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What Actually Makes Up "Linux"?

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the somebody-did-actual-research-for-a-change dept.

Linux 283

David A. Wheeler sent in linkage to his extensive analysis of the true size of Linux. There's an amazing amount of information in here, and although it focuses on Red Hat 7.1, it still has tons of interesting bits of information about the code that makes up the distribution. Break downs include languages, licenses, cost estimates, and stats that in no way clear up the legendary GNU/Linux debate that will undoubtably be engraved on tombstones somewhere.

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Re:Linux is composed primarily of: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#136217)

2 million lines of kernel code.

Several hundred utilities.

And three hundred and fifty thousand annoying slashdot trolls.

Over half of which use windows.

Re:As far as I can see (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#136218)

How inappropriate to select vim, which is BSD licenced, not GNU.

Re:As far as I can see (1)

mosch (204) | more than 13 years ago | (#136222)

Most Linux users work without vi ever, let alone every day. They seem to have mistaken pico for an advanced editor.

--

Linux is composed primarily of: (4)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#136224)

2 million lines of kernel code.

Several hundred utilities.

And three hundred and fifty thousand annoying slashdot trolls.

--

Re:GNU/Linux (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#136230)

Two minor points. First of all the article (which is very good BTW) did a very scientific, highly detailed accounting of the software in a typical (RedHat) distribution. Over half of it (55%) was GPLed according to Mr. Wheeler. The article actually dealt with the GNU/Linux versus Linux debate and stated that while the Linux kernel + drivers is the largest single contribution, it is far overshadowed by the code that whose copyright belongs to the FSF (not too mention projects that are officially part of the GNU project but whose authors retain copyright).

Of course, I still usually call it Linux. But if I was talking to RMS, I would call it GNU/Linux, and I would prepend it with "Thank you sir." Without GNU software none of the free Unixes would even have a compiler, much less a useful set of tools.

Another small nitpick is that Perl is actually licensed under the GPL. If you don't believe me check it out. Perl is also dual-licensed under the Artistic license (which supposedly is supposedly not terrible well-written from a legal standpoint), but that doesn't mean that it isn't GPLed.

Python, on the other hand, is not GPLed. It also doesn't look like line noise, but that is another debate.

The overwhelming popularity of the GPL is why there is so much interest in making sure that open source licenses are GPL compatible. Even those Open Source developers who take issue with the GPL and the FSF have gone to great lengths to insure that their software is GPL compatible. This isn't because RMS has some sort of mystical mind ray that makes people submit to his wishes. Instead it is because GPLed code makes up the lion's share of Free Software. If the software isn't GPL compatible then it is cut off from being integrated with a very large pool of software.

Re:GNU/Linux (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#136231)

Uh... percisely! :)

LOL. Time to sleep now.

Mozilla larger than X? (2)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 13 years ago | (#136232)

What I find amazing is that the Mozilla source code is larger than X (which isn't all that amazing when you look at the size of their respective tarballs). On the one hand, hats off to the Mozilla developers who've managed that monstrosity to almost-1.0. On the other hand, why is a browser bigger than X?! That's insane! That shows there's a lot a feature bloat in Mozilla.

What I failed to find in that article, though, is how much of that "operating system code" is actually beta code. Mozilla and other programs like it can hardly be considered OS code as they haven't even reached any level of maturity.

Re:GNU/Linux (3)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 13 years ago | (#136233)

And that's why the system is GNU/Linux, and not 'Linux', which merely refers to the kernel.

A lot of the code they're listing as "Linux" code isn't GNU code at all. It's released under the BSD license (e.g. Apache). It's released under the Artistic license (e.g. Perl). Calling the system GNU/Linux simply because it has some GNU tools on it is like me calling my Windows box Netscape Windows because I have an old version of Navigator on it or GNU/Windows because I have GNU apps on it.

I think the reason people are more apt to further describe Linux as GNU/Linux is not because it uses GNU apps, but because it is released under the GNU Public License.

GNU/Linux (3)

Uruk (4907) | more than 13 years ago | (#136248)

What's being asked here seems to me to be simply: "We know that a kernel isn't an operating system. So what is 'linux'?"

The difference is the GNU System and the utilities that were built up beside the linux kernel and supporting it. The difference between linux the kernel and linux the system that we all know and love is the GNU System.

And that's why the system is GNU/Linux, and not 'Linux', which merely refers to the kernel.

Re:Linux is made up of the following (2)

rho (6063) | more than 13 years ago | (#136249)

You forgot:

2 camps of widget bigots
385 different versions of Solitaire for each widget set
1,675,394 would-be amatuer sysadmins trying to figure out why their laptop's soundcard won't work
3 tribes of BSD-fanatics jeering at the Linux proletariat

Bottom line is... (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#136251)

the more devices that are supported the greater number of lines. But think about it, re-compile the kernel with only support for devices you have installed, drop the alternate desktop packages, and you have a LEAN MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE.
This means that in order to draw in the 'uninitiated' some distro's have opted for a bloat of support. Next thing you know RH will be PnP :)

Well...there are more than some GNU (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#136252)

tools, but you have a point. If this keeps up it could be GNU/BSD/GPL/LGPL/YADA/ETC/Linux, with you favorite distro's name and splashy release name added in to boot.

Linux is... (4)

mattkime (8466) | more than 13 years ago | (#136255)

Linux is what is keeping me from meeting women. : (

...i know this, and still, I find myself compulsively rebuilding my kernel.

