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More From Tanenbaum

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the oh-christmas-tree dept.

Linux 496

BigFire writes "Professor Tanenbaum responds to the slashdot effect and a small critique of Ken Brown's forthcoming book in his followup. A small gem is where he disclosed that Ken Brown can't multiply simple positive integers."

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

I think he calculated Second (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221711)

instead of First [post].

Article text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221718)

Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2

Background

On 20 May 2004, I posted a statement [cs.vu.nl] refuting the claim of Ken Brown, President of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution [adti.net] , that Linus Torvalds didn't write Linux. My statement was mentioned on Slashdot [slashdot.org] , Groklaw [groklaw.net] , and many other Internet news sites. This attention resulted in over 150,000 requests to our server in less than a day, which is still standing despite yesterday being a national holiday with no one there to stand next to it saying "You can do it. You can do it." Kudos to Sun Microsystems and the folks who built Apache. My statement was mirrored all over the Internet, so the number of true hits to it is probably a substantial multiple of that. There were also quite a few comments at Slashdot, Groklaw, and other sites, many of them about me. I had never engaged in remote multishrink psychoanalysis on this scale before, so it was a fascinating experience.

The Brown Book

I got an advance copy of Ken Brown's book. I think it is still under embargo, so I won't comment on it. Although I am not an investigative reporter, even I know it is unethical to discuss publications still under embargo. Some of us take ethics more seriously than others. So I won't even reveal the title. Let's call it The Brown Book. There is some precedent for nicknaming books after colors: The International Standard for the CD-ROM (IS 10149) is usually called The Red Book.

Suffice it to say, there is a great deal to criticize in the book. I am sure that will happen when it is published. I may even help out.

Brown's Motivation

What prompted me to write this note today is an email I got yesterday. Actually, I got quite a few :-) , most of them thanking me for the historical material. One of yesterday's emails was from Linus, in response to an email from me apologizing for not letting him see my statement in advance. As a matter of courtesy, I did try but I was using his old transmeta.com address and didn't know his new one until I got a very kind email from Linus' father, a Finnish journalist.

In his email, Linus said that Brown never contacted him. No email, no phone call, no personal interview. Nothing. Considering the fact that Brown was writing an explosive book in which he accused Linus of not being the author of Linux, you would think a serious author would at least confront the subject with the accusation and give him a chance to respond. What kind of a reporter talks to people on the periphery of the subject but fails to talk to the main player?

Why did Brown fly all the way to Europe to interview me and (and according to an email I got from his seat-mate on the plane) one other person in Scandinavia, at considerable expense, and not at least call Linus? Even if he made a really bad choice of phone company, how much could that cost? Maybe a dollar? I call the U.S. all the time from Amsterdam. It is less than 5 cents a minute. How much could it cost to call California from D.C.?

From reading all the comments posted yesterday, I am now beginning to get the picture. Apparently a lot of people (still) think that I 'hate' Linus for stealing all my glory (see below for more on this). I didn't realize this view was so widespread. I now suspect that Brown believed this, too, and thought that I would be happy to dump all over Linus to get 'revenge.' By flying to Amsterdam he thought he could dig up dirt on Linus and get me to speak evil of him. He thought I would back up his crazy claim that Linus stole Linux from me. Brown was wrong on two counts. First, I bear no 'grudge' against Linus at all. He wrote Linux himself and deserves the credit. Second, I am really not a mean person. Even if I were still angry with him after all these years, I wouldn't choose some sleazy author with a hidden agenda as my vehicle. My home page gets 2500 hits a week. If I had something to say, I could put it there.

When The Brown Book comes out, there will no doubt be a lot of publicity in the mainstream media. Any of you with contacts in the media are actively encouraged to point reporters to this page and my original statement to provide some balance. I really think Brown's motivation should come under scrutiny. I don't believe for a nanosecond that Brown was trying to do a legitimate study of IP and open source or anything like that. I think he was trying to make the case the people funding him (which he refused to disclose to me despite my asking point blank) wanted to have made. Having an institution with an illustrious-sounding name make the case looks better than having an interested party make the case.

Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

I would like to close by clearing up a few misconceptions and also correcting a couple of errors. First, I REALLY am not angry with Linus. HONEST. He's not angry with me either. I am not some kind of "sore loser" who feels he has been eclipsed by Linus. MINIX was only a kind of fun hobby for me. I am a professor. I teach and do research and write books and go to conferences and do things professors do. I like my job and my students and my university. If you want to get a masters there, see my home page [cs.vu.nl] for information. I wrote MINIX because I wanted my students to have hands-on experience playing with an operating system. After AT&T forbid teaching from John Lions book, I decided to write a UNIX-like system for my students to play with. Since I had already written two books at this point, one on computer architecture [amazon.com] and one on computer networks [amazon.com] , it seemed reasonable to describe the system in a new book on operating systems [amazon.com] , which is what I did. I was not trying to replace GNU/HURD or Berkeley UNIX. Heaven knows, I have said this enough times. I just wanted to show my students and other students how you could write a UNIX-like system using modern technology. A lot of other people wanted a free production UNIX with lots of bells and whistles and wanted to convert MINIX into that. I was dragged along in the maelstrom for a while, but when Linux came along, I was actually relieved that I could go back to professoring. I never really applied for the position of King of the Hackers and didn't want the job when it was offered. Linus seems to be doing excellent work and I wish him much success in the future.

While writing MINIX was fun, I don't really regard it as the most important thing I have ever done. It was more of a distraction than anything else. The most important thing I have done is produce a number of incredibly good students, especially Ph.D. students. See my home page for the list. They have done great things. I am as proud as a mother hen. To the extent that Linus can be counted as my student, I'm proud of him, too. Professors like it when their students go on to greater glory. I have also written over 100 published research papers and 14 books which have been translated into about 20 languages. As a result I have become a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and won numerous other awards. For me, these are the things that really count. If MINIX had become a big 'commercial' success I wouldn't have had the time to do all this academic stuff that I am actually more interested in.

