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Linux: Fighting the FUD of Forking

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the power-to-the-people dept.

Linux Business 261

sebFlyte writes "Fighting the MS FUD machine is a full time job for some open source developers, especially now Microsoft have thrown in the issue of the possibility of Linux forking (as Unix did)... it would also seem that Gates has moved on from telling people to 'get the facts' and creating FUD around patents and IP to criticising the open source communty's ability to create interoperable software."

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firsties. (-1, Offtopic)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595544)

Am I the only one that sees the "Nothing for you to see here, move along" and abuses it for firsties?

Re:firsties. (0, Troll)

nurmr (773394) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595548)

odd, that the post was visible via rss before plain old web browser.

Re:firsties. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595596)

No, but Slashdot will now port scan my IP address seven times because this is my first post of the day.

Interoperable Software - Not Created by MS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595685)

Microsoft did NOT CREATE Interoperable Software, they just refined it a lot, and made it worm and virus friendly. Amazing the power of marketing and the ability to re-write history. Microsoft's #1 achievement is making incompatibility, and money.

Apple and Convergent had IS first, about the same time as Digital's 'All in One' office suite, when all MS had was DOS!

OSS is getting better. FireFox and Samba demonstrate this. And at least these interoperate with the OS, without bypassing the OS security model.

forking bad (-1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595546)

forking bad
beer good!

Re:forking bad (2, Funny)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595571)

beer marinade steak, eat with fork, good

Re:forking bad (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595976)

LOL! Just had to try a firstie.. haven't done so in years!

Microsoft and Interoperability ? (5, Funny)

Mauvaisours (660152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595547)

From the guy that brought you exchange server and MS office closed format.

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (3, Interesting)

altp (108775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595562)

And MS Works, which isn't compatible with MS Office out of the box.

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (3, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595574)

From the article, you'll see that "interoperability" here means with itself. Meaning: Windows works best with windows and other OSs don't work as well with it. This is somewhat true, but OSS's strength is operating with every OS and every arch under the sun...

This all goes hand-in-hand with Samba's impending complaint over MS's licensing agreement in the EU dispute.

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (-1, Offtopic)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595660)

Your sig is phrased very poorly.

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (0, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595690)

It was kind of intentional...;) Who is "either of us?"

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595622)

Their strange view on interoperability:
For example, interoperability is sometimes viewed merely as adherence to a published specification of some kind, either from one or more vendors or a standards organization. But simply publishing a specification may not be enough, because it overlooks much of the hard work it takes to successfully develop interoperable products – namely, ensuring that the "contract" defined by a specification is successfully implemented in software and tested in a production environment.
No wonder they're always breaking specs.

The whole article is a puff piece. Even the above-quoted sentence really doesn't say anything.

But I do have to admit Microsoft is way ahead on interoperability - many more viruses and trojans "just work" with their systems.

Anyone who believes this mindless pap deserves what they get.

Re:Microsoft and Interoperability ? (5, Interesting)

beh (4759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595653)

I don't quite see the problem here.

I am not afraid of forks, if they are executed well.

Look at some examples we've had in the past:

gcc fork - when the gcc development started to slow down, a new group forked it and the primary thing it did was to speed up development.

emacs fork - emacs had had a notice for ages saying that "X11 support was coming RSN", but nothing happened for quite a while. The Lucid-Emacs (later became XEmacs) happened and within a very short amount of time there was quite a hustle and bustle of activity between the two - Yes, there are some interoperability issues here in that both designed their respective GUI concepts a bit differently. But both evolved at a much quicker pace then if we only had one. (Especially good in this case, was that the lucid/xemacs team decided that sticking to old packages like the age old c-mode wasn't a good thing and that there were better alternatives to be used, and they didn't shy away from using them - much to the advantage of the entire community.

If there should be a linux fork, I am not really afraid of it, since those who will fork it, will know that they will also NEED interoperability (an issue that emacs/xemacs didn't really have in that sense, as the files you edit with them ARE interoperable -- and I don't think a linux fork that will make the formats of binaries / shared libs different, will find much acceptance, unless they also manage to continue supporting the old formats as well (pretty much like you can still use a.out binaries, if you still have the kernel support for it compiled in).

I don't think we should just have a kernel-fork just for the sake of it - but if there are good reasons for a fork, I am not afraid of it - in fact, I'd rather welcome it.

Benedikt

Linux Forking is inevitable (1, Insightful)

Dagny Taggert (785517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595560)

Forking is inevitable, especially since there is now large corporate (IBM, Novell, etc.) money involved. Linux is highly flexible and, since it's open source, customization of even the kernal is inevitable.