Linux - Microkernel (3)

dido (9125) | more than 13 years ago | (#136256)

2437470 source lines of code for the Linux kernel. Doesn't that worry some people out there? We have a monolithic kernel almost two and a half million lines long. I think that by 2.6 the kernel is going to collapse under its own weight unless the designers decide to reorganize it in a fundamental way. Maybe it's time for a Linux-Hurd fusion project that will turn Linux into a true microkernel.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

domc (11897) | more than 13 years ago | (#136259)

With that reasoning you could also argue that the name "Linux" does not belong in the title of the OS. Think about that for a minute.

It's probably too late to change things now, but it seems like the name for what we call "Linux" should be more neutral. It sure would end a lot of the naming arguments.

How about Freeix, or maybe just Freex!

domc

Re:Not that RH was innovating, the community was. (2)

domc (11897) | more than 13 years ago | (#136262)

But you don't get all of those things out-of-the-box with a MS OS.

Try doing a point-to-point comparison of what you get with RedHat vs. NT. NT does not come even close to giving you a comparable value.

domc

Arg (2)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 13 years ago | (#136273)

You know, I really am thankful for the work the GNU foundation has done for me as a user.

But fanatical speeches about how "free software" based operating systems must be named according to one group's dictates makes me want to go out of my way not to do so.

I'm sure they're all nice guys and girls, really, and we'd get along fine otherwise, but pushing this name thing is doing about as much harm as good.

But then, maybe I just think other batters are more important to be fighting. :shrug:

Re:Arg (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 13 years ago | (#136277)

when you say 'linux' people know you are talking about the kernel. when you say 'gnu/linux' people know you are talking about the "whole system".

What's so wrong with saying "linux kernel" when you're referring to the linux kernel? Kinda like you'd refer to the "Windows NT kernel", or the "BSD kernel". Not that hard to do.

Zero (1)

Adam J. Richter (17693) | more than 13 years ago | (#136281)

From section 2.2 of the paper (my emphasis):

The ``physical source lines of code'' (physical SLOC) measure was used as the primary measure of SLOC in this paper. Less formally, a physical SLOC in this paper is a line with something other than comments and whitespace (tabs and spaces). More specifically, physical SLOC is defined as follows: ``a physical source line of code is a line ending in a newline or end-of-file marker, and which contains at least one non-whitespace non-comment character.'' Comment delimiters (characters other than newlines starting and ending a comment) were considered comment characters. Data lines only including whitespace (e.g., lines with only tabs and spaces in multiline strings) were not included.

Since the copyright statements are comment, I infer that none of their lines have been counted. If you want to check this statement later, you're supposed to be able to download David Wheeler's sloccount code here [dwheeler.com] , but the .tar.gz file seem to be accidentally read-protected at the moment.

Come to think of it though, I would be even more interested in counts that included comments and documentation but somehow removed duplication, since comments and documentation also take an investment of time and add value (such as usability and maintainability) to the product.

Re:GNU/Linux (2)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 13 years ago | (#136282)

I think the reason people are more apt to further describe Linux as GNU/Linux is not because it uses GNU apps, but because it is released under the GNU Public License

Except that's not what GPL stands for.

--

Re:Hogwash... (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 13 years ago | (#136296)

I'll bite...

Linus still doesn't work for a Linux company. Linux is his side job (okay, yeah, he does that during the day, but it's not as if he works for RedHat)

No. Linux users are not a bunch of elitist pricks. That would be the users of the Macintosh (at least as portrayer by the media). My love affair with the Mac ended about 18 months before the iMac came out. I was tired of getting left with products that were not upgrade-worthy. I didn't do high end desktop publishing, so the mags didn't really give a shit. Even TidBITs no longer held any relevancy for my use. Quite frankly, if you didn't have a high end rig, nobody had time for you.

Then the iMac came out, and all the yuppie shits could buy them for their kids. But not somebody on a limited post-graduation income (tried to finance. Wasn't good enough for Apple, but was good enough for Kawasaki Finance. Whatever.) So that was that.

So yes, there is a single user experience for the Mac community. Since that didn't describe me, I finally gave up on it.

There is also the fact that Apple gave up the fight. You imply in your AC rant that Apple users were getting somewhere against M$. You were. Your buddy Steve (him leaving was the best thing to happen to Apple) was getting lined up to take it in the ass from Bill. Guess what happens if M$ stops making either IE or Excel for the Mac? Goodbye Apple. That's not fighting, and that's not winning. Perhaps you think the Vichy fought the Germans as well...

Yes, choice is a damned good thing. And yes, it can overwhelm new users. Guess what? I've never seen an install that upon initial boot said "which of these seventy WM's do you want to use?" No. You got AfterStep, Gnome, KDE, or whatever RH, Debian, SuSE, or whomever chose. The beginner does not have to make the choice. They also don't have to choose between any distros. Plunk down your money, pray it ain't Slack, and you'll get along fine.

It's interesting that you seem to be so fearful of choice. The only person I can think of who is so fearful (and also under the guise of the 'new user') is Steve himself.

Steve, is that you? Does Bill at least give you a reacharound? Why didn't you jump on the CHRP bandwagon? You're halfway their with your IDE and video.

What MS (and you) don't realize is that as a single user, I have won. For me, the war is over. I have more software to play with and use than I could in an entire lifetime. I have development environments to play with. I have databases at my disposal.

The chickenshit is not the moderator. It's the troll who hides behind the "Anonymous Coward".

Re:What really makes up "Linux"... (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 13 years ago | (#136297)

As far as "we make this," ya, coding is fun, but if I've spent years honing my skills, I'd rather get paid handsomely to work on a commercial product, thank you. And usually, things progress more quickly (and correctly) when there's the pressures of a capitalist economy driving production... I think that's evidenced by all the shit poor, half-baked, useability-retarded crap that floods freshmeat on a daily basis.


