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Nick Petrely responds to Metcalfe

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Linux 384

Aleatoric writes "In his response to Bob Metcalfe's article, Nick Petrely says he'll eat his column if Bob doesn't change his mind about Linux within two years. " Good column- describes the usual MS FUD tactics and why it wont' work this time.

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My favorite part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829830)

I like the comment that Linux actually improves with time, which is true. This is in contrast to Windoze, which (quoting a recent article) peaked in stability at version 3.51. That is also true - NT 4 allows 3rd party video drivers to run within the kernel, which allows for instability. NT 3.51 did not allow that, and Microscoff took a step BACKWARD with the next release.

MS is tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829831)

While I agree with Nick it is crucial that the Linux community (including corporate)remain focused on continual improvement. MS is not only dumping millions into improving NT (as evidence with the latest benchmarks) they are masters at FUD. I for one believe that they *can* and *will* fight a FUD based battle against Linux and unless we accept this and counter appropriately they will have some success. The *free* aspect of Linux cannot be it's primary selling point. Application support and desktop viability are key.

Legacy Hardware/Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829832)

It's called legacy technology. In other words, its old but still damn useful.

Re:Old Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829833)

In all fairness, Windows has true memory protection and now runs in a flat memory mode so 640K isn't any longer relevant.

Still, I think Windows is in trouble for that same reason Nick does: Linux is cheaper, anything else is simply irrelevant. The fact that Linux is an excellent OS doesn't hurt either.

Cheaper wins MOST of the time, and it wins nearly all the time when the cheaper product is at least "good enough". Windows 3.1 was "good enough" but Linux might just be better - at least in some respects if not many.

And don't forget Fascism ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829834)

Which is where those who demand gub'mint control of the organization and output of Microsoft or any other company would fall. ("We just want to make things fair by imposing a little vindictive coercion, in the interests of society ...")



Re:what's the next wave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829835)

True, but the major obstacle is that most people extrapolate in a "fast PC's now -> faster PC's in the future". On the desktop I do not even want some stinking OS (so to say). I do not want to care at all like I do not care which version the my cars' carburettor is. Letting the Look&Feel aside a mainframe is probably the most user friendly computer one can find.

Out of touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829836)

This is a silly bet to make. Bob Metcalfe has turned into a crank in his old age, and there's no guarantee he'd ever admit he was wrong.

One of his recent articles said "let's abolish .com". Wish I still had the URL. He meant it literally, no hint that it was a joke or parody, and no brilliant suggestions about how to fix a zillion newly broken hyperlinks on web pages everywhere.

Sad to see a pioneer doing this Andy Rooney shtick. So he did something 20 years ago... but what has he done lately? He's out of touch.

Excellent Comeback!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829837)

Dude rocks!!!
I cnat tell you how happy this article makes me..... especially when he used ethernet as a very good example for how technology refines over time.
Too lazy to log in.

Re:Quality and Community-Speaking of Chipmunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829838)

I get a
X Error of failed request: BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)
Major opcode of failed request: 78 (X_CreateColormap)
Serial number of failed request: 9
Current serial number in output stream: 11

when I type diglog or analog w/ the FreeBSD port.

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829839)

Acronyms about.

What I don't know is:

AFAIK == ???
IIRC == ???

Re:Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829840)

AFAIK == As Far As I Know
IIRC == If I Recall Correctly

Try This ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829841)

Two things (try the second one first ...):

-- Try downloading the last version from

and compiling it, check the Makefile for
the CFLAGS you need for BSD.

-- Usually, the error message you printed
out means that you've got a 24-bit screen
that didn't get auto-detected. Try setting
this environment variable:

setenv LOG_COLOR 24bit

or if that doesn't work, try these:

setenv LOG_COLOR 16bit
setenv LOG_COLOR 8bit
setenv LOG_COLOR bw

and see if any of them get you past
that message. Send me email at and let me
know how it works ...

Would have been better to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829842)

..and reaching most of our readers via another ~15 year old tech: The Internet.

Evangelism's what Microsoft wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829843)

It appears you haven't used Windows 2k. It may be bloated, but its not antiquated or slow, some of its technology is far ahead of Linux.

All this evangelism with words like "Microsoft will die", and "M$", and "Bill Gates is the devil", is what Microsoft wants. It seems the Linux community hasn't learned much from the Mac community...

Businesses don't listen to zealots, businesses listen to realists. And frankly, I've distanced myself from the Linux community as well, Linux isn't the be all, end all. Open your mind...

Re:Socialism / Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829844)

There are socialists who envision no centralized control (left-anarchist), socialists who envision centralized control (state socialists, which is what most communists are), capitalists who envision no centralized control (right-anarchist), and capitalists who envision centralized control (crony capitalists, welfare statists, and fascists, depending on what other concerns also motivate them).

It's not really as though socialism vs. capitalism is a control vs. no control debate; it's strictly speaking a debate about whether private ownership of means of production is legitimate. You can believe in private ownership of means of production or not, and be individualist or not, centralist or not, nationalist or not, statist or not... There are particular clusters of political ideology that attract more attention than others, of course. And whether your combination of aspirations might work in practice is a totally different question.

Re:MS is tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829845)

I for one believe that they *can* and *will* fight a FUD based battle against Linux

Let them.

