Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Linus' Lessons On Software Dev Management

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-you-want-something-done-right dept.

Software 132

Esther Schindler writes "In this interview with Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Linus Torvalds shares hard-won wisdom about managing software development projects, including encouraging community involvement, the importance of programming tools, and ensuring the project stays on track. For instance, regarding getting people to contribute to your project, he says, 'If you start off with some "kumba-ya feeling" where you think people from all the world are going to come together to make a better world by working together on your project, you probably won't be going very far.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Kumba ya? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37518966)

When did torvalds turn into a republican? Richard Stallman started with a "kumba ya vision" of free software and has largely succeeded, even if some specific projects such as Hurd failed.

Re:Kumba ya? (2)

Theovon (109752) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519034)

Linus said "probably", because this is the fate of a majority of projects. Also, Stallman didn't just put the idea out there and let it sit. He's been working on it and an organization dedicated to it ever since. It's taken a long long time for Free Software to get as 'mainstream' as it is, and in the mean time, we've gotten plenty of variants on the original theme, like 'Open Source' (which at a practical level isn't really any different).

Re:Kumba ya? (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519434)

All credit to RMS for the license and making projects use it, but the projects themselves succeeded because they're run by people like Linus. The GNU Hurd failed and the GCC was upsurped by the EGCS fork and then conveniently renamed back to GCC after the FSF admitted their project was going nowhere. There's really no support for RMS or the FSF being good at running large projects, they implemented a lot of the command line tools and other simple things but their large projects flopped. If I was to take advice on running projects I'd listen to Linus any day.

That said, I think he's a little bit colored by developing a kernel and running servers where stability is a lot more important than in many other areas. On the desktop it's not that useful if I have a desktop that doesn't do what I want, no matter how stable it is at not doing it. I'm willing to be on the bleeding edge from time to time, as long as there's good communication on just how unstable it is (KDE4, I'm looking at you...)

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 3 years ago | (#37522038)

"There's really no support for RMS or the FSF being good at running large projects"

The problem is simply because in the society and age we live people still have to work (make money) for a living. So large projects become unfeasible unless you are already rich (see: canonical).

http://www.canonical.com/ [canonical.com]

That and the tools for modifying software and making it still by and large are arcane and not complex enough to offload more everyday design tasks to automation so that users can design their own software. We do not yet have sophisticated enough tools where end users can actually modify their software easily without having to be programmers. One day we will get there but it's decades and even possibly a century away.

Re:Kumba ya? (-1, Redundant)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519082)

Torvalds was always more pragmatic than Stallman. And Stallman is getting more out of touch with reality, not having programmed the last 20 years.

Re:Kumba ya? (5, Informative)

mugurel (1424497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519188)

Torvalds was always more pragmatic than Stallman. And Stallman is getting more out of touch with reality, not having programmed the last 20 years.

If you're trying to say Stallman is a weirdo, I agree, but there's no need to insult the good man.

Besides that, you don't know what you're talking about. His last commit (at the time of writing) to the emacs source repository was less than a month ago:

http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/emacs.git/log/?qt=committer&q=stallman [gnu.org]

Re:Kumba ya? (-1, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 years ago | (#37523286)

And Stallman is getting more out of touch with reality, not having programmed the last 20 years.

His last commit (at the time of writing) to the emacs source repository was less than a month ago:

OK, s/programmed/programmed anything useful/

Re:Kumba ya? (3, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519200)

Stallman is getting more out of touch with reality

How is he out of touch with reality? Really, an explanation would be handy to go with the accusation.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519250)

His my way or the highway outlook on software license, for one.

Re:Kumba ya? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520180)

I think RMS is just expressing his priorities, not being out of touch with reality. Here are three groups to consider:

1) Money-oriented: Larry Ellison, Bill Gates
2) Technology-oriented: Linus Torvalds, James Gosling
3) Socially-oriented: Richard Stallman, and... not many others in this arena

If you judge people in one group by the values of the other, they seem deficient. Torvalds failed to capitalize on his success. Ellison is a bastard. Stallman's head is in the clouds. But they are at or near the top of their own games.

eMacs? hasn't he finished that yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519266)

2011-08-16 Fix previous change. Richard Stallman 1 -9/+9<br>
2011-08-16 Fix previous change. Richard Stallman 1 -1/+1<br>
2011-08-16 Fix previous change. Richard Stallman 2 -11/+11<br>
2011-08-16 Bug fix for finding coding system. New COPY-FUNCTION feature Richard Stallman 2 -10/+26<br>

You're sure he's not part Indian?