If that is the case, why has Linux progressed farther in 10 years than Microsoft during that same time frame? Money is a motivator. Not the motivator.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

msaavedra (29918) | more than 13 years ago | (#136303)

"Linux the system that we all know and love" is not simply the GNU system. A lot of the software that comes with a modern distribution is not related to GNU at all. For instance, XFree86, Apache, Perl, Python, KDE, etc, etc are all important to linux but were developed outside of GNU and the FSF. True, KDE is licensed under the GNU General Public License, but I think calling KDE a GNU project is ridiculous (and I'm sure the KDE developers would agree). I believe Perl is also dual-licensed Artistic and GPL, but I think you get my point.

I don't mean to diminish the contributions the GNU people have made, but I think just singling them out at the expense of other contributors, ignores the hard work of the many others who are unrelated to GNU.
--------------------------
"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it."

Re:What does a user actually need? (1)

dead_penguin (31325) | more than 13 years ago | (#136306)

So my question is, what's the size of the non-development/non-application stuff? What's the size of the kernel plus the essential utilities (most of which are GNU, as RMS points out ad nauseum)?

The question is meaningless. If you want just a bare-bones system that boots and does nothing interesting other than run a shell with a few of our GNU friends (ls, rm, cp, etc.), you'll have a (compiled) size of about a single floppy disk.

If you want a rudimentary firewall, add a bit more. If you want a web server as part of your OS, more still. If you want some form of GUI for a desktop machine, you're including much more-- X, various other libraries such as qt, gtk, etc.

It all depends on what functionalities you consider to be a part of your operating system. This in term, depends on what you're actually wanting to do with the system.

"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done".

Re:LOD: Lines of Documentation (1)

dead_penguin (31325) | more than 13 years ago | (#136307)

It's not the quantity of documentation that's the problem, it's the *quality* of it-- at least from the perspecive of a newbie.

Chances are that you already have more than enough documentation installed than you'll ever care to read. Ever try running du on /usr/share/doc/? Chances are you'll follow up pretty quickly with 'rm -rf /usr/share/doc'. Man pages, the HOWTOs et al are quite useful, but chances are that the average newbie will either not know where to look for them (or that they even exist), or will have trouble understanding a single word.

Compare this with the documentation included with Windows. This is the complete opposite; there is a fairly consistent interface for it (althought the intuitivity of it is debatable), and it addresses almost all problems a newbie could have. Unfortunately it is completely useless if you ever try and look up something remotely technical in it.

What the Linux community (perhaps through the Linux Documentation Project) needs to do is compile the various documents that are out there into a consistent format and style. If the various distribution vendors would only then make their own distro-specific docs compatilble with this, Linux documentation would become just a bit more cohesive...

"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done".

Re:Netscape (1)

dead_penguin (31325) | more than 13 years ago | (#136308)

I don't think the fact that Netscape uses Motif is the issue here. Take a look at the about: [about] url to see what proprietary stuff is included in Netscape.

"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done".

Re:Bottom line is... (2)

dead_penguin (31325) | more than 13 years ago | (#136309)

...But think about it, re-compile the kernel with only support for devices you have installed, drop the alternate desktop packages, and you have a LEAN MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE...

Completely unnecessary. Pretty much every stock distro kernel has almost everything as a module that *can* be a module. Unless you need support for experimental things, just install and delete the modules you know you'll never need. It might be possible to save a few bytes here and there by tweaking a compile, but I've found it generally isn't worth it (unless you're *very* pressed for RAM, or your time is worth next to nothing).

FWIW, I've got a Redhat 7.0 install happily running on a 486 with 24 megs of ram. The whole install fit in under 200 megs of hd space too-- a quick delete of everything in /usr/share/doc can do wonders! Apache & mysql are serving my home lan off this with no problems whatsoever.

Next thing you know RH will be PnP :)

Kernel 2.4 actually *has* isapnp support. It's been around in userspace for quite some time before this. ;)

"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done".

Re:Mozilla larger than X? (2)

ajs (35943) | more than 13 years ago | (#136318)

Let's look at what makes up X:
  • Display management
  • Font Handling
  • Protocol management
  • Hardware drivers
Now, let's look at what makes up Mozilla:
  • Display management
  • Font handling
  • Protocol management
  • At least three language interpreters, depending on how you count
  • Mail reader
  • News reader
  • Address book
Of course, that's just the high-level for both, you could get a lot more detailed, and X has the example programs and extensions as well. Bottom line is that to be a "modern browser" you have to get pretty big.

If, on the other hand, you were to compare Mozilla to X+Window Manager+Gtk+GNOME, you would find Mozilla to be quite small, and how many people think of a window manager or "buttons" when they think "X source code"? They would, of course, find that these are seperate
--
Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)

Re:The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (1)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 13 years ago | (#136328)

(please feel free to correct me here, but I have never seen truly innovative OS project ? everything seems to be remake of some existing ? usually commercial ? application.)

Correction #1: the Mach micro-kernel
Correction #2: Eros

And the endless variations of the above, to name a few.

"Flamebait"? I think not. (2)

citizenc (60589) | more than 13 years ago | (#136332)

Yes, I'm a Windows user. (No, it isn't because I'm too lazy to install linux. Rather, I work for a company which requires that I be fairly up-to-date on the latest 3d shooter games. Linux simply doesn't have the titles fast enough.)

