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Linux Guru Alan Cox Takes A Year Off 403

Posted by timothy
from the hit-by-the-year-off-bus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux guru Alan Cox is taking a year off from RedHat and kernel development to get his MBA. For years, Alan Cox has maintained the extremely stable 2.2 Linux kernel, and more or less been Linux creator Linus Torvalds' right hand man. Now it sounds like the 2.2 kernel is up for grabs to someone who is 'good at refusing patches and being ignored'..."
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Linux Guru Alan Cox Takes A Year Off

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  • Re:Naww!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:09AM (#6743743) Homepage
    That's today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mnmn (145599) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:10AM (#6743755) Homepage
    Apart from being 'funny', honestly why would Alan Cox need any degree or certification? He can go to any Linux development company and put his resume on the table:

    Alan Cox.

    Unless the HR manager is a college assistant who has Bonzi Buddy installed on her Windows laptop, Alan will get hired. I suppose some larger companies have policies to honor degrees at all levels of the management and Senior Cox is getting ambitious. In that case it kinda gets sad to see him planning to manage rather than code.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ralphus (577885) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:14AM (#6743797)
    Is it totally crazy to think that he just might *want* one?
  • Re:MBA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ReadParse (38517) <john@funnycELIOTow.com minus poet> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:15AM (#6743809) Homepage
    Well, I can understand this, even though I've never been quite the academic. I'm sure he doesn't need it for employment, but rather because he wants the education itself. And that's admirable.

    RP
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:15AM (#6743812)
    First of all RMS Worshipper, this really IS "just the kernel", so it's a little uncalled for to call it "GNU/Linux"

    It's just Linux...just the kernel. No GNU, well except for the toolchain, but then everyone would have to call their software GNU/Vim/Emacs/QT/KDE/blah/blah/blah if we all followed that convention.

    Kinda ridiculous, don't ya think?
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anthonyrcalgary (622205) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:16AM (#6743815)
    Because learning is fun and you can't learn everything you want to know by coding alone.

    And he might want to teach.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:17AM (#6743833)
    Maybe he aspires to more than computer programming has to offer, namely a mediocre salary plus RSI. Maybe he wants to be in a position where he can make important decisions once in a while.

    Signed,
    A Bitter Programmer.

  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikeee (137160) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:19AM (#6743851)
    And if he wants to start a business, or be upper management, a (good, not diploma mill) MBA will be a big win.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stilwebm (129567) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:24AM (#6743912)
    Apart from being 'funny', honestly why would Alan Cox need any degree or certification? He can go to any Linux development company and put his resume on the table:

    Unlike the world of MCSEs and A+ certifications, you don't go and "get" a degree. You earn a degree by learning important skills. He is not going to school just to get a piece of paper. In the case of an MBA, he will learn important management skills that take many years of real-world experience to learn. In business school, that take 1 to 2 years to master many of the skills.

    Perhaps he wants to start a business? He is a great coder, good at managing source code trees, but an MBA will teach him about managing a business. Alan obviously isn't just trying to improve his resume, he's trying to improve himself.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gallir (171727) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:34AM (#6744004) Homepage
    Because "the security of getting hired at any time" doesn't always mean your goals, wishes and desire for learning new things are already fulfilled.
  • Re:Taking Over (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sonicated (515345) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:34AM (#6744007)
    I have always been curious about the more politcal side of GNU/Linux and your answers would be much appreciated.

    The structure of Linux development and the GNU project are two totally different things. I'd recommend that you read The Cathedral and the Bazaar [catb.org] to get an idea. Essentially the GNU project is nothing to do with Linux.

  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killmenow (184444) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:40AM (#6744056)
    I have ~ 15 years of technical experience and I would love an MBA. Why? So I could have a better idea what goes on in the mind of the CEO. I just don't get the thinking a lot of times.

    The education provided in the MBA path is (to me) no more than a window into the vagaries of the management mind. A scary thought, indeed...but who doesn't wonder the "whys" of management?
  • Re:MBA? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:44AM (#6744094)
    MBA? I'm sorry, that's just a piece of paper... just as much so as any MCSE or A+. You get your degree to learn the basics of your chosen career. The real learning starts when you graduate and acutally get a job. That is if your chosen industry isn't completely saturated by the time you do graduate.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkins@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:44AM (#6744095)
    Degree != real-world experience.

    I've got both, as I'm sure do many on slashdot. The two are symbiotic, not the same.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:50AM (#6744138) Homepage Journal
    Unlike the world of MCSEs and A+ certifications, you don't go and "get" a degree. You earn a degree by learning important skills. He is not going to school just to get a piece of paper. In the case of an MBA, he will learn important management skills that take many years of real-world experience to learn. In business school, that take 1 to 2 years to master many of the skills.

