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Open Source Acid Test Revisted

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the rebuttals-are-fun dept.

News 129

Kragen Sitaker has written a brutal reply to the story Sengan posted yesterday on the The Open Source Acid Test. It goes down and point by point shows the factual errors and fud in the story. It pleases me greatly to post this feature. Check it out.The following was written by Slashdot Reader Kragen Sitaker

I read Ted Lewis's article, _The Open Source Acid Test_, on your web pages.

I was appalled that an organ of a prestigious international society like the IEEE would publish such error-riddled, poorly-researched, deliberately deceptive nonsense. It's as if the _New England Journal of Medicine_ had published a case study of a zombie animated by voodoo!

The author did not cite sources for any of his dubious statistics, and they are therefore hard to disprove. Given the remarkable lack of factual accuracy in the article, I doubt that they have any basis in fact.

To begin with the most obvious errors:

  1. Linus Torvalds's name is not Linus Torvold.
  2. Applix, Tower Technology, and NewMonics do not sell open-source software.
  3. There is no such company as "Walnut Creek Stackware". belongs to Walnut Creek CDROM. There is no such company as "Tower Tech JVM". belongs to Tower Technology, which sells a (non-open-source) JVM. There is no such web site as
  4. is operated by the Python Software Association, not CNRI, although it is currently hosted on CNRI's network.
  5. Several of the "commercial enterprises" listed in Table 1 are not commercial enterprises at all.,, and are all operated by nonprofit organizations. The Corporation for National Research Initiatives, which was incorrectly listed as operating, is actually a not-for-profit research organization.
  6. It is absurd to say that Unix was the foundation for Hewlett-Packard and IBM, as Lewis does in his introductory paragraph. Both companies had been established for more than thirty years when the first line of Unix was written.
  7. On page 126, Lewis claims that the open-source community admits that its organizational structure is weak. The evidence he adduces is a quote from a document published on What he doesn't tell you is that the document is *a leaked internal Microsoft memo*. Unless Lewis missed the 115 references to Microsoft in this document and also failed to read the introductory paragraphs, the only reasonable conclusion is that he is being deliberately deceptive.
  8. On page 125, Lewis claims that "Currently, Linux's installed base numbers 7.5 million". As usual, he cites no source. However, the most widely-cited source for such figures is Robert Young's paper, Sizing the Linux Market eight different data sources to obtain an estimate of between five and ten million Linux users. However, this paper has a date of March 1998. If Linux's growth had continued to double yearly in 1998, as it did from roughly 1993 to 1998, the number of Linux users would be between ten and twenty million.
  9. On page 128, Lewis says, "Windows NT market share smothers all Unix dialects combined". According to International Data Corporation's Server Operating Environment report, Unix and Linux together had 34.6% of the server market in 1998, while Windows NT had 36%. See more information. The actual number of server Linux shipments IDC tallied in 1998 was only three-quarters of a million; that suggests that if you include people installing multiple servers from the same CD and installing from Internet downloads, you would find that Linux's server market share is much greater than Windows NT's.
  10. Lewis remarks, "With few exceptions, open source software has never crossed the chasm into the mainstream without first becoming a commercial product sold by a commercial enterprise." Does he think that Linux is not a commercial product sold by commercial enterprises? If not, there are literally dozens of "exceptions" to this statement -- Perl, Apache, sendmail, BIND, Linux, Tcl/Tk, Berkeley DB, Samba, the X Window system, FORTH, GNU Emacs, and trn, for example. Many of these became popular before they were commercially sold at all.
  11. Lewis misstates the business case for Linux and "its open source software cousins". According to Eric Raymond -- whom Lewis quotes extensively elsewhere in this article -- a much more compelling business case is founded on the better quality of the software, choice of suppliers, choice of support and maintenance, freedom from legal exposure and license tracking. More details are available at

These minor factual errors, so far, merely indicate that the author knows very little about the topic he writes about and is deliberately trying to mislead his readers; they do not directly undermine his conclusions. However, as I shall show, each of his supporting arguments consist of incorrect facts and lead to faulty conclusions.

One of the author's major contentions is that as Open Source software adds more features and becomes more comparable to proprietary software, it will lose many of its advantages. He cites as examples Linux's supposed lack of video card support, wireless LAN support, and "a good selection of productivity software."; he claims that Unix contains 10 million lines of code, while Linux contains only 1.5 million. On page 126, he says, "Maintenance and support grow more complex, and costs increase due to a scarcity of talented programmers. Success leads to features, and feature creep leads to bloated software."

With regard to video card support, it is true that the Linux kernel does not have video card support in it. That facility is provided by video drivers in other software; nearly all graphical software available for Linux uses X11 for access to those video drivers. Open-source X11 drivers for most video cards are available from; the list of supported cards there currently lists 555 different kinds of video cards, many of which include numerous individual models.

For those few cards for which XFree86 support is not available, proprietary X11 drivers are available from Xi Graphics and Metro-Link.

With XFree86, Linux's video card support is better than either Windows 98 or Windows NT, and considerably more extensive than any Unix that does not use XFree86.

To claim that Linux lacks video card support is merely laughable.

With regard to wireless LAN support, it is true that many of the recent wireless LAN products do not currently have support in Linux. However, Linux has had support for packet-radio wireless networking and several kinds of LANs for years, and has supported several wireless LAN products since at least late 1997, including most of the most popular ones:

Lucent Wavelan
DEC RoamAbout DS
Lucent Wavelan IEEE
Netwave Airsurfer
Xircom Netwave
Proxim RangeLan2
Proxim Symphony
DEC RoamAbout FH
Aironet ARLAN
Raytheon Raylink
BreezeCom BreezeNet

This information is readily available on the Web in the Linux Wireless LAN Howto.

With regard to productivity software, there are several office suites available for Linux, and there have been for several years. ApplixWare and StarOffice are the two most common.

