in his hands. A good bazaar needs a skilled benevolent dictator, not a innovation crushing exclusive republic like Debian.

Re:Post-singularity enterprises (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463880)

He's not talking about governance of Open Source software groups, but rather applying Open Source concepts to government. It's a clever idea that largely ignores all sorts of political realities. The Wikipedia page he links will describe it better than I ever could.

On the subject of your comment, I find that I agree with you, but I'm not really sure how else it can go. Anytime a software package, whether an OS or application, becomes popular enough to have a significant percentage of its users be non-programmers it's going to lose its "everyone contributes to the whole" vibe. Debian is the way it is because the vast majority of Debian users either can't or don't want to compile everything on their systems from source. Unless you're going to require everyone user to be a geek and a contributor, you're going to eventually get an elite of coders who are willing and able to contribute directly; and various levels of users below that that have steadily less of an idea what's going on behind the scenes.

innovation. (4, Interesting)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462122)


I thought innovation was what the Big Corporations did after the patent's ran out.

Take the case of the X-Y-Box (the first mouse) it was patented in the 60's. and low and behold on the 80's we got GUI's with mice. makes one think. Is this kind innovation setting us back 20 or 30 years.

Re:innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462474)

No. Considering that it only sets us back 20 or 30 years would be to ignore the negative synergistic effect on innovation from the incarceration of any given technology by the patent system.

Re:innovation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462924)

A patent does not just set us back just 20 or 30 years, each piece of technology imprisoned in a patent has a negative effect on what gets invented afterwards. The cumulative effect goes far beyond the damage each individual patent has - negative synergy.

Filthy Athenians! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462126)

They're always stealing Linus's ideas before he gets to them.

Old Idea + "do it online" != innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462148)

Nothing against Linus, but I think it's a little silly to take a normal idea, apply "do it online", and then call it a new idea.

Collaboration has been around long before Linus. Perhaps Linus is one of the first to collaborate online... ok, that's great. Comparing this "accomplishment" along side Linux and Git is a little silly. Linux and Git are genuine accomplishments which Linus should be very proud of.

Re:Old Idea + "do it online" != innovation (1)

panikfan (1843944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463870)

Nothing against Linus, but I think it's a little silly to take a normal idea, apply "do it online", and then call it a new idea.

Collaboration has been around long before Linus. Perhaps Linus is one of the first to collaborate online... ok, that's great. Comparing this "accomplishment" along side Linux and Git is a little silly. Linux and Git are genuine accomplishments which Linus should be very proud of.

Agreed, was thinking the same thing when I saw this story...

WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462164)

"(it's an interesting discussion which of the two in the long term will be regarded as more important)"

WTF? I stop to visit this fucked up site...

Just maybe, (2)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462174)

in a few centuries it will be regarded as the begining of true democracy! :)

I think we just have it labelled wrong here (3, Interesting)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462180)

Linus' major achievement was popularizing and demonstrating open source and the projects it could accomplish, and Linux and Git were merely demonstrations of that. Glyn merely has caught up to us who have realized sometimes great inventors great invent things, but in software great inventors truly only invent great ideas. That is what Linus has done here. Stop thinking of Linux as a thing and start thinking of it as an idea, part of a greater idea which he has touted for a very very long time.

Re:I think we just have it labelled wrong here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462238)

If what is great about Linux is the idea, then RMS deserves the credit.
But I reject the premise. What is great about Linux is the implementation.

Re:I think we just have it labelled wrong here (5, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462310)

I thought it was RMS, too.

That being the case, Linus' real "other gift" is providing proof to the world that RMS' idea was valid and possible.

Re:I think we just have it labelled wrong here (5, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463464)

RMS since 1984, when he declared the GNU free software operating system effort, has been the GNU/FSF champion. He invented the GPL license, which along with similar licenses that have been developed, are the legal cornerstone enabling software innovators around the world to collaborate on free software efforts. However, with the emacs project, RMS showed a lack of skill in encouraging innovators to go nuts with whatever development they like. Everything had to be approved to get into the official emacs release, and RMS was a single point of failure, constricting the flow of innovation from others while providing most of it himself.