Re:eMacs? hasn't he finished that yet? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520660)

He edits emacs the way anyone else edits their .cshrc file.

In fact, I think that's how he started.

Only difference is his edits show up in git.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 3 years ago | (#37523662)

- He doesn't use a web browser and has no knowledge of what the web is
- He only hacks on Emacs because he uses it as his email client
- He wasn't the least bit involved with the GPL 3 license which I would attribute most of the credit going to Eben Moglen
- His black & white attitude to software
- His unreasonable attitude which most of the time harms his cause more then helps
- His bum like lifestyle which although in the 60s would have been commended now only detracts from his causes
- The fact that he attempts to play "1984" games by rewriting history to make it look like he is the sole reason open/free software took off

These aren't a big deal when looked at by themselves (so please don't bother replying with a breakdown of my points) but when combined you begin to realise that this guy has no idea about the open source environment of today. How can he lead the FSF and encourage more free software advocates when the guy is so far removed?

It's time for him to step down and someone who understands the problems of today step up to lead the FSF. My vote is on Eben Moglen who has already proven himself as a respected member and is a great speaker.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 3 years ago | (#37523974)

You sound like a guy who is unhappy with the fact that someone you for some not very rational reasons don't like is compassionate about and successful with something he does, so you look for completely unimportant details to smear him.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 3 years ago | (#37524096)

Not at all, my concerns are totally to do with how he holds back the FSF by being it's leader.

Where was he when campaigning on anything at all recently? Where was he through the whole GPL 3 process? What has he done to encourage more people to pick up free software recently? How many interviews has he turned down because he insists that the interviewer calls linux, "gnu/linux"? Don't mistake the successful actions of the GPL 1 and 2 from decade prior as the success of today.

You might not think this is important however he is the leader of the FSF, if he doesn't want to be successful at that anymore then he should step down so someone better fitted for the title can step up.

Free Software Foundation is as much a political group as anything, they need someone who can be rational and related to which can campaign on important issues. His PETA approach to software just discourages more people then it encourages. Instead of taking a positive approach to free software ideals they've gone on the offensive which we all know that it just results in everyone ignoring you. His child like behaviour, poor attire and refusal to join the internet of today is something which holds back the FSF in terms of encouraging free software ideals to a much wider audience.

Re:Kumba ya? (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519280)

Stallman is more in touch with reality than most people. Imagine where BSD could have been now without the constant rape and pillaging of it? The reason it flunked is purely because of the license and that nobody ever gives anything back to the BSD community.

Had Linux been based on the BSD license it would never have taken off like it did.

Re:Kumba ya? (2)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519750)

I don't know there are plenty of successful projects with a BSD or MIT licence. Nobody could keep up with Linux today in a proprietary sandbox. It's the fastest changing codebase in the world. The type of money required to one entity to out-develop linux would be astronomical. The X windows system is still alive even though historically people have tried to make proprietary spinoffs. Also BSD is far from dead, it just has a lot more of a conservative design philosophy which means it is deployed where long term stability is more important than cutting edge features.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 3 years ago | (#37524128)

There are an enormous amount of products that build upon BSD but sadly very few ever gives anything back to the original. The same would be true for Linux had it been licensed under a BSD license.

The X window system is a great example of where numerous corporations take what they want without giving much of anything back. Imagine where it would be now if Apple would give something back for all the code they get for free?

BSD is not dead and im not saying it is, i just think it would be a lot bigger if it had been under a license that demanded something in return for the free code, something less leech friendly.

Re:Kumba ya? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519170)

Frankly, if we had any principles, we should abandon linux (the kernel.) That guy is an amoral bastard. I shiver thinking what he could do with political power...

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519252)

>Frankly, if we had any principles, we should abandon linux (the kernel.) That guy is an amoral bastard. I shiver thinking what he could do with political power...

Don't sweat it. We can always fork Linux if we think the leader of the project tries abuse his powers. He has nothing but reputation to leverage. I suspect he's ok, but at th end of the day, it doesn't really matter.

