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Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the what's-that-guy-done-anyhow dept.

Open Source 141

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Linus Torvalds, the 'man who invented Linux' is the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award, '[f]or pioneering development of the Linux kernel using the open-source approach.' According to Wikipedia, Torvalds had wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of 'free,' 'freak,' and the letter X to indicate that it is a Unix-like system), but his friend Ari Lemmke, who administered the FTP server it was first hosted for download, named Torvalds' directory linux. In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution — but as it dates from 2005 it is outside the remit of the IEEE Computer Pioneer award."

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Totaly support this (5, Insightful)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 6 months ago | (#46913803)

He is very deserving of the award. Well done.

Re:Totaly support this (1, Redundant)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#46913875)

Indeed. Congrats man! \o/

Re:Totaly support this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914487)

Sorry, only the original karma whore gets the mods. You "me-too" karma whores don't.

Re:Totaly support this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914705)

Hey, why so serios? Let's celebrate the guy!

Re:Totaly support this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916355)

He is deserving of the fat scandinavian douchebag award.

Git can be seen as his more important contribution (5, Insightful)

SETY (46845) | about 6 months ago | (#46913893)

"Git can be seen as his more important contribution"
Umm no. The early 1990's were dark days. Linux was/is a big deal. Where would we be without Linux? It changed the world! The same can't quite be said about Git (although great in its domain).

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46913907)

In that case, what about all the people that make the hardware that enables the kind of bloated, enormous, incomprehensible software we have now?

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46913993)

hardware awards are usually from the ACM and not the IEEE.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914013)

No shit. An operating system that changed the world, vs. a versioned source control system that makes certain administrative tasks easier. I feel sad for anyone who doesn't have the sense of history or proportion to put these endeavors in their proper place.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914229)

We should not diminish the importance of Linux. But it's clear that Git is much more important today. Linux is wonderful, but its a commodity for most people. It doesn't matter that Android is based on Linux. It's awesome but most people don't care. It's just a technicality.

What Linus did by creating GitHub is of tremendously much more importance if you look at how well it brings open source developers together.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (4, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 6 months ago | (#46914393)

We should not diminish the importance of Linux. But it's clear that Git is much more important today. Linux is wonderful, but its a commodity for most people. It doesn't matter that Android is based on Linux. It's awesome but most people don't care. It's just a technicality.

It's "just a technicality" in the sense that Android might not exist if Linux hadn't existed; saying that it's less relevant because people don't know it's there is like saying that ARM isn't all that important because most people don't know they have ARM processors in their smartphones. Git is even less directly relevant to most people, as they're not developers.

What Linus did by creating GitHub is of tremendously much more importance if you look at how well it brings open source developers together.

Presumably you meant "by creating Git"; as far as I know, he no more created GitHub than he created Android, even if GitHub uses Git and Android uses Linux.

Git is not most important, but neither is Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46915787)

And without GNU Linux couldn't have came to be -- Not like Linus create a command shell, file system, text editor, assembler, compiler / linker, etc. features that you MUST have for an OS to actually do anything with it.

You can write a kernel in a weekend. I've written several, some even from scratch using just a hex editor -- You can't do shit with just a kernel though, you have no idea how much more work there is to creating a self hosting OS from scratch than just getting your kernel up and running. People write kernels all the damn time. [osdev.org] Linux is great because Linus is a great project manager, and Linus can be a great project manager because Git works beautifully -- not that it is beautiful, some real kludgey crap in there with multiple languages and what not, but that's not what matters: It WORKS and its ACTUALLY USABLE. Linus hardly even writes code anymore, he could manage the Linux kernel from within OSX or Windows at this point.

A C compiler is MOUNTAINS more work than a dinky little kernel. RMS really did write a shit load more code to make a free OS happen. So much, in fact, that his hands are fucking ruined from coding so much, and he can't even type but on a special light touch keyboard because it's so painful. The damn Linux kernel didn't even have an init procedure, or any really useful features at all when I first used it. There wasn't even an installer or ability to multi boot, which even a baby's 1st boot loader can do: Relocate your bootstrap in memory, walk the drives and partitions display the ones with 55h & AAh in 510th & 511th bytes, load the selected partition's 1st sector at 07C0h and jump to it -- Which I used instead of just the bootloader that Linux's "install" instructions would have left one with so I could keep GNU/Linux, DR-DOS and MSDOS partitions on the same machine.

Linux was a shitty and stupid design, it really was. x86 machines were everywhere. All the other most important pieces of the puzzle were laying there. Soon as Linus had his literally dumb bootstrap loader and sophomoric monolithic x86 kernel running he immediately asked for help, and boy did he need it! That he was able to wrangle the resulting tsunami is awe inspiring: He basically lived though an atomic blast that would have destroyed almost anyone else, and that's what his true contribution is: Being a realist who's in touch with how real people use software, and willing to accept help when someone says, "no, that's stupid, you need an init system, here." Unlike so many open source projects Linus knows how to delegate authority and keep it from becoming a petty ridiculous fiefdom. He also knows when to deal outrage where it's due. Berating morons for doing stupid shit also helped keep everyone from becoming up-tight corporate politically correct passive aggressive intellectual douchbags, which would have been FAR less inviting to the average hacker submitting their first patch.

Every time I say something to this effect a bunch of morons down mod me, but it's true. I call the fucking fanbois who down mod this morons because they're missing the whole damn point. Linux was nothing special, it just came in at the right place at the right time, with the right license. So fucking what? That doesn't take away from Linus' real achievements: Being an amazing project manager who knows the product inside and out. He's a clever guy, but come the fuck on, heaping praise for the kernel code he did would be like congradulating the doctor for pulling out the baby instead of the mother's who went through labor and months of bullshit to make the new life a success. RMS wasn't paying attention to what really mattered: Having the most people Being able to USE the OS as soon as possible. Most folks had personal computers, not mainframes or minicomputers, etc. big machines you find in university. Most hackers with computers weren't in University.

So, right after Linus asks for help, EVERYONE got interested because you could have a free UNIX on your 386! Linux was the spark that lit the fire in weeks that the GNU project had been preparing for over a decade. If Linus had thrown his match on the bare metal without the fuel of GNU, it would surely have fizzled out. Better, alternatives to MSDOS were already available.