With regard to the size of Linux: first, among the utilities tested in the failure-rate study (the latest report on which is entitled "Fuzz Revisited: A Re-examination of the Reliability of Unix Utilities and Services". the quote used on page 125 appears to be from the original paper, which I cannot find on the Web) are the standard set of Unix utilities, awk, grep, wc, and so forth. These utilities have a standard set of functionality common across all Unix systems, except that the GNU utilities tend to have a great deal of extra functionality included. If the GNU utilities really are only one-sixth the size of the corresponding utilities on a Unix system, yet provide much more functionality, and still have one-third to one-sixth of the failure rate, that is not an indictment of the defect rate of free software, but rather a vindication of it -- which is why this study is linked to from the Free Software Foundation's Web pages. The study is unfairly biased in favor of less-featureful proprietary software, and that software still came out way behind.

(From my own experience, I know that frequently, the best workaround for a bug in a Unix utility is to install the GNU version.)

Lewis's claim that this represents "a single-point estimate of defect rate" is incorrect. The paper includes detailed results of the tests on 82 different utilities, along with aggregate statistics by operating system. 63 of these utilities were available either from GNU or from Linux, and were tested in this study.

With regard to the lines-of-code figure: it is not easy to measure the number of lines of code that constitute "Linux", because it is not easy to define what constitutes "Linux" -- or, for that matter, "Unix" either.

If we mean just the kernel, this site has some figures for the sizes of several OS kernels in 1994. SunOS 5.2's kernel is listed as containing 680,000 lines of code, while SunOS 5.0's kernel is listed as containing 560,000 lines of code. If the rate of increase per version remained constant (doubtful, because 5.0 and 5.1 weren't really finished products) then the latest SunOS (the one that's the kernel of just-released Solaris 7) would contain 1,280,000 lines of code.

By comparison, the source code of the 2.2.1 Linux kernel totals 1,676,155 lines of code, including comments and blank lines, counting only .c, .h, and .S (assembly) files.

The Linux project's source code has already reached a level where we would "expect Linux defect densities to get worse". They haven't.

On page 125, Lewis cites Apache as an example of support diminishing when "the hype wears off", saying "it is currently supported by fewer than 20 core members" -- implying that the "cast of thousands" is a thing of the past. The truth is that the core Apache team has never been larger than 20 people, and they *still* receive contributions from many people outside the group. He also says that "Apache is losing the performance battle against Microsoft's IIS." But Apache has never been intended to be the fastest HTTP server around -- it's already more than fast enough to saturate a T1 when running on a puny machine, so its developers have been concentrating on things like adding more features and making it more reliable.

On page 128, Lewis says, "The concept of free software is a frequently practiced strategy of the weak". While free-as-in-price giveaways are common -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer strategy is a perfect example -- they are not related to open-source software, and their patterns of success and failure have little relevance for us here.

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Sources, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017354)

Could you post references to those benchmarks? I looked for them, having heard that Apache was faster than IIS, but I couldn't find them at all.

I know there are proprietary servers (e.g. Zeus [] ) that are faster than Apache.

By the way, if Apache really is faster than IIS on comparable hardware, that's a tremendous indictment of IIS's quality. IIS is a multithreaded, single-process server; such servers tend to be roughly three times faster than multi-process pre-forking servers like Apache, when they're both running on Unix, anyway.

I've SEEN it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017355)

On an early IE4 CD. Before they released the first Service Pack to IE4. Our group had to order IE4 on CD because we didn't have decent Systems management capabilities for our predominately NT shop. It's printed neatly on the CD, and on the little paper coverslip.

"One World, One Web, One program"

Of course, somebody in the Marketing dept. must have made the obvious comparison and quietly yanked it.


Apache Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017356)

Regarding his Claim that Apache is only supported by the 20 core team memebers:

IBM offers support for Apache as part of its WebSphere solution if i am not mistaken.


Fine Article, but still, where are the real apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017357)

The only thing an average person knows how to
use on a computer is a word processor, a browser,
minesweeper and solitare!

Fuzz, What's the difference between a GNU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017358)

The Fuzz paper cited in this rebuttal tests standard system utilities from various operating systems for fatal bugs and finds that GNU comes in first, followed closely by Linux, and then a ways behind by commercial apps. My question is how did GNU and Linux score differently? The standard system utilities on my Linux boxes are all GNU utilities, so what are Linux utilities if they aren't GNU?

Oops...Wow FLAMEFLAMEFLAME!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017359)

Brackets did not work wery well...

HAHA! You mentioned PC in conjunction to Mac
I smell smoke...FLAMEWAR! Lets get to it shall we:

Macs are so much better than PCs because
*fill in favorite "Mac" argument here*

No Way! PCs are better than Macs because
*!favorite "Mac" argument here*

For example:

Macs are so much better than PCs because
*PC users are always dis the Mac users but Mac users never really yell to the PC users..*

No Way! PCs are better than Macs because
*Mac users are always dis the PC users but PC users never really yell to the Mac users..*


Fine Article, but still, where are the real apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017360)

I'm not the author of the original message, but what I believe he means is where are the applications that are comparable to the things that we usually take for granted under windows?
I'd love to find a good C/C++ IDE. To be honest, emacs doesn't cut it. It does what I'd imagine it's supposed to do very well - edit text. I prefer more out of an IDE though. I know a number of unix programmers that use windows based development environments with NFS or SMB. To me this indicates that the effort of setting up this method, and the cost of the commercial IDE is less of a loss than that which would be taken by coding with whatever is available under unix.
Word processors - Linux has a few, but I don't know many people (besides the anti-MS people that automaticly argue anything regardless of how outlandish as long as it's against MS) that would call them up to par with Windows word processors. Maybe it's the X Windows interface. I haven't tried any word processors since I've switched to KDE (and just a note here, KDE - and Windowmaker from the screenshots I've seen - go a VERY VERY VERY long way in making an acceptable linux GUI.)
3D modeling. POVRay just doesn't cut it. Softimage, 3d studio, maya. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not a modeler or even an artist for that matter. I'm a programmer and do associate with modelers on occasion - this is basicly my interpretation of their answer to "why don't you use linux?"
Linux tends to be designed for power users. I haven't seen any of the recent "easy" distributions myself, so these may be much better. However, if you want to attract a lot of basicly non-technical people (People that just want to get something done quick without a steep learning curve) it would be very advisable to eliminate ALL text file editing - ALL command prompt interface. Of course leaving it available is fine, but if you have to type a command at a prompt, it's probably going to discourage people right off. And editing a formatted file for configuration is just going to outright confuse these people.
It would probably be a welcome addition if someoene created something like a graphical installation wrapper. If there were an InstallShield for linux, it would make things easier.
Which indirectly brings up another issue. Windows basicly has Windows NT and Windows 95/98. I believe the other versions of Windows are now unsupported. When you ask for help with windows, you can say "I'm running Windows 95 and.." etc.
Linux has a whole table of "current" configurations which all have their differences.
At least when you pay for help from MS you get help (even if it costs an arm and a leg). In addition there are numerous web pages around the world that have common problems posted on them and solutions found by various people. Linux has some limited tech support (I know RedHat offers support, but I don't know of any other groups that do offhand). If you're about to point towards the open projects net linux help channel (linpeople), it's gone downhill recently. As an example, change your nick to something that people wont recognize you as, enter the channel, and ask a question. Of course you should specify your kernel version, distribution (including version), hardware, and anything else relevant. Ignoring that it would be hard for an end user to gather this information in the first place. (It's not typing "uname -a" that's hard, it's knowing what you have to type.) You might get lucky and get a reply immediately, but chances are you wont. Instead you will be informed that you should switch to X distribution instead. Or maybe "You shouldn't be doing X on linux." (this was popular when quake came along) After you eventually do get an answer, it will likely be something that an end user wouldn't understand.