Linus, on the other hand, has the people skills needed to enable innovators to contribute while standing enough out of the way to keep from restricting innovation. That's why he's credited for this model of governance. That's the model we need to figure out how to replicate. Unfortunately, it seems to require a benevolent dictator who is brilliant, has thick skin, and good people skills. If we can figure out how to replicate that kind of success, based on how Linus did it, then we can credit him for the model, but so far it seems that Linus' model requires a very rare kind of benevolent dictator who is brilliant technically, has good people skills, and likes to enable others to innovate as much as they like to contribute themselves.

No good model for sharing the efforts of software innovators exists today. Of all platforms, Android seems to have the most innovation at present, simply because they allow any old coding fool to publish an app with minimal red tape. However, Android more or less forbids sharing between developers. We'll never get where we need to be with the current models.

Re:I think we just have it labelled wrong here (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463670)

That being the case, Linus' real "other gift" is providing proof to the world that RMS' idea was valid and possible.

It's valid and possible if you put pragmatism before politics. This explains why Linux is everywhere and Hurd isn't.

Re:I think we just have it labelled wrong here (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36464074)

From what I read, the output of Stallman and Torwalds is roughly comparable. They're both awesome programmers who have the ability to create well-designed code in a short amount of time.

However, whereas Stallman started out with a clear agenda, an extreme sense of perseverance and tried to build a free Unix system no what, Torwalds basically got lucky. If there hadn't been a nearly-complete GNU system (written by Stallman and others) at the time he wrote his terminal emulator^W^Wkernel, Linux would very likely not have taken off.

PS: Why does Slashdot not support <strike>? Oh that's right, Slashdot sux.

Um no. (5, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462196)

Linus Torvalds has done well with Linux and now Git, but I don't really seeing him deserving the title of pioneer of "open innovation". At least not in the way the author is using the word "pioneer". Linux being the most popular open source project makes the project itself the catalyst for this so called "open innovation". There is a difference between taking advantage of open source methodologies and creating methodologies. The author has seems to lost the grasp of that difference in his zeal for idol worship.

I think RMS deserves the title of the creator (or pioneer) of "open innovation", and that says a lot since I don't always agree with his philosophy. RMS is the one that really stuck his neck out and preached the gospel. Even today he is either loved or hated by the software community.

Then there are all the advocates that came and went during the lifespan of Linux. They wrote manuscripts, sold the idea to their employer, or invested their own money in open source development. During all this time Linus focused on his vision of the kernel, and having a take it or leave it attitude towards advocacy. His main concern was making a quality kernel and rightly so.

If we used the word pioneer correctly then we would consider Linus one of many pioneers in this open source crusade. There are a lot of them with the scars from all the arrows in their backs. Sorry for the slight negative tone, but the idol worship in that article irritated me this early in the morning. More coffee!

Re:Um no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462396)

I agree that RMS deserves a lot of recognition for his early vision and good social conscience, but if you look at how key pieces of the GNU system was developed, it seems rather "cathedral-like", to borrow the over-used ESR analogy; even today it seems more so than the Linux kernel. FSF carries a powerful social message, but the early days could also be understood in terms of the clubby hacker cliques that I imagine RMS participating in at MIT. I don't see it as very open to outside contributions. Consider for example the Emacs schism of the 90s [jwz.org] , for example. If it were simply about the code, RMS would not have maintained such ridiculous positions on the "official" Emacs 19 code base. Similar can be said for GNU HURD -- if they had been more open about its early development instead of taking a "we know better than you, you'll wait 'til it's ready" approach, maybe it would have had a higher chance of taking off.

Re:Um no. (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462522)

Thats the one thing that always gets me about RMS, for someone who ostensibly espouses freedom, he doesn't handle dissent very well..... "You are free as long as you do what I tell you to do"

Re:Um no. (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463012)

No no no you don't understand... people are free to do what they want, and RMS is free to criticize them for it.

Re:Um no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463310)

Exactly. I see Richard Stallman and Bill Gates as being two sides of the same coin.

Re:Um no. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462400)

I would agree with you but RMS contributes more philosophically where Linus contributes more physically. For example, Louis and Clark were pioneers. They didn't come up with the whole manifest destiny "god said we could have the land if we explore it" attitude. The concept came from some politician. That isn't to say I would equate open innovation with manifest destiny.