GNU could have started with the bare minimum OS that would function: terminal + memory manager, and worked their way up from there so everyone could have been involved. However, I've seen folks do that, they set out to make POSIX compliant UNIX from scratch many times, and they wind up with something else or getting lost in the emmensity of the compiler, stdlib, shell, network stack, etc. The alt OS battle field is strewn with OSs with a quick and dirty kernel and just a terminal or just a network interface, or just a toy language. One of the big things that made GNU/Linux great is that it was POSIX, and I guarantee if GNU had started with just the Linux Kernel, it wouldn't have become POSIX, and it wouldn't be compatible with UNIX; Everyone would have taken it in a million different directions -- FOSS would probably be dominated by BSD instead.

What we have is a happy accident: Some folks like RMS who were really brilliant at compiler theory and bootstrapping systems into place who wrote an AMAZING amount of code to implement a free POSIX compliant OS; They were bootstrapping in a Unix environment where they had existing tools to build replacements and test against, and the fact that the kernel was missing the whole time really did help keep things POSIX compliant, they didn't have a choice, see? And we also got Linus who came along, got famous for yanking the baby out with his tongs, but who's true achievement is that he was just the project manager at the center of it all that GNU/Linux needed to succeed. And if you dipshits knew anything about how hard project management can be for something the size of Linux, mating it to all it's myriad of userland software, device drivers, and platforms, then you'd be giving him proper props he deserves for all of THAT work instead of the SLOC of kernel code bullshit. Fucking Idiots!

The importance of the kernel pales in comparison to EVERYTHING ELSE that Linus or anyone else did to make GNU/Linux the success it is today. Anyone who says otherwise can eat shit and die: It's obvious they're damn noobs who have never even written a damn kernel before.

Posting as AC, because Slashdot gives mod points to morons nowadays.
Captcha: stable

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914445)

I *too* feel sad for anyone who doesn't have the sense of history or proportion to put these endeavors in their proper place.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 6 months ago | (#46915591)

In their proper place, you say?

git rebase -i

Thank me later.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 6 months ago | (#46915583)

We should not diminish the importance of Linux. But it's clear that Git is much more important today.

Bullshit. If Git vanished overnight, we'd at least have Mercurial. There is no such drop-in replacement for Linux. (I'm not digging on FreeBSD/OpenSolaris/etc, but Linux completely dominates them in real-world deployments.)

Also, Linux was a much more disruptive development. A real working kernel for a real working Unix-like OS, that's free and open source, was/is a huge deal. Git is awesome, but there's no question that Torvalds' work on Linux is more award-worthy.

Lastly, in terms of sheer scale/ambitiousness, Linux absolutely dwarfs Git. A "poor man's git" could be thrown together with Bash scripts without too much pain (indeed, this is how Git has been developed). There is no such analog for GNU/Linux. Even at the conceptual level, there's a huge amount going on.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 6 months ago | (#46916435)

Its not a technicality at all. You're thinking marketing not reality.

That's like saying clothing being made of cotton is a technicality and cotton isn't important.

The fact that Linux exists allows for a lot of other things to exist that you wouldn't have otherwise, even though the average person is unaware of it.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 6 months ago | (#46914429)

No shit. An operating system that changed the world,

...by being the first widely-available, free-as-in-beer-and-speech (and not under legal threat from AT&T) Unix-compatible OS.

vs. a versioned source control system that makes certain administrative tasks easier.

...and that was most definitely not the first widely-available, free-as-in-beer-and-speech version control system capable of over-the-network access (and not, as far as I know, even the first widely-available, free-as-in-beer-and-speech distributed version control system).

(And it makes some things harder if you're "holding it wrong", but I digress.)

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 6 months ago | (#46914021)

Plus, git was only really the most popular of many darcs copies. We wouldn't really be any further back without it. If anything, further forward, because darcs gets the semantics of a DSCM more right (and doesn't need hacks like rebasing).

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#46914321)

I wsa a fan of Darcs. I used it a fair bit, but it was just a little bit flakey. Sometimes it would eat all memory and crash, occasionally leaveing the old history corrupted.

I love the theory of patches and the excellent cherry picking and the way it works with bisection. But, day to day I prefer git.

Mercurial is fine too, I think, but I haven't used it enough to make a solid judgement call.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 6 months ago | (#46914061)

Git [wikipedia.org] may not be at the same level of importance as the Linux kernel, but it is still a masterpiece of engineering. It's a total reinvention or at the very least a massive refinement and rethinking of workflow within a version control system [wikipedia.org] . While there are other players [wikipedia.org] . It's difficult to call any of them competition. If there is a major award that pioneering Git falls into, he deserves that as well.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (4, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about 6 months ago | (#46914159)

Git is really a gift from BitKeeper. If BitKeeper had chosen to not be dicks, everybody would still be using it for Linux kernel development. Hell, BitKeeper doesn't even put pricing information on their web site, you need to 'request' it [but you know it ain't cheap if they say it costs $$$ from a range of zero $ to $$$$].

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (2)

dkf (304284) | about 6 months ago | (#46915455)

If BitKeeper had chosen to not be dicks

I see you haven't met Larry McVoy.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | about 6 months ago | (#46914659)

I really don't get Git. I've looked at it a few times, and it seems much less intuitive to me than Subversion was when I learned it. I could see it being good for really, really large projects, like Linux, but non-distributed version control systems seem so much simpler I can't help but think they're better choices than Git for most projects. Maybe someone could specify, for a project with =20 people on it, what's so great about Git?

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (4, Interesting)

mrvan (973822) | about 6 months ago | (#46914879)

I'll bite :-)

I used csv and subversion back in the day, switched to hg, and now switched to git. I manage a smallish project with 5 or so contributors and contribute to some other projects.

Git/hg vs csv/svn is all about distributed vs centralized. With git/hg, you learn to love branching and merging, and commit as often as needed.

Git vs hg is more subtle, but I am strongly in the git camp now.

In my perception, hg et al are about lines of code. You contribute code and the code is checked in. git is all about commits. Your work is in commits, and commits can be rebased, squashed, amended, etc until they are just right to express your contribution. Git is not so much about communicating with yourself about how you got to your code; git is about communicating to the rest of the team what you are contributing. In a sense, you are not (just) writing code, you are writing a commit history.

That said, what I miss in git is the "version history" of commits. I would like to see some sort of "is-based-on" link between the 'final' commit and the commits it is amended, rebased, and/or squashed from. I would love to be able to 'expand' a final commit to see the history that went into it, because now you are sometimes choosing between commit elegance and keeping track of development history (aka in the choice to amend a silly type you choose elegance; in the choice to -no-ff merge a branch you choose history).

