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Is Linus Killing Linux?

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the people-of-the-world-join-the-fud-train dept.

Linux 273

halbritt writes: "An article over at TechWeb asks the question, 'Is Linus Killing Linux?' The story outlines an interesting perspective with regard to Linus having complete control over the kernel and how that may not be in the best interests of the $2 billion industry looking to exploit Linux for fun and profit. It goes on to describe how a non-profit, industry funded organization should take control of kernel development so that kernel development would better suit the interests of said $2 billion industry." Actually this story amused me, since its essentially the same story that some genius journalist writes every few months. Linus is killing Linux just as horribly as I'm killing Slashdot.

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273 comments

Re:Revolution (1)

mojo-raisin (223411) | more than 13 years ago | (#477324)

Thank you. You said that much better than I could. I'm sure those thoughts echo how many GNU/Linux users feel.

Re:It sounds like the demacrats (1)

narnar (268072) | more than 13 years ago | (#477326)

Sounds more like those retards who are duped into thinking that big business, market forces, cutting taxes, and greed to be the true leadership of the world. (attitudes typicaly held by a US politcial party that doesn't like fair counting of votes when they count the most) Linux isn't about money. If IBM needs its own special kernel, they can use any number of those billons of lines of code they all ready own. And, they well as soon as it becomes good for them to do so. The "market" for Linux base systems is derived from the fact that "consumers" have developed faith and trust in the GLP projects and distrobutions based on the Linux kernel. All that would evaperate under the control of big business.

Re:Nothing more than attention grabbing... (1)

wljones (79862) | more than 13 years ago | (#477329)

The author, Paula Stringer, has degrees from US institutions. I leave comments on whether she is actually educated to /. contributors. Remember, she is protected by various hunting laws that protect humans and other species from indiscriminate slaughter. I disagree with her basic conclusion, but maybe some of the points she raises are valid. The comment that the Linux kernel is not and cannot be held to a fixed schedule might be a sore point with her, but I agree with Linus Torvalds here. It will be released when it is ready, not when some marketoid decides the time is right.

Re:It sounds like the demacrats (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#477331)

US politcial party that doesn't like fair counting of votes when they count the most

Sounds like you don't understand the electorial
collage

Linux code is open, but Linux name is closed (1)

Loge (83167) | more than 13 years ago | (#477336)

If Microsoft or some other company wanted to make their own distribution, or fork the kernel their own way, they are certainly free to do so

Except they couldn't call it "Linux", because Linus holds the trademark to the Linux name, and he can license it as he pleases. If Linus doesn't like where the forked product is going, he can withhold the right to call it Linux, which would dramatically restrict the forked product's market potential.

This appears similar to the way Sun controls Java. The Java language is based an "open" specification, meaning that anyone can create their own implementation of the APIs that Sun publishes. However, to actually call the implementation "Java" (which Sun has trademarked), the implementation must pass Sun's "conformance tests", which it controls alone.

Consumers For Christ (1)

BoBG (9969) | more than 13 years ago | (#477337)

Sounds like Brazil to me....I expect most of you recall the scene. "Think of what this is doing to your credit rating."

Take citizen/individual/person and replace with consumer. Take society/population/socio-economic group and replace with market. And be sure the guy who fixes your heater isn't named Tuttle.

Re:Conceptual flaw (2)

Salamander (33735) | more than 13 years ago | (#477341)

Past experience and observation would indicate that Open Source projects of high general interest, in the condition of massive disagreement between factions will result in project forking.

You bring up a truly excellent point, but I don't think I totally agree. Two objections immediately come to mind:

  • There's such a cult of personality around Linus personally that an unblessed fork might have a difficult time getting the sort of recognition and user base needed to survive.
  • In this case there's also the FreeBSD option providing a "release valve" for the pressure to fork. People who get tired of being pushed around by the Linux cabal often find a new home in FreeBSD, and that allows them to pursue their technical (and possibly other) goals, but that doesn't help to improve Linux...or maybe it does, eventually, considering how much technology Linux is importing from FreeBSD nowadays. I sometimes wonder how we let FreeBSD become the advanced-development OS breaking trail for Linux to follow.

In short, I don't buy the argument that if there were anything wrong Linux would inevitably have forked already, and therefore that the absence of a fork proves the absence of a problem. There are just too many other factors and options that might explain why Linux hasn't forked yet.

BTW, if you follow this link [slashdot.org] you'll find the head of a discussion tree from just a couple of months ago on this very topic.

I think most experienced leaders would agree (2)

FallLine (12211) | more than 13 years ago | (#477343)

that you NEED one individual at the helm. However, the question is, WHAT does Linus consider the greater good? He may think the greatest good is to produce something that he and his cohorts consider fun, educational, neat, etc. While that may be just swell for him, you must also remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people in IT that are looking for something that makes their job easier, cheaper, faster, etc. By this I mean ease of use, high stability, scalability, low maintanence, etc. For all the complaints about business, they are ultimately accountable to whomever will consume their product, whereas Linus need not be at all.

Oh my god! You bastards! ... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477346)

You killed Linux! .. D'oh.

I love the hypocrisy of stock analysts (1)

NickV (30252) | more than 13 years ago | (#477347)

Face it, Linus is to Linux as Greenspan is to the market itself. To claim, that one man can't run (oversee) an OS and yet follow Greenspan to the point where a cough brings down the nasdaq is just purely hypocritical. Shame on you Deutche bank!

Re:Conceptual flaw (3)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 13 years ago | (#477352)

You do bring up two excellent points. However, the posting was about an article that refers to big business interests. If the big business interests want to steer it another way, they are free to. They in no way would be subject to the cult of personality surrounding Linus. However, you are right that they would probably suffer a lot at the hands of the majority of Linux users.

The BSD point you make is excellent. But again, from the perspective of big business, why are they buying into Linux rather than *BSD, when it's the *BSDs that have the supposedly business-friendly licenses? I believe it's because these business interests are only being propelled by the massive geek-centric focus on Linux.

I have often thought that those of us who were the early adopters of Linux, who used it before it was cool, because it was _good_, would probably be the first to migrate in disgust to the *BSDs. It's interesting that a lot of us have stuck around in Linux land though. We don't seem to mind the fact that for a while at least, our interests are in line with some big money, big business interests.

Re:It sounds like the demacrats (1)

ibpooks (127372) | more than 13 years ago | (#477353)

Where can I find this collage? Is it in a museum on tour? I'm a big fan of modern art, so hopefully I'll be able to see it.

A lot of people are missing the point of OSS... (2)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 13 years ago | (#477357)

...Which, in my view, anyway, is that it is CONTROLLED ANARCHY. The controlled part comes from the GNU GPL forcing anyone who forks the kernel or any other software to release their changes, and prevents them from making it the "one true Linux". The anarchy part comes from the fact that you are welcome to do whatever you want to it, because no central authority, such as Linus, is going to stop you from doing it. The way I see it is, who cares if an industry consortium wants to "take over" the Linux kernel? Anyone is free to do so, and, hey, if you are doing it and making money off of it, then more power to you! If they feel like Linus's version of the kernel is not meeting their needs, all they need to do is make their own version of the kernel to meet their requirements.