Re:Kumba ya? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520080)

"We"? Why would anyone care what you think about the subject?

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519782)

Actually amoral might just be what's needed in a politician. Just do what achieves the most with the least amount of effort. Linus is agreeable and works well with others, which when you want to get things done is a more important trait than whatever your take on morality is.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520670)

Linus is agreeable and works well with others

Thanks for the laugh. He's abrasive and cocky when it comes to disagreements. Just google for: linus asshole. There are plenty of public examples on the Linux Kernel Mailing List and elsewhere.

He still manages to get people to work for him, though, so at the end of the day he's successful.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | about 3 years ago | (#37521942)

Is it abrasive and cocky or just straightforward and experienced? I did do the Google search and found nothing that can be labeled as asshole. Some of it may not be the most tactful expression, but it is reasoned out and technically oriented which is what hacker-types tend to like. I don't think that saying that something is stupid is being an asshole. Your only an asshole if you can't give a good account as to why it's stupid. If you get offended simply because someone calls your idea stupid then you may be a little too wrapped up in the idea.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 3 years ago | (#37522580)

Is it abrasive and cocky or just straightforward and experienced?

The former. There's no reason in a technical dispute to call people idiots and morons, even if you are right. And if you're wrong, well now you're going to find it very hard to back down.

Your claims that he's "agreeable" is just a joke. He's abrasive, dismissive, and arrogant. There are smart, technical people who don't come across this way when disagreeing. Linus is not one of them.

Re:Kumba ya? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37523332)

There's no reason in a technical dispute to call people idiots and morons

I can see why you'd say that.

-- LT

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520416)

That same sentence, written about Bill Gates, would make a lot more sense. At least there are no ruined companies in Torvald's wake. Embrace, extend, extinguish, anyone?

When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519410)

A couple of weeks ago there was a story about a MS exec joining the Obama administration. Also Bill Gates gives most of his contributions to Democrats. Al Gore sits on Apple's board. When you use Linux, you cut into proprietary software's profits, leaving less money to contribute to Democrats, which helps Republicans.

So in short, Torvalds was always a Republican.

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520320)

Actually, more dems give to OSS than do republicans.

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520432)

I think you're both full of feces. I've never seen a box to check regarding my party affiliation when making a donation to any OSS project.

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520678)

Giving to charity is the box.

Giving to candidates is not.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519450)

Linux has been my primary OS for over a decade, and I love it!

However, it has never been considered a well-managed project.

The well managed part is the distros, which keep everything in line.

Linus even required the use of proprietary tools to participate! That continued for a long time. Yikes.

Re:Kumba ya? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519916)

Seriously, I got flamed a few weeks back for calling Linus the John Carmack of OSS (which is to say someone who did something revolutionary at one time, but has since mostly been riding reputation, rather than continuing to produce at the same level as in the past.)

Between the FSF and Linus there's been a continual cycle of breakage in APIs and ABIs across the system that make managing the software yourself without some form of package management and toolchain management basically impossible. Combined with a variety of gotchas in compiler/library options which can make your just updated system incompatible with the previously compiled binaries (rare today, but a common occurance when going from 2.0->2.1->2.2->2.3 series glibc, nevermind gcc 2.8.x->2.95->2.96->3.x->4.x compiler toolchains. Added to the old MAKEDEV->devfs->udev fiasco and you have a mess that's only been overlooked because almost nobody bothers to do it themselves, instead relying on distro maintainers to make sure packages JUST WORK, even when they really don't.

As someone who has been trying to put together legacy toolchains for the past few weeks to try and see how legacy code works, let me just say it really sucks ass.

Re:Kumba ya? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520702)

Took the words out of my mouth. In TFA Linus talks about how proud he is to not break things for users by misguided code improvements, and my first thought was, "Wait, what about glibc?" Fiasco.

I guess coders aren't users, then?

The GPL and Linux rock! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519076)

It's really great, this whole Linux and GNU thing! Even if Linus isn't about kumba-ya, (Although he is, and one day he will rip his disguise off and laugh like a super-villain to reveal a t-shirt with the hammer and sickle. Mark my words, he's a closet commie, right in our midst.) ...whoa that was a long winded parenthesis. What I was going to say, was that the ingenious thing about this whole FOSS thing is that it is a building block of future anarcho-socialist utopia and at the same time the greedy capitalists can not help but contributing, since it is in their shorter term self interest. But the day will come when the people will truly be masters of the world, each and every one and computing will be a significant part of how we will do it.