I'm saddened to see that some moderator thought the parent post was flaimbait -- on the contrary, what really makes up linux -IS- the people, the community. I, for one, support krmt. Hear hear!

---

The value of co-location (2)

outlier (64928) | more than 13 years ago | (#136336)

This was a great analysis, I've been thinking about the use of estimation models. And I think that comparing open and closed source models may be a bit trickier than one would first think.

Large open source projects are more likely than proprietary closed source projects to involve developers who are not physically co-located. This means that communication between developers is a bit more of a pain (e.g., you can't walk down the hall to discuss a problem). As a result of this and other factors, it's conceivable that physically co-located programmers may be more productive. As you may recall, there's evidence [slashdot.org] that a "war room" can result in 2x performance. I don't know much about the COCOMO model used in this paper, but I could imagine that it could be greatly affected by issues such as these.

Of course this doesn't take into account other benefits of distributed teams (e.g., more varied perspectives) or of open source programmers (intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation). But it's something to consider.

Re:Size of GPL disclaimers? (1)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 13 years ago | (#136340)

It would be interesting to see how many MB of space those "This is GPL" disclaimers take up.

On the plus side, you'd probably get a great compression ratio from that...

--

Re:Linux is made up of the following (2)

ndfa (71139) | more than 13 years ago | (#136341)

mod it down.... shit this is perfect!!!!
My only bone to pick with you is that there are few users/supporters of linux that dont fall into the zealot category....hmmm am i one cause i said this.... damn...

Re:What really makes up "Linux"... (1)

dimator (71399) | more than 13 years ago | (#136342)

No windows community? Who the fuck needs a wishy-washy, warm-all-over, community when you're the dominant player? Maybe the people who use windows at work and at home don't "talk" to each other, but they're there, and they number a hell of a lot more than linux.

Mac zealots' dependence on Apple? Aren't we dependent on the big projects' (kernel, X, KDE/GNOME) developers and leaders? How many of "linux community" are competent or interested or have enough time to fix/modify large projects, or write a kernel driver?

As far as "we make this," ya, coding is fun, but if I've spent years honing my skills, I'd rather get paid handsomely to work on a commercial product, thank you. And usually, things progress more quickly (and correctly) when there's the pressures of a capitalist economy driving production... I think that's evidenced by all the shit poor, half-baked, useability-retarded crap that floods freshmeat on a daily basis.


---

Re:As far as I can see (2)

dimator (71399) | more than 13 years ago | (#136344)

:help copying

"SUMMARY
Vim is Charityware."

... not GNU/GPLed.

---

Re:Mozilla larger than X? (2)

dimator (71399) | more than 13 years ago | (#136345)

Are you smoking something, dude? Of course it should be larger. Browsing the web, with its dozens of standards, protocols, etc, is more complex that blit'ing colored bits to the screen (I'm generalizing, I know, but for the most part, this is what X does).

You're thinking that, since Mozilla sits "on top" of X in the structural hierarchy, it should be smaller, but no where does it say that the hierarchy is pyramidal (is that a word?) in shape.


---

Re:Linux is composed primarily of: (3)

dimator (71399) | more than 13 years ago | (#136347)

Over half of which use windows.

And most of which preach a mantra they don't really understand.


---

Re:SLOC Count (2)

Ears (71799) | more than 13 years ago | (#136349)

Given that the author is David Wheeler, it seems pretty likely that you're right.

What does a user actually need? (3)

Ears (71799) | more than 13 years ago | (#136350)

After reading the analysis, two things sprang out at me. The first is that a lot of the stuff on a Linux system is meant for development, rather than just using the system. The second is that lots of the stuff on the list clearly is "application" and not anyone's idea of an "operating system".

Specifically, in the top ten, we have:

Development Tools

  • gcc (#4)
  • gdb (#5)
  • binutils (#6)

Applications

  • emacs (#7)
  • LAPACK (#8)
  • gimp (#9)
  • mysql (#10)

(Also in the top 20 are libgcj, teTeX, postgresql, and xemacs. And we won't get into the issue of whether Mozilla (#2) should be considered part of the operating system.)

So my question is, what's the size of the non-development/non-application stuff? What's the size of the kernel plus the essential utilities (most of which are GNU, as RMS points out ad nauseum)?

Re:GNU vs. Linux (2)

technos (73414) | more than 13 years ago | (#136351)

much like a Japanese car built with 87% United States parts

You must be a Honda Accord owner..

Re:As far as I can see (2)

technos (73414) | more than 13 years ago | (#136352)

He said vi, not vim. He may very well have meant Jvvi, JVI, nvim, gvim, etc.. Pick one, it's 90% sure to be GPL..

Re:Bottom line is... (2)

technos (73414) | more than 13 years ago | (#136353)

Editors, Xfree 3.3.x, icq-clone, Nutscrape 4.7x, Enlightenment 16.5, all the basic net tools, Apache, SSH, a couple media players, xine..

Started with RH 7.0, kept ripping until I had only what I needed to compile. Added from source what I liked. Ripped out the compiler. On a 120M Connor IDE, and I still had room when I was done for a Mega Deth album at 192.. Total install was right around 50M. Then I tar/gzipped an image, so I never have to do it again.

Size of GPL disclaimers? (5)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 13 years ago | (#136355)

It would be interesting to see how many MB of space those "This is GPL" disclaimers take up.

What really makes up "Linux"... (5)

krmt (91422) | more than 13 years ago | (#136362)

... is the people. Seriously, Windows can't really say that because there is no real "Windows community". Mac people can talk about it, but they are still dependant on Apple for all wants and needs. On the other hand, Linux is written, used, and supported by the people themselves. Those figures, all of it from the the lines of code to the language percentages, just illustrate who and what we are as a community.