Re:Um no. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462832)

What about gcc and emacs? They both existed longer than Linux and enjoy a much larger install base.

I don't really understand your point. You seem to have completely disregarded the fact that not only did RMS delivered "physical" software, he did it before Linus.

Re:Um no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463204)

And despite having made great advances such as making source available and coming up with GPL, he did so with a very closed development model that was at times needlessly hostile to outside contributors. Google "lucid emacs" for a representative sample of where this went wrong.

Re:Um no. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463782)

That may be true. Not all pioneers got it right the first time. In fact I think the number of pioneers who did is rather small or practically non-existent.

Re:Um no. (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463794)

egcs is another example where people got frustrated with the gcc development process being too slow, too dictatorial, too strung out and forked the thing. In that instance egcs was so successfull that it became the basis for gcc 3.0 demonstrating forks don't have to stay forked forever.

Re:Um no. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463284)

The word "more" is important in my post. And yes, without gcc most FOSS applications wouldn't exist including the linux kernel and git. However, I was pointing out that Stallman's contributions were not just physical but philosophical. Also that his philosophical contributions were "more" as in greater than his physical contributions. To simply say Stallman contributed gcc and emacs in comparison to Linus' kernel and git would leave out the philosophical contribution by Stallman. Thus. One was "more" physical. The other was "more" philosophical.

Re:Um no. (0)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463376)

However, I was pointing out that Stallman's contributions were not just physical but philosophical.

Umm, the GP's point was that Stallman wrote GCC and GNU EMACS. How is that not a physical contribution?

Re:Um no. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462524)

I guess you didn't read the article, or your comprehension is very poor, as he very clearly states the differences between what Linus and RMS did. And he didn't say that Linus pioneered open development or open/free software. He says that Linus pioneered the approach of asking potential users and developers for feature requests, while RMS wanted people to work on his stuff.

Re:Um no. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462770)

I did read the article and didn't buy into his comparison of the two. The top down structure versus asking for volunteers on the internet over simplifies a lot. For instance, RMS has been doing this much longer and part of that time he couldn't take advantage of the internet. When I first started using GNU software my first access to the products was via floppy disks through the mail. Creating a unix like kernel using floppy disk or BBS distribution is significantly harder than downloading from USENET or kernel.org

Re:Um no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463642)

He says that Linus pioneered the approach of asking potential users and developers for feature requests, while RMS wanted people to work on his stuff.

That just shows how poor the author's memory is. Plenty of projects had user feature contributions before Linux - UNIX and Spice come to mind. What would happen was the companies that owned the software would appropriate the user contributions and incorporate them in their closed source projects. That's the whole reason the GPL exists and created a model where contributors don't have to fear their work being monetized.

Re:Um no. (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462602)

but the idol worship in that article irritated me this early in the morning

Thank you for your wisdom, oh wise one!

Re:Um no. (1)

staalmannen (1705340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462616)

Well, in fact Linus Torvalds was used as counter example to FSF in the "Cathedral and the Bazaar". Most open source projects prior to Linux was either horribly fragmented or horribly centralized by requiring copyright assignment to FSF or some other organization. In that way the manner in which Linus let others contribute to and influence Linux, he actually demonstrated another model of development (which inspired to the "Cathedral and Bazaar" text, read it if you haven't). People seem to think that Linus is a celebrity by choice - from what I have experienced, he is rather uninterested in those things. I think there is a big difference between idol worship and admiration/respect to/for someone who does something really well. Since Linus is not trying to sell us something like ideology (RMS) or shiny trinkets (Jobs), I tink he is worthy of some admiration. http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ [catb.org]

Three in one (1)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462638)

Well, now we have the Holy Open Spirit and the Son so who's the daddy?

Re:Three in one (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462918)

Two cups of coffee and still no clue. Let me know if you figure it out. :P

Re:Three in one (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463700)

No idea, but the mother would be Inanna.

Re:Um no. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462908)

RMS doesn't exactly deserve that title either.

What RMS was doing was exactly what most of the mathematical and scientific community was doing already, namely sharing ideas like crazy and giving everybody who knew what they were doing a way to contribute. And it had been what was going on in Unix-land before it became heavily commercial, most notably in BSD Unix.

As much as RMS is portrayed as a radical, the real radical position is the idea that software source code should be hidden from users and protected from prying user eyes for the purposes of profit.