This is NOT a bad thing IMHO. It will just take some getting used to and require knowledge of the changes.

Re:Linux Forking is inevitable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595648)

Actually kernel is spelt with an 'e' not an 'a'...

Re:Linux Forking is inevitable (0, Offtopic)

Dagny Taggert (785517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595675)

Thanks...as you can tell, I have a problem with "A" and "E".

Linux FUD (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595831)

Linux is not targeted as 'evil corporate product' like MS because there is not a single person/corporation to target.

The default assumption that Linux sources is available and can be modified for each environment is FUD since a multi-million dollar software/hardware installation will not be able to have downtime in months or years whilst the linux source is being fixed to meet their buisness needs.

Linux forked a long time ago (5, Insightful)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595561)

Each distribution has typically has its own fork. The glory of the GPL rings true here. No one can be hurt from a fork. The better code, how ever one wishes to evaluate better, will live on. As others have already noted, "Nothing to see here. Move along."

Re:Linux forked a long time ago (3, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595593)

Each distribution may come from a kernel with a set of customization patches, but aren't they all applied to mainline kernels? That's not quite the same thing as forking.

Re:Linux forked a long time ago (5, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595605)

No one can be hurt from a fork.

Wrong. [nih.gov]

Re:Linux forked a long time ago (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595683)

Insightful?
Did the moderator even follow the link?
If anything this is Funny. Its OT from the article but funny on the pun of fork.
Slashdot needs a moderator training school for the inept moderator.

Re:Linux forked a long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595696)

It's funny, but it's also insightful -- the statement was obviously incorrect.

Distribution forks are killing Linux (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595729)

The problem isn't the forks. It is the install procedure that each fork will require to run the same piece of software.

With windows, you download a program and double click the install button. It doesn't matter if you are running Windows 98 / ME, NT, 2K, or XP. The thing installs and (sometimes) suns correctly. Try downloading a package (NOT SOURCE) built for some old version of RedHat and installing it on a new Slackware distribution. It just plain does not work by default.

This is what Bill G was talking about and I agree with him. There is no "standard" in the distribution. Where should the program go when it gets installed and does the distribution that it is getting run on grant the required privileges to install it there by default?

The Linux community needs to agree on a few things, one of the basics would be userland programs and config scripts. Until then it will continue to be it's own worst enemy as people won't be able to call themselves Linux admins, they will only be able to call themselves Distribution admins.

Re:Distribution forks are killing Linux (4, Insightful)

Zphbeeblbrox (816582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595870)

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you here. There is already a "standard" of sorts. /etc will work when nothing else will. /usr/bin also will work when nothing else will. The real problem here is that the developers of applications pretty much leave this kind of thing up to the distributions. If developers took the time to come up with one click installs for their apps then people might not be so dependent on the distro's The distribution should not be responsible for solving the install issues for their apps. That is the developers problem. When Gnome or KDE offer a one click install for their product then standardization will come. Until then each distribution will continue to offer their own "unique" way of doing things.

Re:Distribution forks are killing Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595915)

I disagree. I know this is going to sound horrible but, there needs to an additional layer of bureaucracy in Linux as an OS. This is why I said Bill G was correct. MS rules of its developers with and iron fist. You do it the way they want or you suffer the consequences.

I realize it is a developer problem, but since programmers are not going to fix it the word needs to come from higher up the food chain so to speak. SuSe, Redhat, Slackware, Debian, whatever need to come up with a common install format, and need to define a standard so that you can download the latest piece of software, install it, and have it work the same regardless of what distribution you are using.

As I said above, I agree this is a developers problem but the fact is the distributions are not even hinting at a standard for these things so the developers are going in blind. If you can think of a way for all the develops to come to an agreement then that would solve the problem but since people are sheep and want a leader to follow I still assert it is up the distribution to create and enforce this standard.

Re:Linux forked a long time ago (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596020)

I'm disappointed that SuSE, RedHat, Debian, etc. all try to do the same thing so many different ways, and put the same files in different places. Linux might as well be UNIX, so many ways to do things, but only a few of them work on any particular distribution.

I would call this a fork, a bad one at that.

I thought only BSD has forks... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595572)

.. well at least that demon mascot does.

