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Is Linus Torvalds Speaking for Linux Anymore?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the try-not-to-have-an-aneurysm dept.

Operating Systems 417

An anonymous reader writes to tell us CNET is currently running a story asking 'Is Linus Torvalds even speaking for Linux anymore?' It examines both Torvalds' recent public statements on other operating systems and his current approach towards Linux. The author wonders if his utopian view of how an operating system should be viewed and used is just too alien from what the majority of users are really looking for. "if it were up to Torvalds, beauty and intuition would take a backseat to functionality. But when you look at distributions like Ubuntu or OpenSuse, it looks like no one is paying attention. 'An OS should never have been something that people (in general) really care about: it should be completely invisible and nobody should give a flying [expletive] about it except the technical people.' Sure, that statement makes some sense, but in the grand scheme of things, it's the design and usability factor that makes the operating system much easier to use. And while both Mac OS X and Windows have their issues, for the average person, it makes more sense to use those than Linux."

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FUD alert (5, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352718)

One of the replies [cnet.com] in the comment thread of TFA sums up the response we'll see in this thread rather well IMO:

No, the truth of the matter is that Linux was originally developed because some kid in Finland wanted a better Unix clone on the 386 than Minix could provide. The "counter-culture" happened because he wasn't alone in that desire and so people joined in on Linux. Linux quickly gained popularity because at the time BSD was embroiled in a legal battle with AT&T and the FSF/GNU were completely unable to get their Hurd kernel out the door.

No one person in the open source community speaks for the entire community - most everyone speaks for themselves. There are a few people who can speak for individual projects (such as Linus and the Kernel) but no one can speak on behalf of everything. A few people have claimed that they speak for everyone, but they're just being deluded (and I say this on behalf of everyone in the open source community :-).

More CNET FUD if you ask me. Although I'd probably do the same thing in their position. After all, their business is closely tied to the PC and, to a lesser extent, the Windows OS, so for every bit of ground gained by Linux, they can either risk losing relevance or have to expend time and money keeping up.

Re:FUD alert (5, Funny)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352828)

From the summary:
'An OS should never have been something that people (in general) really care about: it should be completely invisible and nobody should give a flying [expletive] about it except the technical people.'

It sounds like this Linus guy should focus his energy on the Linux kernel then huh?

Re:FUD alert (0, Offtopic)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353118)

That's what he's been doing for the last decade. Giving a few talks here and there doesn't mean 99% of his time isn't still devoted to the kernel.

Re:FUD alert (3, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353296)

That's what he's been doing for the last decade. Giving a few talks here and there doesn't mean 99% of his time isn't still devoted to the kernel.

I know, it was a joke pointing out the ridiculousness of the article premise.

Re:FUD alert (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353352)

I've gotta get my sense of humor fixed. Dang thing's been screwed up ever since I enlisted [navy.com] .

Re:FUD alert (5, Insightful)

Annirak (181684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352886)

On top of the FUD above, CNET has likely confused the Window Manager with the OS. Beauty and intuition absolutely should take a back seat to functionality in an OS. Not so in a Window Manager, there it is important for beauty, intuition and usability to come to the forefront, which is what projects like compiz-fusion are all about.

Re:FUD alert (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352992)

Mod up insightful!

The operating system itself should almost never be touched directly by the average user. The look/feel of the system however is not a part of the operating system itself, the "beauty and intuitiveness" is the responsibility of the GUI system (in linux, Xorg + Gnome/KDE/XFCE/etc)

Re:FUD alert (1, Redundant)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353110)

Agreed Mod Parents-Parent Up...

The Operating System is never really "seen" unless you are looking at the source code.

Is mainly up to your choice of GUI (KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc) and what they, or the applications you use look like and function the actual Operating System's influence on this is rather limited, thats why you can effectively make Windows "look" like Linux, or Mac, or vice-versa...

Re:FUD alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353156)

Half agree. However what you layer on top depends on what's underneath. A poor bottom makes for a terrible top.

"Not so in a Window Manager, there it is important for beauty, intuition and usability to come to the forefront, which is what projects like compiz-fusion are all about."

Yeah! Jiggle my windows, baby!

Re:FUD alert (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353324)

On the other hand, a perfectly intuitive OS in a sense IS a completely invisible one.

Re:FUD alert (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353362)

Where the confusion comes in is that, at one time, 'operating system' referred to what we generally think of as a 'kernel' today, and 'operating environment' is what we applied to desktop GUIs. Then, one day, some stupid company named 'Microsoft' comes around and releases a product called 'Windows', making ludicrous claims that the 'operating system' and the 'GUI' were the same thing!