It's something I could go on and on forever about because it really is something special in a world dominated by the shadow of Gates and Jobs. "Those people" who work "over there" don't make this. We do! While all those numbers can start to quantify this, you can't really put a dollar value on it the same way you can't put a dollar value on freedom. Funny thing to be able to say that about a bunch of software...

"I may not have morals, but I have standards."

Re:It's funny... (1)

Electrum (94638) | more than 13 years ago | (#136363)

That's incorrect, because BSD (at least FreeBSD, don't know about the others) will run Linux binaries. So that statically linked Linux binary will work on BSD. It's also not a fair comparison, because each BSD is really a different operating system (different kernel) while each Linux distribution uses the same kernel (though the original poster did not make that distinction).

Netscape (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 13 years ago | (#136371)



I suspect that very soon the Motif stuff in netscape that's still proprietary (the 606 files that are proprietary it says are entirely contained in netscape) will soon dissappear in favor of strict mozilla. Not that this would be a monumental happening (i myself don't use netscape), but it would mean that RedHat could finally say "0% proprietary code in our distro"

I mean, since most people assume redhat==linux, it could be a marketing buzz phrase.

on a sidenote, mandrake 8.0 is selling better than RH at best buy.
And walmart sells linux.

Re:GNU vs. Linux (2)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#136375)

You must be a Honda Accord owner..

I don't know about him, but I am. In fact, damn-near every part of the Accord is made in the USA. There are a few exceptions (seatbelts, some sensors, etc.), but most Honda vehicles (except the CR-V, S2000, and NSX, all of which are made in Japan) are comprised of such a high percentage of domestic parts that the US EPA classifies them as domestic vehicles!

--

Bigger = better? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 13 years ago | (#136377)

The kernel shouldn't be two million lines of code. How much of that is drivers? And how much of the drivers are duplicated from one driver to another?

Re:As far as I can see (2)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 13 years ago | (#136380)


ah comeone you can do better than that... anyways I'lll let you troll me.

Linux == kernel
GNU/Linux == all the nice applications (like vim) that are needed for a usable system.


Re:Arg (2)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 13 years ago | (#136381)


It makes it easier to communicate though.

when you say 'linux' people know you are talking about the kernel. when you say 'gnu/linux' people know you are talking about the "whole system".

Not that RH was innovating, the community was. (1)

Louis_Wu (137951) | more than 13 years ago | (#136386)

As I read the intro, the author is saying that what RH includes is expensive/big/innovative.
to develop
this Linux distribution by conventional proprietary means in the U.S.
(my emphasis)

This is essentially commentary on the health of the OS/FREE community; in the last year, the community added 13 MILLION lines of code to RH's distro. Part of the included code is bloat, but much of it is new projects, code mature enough for RH to distibute it to Ma + Pa Linux users. RH didn't do it, and the author doesn't say that RH did it. The programming community did it.

Look at that paragraph again:

the
community added 13,000,000 lines of code
That is incredible! Not 13 million Microsoft-quality lines of proprietary junk charged at $100 per hour, but 13 million lines of reasonably good code, sculpted for the joy of coding!

I'm getting misty-eyed.

Mozilla still beta? (1)

Louis_Wu (137951) | more than 13 years ago | (#136387)

Granted, it hangs and does strange things occasionally, but I like to think of Moz as 'Gamma' code - past beta, but not stable yet.

Or maybe 'Delta' code, still changing, and stuck in another quadrant of the galaxy.

Re:Mozilla larger than X? (2)

ekrout (139379) | more than 13 years ago | (#136389)

The reason programs get bloated is because users constantly demand new features.

It's not a conspiracy, it's not that Linux sucks, etc...

As far as I can see (3)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 13 years ago | (#136390)

All Linux is is a kernel. The rest is all frosting.

---

GNU vs. Linux (4)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 13 years ago | (#136391)

Linux is in its newest incarnation ~25mg of tared and g/b2/zip'ed source code written in C and covered by the GPL. Without gcc or some other compiler you can't even compile it. Without a shell you can't do much with it. All of those things come from the GNU or other sources.
Linux is in its simplest form much like a Japanese car built with 87% United States parts.

On a personal note:
In the beginning there was Linus and the word was with Linus. Accept Linux into your hart and you shall have uptime eternal.
Kernal 3:16:
For Linus loved man so much that he gave his first begotten OS.

Linux is made up of the following (2)

LordOfYourPants (145342) | more than 13 years ago | (#136393)

20 hardcore source contributers.
300 source contributers who want their name in the CREDITS file so they can add it to their resume.
2 gatekeepers.
20 distributions that do nothing but add an installer front-end and offer tech support for an obfuscated OS.
1 obfuscated lightweight editor
1 less-obfuscated bloated editor
1 standardized windowing system struggling to keep up with a certain competitor -- driver-wise and enhancement-wise (anti-aliased fonts came to mind at one point).
Kernel modules/drivers with the same struggles.. (again, USB compatibility came to mind at one point).

2,000,000 zealots

You can moderate this down, but I challenge you to find proof that this situation is otherwise.

Re:Bigger = better? (2)

belochitski (148176) | more than 13 years ago | (#136394)

The article actually mentions size of drivers directory. It's 57%

Re:A reliable measure? (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#136398)

No, it just means that it's 76% (or some percent correct.) If you refer back to the article, the author states that often, some large bulky code does something difficulty that some smaller piece of code could do elegantly. The EFFORT that goes in to making that smaller, more eloquent code is proportional to the effort of putting in a bloated piece of crap that is many times larger. IIRC.