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

tapspace (2368622) | about 6 months ago | (#46915841)

You're not alone. Git is great, but has a terrible interface. I know many respectable and intelligent software engineers who find the interface difficult. It goes beyond RTFM. OTOH, SVN has an amazing interface. Very well thought out. I think SVN would be just as great as git if not better if it added in some of Git's features.

What's cool about git?

  • Distributed and offline operation. Repositories are local and can be "synced" to one another when online. There can be a central repo with which everyone syncs, or syncs can happen between individuals' workstations. It's hard to describe to a someone who's never used distributed version control exactly why this is great beyond the offline part of it.
  • The stash/shelve feature is sorely missing from SVN. Ever performed an updated with uncommitted changes? It sucks. If you stash beforehand, it drastically reduces the possibility that you lose any work, as you can systematically revert to the previous working state. This is a 100% client side solution, so could be added to SVN without breaking any compatibility.
  • Staging. All files are manually chosen for commit before a commit. In the most basic form, tracked and modified files are not automatically committed). Staging is actually a little more useful than that, but I don't know if I can describe well enough how. Again, totally client side operation.
  • Auto-merging excellence. Git does makes a lot more merging automatic by using more history in the merge process. This can be done by subversion, but is somewhat of a divergence from how Subversion has historically treated changes. Most people agree that the git way is smarter, and should probably influence SVN's future direction IMO. Git's merge strategy would be implementable completely in a client. SVN saves more information in the repo than git.
  • Rebasing. This is essentially a combination of stashing and merging. When changes are made to an older version of the code, a developer needs to pull in the new software and then merge in his or her changes again. Rebasing does this automatically (essentially using stash before the update and the excellent git merge algorithm to reapply those changes to the updated code).

In conclusion, Git is great, but you're not crazy for finding the interface insurmountable.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about 6 months ago | (#46916033)

non-distributed version control systems seem so much simpler

I find quite the opposite. The simplest case is one user, and a "distributed" VCS is clearly the easiest option in that case--no central repository needed, no environment variables to set, or separate paths to worry about. Just say "init", and you're off and running. (At least with Mercurial or Git, the two DVCSes I have experience with.)

With more than one user, it's slightly more complicated, but not enough to worry about. It all boils down to the distinction between "save this change" and "share my changes with my co-workers". Having those as separate commands really isn't that confusing, and once you're used to it (which should not take long), you'll have a hard time remembering how you lived without it! And that really is the entire difference, fundamentally, between distributed and non-distributed VCSes.

(Most of the things that are great about Git are unrelated to the distributed/non-distributed aspect, or at best tangential to it. For me, the big wins of either Git or Mercurial over, say, Subversion, are how much better/faster/easier/more powerful branching is, which doesn't really have to do with being distributed or not, and how much faster the whole thing is, overall, without all those network round-trips, which does.)

I started out somewhat skeptical, like you, but after my first pilot project, using Mercurial, I was a complete convert! YMMV but it Works For Me(tm)! :)

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46916117)

what's so great about Git?

Before git, it was possible to fetch a simple source tree! Now, the user is forced to download history if nobody makes a simple tarball available. This is a massive improvement somehow!

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914181)

"Git can be seen as his more important contribution"
Umm no. The early 1990's were dark days. Linux was/is a big deal. Where would we be without Linux?

With i386BSD most likely. The main advantage of Linux as a kernel was that it was only a kernel and so using GNU with it did not leave you with an unsupported system.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (3, Interesting)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 6 months ago | (#46914277)

Not to mention that hadn't Torvalds developed the Linux kernel, we would still be waiting for the Hurd to take off. One could argue that Linux is binding resources (volunteer coders) that could be otherwise engaged into developing the Hurd had Linux not existed, but I simply doubt that developers would follow Stallman the way they follow Torvalds.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 months ago | (#46914605)

Not to mention that hadn't Torvalds developed the Linux kernel, we would still be waiting for the Hurd to take off. One could argue that Linux is binding resources (volunteer coders) that could be otherwise engaged into developing the Hurd had Linux not existed, but I simply doubt that developers would follow Stallman the way they follow Torvalds.

Alternative history is always a wild guess, but it's unlikely nothing would have happened for 20+ years. Maybe one of the BSDs, maybe an EGCS-style fork from HURD or an entirely different project would have filled some of the void. I doubt any of them could have taken it quite as far as Linus has though, with Android I assume Linux is the world's most popular OS kernel by number of devices.

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46914629)

Not to mention that hadn't Torvalds developed the Linux kernel, we would still be waiting for the Hurd to take off.

We're not still waiting for the Hurd to take off?

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914915)

Hey bigmouth: You're being called out http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Git can be seen as his more important contribut (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 6 months ago | (#46915607)

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath...

386BSD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914401)

Linux was originally released in November of 1991. 386BSD was released in March of 1992.

So where would we be? At the worst about 4 months behind, but probably ahead because 386BSD was substantially more complete when it came out than Linux would be for several years.

no way (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46913923)


Dude rips off Miniux, uses AT&T BSD code in the kernals, ignores the 'GNU' prefix for Linux and gets an award?

Re: no way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46913947)

This is one hell of a comprehensive troll. Well done sir: you win the keys to your mother's basement.

Re: no way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914105)

Whether AC#1 is a troll or not, it's true. Pioneer Award for copying the Unix kernel? Meh.

Credit where credit is due. If git is really that revolutionary then wait until it's eligible for the award. Building a community and fostering new a way to develop software, sure. Then again, Theo DeRaadt has done that too.

But an award for writing a kernel. This is the Mutual Admiration Society honoring one of their own. perkeleen vittupää.

Re:no way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914101)

I think he put these things together such that the whole became greater than the sum of the parts.

Re:no way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46915789)

Who? The AC or Linus?

Git? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46913933)

Git is a nice tool, but it's not even close to his work on Linux. Orders of magnitude less important. You'd be paying for commercial licenses of Solaris, GNU would have seen far less of an audience and not progressed nearly as fast as it has, and you'd be paying VMware license fees every time you started up an EC2 instance. If Git disappeared tomorrow, I'd switch to svn and probably grumble a couple more times than normal. If Linux disappeared tomorrow, I'd be bankrupt and broke.

Re:Git? (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 6 months ago | (#46913969)

I would say Git is virtually indispensable in development, or at least some form of version control, at this point.

Re:Git? (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 6 months ago | (#46914341)

I would say Git is virtually indispensable in development, or at least some form of version control, at this point.

Given that many projects don't use Git, I would not even come close to saying that Git is virtually indispensable in development (unless "virtually" means "not" or otherwise renders the adjective to which it refers meaningless).