Unfortunately, this misnaming kinda stuck and Apple renamed its 'system' software to 'MacOS' and IBM and Microsoft released something that, together, they called 'OS/2'.

So now people think of 'Linux' as being an 'operating system' including things like what would come with 'Ubuntu': Gnome, X11, etc. Thing is Linux is the 'operating system' in the sense that it is a kernel. 'K/X/Ubuntu' is a complete package, containing an 'operating system', some 'system software' (GNU stuff, etc.) and an 'operating environment' consisting of one of [ Gnome | KDE | XFCE ].

This is what 'Windows' is, but Microsoft calls it an 'operating system'.

Re:FUD alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352972)

Actually, I speak for Linux.

Re:FUD alert (1, Funny)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353166)

You do not. And what's more, you're Spartacus.

Re:FUD alert (1)

Prospero2007 (1113755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353204)

I would like to speak out on behalf of everyone by saying, "I agree!"

Re:FUD alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353358)

Linus is exactly right. There's all sorts of Linux being used all over the place and it's completely invisible to the users. Tivo, nearly every DSL router, phones, pdas, google, 60% of the servers on the web. Don Reisinger uses tons of Linux every day and he doesn't even know it because Linus has succeeded.

Hey Don Reisinger (3, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352750)

STFU, you don't know a damn thing about the politics & semantics of FOSS & Linux & Linus Torvalds...

hahahah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352754)

Power corrupts.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I had to try... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352770)

Frist post or something...

Oh yea, Linus...does anyone care anymore? Is he really needed?

set in stone (5, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352776)

It's too bad this Linus guy's direction becomes set in stone and we're stuck with a very rigid product that can't be modified to suit our individual needs.

Re:set in stone (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352988)

You can grab a copy of the kernel repository, history and all, and take his place in a SoupGurunix fork.

If you think that is not going to work well, you might want to thik why?

Re:set in stone (5, Funny)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353144)

Or, you could learn to grok irony.

Re:set in stone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353188)

I think the word is "sarcasm" actually.

Re:set in stone (2, Funny)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353428)

I was being ironic, you insensitive clod!

Re:set in stone (0, Redundant)

tattood (855883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353180)

It's too bad this Linus guy's direction becomes set in stone and we're stuck with a very rigid product that can't be modified to suit our individual needs.

You obviously know nothing about Linux. One of the most powerful things about Linux is the ability to customize and add/remove what what you do or do not want. Thats why there are so many distributions and different projects that do similar things.

Amen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353272)

When you consider all the different things Linux is used for, embedded to Beowolf, it is very hard to characterize it as unchangeable.

Re:set in stone (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353416)

i think that the parser ate his sarcasm tags.

Re:set in stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353334)

lol..... you need to learn something about linux before posting something like that.

People don't choose an OS for an OS. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352778)

They choose the OS to run the apps they want on the hardware they want.

So Linus seems to still be completely accurate in his opinion.

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (1, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352914)

You could have an OS that's compatible with every piece of hardware and software in existence, but Joe User will not want it if it takes an 8 year degree in computer science to figure out how to change directories.

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353026)

You could have an OS that's compatible with every piece of hardware and software in existence, but Joe User will not want it if it takes an 8 year degree in computer science to figure out how to change directories.
And, yet, you haven't managed to describe Linux. So your point is?

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (1, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353058)

You say that like it's a bad thing...

We don't -want- your type on Painfully Masochistic oS, anyway! ;-P

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353176)

"...if it takes an 8 year degree in computer science to figure out how to change directories."

1993 called. They want their shell back. 2008 just announced that there is indeed GUI mangers for such tasks and have been for a long time. And Joe Sixpack has informed us that he could change a directory in MSDOS in the "old" days and said, "...gosh, it is almost exactly the same in a bash shell".

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353216)

You could have an OS that's compatible with every piece of hardware and software in existence, but Joe User will not want it if it takes an 8 year degree in computer science to figure out how to change directories.

I bet 99% of all people using Linux don't know how to change the current directory under Linux (on x86 it's: Load register eax with 12, load register ebx with pointer to zero-terminated string naming the new directory, call int 80h). But that's OK, because the user usually doesn't have to know it. Instead he interacts with some piece of software which does all this for him, be it the shell (where he'd type cd directory), or some file manager (where he probably would klick or doubleclick on a symbol representing the directory of choice; although that probably won't actually result in a change of directory, but just in the display of the desired directory; but then, the user couldn't care less how the functionality is implemented under the hood).

Re:People don't choose an OS for an OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353364)

If I recall, Linux uses the AT&T's assembly syntax not Intel.