Re:I thought only BSD has forks... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595702)

instead of fighting the FUD of forking please fight the FUD of bathing

Microsoft's FUD campaign is futile (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595584)

Microsoft certainly seems to be spending a lot of time and effort to sabotage Linux in the minds, if not hearts, of corporate executives around the world. But the company would do well to wake up and realize that its FUD campaign will have absolutely no effect on the adoption of Linux, or on open source development in general.

Linux will wither and die no matter what Microsoft does.

That's rich... (1, Informative)

theM_xl (760570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595585)

Here we've got the masters of embrace, extend and lock out criticising Open Source software for lack of interoperability. Uh huh. Maybe it would all work together if they'd bother to use open standards, or to actually document what they did with the ones they DID use.

Re:That's rich... (4, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595610)

And it's also a convenient coincidence that they talk about this after recently releasing Office 2003 which supports saving the file as XML, and releasing the DTD giving others an option to be compatible with this XML format (albeit the license is somewhat incompatible with the GPL).

Ummm... I don't see how or why (3, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595587)

I think he's trying to make the point that someone could make a fork that is incompatible with all linux programs, or something like that. It doesn't make sense to me, because such a product would only be the result of its creators having a strong urge to shoot themselves in the foot.

Re:Ummm... I don't see how or why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595743)

I think he's trying to make the point that someone could make a fork that is incompatible with all linux programs, or something like that. It doesn't make sense to me, because such a product would only be the result of its creators having a strong urge to shoot themselves in the foot.

Don't you mean stab themselves in the foot?

Forking is aweful. (4, Insightful)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595903)

I think he knows what he's talking about here, forking is really awful. Over and over again, I've seen people with NT or 95 buying games that only run under 2000 or XP, or the newer forks like 98, ME, XP, or 2000 failing to run software from the older forks like NT, 95, or 3.1. One of my nephew's favorite games under 95 wouldn't even run under 98. It's really confusing for customers too, especially now that there are things that still say "Windows" like CE, but that run entirely different and mostly incompatible software. My Mom ran NT, and several times bought software that wouldn't work on that fork, which was so different from the concurrent "95" fork.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Bill would know what a pain in the ass it is for an operating system to have a bunch of divergent and not always compatible offerings available.

Linux distros *are* forking (5, Interesting)

defile (1059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595592)

I've ignored Red Hat and SuSE for about 5 years now, focusing mainly on Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, etc.

Now that I've used a Red Hat system again, I was completely dazzled by how drastically different the experiences are. I expect the GUI to be more polished, naturally, but so many underlying things are different as well. All in all, they're things I can learn, and binary and source compatibility are still there, but it's the trend that's disturbing.

All of the traditional UNIX vendors forked in order to raise the barrier of exit for people who wanted to switch platforms. Sun's platform is still alive today because Solaris is such a unique beast that you have administrators trained solely in the art of this platform. All the UNIX part does is allow for some kind of source compatibility. Maybe.

Cisco took TCP/IP, which was practically invented (and perfected?) on a BSD box and threw it away to build a new proprietary OS to run specifically on their routers.

It's hard to find a major distribution shipping the vanilla kernel these days. When does, for example, SuSE decide that binary compatibility with other distros is keeping them from "enhancing" the user experience? Can they resist?

I'd like to be wrong about all of this.

Re:Linux distros *are* forking (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595620)

but so many underlying things are different as well
Seriously, what do you have in mind here. I use Fedora, Debian and SuSE regularly, and the underlying things seem almost completely consistent.

Re:Linux distros *are* forking (2, Informative)

Exter-C (310390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595697)

Slackware runs a vanilla kernel as far as Im aware..

Re:Linux distros *are* forking (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595834)

yes, afaik everything in slackware is built from vanilla sources

The "linux won't split" article said it best (4, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595594)

The whole nature of open source is based on interoperability. It is this very nature that made the Internet possible. Where standards are nonexistent, they are being created; for instance, look at the Jack Audio Connection Kit that allows all Linux audio applications (that support it) to interconnect. As a result, developers do not keep reinventing the wheel all the time; instead, they learn how to work with the provided interface, and just build what does not exist yet.

Re:The "linux won't split" article said it best (2, Insightful)

bender_zero (857051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595632)

Sure, and how many pro audio apps are there yet? It's nice to have a good framework, but let's see it put to good use.