How to contact IEEE Computer Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017361)

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Fine Article, but still, where are the real apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017362)

If, for every 100 people who read this rebuttal and posted a note to register their approval of it, just 1 would step forward and write an application that the average person can use, the whole world would be better off. Office Apps are fine, Web Server Apps are fine, Window Managers are fine, but where oh where are the apps that the average person can use which will make life better? Take all the satisfaction and validation you need from this fine article, then go do something with it that will make a difference. Otherwise you ought not to get so excited by such a good piece of writing.

Tell IEEE what you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017363)

And those that advertise in their mag. There is a great post up above with all contact information.

Why not have this published in the 'COMPUTER' mag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017364)

The author of the original article isn't a member of the IEEE's staff, he's just a contributor.
Maybe it is possible to get a rebuttal like this one into the mag, either as a letter to the editor, or, in a more polite (and polished) form as a response article.

Neutralizing the Acid

for example.
They might be interested, as all of Kragen's arguments are of interest to the average IEEE 'customer'.

Possible extensions of the article:
* "only 20 apache members": explaining the concept of the Apache group
* History of HP, IBM and their current attitude towards Linux.
* Strategies how Linus handles the growing amount of code (preselection of patches etc.)
* An updated version of "Sizing the Linux market"



Re: Apache performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017365)

All of the benchmarks that I have seen show Apache to be as fast or faster than IIS unless it is performing reverse lookups on IP addresses.

The latest benchmarks I saw showed Apache on Linux to be almost twice as fast as IIS on NT using identical hardware.

One correction that was missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017366)

One of the claims made in the article by Lewis was that after the initial wave of support for a new OSS project, interest dies down. The example he used was the decline of postings on the Mozilla project's mailing list. This statement is misleading because the decline in mailing list traffic occured because most of the discussion was moved to Usenet newsgroups.

I don't have a reference for this fact, but you could find it on Mozillazine or if you looked hard enough.

excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017367)

I couldn't read the "Acid Test" itself, it seemed
to be password-protected. But from what I gathered from this rebuttal, I'm sure the original sucked.
This counter-post represents a small but great victory for open source. Yet again, we have shown that when confronted with FUD, we come out on top.

great article!

MoNsTeR (forgot my password :)

Speaking of benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017369)

PC Week Labs this week published benchmarks of Linux vs NT. See Linux Is The Web Server's Choice [] .

Developer size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017371)

I loved the section on page 125 where he says the developer base is puny compared to Microsoft's. He compares Microsoft's 400 core programmers to 1000 people who contributed to Linux (in the kernel sense). And that their betas frequently go to 60000 users. That's pitiful. Let alone the fact that Microsoft's 400 full time programmers are coding all kinds of different projects, not necessarily the core kernel. I would like to see how many people are devoted to the NT kernel alone, versus the number of people reviewing the Linux kernel.

How Sweet It Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017372)

I have to add my voice to the chorus -- *excellent* job with the rebuttal. The only problem is that many who read the original article won't read the rebuttal.

Kick ass!

RMS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017373)

Go GNUlix!!

Whoo HOOO!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017375)

Kragen Sitaker, you are my new Ghod! Excellent work, man!

ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017376)

In depends what you mean by "Linux". If you mean the kernel, then the reason it's becoming so large is that nearly all the device drivers are distributed with the kernel, in source form no less. If Windows were to do this for all their device drivers, the size of Windows would be astronomical.
If you mean utilities, etc., then I'd have to agree. I've seen a fairly substantial increase in the size of some of the most popular Linux software.

Heaps of FUD, fresh from the FUD factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017377)

Excellent follow-up. This makes me proud to be a Linux user. Facts are facts, people who write for a living should stick to them. Obviously the original author did not and he got burnt (rightly) for it.

AC because passwords suck!

Let Ted Lewis know what you think! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017379)

The website for Ted Lewis's last book is [] and he receives mail for that at [mailto]

His email address at the Naval Postgraduate School: [mailto]

Although please try to contain at least most of your rage... : )

Bravo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017381)

(First time poster and Linux newbie here)

A truly masterful expose of the inaccuracies in the original article.

Just a quickie: is there on /. an archive where articles such as this could be stored for posterity and the education of the masses? I'm still at the early stages of being a Linux user (weaning myself off of NT gradually :) and I make the odd comment about how good it is to other MS-oids. It would be great if I could point some of them to articles such as this one. (Might not work since they have all been loboNTomised, but one lives in hope!)

(currently an Anonymous Coward but aspiring to greater things)

No Subject Given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017382)

Yes. And BTW instead of speculating with out solid numbers that the server market share is larger the article really only has to make a point that NT doesn't 'smother' everything else.

On a side note. It might be more interesting to know what % of the net traffic is controlled by a particular server software/OS. I serve web-pages locally off my P133 Linux Box - only when I want to share data. Should it be weighted the same as some Sun box servering a million pages a day?