Operating System != GUI (5, Insightful)

jon3k (691256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352780)

" Sure, that statement makes some sense, but in the grand scheme of things, it's the design and usability factor that makes the operating system much easier to use."

No.

Re:Operating System != GUI (1)

markedmann (912673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353074)

Agreed. Also, the kernel is completely separate from the various *nix window managers and desktop environments, which is where usability really comes into play.

Re:Operating System != GUI (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353096)

Correct. If you want to talk about design and usability, go talk to the GNOME people, the KDE people and the FreeDesktop.org people. That's their department. Linus is just in charge of the kernel, a tiny subset of a complete operating system distribution that end users never see and never directly interact with.

Linus' Vision Realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353162)

The article itself seems to suggest that Linus' vision _has_ been realized. The fact that users (Cnet) cannot differentiate between the GUI and the OS suggests that people have forgotten about what happens behind the pretty picture. No one cares about the filesystem, they drag and drop.

Sorry, you're wrong. The OS IS the user interface. (-1, Flamebait)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353214)

It is the system you use to operate the computer... It's what makes the silicon and copper do what you want. Yes, that means MS Word is part of an operating system. The distinction we make between MS Office and sed or fsck is arbitrary.

Having said that. I don't really want a GUI. And, no. I don't really want a command line either.

I want to be able to simply tell a computer what to do. I want a way of operating the computer that is completely natural. "Hey computer, send that video over to my brother"... In that, all of the existing user interfaces/operating systems are not only, completely wrong, but also pretty much consistently and determinedly running in the wrong direction just as fast as they can as well.

 

Re:Sorry, you're wrong. The OS IS the user interfa (1, Interesting)

jon3k (691256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353312)

No.

"An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources."

That's like saying a car is a machine with 4 wheels, cruise control and A/C because mercedes-benz uses those, so that becomes the definition of all cars. I have quite a few Linux servers without a GUI - is Linux no longer an OS?

Re:Operating System != GUI (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353442)

" Sure, that statement makes some sense, but in the grand scheme of things, it's the design and usability factor that makes the operating system much easier to use."

No.
Um, YES! For the LOVE OF GOD "YES"!!!

If you have even an inkling of trying to convince my boss, my wife, or my grandmother that they have to select their operating systems and GUI's independently, please do me a favor and STFU.

Certainly to any computer-nerd-extraordinaire, Richard Stallman, and a handful of others, there is a difference. To most everyone else, there is not.

Unless you'd like to see Linux doomed to back-end purposes forever, please keep your semantics to yourself. Once it goes mainstream, THEN you can introduce this little tidbit to the masses.

And...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352786)

As long as he does a good job of managing kernel development, what difference does it make what he thinks about wider issues like GUI? That's just not what he works on.

Wtf? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352800)

Torvalds never said anything about what anyone 'should' view operating systems. He talked about how he views them, and talked about how he appreciated how people use it in new ways. What's wrong with you people?

Re:Wtf? (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353246)

the same thing that is wrong with the article's author, and many other people. They believe that the OS/kernel **IS** the whole thing. Many cannot differentiate applications from the Windows OS if they had to. They simply do not remember when Window was a DOS APPLICATION and not sold complete with an OS bundled inside it.

Linus speaks about the kernel, and well he should.

Now, go talk with the Gnome developers or KDE developers about their piece...

OS? Yes, all the stuff that lies between the desktop and the kernel...

Thanks to MS not many people can imagine having to install an OS, then a windowing system, then a browser, then a ..... you get the picture

quote out of context (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352818)

another idiot reporter confusing a quote about the kernel

The Foundation is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352820)

The foundation is critical and the audience is technical.

this article is total crap - just cnet trying to get more ad impressions.

It did.. (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352832)

"The truth of the matter is Linux was originally developed to abandon the idea that beauty and "hand-holding" was necessary to create a great operating system and it became somewhat of a counter-culture."

There is a difference between great (as in good) and great (as in popular). The two are not always synonymous. The world is full of examples where the best, or good choice wasn't alway the popular choice due to a number of circumstances. Linux needs to find a way to be both if it wants to become dominant.

"Beauty" and "Intution" are not in Linus's hands (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352838)

Please remember, Linus is primarily a kernel maintainer. He's responsible for the under-the-line stuff that makes it such a great server OS.

But the user experience is largely the purvue of the Distros, their window managers, application suites, etc. And Linus is right, these are a disaster.

But saying he's divorced is silly, its never been his area of expertise or the area where he works.

Re:"Beauty" and "Intution" are not in Linus's hand (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352996)

Linus is divorced now?!

Maybe he'll finally make an honest woman out of my sister.