Microkernels Revisited

I can't resist saying a few words about microkernels. A microkernel is a very small kernel. If the file system runs inside the kernel, it is NOT a microkernel. The microkernel should handle low-level process management, scheduling, interprocess communication, interrupt handling, and the basics of memory management and little else. The core microkernel of MINIX 1.0 was under 1400 lines of C and assembler. To that you have to add the headers and device drivers, but the totality of everything that ran in kernel mode was under 5000 lines. Microsoft claimed that Windows NT 3.51 was a microkernel. It wasn't. It wasn't even close. Even they dropped the claim with NT 4.0. Some microkernels have been quite successful, such as QNX and L4. I can't for the life of me see why people object to the 20% performance hit a microkernel might give you when they program in languages like Java and Perl where you often get a factor 20x performance hit. What's the big deal about turning a 3.0 GHz PC into a 2.4 GHz PC due to a microkernel? Surely you once bought a machine appreciably slower than 2.4 GHz and were very happy with it. I would easily give up 20% in performance for a system that was robust, reliable, and wasn't susceptible to many of the ills we see in today's massive operating systems.

Correction

I would now like to correct an error in my original statement. One of the emails I got yesterday clarified the origins of Coherent. It was not written by Bob Swartz. He was CEO of the Mark Williams Company. Three ex-students from the University of Waterloo, Dave Conroy, Randell Howard, and Johann George, did most of the work. Waterloo is in Canada, where they also play baseball I am told, but only after the ice melts and they can't play hockey. It took the Waterloo students something like 6 man-years to produce Coherent, but this included the kernel, the C compiler, the shell, and ALL the utilities. The kernel is only a tiny fraction of the total code, so it may well be that the kernel itself took a man year. It took me three years to write MINIX, but I was only working at it only in the evenings, and I also wrote 400 pages of text describing the code in that time period (also in the evenings). I think a good programmer can write a 12,000 line kernel in a year.

If you have made it this far, thank you for your time. Permission is hereby granted to mirror this web page provided that the original, unmodified version is used.

Andy Tanenbaum, 21 May 2004

Re:Article text (1, Offtopic)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221744)

Ummmm, hellooooo, McMod! Reposting the article to help the rest of us read it (because the site is already /.ed and there were only three posts, including the FP, when I started writing this) cannot, by any reasonable person, be considered redundant.

Someone please mod the parents informative, and throw an Unfair to the moderator if you get this in M2.

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221781)

A full-text is redundant when it's been posted twice before.

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221790)

This one however, was posted by me one minute after the story appeared on the front page and was the second post (the first post one was the first) in this thread. It's also the only one with links and nice <strong>-tags :)

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221791)

And you are an idiot because the first post in this thread was the first complete mirror of the text from the site. Ergo, it is not redundant. It is impossible to be redundant when you are the first. I have been watching this thread since I moderated the FP offtopic.

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221785)

agreed, especially since it was posted anonymous, and therefore not an attempt at karma whoring.

/posting anonymous so the same stupid mod doesn't bitchslap me.

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221811)

agreed, especially since it was posted anonymous, and therefore not an attempt at karma whoring.

My karma is already excellent, but I nevertheless posted anonymously.

Re:Article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221798)

Interesting, because it was posted three minutes before the other one. Stupid stupid mods.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221819)

thanks...

already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221721)

slashdotted?

His comment on Slashdot: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221727)

"I had never engaged in remote multishrink psychoanalysis on this scale before, so it was a fascinating experience."

I think I like this guy. Has anyone here ever had him as a professor? Is he this amusing when he's teaching class? :)

Re:His comment on Slashdot: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221815)

I think I like this guy. Has anyone here ever had him as a professor? Is he this amusing when he's teaching class? :)

I'm posting this as AC since I'll most likely be modded down for touching a "hero" of the Linux revolution:

It's quite well known that Proff Tanenbaum is somewhat of a prick, very very pleased with himself for having written Minix and fostered the development of Linux. The trouble is that Minix, which was meant to be an academic OS to study, was never good performance-wise (which is normal) and wasn't really good for learning the architecture of an OS either. Minix knew success because it was "this other, free Unix for i386" (and some other architectures like the Atari ST), and people could goof around with it for free.

That's the extent of Tanenbaum's achievenemts. Not that it's negligible, far from it, but somehow Tanenbaum feels entitled to think of himself as a pillar of computer science and computer history, and act accordingly.

Now I shall watch myself be modded down as a troll by Slashdotter who have never met, read about, or listened to him...

Re:His comment on Slashdot: (3, Interesting)

jakoz (696484) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221973)

I agree 100%. Im constantly blown away by how much he is in love with his own mind.

Actually, I have one of the 15 books he reminded us about the other day, and I remember it for how much it was universally despised.

the article... (0)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221737)

...well the first three paragraphs sound much too self-indulgent for my taste, yuck!

I know for sure I'd be flooded with angry /.'ers - but hey, that's what I felt!

Re:the article... (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221777)

12 replies to this and he's already been slashdotted? sheesh

his bandwidth must be issed by a hamster.

Re:the article... (1)

roll_w.it (317514) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221863)

12 replies to this and he's already been slashdotted? sheesh

his bandwidth must be issed by a hamster.


Give it a break - it's in the Netherlands...

Re:the article... (0, Offtopic)

njcoder (657816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221916)

Actually, it's not slashdotted, it's just really slow.

He mentions it's running on a sun box with apache. He also mentions that the last time it was on slashdot it didn't go down. This has been my experience with apache on sun. It may sometimes be very slow... but you'll eventually get the page in most cases under heavy load. Sun's app server works in the same way. I don't know if it's their philosophy but the servlet engine comparison's I've seen, the other servlet containers I've seen, Sun's product starts slowing down a bit earlier than the others under stress, but it returned far fewer errors.

The point is, if you wait 20-30seconds, you'll get the page.

Some notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle (-1, Redundant)

lylonius (20917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221738)

Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2
Background

On 20 May 2004, I posted a statement refuting the claim of Ken Brown, President of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, that Linus Torvalds didn't write Linux. My statement was mentioned on Slashdot, Groklaw, and many other Internet news sites. This attention resulted in over 150,000 requests to our server in less than a day, which is still standing despite yesterday being a national holiday with no one there to stand next to it saying "You can do it. You can do it." Kudos to Sun Microsystems and the folks who built Apache. My statement was mirrored all over the Internet, so the number of true hits to it is probably a substantial multiple of that. There were also quite a few comments at Slashdot, Groklaw, and other sites, many of them about me. I had never engaged in remote multishrink psychoanalysis on this scale before, so it was a fascinating experience.
The Brown Book

I got an advance copy of Ken Brown's book. I think it is still under embargo, so I won't comment on it. Although I am not an investigative reporter, even I know it is unethical to discuss publications still under embargo. Some of us take ethics more seriously than others. So I won't even reveal the title. Let's call it The Brown Book. There is some precedent for nicknaming books after colors: The International Standard for the CD-ROM (IS 10149) is usually called The Red Book.