Umm... (1)

eric434 (161022) | more than 13 years ago | (#136399)

But according to the Microsoft world view, the true size of Linux is irrelevant, since it will be replaced soon enough anyway! Seriously though, I never knew that Linux was that big... Now Linus has even more to brag about: (secret phone transcript) Linus: Nyah Nyah! My OS is bigger than your OS! Bill: LOL! Prepare to be assimilated! L: AAARGH!! I chose YOU, RMS! B: I chose YOU, Mundie! L: ESR-Use your secret pedant-o-propaganda attack! B: AARGH! LOOK WHAT HE DID TO MUNDIE! *sobs* Poor guy... L: Aww, I'm sorry. Shake on it? *BZZZT* B: Muahahaha... Nice guys finish last...

Re:Umm... (1)

eric434 (161022) | more than 13 years ago | (#136400)

AAYARG! Damn formatting errors and slashdot delays! See my OTHER comment and mod this one into oblivion!

Development costs (2)

proxima (165692) | more than 13 years ago | (#136401)

Ok, so this guy claims that Linux would cost a little over $1 billion (US) to develop. I wonder what the big deal is. I'm sure Microsoft has spent that much over the years on Office+Win9x+WinNT+Backoffice+etc (basically the functionality provided by RH 7.1). Intel spends billions to develop new chip technologies (IA 64 anyone?). The only thing incredible about this number is that most of that billion was completely unpaid, or at least underpayed.

MS vs Linux (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#136407)

Some nifty bits, culled at random:

The operating system kernel (Linux) is the largest single component, at over 2.4 million lines of code (mostly in C); that compares to 1.5 million lines of code in Red Hat 6.2. Over 1,400,000 lines (57% of the Linux kernel) are in the ``drivers'' subdirectory, thus, the primary reason the kernel is so large is that it supports so many different kinds of peripherals. No other subdirectory comes close to this size - the second largest is the ``arch'' directory (at over 446,000 SLOC, 18% of the kernel), which contains the architecture-unique code for each CPU architecture.

Red Hat Linux 7.1 includes over 30 million physical source lines of code (SLOC), compared to well over 17 million SLOC in version 6.2 (which had been released about one year earlier). Using the COCOMO cost model, this system is estimated to have required about 8,000 person-years of development time (as compared to 4,500 person-years to develop version 6.2).

Had this Linux distribution been developed by conventional proprietary means, it would have cost over $1.08 billion (1,000 million) to develop in the U.S. (in year 2000 dollars). Compare this to the $600 million estimate for version 6.2. Thus, Red Hat Linux 7.1 represents over a 60% increase in size, effort, and traditional development costs over Red Hat Linux 6.2. This is quite extraordinary, since this represents approximately one year.

This is interesting, since it makes the Linux effort competitive with Microsoft in hours and bucks alone. (note that the IBM contribution is not included here, and is likely spread over several years (?))

Now as far as the Talent goes ...

;-)

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

Re:MS vs Linux (1)

grape jelly (193168) | more than 13 years ago | (#136412)

An interesting variant on this might be to actually study the number of hours actually spent coding Linux. Then you could theoretically figure out how much more productive volunteered man hours are than paid man hours (or vice-versa). Has anyone out there seen something like this?

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

Yam-Koo (195035) | more than 13 years ago | (#136415)

I think the idea of the article is to represent how much free software there is in a shipping GNU/Linux system, as well as how much it would cost to develop all of this software in a proprietary model. I don't think the intention is to claim the works of others as GPL'd software.

Re:Size of GPL disclaimers? (1)

Yam-Koo (195035) | more than 13 years ago | (#136416)

Ah, but the joy of it is that one groups writes those disclaimers for us! Therefore we can save years of development time not having to come up with our own license!

What's in a name? (1)

Yam-Koo (195035) | more than 13 years ago | (#136417)

A few things to keep in mind about the names "Linux", "GNU/Linux", etc.

1. A system can be named by just one portion of it. I.E. "Windows" (the component that draws the windows?). The same could be true for Linux. Naming a system after it's kernel doesn't seem like an idea that's strange.

2. In favor of "GNU/Linux", one has to ask what good a free kernel would be without a free compiler. Or a free shell. Or free command utilities.

As I see it, the primary disfunction in free, shared software is naming a system. I mean, you can have "Redhat Linux 7.1", but that's not some release the developers agreed to. You can have individual releases, but what do you call those? Things will be thrown into an even BIGGER turmoil if/when GNU/HURD takes off. Are all of those companies gonna change their names from "Linuxcare", "Linux-Mandrake", etc to "Linux/HURDcare", "HURD/Linux-Mandrake"?

It doesn't have to be so big (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 13 years ago | (#136422)

The article says that Windows 2000 has 20 million lines, and Linux has 30 million lines; Do these 20 million lines include IE 5 or Office? They definately do not include the "development envirenment for Windows".

But that's bsides the point. The main questions I want to put forward is this:

Why does the linux distribution have to include everything? I mean, a lot of the drivers are not needed, and many applications are duplicated (Emacs/XEmacs anyone?) What we probably need, is a radical review of the installation procedure, where the installer detects the hardware available, and then only installes the needed drivers only.

Wouldn't this convince any court ? (1)

mami (209922) | more than 13 years ago | (#136425)

Had this Linux distribution been developed by conventional proprietary means, it would have cost over $1.08 billion (1,000 million) to develop in the U.S. (in year 2000 dollars).