Linux isn't going to disappear because of it. It's free, that's something Microsoft can never compete against, without ruining their monopoly anyhow.

Re:Out of touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829846)

He's out of touch.

I think that's pretty obvious. Of course, all of us will be at some point.

Re:Evangelism's what Microsoft wants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829847)

Businesses don't listen to zealots, businesses listen to realists. And frankly, I've distanced myself from the Linux community as well, Linux isn't the be all, end all. Open your mind...

Heh... no offense, but when I read "businesses listen to realists" I have to wonder just what your experience in the business world is. Businesses listen to themselves, to slick marketers, and to poorly-chosen focus groups, in that order. Realists come far down the list -- possibly even after evangelists, because realists aren't giving the business the "here's how all of your problems can be solved without any real effort!" spiel they love to hear.

FUD == Frothing Unix Disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829848)

FUD is what you find on Slashdot and places like Nick's Column. A bunch of unsubstatiated conjecture about how and why Unix is going to take over the world.

Nick's right about one thing though. The success of Unix in earlier times was because it was cheap to companies and free to universities. The sucess of Linux today is because it is free to everyone. (The FUD comes in when the zealots try to claim that it's better than alternatives like NT)

The real question is: can paid programmers produce systems that are worth the extra cost for the average user. Today the answer is clearly yes, most users are more willing to pay for Windows or NT than they are to learn Linux.

Oh, I forgot it's not April. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829849)

Although I was waiting to see this, I sort of suspected that Metcalfe's article was just flamebait to begin with. Inforworld just changed their site's format, and they probably want to rejuvinate their hit count. Big asteroid to hit Earth: news at 11....

My response! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829850)

My comment was as much a criticism of Microsoft, as it was Linux. Microsoft needs to work on interoperability, too, big time. Luckily things have changed in windows 2k, Active Directory is mainly LDAP based, WINS is gone, everything goes through DNS now, and apparently Microsoft is trying to get a few general things added to the DNS RFCs. Also, I was told by a Microsoft Engineer that the primary network transport is now a NetBIOS over TCP scheme, and NetBeui has been done away with as default. I don't know if he was blowing smoke up my ass, I have yet to verify that (don't trust everything Microsoft folks tell you, they're ALL salesmen). Considering their last NetBIOS over TCP/IP implementation was a slow shoddy piece, I'm not too trusting of this comment.

But in any case, Microsoft is at least making token strides to getting back to "open standards" they still have a long long way to go.

A correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829851)

Err i should've said TECHs in the business world listen to realists. I agree that general business people are solely motivated by gay pictures of smiling cluebies in business suits using Excel, with lame colourful sqaures superimposed over it :)

Re:MS is already done with that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829852)

Why does anybody pay any attention to Microsoft's hype accompanying their latest "beta" release. This is all orchestrated by Microsoft's marketing department and their toady beta-testers. Dosen't anybody remember the history of their hype before all of their previous products. Windows 3.1/95/98/NT3/NT4 etc always were "rock solid", "absolutely stable", "completely compatible", etc., etc. And how did the final product live up to the hype?

Look at Windows 95/98 amd Windows 2000. First, "Windows 98 was going to be the last of the line, merging in with Windows 2000". "Oops, not just yet, there will be yet another upgrade". "But just you wait and see, Windows 98 will eventually die". How long will it take for Microsoft to get their story straight?

Judging from past performance, with Microsoft products, the rule should be; wait until the final release product actually appears in stores, then wait at least a year for Microsoft to get their story straight. Meanwhile, watch all the disasters of all those who had to rush out to have the latest of everything.

Re:What exactly does Metcalfe have to believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829853)

I think Peterley will be eating his column, but only because Metcalfe has somewhere down the line become a complete idiot and will never change his mind, even if Linux were to take over the entire planet.

Re:MS is already done with that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829854)

The sad thing is that about 3 years ago you would have been correct.

The fortunate thing is today that you are wrong.

IE 5.0 has been rock solid.

Windows 2000 Beta 3 is an absolutely amazing product. Whether or not you believe it's solid, I'm actually running both server and professional at home and have had very few problems with it.

Ohwell, I guess it's better that Linux advocates spread FUD than deal with reality.

Re:Dual-boot is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829855)

That will never happen. When will you people stop being so damn Linux-centric and admit that Windows will always be around for the desktop market, and possibly for most of the enterprise. I know you hate it but jeez. I hate American cars but that doesn't mean I;m counting down the days until Ford and GM close down all their factories. I just accept that Fod and GM will always be around and go to my local Honda dealer. ('99 Prelude...whooo hooo :] ) I want the Republican and Democratic parties to die out too.....but sometimes our dreams are only dreams :)

Re:Stupid Question but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829856)

FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

An example is claiming that NT blue screens every day so you should never use it.

The goal is to make people think something is questionable without actually having to deal with facts. If you can put a question in the minds of others, you have won half the battle.

Metcalfe is usually right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829857)

Just because Metcalfe isn't a bleating sheep like Petreley doesn't mean he's out of touch.

It's kind of funny. Metcalfe has been around for quite a while, has seen things come and go. But all you cocky little punks think that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Reminds me of a father speaking to a 14 year old kid, and explaining to him why something is a bad idea.

A fool refuses to learn from the mistakes of others.