I would say that some form of version control is important, but there were plenty of free-software version control systems, supporting over-the-Internet access, available before Git came along, so you can't give credit to Git for that.

I'd love to know the reasons that lead some to believe that "In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution".

Re:Git? (2)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 6 months ago | (#46914665)

Besides Git we have Mercurial and Bazaar. All born around the same time so solve the same problem.

Re:Git? (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 6 months ago | (#46914797)

Besides Git we have Mercurial and Bazaar. All born around the same time so solve the same problem.

I don't know about Mercurial, but have you ever used Bazaar? While Git is written in C, Bazaar is apparently written in Python, and it's even slower than that implies.

Re:Git? (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 6 months ago | (#46916661)

It's fast for the developer, is my understanding of Python.

Re:Git? (1)

bbn (172659) | about 6 months ago | (#46914099)

More likely we would all be using some variant of BSD instead. But still, Linux is far greater than GIT. The list of alternatives to GIT is long.

Re:Git? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#46915419)

If Git disappeared tomorrow, I'd switch to svn and probably grumble a couple more times than normal.

If git disappeared wouldn't you just use Mercurial?

dear linus (2)

rewindustry (3401253) | about 6 months ago | (#46913965)

who is git, and to what is s/he objecting?

Good (I guess) (-1, Flamebait)

BaronM (122102) | about 6 months ago | (#46913989)

I remember my first successful install -- Slackware with kernel 0.99pl12. Tried SLS and failed.

I applaud the award, but I'll admit to mixed feelings about Linux these days.

Free, in either sense, just isn't enough to put up with the added difficulty of keeping a system running. I'm not talking about hobbyist level on the one hand where each system can be lovingly tended by hand nor large-company level where systems are templates, scripted, PUPPETed, and under service contract. I'm not even talking about Linux on the desktop, which is still for masochists. I'm talking about small-to-midsize deployments where the system admin is either nonexistent or a generalist who is also the help desk, web developer, and DBA. In that case, MS has made it so easy to put in a domain controller, WSUS, and manage centrally or just go with Office 365 that Linux looks positively archaic.

RHEL with RHN (or the Suse or Ubuntu equivalent) are OK, but far more expensive and still don't manage your desktops in any meaningful fashion. The Windows support in PUPPET and CHEF are poor at best.

I can't help feeling that Linux, while extraordinarily powerful, has less relavance now than it did 10 years ago. It kind of feels like VMS and Solaris did when they were clearly better than their competition, but basically missing the point for mainstream business or home use. No doubt Linux will be around in the server room and as the basis of 'appliances' and embedded systems for years to come, but the year of Linux on the desktop is never coming, is it?

Re:Good (I guess) (1)

sa666_666 (924613) | about 6 months ago | (#46914069)

Talk about damning with faint praise.

Re:Good (I guess) (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 6 months ago | (#46914107)

I can't help feeling that Linux, while extraordinarily powerful, has less relavance now than it did 10 years ago.

Surely you are joking. Not only did it dethrone nearly all UNIXes used for server side tasks, is used in nearly all Top500 supercomputers, but it is ubiquitous on Android mobile platforms as well. If this is not success what is?

The desktop needs to be thought over again.

Re:Good (I guess) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914497)

hell yeah ! 2015 will be the year of Linux on the desktop !

Re:Good (I guess) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914111)

Free, in either sense, just isn't enough to put up with the added difficulty of keeping a system running.

If you're having a hard time keeping a system running then it wasn't set up properly in the first place. This goes for any OS.

I'm talking about small-to-midsize deployments where the system admin is either nonexistent or a generalist who is also the help desk, web developer, and DBA.

Then you're doomed no matter what, it's just a matter of how it all falls apart. A missed security patch, incorrectly configured firewall. Just because it's Microsoft doesn't magically make it immune to mismanagement by an overloaded tech guy. Perhaps, instead, the IT services should be contracted out to someone who knows what they're doing?

Re:Good (I guess) (3, Insightful)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 6 months ago | (#46914187)

You're confusing the Linux kernel with a Linux distro. Linus got the award for his work on the kernel. Up to cca year 2000, the crushing dominance of DOS over Linux as a kernel in the desktop world cannot be explained by any technical merits of the former vs. the later. Even with the advent of XP and the "NT" kernel, there's still no technical reason why the "NT" kernel would technically be more adept to desktop use. If you want a good explanation on why Windows is the no 1 desktop system, the kernel is definitely not the place to look for answers.

Re:Good (I guess) (1)

BaronM (122102) | about 6 months ago | (#46914769)

In a sense, you are correct. I am referring to more than the kernel when I say 'Linux'. Acknowledged, there is wide disagreement about that.

I'm referring to 'Linux' as the core of an alternative to the Mac OS/OS X/DOS/Windows 9.x/Windows NT/BeOS systems that have locked the vast majority of computer users in to a licensed platform for most of personal computing history. It's not happening, and that saddens me.

I've been around Linux a long time. It's powerful. It's alternately the only way to accomplish some tasks, and maddeningly broken in others (even ignoring sound and xconfig). The OOM killer's tendency to kill exactly the process you DO NOT WANT KILLED has been an issue for more years than I can count. Maybe it's better now (and yes, I know it is tunable), or maybe we all just have more memory.

At any rate, Linux has succeeded marvelously as the hobby it once was, and I'm glad it's around underneath Android, Microtik, Vyatta, etc. It's a good server platform, although no longer head-and-shoulders over Windows Server as is used to be. What it isn't is meaningful for most users most of the time.

No. Linux has more relevance, (2)

aussersterne (212916) | about 6 months ago | (#46914217)

just far less visibility.

The Internet runs on Linux. The number of routers, firewalls/filters, and networking devices and network-connected appliances of all kinds that are Linux-based is staggering. Android is Linux. Every major commercial operating system has either learned/copped or borrowed code from Linux. The supercomputing world is totally pwned by Linux in every way. The practical work of virtually all of science these days relies on Linux.

Linux is freaking HUGE for our world.

On the desktop, however, Linux has been neglected, because designing consumer UX is a very different skill from the skillset that most of the OSS developer world brings to bear. It's too bad—when KDE 1.0 was released, it was obvious to anyone looking that Linux was the future of desktop computing—and yet in many ways the Linux desktop is worse than it has ever been from a consumer usability standpoint.

But don't mistake "not visible on desktops at home or at work" from "not relevant."