Re:Um no. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463572)

What RMS was doing was exactly what most of the mathematical and scientific community was doing already, namely sharing ideas like crazy and giving everybody who knew what they were doing a way to contribute.

That is not my experience with the mathematical and scientific community. It is true they are open and peered review, but they are definitely not that way from the very beginning. It's very competitive and they hold on to key pieces of data that they worked on so they can be the first to publish. It's not until after they publish their findings when they start freely sharing ideas like crazy.

Now compare this to open software development where people don't have to show their doctoral credentials before they are allowed to contribute. Also the goals of the software are known from the very beginning and additions can be submitted from anyone from anywhere. The key difference being that it is a community effort even prior to first release.

The two communities may look similar, but they are definitely not alike.

And it had been what was going on in Unix-land before it became heavily commercial, most notably in BSD Unix.

I do agree that BSD and public domain software was sharing software longer than FSF. However the distinction I was giving RMS credit for what is considered the open development model where all of the derivatives remain open and available to original author and the community. BSD and public domain do not have this trait. BSD Unix has an active open development community but it's derivatives can and are being used in commercial and closed source versions. It is the principle behind GPL that allowed Linux to garner the popularity that it enjoys now even eclipsing that of BSD.

I agree that it would be more accurate to call RMS a pioneer of the all software shall remain open movement.

As much as RMS is portrayed as a radical, the real radical position is the idea that software source code should be hidden from users and protected from prying user eyes for the purposes of profit.

I would have to respectfully disagree with you on this point. Considering the major contributor to the origins of computing in the US was the DoD, the idea of software code being secret isn't really that radical. That doesn't even take into consideration the competitive nature between DoD contractors during the war effort (WW II not today :P).

redefining the meaning of pioneer (1)

doperative (1958782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463556)

`Linus Torvalds has done well with Linux and now Git, but I don't really seeing him deserving the title of pioneer of "open innovation". At least not in the way the author is using the word "pioneer"'

That might be true but first one would have to redefine the meaning of 'pioneer', 'creating', 'taking advantage of', "open innovation" and "open source methodologies"

"I'm doing a (free) operating system .. and I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-) link [computerworlduk.com]

Re:Um no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463610)

It's also not a new phenomenon. It's been going on for centuries.

Read "Collective Invention" by Robert C. Allen.

http://p2pfoundation.net/Collective_Invention

lunix (0)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462200)

it tupid

Linux vs Git? (5, Interesting)

dr_tube (115121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462210)

Can someone explain, or point to a discussion, of how it is argued that Git could be more important in the long term than Linux? Isn't Git small fish compared to Linux?

Re:Linux vs Git? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462332)

Linux is an OS kernel. Kernels come and go over the years; Linux has been around for a long time already. Eventually, its development will hit a wall created by some ancient design oversight and someone else will make something new to resolve it.

Version control systems have more staying power. The popular SVN was developed as a better CVS, which dates back to 1986 (according to Wikipedia), which itself was an improvement over something else from the 70's. Linux is roughly analogous to SVN's place in the chain of operating systems: it filled a broader need, but it wasn't really something totally new. Git came along and changed the whole version control landscape with its distributed model, since I guess it was the first DVCS to also be open source (although maybe Mercurial is a little older).

If Linux hadn't been invented, someone else would've created a UNIX-like system for the PC. We probably would be using BSD instead, and most of us wouldn't know the difference. Git, on the other hand, was the innovation that most people didn't even know they wanted.

Re:Linux vs Git? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463166)

Eventually, its development will hit a wall created by some ancient design oversight and someone else will make something new to resolve it.

Hmmm, no. The code will simply be rewritten to remove said design oversight and Linux will keep on chugging. It's happened dozes of times over the last 20 years and therein lies the beauty and power of Linux, it's fluid and dynamic, it evolves and adapts. Why do you think Linux became so popular? Because everyone can tinker with it and if your idea is actually good enough, it will get integrated.

Re:Linux vs Git? (3, Informative)

doti (966971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462446)

There is nothing special about Linux, apart from being a successful FLOSS operating system.
There were no great genius work from Linus there, he "just" wrote an ordinary OS and made the source public.