One of the responses of OSS projects to people demanding new features has always been "You have the source, go code it yourself," which I believe applies here very well.

AFAIK, Linus has considered Linux as a hobby from the beginning, which seems like a sensible attitude, since maintaining GPL'd software was never meant to be a full time job.

Does God play dice ? (1)

rkt (9943) | more than 13 years ago | (#477360)

This is pretty close to what scientists think about about god.
"Does god play dice ?"
What would you do if God did play dice ?
You can't do anything. You have to trust your insticts and hope it won't happen.

Personally, I don't think someone as bright and selfless as Linus could do this. And to bring up a question like this in itself a slap on the face. How can you ever say anything like that to anyone ? If Lenardo da' vinci destroyed all his paintings it would have had most effect on him himself. And a person like that wouldn't do that untill he feels totally help less !!
You should not be talking about taking away power from linus. You should be talking about giving more power and resource to linus instead.

I am ashamed this question ever came up on slashdot. However, I hope next time this question would be phrased with the right words next time.
regards,
rkt

Linus killing Linux? (1)

morelife (213920) | more than 13 years ago | (#477364)

A body of OEMs and vendors to guide the development and course of the Linux kernel???

What we really need at this point is a separate, impartial entity, perhaps a body of really pissed-off roving open source or BSD geeks with automatic weapons, a couple spare hours a day, and just that much stomach acid from too much caffeine, to eliminate at birth the Paula Rooneys of the world, and their simpering editors before they actually ever reach puberty and then publish.

CMP Techweb is just another publication riding the Linux popularity wave, scraping for articles to invent, having nothing of substance to contribute to the world, proudly waving their stupidity for all to see.

Sorry to have wasted this much time on it already.

Re:killing slashdot (1)

Zarniwoop (25791) | more than 13 years ago | (#477365)

I'm guessing you weren't around for last April Fool's day. They filtered every single article into either another language or another dialect (including swedish chef). It was actually kinda cool, if you didn't mind having no real news for a whole day, or at least needing to use babelfish a lot.

What do I do, when it seems I relate to Judas more than You?

That is TOO easy (1)

Frac (27516) | more than 13 years ago | (#477437)

Linus is Killing Linux just as horribly as I'm killing Slashdot.

*cough* trolls *cough*

No comment. Make your own jokes.

uh, yeah sure. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477441)

Just about as much as Donald Becker, or Alan Cox I suppose...

Really what planet do these technical writers come from?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Nothing more than attention grabbing... (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 13 years ago | (#477448)

This article is probably written by some "technology reporter" who predicted that Linux was just a passing fad a few years ago. Now Linus is killing Linux... Right.

Keep up the good work Mr. Torvalds.

Open License (2)

Lerxst (1306) | more than 13 years ago | (#477454)

This is where open licenses take over. If Linus were killing Linux, what's to stop Red Hat or someone from starting their own non-Linus blessed version of Linux? Nothing except name recognition and the use of the name Linux...which Linus would have already run any notoriety into the ground. So they take the last known stable kernel and run with the ball.

they can code their own (1)

ansgar13 (92394) | more than 13 years ago | (#477456)

actually, some recent posts suggest thay you are killing /.

but seriously, the linux kernel is linus' child, and he did not design it with the goal to make lots of money. therefore IMHO the $2billion industry can make their own kernel if they want to earn money with it

This (and similar stories) in perl (5)

lal (29527) | more than 13 years ago | (#477471)

while ($story_needed) {
@idiots = find_idiots($senseless_yakkers);
foreach $moron (@idiots) {
push(@comments,get_quotes($moron));
}
$story = intersperse_speculation(@comments);
print html_format($story);
}

Why not? (5)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#477472)

A competing fork/implementation would be good for both the Linus version and the "industry consortium" version. It's all GPL, so mix, match and cross-breed at will.

Linus has stated that he cares more about small devices than 'enterprise' features, and the industry really wants the reverse, so that would give everyone something they like.

Better than using SCO.

- - - - -

What? (5)

dolbywan_kenobi (168484) | more than 13 years ago | (#477473)

Is it me or did everyone just take drink a gallon of knee-jerk reactionary juice? Most people are reacting to one phrase "linus killing Linux". The article had some valid points to me. One, if Linux is to grow as it has done, shouldn t what Linus does with respect to the kernel, be a full time job? By dividing his responsibilities is he not giving short shrift to one or the other or both? To me the article is proposing that Linus devote himself to Linux full time or let another org do it. If Linux is to grow as its done the idea just makes sense.

killing slashdot (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477485)

Arguably, you are. Your illiteracy does a great disservice to slashdot in the long run. It's past the point where amateurish is somehow charming.

Power to the kernel Hackers ... (3)

phoxix (161744) | more than 13 years ago | (#477488)

Who cares about a $2 billion industry

Linux is about its users, not some mega-money sucking corperation

Did all those kernel and code hackers spend their time into something that coperate America will just suck up in the end?

NO!! They did it for themselves, and other Linux users. Its stupid how slashdot always tries to force Linux into main stream corporate America. I'm prefectly happy by the way the kernel is shaping to be. And IMHO Linus is doing a great job too.

The day Linux turns out to be an OS for the corporations and not for the people, is the day that the kernel hackers either fork the source and continue with what they wish, or they start making a whole new OS altogether.

Linus CAN'T kill Linux (4)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 13 years ago | (#477492)

There's a common misconception that people seem to make regarding this scenario: Linus has complete control over the kernel.

It just ain't true.

Just because Linus has headed kernel development up until now doesn't mean he always will. IBM (or anyone) could suddenly split off from the main tree and begin development on their own. And provided they remain true to the GPL, there is no reason this couldn't happen (and frankly, I'm amazed it hasn't happened yet).

I think that fact that Linus still heads development is just a testament to his phenomenal abilities as a project manager. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Re:What? (1)

jamesbulman (103594) | more than 13 years ago | (#477495)

I agree with the above, dismissing this story is the same as dismissing the idea that microsoft is killing microsoft by trying to retain to much control.

Revolution (5)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#477497)

Im not a Linus Worshipper, and this comment is not in _his_ defense.

What the fuck do we give a shit if "$2 billion industry looking to exploit Linux for fun and profit" Fuck dollars - fuck industry!!!!! Why should Linus be accused of leading Linux poorly? Because he is not some TransNational Board of Directors looking to homoginize something for the mass market? It makes me sick to think that people are so caught up in 'market economics' and the like that they DO NOT EXIST OUTSIDE OF THEIR MARKET FUNCTIONS ! People everywhere adopting the word 'Consumer' in place of 'Citizen' or 'Person' is a telling example of the transformation of everything we do to being a 'Business Function'.

I dont give a damn what 'industry' thinks of GNU/Linux - they can goto fucking hell. Im interested in Linux because of the possibility that it will change people and society by freeing them from a future of proprietary IP controlled by those who would seek to exploit them... if 'industry' thinks that the success of Linux should be 'co-opted' for their ends, and not for this liberation of users I say 'Fuck them'.