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (3)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 6 months ago | (#46914345)

Every major commercial operating system has either learned/copped or borrowed code from Linux.

Or BSD.

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 6 months ago | (#46914793)

just far less visibility.

The Internet runs on Linux. The number of routers, firewalls/filters, and networking devices and network-connected appliances of all kinds that are Linux-based is staggering. Android is Linux. Every major commercial operating system has either learned/copped or borrowed code from Linux. The supercomputing world is totally pwned by Linux in every way. The practical work of virtually all of science these days relies on Linux.

Linux is freaking HUGE for our world.

On the desktop, however, Linux has been neglected, because designing consumer UX is a very different skill from the skillset that most of the OSS developer world brings to bear. It's too bad—when KDE 1.0 was released, it was obvious to anyone looking that Linux was the future of desktop computing—and yet in many ways the Linux desktop is worse than it has ever been from a consumer usability standpoint.

But don't mistake "not visible on desktops at home or at work" from "not relevant."

There's also a matter of sheer inertia in terms of consumer software availability. That's less of a concern with, say, internet infrastructure. Like it or not, DOS captured a large portion of the home and business market early, and Windows leveraged that success and built up a massive amount of inertia among home users. There was a critical period where commercial operating systems, for all their technical shortcomings, were vastly simpler to use than Linux was. I remember experimenting with Linux around '95 or so, and remembering it didn't compare all that favorably to Windows 95. To me, it seemed like it was really only a benefit for people who already knew and were comfortable with Unix, and wanted that environment for their PCs.

Modern Linux desktops are pretty solid (better than Windows 8, certainly), but I'm not certain the real problem is usability. Windows runs nearly all computer games, most business software, and a massive assortment of other commercial products. For people who don't have particular Windows compatibility needs, they can choose the premium Mac hardware/software package, and it provides nearly everything a typical home user would want to start with, and is generally a bit friendlier to use than both Windows and Linux.

That leaves Linux in an uncomfortably position on the desktop, which is unfortunate, because it's come so far and has a lot to offer. It just never got critical mass like DOS/Windows, or had the financial backing of companies like Apple to push it as an alternative OS with it's own ecosystem. At this point, for the average user, Linux really has little to offer them, other than being free and more secure.

An OS's only real purpose in life is to run software. If the software you want to run is only available on Windows, then it's really only a question of whether the price is enough to drive users to another market (assuming no ideological reasons), and for a few hundred dollars spent every five years or so, the answer is pretty obvious. I think the reason for Linux's lackluster desktop adoption is probably as simple as that. And of course, the fact that its already small share is splintered into dozens of distros probably isn't doing it's overall adoption any favors, even if it's great for the enthusiasts.

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (2)

mrvan (973822) | about 6 months ago | (#46914949)

just far less visibility.

[...]The practical work of virtually all of science these days relies on Linux.

Linux is freaking HUGE for our world.

Social scientist here. I wouldn't know what to do if it weren't for linux. My desktops run linux, my servers run linux, the cloud services I use without a doubt run linux (not even talking about the architecture between my computer and those cloud computers), and even my frigging phone runs linux.

The complete "scientific toolchain" or scipy/R/sweave/latex (+github/travis) is now free and open source. This is great because it saves a bit of money, but what it really does is enable you to inspect, modify, copy, and share every step from raw data to the pdf of the article.

(The last non-open part of science is the journals, which should be dealt with even more brutally than the recording industry.)

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46915227)

I wouldn't know what to do if it weren't for linux.

Probably run FreeBSD, or one of the other *BSDs.

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46915267)

How is it worse on the Desktop? My 60 year old Mother has zero issues using Xubuntu and she is completely Computer Illiterate, seriously, she barely knows where the power button is. It's all point and click now and package installation is as easy as a Windows exe. Has it really been THAT long since all you guys used Linux?

This "Difficult to use" and "Not ready" nonsense needs to stop. It's false to the extreme.

Re:No. Linux has more relevance, (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916373)

How is it worse on the Desktop? My 60 year old Mother has zero issues using Xubuntu and she is completely Computer Illiterate, seriously, she barely knows where the power button is.

The people who keep claiming how difficult Linux is are either folks who:

tried it maybe in 1997

Just parroting something they heard from someone (lame)

Actually less computer literate than your dear Grams (pretty sad for people on a tech site)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Here's a little list for folks who can't be bothered to follow the link:

LinuxHas been ported to more platforms than any other OS Leading OS on servers and mainframes

Most of the worlds supercomputers and all of the fastest run Linux variants

Android

Distros available for less powerful computers

Software repositories online. Want a piece of software? Go to a repository, and click on it. It downloads all the dependent files. I've also found driver support to be better as of late. Several USB devices just work on my Mint and Ubuntu systems, and no drivers at all for Windows.

Anyone that still thinks its so difficult needs to watch a Mint install. Even easier that Ubuntu, in itself easy.

Git? When Linux hit the scene, (5, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | about 6 months ago | (#46914089)

there _was_ no free operating system for industry standard hardware, much less a Unix-like one, and the commercial offerings were all platform-specific.

If you wanted a real computer that could do real stuff (as opposed to a DOS box, which wasn't even network aware in any substantive way, and even in non-substantive ways required $$$ for bare-bones, single-function software tools that were cobbled together out of batch files and nonsense), you had to:

- Get your hands on dedicated Unix workstation hardware, which was often poorly documented/supported outside of a corporate sales account

- This meant either $tens of thousands for current workstation hardware or $thousands for last-cycle hardware if it was even available at all (university and government surplus lots were the primary suspects)

- Phone up the one or two providers that offered OSes for the system

- Shell out $many thousands for a license (and often $thousands more for media)

- In many cases, because non-current hardware was tied to non-current OSes no longer for sale, port the current tree yourself to the non-current hardware after spending the $thousands you spent for a license

In short, it was substantively impossible for—say—a small company, a startup, or a CS/CE student to get their hands on anything beyond a DOS box with Windows 3 on it. With money and time, they MIGHT get web BROWSING working on Windows 3—in unstable ways. Developing software was a nightmare on these DOS/Win3 boxes as well—compilers were expensive, proprietary, and often required runtimes that had to be licensed on a per-user basis (i.e. you spent $200 on the compiler that spoke a non-standard dialect, then if you wanted to sell what you created, you spent another $some amount per copy sold) and that had no hooks for anything network-ish, because there were no standards in the DOS ecosystem for that.