Suffice it to say, there is a great deal to criticize in the book. I am sure that will happen when it is published. I may even help out.

Brown's Motivation

What prompted me to write this note today is an email I got yesterday. Actually, I got quite a few :-) , most of them thanking me for the historical material. One of yesterday's emails was from Linus, in response to an email from me apologizing for not letting him see my statement in advance. As a matter of courtesy, I did try but I was using his old transmeta.com address and didn't know his new one until I got a very kind email from Linus' father, a Finnish journalist.

In his email, Linus said that Brown never contacted him. No email, no phone call, no personal interview. Nothing. Considering the fact that Brown was writing an explosive book in which he accused Linus of not being the author of Linux, you would think a serious author would at least confront the subject with the accusation and give him a chance to respond. What kind of a reporter talks to people on the periphery of the subject but fails to talk to the main player?

Why did Brown fly all the way to Europe to interview me and (and according to an email I got from his seat-mate on the plane) one other person in Scandinavia, at considerable expense, and not at least call Linus? Even if he made a really bad choice of phone company, how much could that cost? Maybe a dollar? I call the U.S. all the time from Amsterdam. It is less than 5 cents a minute. How much could it cost to call California from D.C.?

From reading all the comments posted yesterday, I am now beginning to get the picture. Apparently a lot of people (still) think that I 'hate' Linus for stealing all my glory (see below for more on this). I didn't realize this view was so widespread. I now suspect that Brown believed this, too, and thought that I would be happy to dump all over Linus to get 'revenge.' By flying to Amsterdam he thought he could dig up dirt on Linus and get me to speak evil of him. He thought I would back up his crazy claim that Linus stole Linux from me. Brown was wrong on two counts. First, I bear no 'grudge' against Linus at all. He wrote Linux himself and deserves the credit. Second, I am really not a mean person. Even if I were still angry with him after all these years, I wouldn't choose some sleazy author with a hidden agenda as my vehicle. My home page gets 2500 hits a week. If I had something to say, I could put it there.

When The Brown Book comes out, there will no doubt be a lot of publicity in the mainstream media. Any of you with contacts in the media are actively encouraged to point reporters to this page and my original statement to provide some balance. I really think Brown's motivation should come under scrutiny. I don't believe for a nanosecond that Brown was trying to do a legitimate study of IP and open source or anything like that. I think he was trying to make the case the people funding him (which he refused to disclose to me despite my asking point blank) wanted to have made. Having an institution with an illustrious-sounding name make the case looks better than having an interested party make the case.
Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

I would like to close by clearing up a few misconceptions and also correcting a couple of errors. First, I REALLY am not angry with Linus. HONEST. He's not angry with me either. I am not some kind of "sore loser" who feels he has been eclipsed by Linus. MINIX was only a kind of fun hobby for me. I am a professor. I teach and do research and write books and go to conferences and do things professors do. I like my job and my students and my university. If you want to get a masters there, see my home page for information. I wrote MINIX because I wanted my students to have hands-on experience playing with an operating system. After AT&T forbid teaching from John Lions book, I decided to write a UNIX-like system for my students to play with. Since I had already written two books at this point, one on computer architecture and one on computer networks, it seemed reasonable to describe the system in a new book on operating systems, which is what I did. I was not trying to replace GNU/HURD or Berkeley UNIX. Heaven knows, I have said this enough times. I just wanted to show my students and other students how you could write a UNIX-like system using modern technology. A lot of other people wanted a free production UNIX with lots of bells and whistles and wanted to convert MINIX into that. I was dragged along in the maelstrom for a while, but when Linux came along, I was actually relieved that I could go back to professoring. I never really applied for the position of King of the Hackers and didn't want the job when it was offered. Linus seems to be doing excellent work and I wish him much success in the future.

While writing MINIX was fun, I don't really regard it as the most important thing I have ever done. It was more of a distraction than anything else. The most important thing I have done is produce a number of incredibly good students, especially Ph.D. students. See my home page for the list. They have done great things. I am as proud as a mother hen. To the extent that Linus can be counted as my student, I'm proud of him, too. Professors like it when their students go on to greater glory. I have also written over 100 published research papers and 14 books which have been translated into about 20 languages. As a result I have become a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and won numerous other awards. For me, these are the things that really count. If MINIX had become a big 'commercial' success I wouldn't have had the time to do all this academic stuff that I am actually more interested in.
Microkernels Revisited

I can't resist saying a few words about microkernels. A microkernel is a very small kernel. If the file system runs inside the kernel, it is NOT a microkernel. The microkernel should handle low-level process management, scheduling, interprocess communication, interrupt handling, and the basics of memory management and little else. The core microkernel of MINIX 1.0 was under 1400 lines of C and assembler. To that you have to add the headers and device drivers, but the totality of everything that ran in kernel mode was under 5000 lines. Microsoft claimed that Windows NT 3.51 was a microkernel. It wasn't. It wasn't even close. Even they dropped the claim with NT 4.0. Some microkernels have been quite successful, such as QNX and L4. I can't for the life of me see why people object to the 20% performance hit a microkernel might give you when they program in languages like Java and Perl where you often get a factor 20x performance hit. What's the big deal about turning a 3.0 GHz PC into a 2.4 GHz PC due to a microkernel? Surely you once bought a machine appreciably slower than 2.4 GHz and were very happy with it. I would easily give up 20% in performance for a system that was robust, reliable, and wasn't susceptible to many of the ills we see in today's massive operating systems.
Correction

I would now like to correct an error in my original statement. One of the emails I got yesterday clarified the origins of Coherent. It was not written by Bob Swartz. He was CEO of the Mark Williams Company. Three ex-students from the University of Waterloo, Dave Conroy, Randell Howard, and Johann George, did most of the work. Waterloo is in Canada, where they also play baseball I am told, but only after the ice melts and they can't play hockey. It took the Waterloo students something like 6 man-years to produce Coherent, but this included the kernel, the C compiler, the shell, and ALL the utilities. The kernel is only a tiny fraction of the total code, so it may well be that the kernel itself took a man year. It took me three years to write MINIX, but I was only working at it only in the evenings, and I also wrote 400 pages of text describing the code in that time period (also in the evenings). I think a good programmer can write a 12,000 line kernel in a year.

If you have made it this far, thank you for your time. Permission is hereby granted to mirror this web page provided that the original, unmodified version is used.

Andy Tanenbaum, 21 May 2004

You lose. [MODERATORS?] (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221766)

MODERATORS: For the benefit of those of us who still read at Threshold 0, would you please moderate up the FIRST mirror and moderate down this one or any other additional redundant ones which may appear later on, so that we don't see four of them scattered throughout the thread, all at Score:3?