This makes me absolutely irate - when did "Person" and "Society" get replaced with "Consumer" and "Market"?!?! And when did it become necessary to measure everything by a 'dollar yardstick'?!?

for the sake of getting things done (3)

cowscows (103644) | more than 13 years ago | (#477498)

I'm really not sure what sort of heirarchy for making decisions exists, but it seems to me that having one person who can say for sure where the core goes is a fairly effective way to do it. It's sort of like the whole argument that the most effective form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. Although I don't necessarily agree with this, the main argument for it is the efficiency it allows. Having a single person at the top also helps keep a little more conformity among the linux world, which is important. Linux is a fairly complicated world with all the different distros and such, giving them a chance to create friction and arguments between people at the highest level probably wouldn't be very productive. With Linus, that problem doesn't really exist, unless he has more than one personality bouncing around in his head. I think he's also got the greater good of Linux as an operating system as his prime concern, rather than its viability as a monery making product. Hence the nonapologetic delays, and the whole it'll be released when it's ready mentality. Although this might bug some of the people that are trying to make money off of it, and need to impress clients, it's more in line with the ideals of Linux.

Fork it. (1)

Aunt Mable (301965) | more than 13 years ago | (#477501)

Then fork the hell out of it.

Look, I love Linus, I want his babies, and he's doing a good enough job IMO. Sure he rejects a few too many patch features from unknowns - but he's just one (sexy) guy. It's not his fault.

Really, just fork it and see if you do a better job. The reason there hasn't much forking (there has been a little) is because people are generally happy with the results.

-- Eat your greens or I'll hit you!

Re:uh, yeah sure. (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#477511)

On the 3rd rock around a small star in a small galaxy nearby is a lifeless spot called Redmond.

Is Linus Killing Linux? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477514)

That should say.. Is Slashdot killing Linux?!?!?!

linus is prepared for the inevitable. (4)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 13 years ago | (#477516)

And I'll certainly continue to 'farm things out'--having others maintain the things that I don't have the heart for. I think that a lot of the talk about the 'succession' is due to this--people see the project growing, and see other people having a large impact, and don't realize that it's already long since grown past being just 'Linus.'

from a zdnet interview [zdnet.com] with linus. he goes on to say:

hope that in another few years, people will still remember me, but they'll also consider me more of a traditional 'technical lead' person and 'senior architect,' rather than 'Mr Linux.'

THAT's what I'm aiming for. The ability to be 'just' the technical guy some day. I'm in no real hurry, and I'm convinced it will happen, so I'm not worrying. You'll just have to find the next quotable wünder-kid to spice up your stories ;)


so linus realizes that linux is growing, and it will be to big for him (or any other singular person) some day. the community will deal with it. hell redhat/ibm/compaq all employ kernel hackers, and i think linus listens to them when he makes decisions. at some point a decision has to be made and currently i think those decisions are best made by linus.

use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that

Linux is Linus' baby, but it's not like (1)

moogla (118134) | more than 13 years ago | (#477517)

another company couldn't pick it up at a stable point, and run with it. IBM could start adding their own features to the linux kernel, and call it something else, no problem. Of course they'd have to either release it under the GPL or work something out with Linus, but it's entirely possible. Then we worry about fragmentation; so would IBM, or whoever. These companies should try to organize a working group with a purpose similar to POSIX, guaranteeing interoperability of the various kernels (maybe even BSD), minus extra features. This would ensure a good future market for Linux, and allow vendors and organizations to pick it up and run with it they way they see fit.

Re:Revolution (1)

ansgar13 (92394) | more than 13 years ago | (#477518)

during McCarthy, you would have been arrested, you know that, right; thank god Cli... - oh wait, Bush is in power know, I would be careful with those 'communist', anti-capitalism posts

The colonel? (1)

creep (150035) | more than 13 years ago | (#477522)

All this talk of the colonel is making me sick. Colonel this, colonel that. It doesn't make any sense. I have no idea what the colonel has to do with the computer I use daily.
________

The techweb story is just a troll for hits... (3)

aphasic (26181) | more than 13 years ago | (#477525)

This story doesn't even make any sense, its just techweb trolling for hits.

If an industry consortium wanted to take over linux, they can go right ahead and do it under the license. They can release their own LinuxByTheMan(tm) version, with their own kernal based on the linux kernal, forking it is perfectly legal.

Moreover, the premise is damaged. Just because a bunch of companies have invested in supporting MS products, does that mean the author believes windows should be controlled by an industry consortium.

Don't feed the techweb troll, this article is obvious bait.

Conceptual flaw (5)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 13 years ago | (#477527)

In reality, there's a very clear piece of evidence that Linus isn't killing the kernel. NOBODY HAS FORKED IT.

Past experience and observation would indicate that Open Source projects of high general interest, in the condition of massive disagreement between factions will result in project forking. In other words, if enough smart people think Linus is screwing things up, or not directing kernel development in the right way, or refusing to merge in important patches, then dammit, they can and will fork and make their own kernel fork. This hasn't happened to any significant extent. Therefore things are probably doing okay. Hell, if they look like they have _MY_ interests better in hand, then I'll support a forked effort too. I just doubt that a megacorp consortium will in any way have my interests at heart.

This would be good because... (1)

jtosburn (63943) | more than 13 years ago | (#477528)

Because projects developed and maintained by committee are of such a high technical quality? I don't think so!
Linus my not coddle the people trying to make money off of Linux, but so what? They have the source, they can fork their own edition if they have some particular need. Try and do THAT with commercial software!
Removing the popular figurehead who also provides cohesiveness, would be the best thing that could possibly happen for those OTHER OS's.

Corporate control is the LAST thing Linux needs (2)

Akardam (186995) | more than 13 years ago | (#477530)

Do we really want to turn Linux into another Windows?

The way I see it, the minute Linux is regulated by any person, company, or consortium that is in any way shape or form subject to commercial considerations, the game is up. We do NOT need an entity who's mind is in any way dwelling upon "what is the best for the stockholders?".

Why do you think MS produces as crappy a series of OSes as it does? Simply because Bill Gates was and still is in it for the money. Linus ISN'T, and IMO, that's what makes it great.

The Linux kernels constantly come out better and more stable than their counterparts. Why? Because the man who controls the kernel says "it will be released when it's ready".

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Akardam Out

Re:killing slashdot (1)

george3 (261689) | more than 13 years ago | (#477531)

don't you mean "will do a great..."

or should that be "shall do a great...."?

what do I know?

Not understanding Open Source (2)

Erik Hensema (12898) | more than 13 years ago | (#477533)

Essentially, the writer of the story is saying "I'm not understanding Open Source, because I haven't learnt about it in business school".

The truth is: as soon as Linus would try to kill of Linux, he will be put aside and someone else would take the lead in Linux development. While offcourse that would be a shocking event in Linux-land, it would still ensure the continuing excistence of Linux in the future.

And did I mention 'fork' yet?

Well, you have to blink sometimes... (2)

psicic (171000) | more than 13 years ago | (#477534)

"We need a full-time leader and a nonprofit organization that can be funded by IBM, Compaq, and Dell and the [Linux] distributors," said Hal Davison, owner and president of Davison Consulting, Sarasota, Fla.