Re:"Beauty" and "Intution" are not in Linus's hand (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353046)

They are not a disaster. They surely could be better, but you can say that of any piece of software. But they are certainly not a disaster.

Mod TFA ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352840)

-1 Troll

He never did. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352844)

He spoke for Linus. That is fine Linux is FOSS so anyone can take a copy of the source and make it into anything they want as long as they keep the GPL.
Ubuntu is different from Openfiler is different from DSL, which is different from RHEL... Yet they are all Linux.

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352854)

first post

What does Linus have to do with Linux? (3, Interesting)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352862)

Linus writes/maintains the kernel last I checked. It's not the kernel that makes an OS easy to use, as the Mach Kernel isn't drastically different from an API standpoint, but OSX is much easier to use.

If we think Linux is hard to use, why not blame the people who write the higher level utilities rather than the kernel itself?

I don't think this is a real argument (5, Interesting)

riley (36484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352864)

I don't think the term "Operating System" mean the same things to all people.

Linus was talking about the things that truly are invisible to the average user: the API, the filesystem, etc. Not the user interface. When you are speaking about operating systems with someone who has written one, it must be realized that all the terminology is not the same. Ubuntu is a distribution of linux, with a lot of work put into the UI. That is a good thing, but it is not the same thing as talking about device drivers.

OS X is, at that level, a BSD operating system, with a really good UI and a sort of half-assed filesystem (no flames, I use OS X boxes, and they work well, but the filesystem is really from an earlier era).

There is nothing that keeps the functionality of the low level OS from the elegance of a well crafted UI.

Re:I don't think this is a real argument (3, Insightful)

aneviltrend (1153431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353290)

I agree with the parent. Too many people confuse the idea of an OS with the standard suite of applications that are shipped with it. When users say that they like the Windows OS or the Mac OS, what 99% of them mean is that they like the applications shipped with it. These applications include the window manager, mail software, file explorer, and others.

Linus is stating that the OS itself should take a back seat and be invisible to the user. And, ironically, this is why many people choose to use Windows and Mac over Linux: they know that, for the most part, they won't need to worry about how the kernel is interacting with their hardware setup and desktop applications. They don't need to know what file system or network adapter they are using, because that level of complexity is hidden well by the applications that are shipped with the operating system.

Where does this lead? I would venture that the two most popular reasons people don't use Linux are either: they don't know about it; or, they believe that it is too complex. The second reason comes straight back to the point that Linus is making: people have the perception that using Linux will require them to know more about their hardware or systems than they feel that they know. And, usually, they are wrong. I just believe that there are more utilities in Linux distros to mess with the operating system than there are in Windows or Mac (a result of being open source), but that using it on a daily basis requires no more knowledge than using the other two.

Perhaps I am missing something (5, Insightful)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352866)

My understanding of Linus' comment was that the operating system (Linux) should be invisible--he didn not say that distributions shouldn't have a UI.

In other words, Ubuntu, for example, is trying to make Linux appealing to an average person. They aren't, therefore, going to distribute the Os without a UI. The operating system in Ubuntu should be (and mostly is) invisible, and the user is interacting with Gnome or KDE or XFCE or whatever.

Ubuntu, then, I would say, is not departing from Linus' philosophy--they give you several choices of user interfaces through which you can do what you want with your computer, while the OS does the work invisibly.

What am I missing here. Computer World MUST know more about this than me.

Re:Perhaps I am missing something (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353350)

Computer World MUST know more about this than me.

You'd hope so, but no.

Linux != Operating System (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352876)

Linux is just the kernel, right? GNU/Linux would be an operating system.

Ubuntu is an Operating System, that uses the Linux Kernel.
So is Gentoo, RedHat, CentOS, Mandrake, etc...

Is Linux From Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] easy to use? I would say "not really"
How about Ubuntu [ubuntu.com] ? (Ubuntu, in the live disc, was able to recognize and use the wifi card and odd screen resolution on my laptop [slashdot.org] , so it very much gets my vote for "easy to use")

Does Linus speak for Red Hat, Novel, and SuSe? I wouldn't think so, unless he has invested enough in those companies to have a large enough share of the stocks.

Of course Linus speaks for Linux, since he is in charge of which patches get accepted into the stock kernel.

Re:Linux != Operating System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353044)

You, you, you, you're sou obvious/pedant.

Don't get me wrong, but Linux it is an OS. For sure it is not a "complete system", but in fact, yes, it is an operating system: processes, memory, i/o drivers, etc.

Mod Up Insightful (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353338)

Parent is correct, and not just an FSF shotgun reply about using Linux as a name for the OS.