Linux is not POSIX compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829858)

Linux started off with a goal of being POSIX compliant, but Linus never had a copy of the documentation and just sort of made things up as he went along.

Later on, compliance was thrown to the wind in favor of hacking something that worked.

The few attempts which have been made to fix Linux and have it stamped as POSIX compliant have been met with ridicule.

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829859)

Windows 2000 does not use WINS any longer. They have developed a Dynamic DNS mechanism which is fully compliant with BIND 8.1.2.

It seems your accusations are just a wheee bit shortsighted.

Re:The Penguin & The Archbishop, And T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829860)

The Windows 2000 UI makes Win95/98 look quite outdated.

It appears you haven't even looked into it, so I'm not sure how you are in any position to speak about it.

Still beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829861)

Exactly right. Win 2000 for all of it's hype is still beta. It's yet to be tested or run in the real world under real conditions. The fact that you or a few other AC's claim that you have had few problems with it or uptimes of 3 weeks (WOW!)
mean absolutely nothing.

The same thing was basically said about Win98 until it hit the market. Until you can put some meat on the table with something other than beta releases do us all a favor and stop trolling.

Linux's desktop reminds me of a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829862)

Man what's the deal with this Linux? I can't even view half the websites I usually go to with this crappy Communicator web browser. And my desktop looks shitty ( hence turd )

or anythign else the requires plugins which makes up a huge sector of the WWW. This is not acceptable at all.

My damn fonts are small and terrible in the web browser. The fonts settings has such a small listing of fonts that actually work with the browser. No Verdona.ttf by default!!!

Not only can linux not compete with NT in the server side, but it's desktop ( I mean lack of desktop features and intergration ) just blows even worse.

Time For Some Sanity Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829863)

Mes amis, y'all have forgotten a critical point: the best technology doesn't necessarily win. Beta didn't win, the Mac didn't win (back when it was better), Netscape didn't win (I liked Netscape a lot more than Explorer), Java has been mostly replaced online by ActiveX, etc.

Microsoft has deep pockets, Bill Gates rules the world, and most people are too stupid to figure out that MS software is bloated drek. Good example: Office 95 is faster than Office 98, and has the same features (mostly). But people upgraded...why? It seems to return to that "people are stupid" thing again. If you think that the public will ever abandon the simplicity and crappiness of Windows for the unknown Linux, you're nuts.

A popular name for the Microsoft system is "the cathedral." Look deeper into the metaphor: we're atheists, hoping that the faithful will abandon the corrupt church. Maybe we can introduce doubt into the minds of the educated and intelligent, but the idiot masses will stick with the established thing.

FUD MS style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829864)

I have never seen a post on /. saying NT BSOD everyday. However it does blue screen or it obviously would not be a term. NT obviously also has uptime problems because this fact has been related by many in the NT world. NT also needs rebooted for simple maintenance and configurations.

Steve Balmer and the rest of MS have said as much hyping Win 2000. For an MS, the king of FUD, supporter to accuse others of such a thing is totally assanine. Especially when done so anonymously.

Perfect example of a completely maniacal zealout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829865)

Thank you sir, for the excellent example of someone who takes Linux too seriously.

Not only tried, but programmed GNOME stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829866)

err GNOME-related. Sure GNOME is only v1.0, but people still continue to tout the pipedream, that the GNOME UI approaches the polished state of the Windows UI. My ideal polished UI is 4 xterms clumped together on an X11 screen, though

original thread starter

Get a life! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829867)

You're the worst enemy against Linux, not Microsoft...

So stop being a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829868)

There are true type fonts for Linux, however, since you have probably never even used Linux you would probaly not know this. Both KDE and GNOME make the Windows GUI look like a gimp.

So why not stop trolling and go back to rolling in your anonymous Windows manure.

Re:So stop being a turd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829869)

This desktop/GNOME is way to strange and fragmented. I mean 2 control panels for configuring the desktop. What a joke.

And my fonts don't show up eather in communicator. Just some ISO crap that look terrible. Most of my web pages show up with small fonts unlike the way they show up in windows version of Netscape. I think I'm going to reinstall windows so I can actually surf the web without worrying if I'm going to hit a web page that I can't view.

Re:The Penguin & The Archbishop, A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829870)

Maybe when MS gets around to releasing Win2000 we'll all take a good long look at it. Until then you are talking about nothing.

what's the next wave? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829989)

Metcalf is still right. The question is not whether Linux or WinXXXX wins; the question is, what will replace both of them?

Unix is old stuff; generally works well, fairly easily repaired, very configurable, not too easy to use. WinXXXX is easy to use, generally works OK (but not great), poorly configurable, unrepairable. At the server, the various Unices can make substantial inroads on market share, because maintainability, configurability, and availability are priorities. On the desktop, its usability and breadth of applications. WinXXXX is going to win that battle for awhile.

The next real surge in computer utility will come with the next generation OS. There are a lot of interesting OS research projects out there, but little of it is making its way into "production" OSes, open-source or otherwise. The Linux community has a certain conservatism which seems to inhibit absorption of new things, which is why I expect the next big OS to evolve outside of both MS and the Linux community.

Computer Science vs. MS FUD (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829993)


Extra bonus points for Mr. Petreley for the Ethernet slam. Classic.