Well, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. It occurs to me that these nonprofit organisations might end up causing more division then they're worth...what if, heaven's forbid, Compaq disagrees with Dell and, shock, horror, one threatens to pull funding. What you're looking at is the potential sanction of seperate forked versions of the kernel...including a lame assed version released for use under the GPL, with more and more lawyer workarounds for proprietory(sp-?) versions.

"Despite Torvalds' technical reign over Linux, IBM and Compaq have quickly become the industry's de facto Linux leaders, and tensions over the kernel's direction will heighten as market forces intensify, experts say..."
These damned, physcic, unamed experts again. Would that be the expert working for Microsoft, or the 20 year old college student skipping all his classes to hack code? (HACK, not crack 8)...and when they say industry, do they mean the Hardware industry? Last time I checked there were a few other companies that held popular LINUX distros/solutions(mind you, I did blink yesterday to moisten my eyeballs...maybe everything changed then).
I think that covers it. Put that puppy to rest...won't stop me writing the same article in a few weeks time, but it satisfied by Linux frenzy for the moment.

8)

Re:Revolution (1)

crivens (112213) | more than 13 years ago | (#477535)

Hey relax man, it ain't worth getting your knickers in a twist over a single comment like that. Chill and go an compile a kernel or something. Oh wait, you can't - Linus killed it. [nelson]Ha ha![/nelson]

They're free to go make their own. (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#477537)

They're free to go make their own. That's what true free and open software is all about. If Microsoft or some other company wanted to make their own distribution, or fork the kernel their own way, they are certainly free to do so, under the openness requirements of GPL. That allows us to go pick and choose what they develop to include, or not include, in our version.

Why Linux Rocks... (1)

pshuman (68722) | more than 13 years ago | (#477539)

The beauty of Linux and the Open Source movement is that it is Open Source. If third party businesses want to incorporate their own ideas into Linux, they can download the source and do whatever development they want! There are some great projects out that patch against the standard Linux kernel that are not appropriate for mass distribution, for instance FreeS/WAN, XFS, JFS and Apache 2.0. Having a very small core of people decide what goes in the kernel keeps the process from getting messy and political.

Everyone else read so much crap in one article? (1)

charon.de (56210) | more than 13 years ago | (#477540)

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds himself. Windows, in contrast, is the trademark of Microsoft.

Wow, that's a real reason, those techweb authors should not hassle and install W2K on their computers...

has considerable professional obligations outside his open-source activities

He even had the time to answer an email I send him sometimes ago, regarding the Sony Picturebook PCG-C1VN & X 4.0.2., I don't know how he does all this, but in opposite: Techweb can't even write a descent article?

Some Linux solution providers view the constantly evolving process of the posting of Linux libraries, patches, and updates to the Internet as inefficient and cumbersome, Davison said

Maybe Davidson should at least upgrade his approx. 300 baud modem, or why else does someone think that using lightspeed for transport sources over the internet would be inefficient and cumbersome?

"I don't believe open source works well for commercial companies because they can't control schedules," said Michael Cusumano,

In my opinion it doesn't work well because you can't really make big bucks in short time and that's what those commercial companies are after...

You can make money from it, but you have to offer great support...

Nuff said...

Michael

More sensationalism or future shock (1)

moogla (118134) | more than 13 years ago | (#477541)

They just want to point out vunerabilities in poorly understood, emerging technological fields. It's like watching the 11 o'clock news, with headlines like "Cell phones cause cancer".

At least that's what I take from it.
I feel safe venturing a remote guess that the author has never even used linux, so let's not put too much stress on it.

Re:Linus CAN'T kill Linux (3)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#477542)

If the 2B$ industry requires a different branch of kernel development, it will do so. Obviously, as of now, it doesn't. Now, as for replacing CmdTaco, we may have something.

Re:Revolution (1)

Spunk (83964) | more than 13 years ago | (#477543)

I dont give a damn what 'industry' thinks of GNU/Linux - they can goto fucking hell.

Ahh, reminds me of BASIC!

fucking_hell:
print "I don't give a damn what industry thinks!"
goto fucking_hell


--

Linux : Shiny Toy :: Windows : Corporate crap (1)

net-fu (85849) | more than 13 years ago | (#477545)

Read Kernel Traffic [linuxcare.com]. Linux is Linus's. If you don't like that, develop for somebody else's OS... make your drivers elsewhere.

A non-profit organization funded by IBM, et. al... Nobody wants their feet held to the fire. If IBM wants to make a release, then they have every right under the GPL to do so. I think that the linux community would encourage them as well, just as NSA's, rtlinux, etc. have been encouraged. Why don't they make their own Linux? Because Linux=Linus? Yes, well no, maybe, not.

The truth is that there are a lot of design innovations in linux. Between it and the tools that come with any normal distro there are a wealth of features you don't find on most commercial unixes. To me Linux is like taking off the back cover of a watch and seeing the pieces move.

In a production environment it's sooo nice to be able to make changes sans reboot and get helpful dmesg output, and not have to jump through hoops to get a strace or struss installed. These debugging tools for the developer are the joy of the administrator.

Anyway, the point is that Linux is a gift from the people who write it. They are going to do what they like-- and they're going to do it in an open forum. If you don't like it, PICK UP THE GPL and WRITE YOUR OWN. Everyone will benefit.

Besides, I always get a kick out of these release announcements. I thought it was pretty funny.

Re:Linus CAN'T kill Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477546)

It just ain't true.

It is absolutely, 100% true that Linus has complete control over the present Linux kernel. He has in the past and will in the future nix excellent ideas that do not conform to his rather limited views.

That is a bullshit way to operate.

Talk of forking is just that: talk. It will be very difficult to undo all the inertia and idolatry in Linuxland and it will simply not happen until Linux gets progressively worse compared to the competition.

Modulo some of the BSDs complete lack of interest in smp which they make up for (in spades) in other places, IT ALREADY IS THE WORSE OPERATING SYSTEM OUT THERE.

It has made insignificant gains these past 4 years. It is nowhere near competitive with W2K and anyone who thinks otherwise is completely blind or thinks the end all and be all of an OS should do nothing more than (a) load gnu software and (b) schedule it badly.

It has taken 10 fucking years for Linux to get a semi decent VM which is still shit compared to the likes of FreeBSD.

Linux sucks and its sucking harder with every release compared to the competition. When the backlash comes, it aint gonna be pretty and it aint gonna be conducive to a fork.

People - smart people - are telling you to fix your house now and you are all ignoring them just like you ignore benchmarks and every fact that comes down the pike and says boo!

Re:What? (5)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 13 years ago | (#477547)

You don't understand.

Linux is a hobby to Linus and nothing more. I can't speak for him (no one can) but from what I've read that he's written he doesn't care if people want to start an orginization that will control kernel devel because all it would control is their kernel, not the Linus kernel which is all he's interested in. He chose not to have a Linux related job because of this. He just wants it to be a hobby. I don't even think he thinks of himself as the "leader" of the linux kernel. He's only the leader of his linux kernel.

The other important thing is the word "grow" that the article mentions. What do you mean grow??? If you want the kernel to have a certain feature then DO IT! It's not Linus's responsibility to ensure that what other people want in the kernel is there. It's everyone's own responsibility to ensure that what they want in the kernel is there. The kernel will grow as much as it's user's want it to. And I really don't think anyone cares if a few companies lose some money because the kernel didn't "grow" in the direction that would have been profitable for them.