Furthermore does Apache run on NT? Would this be an NT server or an OSS server by this guys logic (if logic is a good word)?


ok but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017383)

Modularization. If software keeps growing in size at a high rate, it's because the authors have failed to plan and are, usually due to a marketing department, integrating completely useless features into a product where they have no place. A Certain Companys products suffer heavily from this, hence they are unstable and quality goes down the drain. Throughly modularized software doesnt suffer the same problem, since it relies on well defined interfaces to separate the different parts, and for free software there is no driving force to merge features into the wrong place. Each part is small and does it's job in the correct way.

an appreciation, and an addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017384)

I couldn't read the original article, since I've let my membership lapse in the IEEE computer affiliate years ago. However, if it is the case that the author actually claimed IBM and HP were based on UNIX, this is so laughable that the fact that this article was even published justifies my dropping my membership. Until fairly recently (that is, the last decade or so) IBM=[MVS || DOS/VSE/SP/etc].

Furthermore, the comment of NT "smothering" the competition does not even *begin* to consider all the companies (Ameritech, for example, where I used to work) going from Win 3.1 directly to NT w/s, instead of the dead-end trojan horse of beta software that was Lose95.

I have *also* read that *half* the Web runs on Apache, and only a third on IIS.

mark roth-whitworth (

Re: Apache performance > IIS on NT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017385)

I would totally agree here, I use NT, 98, Linux and IIS and Apache. The gut feel is that Apache blows away IIS for speed.

I've noticed that too, but all the articles I've read say IIS is faster. I've never actually tested to see if they're accurate or not. When an article says that IIS is faster, are they talking about the number of hits per minute it can serve, or average turn-around time (which the user sees.)

It should matter very little if IIS can serve a couple more pages per minute if Apache beats it in responsiveness.


Bitten by buzzwords... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017386)

It's time to start shooting people who use the phrase "thinking out of the box" - especially when it's used as an excuse to knowingly pass off crap as gold with the intention of provoking people.

I think that we should invite Ted Lewis to respond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017387)

Surely he is not afraid to stand behind his paper..

The press still doesn't know what Linux is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017388)

Really we should be saying that 'the Linux kernel'
is an OS kernel, and Linux itself is just an
umbrella heading for anything related to it.

Excellent Rebuttal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017390)

I still find it hard to believe that the IEEE actually allowed that article to be published. That had to be the worst article that I have ever read in COMPUTER. Their standards are usually much higher than that.


one more point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017391)

The article didn't mention the most ridiculous claim of "acid test": that OSS developers prefer
working over interface fancies rather than on
"nuts and bolts". If the author had any clue,
he would have known that one of main problems
of OSS is exactly opposite (although such
projects as KDE and GNOME aim at solving it)

Good job, Kragen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017392)

Thanks for the editorial, Kragen. More people need to write things like this.


No Subject Given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017396)

million; that suggests that if you include people installing
multiple servers from the same CD and installing from Internet
downloads, you would find that Linux's server market share is much
greater than Windows NT's.
I hope the author meant unix, and not liunx. To think that linux's installed base is greater than NT's is laughable. Except for this, and one other minor error I found (so minor, I can't find it again...) the author's assertions are sound.

Lynx again... sKroz

Don't mix Server and Workstation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017400)

I don't doubt for a minute that Linux's installed base is greater than NT Server's.

Now, the MS droids will immediately pipe up to complain about leaving all those copies of NT Workstation out of the count.

Well, to them I say, come back when Workstation provides the same server support that Linux does.
(Oh, I know it's the same codebase, just some registry setting tweaks make the difference. But Microsoft charges a hell of a lot for those tweaks, and without them the functionality isn't there. Lets compare servers to servers, whether or not the hardware is actually being used that way (no way of knowing).

Ted Lewis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017402)

His email address is on the Computer magazine web page:

Take another hit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017403) the keg full of whoop@ss. Excellent rebuttal! It makes me *sniff* proud... :~)


Can you say FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017404)

Hmmm, I wonder how much MS paid for that article? It's obvious he didn't even bother to research his facts...

This article is good, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017405)

but not as effective if the mainstream doesn't see it. We really should find a way to get this posted somewhere where the non-technical manager types will read it.

RMS is an egotistical lunatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2017406)

I think it was RMS who suggested (or rather demanded) that what the press commonly refers to as "Linux" is really "a common collection of GNU utilities and the Linux kernel" thus "GNU/Linux"...

And this is one of the many reasons I dislike the guy.

I have a SunOS machine sitting on my desk with a bunch of GNU utilities running on it. Why doesn't he insist that I call this a "GNU/SunOS" system?

RMS is simply jealous of all the publicity that Linux is getting. That publicity should have been his, if he had been able to finish the HURD. He's as egotistical as they come. So now he wants to do all he can to make sure everyone knows that Linux would not have been possible if it weren't for the GNU project.

He's right about that, and everyone who worked on GNU software has my gratitude. But it's best to call it a "Linux" system, and then have people find out that all those programs came from the GNU project.

Otherwise, to be fare, we'd have to call it s GNU/BSD/ system. And that's just ridiculous.

A response from Ted Lewis (1)

dwmw2 (82) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017407)

I don't think that quoting this reply is too inappropriate...
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:25:45 -0800
To: David Woodhouse <>,,
From: Ted Lewis <>
Subject: Re: Complaint re: 'Computer' magazine.


The April issue of Computer will reply to many of the issues raised by the open source community.
Grrr. When I hit 'preview', /. removed all the bloody &gt; escapes, and replaced them with the real characters, which then didn't bloody work next time.

How to read the original article. (1)

Brett Viren (296) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017409)

The usual `cypherpunks' user and password is valid.


i agree (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017411)

I wouldn't mind seeing more of this guy's stuff..

No Subject Given (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017412)

Nice writeup, I enjoyed reading it.

Very Good Post (1)

Aaron M. Renn (539) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017413)

I must say, after the very low quality of most slashdot "editorials" these days, this one was very refreshing. Very high quality.

The only thing I should mention is that the New England Journal of Medicine is a purveyor of all too much junk science. Check out one of the best sites on the web [] to find out more.