What Metcalfe misses of course is that Linux is powerful, reliable, efficient, getting easy to use, and *evolvable*.

Linux evolves just like science evolves -- just like, ahem, computer science. Despite all the micro vs macro kernel arguments I don't think that microkernels ever "won". They never "won" the way quicksort won vs. bubblesort.

In any case, the Linux POSIX API is UNIX, but the architecture is a significantly evolved version. The wonder of UNIX is that the original idea was elegant enough that a limited number of thoughtful embellishments allowed it to grow into a beautifully crafted, organic thing.

Maybe its not QNX, but maybe its more than good enough.

Jim Burnes

The Penguin & The Archbishop, And The Apple (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829994)

Quite frankly, I don't want Linux to smash Windows, or the MacOS. I want the various parties to concentrate on themselves, and interoperability. Linux isn't for everyone, neither is Windows, or the MacOS. Making progress on interoperability should be the real goal.

After not using Windows for a long time, I decided to install Windows 2k Pro on one of my (linux) laptop partitions. I must say its rather refreshing to use Windows 2k, it's been very fast, abd stable for me. Nice UI, there aren't wizards everywhere (yet they still exist, damnit), and it seems responsive, I have had apps crash a few times, and none have taken down the OS itself. Internet Explorer doesn't constantly crash and disappear when I'm loading a page I didn't get to bookmark. No one can deny the Linux versions of Netscape are very shoddy pieces of work (this has nothing to do with Linux, it has to do with Netscape). When I just need to get stuff done with no BS, I find it refreshing to boot into Windows 2k and just get it done.

What do I think is lacking in Win2k? UNIX! Or rather everything great about it, the powerful scripting, the open programming interfaces, the level of control you have over your computer. To be honest, since Win2k is closed source, I do not know if my computer is sending Microsoft information I don't want it to, I don't know what's REALLY going on, when Microsoft tells my browser to download this nifty new component.

The built-in Encrypted File System in Win2k is 40-bit (upgradable to 128-bit) and shoddy. I don't trust that it's secure, because of the way the EFS works...automatically de/encrypting whenever someone with the right privileges clicks on it. And I could go on and on about this :)

Using Windows 2k, I am bluntly reminded of how much more work KDE and GNOME have to do, before they can even begin to truly compete with the Windows interface. The downside to such a great interface is bloat...Windows 2k is undoubtedly bloated outrageously, but on my 192mb PII 366 system its not reall noticed, it does (almost, its not UNIX after all ;) everything I want it to, and does it responsively.

So instead of starting religious wars...{I mean Linux and Windows are JUST OSes after all, there are many more serious things to war about)...let's concentrate on interoperability, and getting our favourite OSes up to snuff. It would be a great world if all OSes could share data and services seamlessly with each other, without much tinkering. Instead of trying to drill the pipedream that KDE is as polished as the Windows UI, start helping the KDE project, give them coherent and useful suggestions.

It must be greatly disheartening for a KDE or GNOME developer to look out into the masses, and seeing users (people who arent even involved in the coding of the respective projects) bickering, and evangelizing their work...

Calm down, concentrate your efforts into improving free software, or on the Windows side, auditing security, etc. To quote a great meth addict/police beat toy: "Can't we all just get along?"

send flames to /dev/null, I don't war about OSes

Re:what's the next wave? (1)

Chris Frost (159) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829995)

EROS ( has some very interesting ideas built into it (it's the work of a Jonathan Shapiro at U Penn for his phd, utilizing many concepts of the KeyKOS). Things such as it's pure capability architecture, orthogonal global persistence, "stateless" supervisor, deadlock-free supervisor, and a few others are very interesting. The OS itself has been released under a modified MPL (runs on x86 for now) btw. There has some brief talking of taking advantage of some of its features long-term on linux-kernel too.

This reminds me of a quote... (1)

Jonathan Hamilton (221) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829996)

I can't rember who said this and I'm too lazy to go grep the linux fortune cookie file but any ways. The quote goes somthing like "Linux is user friendly, it is just not IDOT friendly"

I think this applys very well here, just because you are too stupid to set somthing up right, you blame the product. Linux runs great on my system, it boots up faster the Windows and we won't even talk about which one is more stable. It not linux's fault that you can't setup X or netscape worth crap let me tell you that buy editing your prefrences in Netscape you can turn up that font size. But by reading the rest of this message the only think that I can't suggest you did that would rectify your situation is to shoot yourself.

Thats assuming w2k will be released (1)

vipw (228) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830000)

And I don't really think another win9X release really counts. In the time it will take for NT to have a desktop/home model(what w2k was planned to be), linux will have had a long time to grow. For MS's alledged "betting the farm" on NT the stakes have been fairly low.

Ooo.. Smack. (1)

volsung (378) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830001)

I found the Ethernet comment at the end quite amusing. Mocking your opponent while making a worthwhile observation earns you style points.

What about "Reliable Technology"? (1)

torpor (458) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830004)


"Dependable Technology"
"Productive Technology"

Why bother adding a history-element to it? Since time is insufferable, making time part of the buzz is a losing battle.

Because of time, New Technology isn't.