Linux has always been about what it's user's want and that will never change unless by some wierd twilightzone effect Linus gives up the trademark and all of the code that he has written (because everyone else's code would still be GPL) to some big company so they can make money off of it.

--
Garett

Corporations controlling schedules? Puh-leeeaze! (1)

fuzzyping1 (266783) | more than 13 years ago | (#477548)

"I don't believe open source works well for commercial companies because they can't control schedules,"...

Oh please. Since when have coporations been able to control, to any success, the schedule or direction
of a group project? C'mon, you want to point to Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, etc. as examples? So be it...

-J.

Unix International and Open Software Foundation (5)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#477549)

One should remember the industry track record for creating consortia for developing and promoting Unix. These have been dominated by backstabbing among the members, and demands of holding back technology that competed with the members proprietary solutions.

I suspect some of the players (IBM, SGI) actually remember this period, and are happy to have a independent benevolant dictator running Linux, instead of a consortium.

Benevolent Dictator (1)

BoBG (9969) | more than 13 years ago | (#477550)

It is said that the most efficient form of govnerment is a benevolent dictator. It is good for ANY project, be it corporate, special interest, non-profit, development, whatever to have an individual who, when appropriate, can and will make a decision. If Linus's cavalier attitude about corporate interests is 'killing the linux kernel', consider for a moment what a commitee of lobbyists would do when faced with an either or decision with an impact to the direction of the kernel. It is VERY important that this 'dictator' has the proper motivations, and a strong desire to do what is best for the project, so far I congratulate Linus on the job he has done. The instant his decisions become based on courting money from company X or catering to the 'monied' special interest Y, putting personal gain above doing the 'right thing'(TM) we might as well sign the kernel over to George W. and all move to another OS. Besides, if these groups really, truly want something in the kernel, nothing, not even Linus is stoping them from building it, and putting it into their own projects (a feature, I believe helps to keep Linus honest(not that it seems necessary to do so at the moment)), and that is the beauty of the current system.

I do agree that some sort of succession planning should be addressed, in the event that Linus cannot continue his present duties (or just decides he doesn't want to do it anymore.) And perhaps a non-profit industry sponsored group is the answer....BUT the structure should allow for a strong personality, to development in the 'right' (TM) direction, without consideration for IBM's, COMPAQ's, RedHat's, etc particular whim-of-the-day is. (With a schizo as market conditions have been, and are likely to be, do you think a consortium of these guys could result in a coherent kerenel design?)

The article raises good questions....but in my estimation, the title, and the conclusion that linux would be better served by a 'management team' of 'industry leaders' bickering with each other and jockeying for fame, glory, or their own particular interests is just so much FUD.

Flame away.

Stunningly brilliant. NOT. (1)

tao (10867) | more than 13 years ago | (#477552)

This seems almost as intelligent as the article I read in a Swedish computer-magazine just the other day, where they said that the fact that SuSE, Red Hat et al. makes money on support-deals, certification-programs and so on will cause Linux to become non-free (both liberty and beer free)...

Sigh... The downfall of mankind will probably be industry-analysts.

So, fork it and shut up. (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 13 years ago | (#477553)

So Linus' Linux might not be the best kernel every purpose in the world, big deal. The man should get a little more respect: releasing the kernel code under the GPL is exactly the reason why he can *not* kill Linux, because it *can* be forked.

Maybe a fork is indeed necessary. But let's not forget that if such a fork comes alive, it is only because Linus allowed it by using the GPL.

So go ahead big companies, fork it and shut up.

They note Torvalds lacks formal accountability for Linux ...

Argh damn, almost a tech article without FUD. Better luck next time.

Parallel to downfall of Hitler/Germany (2)

CrimsonHat (245444) | more than 13 years ago | (#477554)

I read this and a thought popped into my head. Hitler was THE authority when it came to making a decision for the German army. All decisions had to be made by him. By doing so he crippled his army by not allowing them to quickly make important decisions.

While I wouldn't go nearly to that extent with Linus' control over Linux, I certainly think there is some similarity. I know I'm going to get flamed out the wazoo for comparing Linus to Hitler, but my comparison isn't like that.

I'm just saying that Linux might advance a little more quickly if Linus delegated authority to different people over different areas of the Kernel. I don't know how these divisions would be drawn up, since I haven't done much kernel development.

I'm not sure how much a committe would really help matters. Think of a bunch of kernel hackers in a big group debating and voting on changes to the kernel, when their time could be spent better coding. I could imagine meetings lasting into the wee hours of the morning with little getting accomplished.

In the end, I think that Kernel development should be structured like a good army. Find good divisions with well-defined tasks, and give those divisions a lot of authority. Linus should act like the General to assure that all of the divisions are working well together, while still having relative autonomy to do their job. Well, that's my historical take anyway.

In the Interest of Microsoft. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477555)

Every few months Microsoft funds this story because essentially they want to get another ICANN at the helm. A non-profit entity easily steered by corporate interests via the lure of huge gobs of money. As it stands now MS can't buy off Linus (and thus Linux). As MS would like it, a non-profit spin-off, MS would be in complete control faster than you can say anti-competitive.

Market Pressure is the enemy (2)

marienf (140573) | more than 13 years ago | (#477556)

If Linux Kernel development were ever to become sensitive to market pressure, it would quickly degrade into the quality we've come to expect from many other OS's. It just takes time to do these things right. We've already seen the first signs of yielding to market pressure, when other Kernel hackers threatened to release their own 2.4 kernels end of 2000, because they (he) felt Linus was dragging his feet. This is not a good sign and it's important for everyone to catch on to this situation now that's it's not yet too late. Reminds me of what I heard when Red Hat went public. "The greatest danger to Linux is not M$, it's Red Hat". Not meant personally, against Bob & Co, but against the pressures of the commercial world that were being introduced into the Linux community. Pressures we'd never had to contend with. And once you're talking billions of dollars, you're basically playing on Bill's (and George's) turf. You're in a different world, with a different culture, in fact, as anyone that has read The Cathedral And The Bazaar [amazon.com] must realise. It's possible that things will go smoothly though. An equilibrium is most certainly possible Take a hint from what Sun has been doing with Solaris kernels. Even though they are clearly a commercial organisation, they have *never* let market pressure threaten software quality at kernel level. I'm figuring Linus sees this and will be as strong.

So go and do it (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 13 years ago | (#477557)

If you want such a project, do it. There's nothing preventing you form releasing your very own kernel, differing in whatever manner you choose, and nobody'll complain as long as you conform to the GPL.
Of course, if you want developers to sign on you might find it a rough road without Linus's blessing, but who's to say he won't bless your alternative kernel? (Well, I suppose Linus is who).

Here's a thought: (2)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 13 years ago | (#477558)

I'm not going to argue about whether Linus is smothering kernel development or not. Quite frankly, I lean a bit more to the "yes" side of it. Of course, that doesn't matter, because his system seems to be working :)

But let's, for a moment, consider what the author is suggesting.