Git, in the other hand, is a work of a genius. It's not merely one more version control system.
It made branching, merging and atomic commits so acessible that it changed the way people code.

ps: no idea why you were modded down, it was a completely reasonable question.

Re:Linux vs Git? (1)

dr_tube (115121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462622)

OK, I guess I never had a feeling for why there haven't been more MS competitors out there when writing a good OS is not such a big deal. As an outsider, it always seemed like writing linux must have been a bigger deal than maybe it was.

ps: A long long time ago I somehow obtained terrible karma during a period when I never posted (I've never figured out why), and I guess I don't post enough to raise it back up.

Rock on (2)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462274)

Let's claim he won WWII, too. What the hey. It's not like anybody will actually check.

/ Godwin

Re:Rock on (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462724)

Lets claim that Hitler was killed by a bad Git Merge.

THAT is a godwin.

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (100%).

Re:Rock on (1)

garaged (579941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462796)

As much as I like/love Linus, you got a great (funny) point, wish i had mod points

Slashdot and Twitter (1)

cosmas_c (1079035) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462290)

Cosmas_c is widely recognised for initiating two major developments: Slashdot and
Twitter ... (comments follow?!)

perhaps it's time to add bad karma to the list of Cosmas_c' achievements.

Why credit Linus (2)

kbw (524341) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462294)

I remember when DDJ published the BSD i386 source, that was pre-Linux. It's said that Linus wanted a better Minix, but before that were the Berkeley Software Distribution and the GNU Toolset.

It's not at all clear why Linus is singled out for credit.

Re:Why credit Linus (4, Interesting)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462594)

Linux wanted have his own UNIX-like computor. Buying a VAX to run Berkeley Software Distribution was at that time not afforable for a mere student and you also had to have an AT&T license for them.
The 386 BSD was released after Linux was started; Linux was started in '91 and BSD 386 came out '92.

Also you had the large lawsuit regarding BSD in '92 which slowed the development for BSD versions for 2 years.
Since then BSD systems more or less has been playing catch up with the more capable Linux system.

Had the BSD for 386 been released earlier and has not the big lawsuit stopped the distribution of BSD for 2 years
that Linux would probably not been much more then a hobby project that become abandoned when something
better came along. But instead Linux become the #1 UNIX-like operating system of choice.

Which of Linux or Git is the more important? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462302)

Which of Linux or Git is the more important? Are trolls alive and well or what?

Git wasn't the first DVCS and should Git go away right now we would have Mercurial etc. to instantly fill the gap. We could switch Linux *tonight* to hg and have kernel developers be productive tomorrow.

What would we have to replace Linux in the millions of Android with overnight?

The guy who wrote that sentence is seriously high on dope: me wants some of what he's smoking.

Re:Which of Linux or Git is the more important? (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462716)

What would we have to replace Linux in the millions of Android with overnight?

NetBSD if your primary goal is portability.
FreeBSD if your primary goal is speed, reliability and general overall niceness
OpenBSD if your primary concern is security or you just like self inflicted pain.

There is nothing unique about Linux or GIT, nor Linus fanboys ... they are just that, fanboys blinded by idol worship and unable to see clearly enough to realize both the things mentioned aren't unique.

Linux and Git are both just OSS copies of existing DCVS systems with nothing truely innovating about them.

Linux is a very impressive project, but thats not unique. Git really is nothing special and really shows the fanboy in someone. I've learned if your drooling over Git, 9.9 times out of 10, its cause you're a fanboy, not cause the benefits of Git offer something they couldn't get else where 10 years ago.

Poor argument (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462334)

So he argues that Linus "invented" some development model that is somehow different than Stallman had in GNU. He even quotes from the original GNU announcement where RMS ask for code contributions. Yes, GNU was managed in a top-down way, where Linux *could* be claimed as bottom-up with Linus having the last word. That's the only distinction he seems to make. Openness and public participation were present in both, but because FSF was hiring people and paying them to do work doesn't mean they didn't have the same model. When you're a completely public project, you can reject contributions and turn them into wasted effort. When you're paying people to do work, you tell them what those decisions are going to be from the start so you don't waste money. I give Linus a lot of credit. Who wouldn't want to have his practical achievement under their belt? I give Stallman even more credit. Who wouldn't want to have his philosophical AND practical achievements under their belt? OK, that's a loaded question around here...