Just like politics (0, Flamebait)

RicJohnson (649243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595601)

This is my biggest problem with learning *nix.
I am a M$ professional, but I recently wanted to learn the best blogging software [wordpress.com] , and so I had to learn Linux.
Where do I start?
Which distro does what?
Now I proud to be a geek, and I WANT to learn about Free, but does it have to be so hard to get a system up and running?
IMHO The BIGGEST problem with Free OS is Forking. Say you work years developing some kewl new software. Then somebody with some bucks comes along and hires some developers to try to make it their own (i.e. STEAL it).
I am just a nerd that want to learn - when there are 30 different flavors of just *nix, it et me discouraged. I do not mind paying for some help, but now I find that the big distributor (RedHat) has changed the commands?
In the political arena, we line up behind one of two candidates (Do not look at me - I voted independent). We have to choose between the better of two evils, but if the forking continues, doesn't that mean that M$ will win?

Re:Just like politics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595646)

Well, there is the Linux Standards Base, that has defined standard aspects for Linux and many of the distributions adhere to some amount of this.

But really, installing Linux and applications is a lot easier than installing Windows XP and applications, certainly in terms of time to install and not needing reboots, etc.

You just get a Linux distro, one of the big name ones if you don't want to do much work and need to know that there'll be online help. For example, Suse or Mandrake. Install it. Done.

Re:Just like politics (4, Insightful)

grozzie2 (698656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595654)

Win 95, Win 98, WinNT, Win2K, WinXp. Looks like a hell of a lot of incompatible forking to me....

Re:Just like politics (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595758)

Really? Looks like a lot of backwards compatible versions to me. Admittedly there were some bumps migrating from 9x to NT kernels, but on the other hand how many other kernels does Linux have binary compatibility with (FreeBSD, for example, includes Linux, SCO, etc. binary compatibility. Does Linux?). Hell, 98SE and NT4 device drivers work on Window 2000 a lot of the time. That'd binary compatibility between device drivers across two entirely different kernels. Good luck making Linux device drivers work on a new major (and sometimes minor) kernel version without a recompile.

Re:Just like politics (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595882)

On the other hand some windows 98 application fail to run on windows 98 because the right version of internet explorer is not installed. (same story on winnt4 and windows 2000). I cannot tell you abou wndows XP because i do not agree with the licencing.

Re:Just like politics (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596014)

That's called a dependancy. the same thing will happen on a linux box if you don't have the required packages installed.

Re:Just like politics (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595686)

Well, there's lots of different foods out there. How did you pick your favorites?

Try a few. Download a few distros. Don't worry - they're free. Load them on a machine and fiddle with them. You'll find that one of them out there matches the way you work and think. All you have to do is fiddle around a bit and find it.

And don't worry about the "they're all different" bit. They're really not so different. Every distro is about 80% identical to other distros. The main differences are installation and package management.

Just jump in and see what suits you.

Re:Just like politics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595691)

What a fucking troll. Get over yourself. "Steal" your work. Bullshit, that's why the GPL is fucking "viral" license. Then can take your code, but they always have to give it back. Guess what happens if some big bad corporation starts to take your code? ... You just got free development for your code! And you can port it all back into your version! Hooray.

Meanwhile, if you're still crying because you can't decide between Gentoo and Debian's live CDs, I'm sure you can just wait another half hour and your XP box will be owned and reformatted to one or the other.

Re:Just like politics (1)

RicJohnson (649243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595762)

My problem is that If I spend alot of my time developing some code to give away - what is to stop some jerk from stealing it and not giving me credit? NOTHING
Or for example - I am ONE developer. I write a new app. Some big company sees $$$, so has their developers use my hard work. There is NO guarantee that I will ever see any money. Forgive me for my M$ view, but I do have to feed my family. Where does this protect me from the Open source vultures?

Re:Just like politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595891)

If you're "giving away" your code under GPL then there is something to stop big companies from using your code-- the legal power of the GPL. If they take your code, they share it with everyone or get sued. That's the law. But really, if you're giving away the source code, how do you expect to make money in the first place? The GPL exists because it's code you felt like writing anyway, not as some half-assed get-rich-quick scheme. If you want to make money, put it out a closed source version until you finally get sick of your code and then put out one final, GPL version. Just don't expect any help on your closed source program.

Duh.

Re:Just like politics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595892)

Now, this is just a suggestion so feel free to ignore it, but maybe you should consider not releasing your code under an Open Source Licence if the idea of someone "stealing" your code bothers you.

The majority of Open Source and Free Software is written either because the developer enjoys doing it, in which case they couldn't give a shit if someone else uses their work, or because they're truly being altruistic and believe in Free software, in which case they couldn't give a shit if someone else uses their work. See a pattern?