Would anyone here trust IBM, Compaq, and other heavyweights with the development of the kernel? Would you trust them to be honest and open? Would you trust them to keep other people's needs in mind, as well as their own?

Most importantly, do you honestly believe they'd make a compromise (in kernel functionality, or anything else) that would cost them money?

I didn't think so.


Barclay family motto:
Aut agere aut mori.
(Either action or death.)

Re:Revolution (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#477559)

"Fuck Industry!!!" Shame on you! You don't know where it's been!

Seriously, though, I'd be careful about saying stuff like that. Industry is the whole reason fucks like you can sit on their computers and whine about it. Industry is the backbone of this country (and most of the developed world) and without it, you guys wouldn't have homes, much less computers. THere are dozens of countries out there that are having major growing pains trying to build industries own. They have to deal with pollution, worker-abuse, monetary drains, etc. And you know what? It's worth it. Because eventually, industry will allow countries like that to not only gain wealth and feed its citizens, but will allow them to become more environmentally responsible and more socially free. (Surprise surprise! Got to have money before you can worry about the environment!)

Just to clarify... (1)

psicic (171000) | more than 13 years ago | (#477561)

I pressed submit too soon.
What I wanted to ask is "Would a forked version of the kernel be subject to the GPL, and for that matter would anything written for it?."
The straight answer is probably "Yes", but I wonder if there isn't some legal workaround.

8)

A SERIOUS comment about Linux (2)

Flabdabb Hubbard (264583) | more than 13 years ago | (#477562)

I think there's an element of truth in this. I think perhaps its time Linux let go of the reigns for a while, perhaps letting Alan Cox have a bit more say over what goes into the kernal. However I think rumors of Linux's death are exaggerated.

Just take a look at 2.4 if you don't believe me ;-)

Re:Why not? (1)

kikta (200092) | more than 13 years ago | (#477564)

But, that's what Unix did and look what happened to those assholes. That why there's so much talk against proprietary crap - the last thing we want to do is fork the kernel. Unless Linus start taking it down the shitter (and he's not), there's every reason to avoid it.


Kill 'em all and let God sort it out later...

Re:Why not? (1)

SisterRay45 (151982) | more than 13 years ago | (#477565)

I guess the problem is that linux will fork like unix did and that's a problem for a lot of people. While it seems ideal hardware support becomes more difficult considering how much the interfaces in the kernel change with each new release. Maybe in 5-6 years when that stuff doesn't change then sure forking won't be an issue really.

Until someone has a real issue with something he is doing then this is really just a non issue, I personally don't see a problem with how things are going. Things are great now, why mess with it unless there is a problem? Linus didn't support the devfs inclusion but he eventually did include it after public opinion was against him on the issue(this is just how I understand the issue, I freely admit that there could very easily have been other issues involved)

It's not like the system is non democratic, his stated policy that if what you submit is good, then it gets in. That's really how it should be. If IBM or Oracle want a bigger say simply because they're a large company then they miss the point of free software development, and I think and shouldn't be welcomed. I don't think they really think like this from and from what I'm reading from IBM, they seem pretty cool...I really have the feeling they are sincere about their commitments to linux, and regardless of their motives , they're not in it to take over the linux development process...nor do they really have a problem with Linus being in control.

Best wishes,

Jon

Same old song and dance (2)

dr_lark (308602) | more than 13 years ago | (#477566)

The writer of the arcle misses the entire point of why Linux is so strong. Simply put, it is because it's not controlled by a single corporation.

Having seen Linux develop since the days before before the 1.0 kernel, it is amusing to see it morph from a "computer hobbyists toy" OS to an "industrial strength" OS. Or at least that's what the mainstream IT press would have you believe. I don't buy it. To me, Linux has always been my choice and passion. They just can't accept the fact that Linux is what is

I think what frustrates the IT press thinks that the "Johnny Come Latelys", aka IBM, Oracle, HP, et.al. are not in control. Linus is. Believe me I appreciate the corporate support, but not having it around at the start didn't hurt Linux one bit. Nor if they "packed their toys up" and left, it wouldn't bother me a bit. Linux would keep on being developed.

As far as accountability goes, does anyone else see the statement:

"VARs are reluctant because they don't see a clear channel. They don't see a Microsoft or strong corporate company saying, 'We're going to be here forever"
as just good old fashioned FUD, or maybe just innacurate. People thought DEC would be around forever, or maybe that Montgomery Ward would be around forever, or maybe "insert your your favorite company that isn't in business anymore" here. Linus said very clearly when asked how Linux would survive if he were hit by a bus that "I would wouldn't care, as I would be dead." Simply put Linux is more than Linus. More than Alan Cox. More than anyone else. Dare I say it - Linux just is. That's more than any corporation can promise.

-dan

P.S. Since when has corporate backing == accountability? Has anyone ever won an IT related lawsuit related to suitability to task. If so, please let me know me I've got a few companies in mind.

To some degree this is inevitable.. (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 13 years ago | (#477567)

Of course Linus is killing Linux. He has to, in order to aake any progress with it.

Linux has mostly been hope and dreams -- a tremendous amount of work has been done, and it has really changed computing, but everyone out there with a real interest in it has a vision of what it might be. And given a lot of differnet choices, Linus has to pick just a few, probably the ones that best suit the strengths of the main kernel coders.

He has to kill off imaginary might-be Linux to make the actual here-it-is-for-free Linux.

A committee would be likely to try to please everyone and end up pleasing nobody. But there is NOTHING stopping them from grabbing that code and forking it -- if they really think they can do better they are welcome to try. Journalists rarely seem to really get this.

And yes it is harder than hell to get something added to the kernel that Linus didn't pre-approve, but it can be done -- Reiserfs is finally going in based almost solely on the strength of its code, overriding (apparently) some very political factions in support of ext2/ext3.

As an example, if IBM really wants something added to the kernel they can probably make it happen. They claim they're doing a billion dollars' worth of development this year -- with that kind of money they can pay an awful lot of good programmers.

And if anyone could fork Linux and succeed with their version, IBM could -- although the thought of APARs in Linux is a bit frightening. :-)

It's the industry, stupid (3)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#477568)

The question is not "is Linus killing Linux?" but rather "is Linus killing the Linux industry?". And I say, who cares? If the big companies can't make a profit from Linux under Linus, they'll either fork it or give up and move on to something else. Either way, who cares?
--
Patrick Doyle

Unfair Comparison... (1)

ffatTony (63354) | more than 13 years ago | (#477569)

Taco, Linux is a great programmer, modest, quite skilled and a good speaker. You are named after Mexican food. Please do not compare yourself with him again.

Forking's great and all (5)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#477571)

Forking is a nice thing to allow the kernel to do, but I'd be very careful about doing it on a whim. If it can be avoided, that would be the best thing. This all harks back to the whole KDE/GNOME mess. The problem with that isn't duplicated work, but duplicated APIs. Its also the same reason why OpenGL still isn't as popular as D3D, comptibility. It is critical that different implementations remain source (and preferably binary) compatibile with each other. I'd hope that somebody would have the sense to create a Linux Standards Committie (oh, wait...) that would decided changes to the API standards. Without such a body, you get the whole UNIX fragmentation mess all over again. The problem stems from the fact that people are willing to change things that they own. Because Linux owns the kernel right now, IBM can't change the API. However, if they create their own fork, then they'll go changing APIs that, with some work, they could avoid changing. Like it or not, programmers are human, and they are inherently irresponsible. You can't just say "fork it, it'll work out" because frankly, it won't.