Old Technology (4)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830007)

We need to find a way to re-term "old technology". That term brings to mind all those old 486-33's that every corporation on earth has sitting in a basement storeroom someplace, waiting to get thrown out. Old technology is Windows 3.11, or a MacSE...

Maybe "Polymorphic Software" is the way to go -- just as all science today is built on the shoulders of the giants who came before, so shall all software be built upon a sturdy foundation. We use basic tools to build better tools, which in turn we use to develop better tools. Where else is this concept better illustrated than in the history of Linux (remember what Linux looked like in 1994? I still have nightmares... =) ).

UNIX has a solid, expandible base. Windows does not, unless you think that the autoexec.bat file is a really keen way to get things done.


There's only one way to settle this... (1)

Skip (516) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830008)

Marquis of Queensbury rules... personally my money's on the Petrely kid.

Re:More acronyms.. OT (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830016)

Posted by My_Favorite_Anonymous_Coward:

I always thought LOL is Lord oh lord until someone went out their way to write it down... what, what?


What exactly does Metcalfe have to believe... (1)

Paul Crowley (837) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830024)

What exactly does Metcalfe have to believe in order for Peterley to avoid chewing paper on that fateful New Year's Day? He doesn't quite make the terms clear.

Mind you, I'm pretty sure that Metcalfe will concede that he's changed his mind, but I like to see these things made concrete...
Employ me! Unix,Linux,crypto/security,Perl,C/C++,distance work. Edinburgh UK.

Don't let MS set the rules... (5)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830030)

Petreley's comment that Microsoft will try to refocus the argument to something it can win is right on the money. IMHO that's what this Mindcraft thing is about.

We'd do well to avoid raising a specific metric (like serving static web pages) to being somehow more important than all the other aspects of Linux. The advantage that MS (and any Cathedral) has is the ability to throw a lot of coordinated resources at a specific problem. If we buy into the idea that a certain contest defines which platform is better, Microsoft can make sure it wins that particular contest. Imagine: "Linux community devastated as Windows wins web server benchmark five years in a row."

The strength of Linux is thousands of people making incremental improvements in all sorts of areas. The distributions are making things easier to use. Researchers are working on distributed processing. The kernel hackers are working on SMP. Systems administrators everywhere are working on admin tools. It adds up to an operating system that evolves in a million different ways to meet the needs of real users.

That's not to say that we can't beat MS at serving static pages. As long as MS keeps trying to win all the battles they probably won't win any. But if they can succeed in narrowing the debate to "if Windows is better at X then Linux must suck" they WILL do whatever is needed to make Windows better at X.

Re:MS is already done with that.... (1)

sterwill (972) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830031)

The "final" beta of Windows 2000 was released two or three times.

Re:Old Technology (1)

Phil-14 (1277) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830035)

Instead of "20 year-old technology," how about mature software technology implementation?
Phil Fraering "Humans. Go Fig." - Rita

Re:MS is already done with that.... (1)

Lemuel (2370) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830041)

There is one thing that really disturbs me about Windows 2000, and that is that it requires a 300MHz or higher processor. What kind of baggage is it carrying that it requires a processor that fast? Didn't Microsoft tune the operating system? How will this affect future benchmark comparisons?

Re:Old Technology (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830042)

It might be worthy of note that most of us geeks
probably don't scorn those 486/33s or MacSEs too
much -- given a nice machine for them to connect
to, and networking cards, they can be made useful
with NetBSD or Linux (Not sure if the SEs can run
Linux, but if not they could telnet into another
system that was and thus be just about as useful)

Re:MS is already done with that.... (1)

gas (2801) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830052)

If I understand things correctly they will just (re)release WinYY and NT. So we will have Windows 00 and Windows NT 5 but they will both be renamed Windows 2000.

Intellectual Property (1)

gas (2801) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830053)

Remove government control from the output of Microsoft and they will die overnight.

Re:The Penguin & The Archbishop, And The A (1)

MinusOne (4145) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830058)

> So instead of starting religious wars...{I mean Linux and Windows are JUST OSes after all, there are many more serious things to war about)...let's concentrate on interoperability, and getting our favourite OSes up to snuff. It would be a great world if all OSes could share data and services seamlessly with each other, without much tinkering. Instead of trying to drill the pipedream that KDE is as polished as the Windows UI, start helping the KDE project, give them coherent and useful suggestions.

Well, I agree with you that we need people to work on a many of the open source projects and get them as polished and user-friendly as possible. But the other half of your idea, making the OSes inter-operate, is impossible as long as the current Microsoft is in their picture. Microsoft is not interested in the slightest in interoperating with other systems. They want to tie people into MS-only solutions, by making interoperating a headache. This applies at the minimum to any system that competes directly with MS products. They don't mind working with Mainframes or some other huge systems, but desktops, servers and similar systems they want MS-only. They are not interested in publishing their own protocols, and the open standards they use the have a bad habit of implementing in non-standard ways. they even re-implement existing open protocols with MS replacments, just to tie organizations in.(WINS vs DNS for example). My only hope to deal with this is to have the anti-trust case resolution force MS to open its APIs, file formats and other implementations to the whole world.

Re:what's the next wave? (1)

gashalot (5775) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830062)

I don't really think that this holds completley true. Many say the future is what we make of it. So why not make it a Linux-based future? I think you are loosing sight of the fact that the very open nature of the Linux development project means that Linux can become whatever we think we need for the future, be it based on completley new hardware or completley new ways of thinking about an OS/computer combo. Linux *CAN* be the future, if we embrace it and help it work.