If you're writing Open Source or Free software for some other reason then you're doing it wrong. If you're going to freak out about someone else "stealing" your work then you've totally missed the point and should probably just sit quietly in the corner until you get it. Of course I bet you have no problems downloading all that free work from someone else to use in the creation of your masterpeice, do you?

Re:Just like politics (1)

cabazorro (601004) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595736)

Start we Fedora. There. Your problem has been solved.

Install Apache, Install Wordpress and off you go! A better than average server at ZERO cost!

Later on you will find out that Wordpress works across all the major distros, and so Apache.

It is true that M$ usera are accustom to be spoon fed with state-of-the-art manuals and wizards that facilitate their work. This is not the case in the *nix world.

Yet,
my favorite motto for the OSS/*nix world is:

"You do the work, you reap the benefits"

Re:Just like politics (3, Informative)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595812)

here an idea:

pick one (use any criteria you desire), learn it.

Pick another one, learn the differences.

Try a third, more difficult distro (pick gentoo)

learn it inside and out.

Give yourself a long break from Windows (a month should do it) now go back to Windows and hate it properly.

Then never ever ever again ask What is the best distro..... as the answer will always be Gentoo anyway (ok ignore that last bit :-)

Re:Just like politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595953)

Gentoo simply sucks. Try Slackware!

Memories ... (1)

Living WTF (838448) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595603)

This remembers me of an older article [slashdot.org] and two [slashdot.org] funny [slashdot.org] comments...

Regarding "fighting the FUD machine"... (4, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595609)

Does wider adoption benefit the developers of OSS, or would they be better spending their time working on the software than fighting FUD?

(I mean this as a serious question, not trolling)

MOD parent up. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596031)

By responding to a couple of Bill's utterings (even shooting him down) Bill gets to set the topic of debate. He also gets to advertise his XML as if he were leading the way and waiting for the amatures to catch up.

He wants "interoperability" on everyones lips just as he releases Office2003 with XML support.

Competition is good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595617)

If Linux forks, it only offers more options to the user... they can evaluate what version works best for them, much in the way they do with distros. Of course, this is a bit contrary to MS's "lock-in" strategy, so of course they'll refute it as FUD.

Forking desktop Linux (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595621)

Err, when we start talking about entire Linux installs, and not just the kernel, wouldn't KDE and Gnome and (Others) count as forks? Yeah, they might be interface forks, but they each have their own software packages, configuration, etc. Yeah, KDE software will run on a Gnome desktop if the KDE libs are installed and vice versa, but that isn't really highly integrated is it?

And for software where money is made by having supporting services, etc, instead of the software itself, the incentive to create easy to use but still powerful software isn't very high - that'd mean less people buying support and help!

Slashdot helping to spread the FUD (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595624)

Shouldn't Slashdot be one of the first to stop spreading Microsoft's FUD? The less attention it gets, the less effective it will be.

Personally, I'm getting sick of seeying these 'Microsoft accuses competetition of being worse then them!' articles.

Re:Slashdot helping to spread the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595865)

Look, I know you're not "New Here," unless you chose to go AC instead of logging in for some reason. Will New Here please identify himself?

And the point is...? (2, Interesting)

robathome (34756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595626)

So what if there's a fork? So what if Linux experiences the same sort of trial-by-fire that occured when BSD went head-to-head with AT&T SysV? Sure, there was bickering between the BSD and SysV camps over the "right" way to do things. However, for the most part, the best methods won out by right of acclaim and attrition. There are few "pure" SysV systems, the BSD/SysV wars are ancient history, and *nix is probably the better for having gone through it.

Microsoft forks too (0, Redundant)

Angostura (703910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595627)

Consider the Windows 95 -> 98 -> ME fork and the NT -> 2000 -> XP fork.

Would Microsoft consider that a mistake?

Re:Microsoft forks too (1)

modicr (320487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595659)

There were two forks: Windows 9X/ME and Windows NT/2000, which were merged in Windows XP/2003 fork.

Re:Microsoft forks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595724)

Where do you see a merge in XP/2003? Both systems are NT based for sure. It is just the marketing that tells that XP would be the successor of Me. For sure, it is not.

Re:Microsoft forks too (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595778)

I think it was Windows 9X/ME and Windows NT 3.1/4 was a fork. Then I believed the Windows NT 5(2000) was redesigned. THe bulk of that kernel is the same for windows 2000/xp. I think server 2003 is also based on that kernel.

Re:Microsoft forks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595688)

Consider the Windows 95 -> 98 -> ME -> XP fork and the NT -> 2000 fork.

Fixed it for you.