Let's seriously consider the question. (3)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 13 years ago | (#477572)

Really. Let's get out of angry reactive mode and seriously ask ourselves that question. While the phrasing is deliberately provocative (I really wouldn't say 'killing Linux') we should take a look at Linus' management skills.

Obviously, it's his project, and his perogative. But if you follow the 'Kernel Traffic' website to see what's going on in the list, you'll see a lot of prevaricating on Linus' part. We all know that he's a brilliant developer. But his management skills seem to be less than ideal. He lets deadlines slip, which by itself is no big deal for an open source project, but it happens because he often doesn't stick to his guns when it comes to drawing the line on feature creep for production kernels. Entire interfaces and huge subsystems were changing, very late into the 2.4.0 development process.

I wonder if Linus and the core kernel developers could benefit from the help of a Project Manager. Not to make important development decisions for them, but rather to keep it coordinated and moving in the right direction, and prevent the tangential stuff from turning kernel development into a big mess.
--

Actually Commander, You are killing Slashdot (1)

loki29 (307650) | more than 13 years ago | (#477573)

You are killing Slashdot with Jon Katz articles that most of us do not come to Slashdot to read and that belong on salon or inside or nytimes, but for sure do not belong here.

Not a troll, just a comment on how things have changed over the past year.

Ahhh poo..... (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 13 years ago | (#477574)

This article is too alarmist. I would rather Linus take as much time as he and the other people need to get things right then for them to release too early. This is the way it should be. Where I work we have a system going into production on Monday and the only reason it's been done is to satisfy the politicos. It's not ready, the developers know it, but they are forced to do what's required especially since it mostly works anyway (except they have never had a chance to test it under load yet....heh heh). Monday will be hell for me because of this. Managers should NEVER have the final say on when something is ready. I see Linus as a informed manager. Informed mangers, or managers who know what they are managing, can maked good decisions. I would have even like to have seen Linus wait even longer then he did, but it was his decision to say it's good and not mine or yours. I already knew it was good because I was running it. The beauty of open source is if something's not quite there it's YOUR choice to run it. Unlike when Microsoft foists something upon us in a package update or service pack promising that it's better. At least when you update a kernel on Linux you can keep the old one around unlike when Microsoft does this. Noone is FORCING IBM to run a specific kernel or anything like that. In fact, IBM is helping to improve the kernel by pouring resources into it (programmers).

Re:That is TOO easy (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#477575)

Not really. He has a point. It really would be nice if the moderation system was extended to lower troll postings. First, you could implmenent a snooper for links that would check against a database of common "goat" links (seems that trolls just seem to reuse the same ones) which would set a warning flag on the post. Second, you could seperate the real trolls from the "doesn't say good things about Linux" "trolls". Very often, an unpopular opinion is moderated down. While this is inevitable, it would be helpful to create a distinction between tech-related posts, and totally unrelated "troll" posts. Right now, I often browse at -1, because so much good stuff gets moderated down. Also, AC's often have something important to say, and unfortunatly, their valid posts and some troll posts both end up at rating 0. It would also be helpful if you could filter comments by rating catagory instead of value. For example, allow "offtopic" or "flame-bait" but dissallow "troll" (which would be reserved for goat links.) There are just tons of things you could do to improve the troll situation around here.

Re:Corporate control is the LAST thing Linux needs (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#477576)

The decision making processes in a corporation are rather chaotic at best. First, there are politics. But most of it is CYA2KYJ politics. Profit drives most of the rest. Decisions are often delayed by management, then finally made a couple days after arbitrary deadlines imposed on the budget limited small staff of underpaid people to work miracles of quickly pulling code out of their .......

Is CmdrTaco killing slashdot? (5)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 13 years ago | (#477577)

As leader of the sad world of open-source fandom, the weblog buck stops at CmdrTaco's keyboard.

The 24-year-old CmdrTaco, a leisure-class hero to lazy developers who prefer web surfing to work, is the inventor and guardian of a technology website that reports unsubstantiated rumors about a $2 billion industry, one whose rapid rise is unnerving executives at Microsoft Corp. (stock: MSFT).

Yet some solution providers, vendors, and industry observers are beginning to question how long one man can steer the evolution of slashdot, and whether CmdrTaco's sole oversight of the site, now at version 1.0.9, is slowing its corporate adoption.

While he's not driven by aesthetic motives, CmdrTaco has significant power over the look of the website. /. however, is a registered trademark of Andover.net.

Kuro5hin, in contrast, is the trademark of Rusty Foster.

They note CmdrTaco lacks both color vision and good taste for web design, and as an inept but persistent amateur guitarist, has considerable professional obligations outside his slashdot activities.

What's more, industry titans such as IBM Corp. (stock: IBM); Compaq Computer Corp. (stock: CPQ); Intel Corp. (stock: INTC); Hewlett-Packard Corp. (stock: HWP); and Oracle Corp. (stock: ORCL) are losing billions of dollars in developer time as their employees spend the entire day reading the site and those developers to exert more influence on the development of a less garish color scheme, not based on a bad acid trip.

"We need a designer that understands why the BSD section shouldn't be a combination of teal and fire engine red. Employees at IBM, Compaq, and Dell and the [Linux] distributors have taken to wearing welding masks while viewing some portions of the site," said Hal Davison, owner and president of Davison Consulting, Sarasota, Fla.

Some overweight, bearded, slovenly Linux users view the unpleasant site design as proof that CmdrTaco isn't gay, Davison said.

"Linux wookies reluctant to see the site change because they have channeled their sexual frustrations into homophobia. They don't want to see a Maurice or Antoine saying, 'Pastels would be nice,'" he said.

Torvalds opposes the notion of aesthetic principles controlling the look and feel of the slashdot website.

However, experts say he'll face pressure from big OEM VA Linux which is attempting to bankroll the transformation of the inaccurate technology reporting into a lucrative industry.

The slashdot user base stands to double this year to 600,000 accounts, according to Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, a Wall Street investment firm. Users are hopeful but leery about Taco's casual indifference to usability and readability.

Shoeboy's recent pledge to spend $1 to advance slashdot usability in 2001 comes with a no-strings-attached promise today, but observers say that won't last if Taco doesn't pick up steam in the form of making the site less shitty.

For example, at the LinuxWorld conference in New York, a passing marketer cried out in horror after viewning the apache section. She is currently in therapy working to resolve her new found aversion to the color purple.

"In the early stages of slashdot, it was more of an amateur affair and developers didn't have high expectations," said George Weiss, an analyst at Gartner. "But CmdrTaco has acheived financial success, and they think he should maybe fix the fucking site already."

Publicly, blue-chip posters recognize Taco as the lead slashdot user, but note that they aren't beholden to his final nod to carry out their posting plans, as they are with other websites.

Still, insiders say Taco's casual e-mail flip-offs of the user base carry tremendous weight in the user community - down the food chain from Karma Whores to Trolls, slashbots, and first posters.