    Oh, whatever. Skills, schmills. Anyone can get an MBA, and it's still all about what you can regurgitate, just like an MCSE or A+ certification. Gimme a break.
  • He'll use Word ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @10:57AM (#6744201) Homepage
    He'll use Word. MBA's are about money not philosophy. One of the skills learned is not pissing off those above you.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PeteQC (680043) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @11:09AM (#6744318)
    Maybe because he wants, like most of us, Linux to have a larger utilisation in a business environment.

    It's still the best diploma in management. So, if he knows how a business work, maybe I'll be a lot more helpful in bringing Linux to the enterprise!
  • Re:MBA? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by an_mo (175299) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @11:10AM (#6744320) Journal
    It is a little crazy. I hope I am not offending anyone (I probably will) but you don't learn much studying for an MBA, it's only a piece of paper you need to get certain jobs which he probably can get anyway, having proven leadership and management skills on the field. I'd have better understood if he wanted a degree in ancient greek.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nexx (75873) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @11:16AM (#6744394)
    Excuse me? Learning how to effectively manage a corporation, and more importantly, learning how a corporate brain thinks is useless? I'm failing to see how the MBA will be useless to anyone with visions of starting a company, which is what went through my head when I first saw the /. article.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Epi-man (59145) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @11:48AM (#6744710) Journal
    When I was trying to decide whether to return to school for my graduate degrees, a professor told me a saying I found most profound, "knowledge is a form of wealth that can not be stolen from you." Perhaps Alan wishes to enrich himself, no?
  • YOU IGNORANT FUCK (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @11:50AM (#6744743)
    Go do some research before you throw a hissy fit.
  • If SCO somehow manages to pull off a win in court (Which is highly unlikely, especially considering that they've based their latest case on a misreading of copyright law), all the developers would have to do is remove the "infringing" code from the 2.4 kernel and replace it with new code. People who absolutely need a working Linux system the day after the case might switch to 2.2, but this won't really affect most users.

    That is, if SCO ever plans on showing the code to the public.
  • by oni (41625) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @12:17PM (#6745108) Homepage
    Again I must tell you that you are AMERICA CENTRIC

    It amuses me that the very first hit on google from the query "What is an MBA" [google.com] just happens to be a web site in New Zealand

    Here it is: The New Zealand MBA Association [mba.org.nz]

    Clearly, MBA is not an America-centric term. I suspect your definition of America Centric is "anything I haven't heard of" though.
  • by pmz (462998) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @12:46PM (#6745425) Homepage
    But Word actually is the most useful document exchange format today...

    No, Word is the worst possible exchange format. It is proprietary to one corporation, it is a vector for script-based viruses, the tools that read it (other than Microsoft's products) cannot do so reliabily and predictably, and much of the world's population cannot and should not be expected to afford the MS Office software.

    Given, also, the recent revival of awareness about hidden information exchanged in Word documents, Word is not only a terrible format in principle, but it is a threat to privacy and security in a most fundamental way.

    So, Anonymous Astroturfer, you should go back to your cube and rethink your strategy for spreading lies into the public consciousness.

    For basic exhange of information, the best formats are plain text (for text, obviously) or PDF (for type-set documents). Other formats are just asking for trouble.
  • by pmz (462998) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @01:19PM (#6745844) Homepage
    Now this sounds pretty well-rehearsed.

    That's because it is true.

    When will people start realizing that there are free tools to handle Word format...

    Where are they? Are they 100% compatible with Microsoft's undocumented, proprietary, and volatile document format? It is impossible for these tools to live up to their promises when there is a 100% likelihood their reverse-engineering efforts came up short.

    Word is the format of choice even in the free-software-world

    Only when Microsoft releases a 100% complete and comprehensible document explaining every aspect of the Word formats (yes there are more than one). Given that it is not in their financial interest to do so, I can guarantee that Word will basically never become the format of choice outside of the Microsoft micro-universe.

    The most likely outcome is that one of the emerging XML formats, such as that for OpenOffice.org, will become the de-facto standard for editable document exchange. By then, I hope that Microsoft will be little more than a niche figment of their former selves (not unlike SCO, soon).
  • by pmz (462998) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:15PM (#6746555) Homepage
    Unless you can think of another file format that copes with tables, images, headers, footers, embedded documents, version control and all the other things that most of us use on a regular basis.

    Perhaps the Docbook editor being added to OpenOffice.org will provide some relief. HTML isn't totally out of question, either (except that Word screws up HTML, too). And, once OpenOffice.org picks up more steam, its own plain-text XML file format should be widely understood, too.