Sincerelly,
Future person.
~
~
(Or did I dream it?)

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519098)

dd -n 1000 bread

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519462)

dd -n 1000 bread

Could someone explain the above comment for me, please?

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520092)

dd: invalid option -- 'n'
Try `dd --help' for more information.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520588)

dd is so old it doesn't even use dashes on its options...

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37522056)

dd count=1000 bs=1 if=bread

That is the correct incantation, assuming block size (bs) one being the same as one slice of bread.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520770)

RTFM

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520932)

Copy one thousand blocks of bread to standard output. I think it means feed a thousand people. It should have been written

dd -n 1000 if=/dev/bread

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

migla (1099771) | about 3 years ago | (#37524434)

Copy one thousand blocks of bread to standard output. I think it means feed a thousand people. It should have been written

dd -n 1000 if=/dev/bread

So, googling "feed a thousand people" yields the following quote off Zora Neale Hurston on top:

"If you feed a thousand people you are a nice man with suspicious motives. If you kill a thousand you are a hero. Continue to get them killed by the thousands and you are a great conqueror than which nothing on earth is greater. Oppress them and you are a great ruler. Rob them by law and they are proud and happy if you let them glimpse you occasionally surrounded by the riches that you have trampled out of their hides. You are truly divine if [...]"

http://quotes.dictionary.com/if_you_feed_a_thousand_people_you_are [dictionary.com]

I don't know if the intent was for it to lead there but if not, thank you serendipity.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519248)

Can't tell if trolling, communist, or just plain conspiracy theorist.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519454)

Sincerelly, Future person. ~ ~ (Or did I dream it?)

Lemme' guess... you used neutrinos.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

FuturePerson (2471030) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520730)

Lemme' guess... you used neutrinos.

I don't know. Or... I think saying that I'm from the future may not be completely accurate, at least for some definitions of me. It may well be completely false for most definitions of anything. I'll try to clarify things a bit more later.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519520)

hey, if you're still with us, future person, could you tell me what drugs, whether prescription or over the counter, are popular in your time? Just so, you know, I can avoid them.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519740)

I'm from the entire future, so no, I can't. Though in our final state as one big ass lump of everything, everyone and everything that has ever lived is there individually and all as one (by means of simulating the universe and in that simulation reconstructing everything that has ever passed).

You'll be there. You can do whatever you want. Everything is open. If you want to experience how a certain cat from history around the time of now felt frolicking in a big batch of catnip, you can. All you need to do is to think it. You can dive into the feeling as immersively as you'd like, really thinking you're a cat, or you can analyze the feeling in a more distanced fashion if that's what you want. You'll probably do both and more variations of it than you can count. You'll have all the time in the world. It'll be great!

Word of advice, though: Be nice in this life.

When you'll get to the great simulation in the sky (as I sometimes jokingly call it in this part of culture), all the consequences of all your actions will be clear to you as well as all the feelings of all the people and animals that have ever crossed your path directly or indirectly. Being bad and knowing it will cause you eons of regret later, literally.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520482)

Summed up in short: lol cats will be around for a very, very, very long time

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (3, Insightful)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519856)

Making social change by actually building alternatives that are more useful and meet the needs on consumers better than existing alternatives. Yes, that's just so evil. Not really, if fact its really the only moral way to create a social change. But actually I think you overestimate the scope of the conspiracy. OSS is a scheme to allow all software developers to own the means of production, and be able to compete and operate without worrying all the anti-competitive and anti-value crap that copyright protection brings with it.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520122)

I never said he was an evil commie.

(and the word commie was meant to be understood hyperbolically and jokingly. Coupled with the idiom "in our midst", an effort to satirize about the hegemony of the commie as the boogie-man, which for a long time has been observable in particular in the US, where many of us readers of slashdot are situated.)

I don't mean to be incomprehensible, but I am, so I'm happy to attempt to clarify.

And future anarcho-socialist utopia is the best. In fact, it's the only way to be, as a wise person once wailed.

Re:The GPL and Linux rock! (1)

FuturePerson (2471030) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520356)

The bright and shining future! Now with less anonymity!

a counterpoint on "no regressions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519096)

Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it.