Re:Poor argument (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463834)

At least the OSI guys haven't shown up on this thread to accuse everyone of ignoring that they were the first to invent open source development in 1998.

Linus first ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462362)

Surely Linus was far from the first to promote "open innovation" ?!

CVS (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462424)

I actually think CVS did more for "open innovation". Together with Sun sponsoring the various SunSites.

CVS was the first (at least widely used) free server based version control system, and it made it very easy for anyone with a server to setup a free software project. The SunSites were probably the most common hosting platform until SourceForge. Before CVS you either gave collaborators login access so they could work locally on your machine (GNU did that), or relied on sending patches, which Linus did for years. CVS made it so much more convenient. Especially with anonymous CVS which essentially allowed anyone to create their own "fork" that still tracked mainline. A very poor mans github.

CVS was buggy in design and replaced by SVN, and the DVCS's provided another leap ahead in collaboration, so CVS got a bad reputation. But for its time, it was a revolution at least as important as git.

Linus? (1)

Exitar (809068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462548)

Charlie Brown's best friend?
I believed his gift to the World was The Great Pumpkin! (more than 50 years before the Flying Spaghetti Monster)

open innovation = academic world (-1)

s-whs (959229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462674)

"perhaps it's time to add open innovation to the list of Linus' achievements."

Give me a fooking break! Open innovation has existed for ages, and it's the academic world where you publish, use what others discover/publish and give attribution. This is not an achievement of Stallman and most definitely not of Linus "trolling in newsgroups" Torvalds (and if you wonder about my trolling comment: He's admitted it a few years ago, but I knew that in the 1990s where for example he just made up a statement about the then FreeBSD VM architect John Dyson. This moronic behaviour by Torvalds (and there is lots more) is one of the reasons I switched to FreeBSD...)

The only case where it breaks down is in the patenting in technical fields which shouldn't be allowed. At least not with being in a supposedly academic institution. For example, many years ago I read in an article in the weekly publication at Leiden ('Mare') about a PhD student who upon the advice of his promotor patented his 'invention' which was what his research was about. So, this guy was in fact paid to do build up his own company! I was angry about that and think his PhD should not be granted, and he should pay back what he earned because he didn't produce open research.

Re:open innovation = academic world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36462878)

"This moronic behaviour by Torvalds (and there is lots more) is one of the reasons I switched to FreeBSD."

Yes, thát makes sense!

SHARE (3, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36462680)

Considering it's IBM's 100th birthday, it should be pointed out that a lot of the concepts TFA talks about were being done by groups like SHARE [wikipedia.org] long before Linus was even born.

No he didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463162)

There are 6 billion people on the planet and many of the political and commercial processes you see came about as a result of the complex interaction between them. Picking out one person as the one true hero behind any project is stupid and childish.

People have discussed and argued for open government since forever. The Greeks had direct democracy more than two thousand years ago where citizens could vote for the legislation itself - the only kind of vote worth having!

I am glad Linus is around and he has contributed a lot but your analysis is nonsense.

And when you get that pipe out your mouth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463248)

Seriously, you're chowing down on Linus was seriously OTT.

The reason for Git was that Linus was wrong and RMS was right on the utility of a closed source program being used to coordinate development of the Linux kernel.

Torvalds would be the first one to say (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36463384)

That all he did was start writing another OS and then continuing to support Linux with the help of thousands of other programmers.

Some of the techniques he used might have been innovative, but the broader innovative ideas had already been put into place by RMS and Tanenbaum.

Without Minix and without GNU compilers that had already been written to jump start the writing of the Linux kernel it would have been really difficult to write the first Linux kernel. Without the GPL Linux would have never been successful, it would have just been another failing bsd unix without the GPL.

Open Innovation as an emergent property of FLOSS.. (2)

borgheron (172546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36463780)

All Linus did was write a kernel and all of the things that the article credits him with inventing, were already part of the free software landscape prior to his posting to the minix group.

How do I know? BECAUSE I WAS THERE. I remember the posting on the minix group and I remember the first versions of Linux being passed around University of Maryland when I was going there. This so called "Open Innovation" is an emergent property of Free Software. So, please, get your facts straight, and stop your hero worship.

GC

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