UNIX in Windows (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830063)

What do I think is lacking in Win2k? UNIX!

Have a look at Cygwin [] , it provides a fairly full Unix environment where many programs will compile out of the box.

Eros OS? (1)

Anonymous Coed (8203) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830067)

The Eros Operating System [] may not be the actual system of the "next wave" but a lot of the ideas contained therein may be represented in the operating systems we use 10-20 years from now.

Cool stuff like complete object persistance integrated with capabilities, total virtualization of memory (no "file system" per se) and a sorta microkernel architecture.

Like I said, Eros itself may not be the OS of the future, but a lot of the ideas contained therein will be widely used.

Re:Linux's desktop reminds me of a turd (1)

manush (8251) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830069)

First of all, Communicator is not crappy. It does what it's supposed to.
Second, plugins are a microscopic part of the web. Also note that the most popular plugin (flash) is available for linux.
Third, if you take the time to check how fonts work in unix/X, you'll realize that you can install whatever fonts you like in whatever format you like. And by the way, it's called "verdana", not "verdona".
Linux is (for the moment) aimed at people with a clue, or people wishing to learn something. So, either read some HOWTOs and set up your fonts, or shut up and use a microsoft OS.

Hear, hear! (1)

Wayfarer (10793) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830088)

Absolutely right! A vital part of the Microsoft strategy is to set the playing field (preferably to one in which they already have made inroads), narrowing the focus of their "attack."

This dovetails nicely with another of their strategies: controlling standards. If all parties implicitly agree that the playing field is what Microsoft says it is (static web pages, or what-have-you), MS can create proprietary protocols and extensions (oooh, especially the extensions!) that outperform (at least initially) the competing ones (usually the de facto standard), or merely provide more Microsoft-only features.

If MS leverages their narrow playing field by marketing the benefits of their extensions to consumers and corporations, they can take the battle away from any product that doesn't use their technologies. And they've got plenty of strategic partnerships (read: drone corporations) to give their extensions universal presence.

Yet another danger of nominating a single metric as the crux of the entire debate.

(Remember IE!)


... but who really cares? (1)

Mr.P (12985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830096)

I think we're all in agreement here that it would take a climactic event to totally halt the development of Linux. It evolved nicely back in 1994 and 1995, and it certainly wasn't in the limelight then. So who cares if all the cash and investment disappears? Sure, we'll get support for that brand-spanking-new Gigabit Token Ring card a bit after Windows gets it, but the point is that we'll get it.

The thing I find funny is that Microsoft loves to argue about total cost of ownership. Let's see: you would probably need to hire a guy to administrate your Linux box, but then again, you'd probably need to hire another guy (and, if your management is at par, an MCSE) to administrate your NT box. Then there's the cost of the OS itself, plus the additional hardware to get NT off the ground. (At a startup company where one of my friends works, they have a number of high-powered machines sitting around, but the machine holding up the whole enterprise is the Linux server on the Pentium 233 with 48MB of RAM.) Of course, the average IT professional can read better than he can think...

Re:Old != Bad. Think evolution. (1)

N1KO (13435) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830099)

Bob Metcalfe is an idiot. Windows uses old technology too (the mouse and icons have been around for a few decades). Every day people use old technology to get to other places (the wheel was invented 10,000 years ago). Even food comes from old technology (BBQ was invented about 100,000 years ago).

Leave metcalfe alone (1)

N1KO (13435) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830100)

He thinks MS Word is new technology.

MS is already done with that.... (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830101)

The final beta of Win2000 was released some time ago, as I remember....

Re:The Penguin & The Archbishop, And The A (1)

Quickening (15069) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830105)

You make deference to unix, but I'm still wondering if you really have tried gnome. I find the vaunted win gui incredibly irritating and frustrating and reboot into linux with a sigh of relief. Gnome looks and feels much slicker than my win97. It has some bugs and holes (ver. 1.0 for kris'sake!), but what it does have is more functional and easier to use than windows. And I suspect win2k is just more of the same hand-holding, know-better-than-the-user, have-to-fix-holes-in-the-OS-with-3rd-party-softwar e.

Re:UNIX in Windows (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830108)

Altought not any programs using dynamic linkable libraries. These often has support for the way that's done on Linux, BSD, Solaris and some other UNIXes. But since the support for this is not standardized, it doesn't work under Cygwin. Anyone who know of a way to emulate the way any of the UNIXes/clones does it with DLLs under Cygwin to be able to run things like PostgreSQL and the like?

Petrely v. Metcalfe (5)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830110)

Speaking of which, I'm about to use a nicely refined 26-year-old technology to file this column. You may have heard of it. It's called Ethernet.

Great closing line!

Acronyms (1)

Straker Skunk (16970) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830113)

Having myself been occasionally confused as to the meaning of some obscure acronym mentioned here on /., I can vouch for the superlative usefulness of the following site: []

Re:Don't let MS set the rules... (1)

Rainy (17894) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830114)

This would all be true if you don't care what average company or an average Joe thinks of MS vs. Linux.
I do care because this will affect our hardware choices.
As far as software goes, I could live on free software alone...
Also, you're missing the point that free software community can focus on something as well. As Linux said, developers didn't care for benchmarks before but now that MS raised the question, they do care very much about it.
I agree with you that pc world benchmark had no objective meaning. Well, maybe very little meaning. But it has *huge* subjective meaning, and it does matter.