OS versus environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352892)

I think the argument is purely semantic. What most people call the operating system is really the entire operating environment. When he says the operating system should be invisible, he means the kernel should get out of the way so the operating environment can do its job. There's no argument here.

Linux *is* Linus's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352920)

So if he can't speak for Linux, how can anyone else?
I mean seriously, who else can speak for Linux with the same or greater authority than Linus?

I suspect that what the CNET article fails to grasp is that the kernel (that is Linux) is only part of the distribution (SuSE, Redhat, etc.)

In this, Linus is completely correct - the core of the operating system is immaterial to the users "up there". It is all the layers that get added on top of Linux that define the platform, in the same was as it is the GUI on MacOSX that defines it in a manner that is independant of the kernel.

Someone friendly & flexible should speak for L (5, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352922)

Someone far more friendly and flexible should speak for Linux. Someone like Richard Stallman, known far and wide for his friendliness and flexibility.

(Do I really need to add the

</sarcasm>
tag?)

Linus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22352936)

But that's the great thing about Linus, he always talks like an individual with his own personal views, instead of carefully thinking what he should and shouldn't say. He's a hacker, not a marketing drone. That's how it has always been, and that's probably how it always will be.

2 words (2, Informative)

watzinaneihm (627119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352938)

Dear CNET Kernel!=OS

Torvalds Speaks for Linux(TM) (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352964)

Of course Torvalds speaks for Linux - the kernel. That's all he controls, with his trademark on "Linux" and his undisputed control of what is released in the kernel. So when he speaks, he speaks for that with authority.

He doesn't speak for any distro, never did, never claimed to. But that's part of the problem with calling, say, Ubuntu "Linux". Most of Ubuntu, or Red Hat, or aN4rCHi$tOS, or any other distro, is not the kernel. It's a lot of other software that's compatible with a Linux kernel it relies on. Most of which is usually GNU software, with its own spokespeople - who often disagree fundamentally with Torvalds. The people running those distro projects speak for them. And therefore they speak for what people call "Linux" more than Torvalds does.

And when they don't speak for someone who disagrees, that person is free to make their own "Linux" and speak for it.

I know the corporate mass media can't understand that kind of community ownership and independence. But Slashdotters should be able to tell the difference.

Re:Torvalds Speaks for Linux(TM) (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353446)

Yes, Linus controls only a Linux but for most users Linux is THE OS.

BUT new problem evolvs and it now looks like there is new "style" to say that "distributions are dead" and there ain't over 400 distributions, there are over 400 different Operating Systems what just use Linux kernel and just the only reason to call them as "Linux".

I have readed that few guys yelling around different forums that Ubuntu is Different OS than Debian or Fedora and OpenSUSE, because that OS name is Ubuntu.
And reason for this is because when you boot your Computer, you see this big "Ubuntu" trademark there and when you open help center, there is big phrase "Ubuntu is complete Operating system".

And they even say that hardware/software manufactures should only build everything for Ubuntu because it's much better OS than any other OS on market.
Oh yes, and they even say that OpenOffice.org and Firefox are part of OS like Internet Explorer and Windows Mediaplayer are on windows. Extacly, they say that everything what comes on installer media and installs by default, is part of OS and that makes those a different OS's too and not somekind "nerd distributions".

And one reason for that OS is that whole complete package, is that because all code what you write, can be run on every OS when you just compile it again from source (and claim is why Ubuntu is different OS than Fedora, is because you cant install Ubuntu binary on Fedora etc), like directX and all windows games could be run on all "linux based OS's" if developers just would compile them from source against Ubuntu or any other OS, no need to touch code..... and these guys, they claim they are coders...

And then there are these journalist who writes these colums, or what ever they do, never looking history or technical data why something is *something*.

Listen...the guy INVENTED Linux... (0, Troll)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22352978)

...and if you wish, you could safely leave it at that, here's why: Imagine this - a person have a need (Like Linus had..he needed an OS for his development, he couldn't afford the *Nix, but he was smart enough to develop his own). Now - being kind and openhearted as he is - he shared it with his friends and the world, great. What he DIDN'T expect was that it would catch on like fire and spread the same spirit all over the planet and grow into what it is today, fair enough? Heck...he even admit that himself, what can I say..the guy is more honest than ANYONE I know. Does it really matter to you what Linus now wants? Sure - it has some "moral and spiritual" value somewhere...you know...he IS the father of Linux, but all that said...remember the other ones? You know...YOU and a million other coders that contribute every single day of your life making Linux better for everyone, now THAT MATTERS!

GOD WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353006)

For doubting the word of Linus. Blasphemy!