Re:Microsoft forks too (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595793)

This is exactly the opposite of a fork. They took two codebases (the DOS-based 9x and the NT kernel), and gradually shared more and more code between them until they could ditch the 9x kernel and run all userland stuff on the NT kernel, as well as providing binary device driver compatibility between the later versions of both branches (WDM). It is not a fork, since the NT and DOS branches did not start off with a shared code base.

Fud Fighters (5, Insightful)

breakbeatninja (846922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595630)

I think it's important to recognize that Microsoft, SCO and other like minded companies will do whatever it takes to distribute harmful and baseless propaganda in order to further their cause (monopolization of desktop and server markets, proprietization of media and so on). The fact is, while each distribution has minor differences in the way userland and package management is iemplemented, the fundamental Linux kernel is the same and works across all of the distributions.

As we've seen in previous anti-Linux efforts on Microsoft's part, this is another effort to steer current Microsoft users away from Linux that may be considering it to lower licensing fees and hardware overhead. We all know it takes a *lot* more sysadmin time and monetary investment in hardware and software to reach the same results with a Microsoft-based workstation or server vs. a Linux or Unix equivelent. While Microsoft's sales are strong, their propaganda efforts show some desperation and fear.

While open source developers may spend a lot of time battling Microsoft's rhetoric, I think it's more important to concentrate on creating a solid operating system for everyone, from the hobbiest to the corporate user. The best way to beat Microsoft at its own game is not to play it. That is, Microsoft seems to value marketing and scare tactics over actual development and innovation. Let's not let Linux fall in Microsoft's trap of smoke and mirrors.

Re:Fud Fighters (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596021)

Since somebody needs to actually RTFA...

The message of the linked article is that incompatibility between Linux distributions is a non-issue because the LSB is here to save us all! Given that LSB stories here (when not hidden behind a screen of "Mirco$oft is saying bad things about Lunix!!!!", as with this one) are met with a response along the lines of:

  • 70% ridicule
  • 15% "Why isn't deb/apt the standard?"
  • 15% Why isn't portage the standard?"
perhaps, it's less than entirely reassuring.

In fact, the real answer is that cross-distribution incompatability isn't an issue is that: 1) a large market for binary-only Linux software still hasn't appeared and 2) what is out there simply targets Red Hat.

MS fails to grasp a simple idea once again (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595635)

The reason why forking isn't a problem is because the open source community knows how to read the friggin' RFCs before we code something. Unlike a certain software giant who lives in Redmond.

Doesn't matter if there is one branch of a big project or 1000 forks. If they stick to specs, they are all interchangeable. Like your window manager. As long as they do what they're supposed to do, stick to specs and play fair - it doesn't matter which one you use.

This gives the user choice, which is why MS finds it to be such an alien concept.

There is no fork. Oh wait, spoon. (2, Interesting)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595636)

What Microsoft does not want you to know or think about is the difference between a fork with the proprietary Unixes and Linux. With all those proprietary types, yeah a fork is "bad" cause the code bases will never, never merge together. The opposite of that is the strength of Linux (if it ever did fork), any of those differences in code bases can be merged to one or the other or both. That's a good thing cause any improvements can be had by the other.

There are 2 types of forking (4, Insightful)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595637)

The first kind is where each version of the software is slightly different, yet ABI compatible with one another. That's what the Linux kernel is, and Linus and co. have tried hard to maintain this. In essence, every time a developer sets up his own tree, it's a "fork" of the Linux kernel, but that's ok because binary compatibility is still maintained, and those changes will probably be merged back upstream anyway. Good news all round.

The second kind is where a substantial group of developers get into a messy political argument and take the codebase in a wildly different direction and becomes a new project in itself. This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, as you'll see cross-pollination between projects (like in the BSD's). However this may be what the FUD-mongerers are hinting at. I have yet to see any signs that this will happen though - it's downright impractical to fork the Linux kernel in a wildly incompatible fashion with the rest of the developer community - for one thing, there's a whole shitload of drivers you now have to maintain yourself. Not an easy job.

As for distros being different...well it's always been this way. Yet Linux's growth has been phenomenal, and with efforts like the LSB in place you won't find that distros diverge too far from one another.

Things look bright for Linux, any way you go. Don't listen to the FUD mongerers.

Forks? MS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595651)

What about Windows with it's home, professional, server, media center, pocket pc and what not forks? Everyone's forking all the time. The question is only how much do they fork.

With linux: Choose a LSB compliant distro like SuSE and it's fairly standardized.