Re:what's the next wave? (1)

Rainy (17894) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830115)

That sounds right BUT..
Think of the people who already use windows or unix. Think of the people who buy a certain platform because they know someone who uses it (and can help with it).

There's a huge inertia involved in here and it keeps increasing as more applications are developed and more people buys computers. Beos could be that 'system of the future' but it seems like it's taking stuff from unix (gnu utilities, gimp) instead of developing something that'd be easier to use and at the same time as powerful.
We'll see I guess.

Re:Socialism / Capitalism (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830116)

That would be true if capitalism were the opposite of socialism. Socialism is a political system, while capitalism is an economic system, that empasizes the utility of capital. The old Soviet Union and the new China were/are capitalist. Any economic system that depends on the existance of capital (a factory) is capitalist.

The confusion arises because of the Orwellian use of the words "socialism" and "capitalism". It would be just as accurate to use the words "statism" and "industrialism".

Old != Bad. Think evolution. (3)

Gothmog (21222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830120)

I can't believe the fact that people think that just because something was invented a while ago, that it is bad.

Software evolves. If we were saying that the UNIXes of 30 years ago were superior to modern day OSs, then somebody should go see a shrink, but UNIX has evolved like every other piece of software. Kernel version 2.2.10 is not 30 year technology, it is a little under two week old technology (having been released on June 14th).

- This post was made by a peice of technology that according to Bob Metcalfe is 4 Billion years old. Seems to me, we're doing just fine.

Ever heard of irony? (1)

sverrehu (22545) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830122)

Would Bob complain about old technology when
he's the inventor of a very successful OT himself?

Bob's article is the best piece of irony I've
seen for a very long time. Anyone who complains
loudly makes a fool out of himself, IMNSHO.

Bob Metcalfe seems desperate (1)

Jalla (25955) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830126)

I think most sane people will realize he's just full of BS when he starts comparing Linus to mass murderers like Lenin.

Re:Old Technology (1)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830127)

And from a hardware POV, the x86 platform is decidedly old technology. One big thing I dislike about the GNU/Linux movement is that, with the core platform as x86, it's perpetuating that abomination. Now, I know the reasons why it's done like that but that doesn't mean I don't wish someone would try and be different.

So many people seem to see the computing world as stopping at x86 for home users. Pity, and as soon as someone brings out commodity PPCP boxes ( PIOS [] anyone?) - or anything else that's any good - I'll do my best to help us all to jump ship.


Re:Petrely v. Metcalfe (2)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830132)

One problem here - ethernet's a cheap and nasty technology. Try running ethernet with high load and it slows down horrifically. Try Token Ring under those circumstances and it works fine.

I know why he made the comment, but seeing that he
asserts that Linux is so wonderful that it'll automatically whip Windows (which isn't what he's saying here, I know - I'm talking about his work in general) it's unfortunate he should use a Windows-style example of a poor product that won due to market forces as his closing remark.


Quality and Community (1)

lazzaro (29860) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830138)

I think its important to remember our
roots here ... I know when we put out
our E-CAD package under the GPL in 1990

we weren't doing it for "world domination",
we were doing it so there would be nice
(for the time) tools for people to use
to design chips. And from what I can tell,
a lot of the spirit of gcc, emacs, Linux,
ect ... is just that -- putting out nice
tools by and for a community. If we keep
the focus on quality and community, and
not the folks at Redmond, only good things
can happen ...

Re:Metcalfe is usually right (1)

Porky Pig (32612) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830146)

AFAIK, Metcalfe is indead doesn't know what
he's talking about. He *is* completely out of

His prediction made a few years ago that
'INTERNET would come to a grinding halt' was
a complete B.S.'. He had to take his words back.

As far a 'cocky little punks' ... well, I've
been in computing/networking business for about
15 years, currently work for one of the top-tier
INTERNET providers ... We make INTERNET work,
buddy. What are *your* credentials, by the way?

More acronyms.. (1)

Spiv (32991) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830147)

AFAIK = As Far As I Know

IIRC = If I Remember Correctly

I can't remember where I learnt these, I think I probably just guessed from context. I suppose they might be found in the Jargon File [] , though that's not really meant for that sort of thing.


Re:Old != Bad. Think evolution. (1)

Salamander (33735) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830155)

Microsoft likes to stick their head in the sand and not admit that an idea exists until it shows up in Windows, leading to abominations like their "Digital Nervous System" campaign. Certain Linux advocates then stick their heads in some different sand and don't admit that something exists until it shows up in Linux, leading to comments like the above. Both examples are rooted in flagrant ignorance of what else is out there besides "us" and "them". In actual fact, very little that has appeared in either Windows or Linux for as long as I can remember was truly new at the time. "Thirty years" is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it's a heck of a lot more accurate than "two weeks".

Dual-boot is free (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830156)

Wait until the hardware vendors figure out that they don't have to choose -- that whenever they ship NT, they can *also* ship Linux.

Windows will die.

Like a bug.