Re:You lose. [MODERATORS?] (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221847)

Your mistake is to imagine that moderators read at threshold 0. Neither have they read the moderating faq, and frequently not even the article.

NOTES != REPOST OF ENTIRE ARTICLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221836)

You, sir, are a dumbass.

I like the black on white. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221882)

The colors of the original made my eyes water

Mirror mirror on the wall ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221740)

We already need a mirror ... man the /. effect hit quick and hard these days.

Re:Mirror mirror on the wall ... (3, Informative)

brix (27642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221958)

Article is mirrored at Newsforge [newsforge.com] .

Round Two (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221745)

"This attention resulted in over 150,000 requests to our server in less than a day, which is still standing despite yesterday being a national holiday with no one there to stand next to it saying "You can do it. You can do it." Kudos to Sun Microsystems and the folks who built Apache."

Just when he thought it was over, here we come for another round. . .

Re:Round Two (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221824)

On Wall Street, we called this technology "BOHICA": Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

Little Help? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221747)

Who is Professor Tanenbaum? Who is Ken Brown?

I suppose I should be embarassed I'm not "in the know" with these inside stories on the Slashdot community, but a little sympathy or perhaps the occasional link to everything2.com (anybody remember those days?) would be nice.

Okay. (4, Informative)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221806)

It isn't that you're "out of the know" it's just that you didn't see the previous article on this subject on slashdot two days ago.

You want to read this article. [slashdot.org] It should explain what is happening.

And you would pick this up from the links, but just for the record: Tanenbaum is this european guy who once upon a time in the 80s wrote a textbook on operating systems which came with a simple UNIX-like operating system called "Minix". Ken Brown is some guy who works for something called the "Alex de Torqueville" (sic?) institute and he's writing a book which appears to mostly consist of slander against Linus Tourvalds and/or the Free Software movement.

I resent that! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221844)

Ken Brown is some guy who works for something called the "Alex de Torqueville" (sic?) institute and he's writing a book which appears to mostly consist of slander against Linus Tourvalds and/or the Free Software movement.

No it isn't, and I resent that! Slander is spoken. In print it's "Libel".

Sincerely,

Kenneth Brown
President, Alexis de Tocqueville Institution

Re:Okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221891)

> Tanenbaum is this european guy

He's an American who happens to live in Europe.

Re:Little Help? (4, Informative)

cmowire (254489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221865)

Prof. Tanenbaum made MINIX, which predates Linux and provided some inspiration, but no actual code. MINIX initially hosted the Linux environment until it was able to exist on its own. Prof. Tanenbaum and Linus had a massive flamefest early in the days of Linux over microkernel vs. monolithic kernel.

Ken Brown works for the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, who is basicly in the business of writing "impartial" reports for people with money. It's public knowlege that they've taken money from Microsoft in the past for reports. He is writing a book accusing Linus of not writing Linux.

Re:Little Help? (1)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222024)

Actually, I believe in the very, very early version of linux, before it was even distributed, Linus did use some Minix code.

Re:Little Help? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221900)

Who is Professor Tanenbaum? Who is Ken Brown?

You not knowing who Ken Brown is is quite normal.

You not knowing who Tanenbaum is shows you're the typical Slashdotter who doesn't know shit but feel like posting anyway.

perhaps the occasional link to everything2.com

How about you do it yourself? hell, 5 seconds of googling will tell you who Tanenbaum is. You could have educated yourself in less time than it took you to post your question.

Re:Little Help? (3, Interesting)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221911)

Tanenbaum wrote MINIX, an operating system that was mildly popular in the days Linux was getting started. Tanenbaum and Torvalds had a famous debate [www.dina.dk] on OS design and the like between MINIX and Linux.

Ken Brown is employed by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, a firm that some Slashdotters speculate is in the pay of SCO, MS, or the ilk, and is trying to find criticisms against Linux, recently making the claim that Torvalds did not write Linux, which is probably too open to interpretation. Torvalds wrote Linux to the extent that he typed it, but he did built on prior work, just like everyone else. Even Microsoft originally bought all rights to DOS from a third party and modified and licensed it to IBM for their contract.

(At least, this is what I myself have gleaned from Slashdot. Some detail is probably wrong.)

Re:Little Help? (5, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221970)

You're being way too fair to Microsoft. They bought a clone of CP/M ported to the 8086. Then, they sold a license for it to IBM.

In other words, they pretty much pulled a SCO, or at least SCO's stated intention at the outset of the current flurry of lawsuits.

Re:Little Help? (2, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222018)

You're being way too fair to Microsoft. They bought a clone of CP/M ported to the 8086. Then, they sold a license for it to IBM.
Really? Can you document that? I worked for Digital Research around that time, and there were many tales about how the MS/IBM thing happened, but I never heard this version. And what do you mean by "a clone of CP/M ported to the 8086"? There were three versions of CP/M at that point, one of which was an 8086 version.

Re:Little Help? (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222027)

I was not being fair or unfair to Microsoft. I was being neutral, which is a good strategy when trying to inform, not debate. Actually, the focus here is on AdTI, Tanenbaum, and MINIX/Linux, not MS or SCO, so I compressed that part.

Maybe I was incorrect, but you have not informed me where. From what I have heard, MS bought QDOS, based on CP/M. I assume they modified it. Then they licensed it to IBM. I still do not see how this was something I was wrongly "fair" to. Maybe it was morally wrong to most people or to you, but businesswise it was brilliant.

here is what he had to say (0, Redundant)

sleepnmojo (658421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221749)

Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2 Background On 20 May 2004, I posted a statement refuting the claim of Ken Brown, President of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, that Linus Torvalds didn't write Linux. My statement was mentioned on Slashdot, Groklaw, and many other Internet news sites. This attention resulted in over 150,000 requests to our server in less than a day, which is still standing despite yesterday being a national holiday with no one there to stand next to it saying "You can do it. You can do it." Kudos to Sun Microsystems and the folks who built Apache. My statement was mirrored all over the Internet, so the number of true hits to it is probably a substantial multiple of that. There were also quite a few comments at Slashdot, Groklaw, and other sites, many of them about me. I had never engaged in remote multishrink psychoanalysis on this scale before, so it was a fascinating experience. The Brown Book I got an advance copy of Ken Brown's book. I think it is still under embargo, so I won't comment on it. Although I am not an investigative reporter, even I know it is unethical to discuss publications still under embargo. Some of us take ethics more seriously than others. So I won't even reveal the title. Let's call it The Brown Book. There is some precedent for nicknaming books after colors: The International Standard for the CD-ROM (IS 10149) is usually called The Red Book. Suffice it to say, there is a great deal to criticize in the book. I am sure that will happen when it is published. I may even help out. Brown's Motivation What prompted me to write this note today is an email I got yesterday. Actually, I got quite a few :-) , most of them thanking me for the historical material. One of yesterday's emails was from Linus, in response to an email from me apologizing for not letting him see my statement in advance. As a matter of courtesy, I did try but I was using his old transmeta.com address and didn't know his new one until I got a very kind email from Linus' father, a Finnish journalist. In his email, Linus said that Brown never contacted him. No email, no phone call, no personal interview. Nothing. Considering the fact that Brown was writing an explosive book in which he accused Linus of not being the author of Linux, you would think a serious author would at least confront the subject with the accusation and give him a chance to respond. What kind of a reporter talks to people on the periphery of the subject but fails to talk to the main player? Why did Brown fly all the way to Europe to interview me and (and according to an email I got from his seat-mate on the plane) one other person in Scandinavia, at considerable expense, and not at least call Linus? Even if he made a really bad choice of phone company, how much could that cost? Maybe a dollar? I call the U.S. all the time from Amsterdam. It is less than 5 cents a minute. How much could it cost to call California from D.C.? From reading all the comments posted yesterday, I am now beginning to get the picture. Apparently a lot of people (still) think that I 'hate' Linus for stealing all my glory (see below for more on this). I didn't realize this view was so widespread. I now suspect that Brown believed this, too, and thought that I would be happy to dump all over Linus to get 'revenge.' By flying to Amsterdam he thought he could dig up dirt on Linus and get me to speak evil of him. He thought I would back up his crazy claim that Linus stole Linux from me. Brown was wrong on two counts. First, I bear no 'grudge' against Linus at all. He wrote Linux himself and deserves the credit. Second, I am really not a mean person. Even if I were still angry with him after all these years, I wouldn't choose some sleazy author with a hidden agenda as my vehicle. My home page gets 2500 hits a week. If I had something to say, I could put it there. When The Brown Book comes out, there will no doubt be a lot of publicity in the mainstream media. Any of you with contacts in the media are actively encouraged to point reporters to this page and my original statement to provide some balance. I really think Brown's motivation should come under scrutiny. I don't believe for a nanosecond that Brown was trying to do a legitimate study of IP and open source or anything like that. I think he was trying to make the case the people funding him (which he refused to disclose to me despite my asking point blank) wanted to have made. Having an institution with an illustrious-sounding name make the case looks better than having an interested party make the case. Clearing Up Some Misconceptions I would like to close by clearing up a few misconceptions and also correcting a couple of errors. First, I REALLY am not angry with Linus. HONEST. He's not angry with me either. I am not some kind of "sore loser" who feels he has been eclipsed by Linus. MINIX was only a kind of fun hobby for me. I am a professor. I teach and do research and write books and go to conferences and do things professors do. I like my job and my students and my university. If you want to get a masters there, see my home page for information. I wrote MINIX because I wanted my students to have hands-on experience playing with an operating system. After AT&T forbid teaching from John Lions book, I decided to write a UNIX-like system for my students to play with. Since I had already written two books at this point, one on computer architecture and one on computer networks, it seemed reasonable to describe the system in a new book on operating systems, which is what I did. I was not trying to replace GNU/HURD or Berkeley UNIX. Heaven knows, I have said this enough times. I just wanted to show my students and other students how you could write a UNIX-like system using modern technology. A lot of other people wanted a free production UNIX with lots of bells and whistles and wanted to convert MINIX into that. I was dragged along in the maelstrom for a while, but when Linux came along, I was actually relieved that I could go back to professoring. I never really applied for the position of King of the Hackers and didn't want the job when it was offered. Linus seems to be doing excellent work and I wish him much success in the future. While writing MINIX was fun, I don't really regard it as the most important thing I have ever done. It was more of a distraction than anything else. The most important thing I have done is produce a number of incredibly good students, especially Ph.D. students. See my home page for the list. They have done great things. I am as proud as a mother hen. To the extent that Linus can be counted as my student, I'm proud of him, too. Professors like it when their students go on to greater glory. I have also written over 100 published research papers and 14 books which have been translated into about 20 languages. As a result I have become a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and won numerous other awards. For me, these are the things that really count. If MINIX had become a big 'commercial' success I wouldn't have had the time to do all this academic stuff that I am actually more interested in. Microkernels Revisited I can't resist saying a few words about microkernels. A microkernel is a very small kernel. If the file system runs inside the kernel, it is NOT a microkernel. The microkernel should handle low-level process management, scheduling, interprocess communication, interrupt handling, and the basics of memory management and little else. The core microkernel of MINIX 1.0 was under 1400 lines of C and assembler. To that you have to add the headers and device drivers, but the totality of everything that ran in kernel mode was under 5000 lines. Microsoft claimed that Windows NT 3.51 was a microkernel. It wasn't. It wasn't even close. Even they dropped the claim with NT 4.0. Some microkernels have been quite successful, such as QNX and L4. I can't for the life of me see why people object to the 20% performance hit a microkernel might give you when they program in languages like Java and Perl where you often get a factor 20x performance hit. What's the big deal about turning a 3.0 GHz PC into a 2.4 GHz PC due to a microkernel? Surely you once bought a machine appreciably slower than 2.4 GHz and were very happy with it. I would easily give up 20% in performance for a system that was robust, reliable, and wasn't susceptible to many of the ills we see in today's massive operating systems. Correction I would now like to correct an error in my original statement. One of the emails I got yesterday clarified the origins of Coherent. It was not written by Bob Swartz. He was CEO of the Mark Williams Company. Three ex-students from the University of Waterloo, Dave Conroy, Randell Howard, and Johann George, did most of the work. Waterloo is in Canada, where they also play baseball I am told, but only after the ice melts and they can't play hockey. It took the Waterloo students something like 6 man-years to produce Coherent, but this included the kernel, the C compiler, the shell, and ALL the utilities. The kernel is only a tiny fraction of the total code, so it may well be that the kernel itself took a man year. It took me three years to write MINIX, but I was only working at it only in the evenings, and I also wrote 400 pages of text describing the code in that time period (also in the evenings). I think a good programmer can write a 12,000 line kernel in a year. If you have made it this far, thank you for your time. Permission is hereby granted to mirror this web page provided that the original, unmodified version is used. Andy Tanenbaum, 21 May 2004

Raises some interesting questions (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221750)

Some of which are easier to answer than others:

Why did Brown fly all the way to Europe to interview me and (and according to an email I got from his seat-mate on the plane) one other person in Scandinavia, at considerable expense, and not at least call Linus?