Linux changed everything. Suddenly, you could pick up commodity i386 hardware and actually do network stuff with it in Unix-y ways. Even in the early days when Linux was unstable, incomplete, and a bear to install/configure, it made things possible for small shops or independent developers/creators that had simply been prohibitive in every practical way just a year earlier.

As a result, the Unix networking ways—thanks in many ways directly to Linux—would eventually become the industry standard form of networking (TCP/IP over ethernet) that we take for granted today—but in no way was history certain to end up this way. We could just have well been tossing the equivalent of glorified FidoNet payloads today.

Without Linux, GNU, and BSD, it's no stretch to say that we may not have had an Internet today in any way that we'd recognize, and certainly Linux has been the most visible and most widely distributed amongst the three.

Much more than the work by Berners-Lee, Linus Torvalds invented the future that we live in.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (1)

hduff (570443) | about 6 months ago | (#46914215)

Without Linux, GNU, and BSD, it's no stretch to say that we may not have had an Internet today in any way that we'd recognize

It would most likely look like AOL and BBS.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914219)

Without Linux, GNU, and BSD, it's no stretch to say that we may not have had an Internet today in any way that we'd recognize, and certainly Linux has been the most visible and most widely distributed amongst the three.

Uh, no? Linux is basically never distributed without a GNU userland, while GNU runs on a host of other kernels.

There are more things in heaven and on earth (1)

aussersterne (212916) | about 6 months ago | (#46914237)

than the desktop computing userlands you're thinking of. (With apologies to Shakespeare.)

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46915279)

> Linux is basically never distributed without a GNU userland

Except for the few million times when it is [wikipedia.org] you mean?

(And before you say, "that's not Linux," if you're not talking about the GNU userland, you're talking about the kernel. And Android most definitely is a distribution of the Linux kernel)

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914301)

there _was_ no free operating system for industry standard hardware, much less a Unix-like one,[...]Even in the early days when Linux was unstable, incomplete, and a bear to install/configure, it made things possible for small shops or independent developers/creators that had simply been prohibitive in every practical way just a year earlier.

Uh no? Interactive UNIX, while not free still quite more affordable than i386-based standard hardware, worked just fine years for small shops or independent developers/creators before Linux was available and/or useful. The one thing Linux had going for it after X11 (of course, on quite a limited number of graphics cards) and some SCSI controllers started working was the native GNU userland. That's what made it worth switching.

Been there, done that. A 160MB SCSI hard disk cost more than the operating system.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (1, Interesting)

Thomasje (709120) | about 6 months ago | (#46914459)

I think you're greatly overstating the importance of Linux there. Not to take away from the great work Linus did and continues to do, but he himself said: "If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never had happened."

Source: http://gondwanaland.com/meta/h... [gondwanaland.com]

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916067)

not to mention TCPIP and Ethernet was the standard a decade before linux

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46914789)

If you wanted a real computer that could do real stuff (as opposed to a DOS box, which wasn't even network aware in any substantive way, and even in non-substantive ways required $$$ for bare-bones, single-function software tools that were cobbled together out of batch files and nonsense), you had to:

- Get your hands on dedicated Unix workstation hardware, which was often poorly documented/supported outside of a corporate sales account

Sorry, but your history is a bit off and overstates the relative impact of Linux at the time. There were actually quite a few real Unix and Unix-like operating systems available in the 80s to early 90s that ran on X86 hardware such as desktop PCs. The prices ranged from pretty cheap to expensive but still much more affordable than proprietary Unix workstations. Some examples include Coherent, PC/IX, AIX, Dell Unix, Rockport Unix, USL UnixWare, Interactive Unix, Xenix, Venix, SCO Unix, Minix, Xinu, Idris, and a number of others. On the Macintosh there was at least A/UX, several different BSD Unix releases, Idris, and MachTen. The Lisa had Xenix. We'll skip over the Amiga and Atari ST series which also had Unix or Unix-like things on them.

Coherent [wikipedia.org]

In the early years of its existence, MWC received a visit from an AT&T delegation looking to determine whether MWC was infringing on AT&T Unix property. The delegation included Dennis Ritchie, who concluded that "it was very hard to believe that Coherent and its basic applications were not created without considerable study of the OS code and details of its applications" and "that looking at various corners [for peculiarities, bugs, etc. that I knew about in the Unix distributions of the time] I couldn't find anything that was copied. It might have been that some parts were written with [AT&T] source nearby, but at least the effort had been made to rewrite. If it came to it, I could never honestly testify [...] that what they generated was irreproducible from the manual."[1]

--------

As a result, the Unix networking ways—thanks in many ways directly to Linux—would eventually become the industry standard form of networking (TCP/IP over ethernet) that we take for granted today—but in no way was history certain to end up this way. We could just have well been tossing the equivalent of glorified FidoNet payloads today.

Without Linux, GNU, and BSD, it's no stretch to say that we may not have had an Internet today in any way that we'd recognize, and certainly Linux has been the most visible and most widely distributed amongst the three.

Both the internet and Unix networking were well established before Linux had any real influence, including TCP/IP and Ethernet.

Linux was a great accomplishment, but the BSDs would have done just as well for the role it played. The time gap would only have been about 18 months. Both Linux and the BSDs are really for the most part just reimplementation of Unix work done before. They made Unix technology more widely available to the masses.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (2, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#46915099)

"There were actually quite a few real Unix and Unix-like operating systems available in the 80s to early 90s that ran on X86 hardware such as desktop PCs. The prices ranged from pretty cheap to expensive but still much more affordable than proprietary Unix workstations"

I was supporting SCO Unix in '93, and you are wrong. There was no *nix on PC that could possibly have been considered 'pretty cheap.' SCO was the best of the lot and you were still looking at a couple grand per seat, expect to pay for 'extra's in order to get a working system, and pay more for any support needed. And if you needed a bug fixed or a feature added you'd be paying a LOT more.

In '94 we switched a LOT of shops over. The machines that were running SCO went to Slackware. The machines that were running Windows instead because of cost went to Slackware as well. Installation, training, support, across the office, at less than half the cost of *just licensing* with SCO. And if you needed a bug stomped or a feature added you had the source code and there were multiple options offering similar or better quality of work at a much lower price.

Linux put GNU on the desktop and allowed us to turn relatively common and inexpensive toys into real computers. The impact of that is still being felt.

Git may be a damn fine version control system, but it's one of many, and the notion it is somehow more significant than linux is laughable.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46915381)

Sorry, but I'm right. Coherent was pretty cheap, ~ $100.00. Minix wasn't that pricey either. SCO competitors often undercut them on price and could often run the wide range of commercial software available for it.