    Non-trivial documents should be done in LaTeX or Docbook, anyway, because they are much more robust and capable than Word. Word is really only appropriate for memos or reports, at most. Textbooks and standards documents done in Word are pretty sad.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @02:16PM (#6746573)
    Take it easy bud,

    I'm not going to discuss all your opinions, agreeing or not (yes, my english is poor), but take it easy when you speak about 3rd wold countries. Many times, they do they job just as well as people every where else.
    Outsource tasks isn't easy for management issues, but you shouldn't put the things like it is the problem of 3rd world. Don't forget the good contributions to technology (in Linux for example), that have done countries like Brazil or India.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stilwebm (129567) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @04:46PM (#6748339)
    Thank you. I should have added that to my post. Alan Cox has years of experience coding and managing coders on various levels but probably knows little about financing a business, human resources, or business law, for examples. An MBA will augment his intelligence and experience. I'm very interested in seeing what he will use it for.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stuntmonkey (557875) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:00PM (#6749487)

    > Further, the use of H1B holders is stupid for two unrelated reasons: you're shipping money to overseas economies,

    And why exactly should a CEO of an American corporation care about this?

    > and you're training a workforce to compete against you once it returns home (which most do).

    Can you name for me a single example where an American company has suffered at the hands of competition from individuals it once employed on H1B visas?

    My point: The H1B visa program may or may not be good for the US economy as a whole, but that is a completely separate issue from whether it's a good business decision for US Corporation X to employ H1B workers. If you dislike the H1B program, yell at your government officials, not at CEOs.

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @07:05PM (#6749539) Homepage
    Or maybe he'll use OpenOffice and save it as a Word formatted document

    No. An MBA student will use the version of Word specified for the class. He would not risk an incompatibility problem in a clone. Again, an MBA program is no place for religion. Using OpenOffice is for an environment where you get a second chance if the document is no good. When you are emailing your homework to a grader and late assignments are not accepted you don't take a chance.

    One of the lessons learned in school is to follow instructions/specification, give the client/supervisor/professor what they asked for. If they asked for the wrong thing you try to explain the problem to get them to ammend the instructions/specification. You don't just quietly change things on your own. Of course that's hypothetical, in this case there is nothing wrong with the Word specification.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20, 2003 @09:13PM (#6750436)
    >> you're shipping money to overseas economies

    Wake up. This is capitalism, not mercantilism. Shipping money is a necessity. Your capital can do wonders in that country which will provide you with resources cheaper than the ones you can get at home.

    >> and you're training a workforce to compete against you once it returns home (which most do).

    Yes. And if you care to read about economy, you'll learn that some sectors exist which are dogs -- basically doing that business is never going to get you nowhere.

    >> using H1B workers and/or outsourcing is moronic in the long run

    In some instances yes, in some cases not. BTW, if you really think so, try to hire a genuine wasp, masters degree and all, to do your laundry. And when you pay him, be generous, after all your dirty clothes are a national matter.

    >> against the best interests of the United States and it's citizens

    I take you're not the average American. I suppose the average US citizen is a good fellow concerned about our troubled problems and wants peace, just like me and other non-US citizens.

    And stop that "us and them" bullshit: we're in the same boat, jerk. 10 generations into the future, who is gonna marry your descendent? Maybe the ones you call enemy now!

    >> Those are the facts, Jack.

    No, they are not. It's only your biased misinterpretation of reality. Open your eyes, I warn you again.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gwappo (612511) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @02:32AM (#6752253)
    Further, the use of H1B holders is stupid for two unrelated reasons: you're shipping money to overseas economies, and you're training a workforce to compete against you once it returns home (which most do).

    Silly me, and here I was thinking economy was not about holding on to money but about circulating money. The higher the pace of circulation, the better the economy.

    Should the world follow your advice then not only world trade would slowly grind to a halt but your cost of living would sky-rocket, eventually setting you back to the middle ages.

    Using H1B workers is an interim solution to a longer term problem. The longer term problem is that of off-shore competition.

    India's body-shopping business right now is negligable compared to what might happen if they start building and selling meaningful software themselves, instead of being hired to do so.

    In your zero H1B visa world, the US will cease to develop software as it does now.

    For this to happen, the pace of innovation in computer science needs to slow and the quality of computer science education of India needs to level with the western world.

    I believe this is happening.

    But good luck with your isolationist agenda there.

    That, mr. Anderson, is the sound of inevitability

  • by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Thursday August 21, 2003 @02:34AM (#6752260) Homepage Journal
    then, possibly the worst thing to linux could happen: forks.

    even with distrobutions, most everyone sticks with linus' kernel more or less. but if heavy forks were developed, all hell could break lose.
  • Re:MBA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spectecjr (31235) on Thursday August 21, 2003 @07:07PM (#6759968) Homepage
    Using H1B workers accomplished nothing except to lower costs for American companies. The espoused "lack of technical talent" was a myth. There is/was an abundance of talent, however it was more experienced/expensive than the CEOs wanted to pay. Therefore the push for increased numbers of imported, entry-level foreign workers.

    You were around for the Dot Com boom, right? Where everyone who claimed to be able to code HTML was treated like a C developer?

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