Anti-FUD Bomb (1)

CrusadeR (555) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017414)

This is easily the best editorial published by Slashdot in recent memory... Rob, get this guy to be a regular contributor... Congratulations Kragen for your logical and well thought out rebuttal.

You took the words right outta my mouth... (1)

Codifex Maximus (639) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017415)

litteraly! That is exactly what I said yesterday though you stated it a bit more eloquently. :)

Bottom line: If you don't evaluate and investigate your subjects both objectively and thoroughly, you don't have anything worth saying.

The author of the origional article should take the Bottom line fact to heart.

Simply beautifull!!!!! (1)

Wisdom Seeker (841) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017417)

I really enjoyed reading this. I'm glad there are some people who can retalliate without having to flame.

Nice piece of work!

- Jesper Juhl -

You can't see me, (1)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017418)

but I'm standing on my chair applauding.

I'm getting funny looks from my coworkers.

The press still doesn't know what Linux is (1)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017419)

I think it was RMS who suggested (or rather
demanded) that what the press commonly refers
to as "Linux" is really "a common collection
of GNU utilities and the Linux kernel" thus
"GNU/Linux", so comparing the Linux kernel
to the entire UNIX OS is apples and oranges
and also discredits all the thousands who have
ported GNU utilities to Linux while the press
assumes that Linus commands the kernel and
the common utilities. In fact we should really
annoy the press and insist what they think is
Linus is really "XFree + GNU + Linux"

Also I am highly skeptical of any claim that
IIS outperforms Apache. Can I see some benchmarks
to that effect anyone? Perhaps on a Windows
box Apache is not so great compared to IIS but
I am confident that Apache + UNIX kicks the crap
out of IIS + NT.

Get This Out (1)

sterwill (972) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017420)

An excellent rebuttal, but you're only preaching to the converted if you don't find a way to get this read. Submit this to Computer suggesting that Ted Lewis needs to defend his previous statements, else Computer magazine itself might be held liable (at least in its readership's eyes) for the inaccuracies, deceptions, and borderline slander in an article they published.

Amen Brother (1)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017421)

This is what I love about /. If BS exists, Rob, Hemos, Sengan, ect. finds it, and /.ers tear it to shreds.

God, think what we could do if we were experts on the law, or public policy. 'Course, if we were, we wouldn't be cool enough to visit /.

Oh well, keeping MS in check is enough for now.

Don Negro

"then they fight you" (1)

tjones (1282) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017422)

I ignored Mr. Lewis' article at first, I figured it was just more FUD for the heap. Reading Kragen's reply caused me to read the "article" in question.

Mr. Lewis, it seems, it not as much interested in researching facts as he is in promoting his book. His inattention to detail is obvious. Misdirection, assumption, and outright misrepresentation are no way to present an analysis of anything. Mr. Lewis has just destroyed whatever credibility he may have had.

Excellent article, damn it all. (1)

joss (1346) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017423)

I was really happy when I saw the original article. It was full of crap and deliberately misleading ("MS is written by hard-working 60hr a week professionals and Linux is written by part time hackers....etc etc") but I was happy to see it.

Why was I happy - simple: I'm looking to buy one year Put Options on MS and as people start to believe Linux really is a threat, this diminishes the amount of money I can make. The more FUD I see, the happier I am. It won't help them in the long run.

MS is powerful, smart, unscrupulous and rich, but they are just one company. How can they compete against the rest of the world ? Why do people use MS at all - because most people care more about the applications than the OS. Yes, there are far more applications for MS at the moment, but that will change. Running a small ISV, which do I prefer: a sensible, reliable OS with free development tools where if I succeed I can keep my market - or a crappy OS where success will just result in being squished like a bug when MS incorporates a poor clone of my product into the OS or into Office ?

Ouch... Nice article. (1)

Troy Baer (1395) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017424)

This is what we need to do when we see FUD, folks: refute it as completely, as acturately, and (most importantly) as unemotionally as possible. Going off the deep end every time an author makes a boo-boo will make us look like a bunch of raving loonies. On the other hand, I think articles like this one present the case for Open Source in the best possible way -- by presenting the *FACTS*.


Here is a useful Ted Lewis link (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017425)

click here [] .

Looks like Teddy got his Ph. D. back in the days when all you had to do was spell the word COMPUTER correctly. :)

Just a couple of points... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017426)

The Linux kernel has video support for framebuffer devices, and Apache is miles faster than IIS. From what I understand, IBM have even joined in to make it even faster -and- more feature-complete. (The two are not contradictions, if done properly.)

Modular (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017427)

Sorry if this posts twice, I waited about 5 minutes for it to load in the static pages, but didn't see it, so I thought I would try again

For lack of a better word, I think "modular" covers it. As "Linux*" grows bigger, the modularity of it also grows. Which, in fact improves support.

Commercial OS's grow bigger and rely on "in house" support. The more features they add to the code base, the more support they have to provide.

Where as, development "teams" in the Linux commnuity actually provide specific nitch code and support for the code completely independantly of each other... Well, at least more independantly than commercial shops.

XFree86 and Linux is only one of thousands of examples. Both could stand independantly, Linux with commercial X support, XFree86 on other OS's. Both have thier own development team, thier own specific tasks, and thier own support base and style. Same goes for almost every linux application down to the basics... vim, bash, tcsh, etc.. these aren't written and supported by kernel coders. So the support base branches out as rapidly as the code base.

Where as, shops like Microsoft use in house "support centers" and in house "development centers." This leads to the "support center" haveing to deal with Windows, Word, WordPad, DOS, on and on and on, each with more features every release. But all just the same support center.

So, the case of "more Linux* features" creating bloat and failing maintaince and support doesn't hold to the commercial model it would fail in.

This is how GPL/GNU evolved, little seperate teams, on little seprate projects, functioning independantly, but knowing what thier place in the "big picture" was, because they are carving that place out for themselfs. Thus, the "modularity" of Linux*, and the reason to keep that modularity, and the reason support will scale up efficently with the features in GNU/GPL.

Linux* -- * denotes, in a generic sence, because Linux to me is the kernel, but what were really talking about here is the whole ball of wax, from kernel up through the highest level applications.