Forget forking! (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595655)

Linux developers need more spooning.

Re:Forget forking! (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595679)

Nice forking spoonerism!

WTF?! (1)

zonix (592337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595948)

I'll spork your ass! :-)

z

frame the issue (2, Insightful)

stallard (747036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595667)

You know, I've started to noticed a very strong similarity between the open source movement and the progressive political movement. Both tend to just react to attacts, are not proactive, and faile to frame the debate into their own words. Thankfully for politics, the progressive movement has picked up on this and is working to change it. The open source folk can learn a thing or two from this. However, issue framing is a bit too complex for a comment post so I recommend that all of you go out and read "Don't Think of an Elephant!" by George Lakoff. Yes it's a politically motivated book, but it's the best place to learn issue framing that I know of. Perhaps I'll get off my lazy ass sometime soon and come up with something for slashdot readers.

Life in the ecosystem forks (4, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595714)

Funny how someone who talks a lot about the software 'ecosystem' wants customers to invest in this one dinosaur - instead of being amazed at the natural process of species differentiation and survival of the fittest.

Forking, interoperability and FUD (4, Interesting)

bernywork (57298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595717)

I think this is brillant, couldn't have come from a more knowledgable person at a better time. Especially given that in the past day or two a nice little article got published up on Groklaw about the SMB / CIFS protocol and what legnths they have to go to, to reverse engineer / pull it apart on the wire. It's essentially a slightly intelligent brute force method.

Take a look. I couldn't have made the timing for this article any better if I tried.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200502050 10415933 [groklaw.net]

I second Tridge's motion that when Microsoft really wants to come to the party on interoperability, let me know. I want to be there.

Personally, I think the major reason why they are going through what they are doing for interoperability now, it's all because of market pressure with the rise of open source, and the open standards which it follows. See what's happening with all the governments demanding open standards for documents etc?

*sigh* when will they learn?

STFU Gates (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595748)

Bill Gates telling the open source world how to run their business is like Jenna Jameson teaching a class on abstinence.

Windows doesn't have different versions? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595767)

What about win 2003 server, win xp home/pro, windows 2000 advanced server, clustered server, etc.? I guess all of those are really the same thing, so we should just all buy the cheapest one and never look elsewhere within M$'s world for something with a different codebase of any kind.

FUD goes a bit both ways (2, Interesting)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595772)

Yes, MS might create a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, but how do you explain this?

We *could* die. [slashdot.org]

We *should* die. [slashdot.org]

We *will* die. [slashdot.org]

We *won't* die. [slashdot.org]

It even kind of has the air of: "Jeez, were you dumb enough to fall for that?"

Ever since all that hoopla about MN 2004, it's hard for me to read the word "FUD" on the front page of Slashdot and not giggle.

Since when is forking a bad thing? (2, Informative)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595776)

Forking creates a micro-market with micro competition. Software evolution is completely analygous (sp) to biological evolution. You have to have micro forking (microevolution) in order to evolve. Then the best traits are selected and carried on. Following the thoery of "punctuated equilibrium", those which have micro-evolved traits that are of significant advantage will be picked up by the others then the population of' those with the traits will explode. It is Natures way. No point in fighting it.

In IT though maintaining many microlines is viewed as a bad thing, unlike with biological life where things maintain themsleves. This is where the FUD really is. But one should realize that it need not be a big concern if the developers take that concern into account. An example of how to mitigate this is to use XML for settings. Any microline specific sub-tree of settings need not interfere and is only used by the microline.

HOWEVER this is an area where OSS has been deficient. Backwards-compatibility is not a highlight of OSS. OSS has gotten better, but even as recently as a year ago it was the policy of Mozilla to have the user manually do a uninstall before an upgrade. Such annoyances contribute to the magnitude of fear. What is more, backwards compatiblity policies vary from project to project. I do expect this to get better, and it has notten a lot better.

Hey, let's fork Windows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595784)

Imagine if Windows was forked... then we may actually get a version that works.

Q: How do you know Bill Gates is lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595789)

Q: How do you know Bill Gates is lying?

A: His lips are moving.