I think the answer is "because calling Linus wouldn't have allowed Brown to get the Alex de Torqeville Institute to pay for him to take a vacation to Holland".

The Netherlands Connection is the key (5, Funny)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221773)

There is no other way to explain the conclusions we've seen reported for this book, except that Brown spent a good deal of time in Amsterdam coffeehouses, consuming high-grade grass.

Re:The Netherlands Connection is the key (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221914)

Which is no excuse really, as such is commonly available where Linus resides as well, so he could have just as easily produced a wigged out interview with Linus as with Prof. Tannenbaum.

And the weather's better in So Cal.

I can fully understand being willing to do just about anything to get out of D.C. for awhile though.

KFG

Re:Raises some interesting questions (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221880)

Of course that's the obvious funny answer. I'm sorry you beat me too it.

Of course the real, and obvious, reason that they did not talk to Linus is because they did not want to.

Things that make you go (as they obviously have for the good professor), "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm."

KFG

Haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221760)

Slrpr!

Tanenbaum is being disingenious (2, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221767)

In his email, Linus said that Brown never contacted him. No email, no phone call, no personal interview. Nothing. Considering the fact that Brown was writing an explosive book in which he accused Linus of not being the author of Linux, you would think a serious author would at least confront the subject with the accusation and give him a chance to respond. What kind of a reporter talks to people on the periphery of the subject but fails to talk to the main player?

Hmmm, duh!

How many "explosive" books on Diana were published without giving Diana a chance to respond in the book?

Dragging someone's name into the dirt in a book and not including an interview of that person in the book is the hallmark of a trashy book. But then, we all knew it, since it's a Microsoft PR ploy ultimately, so no surprise there.

That's the point the professor was trying to make (4, Insightful)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221835)

This isn't being disingenious, that is a highbrow critique.

If the author was serious then he would have given his "target" - Linus - at least some chance to respond. He didn't. Therefore he isn't a serious author.

Professors generally don't go saying directly, 'that author is such a luuusor dude!' And authors who write trash books about Di aren't exactly people to take seriously either.

Re:That's the point the professor was trying to ma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221941)

How about you just repeated what the original poster said?

I am confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221878)

How, exactly, is it "disingenious" of Tanenbaum to imply that Brown's book is trashy, when you yourself seem to agree with this sentiment?

Re:I am confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221931)

Hmm, tell me, do you know what "disingenuous" means?

Re:Tanenbaum is being disingenious (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221966)

How many "explosive" books on Diana were published without giving Diana a chance to respond in the book?

Linus isn't dead yet you insensitivite twit.

A bit different (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9222012)

There a lot of key differences....

"How many "explosive" books on Diana were published without giving Diana a chance to respond in the book?"

I don't know the exact number, but as she is dead, that's a bit difficult to do.

But there's a more fundamental difference; Princess Diana was widely known for being a typical whiney spoiled royal. Prince wants-to-be-a-tampon was just as bad. The queen's entire family was pathetic, never learning the meaning of sacrifice and duty.

Why people deify Diana is a mystery of the ages. There was little to admire about her, and a lot to dislike.

The best thing she did in her life was manage to be in a car that crashed; if she was alive, the concensus would be that she was whiney and boring. What a career move... going from pathetic loser to heroine of the world. Unbelieveable that people are so shallow.

Re:Tanenbaum is being disingenious (0, Flamebait)

Dinglenuts (691550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222032)

Unfortunately for Princess Di, the stupid bitch was too high on antidepressants (and stupid, to boot) to learn how to use the internet to let everyone know what a bunch of fucktards your so-called "authors" were.

Ob. Seinfeld Reference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221787)

Tanenbaum! Tanenbaum! Tanenbaum!

Ob. Hitler reference about Seinfeld and Tanenbaum (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221850)

Juden raus

Disclosure (4, Funny)

Vihai (668734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221788)

I got an advance copy of Ken Brown's book. I think it is still under embargo, so I won't comment on it

Ok, fair enought

Let's call it The Brown Book

So, why are you disclosing the color of the cover!?!? Baaad guy Andy :)

Re:Disclosure (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221872)


I think "The Brown Book" describes what the book and author are full of. That the author's name is Brown must surely be a coincidence.

Re:Disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221959)

I assume by brown he is refering to shit..

Changed opinion (5, Insightful)

Dasein (6110) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221795)

You know, I think I had AST wrong. I'd seen the thread where he bashes Linus for not doing a microkernel design and thought that maybe it was sour grapes.

His exchanges on this subject have changed my opinion on that. He's been nothing but kind toward Linus, generous with his time, and well-spoken.

If anything good come out of this whole mess, maybe it's that AST really got to show us what he's really like instead of all of us just assuming that he was bitter about the MINIX/Linux history.

Re:Changed opinion (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221864)

His exchanges on this subject have changed my opinion on that. He's been nothing but kind toward Linus, generous with his time, and well-spoken.

Perhaps this is because ten to fifteen years have elapsed since then and he's had time to cool down?

Re:Changed opinion (5, Insightful)

pankajsethi (212117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221871)

I agree that a lot of people in academia have superinflated egos, but the ones who are at the top are because of their earnest desire to learn and explore new realms of their beloved fields. If Tannenbaum was narrow minded to get entangled in micro-kernel vs. macro-kernel, he wouldn't be where he is right now.

Remember that research is more about asking questions, engaging in discussions, acting as a devil's advocate to prove yourself wrong, and dealing paradoxes then it is about answering them. I'm sure nobody around here as any doubt about contribution Tannenbaum has made to computer sceience can be surpassed only by few.

He so totally rocks and has been my inspirtation since my undergrad days and has written a few books that I will never part with.

Re:Changed opinion (5, Insightful)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221884)

You know, I think I had AST wrong. I'd seen the thread where he bashes Linus for not doing a microkernel design and thought that maybe it was sour grapes.
Well, its good that you made such an informed judgement on his character so early. I think that way to many /.ers are doing that. They read one thread that was linked to a couple days ago, and just because it was an argument with Linus, he must be the bad guy. Remember that, after all, he was being very polite in that discussion and in the end Linus had to apologize for being too hotheaded. He simply strongly believes that microkernels are the best approach.