For comparison: " Windows NT operating system. Initial version is 3.1. Price is US$495, or US$295 as an upgrade from a previous Windows operating system. - Chronology of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems [pctimeline.info] "

Unix list princes from 1993: [google.com]

Consensys System V:
Base 2 user license - $249
Unlimited users complete package - $1,295

Dell Unix System V R4
Base 2 user license - $495
Unlimited users complete package - $1,295

Interactive Unix
Base 2 user license - $495
Unlimited users complete package - $3,195

SCO Open Desktop
Base 2 user license - $1,295
Unlimited users complete package - $4,290

Univel UnixWare
Base 2 user license - $249
Unlimited users complete package - $2,495

A/UX was a flat cost ( ~ $700 on cdrom) and could support 16 users and came with a fully loaded system including utilities, fortran and C compilers. Licenses to copy were $439. On top of that it could run Macintosh software.

Many of the free and open tools, such as the GNU collection, could run on lots of the commercial releases as well. And that's before considering the UCB code. By '93 the BSDs were entering the scene as well.

And lets not forget the fact that as wonderful as Linux & *BSD were in the early 90s there was little commercial software that ran on them, and even if it did it might not have been cost effective to run things on a PC compared to what a workstation or bigger machine could do.
   

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (3, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#46915821)

You're showing SCO at $1295 for 'base' and that's in the right neighborhood, but you could not actually do anything useful with that. And the other x86 systems? Univel could offer their system for whatever price they wanted, it's an academic concern when your sales closely approximate 0. All of these systems were owned by companies that wanted maximum return on minimum investment and they were withering away from lack of development even before linux came along for the coup de grace.

A/UX sounded great but it does not belong on this list because it did NOT run on x86 hardware, it ran on a narrow subset of the 68k architecture which was more expensive and much less common, it was never really well supported and Apple abandoned it completely in '95. I've only seen it running on a computer once in my life.

"Many of the free and open tools, such as the GNU collection, could run on lots of the commercial releases as well."

Of course, before Linux that was the only way to run them. But these were not x86 systems that individuals could afford - we are talking about Apollo and Sun and SGI and DEC machines, specialized high performance hardware that was priced accordingly. With few exceptions, people did not own these things - institutions did, and individuals were lucky to get a shell account that would allow them to compile.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46915961)

All of those systems were commercially available at the time for the price indicated, so yes there was inexpensive PC Unix out there at the time. Their subsequent fortunes in the marketplace or within their respective companies doesn't change their availability at the time. The Unix market was both highly competitive between companies, and against other offerings. Windows NT took a bit bite out of more than one company with a Unix-centric strategy.

As to "maximum return on minimum investment," why do you think people went after Linux? Isn't that more or less a big part of your argument? That it was cheap so everybody could get it? Or at least the "street Linux" was cheap. But you do realize that both Red Hat and Suse tried to get a good return on investment? I've seen Red Hat bills per system that were higher than Sun bills for similar systems, and the Sun bill was for both hardware and software support. The history of companies involved with open source is littered with failed companies that couldn't turn a profit, and that includes Linux companies. There certainly appears to have been some fratricide in Linuxland as well.

A/UX ran on hardware from what was the major competitor for X86 hardware / software at the time so it is entirely reasonable to include it since you could buy it at the time. Although if you like we could drop A/UX and focus on what is the most successful *nix desktop system - NextStep AKA MacOS X. NextStep was also available for X86 at the time.

If market share is your concern then you should be passing over Linux until the mid to late 90s since in 1993 it was negligible.

Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (3, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#46916155)

"All of those systems were commercially available at the time for the price indicated, so yes there was inexpensive PC Unix out there at the time."

Fine, I can see how you think you are technically correct here, but this was true in name only. Those systems all sucked very badly, they were 'unix' by some definition but they were not acceptable substitutes for big iron unix in the way that linux quickly became.

"As to "maximum return on minimum investment," why do you think people went after Linux?"

Everyone wants maximum return on minimum investment, of course, but not everyone takes it to unworkable extremes. The other x86 unix vendors did. They got to call it unix by virtue of paying for a license and being authorised forks of the AT&T code, but never invested the resources necessary to get the whole system ported and working properly. Honestly, even SCO was not a passable substitute for proper Unix, it was so rough and full of holes that every day was an adventure, and the other vendors were even worse.

"A/UX ran on hardware from what was the major competitor for X86 hardware"

No, just no. 68k was an entirely different architecture, in a higher price bracket, running entirely different code and competing at a very different tier to the x86 hardware.

"NextStep was also available for X86 at the time."

Spoken like someone that never used it.

I had the immense pleasure of working on a cube at about that time, side by side with HP/UX. Both ran on the big iron that us lowly mortals could not afford, and time-shares were precious. Yes, I know there was an x86 port before NeXT went caput, but how many people actually got a chance to see it run? And just how short was the supported hardware list, hmmm?

Any of these systems, with some time and resources dedicated to them, could have provided a real unix on x86 experience. But none of them did. Not until Linux.

Exactly. (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | about 6 months ago | (#46916781)

You can tell whether or not someone was actually there by whether or not they mention things like "Minix" in a list of viable operating systems.

I was part of a project at the time that needed real networking and a real Unix development environment. We spent four months working to find an alternative, then shelled out for a series of early Sparc pizza boxes. SS2 boxes maybe? As I recall, we got four at nearly $15k each that ate up a huge chunk of our budget.

Two years later, we had liquidated them and were doing all of the same stuff on Linux with cheap 486 boxes and commodity hardware, and using the GNU userland and toolchain. People here talk about GNU as predating Linux while forgetting that prior to Linux, the only place to run it was on your freaking Sparcstation (or equivalent—but certainly not under Minix), which already came with a vendor-supported userland. GNU starts to be interesting exactly when Linux becomes viable.

All in all, the change was bizarrely cool and amazing. We were like kids in a candy store—computing was suddenly so cheap as to almost be free, rather than the single most expensive non-labor cost in a project.

"Man who invented Linux" - nonsense. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914137)

Linus Torvalds did not "invent" Linux. He implemented a POSIX kernel, working from basic UNIX standards and preexisting hardware (the 80386 MMU). UNIX was an invention. Linux was "just" an implementation. As it grew, there were various inventions going into it. But Linux "as such" was not an invention.

In contrast, Torvalds did basically invent Git. Its shape and functionality, as opposed to what Linux started with, were not predetermined.