Did he ever? (1)

shadylookin (1209874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353012)

The idea that Torvalds is a rebel leading in the fight for freedom against the powers that be never really had any solid grounding. Linus never really cared about freedom and has said before that you should use the best tool for the job whether proprietary or not, and He sees nothing wrong with digital rights management. He's a good developer but he really only speaks for the kernel. Besides no one could possibly speak for all linux users because no matter how much everyone tries to call it a single community there are vast differences in what everyone wants(which is why there are nearly as many distros as there are users)

Linux Kernel != Linux Distributions (2, Insightful)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353018)

The author seems to not be making a distinction between the Linux kernel (which Linus obviously can and should speak for) and the GNU/Linux distributions. While Linus' influence on the way major distributions package the OS may be minimal, he has a direct impact on the guts of them as long as he remains head of the kernel. He has direct control over how and when major changes (eg. udev, KVM, sysfs, ABI changes, etc.) get implemented into the 2.6 kernel which has a direct impact on the distributions. Personally I've disagreed with some of his opinions and I'm definitely not alone (eg. Con Kolivas), but to see his opinion doesn't matter for Linux is completely naïve and short sighted.

Makes sense (1, Troll)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353020)

Seems like what Torvald is saying is that the OS should be distinct from the interface - GUI or otherwise. That makes good sense in principle, but whether that's a practical marketing goal or not is questionable.

people looking @ ubuntu are not seeing linux (2, Insightful)

justdrew (706141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353024)

the OS isn't seen by them, they're looking at applications running on top of the OS. User interface isn't the same thing as OS.

Misinformed and misinterpreted (5, Informative)

cats2ndlife (995125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353030)

Linus Torvalds and others have said time and time again that the operating system he and the tech people speak of is the kernel of a distribution that end-users really shouldn't care about. Ubuntu, OS X, Windows are just "distributions" of a mixture of applications on top of a kernel (i.e OS). End-users are shielded from all the applications' (Gnome, KDE, OO.o, FF) abstractions built on top of kernel. It is in this sense that Linus believes that users shouldn't care about the OS (read as kernel) because it is expected to "just work". I think this pretty much wraps up the debate here. Go home now, nothing to see here.

Doing it Right (1)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353040)

I think most people hate their computers a lot of the time - spyware, rootkits, viruses, crashing apps, etc.

Linux isn't taking shortcuts for usability, but rather building the desktop the right way, on a solid secure foundation without compromises. It's the long hard path, but when it gets there, I think it will win out in the end.

Linus does not speak for the GUIs that use Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353060)

Usability is not linux's (the kernel) purpose, it is the GUIs, programs that Linus does not lead development for. The people who write GUIs use Linux as a platform. Linux itself really is invisible, and people use the GUI. Linus still speaks for linux the kernel. If you have a complaint about GUIs you go to x.org or the window manager, or the distro maker and find the people that speak for the GUI.

Also notice how linus compares the OSes of Mac and Win by filesystems, which is largely a role of the kernel, something he does know alot about. He is not talking about ease of use! If the author of the article does not understand the distinction of the kernel and apps, and what constitutes where the problem is, he should not write articles on operating systems.

Fail (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353072)

Is the failure to parse what Linus meant when he said 'OS' willful, or is it ignorance/stupidity?

I actually sort of hope it is ignorance or stupidity, because I see similar stuff all the time, and the idea that it is intentional is a lot more painful than someone not understanding.

Dumb.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353076)

looooool who's linus? did he invent the colonel?

Linus speaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353078)

Linus speaks for Linux. The community speaks for GNU/Linux.

Next question. Yes, you .. second row, funny hat.

Infrastructure (2, Informative)

SkipF (1139911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353092)

Linux is a kernel, not an operating systems. Tack on GNU and you have some pretty good functionality. Add X or xorg and you get pretty pictures. Rip the fabric off your couch and you find a great deal of comfort has been sacrificed for functionality. You can also find $2.73 in loose change and some old peanuts. Ubuntu isn't Linux, it's the pretty fabric stretched across a framework of functionality. -Skip

Linus is right. (4, Insightful)

Pathway (2111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353112)

Linus is right. Linux (The kernel) should be invisible to the end user. Gnome and KDE should be concerned about what the user sees.

--Pathway

Who's it for? (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353128)

And while both Mac OS X and Windows have their issues, for the average person, it makes more sense to use those than Linux.
I always hear statements like this, and they make me wonder: If not for the average person, who are distros like Ubuntu and Suse supposed to be made for?