So please, /.ers, stop thinking that you have to have an opinion on everything, even the things that you don't really know about.

Re:Changed opinion (4, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221915)

I have used AST's book with MINIX CDROM in an OS internals class I took in the evening, and I think he's the greatest. That being said, I chuckle at his stating a microkernel OS will give about a 20% performance hit compared to a monolithic (the "big mess" type, as my professor jokingly called them), but good design/ease of debugging worth that price. It is easy to see how most Linux users would side with Linus and have a "hot-rodded" OS even if more of a challenge to design and debug.

It kind of reminds me of the performance I get on my sparcstation 5 using SunOS 4.1.3 or OpenBSD versus Solaris 2.x (though I know there's some complex issues there)

Re:Changed opinion (4, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221920)

You know, I think I had AST wrong. I'd seen the thread where he bashes Linus for not doing a microkernel design and thought that maybe it was sour grapes.

Well shame on you. While I've never fully bought into Tanenbaum's arguments on microkernel they have never been antyhing but cogent, coherent and well made.

It is the kind of debate that academics are used to making all the time and AST as the distinguished and brilliant OS professor he is, gave us a good example of.

It seems Linux kiddies weren't mature enough to handle them and asumed malice on AST's part.

./ effect (2, Funny)

larry2k (592744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221799)

Professor Tanenbaum responds to the slashdot effect

And he is living the ./ effect hell again

Re:./ effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221866)

but why would you want to execute " effect"?

Arrogance (2, Insightful)

Quo_R (734198) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221802)

Can't help it, but whenever I read something from Tanenbaum, I am thinking "oh my, is this guy arrogant".

Re:Arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221834)

whenever I read something from Tanenbaum, I am thinking "oh my, is this guy arrogant".

Hey, he's a Dutch professor!

Re:Arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221860)

> Hey, he's a Dutch professor!

He was born, raised and educated in the US, and I think he still holds a US passport.

Re:Arrogance (5, Interesting)

gaj (1933) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221906)

Not arrogant -- confident.

There is a difference, though it is often colored by the listener's own sense of self confidence.

In the spirit of AST's baseball analogy, I refer you to the immortal words of Dizzy Dean: " It ain't bragging if you can do it."

Re:Arrogance (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221919)

Can't help it, but whenever I read something from Tanenbaum, I am thinking "oh my, is this guy arrogant".

Funny, I feel the same way when I read Slashdot.

Wow (5, Interesting)

bgackle (597616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221803)

I read Linus' book and heard about the "feud" between him and Tanenbaum... somehow, I never connected that Tanenbaum to the one that wrote my networking text...

Whatever else may be said about Prof. Tanenbaum, I learned much of what I know about networking from his excellent text. It should be said that he is excellent at what he does (that is, teaching students about computers).

Pure genius! (5, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221820)

Professor Tanenbaum responds to the slashdot effect

...by getting slashdotted again!

Re:Pure genius! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221832)



Can I get my pr0n affiliate site to respond to the slashdot effect and get a front-page story? Pretty please?

Masochist (1)

CaptainPinko (753849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221904)

Thats my only explanation.

Re:Pure genius! (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221922)

You did notice at the bottom of the article he explicitly gave permission for mirrors of the article to be posted?

He knew what was coming.

Brown... (1, Redundant)

Ann Elk (668880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221845)

...is an appropriate color for this book.

Childish (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221876)

I'm not impressed by this. The Open Source/GNU/GPL/whatever movement needs to start moving away from soiling its hands in the personality politics of gurus and counter-guru commentary.

A small gem is where he disclosed that Ken Brown can't multiply simple positive integers

No. This is not a "small gem", its an ad hominem attack and as such is almost totally redundant, as is this whole debate. The authorship of Linux can be easily asserted through a thorough review of the facts, not through this pointless bickering.

Linux is Obsolete (4, Informative)

jsse (254124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221887)

First, I REALLY am not angry with Linus. HONEST. He's not angry with me either. I am not some kind of "sore loser" who feels he has been eclipsed by Linus. MINIX was only a kind of fun hobby for me.

For the rest of you who don't know 'the past' Prof. Tanenbaum with Linus, you may refer to the famous mailing list log "Linux is Obsolete" [fluidsignal.com] .

Linus seems to be doing excellent work and I wish him much success in the future.

So I guess Prof. Tanenbaum can give higher grade than "F" to Linus now. :)

Both Prof. Tanenbaum and Linus are my favourite persons. I'm so happy to see this happy ending in real life. :~)

Re:Linux is Obsolete (5, Insightful)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221940)

So I guess Prof. Tanenbaum can give higher grade than "F" to Linus now. :)
Actually, I still don't think that he would. He still affirms that the point of view from which he looks at OS design is academic. He emphasizes that he is a PROFESSOR, not someone trying to make a production grade operating system. As are many academics, he is a purist and thus believes in a conceptually optimized design (microkernel) rather than a practical design (monolithic kernel). So, if Linus was still in his class, the "F" would probably stand, because Linux does not follow all the conceptual guidelines that Tanenbaum feels so strongly about.
This argument was never really a big deal in the first place, it was just a classic arguemnt between a realist and a purist.

2500 hits (5, Funny)

bandicot (532886) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221889)

Examining his home-page hit rate:

1600 come from search-engine bots
450 come from kids attempting to compromise his apache server with IIS-specific exploits
350 come from a single female grad student who is all aflutter over AST's [micro-kernel] hacking skills.
75 come from accidentally mis-spelling 'whitehouse.gov'
24 come from /. users
1 comes from his mother.

That's An MS Server Log You've Described. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221939)

An easy mistake to make.

Or maybe Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221978)

I suspect that there are really only about 2,500 people online. They just post a whole lot.

Embargo? (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221896)

I got an advance copy of Ken Brown's book. I think it is still under embargo, so I won't comment on it. Although I am not an investigative reporter, even I know it is unethical to discuss publications still under embargo.
What is meant by embargo here? I'd think free speech would let one comment on a book at any time.

Re:Embargo? (4, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221947)

Before a book is published the publishers/authors usually send out copies for review & comments. Then, if errors are found (for example) they can be corrected before going to print. The idea of the embargo is essentially like an NDA - because the version being read is not the final version, it would be unfair to talk publically about it.

As for free speech - this isn't a legal thing, it's purely done out of respect for the publishing process and basic good manners. Once the final version is available it's fair game for anyone.