Wow (1)

ChiefArcher (1753) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017428)

That comeback was very good and to the point. It's amazing how many stupid people there are in the world... If people would just do research before they release something, this kind of article would never be published in the first place.

It's just like the PC vs Mac thing... PC users are always dis the Mac users but Mac users never really yell to the PC users..

O well.. my $cents = 2;

Solaris lines of code (1)

ChrisRijk (1818) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017429)

This is not in any way to an attempt to disagree about the accuracy of the excellent rebuttal article. Anyway, according to this Sun white paper [] Solaris 7 has 400,000 lines of code in the kernel, and 12 million for 'Solaris'.

Look for "lines of code" in the text - it'll be the 2nd match. the white paper also suggests NT might have some trouble with it's 40 million lines of code, most of which is very recent.

Damn! Beat me to it! (1)

Jeff Licquia (2167) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017430)

I wrote up a several-page treatise on the flaws and errors in his paper, but it appears Kragen beat me to the punch.

(Good job, BTW: you caught some I missed.)

For the sake of completeness, here are some he missed:

On page one, Linux has already failed the acid test of crossing from early adoption to mainstream acceptance, but on page two, Linux is still considered to be in the "free-growth" stage. Which is it?

He compares the entire Windows NT development group and the code they manage to the Linux kernel team only, attributing to it the task of managing all of Linux. By extrapolating his numbers to all the projects represented by a typical Linux distro, you get as many as 160,000 developers represented.

Did you know Linux was losing market share? "Linux is still Unix, and Unix is losing market share, therefore Linux is losing market share, and Microsoft would never support a shrinking market." That gem is on page 4. Someone needs to go tell IDC.

If anyone's interested, I can post the paper somewhere.

send a link (1)

diakka (2281) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017431)

Did someone make sure and send a linke to the author of the original inflamatory article?

Here Here, Well Spoken Bruce! (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017432)

(sorry...quoting Monty Python)

I have been debating if it was worth my renewing my membership with the IEEE. If they keep allowing poorly researched, glaringly inaccurate articles such as that then I will not renew...ever. I used to have a lot of respect in their opinions and facts but that article sucked aol startup disks. I wand to see that chap in an IRC room where we can have a little discussion about his work and to see if he will stand behind his paper.

Personally I dinnae think he has the balls.

My take on server market share (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017433)

I find it interesting that in blasting this article (which I agree is full of poor arguements and _very_ poor statistics), /.'ers have chosen to totally ignore Netware. In another context that might be considered FUD, don't you think?

Here is my totally unscientific guess on server market share:

Boxes installed
1 - Netware
2 - *nix (including Linux)
2a - Sun
2b - Linux
3 - NT
4 - AS/400
5 - IBM mainframe

Bits served - internal networks
1 - IBM mainframe
2 - Netware
3 - AS/400
4 - *nix (Sun probably first)
3 vs. 4 could certainly be argued
5 - NT

Bits served - external networks (Internet)
1 - *nix
1a - Sun (by far)
1b - other *nix including Linux
2 - unknown? Could be NT, IBM mainframe, or other.

Server market share
This one is tricky. By boxes, by bits served, by $$ value of systems sold? If I take out 5 Netware servers and replace them with 20 NT boxes, what does that do to the market share of each? If I replace the 20 NT boxes with 2 Linux machines, again what does that do to market share?

By installed base or growth rate? I would guess that Novell has by far the largest installed base, but the lowest current growth rate. Linux - high growth rate, but that doesn't mean much if your initial installed base is small.

Finally, 1997, 1998, or 1999 base/growth rate? Novell lost market share and installed base in 1997, bleeding like a stuck pig. I don't think that process continued at the same rate in 1998, or will continue in 1999 based on discussions with peers.

No answers here, just some observations and questions. But don't forget other platforms, most notably Netware and AS/400.


Let's call it TuX (1)

matomira (2943) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017434)

Given that the media/drones/masses are so remarkably inept at establishing the difference between a kernel and an OS, how about if we start calling the Linux/GNU/X combination..



Original article please? (1)

3lixyqueue (3297) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017435)

Because I nor anyone really reads the past postings/replies, did someone make a copy of the original article to which this rebukes?

If so, location?


Indeed! (1)

YogSothoth (3357) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017436)

When I read something like that original article the first thing that comes to my mind is "Hmm, I wonder how much actual, personal experience this person has with using open-source software?"

It is often the case that a question so obvious as that isn't even posed - people just accept a person's statements and credentials without examination. As an example, I've heard people
extolling the superiority of NT's scheduling
vs. linux's but these same people nearly inevitably respond with a sheepish "no" when
I ask: "Ok, since you're so obviously an expert in computer science - could you sit down right now and code even a bubble sort in any programming language?".

Too many people are just parrots - repeating some spiffy-sounding fact-byte they've been fed with having anywhere near the knowledge to objectively analyze the statement for themselves.

Anyone can sound technically competent in the broad sense - I've interviewed probably 100+ developers in the last 4 years and it is
astounding how wide the gap sometimes is between the level of experience/knowledge professed on their resume and their actual competency when it comes down to specific questions.

I suppose (for the author of the original article) that's the downside of spewing out a rant like he did that's likely to be read by
the programming community - we don't tend to be easily impressed
by hand waving, just boring old facts for us, thanks.

ok but (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017438)

"Maintenance and support grow more complex, and costs increase due to a scarcity of talented programmers. Success leads to features, and feature creep leads to bloated software."

Kragen is right on his analysis (sp?), in the original article this was (above) the sentence that made me thing Ted was right, and this sentence still worries me... sure linux becomes big, "too" big?

Excellent--Expand and Publish (1)

Monkius (3888) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017439)

The facts are in. Talk to your CS prof, and get the momentum to see this tripe rebutted in the pages of the original journal.

Yeah! (1)

Puff (3954) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017440)

Preach it, Brother!

wow! (1)

law (5166) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017441)

This is the reason I keep coming back to Slashdot.

I second that (1)

eGabriel (5707) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017443)

I'd love to read more articles from Kragen.