But if the architecture of a piece of code (a small portion of the product, let's say) is broken, then you might not be able to sustain continued feature development. Refactoring will be *almost* (wiggle room) essential, and that *may well* (more wiggle room) break compatibility in some corner cases.

Re:a counterpoint on "no regressions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519262)

Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it.

But if the architecture of a piece of code (a small portion of the product, let's say) is broken, then you might not be able to sustain continued feature development. Refactoring will be *almost* (wiggle room) essential, and that *may well* (more wiggle room) break compatibility in some corner cases.

Except that in the Gnome case they didn't just break the user experience, they threw away completely what already worked quite well. Gnome didn't as much refactor as start from zero. This is stupid as in Vista stupid. You simply can't do that and expect to survive.

Re:a counterpoint on "no regressions" (1)

Sam Douglas (1106539) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519488)

One goal of refactoring is to not change the functionality of the code.

I think Torvalds is completely right here, it's all too easy to let the most convenient/nice way to code something dictate the user experience; which is fine if the user is the programmer (e.g. writing library code). Applications with a complex UI often suffer from this; getting something that works the way the user expects it to often means doing 'dirty' things to the codebase to make it work.

Re:a counterpoint on "no regressions" (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519802)

it's all too easy to let the most convenient/nice way to code something dictate the user experience;

I had something like this happen with some version of NetBeans. I filed a bug because it was damn near impossible to find "check for update". They had moved it into some incredibly obscure place, because "that's where it was in the code".

Re:a counterpoint on "no regressions" (3, Informative)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519898)

IF you do have to break compatibility do it loudly and warn people ahead of time. You don't want people loading up the next point release to all of a sudden find that their config files won't work correctly (I'm looking at you grub2)

Lets prove him wrong! (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519346)

I say we all start the a software project based on the kumba-ya feeling and come together from all over the world by working together on it. WHO'S WITH ME!?!

...

Anyone?

...

*crickets*

Re:Lets prove him wrong! (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519468)


rb_funcall(rb_mKernel,rb_intern("puts"), 1, rb_str_new2("Hello World"));

Okay, done, now sit down and enjoy the happy feeling. ...

Re:Lets prove him wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521704)


rb_funcall(rb_mKernel,rb_intern("puts"), 1, rb_str_new2("Hello World"));

Okay, done, now sit down and enjoy the happy feeling. ...

How long did it take for you to squeeze out that turd?

Yes, Ruby is one giant stinking turd [ruby-lang.org] .

Just read the man page for setjmp()/longjmp(), grep through Ruby source code, and count how many times it violates setjmp()/longjmp() restrictions.

But hey, if "Works most of the time. We think. On a good day..." is what you aim for, go for it.

Me?

My standards are higher.

Re:Lets prove him wrong! (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519814)

Stallman did that already it is called HURD.

I hear next year they will finally be able to have text output on the screen.

Re:Lets prove him wrong! (3, Informative)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520556)

Stallman did that already it is called HURD.

I hear next year they will finally be able to have text output on the screen.

Stallman knew that you have to be willing to write the software yourself long before Linus came along. Emacs, GCC, GlibC and various other GNU components didn't magically appear from the community. They were begun and advanced by RMS and other GNU people for years, laying the ground work for Linux's success.

HURD turned out to be over-ambitious in comparison to those other core components and once Linux came out, the need for it went away. I wonder if GNU/kFreeBSD would have emerged sooner if it hadn't been for Linux. While most of the GNU components were designed in a similar way to the Unix components they replaced, HURD is based on ideas radically different from traditional Unix kernels which still haven't proven themselves practical in general. Linux, on the other hand, was designed very much like traditional Unix kernels, ironically in direct contrast with the Minix one it most directly replaced.

Fighting Evil (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519362)

If you start off with some "kumba-ya feeling" where you think people from all the world are going to come together to make a better world by working together on your project, you probably won't be going very far.

A common enemy is always a better motivator than soft fuzzy stuff. The Soviets got us to the moon, bitter divorcees are better in bed than single women, and vi wouldn't be half as good if it wasn't for emacs.

Thanks, Mr. Gates.

Re:Fighting Evil (4, Interesting)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519424)

I once told a microsoft tech rep that the purpose of Linux was to make Windows better.