Re:Embargo? (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221954)

I think the meaning is similar to non-disclosure agreement - We'll let you look at the book before it is out on a condition that you cannot publicly discuss it untill a certain date. No free speech violations here, just simple business.... on the other hand I somehow doubt the first amendment to US constitution has anything to do with a guy reading a book in Europe. USA has not fully colonized all of the world (yet).

Re:Embargo? (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221984)

It's pretty common when marketing something like a book or program or microprocessor or automobile to want to have the press publish reviews, etc, around about launch time. Now, given that some have *really* long lead times (think magazines), you have a problem. The common solution is to give reporters and reviewers advance information under an NDA that expires at product launch time. Commonly referred to as a "press embargo". Everyone plays nice because it is in everyone's interest to play nice. Reporters that break the embargo don't get invited back to the party next time, and therefore their rags don't get to report the next "scoop" in a timely fashion. Marketting folks play along because it gets them the "big bang" that they want.

It's the dance you do if you come to this particular party.

Soap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221899)

Soap, soap, soap and nothing but soap. This is great.

We should set up better Open Source Marketing (5, Interesting)

puntloos (673234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221909)

Trying not to troll here, but this document is not that news-worthy, is it? I mean -obviously- the whole Ken Brown thing is one big Microsoft Marketing Ploy (tm). If a manager 'falls for' (lets assume the Ken Brown book is purely Microsoft Marketing driven) the arguments of the book, he's probably not of the sort to go look for Andrew Tanenbaum's site. These people are the ones that fall for dicy logic (in this case, the "Argumentam ad Verecundiam", or argument from authority, fake or no, the institute sounds interesting)

On the same note, I doubt that very many in the 'Slashdot-like' internet community need extra convincing to believe that the book is Microsoft-driven, not fact-driven.

Therefore the only effect Tanenbaum (and Slashdot) gets from this document is self-defence and mutual knob-polishery. Not that Tanenbaum is entitled to have his say and defend his honor, but there you go.

What the Slashdot/unix/GNU/whatever community really should consider is how they can truely counter the 'lets convince the stupid masses' policy of Microsoft. (yeah I know I sound elitist, thats because I am..)

Seriously though, the more manager types that don't fall for Microsoft Marketing the better, IMHO. But how? I don't think slashdotting works, but perhaps we should set up a more Market-driven avocacy site for open source. Get The Facts! There are plenty of people out there who would have fun with doing some effective marketing here, and could do more for the community than program another random number generator ;)

One of the things that strikes me most about Microsoft Marketing is that whatever Article (negative or no) I read online about Microsoft, 8 out of 10 times I see a big blinking Microsoft ad! I can't help but be impressed by that, even if I don't like it.

That's what you get for posting quickly.. (1)

puntloos (673234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221951)

Obviously I meant "Not that Tanenbaum isn't entitled to have his say.." up there.

Re:We should set up better Open Source Marketing (2, Insightful)

njcoder (657816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222016)

"What the Slashdot/unix/GNU/whatever community really should consider is how they can truely counter the 'lets convince the stupid masses' policy of Microsoft. (yeah I know I sound elitist, thats because I am..) "
My opinion, the easiest way to do this is sugested in your statement. The key is unix, not linux. Meaning linux is in the unix family. Promoting unix as a whole as an alternative to microsoft, especially in the server areas is important.

There are different types of unixes from proprietary to the bsd's to the linuxes. Promote the adoption of unix as an alternative and it gives linux more room to grow.

While it's not always the case, a lot of places where linux is making in roads is in replacing commercial unix installations. This is a short sighted strategy. Unix right now is competing with Windows server platforms. If linux takes over all the unix servers, then it will be linux competing with Windows server platforms. Meaning it won't be in any better position than it is now.

Though if we could foster support for greater unix deployments including bsd and linux in addition to the commercial unixes that have been there for years, windows servers would really have competition.

Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221945)

http://slushdot.org/mirror/Tanenbaum/ [slushdot.org]

That one died quick!

Planting the UD in FUD? (3, Interesting)

VValdo (10446) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221956)

Sorry, I came to this discussion late. Is this the same Alexis de Tocqueville Institution that came out with that controversial "report" called Opening the Open Source Debate [adti.net] a few years back? Here's a quote from the press release...
In a paper to be released next week, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution outlines how open source might facilitate efforts to disrupt or sabotage electronic commerce, air traffic control or even sensitive surveillance systems.

And who funded that Alexis de Tocqueville Institution report?

Take a guess [wired.com] .

W

I need witnesses to this BBC page (-1, Offtopic)

CrustyBread (762569) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221962)

This is completely off-topic but, since time is of the essence and the slashdot readership is so large, here goes: On its fron page news the bbc website is leading with a picture of Sharon with a Hitler moustache. However when you click on the story you get a 404 error. I find it extraordinay that a news organization would use this kind of tactic. Hence I'm calling on all /.'ers to preserve a record of this page before it, too, goes "404".

Re:I need witnesses to this BBC page (-1, Offtopic)

CrustyBread (762569) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221980)

Sorry in my hurry I forgot the URL : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/defau lt.stm

Actually.. (0, Offtopic)

puntloos (673234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222026)

The URL is Here [bbc.co.uk] i.e. without the space.

Checked though, Sharon with a Hitler moustache and a broken link. Though is it that inflammatory? It looks like a protest sign from a demonstrator.

Re:I need witnesses to this BBC page (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9222025)

Uhh, the picture you are referring to is of a sign that has sharon's picture on it with a hitler moustache filled in. BBC wasn't hacked.

Multiply small integers (3, Informative)

Foolhardy (664051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221987)

A small gem is where he disclosed that Ken Brown can't multiply simple positive integers.
What, he doesn't have his times tables memorized? Neither do I, and it hasen't been a problem.

Linus had nothing to do with it. (3, Funny)

Coram (4712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221989)

Silly geeks. Al Gore wrote linux.

Good show for the Professor (1)

kendoka (473386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222009)

I think he comported himself quite well, actually.

With All Due Respect. (0)

13Echo (209846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222023)

With all due respect to Andy for Minix, reading his writings is almost as bad as reading Fred Langa spout on and on to try to defend his (poorly supported) option. Mr. T calls that "jibber-jabber". It's annoying if you jibber-jabber and don't really get to the point, fool! Yes, we know you don't hate Linus. You don't need to keep defending your stance on microkernels because we've gotten your point for something like 14 years! Obviously, if you feel compelled to write about it after 14 yours, you must feel *some* sort of ill-feelings towards the whole Linux vs. Minix issue.

Please don't write anymore if you are only going to jibber-jabber, fool.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=j ib ber-jabber
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