Old Technology (1)

Mentat21 (36271) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830163)

"Old" technology is having a base memory of 640k and then hiding it from the user. "Old" technology is not having true protected memory. Unix has had protected memory for quite a while. On the other hand look at what happens when one program crashes in Windows.

Righ there (1)

Core-Pump (37564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830171)

There are valid points on both arguments but Nick Petrely really takes it home. Bob unlike many PIII (Big brother inside), Windose users... many value our privacy...Not only by being part of an utopian movement of the skies... but seeing what exactly our machines are running, and how secure and reliable they are. So Linux might not slay of Win of they're current position anytime soon... but certainly it will not dissapear. People need security and stability on a realible base... just wait for the Win2000 exploits, then eat your column. While Nick Petrely keep up the good work!

aging gracefully (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830172)

Yeah, that closing line was classic.

I certainly agree that, generally, the majority of software improves over time, as it continues to be tweaked and reworked and tested. The same would/should also apply to hardware, as new innovations are made. even his precious windows would seem to be better now than when it first came out (though that's not saying much for it, eh?) so bob, how about some linux?

Re:Petrely v. Metcalfe (1)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830176)

heheh! That Mr. Metcalfe developed Ethernet all those years ago, and must still be proud of it, is just *too* cool!

We are in the process of installing some Gigabit Ethernet on a backbone at work, according to our network guys. There is still life left in some of the old technology yet.

Time to redefine "old" technology (1)

Blue Neon Head (45388) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830181)

Technology, as far as I'm concerned, is not "old" until its performance pales enough in comparison to even the lowest-end product produced at the current moment as to be worth scrapping. For 30-year-old technology, UNIX certainly has held up quite well, as it is being used for the majority of Web servers on the planet, and is more reliable than the latest NT cruft-up.

And UNIX isn't even really 30-year-old technology anyway. Comparing the latest Linux kernel, with multiprocessing support, several different supported filesystems, etc. to the early AT&T UNIX is, of course, ridiculous.

Stupid Question but... (1)

m3000 (46427) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830182)

what does FUD stand for?

Re:The Penguin & The Archbishop, And The A (1)

kovi (52074) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830184)

>I decided to install Windows 2k Pro on one of my
>(linux) laptop partitions.
>Windows 2k is undoubtedly bloated outrageously,
>but on my 192mb PII 366 system its not reall

I must say, it is _very_ nice laptop! :-)

Re:Old Technology (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830185)

Gee... hasn't Windows NT been "New Technology" since about 1990?

Who cares about the age? If it works, it works (1)

agtofchaos (56094) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830188)

Windows in general will not start collapsing until the release of Windows AFTER win2000. After 35,000,000 lines of code, how much more can you add before it becomes obvious to the GENERAL PUBLIC NOT JUST COMPUTER TECHIES that windows is a bloated, slow, antiquated, unwieldy beast? M$ and Metacalf can kiss my ass because I will be celebrating the beginning of M$'s slow demise when they release win2000 by formatting my win98 partition and installing BeOS r4.5 or r5 on it and using my existing bfs partition for mp3z. He is right though that linux isn't exactly too modern in some areas, but if it works, it works. I wonder why it is that M$/Mindcraft never bother to benchmark Free/Net/OpenBSD against NT.........

Microkernels lost? (1)

dadkins (60044) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830193)

Linux evolves just like science evolves -- just like, ahem, computer science. Despite all the micro vs macro kernel arguments I don't think that microkernels ever "won". They never "won" the way quicksort won vs. bubblesort.

Computer scientists have demonstrated, not just on paper but in practice, that microkernel operating systems are faster, more reliable, and much more modifiable (or evolvable if you please) than monolithic kernels. I'd say that microkernels have won just as much as quicksort won.

However, you'll notice that the fastest quicksorts usually switch to the O(N^2) insertion sort about about N=15. It's simpler and turns out to run faster in practice. Hybrid solutions work for kernels as well, so I wouldn't completely discount microkernels. They're extermely effective _and_ elegant.

As for Unix, let's set the history straight. Unix was not designed with an incredible amount of foresight or elegance in mind. It was a hacked up version of Multics (a well designed system) designed to get running on PDP-11's asap (actual computer might be wrong).

Unix and X-Windows were both in essence weekend projects that have been patched to hell and live on up to this day. I find Linux in the same league as these two beasts. So, I don't judge any of them by their legacy or pervasive and well thought out designs, but instead solely on performance and extensibility. There is definitely room for fresh ideas in here.

Re:Petrely v. Metcalfe (1)

Danborg (62420) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830194)

Great closing line indeed! I was wondering when someone was going to throw "old" Ethernet technology in Bob's face.
Another great point was how some software does actually improve with age. Something johnny-come-lately Microsoft still doesn't understand.

Chill Out! (1)

dvader (63830) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830201)

Hey... Am I the only one who thought the page was great? I mean, that's the best laugh I've had ALL DAY!! (Well, OK, it's only morning here, but still...). Any how, just take it for what it is - an (intended) spoof!

Socialism / Capitalism (1)

ssafarik (63841) | more than 15 years ago | (#1830202)

If MS falls under "centralized control", would it not then represent socialism? And if Linux falls under "evolution and natural selection of a decentralized marketplace" would it not represent capitalism?
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