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519588)

I once told a microsoft tech rep that the purpose of Linux was to make Windows better.

Doesn't really matter as Gnome and KDe are franticly destroying what little of the linux desktop there is.

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520440)

Then choose XFCE...full featured, highly configurable yet low resource and minimalist. Or break out and try the more "fringe" WM's, such as fluxbox, or even *gasp* wmii or xmonad. I don't get why you would hesitate to experiment, since all you have to do is install the synaptic package and choose the newly created entry in the session menu at login. Two freaking steps. Easy, *GUI* steps. And no matter how bad and unusable it might turn out to be, control-alt-backspace ends the X session and brings you right back to login, always.

Re:Fighting Evil (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520474)

Enlightenment. Today, E is prettier than K or G, uses less resources, and actually runs faster due to cleaner, leaner code. The added benefit is, it doesn't even try to look like Windows - it's to damned pretty to waste it's time trying to look like a wallflower!

I wish a few more top-notch developers would join the E community, and get things rolling along a little faster, but it's already sweet!

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520564)

Enlightenment. Today, E is prettier than K or G, uses less resources, and actually runs faster due to cleaner, leaner code. The added benefit is, it doesn't even try to look like Windows - it's to damned pretty to waste it's time trying to look like a wallflower!

I wish a few more top-notch developers would join the E community, and get things rolling along a little faster, but it's already sweet!

Spot on, E16 is still my favorite desktop (has been since the late ninties). I haven't yet tried E17, but there is not a chance in hell I'll be using ever again Gnome or KDE.
I just hoped more DE would just totally embrace the linux/unix philosophy instead of chasing windows or os x.

Now when will Debian ditch Gnome and KDE and put Enlightenment as default window manager ? ^_^
Hey Debian is a distro for geeks so it shouldn't be too difficult to do.

Re:Fighting Evil (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 years ago | (#37522054)

I'm running E17 now - among other things you can have a different environment per monitor which is handy if you have one set of apps you want visable all of the time.

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519548)

So true. The best projects I ever worked on were 'hey we need program xyz but dont really want to do it'. The worst grindfests were the ones where everyone was happy go lucky on the first day.

Now that I think back on the 15-20 different big projects I worked on. This almost holds true all the time.

Re:Fighting Evil (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520244)

So let's see if Ellison's attacks spark a better Java competitor.

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37521930)

LLVM & .NET

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37521932)

So let's see if Ellison's attacks spark a better Java competitor.

As far as Java goes, .Net [/Mono] already is that.

Unfortunately, these aren't the open and standardised competition you're probably looking for.

Re:Fighting Evil (1)

staalmannen (1705340) | about 3 years ago | (#37523940)

Perhaps the return of Inferno and the Dis VM? It was the original competitor of Java and we could always dream about it having a comeback (perhaps with an update of Limbo to Go or similar). There is already the Android variant replacing the Dalvik VM with Inferno (the Hellaphone)...

Re:Fighting Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37521868)

bitter divorcees are better in bed than single women, .

Nah. Get 'em while they are contemplating divorce.

Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519610)

I thought that was what open source was all about, kumba-ya. Why else would anybody want to contribute to an open source project and get nothing in return except for some warm fuzzy feelings.

Of course, people like Linus are counter-open source, they get paid to produce largely closed code (yeah, try and change Linux kernel code, see how far you get putting that back into the community with Linus around).

Re:Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519836)

I thought that was what open source was all about, kumba-ya. Why else would anybody want to contribute to an open source project and get nothing in return except for some warm fuzzy feelings.

Of course, people like Linus are counter-open source, they get paid to produce largely closed code (yeah, try and change Linux kernel code, see how far you get putting that back into the community with Linus around).

Because you like the technology and think you can help make it better. Or you want there to be a viable existing alternative to the current entrenched technology. Or you like getting accolades from contributing - the whole building up your rep as a bad-ass coder thing. Or maybe because it helps you become a better programmer.

Re:Lol (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519894)

"Why else would anybody want to contribute to an open source project"

Scratch your own itch, of course.

It is not as if it were difficult to answer.

Now, next?