Re:"Man who invented Linux" - nonsense. (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#46914267)

The most innovative thing with Linux was not that it is a Unix look-a-like. It's that it's a _free software_ Unix look-a-like.

Re:"Man who invented Linux" - nonsense. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914441)

I'd simplify and just say that he "implemented" the correct ideals and pieces of otherwise fragmented systems of the day. And that deserves praise because he pulled it off.

Execution is actually difficult.... Look at other projects trying to do the same thing. They have little to no following and haven't overtaken their parent OS (react OS, opensolaris, pleathora of BSDs, and other obscure clones).

Yet Linux was so correctly executed that it OVER TOOK the parent OS that it was essentially taking design cues from. That's like React OS being so good that M$ abandons another Windows version and sells off the trademark to some Patent troll with a three letter name, then the whole world essentially moves to using future free versions of that..... Yeah right. But Linux basically did that at a time when the same was true. A big company was the only way to get a "Unix" and you had to pony up cash. Windows is currently only available from a big company and you have to pony up cash.... no one has dethroned it in it's own domain though. Wine isn't standalone so please don't think that counts.

Re:"Man who invented Linux" - nonsense. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46915605)

you know nothing of software development, and so spew ignorant tripe. Linus *invented* software to a specification (a pile of headers and expected behaviors). That is the hard part, any moron can read posix specs (doubtful you could even do that)

Unix had to work on pre-existing hardware too.

LOL @ article (2)

phmadore (1391487) | about 6 months ago | (#46914173)

In 1996 Linux Torvalds joined Transmeta, a California-based startup that was designing an energy-saving CPU. He continued to oversee kernel development for Linux, and in 2003 left Transmeta to focus exclusively on the Linux kernel as a Fellow at The Linux Foundation (known at the time as Open Source Development Labs) and today remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.

https://drive.google.com/file/... [google.com]

The man has been renamed after his own Frankenstein.

Re:LOL @ article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914541)

It was called the Monster, not Frankenstein. Frankenstein was the one who created the monster, and people frequently get the names wrong sadly. Oh... OH! Well played, sir.

Linus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914197)

must be getting old.

He was merely fortunate... (0)

Guest316 (3014867) | about 6 months ago | (#46914365)

...in that most of userland was already available freely for him to use, and BSD's free release was delayed by court cases.

Re:He was merely fortunate... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 6 months ago | (#46914479)

...in that most of userland was already available freely for him to use, and BSD's free release was delayed by court cases.

Fortunate, yes, but not "merely" fortunate. Nearly every success story also has a component of being in the right place at the right time, but unless you're talking about lottery winners, there's typically far more "work" than "luck" involved.

undisputed undefeated golden gloves softwar hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914425)

changed everything at once. thanks again

Everyone's Grown Up Now (-1, Troll)

turgid (580780) | about 6 months ago | (#46914469)

We've all moved on to Windows 8.1. Linux was an interesting historical diversion. The Mac is just for hipsters.

Re:Everyone's Grown Up Now (1)

clifffton (912293) | about 6 months ago | (#46914807)

Is that you Loverock?

Re:Everyone's Grown Up Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46914997)

You're pathetic, even for a troll.

Re:Everyone's Grown Up Now (1)

turgid (580780) | about 6 months ago | (#46915149)

Sorry, I was short of karma, and this place is full of Microsoft shills nowadays.

Re:Everyone's Grown Up Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916229)

I thought he was pretty good for sarcastic comedy

Contracts (1)

MSG (12810) | about 6 months ago | (#46914555)

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about OpenSSL, and the developers' complaint that they aren't receiving financial or development support from some of the companies that use and benefit most from the software. My point of view is that if you, as a developer, need financial or development support from the users of your software, you need to tell them so. If you don't tell them what support you need in exchange, then you aren't going to get it. The best place for the terms of that agreement is your license. If your license demands nothing in return for your software, very often you will receive nothing for your software. While this is an unpopular opinion, I believe it is their own fault, and not the fault of the users of their software, that they aren't getting the support that they need.

I think it's easy to make the argument that Linux is more significant than GNU. Android is a Linux operating system, without GNU. DD-WRT and similar systems are Linux, without GNU. However, I personally think that Linux is less significant than the GPL. The license gave us a means to collaborate, to create open systems, and to get the support that we need for the software that we develop.

Unspeakable naiveté (4, Insightful)

BadDreamer (196188) | about 6 months ago | (#46914613)

"In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution" - thus spake someone who was not there in the early 90's, and who takes free software and OS competition for granted. In other words, someone who is naive beyond words.

The change brought by Git is insignificant next to that brought by Linux. Utterly insignificant.

Re:Unspeakable naiveté (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916217)

"In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution" - thus spake someone who was not there in the early 90's, and who takes free software and OS competition for granted. In other words, someone who is naive beyond words.

The change brought by Git is insignificant next to that brought by Linux. Utterly insignificant.

Cannot agree with this sentiment enough....

Smart man but what a jerk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46915369)

I love everything that linus has contributed to the FOSS community and I feel like he would be beloved by all if he weren't so smug about his thoughts always being the best.

Re:Smart man but what a jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916221)

he would be beloved by all if he weren't so smug about his thoughts always being the best.

Theo is feeling left out. Why doncha give him a call?

Re:Smart man but what a jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916241)

I love everything that linus has contributed to the FOSS community and I feel like he would be beloved by all if he weren't so smug about his thoughts always being the best.

I doubt he gives a shit what you think. That is what makes him a great leader for the development of an operating system. It is about development of an operating system, not your (or anybodies) "feelings".

A lot of younger people on slashdot these days (5, Insightful)

statemachine (840641) | about 6 months ago | (#46916021)

I'm not going to say the kids need to leave the lawn, but saying Git can be seen in any way as Torvalds' more important contribution is speaking from ignorance. The people who say there were other OSes that could've filled the same role, but then list off prices for each, are ignorant too.

Linux was free and freely available.

I went from installing it out of the back of a book and from some odd company named Yggdrasil's ftp server, to installing it for a multi-million dollar enterprise fail-over solution.

I went from twiddling values for "drums" to get my hard disks recognized, to it upgrading itself unattended on a phone in my pocket.

Git got to where it was because Torvalds mandated it for Linux contributions. Linux, and the rest of the world, would be fine if Git didn't exist. There were and are plenty of free revision control systems out there. No one can say the same for Linux.

Re:A lot of younger people on slashdot these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46916845)

No, you're just a twat. Anyone who doesn't agree with you isn't "ignorant".

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