What is the Operating System? (5, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353142)

Unfortunately, the world has been corrupted by Microsoft's bizarre definition of an "Operating System." The following are applications, not part of the OS:

1. Freecell
2. The web-browser
3. Media player Player
4. e-mail client

Because MS has distributed these things with its operating system and, with a straight face, asked why the web browser wasn't part of the OS***, people now have a kitchen-sink view of the OS. I think Linus takes a minimalist view to the OS.

*** Many of the Windows/IE security issues can be traced back to the integration of IE into the operating system.

Re:What is the Operating System? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353298)

Actually, i think you got it backwards:

Isnt it the typical Linux distribution (i.e. kitchen-sink style) that creates the image that everything from kwrite over amorak to to gnumerik somehow belongs to the Linux-"OS"?

It's Okay (0, Offtopic)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353158)

Welcome to the internet. You can swear here.

But the GUI is what users interact with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353172)

But the author forgets is that the GUI is what the ordinary users interacts with, not the OS itself. If you put a GUI that is functionally and visually the same as Windows or OSX (Leopard), many users wouldn't know the difference. They would think they are running Windows (or OSX) even though the underlying OS is Linux. One of the GUIs for Linux is fvwm95 which makes it look like Windows95. There are many others that give a feel for various Windows versions yet all run on Linux as the OS. There are others that give you an appearance of OSX while still running Linux as the OS.

If there wouldn't be any copyright or trademark infringement issues, the freeware versions could both look and feel like Windows of any flavor or OSX. So until the user runs a terminal or console window, they wouldn't know they were on Linux and not Windows or OSX. Heck a PC can have three monitors, mice and keyboards, so Linux can run a KDE session on one screen, mouse and keyboard, a Windows XP session on the next monitor, mouse and keyboard and a OSX session on the third monitor, mouse and keyboard combo. That is something that would be hard to do on the other two OSes. Yet each would say he is running on a different PC (or virtual machine) running the OS displayed.

It would be some work and effort (to get around the copyrights and trademarks), but the rest is quite doable.

You iMnsensitive clod! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22353202)

are a p4thetic [goat.cx]

Its obvious... (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353210)

Its obvious that the original author of this article on CNET has not used GNU/Linux since Linux turned 2.2. Linux will always be a kernel and GNU/Linux will always be free. Why spend massive amounts of money promoting Ubuntu or "_add_here_linux_distro_" when Microsoft and Apple are spending massive amounts of money pissing people off.

For a brain dead employee to use a computer that only has a web browser, mail client and office tools and not have to worry about what to click on then GNU/Linux is right up their street, they don't need to know what a kernel is or what it does or even what the word binary is as long as they are clever enough to type and click a mouse button brain dead masses don't have to worry.

Understand the Customer (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353220)

Perhaps the writer of TFA doesn't understand the s/w business in general or the Linux business in particular.

Linus (should) speak to his customers, the "technical people" who build the distros or some other product where they need to get down into the nuts and bolts of the O/S.

Each of these "technical people", the creators of Ubuntu, OpenSuse, or some product with embedded Linux needs to speak to their customers in turn. That's the beauty of Linux. Its a tool that can solve multiple problems without bothering the end user with the details of the underlying implementation.

Off-topic bit starts here:
That's why Google succeeds and Mic-Yah-ro-hoo-soft will fail. Microsoft expects all of its consumers to be immediately aware of the existence of the Microsoft brand name in all of their interactions with third party applications. Google, OTOH, does quite a bit of business with third parties, but in many cases, its difficult to tell unless you happen to watch the browser status bar when a Google domain name zips by, loading an ad. Most third party vendors don't want their market presence prefixed by a big, flashing banner Brought to You by Microsoft: and then their business name below that in small print.

Its the same with the Linux kernel.

Define 'beauty' (4, Insightful)

Zollui (1230734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353242)

The command line by itself has a classical, austere beauty.

redundant (-1, Redundant)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353264)

can someone please mod every single post in this thread redundant. Thanks....

Differentiating the Whole from it's Parts (4, Insightful)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353282)

The author of TFA's assumption is that Linus is "The Big Cheese" (TM) of all things Linux, and as such has influence over everything carrying the name. The big thing the author doesn't get is that Linux isn't one entity- it's the sum of a bunch of smaller entities working together. The kernel is different from the boot loader (grub/lilo), which is different from the graphical server (X), which is different from the desktop manager (kde/gnome), which is different from all the other apps running on top. The people that package it all together into distributions make it a usable operating system- Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mandriva, etc.

Linus doesn't really have any direct control over the distributions themselves, at least in terms of what features or programs they choose to bundle with the kernel to make usable. As such, there are distros specialized for just about every possible use- as a general desktop, server, embedded, small footprint, low power, etc. The versatility comes as a result of how the kernel was designed, even if it wasn't specifically designed for versatility.