Doing it yourself (4, Informative)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37519758)

FTFA:

“The first thing is thinking that you can throw things out there and ask people to help,” when it comes to open-source software development, he says. “That's not how it works. You make it public, and then you assume that you'll have to do all the work, and ask people to come up with suggestions of what you should do, not what they should do. Maybe they'll start helping eventually, but you should start off with the assumption that you're going to be the one maintaining it and ready to do all the work.”

That is probably the most true statement I have ever read with regards to crowd-sourcing. You have to be willing to do it all yourself with input from others.

Re:Doing it yourself (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520616)

Except the converse is often true.

Just try helping on many open source projects.

You'll get the hand. They don't want help. They just want egoboo.

Sometimes but not always (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 years ago | (#37522118)

I got that in an eventual reply a couple of months after offering to help revive one of the abandoned gnu tools. By then I'd got something from opensolaris to do a better job anyway.
I saw that as another symptom of gnu/hurd's failure but not all open source projects are like that.

Re:Doing it yourself (2)

donscarletti (569232) | about 3 years ago | (#37524044)

If you start off submitting safe bug fixes, generally they will be mainlined quickly and the maintainer will be greatful. If you start off by suggesting large modifications to the functionality or structure of the project, they're going to be rightly skeptical.

Oh, and if you bother to ask on IRC whether you can be one of the "developers" like you are applying for a job, you're probably going to be met with blank stares.

A stable device driver API would help the users (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37519778)

Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it. If you break the user experience, you may feel that you have ‘fixed’ something in the code, but if you fixed it by breaking the user, you just violated that second point; you thought the code was more important than the user. Which is not true.”

Hmm. So this doesn't count everytime the Kernel APIs change and a bunch of device drivers get broken? IMHO it's the users that get hurt by the lack of stable kernel APIs since the original developers are the only people that have the skills, source and tools to make the fix - if they are still interested.

Re:A stable device driver API would help the users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520342)

>> it's the users that get hurt by the lack of stable kernel APIs since the original developers are the only people that have the skills, source and tools to make the fix

Which, of course, they do. The arguement against a stable kernel API is that the kernel devs go fix drivers when they change the API.

Oh, you mean 3rd party closed source drivers not supported in-kernel. Guess those developers have to support their own work. Or, those industries could band together to create a thin wrapper around a stable API (or even ABI) that they all support. Guess they're too busy competing to want to work together on the obvious thing they complain about.

Hmm, could be some money in it for a talented kernel developer to build and support Bob's Binary Driver Interface. The interface can be dual licensed GPL and Bob's Commercial License. Bob supports it and uses it to translate Bob's Driver API into kernelese. Device makers license Bob's API. Bob lives of the license fees and supports the kernel-side translation. Any GPL driver gains a stable API/ABI if it so desires without having to maintain its own wrapper.

Since Bob's not exporting kernel symbols, he is not inviolation of the GPL or norms of the kernel's enforcement of the GPL. Such drivers will be limited by Bob's skill at translating his API/ABI to kernelese and the speed at which he can keep up with changes. But it'd be stable.

Re:A stable device driver API would help the users (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37520638)

You missed that they don't even get broken.

When the kernel API changes, you have a new operating system. It's 98% the same as the old one, but it's a new one. Might was well have a new name, but a new number will do.

The drivers will continue to work on the old one, which was no less free than the new one. If you want your hardware to work on the new one, you'll need to write drivers for it.

Which, really, is not at all hard once you've done ten or fifteen of them.

Re:A stable device driver API would help the users (1)

Imbrondir (2367812) | about 3 years ago | (#37524238)

Open sourcing the drivers is by far not enough. Kernel devs only fix drivers accepted in the mainline kernel.

Re:A stable device driver API would help the users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37521510)

My understanding is that the in-kernel drivers are required to be reasonable stable when changes are made. If someone wants to change the GPL_ONLY flag or change an API, it is that developers responsibility to update all drivers that use it. External drivers are not within Linus' worldview, and so they are not considered regressions. His system boundary is contained entirely within the kernel's in-git boundaries.

Re:A stable device driver API would help the users (1)

nikanth (1066242) | about 3 years ago | (#37523862)

Breaking the user experience in order to ‘fix’ something is a totally broken concept; you cannot do it. If you break the user experience, you may feel that you have ‘fixed’ something in the code, but if you fixed it by breaking the user, you just violated that second point; you thought the code was more important than the user. Which is not true.”