How to read the original article (1)

morven2 (5718) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017444)

The normal cypherpunks/cypherpunks user/passwd works on this site, like everywhere else. I've seen lots of people saying 'I couldn'd read the original article, but ...' so I thought I'd post this reminder!

Yahoo! (don't let em sue me :-) (1)

Journey (5880) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017445)

I've had this edition of Computer magazine for a week now and have been seriously planning to write the editors regarding this article. Now I've got someplace to point them in addition to my own gripes.

Way to go.


Congratulations (1)

markster (6135) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017446)

Excellent work. I was suspicious of what kind of a rebuttal there was going to be, but this was remarkably well done and well thought out.

Well Written! (1)

suds (6610) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017447)

Excellent response. We should make sure that
the 'Computer' editors read this and make
sure Mr.Lewis's writings are ignored in the

Excellent article (1)

martian (7513) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017448)

Thank you

Benchmarking Apache (1)

malx (7723) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017449)

IIS on NT can be faster than Apache on *nix under certain unrealistic circumstances, but not under anything you'd call "realistic conditions".

With a fairly high-powered box (dual P-Pro and up) that is not heavily loaded, that only servers static files and never CGIs, database lookups, SSIs or any other dynamic content then yes, IIS is a bit faster. But as Apache Performance Tuning [] says,

Most sites have less than 10Mbits of outgoing bandwidth, which Apache can fill using only a low end Pentium-based webserver. In practice sites with more bandwidth require more than one machine to fill the bandwidth due to other constraints (such as CGI or database transaction overhead).

If you add anything like CGI, mod_perl, PHP, SSI or whatever, Apache quickly takes the lead. I can offer a rough performance comparison between Apache + PHP + MySQL on FreeBSD and IIS + Cold Fusion + Access on WinNT. The former was maxing out a K6/2-350 with 256Mb RAM at 200,000 page views per day. The latter was maxing out identical hardware at under 5,000 page views per day. Admittedly they weren't identical sites (actually the Apache site had much more complex db work). More importantly, to compare IIS with Apache accurately we should have had them both connecting to a database on a separate machine (and not use Access!), but nonetheless it makes clear that the IIS on NT option is technically less preferable.

Good show! (1)

Tide (8490) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017451)

Great rebuttal.
I have hard time believing that IIS is supposedly faster. Didnt ZDnet run some tests that proved linux 2x faster? Im too lazy to look up the article.


I hope Katz read this article and the comments (1)

JB (8504) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017452)

*This* is what editorials should be like, not the meandering, semi-amateurish prose we get from JK.

It's a pleasure to read something clearly laid out and thought out. Good job Kragen.


AMEN! (1)

Pym (8890) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017453)

It goes to show that if anyone says the *INX people are fighting some religious war against the infidels, they need to be pointed to articles like the load of FUD blasted in this excellent reply. In the workplace, I'm fairly constantly dealing with arguments of this type, when my questions expect technical answers about the viability of NT server as a reliable enterprise solution. I'm treated as a zealot hyping some hacker kiddie OS, yet...the examples against the NT server 'solution' are many and factual and the arguments in favor of NT are often FUD. I work both sides, like 'em, but this is -not- a 'juvenile and doomed religious' war, this is a war for technical truth and clear facts. This is a war against implimentation based on ignorance, informed or uninformed. Given this, We Will Always Win as long as we have people like Kragen and countless others to stand up and tell it like it is, -even if- we do not agree. Just the Facts.

Question the dominant paradigm.


Ted's amazing response .... (1)

llywrch (9023) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017454)

>A few hours later I received this reply:

> Craig,

> Thanks for the kind words. I try to get my readers to think out of the box once in
> awhile. Sometimes it isn't possible.

> --ted

>Yeah, I found it unbelievable, too.

Maybe what he meant by the phrase ``to think out of the box" was ``I just took some LSD for the first time & it was so kewl that I think you ought to do it to."

A Computer Society member

Linux beats the pants off IIS (1)

elflord (9269) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017455)

Linux trounces NT [] as a server platform. "Apache is losing the performence battle" ? hmmm ...

Excellent job. (1)

MuyJuan (9379) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017456)

Mr. Lewis is more full of himself than the average "expert", and neglected to check the facts. I found it odd that he failed to chart the rate of increase of Windows LOC as he did with Linux. Also odd was that he extrapolated Linux LOC THREE WHOLE YEARS into the future from the last "measured" data point. The claim that Linux LOC will continue to grow exponentially (and at the rate he has selected...ever wonder if he chose the most pessimistic curve that could fit the data?) is a bit silly. Just another decade we could be running operating systems that boast over 10 billion LOC. It also looks as if he is claiming that Linux will be bigger than Windows 2000 when it comes out in 2002 (*chuckle*).

I also absolutely disagree with his issue about support. Usenet support is far superior to MS's online (or telephone...who bothers to try THAT these days?) support, and far more responsive. Additionally, online HOWTOs and included man pages are much better than anything Win98 has to offer. Just the other day, I swapped out my modem for a USR internal (non-Win) modem so that I could maybe connect up to my ISP after rebooting in Linux. After tiring of this, I removed it and reinstalled my original modem. Ohmigod...endless headaches. There's nothing in any MS docs or help files that addresses anything that I ran into. (PortDriver busy or missing on COM4? Nothing is even USING COM4!) My lesson out of all this? Don't even think about fscking with your modem. Plug'n'Play...doesn't. His assertion that Linux advocates are inherent microsoft-bashers is partially the extent that people are sick and tired of crap like I just described, and want software that is written for them, not dumped on them.

Well said! (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017457)

Well said that man!!!
An excellent piece of debating.
Skillful demolition of the spurious bluff from the original author.
In the true spirit of debate, I'd love to have the original author come back for a 'summing up', and a chance to re-state his point of view in light of the researched figures, then allow one more posting in rebuttal..
That, I think, would be entertainment.. :)


Good Rebuttal (1)

Mr. Ascii (9572) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017458)

Maybe I'll read the original article now that I have some perspective.

Thanks for the anti-FUD (1)

Oogie-Bogie (10788) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017460)

This response was an excellent counter (to the FUD that should never have been published by IEEE) -- well written and very informative (for me anyway).

Yeah! (1)

afniv (10789) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017461)

I wish I've seen the quote in a Micro$oft add as well. 'til I see it, I don't believe it.

"Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
"We could be happy if the air was as pure as the beer"

OSS Evolves counters to bloat automaticaly (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017462)

What I have noticed is that due to the underlying drive of OSS, that of "scratching an itch" and the availability of time and resource vs deadlines and budgets of commercial software, when software bloats, that too becomes an itch.

For example the previous posters comment about modular drivers vs drivers in the kernel comes to mind. Another is the CVS tree's as it became harder to write the Kernel and Utilities.

Protocol and Interface Standards are another weopen against the complexity of projects.

As OSS Software evolves and becomes more complex, solutions to complexity evolve along with it.

With OSS it is viable to say, ok we will have to rethink this and derive a better, more scalable approach. With Commercial software it is a lot harder to say "Damn we need to scrap this approach and rethink it, BTW this adds another 6 months to the dealine". What percentage of project managers are going to have the force of will to push through this change at the sacrafice of a deadline, not many. There is also the preassure of those higher in the hierachy, who never seem to like a predictor of doom.

That is why I feel that OSS will prevail over commercial software in he long term.

PS Yeah I can code a bubble sort :)

Was this sent to the author? (1)

Lupus Rufus (11262) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017463)

(see subject)

Methinks this eloquence is wasted on the choir...

Feature creep (1)

jms (11418) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017464)

Feature creep is not likely to become a problem with free software. Feature creep is mostly a function of the commercial software business model.

At a certain point, given enough time and support, most software reaches a point where it is fairly polished, and does a good job at what it is intended to do.

In the free software development model, at this point, the software developers, having done their work and satisfied themselves, move on to new projects, and except for bug fixes and polishing, the software becomes stable and complete.

In the commercial software development model, there is no time to be wasted ... more features MUST be added in order to produce a new version, because the way a commercial software company makes money is by bringing version n+1 to market, and charging its users for the upgrade.

I could name a number of software products that were much better two or more versions ago. None of them are free or open source software.

- John

The 'net on a silver platter. (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017465)

I've got the whole Internet on a CD, AOL sent it to me for free.. J. Dvorak said so, so it must be true.

The original article, I'm afraid, is another in a continuing trend. A little knowledge is dangerous, and tight deadlines, coupled with a desire to grand-stand, in addition to 'incentives' from corporate 'sponsors'; ultimately lead to irresponsible reporting.

CNN, and the grand-daddy of FUD ZDNET, have always thrown buzzwords and fuel on the fire, without really checking their facts and sources. Their (ZDNET) authors and editors probably get a beta and free support for the latest M$ product - and so journalistic ethics get swept under the rug.

What is shameful, is that the original article appeared in an off-shoot of the IEEE. (!?!?!) If we can't trust the IEEE to lead by example, maybe journalism should also become a grass-roots, open-source effort.

As for the reply to the drivvel.. Well done! Way to burn down the 'straw-man'. But it'd be even better to cram it down the author's throat by submitting it to a trade journal.

Walnut Creek (1)

YeOldeGnurd (14524) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017467)

The "Slackware" distribution of Linux ( [] ) is distributed by Walnut Creek, I believe. The Slackware CD does mention Walnut Creek, and Walnut Creek is also mentioned on

Ain't no such thing as Stackware, though.

Let's get a response from Ted Lewis (1)

Gerv (15179) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017471)

I would have thought that Computer magazine and the IEEE would be interested to know, if they don't already, about the factual inaccuracies in this article - how much pressure would need to be exerted to get them to print a correction or six?

If someone big in the GNU/Linux/Open Source world, or the author of this well argued piece, were to make official representations to Computer, we might well get a result :-)

Linus, are you listening?

(Er... no ;-)


Well said... (1)

Superluser (17106) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017474)

...Kragen. This is exactly the way to handle FUD: With the facts, and just the facts, Jack.

ok but (1)

Tekmage (17375) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017475)

I'd counter that sentence with a little annecdotal evidence. (That sentence bothered me too)

Once, if I wanted to install a new device+driver, I had to compile it into the kernel (=bloat). Now all I have too do is load the driver-module (=counter-bloat), as is done in RH.

I can still compile the features into the kernel if I want to, but I don't have to. The driver can be modified, recompiled and integrated in future developments; the hardware hasn't been rendered unusable.

Sure, the modular version is going to be "bloated" because of the interface overhead, but at least it's not static.

I guess what I'm getting at is, there is a BIG difference between closed-source (static) bloat and open-source (dynamic) bloat. Change.
Also, cost rises exponentially if you can't understand the code; opensource encourages readability. Scarce talent today != scarce talent tomorrow.

And last, but certainly not least, Linux+GNU has a secret weapon. You know all those old/used computers that have been and are being shipped to developing nations? Which software+tools do you think they'll learn, use, and develop.?. :-)

Bravo!! (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017476)

This is one of the best anti-FUD articles I have ever read. CmdrTaco -- Sign this guy up!!

Vigilance (1)

Yasha (17503) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017478)

I have no words for the praise I have for this poster. He rebutted the article clearly, concisely, and with more facts and analysis that you can shake a stick at. More users should take this example, and respond to such articles with this sort of rebuttal. Even more, they should be emailed to the appropriate news agencies to get their appetites whetted. We all know that many of the agencies lick the boots of those in power, however something like this, which refutes all of the basic premises the article was founded on, cannot be challenged in any substantive way. He is right. The article was wrong. Mail it away to someone who might publish it elsewhere.

We need to raise our voices high when something like this happens. 8-)


Apache performance (1)

esme (17526) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017479)

One more point about the Apache performance claim: Remember that article a few weeks ago by noted MS partisan Ziff-Davis that showed that Apache kicked NT's butt for web throughput, and for Samba, NT's native language? Guess this guy couldn't be bothered to actually check to see which product was better before spouting off about it.

Apache performance (1)

esme (17526) | more than 15 years ago | (#2017480)

One more point about the Apache performance claim:

Remember that article a few weeks ago by noted MS partisan Ziff-Davis that showed that Apache kicked NT's butt for web throughput, and for Samba, NT's native language?

Guess this guy couldn't be bothered to actually check to see which product was better before spouting off about it.

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