Why Fight FUD? (2, Insightful)

md17 (68506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595799)

I can't understand why Linux and F/OSS zealots waste time fighting FUD. It seems like a waste to me. All the time that is spent playing politics could be spent improving software and fighting FUD with the truth... Better software. Any person with half a brain knows that Microsoft, Sun, insert any corporation, will lie (or stretch the truth) in order to make their stuff look better than their competitors. So why fight it? IMHO there are many other more important battles to fight... Like better F/OSS software, better documentation, software patents, etc. It's weird how politics has this way of sucking people in. My self included.

the difference between MS/Unix and Linux/OSS is... (2, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595807)

The difference between MS, Unix and other propriatory systems and Linux & OSS when it comes to forking is that linux "forks" (such as the kernels that most distros ship) are compatible and indeed pretty much every "fork" or variant of an OSS program has tried to remain compatible (i.e. the kernel remains compatible with all linux apps except mabie those that talk to the kernel directly like kernel modules and drivers and so on)

And programs like Apache, OpenSSL, OpenSSH and others are based on standards.

On the other hand when Microsoft and other propriatory software vendors make forks, they are often incompatible by design.

Fudd (1)

Lovesquid (840251) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595951)

Be vewy, vewy quiet...

If a Linux fork developed (2, Insightful)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595954)

I think a serious Linux fork would be no problem at all, thanks to the GPL. If it had features the official kernel lacked -- an almost certain proposition -- we can assume that these features would get eventually merged in. Of course, worst case scenario most Linux software can also run on BSD.

Probably a good warning (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595955)

With the ego trips and lack of cohesion seen in many open source projects, a fork in any OSS is a real possibility. Nothing new hear; forks in OSS happen all the time. Could one happen with Linux? Sure, if Linus gets tired of it easily.

Get forked! (2, Funny)

dirtyforker (844960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11595959)

Perhaps it's Bill himself who should get forked.

Interoperability, feh! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11595986)

I love these discussions of interoperability from Microsoft. I've been supporting Microsoft products for the last 10 years and...

1. Each new version of Windows breaks some applications. Discussions about how much effort Microsoft puts into being compatible with older products only have relevance to you if you are a multi-million $ consumer of Microsoft products. Everyone else just sucks up the cost of many application upgrades whenever another version of Windows comes out!

2. Microsoft's own products don't interoperate well. Flame me if you must, but I have personally experienced the difficulties of working with Word documents from one version of Office to the next. And I went through one interation of the Basic macro programming language in Office that caused me to scrap every damned macro I wrote and do it again from scratch (there may have been more than one, but I didn't ever consider it again so it wasn't my problem anymore).

3. Microsoft always feels free to hijack existing standards to create their own, proprietary standard that they refuse to release any details on to deliberately keep people from interoperating with them. The recent hijacking of Kerberos authentication protocols is one example of this.

Microsoft made a deliberate choice of not supporting interoperability. They love the "churn" that they cause in the market. As long as everyone is busy fixing their applications to run with the newest version of Windows, discovering and then implementing their newest version of a hijacked standard and upgrading/reinstalling new applications nobody ever has the time/energy to devote to any real innovation in the market. The more Microsoft ties up everybody else's resources, the less that Microsoft has to worry about any real competition.

I find it kind of hypocritical for Bill Gates to accuse others of not being "interoperable".

First (2, Interesting)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596017)

they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win. - Gandhi

We're in phase 3...

Can be compared to Church denominations (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596018)

The catholic and episcopal churches are going through this now and they are essentially playing the role of Microsoft.

The catholic and episcopal churches (claiming to be the original church) are warning against a break in the church - saying it dilutes the congregation. They are threatening parishes with lease termination. Microsoft also claims that that some distributions are totally against many standards and warns of their "communististic nature" - just as the catholic churches complain about the protestant offshoots.

Interesting to see that Linux and Windows are being treated more like religion and less like commodity software.

So ... who is going to be the Martin Luther of Software and nail a diocese to the Microsoft Redmond Front Door?

Interoperable software means XML. (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11596034)

Joel on software talked about this long time ago:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog000000 00 49.html

I'm sorry, using verbose protocol to make everything portable isn't the way, thanks.
my 2c.

Linux is already forked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11596038)

Each 'distro' is a fork from the other version.

Now, most are minor changes, but there ARE differences between distros.

Hence Fork.

Back in the 1980's and 1990's the various UNIX vendors did not hold hands and exclaim "We are UNIX, We are Unified" and Microsoft got the fork label to stick. Microsoft is trying the same thing again.

Now, if the "Linux" camp had stopped labeling anything that might run on a Linux kernel version "Linux" or even hardware running "Linux" as "Linux", then Microsoft would have limited targets to point out flaws. But with many, many different definitions of "Linux", Microsoft will have many, many years of pointing out flaws. Good luck covering all those bases.

No that should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11596049)

...software that is in-operable by design.

It is an easy mistake to make.
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