Hmm. So this doesn't count everytime the Kernel APIs change and a bunch of device drivers get broken? IMHO it's the users that get hurt by the lack of stable kernel APIs since the original developers are the only people that have the skills, source and tools to make the fix - if they are still interested.

In kernel GPL device drivers will never be broken, due to Kernel API changes. As they will also be changed when an API changes.

encouraging community involvement??? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520228)

In this interview with Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Linus Torvalds shares hard-won wisdom about managing software development projects, encouraging community involvement

I spit water onto my screen when I read those last three words. Linus may be a great programmer, but the Linux kernel development community most certainly formed in spite of his attitude toward his own community, not because of it. Patches that make it across his desk are either accepted or rejected, with nary a hint of explanation or rationale either way. He regularly calls people (and their patches, or even their methods) "stupid." Any tool that he doesn't use or didn't design is classified as pointless, or brain-dead, regardless of whether it fits someone else's needs just fine.

You don't have to very far to see this in action: http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1109.2/author.html

Re:encouraging community involvement??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520526)

Indeed. Ask Con Kolivas what he thinks of Linus's management style.

Re:encouraging community involvement??? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 years ago | (#37522170)

Watch "House" for some ideas of what it's like to deal with medical doctors stepping outside of their fields and still expecting to be treated like experts. The biggest problem there is that he didn't really have any idea of the consequences of some of his suggestions and didn't even run linux as his desktop so was not familiar with anything other than the details he was focused on. He had some good ideas but didn't react well when things were rejected for reasons he'd never even heard of.

Re:encouraging community involvement??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37520740)

> Linus may be a great programmer, but the Linux kernel development community most certainly formed in spite of his attitude toward his own community, not because of it.

"This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and
I'd like to know what features most people would want."
http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/msg/b813d52cbc5a044b [google.com]

That looks pretty good attitude to me. And Linus has called my code worthless also, but it was for a reason so I don't mind.

Re:encouraging community involvement??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37522856)

In this interview with Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Linus Torvalds shares hard-won wisdom about managing software development projects, encouraging community involvement

I spit water onto my screen when I read those last three words. Linus may be a great programmer, but the Linux kernel development community most certainly formed in spite of his attitude toward his own community, not because of it. Patches that make it across his desk are either accepted or rejected, with nary a hint of explanation or rationale either way. He regularly calls people (and their patches, or even their methods) "stupid." Any tool that he doesn't use or didn't design is classified as pointless, or brain-dead, regardless of whether it fits someone else's needs just fine.

You don't have to very far to see this in action: http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1109.2/author.html

But that's why he's the leader - and why we use the kernel - crap code and crap coders are kept out. No matter how good they believe they, and their code, is. (you know the ones whose suggestions are snubbed due to "egoboo").

Re:encouraging community involvement??? (2)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 3 years ago | (#37523600)

His attitude is decidedly so to make people think twice about their code.

If you want to take up a core developer, wouldn't you want her/him to be able to make solid, sane decisions using their own brain?

Real coders don't expect to be spoon-fed. Linus knows this, and so do the rest of us... well most of us.

Yes his attitude may seem ballsy and rude at most times, but at least he is honest about the process, the code and the people. I'd rather have that than a sneaky cheese making false promises under pretense guise.

Let it go, Linus... (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37521528)

...seriously, we get it that you don't like CVS.

Re:Let it go, Linus... (1)

localman (111171) | about 3 years ago | (#37522948)

No kidding. He's smart enough to know that it's different tools for different jobs. CVS is wrong for him, which is fine. It's usually worked well for me because of different requirements, a different environment, and thus a different workflow.

The importance of tools? (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | about 3 years ago | (#37521948)

Linus quoted in the interview:

I don't think tools are all that fundamentally important.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "the unimportance of tools".

Don't listen to that git! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37522892)

I'm surprised he did an interview at all. Who does he think he is? God?

World's most popular open-source software program (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 3 years ago | (#37523570)

The world's most popular open-source software program isn't "the Linux operating system" but most likely "cat".

Calling an OS a mere program and attributing it to one person shows you really don't know a lot about the stuff you're writing about.

Check sf.net latest project? (1)

syockit (1480393) | about 3 years ago | (#37523932)

What is the latest project on sourceforge? Have you guys checked it out? The project starter may still have some kumba-ya feeling, so let's share the feeling together among us!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?