Are there estimate how much money in form of salaries were ever paid to programmers for the code and how much was in effect done not only voluntarily, but aslo completely on an unpaid basis ?

In the assumption that the difference between the total sum of salaries paid to all programmers for all the code included in the RH7.1 distribution and the 1.8 billion dollars it would have cost to develop by proprietary means, this overwhelmingly large, isn't that the best proof that Free/Open Software is far more powerful in promoting the progress of USEFUL Science, just because its so much cheaper to develop and so much more easy to make better ?

I wonder why the GPL should not hold up in court as the better license to prove the that Free/Open Software is much more capable to comply with the ideas of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 gives congress the power:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Great analysis to read.

Re:As far as I can see (1)

jjsjeff (210138) | more than 13 years ago | (#136427)

So that small handy text editor called VI is "frosting" I'd like to see you use Linux about it.

-Jeff

Re:off topic: whats the best desktop distro? (1)

jjsjeff (210138) | more than 13 years ago | (#136428)

Use the TROLL distribution.

Lesson #1: Never ask which Linux is best.

Lesson #2: refer to Lesson #1.

Re:Linux is... (1)

jjsjeff (210138) | more than 13 years ago | (#136429)

Dude if I could I would mod you up. You get a 3, Insightful from me.

-Jeff

Re:oh damn thanks (1)

jjsjeff (210138) | more than 13 years ago | (#136430)

Don't blame me 14M3R. You are the one that trolls here.

Re:The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 13 years ago | (#136432)

Really though, it was a good point. Just what is so revolutionary about linux? I mean, something is definitely special about linux (as seen by its success), but is anything actually unique, new, or whatnot?

I recently setup a FreeBSD server to see what it was like, and other than some different file formats (very slightly different), a few more command line switches for various commands, and the lack of rpms (which i don't mind at all :), the two could practically be the same. Samba, Netatalk, Bind, Apache, they're all the same, yet they programs like them are considered to be part of linux more often than not.

Other than price and openness (which doesn't separate linux from *BSD, etc which are equivalents), what separates linux from the older *NIXes?

Scott

SLOC Count (1)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 13 years ago | (#136433)

I have a sneaking feeling that the author used SLOC Count [dwheeler.com] by David Wheeler to determine the number of source lines of code--particulaly because of the cost-to-develop estimations that the article mentions. Even if he didn't, this is a nifty tool.

Why not LinuxFromScratch? (1)

bikepunk (223490) | more than 13 years ago | (#136437)

Using RedHat as a distro for this project isn't that good of an idea. Aside from the requisite bitching that goes on about it (corporate design, beta software that can't even compile itself), it's just an unrepresentative mass of programs and code! I can safely say that most Redhat users will never use about one-quarter of the programs in their distribution, especially if they install programs with RPM.

Instead of using a binary-based distro, why not make a base system from scratch? This would nix the whole problem of making sure that you have all the original source packages, and, at the same time, you wouldn't have to worry about taking off SLOC for the RPM utilities and whatever other GUI-interface stuff Redhat happens to throw into their distribution.

Anyhow, this is a cool concept, and I'd love to see, for example, how the Apache web server compares with IIS in this arena :)

Re:Mozilla larger than X? (2)

bikepunk (223490) | more than 13 years ago | (#136438)

Saying that Mozilla shouldn't have a larger source tree than X11 should is like saying that it's ludicrious for any userland program to be bigger than a kernel.

argument 1: Ever heard of "Modularity" before? :) Having a small base, and then building on this base, is generally a good thing with computers. Look at kernel / runtime-loading modules, or even the good ol' eggdrop with modules. Small base API, lots of extra potential with modules.

argument 2: Mozilla is using its own set of specialized libs at the moment. This means that there is less dynamic linking going on, and this increases the source tree's size. The team is doing this for more cross-platform support, i think. I have to hope that this situation will improve ;)

I do agree with your point about the inclusion of beta code. I could go on a freshmeat.net download spree, and come up with gigabytes upon gigabytes of shit-poor programs. That'll increase the SLOC, wouldn't it?!

Re:Cool numbers (1)

Johnny Starrock (227040) | more than 13 years ago | (#136440)

Red Hat is profitible. Do your research.

Just nit picking :-) (1)

StarTux (230379) | more than 13 years ago | (#136441)

I just want to thank the author for taking the time doing this, it looks as though it was very tedious.

MY only nit picks are these:

Quoting statistics/data going back to '95 is way out of date by todays standards, even '99 is now very old.

Only minor nit picks, thanks for the article.

StarTux

LOD: Lines of Documentation (3)

whjwhj (243426) | more than 13 years ago | (#136449)

What we need to measure is LOD: Lines of Documentation. We measure that against SLOC (Source Lines of Code) and we would learn that Linux is, by any rational account, very poorly documented. And, compared to (more-or-less) intuitive full GUI environments, Linux really needs documentation. GOOD documentation.

Which might help explain another number that keeps cropping up: 5% of the OS market.

Re:Cool numbers (1)

tristan f. (259738) | more than 13 years ago | (#136450)

What I find amazing is that I bought $1 billion worth of software (Windows 2000) at my college's bookstore for $5.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

tristan f. (259738) | more than 13 years ago | (#136451)

(which supposedly is supposedly not terrible well-written from a legal standpoint),

Kinda like how that sentence (?) is supposedly not well-written from a grammatical standpoint?

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

tristan f. (259738) | more than 13 years ago | (#136452)

Glad to see my remark was taken in jest. I knew I shoulda thrown a smiley in there.