For instance, when Taco declared Microsofts web outage unimportant several days ago, many posters opted to call him a "fucking shithead."

"[Taco's] decisions are ones he quickly pulls out his ass," said Signal 11, senior director of database marketing at Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif., who contributed to the decline of slashdot.

"After he's had a few too many, that's when he's ready to check the submission queue. He flames users, reposts old stories and then vomits. He makes CowboyNeal lap it up," Signal 11 said. "Having a little bit of alcohol is a good thing, but Taco takes it to far."

Despite Taco's technical reign over slashdot, Timothy and Michael have quickly become the sites de facto editors, and tensions over the sites direction will heighten as they continue to post pointless articles, experts say.

"I don't believe open submission queus work well for commercial sites because they can't control submissions," said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management who sits on the board of solution provider NetNumina Solutions. "This leaves them open to accidentally posting links to the Amsterdam hooters and shit."

Re:Open License (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#477578)

yes, please do. Win2K scare is over and a single Windows platform is killing business. We need to get back the old days when Unix was standard and every program, hardware configuration etc. was to be configured differently for every client who had his own version of Unix. Throw in a couple of modified kernels from clueless hackers and you'll be in business for years.

Tech Journals (1)

Ex Machina (10710) | more than 13 years ago | (#477579)

Tech Journals just don't understand that the kernel is irrelevent! What really matter now that 2.4 is out is applications!

This is RETARDED!!! (1)

mojo-raisin (223411) | more than 13 years ago | (#477580)

This is a *prime* example of why RMS is correct about his GNU/Linux thing!!

These idiot journalists think that all these billions of dollars are going into the Linux Kernel. That is obviosly incorrect. That money is going into the kernel + lots of other free software projects.

And this talk about Linus relinquishing control of the kernel is ludicrous. He has done an amazing job of keeping bloat under control while providing a great piece of software. The results are obvious by the continued success of the kernel. What we don't need is to get some lame consortium steering Linux.

IBM and SGI are free to make changes to support their mainframes, but us workstations users will always use Linus' software.

The choice is his (3)

The Pim (140414) | more than 13 years ago | (#477581)

If this guy wants a fork, he can have it (but he should have the honesty to state it plainly). He'll just have to do without the skills and judgement of the people who have made Linux what it is today. My bet is that he and his proposed consortium would turn it into a smoking heap of rubble in five years, but they can try.

If he wants to change the mainstream development model--well, that isn't up for discussion. It's Linus's kernel, and everyone else can take it or leave it. If you haven't heard, Linus has made it clear that he doesn't care about the financial interests surrounding Linux.

Asking Linus to change his development principles is like requesting the repeal of those quantum phenomena that (the nerve!) prevent us from making our transistors smaller.

i think the best point is.... (1)

Mr. Quick (35198) | more than 13 years ago | (#477582)

...the fact that no one is *really* responsible for linux. the day that changes we'll see bigger companies moving to linux.

i had to fight tooth and nail to get linux used in a certain bank in canada, due to the fact that support doesn't go thru *official* lines.

i got it on the webserver, but so far that's it. (there's only so much you can do when you're at school :-). as soon as internship time rolls round linux will be running my department.

peace.

Re:Revolution (2)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 13 years ago | (#477585)

Not all industries are bad, certainly. Your points are well taken.

But the complaint here, as I see it, is that everything these days is viewed from the perspective of "How much money will it make me?" I'm not bothered about folks wanting to living well, but when that's all they think about- when they can't see that something has merit even if it doesn't have financial value-then that's a very one-dimensional (and unhealthy) view.

I read an article awhile back in some financial magazine about how expensive it was to have a kid, and how people were opting out because of cost. I just shook my head- they just don't get it.

- Cliff, father of a beautiful 3.5 yr boy

Re:Revolution (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 13 years ago | (#477589)

Oh come on. We are the parasites on the sides of the beast. We do well when the beast does well, but that doesn't mean the beast really has OUR interests at heart! Look at all the very stupid things "industry" has done because management was only looking at the bottom line and "maximizing shareholder profits" in the short run instead of looking at the big/long picture.

If everyone was the Libertarian Ideal Citizen with Enlightened Self Interest, perhaps your rosy view might be similar to reality, but most are absolutely not. Especially among the ranks of those controlling the corporations. There has to be a balance, and it won't come from unfettered capitalism any more than it came from absolute communism.

Reports of Linux's death are greatly exaggerated (4)

locutus074 (137331) | more than 13 years ago | (#477591)

This'll probably get moderated down as flamebait, but gee, you'd think that a publication that calls itself TechWeb would have a better grasp on technical issues.
They note Torvalds lacks formal accountability for Linux...
He has about as much accountability for Linux as commercial companies have for their products. Ever hear of a "No Warranty" clause? (Okay, maybe he has slightly less, since he's not beholden to any stockholders.)
What's more, industry titans... are pouring billions of dollars into developing Linux products and want to exert more influence on the direction of the kernel, based on customer feedback.
So they should do what nearly every commercial Linux vendor does; they should apply whatever patches they see fit to the kernel they ship with their distributions.
"VARs are reluctant because they don't see a clear channel. They don't see a Microsoft or strong corporate company saying, 'We're going to be here forever,'" he said.
Yes, if Linus decides that he doesn't want to do Linux any more or gets hit by a bus, the availability of the source code is really going to hurt you.
Publicly, blue-chip vendors recognize Torvalds as the lead Linux developer, but note that they aren't beholden to his final nod to carry out their product plans, as they are with Microsoft's Bill Gates.
This is one of the most intelligent statements in the whole article. They show signs of getting it...
"I don't believe open source works well for commercial companies because they can't control schedules," said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management who sits on the board of solution provider NetNumina Solutions. "Software companies try to have regular development cycles. That's how you build a rhythm for a company.?
Hmm, SuSE and RedHat seem to be doing just fine releasing new versions of their distributions every 6 months.
"We need a full-time leader and a nonprofit organization that can be funded by IBM, Compaq, and Dell and the [Linux] distributors,"
Outstanding! Go here:
ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.4/linux-2 .4.0.tar.bz2 [kernel.org]
Once you have that, you are the master of your own kernel, and you can start a non-profit based on the direction of that kernel.

I think that at this point, the big vendors are scared of forking the kernel because of the old Unix wars and the ammunition it would give to the MSFT FUD machine. They needn't be worried, though; I think most people (outside of industry) agree that an amicable fork would be in the best interest of many people. IBM could take some of that $1B they were planning to invest and pay someone to oversee development of their forked version. And since both projects would be GPL, they could learn and borrow from each other. If Linus should happen to make a bad design decision, for example, he may reconsider if it's shown that the other kernel, using the decision he rejected, performs better.

As other people have pointed out, Linux is a hobby for Linus. He just wants something that will run well for him; if people submit patches for something that he'll never use, he'll include it in "his" kernel if it's good code and doesn't adversely affect other systems.

sigh...

--

Uhm, duh... (2)

Smuj (249217) | more than 13 years ago | (#477593)

If the $2 billion Linux industry doesn't like Linus's kernel, they can write their own. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head here. We use Linus's kernel because we like it.
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