It's time the Linux community finally wakes up and decides which way it will turn -- towards its roots or towards the features that the general public really wants. Until then, we'll have the old guard spewing their ideals, while the momentum of the operating system carries it away from its very foundation.

There are distributions going both ways- simple and complex. Look to something like Ubuntu/Kubuntu for a more windows-esque desktop experience out of the box. Look to something like Slackware to get "towards it's roots." The biggest strength of linux is that it isn't pinholed into one specific use or expectation, as the author asserts it is/was/should be. He doesn't "get it."

form or function (3, Insightful)

PureCreditor (300490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353288)

Unix/Linux/BSD people wondered for years why the mainstream wouldn't adopt their OS, or open source for that matter. How would you expect a normal person to compile their own programs via command line input of a software they have to download at distribution sites? Heck, I have a masters in CS from a Top 10 compsci university in the US, and sometimes I wonder if i have all the library files I need to make the gcc work flawlessly. End-users dont have time for that. KDE and Gnome has been around much longer than MacOS X, and yet Mac's interface beats either of them hands them. Apple proved to us that given the right interface, people WILL embrace Unix. People are not anti-open source, but they're very much anti-command-line.

Another good example is mobile devices. Palm and Microsoft had YEARS of experience on how to refine their mobile experience. They have barely made incremental UI changes since their first release. Apple managed to put Unix in a handheld and make it so easy to use that it doesn't even come with a manual.

While I respect Torvalds to a great degree, he shouldn't engage in his form/functionality debate. He's the expert at making the OS internals flawless. Let other experts figure out how to turn his masterpiece into a usable design. Please don't try to mix filesystems designers with graphic designers.

And on a final unrelated note, to counter Torvald's argument that HFS is crap, we've been reading for nearly a year that Apple is ready to adapt ZFS. Once MacOS defaults to ZFS, it'll trounce any existing form of ext3. He really should be comparing the merits of ext3 against ZFS, the future, not the past. Otherwise we might as well discuss the Minix one too =)

It is not Linus' fault (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353328)

It is not Linus' fault that people think Operating System = GUI = window manager = kernel. This said, it is probably not CNET's fault that they think so as well, even though you would expect some better technical knowledge from them...

Logic is cheaper at CNET! (4, Funny)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353336)

Typical CNET logic: Proclaim Linus' preference that beauty and intuition would take a backseat to functionality - and the problem that they have with this - wait for it - that the design and usability factor (sic) are more important, therefore Win and OS X are better for people than Linux, and from this - or as if it is in support - we arrive at Linus possibly no longer speaking for Linux.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I didn't RTFA and I'm not going to RTFA. Whenever I hear logic like this, it makes me reach for my revolver.

And while I'm in the mood, don't get me started on how CNET isn't really complaining about Linux, it's GNU part - you know, the part that seems to be always denied by not using the proper name, GNU/Linux, but always gets trundled out as a defense mechanism.

I hate the smell of bad logic. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

And for anyone tempted to not get it - this post isn't flamebait. It's a retaliation against the slagging my intelligence was just given.

Maybe I'd be in a better mood if the summary went, "An anonymous reader laughed his fucking ass off when he saw this crap, and thought - correctly - that any of us in a bad mood might find fun in slagging CNET. Here's their latest proof that journalist with IQs below 50 can get a job at CNET - because they know their market: ..."

Yeah. That's the ticket.

But remember... (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353348)

Torvalds created the movement (intentionally or not), exactly because he was doing something DIFFERENT. An alternative to the mainstream. If linux becomes mainstream, then who will be the rebel?

Remember, the world is changed by rebels, not the folks in the mainstream.

Re:But remember... (1)

Zollui (1230734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353396)

I think you'll find there are many candidates for the 'rebel OS' position.

Whatever happened to... (2, Insightful)

anno1602 (320047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353360)

... please do not feed the troll?

Isn't it great? (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22353380)

Look, the idea is doomed to die once fulfilled (XP vs Vista, anyone? MS just in dead end). If Linus still sees obvious ways to improve his code and sees ways to improve for other ppls code, this becomes good driving force for innovation. Everyone benefit from this, when men like Linus want to scratch their itch.
"Linus speaking for Linux" argument only can be in some half-blocked mind. Linus doesn't think in terms of Linux - he's the creator of Linux, he'd to think above this level and this is good, it's the process of improvement. I think further years will unleash us more and more in OS design and hardware design. It's just getting better and better. And Linus not agreeing with current design for me is why I love technical progress, because sooner or later we have something better!
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