Re:Mozilla larger than X? (1)

IanA (260196) | more than 13 years ago | (#136453)

larger than X? and what is 'X'? what libraries are included for 'X'? many GUI applications use libraries which could be considered 'non-X', so is it really that amazing?

A reliable measure? (2)

Salieri (308060) | more than 13 years ago | (#136458)

Since when is the number of lines of code proportional to the quality of the software? If Red Hat 7.1 has 30 million lines of code over 6.2's 17 million, does that mean the product is 76% better? Is the code getting more sloppy as more programmers get involved? I feel like counsel is leading the witness for the author to say 7.1 has "60% more effort" under the COCOMO model. Kernel programmers, weigh in!

Hooray! (1)

Migelikor1 (308578) | more than 13 years ago | (#136459)

It's really nice to see this story on /. looking through the links, it looks like this is a legitimate, fairly unbiased analysis of not only the software itself, but the issues around Linux. Congrats.

Cool numbers (2)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 13 years ago | (#136460)

What I thought particularly interesting about this study was finding out that I got 1.075 billion dollars worth of software for a paltry $79.95.

So does that mean if RedHat can sell just 13 million copies, we'll all break even?

Debian (1)

Garinwirth (325774) | more than 13 years ago | (#136464)

To me, it's the "true Linux." For more reasons than my non-sober state can manage right now.

Re:Well...there are more than some GNU (4)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 13 years ago | (#136466)

If this keeps up it could be GNU/BSD/GPL/LGPL/YADA/ETC/Linux

How about solving this by creating a fanciful glyph (vaguely 'L' shaped) and allocating a point in the Unicode codespace to replace the name? There would no longer be a spoken name for /The Operating System Formerly Known as (GNU\/)?Linux/.

The Glyph could mean all things to all people. Everyone would be happy enough to resume productive activities.

GNU OS (2)

Tachys (445363) | more than 13 years ago | (#136468)

I notice RMS talking about the goal of creating 'GNU OS' but is not totally true. The goal also included GNU Utilites, Applications and Compilers. The FSF did succeed in creating Utilites, Applications and Compilers. But they didn't create an OS.

It's funny... (2)

InjuredLabMonkey (453692) | more than 13 years ago | (#136477)

how linux users point at BSD for being so splintered, when they're really the more organized, concentrated bunch. Not advocating so much as observing. This article brings a great deal of overlooked (perhaps intentionally) details to the forefront.

Re:Cool numbers (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136479)

"was finding out that I got 1.075 billion dollars worth of software for a paltry $79.95."

No, you did not.
It is worth $79.95 ( and for people who decide to download it off the net it is even less.)

Re:MS vs Linux (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136480)

It is NOT the Linux effort. Tons of software included in your average distro was not written specifically for Linux and, frankly has nothing to do with this OS.
If you wanted to compare it that way, you would have to include all the commercial and free software available for Windows.
Whoa, the numbers there would be scary ...

Re:Not that RH was innovating, the community was. (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136481)

Wrong.
You are comparing single company Microsoft to the entire OS/FREE community.
How about comparing to Windows community (with thousands of excellent free or shareware apps)?
Frankly, if we go that far why don't we include all these commercial apps available for Windows?
After all this is the model Windows world operates on so it would be only fair to include them as well.
So to summarize, compared to Windows community Linux is not much more than a small dot ...

Re:Development costs (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136482)

I wonder how much of this was "paid for" by people who did not even know what they were paying for.
After all, tons of OS developers have a daily job and I am hard pressed to believe they restrain themselves from doing stuff during their working hours.

Re:As far as I can see (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136483)

Maybe they don't need an advanced editor ( with extremely confusing and steep, ops "advanced" learning curve)

Re:The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (2)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136486)

", what separates Linux from the older *NIXes? "

This is precisely the question that people should be asking every time they encounter somebody claiming how revolutionary Linux is.
From the technological point of view, there is nothing there that has not been done before (often better.)
Frankly, the only unique part is HOW it was developed but it has not much to do with the technology itself. We are not talking here about revolutionary new stuff ... Sure people managed to almost completely duplicate standard Unix platform without central management and often without funds but I fail to see how does it change anything.

One cannot escape conclusion that OS model is good enough for duplicatinh stuff that has been done before (no need for research) but completely fails at introducing innovative solutions and ideas (please feel free to correct me here, but I have never seen truly innovative OS project - everything seems to be remake of some existing - usually commercial - application.)

Re:The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (3)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#136487)

There is nothing revolutionary there.
Frankly, show me one usefull feature on RH distribution that hasn't been done before ?

The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (1)

GreyOrange (458961) | more than 13 years ago | (#136489)

In particular, it would cost over $1 billion ($1,000 million - a Gigabuck) to develop this Linux distribution[RedHat] by conventional proprietary means in the U.S
This is just devoloupement, it doesn't include the fact that some ideas are revolutionary and there value would be much more.

-------------------

Re:The 1,000,000,000 Dollor Linux Standard (1)

GreyOrange (458961) | more than 13 years ago | (#136490)

I was talking about linux as a whole, redhat was just the os being broken down by the article itself. And red hat was at one time was pretty high up in the ranks of easy to configuire, and easy to install. And in some parts, still is. Now easy to configuire/install is a feature that helps linux spread. Thats a good feature in my oppion atleast.

-------------------

x-windows???? (4)

Cunt Turd (460822) | more than 13 years ago | (#136495)

Many other interesting statistics emerge. The largest components (in order) were the Linux kernel [...] Mozilla [...], X-windows [...]

Am I the only person who cringes every time I read "x-windows?"

Or have they officially changed the name? (might as well...)

--

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