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Linus Holds Forth On the Future of Linux 249

Posted by timothy
from the and-who-better dept.
colinmc151 writes "As part of Geekcruises' Linux Lunacy cruise to Alaska, Linus Torvalds was interviewed and answered questions about where he sees the future of Linux with a particular eye towards developers. Great stuff."
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Linus Holds Forth On the Future of Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:17PM (#7371660)
    How come nobody ever asks Linus what he thinks about Mac OS X ?
    • by saunabad (664414) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:44PM (#7371787)
      In his book "Just for fun" he wrote about his opinion on the microkernel architecture and mach. I don't have the book at the moment so I can't give you the actual quote, but I think a word-to-word direct translation from Finnish to English would be pretty close to "it is from ass" :)
      • by axxackall (579006) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:06PM (#7371861) Homepage Journal
        From the book review [mach-linux.org]:
        Linus discusses why he continues to use a standard kernel as opposed to a microkernel. This discussion basically says that microkernels are not as efficient or easy to use as a standard kernel. The driving force behind Linus not using a microkernel approach is because he believes the parts are bigger than the whole, essentially saying it is more difficult to understand/develop a kernel with a modular approach as opposed to the standard kernel. Microkernels spend lots of time communicating from one piece of the kernel to another where a standard kernel has shared pieces so the communication doesn't have to take place. This specific piece is where the developers of microkernel implementations differ from Linus.
        • saying it is more difficult to understand/develop a kernel with a modular approach as opposed to the standard kernel. Microkernels spend lots of time communicating from one piece of the kernel to another where a standard kernel has shared pieces so the communication doesn't have to take place

          Then why didn't he just write the kernel in procedural FORTRAN?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:45PM (#7371790)
      from here: [geek.com]

      On Apple and OS X
      I never much liked Macs. All the interesting stuff is hidden away. They made the base of the house open source, but all the rest of the stuff, the wiring, is their own stuff. I don't want that to happen with Linux.

      [Mac OS X] doesn't give me the warm-and-fuzzies. I actually dislike Mach a lot. I think they made a lot of bad design choices.
    • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:04PM (#7371851) Journal
      This question is sort-of-answered in "his" book "Just For Fun" (actually written together by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond). Linus seems to have almost religious anti-MacOS X stance. He is against anything that is proprietary - and MacOS X still remains proprietary on its most important layer. He is against the very idea of microkernel, so he is against Mach as such. It's funny, because this book is actually written on a Mac notebook, but as David Diamond notes, when Linus was reading his own words for approval, he payed more attention to the whole OS and the machine (and expressing his dislike for both) than to his own words. Probably that's how the silly mistake about "Apache, the most popular commercial Linux version" could have slipped.
      • by ergo98 (9391)
        He is against the very idea of microkernel

        This is like saying that a husband is against the very idea of vacuuming, rather than simply doesn't want to vacuum. From what I have read of Torvald's opinion, the difficulty was that a microkernel isn't as easy to write, and can be less efficient (but on the flip side can be dramatically more secure and stable - see QNX). That's great that he feels that as a developer, but as a user, or as someone choosing products for embedded systems, etc, I think I'd take a m
        • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:38PM (#7372113) Journal
          This is like saying that a husband is against the very idea of vacuuming, rather than simply doesn't want to vacuum.

          But this particular husband says - for example - that "one of the arguments against vacuuming, pardon, mcrokernels has always been performance" (page 130 of the hardcover edition). There are also other anti-microkernel rants scattered all over the book, but I hope this example is enough. It's not that Linus says "I don't want to do this", he also says that it's the wrong idea.
        • For an embedded system, you may be right -- a microkernel may be more flexible and secure. But the communication overhead between modules may make it less efficient for small devices, which may be why Linux is doing well in the embedded devices market as well.

          Let's face it, an embedded device is pretty much defined by the fact that the OS shouldn't need to be changed by the user outside of ROM upgrades, so the theory that the microkernel may be more flexible is a moot point beyond production of a particula
          • For an embedded system, you may be right -- a microkernel may be more flexible and secure. But the communication overhead between modules may make it less efficient for small devices, which may be why Linux is doing well in the embedded devices market as well.

            SymbianOS is based on a microkernel design. I believe most mobile phones run this OS.
        • by scrytch (9198)
          > This is like saying that a husband is against the very idea of vacuuming, rather than simply doesn't want to vacuum.

          Linus has gone further than that, to slanderous accusations against microkernel research in general, stating that they were in it for the research dollars, knowing they had an inferior architecture. Tanenbaum wasn't mentioned by name, but it's fairly obvious who the comments were directed at. This behavior to me is beyond the pale, and completely unacceptable. He may have a fine OS, m
      • by JamesKPolk (13313) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @05:02PM (#7372913) Homepage
        Torvalds against anything proprietary? Where have you been since Torvalds has begun using Bitkeeper (a proprietary RCS) for all his kernel development?
    • by ae (16342)

      There is at least a comment on the hardware in TFA:

      I actually find Power to be very interesting now that they've made the 9070. And you can actually buy them in reasonable machines. And you can buy a Macintosh G5 and get a real 64-bit CPU. And I think that may actually be enough, too. There is enough of a user base for normal people that I suspect a lot of Linux developers would love to have one of those. And are ready to switch away from X86 entirely. While I don't see that happening on IA64. Because th

  • by El (94934) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:19PM (#7371674)
    The open source developers will be amongst the last to see their (volunteer) jobs exported to India and China!
  • Not so free (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Clearly most people who use Linux on the desktop tend to be pretty technical, right now. The nice thing is that is changing. It's changing mainly inside companies that just decided, "Hey, our secretaries are actually better off using Linux, because we don't want them playing solitaire.

    So much for all those ideals of freedom.
  • Desktop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:22PM (#7371693) Homepage
    A very interesting read. However, I was surprised to find no comments at all concerning OSX, wrt the future of linux on the desktop. I mean, if anything in the last two years has obviated the need for linux on the desktop, this is it.

    It sounds like getting onto the desktop is important to him. He talks about the problems affecting kernel space - poor support from latop hardware mfrs being a big one... but really the kernel is NOT what's holding up the success of linux on the desktop. We need easier setup and a useable interface.
    • Re:Desktop (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:45PM (#7371794) Homepage Journal
      I don't think OS X has obviated the need for Linux on the desktop at all -- and I'm an OS X user.

      I love Macs. I think they're great machines. Whenever anyone asks me for computer-buying advice, my first response is always "get a Mac." I would love it if Apple's market share blew up. My Mac does everything I want a computer to do. My last machine was a Mac, my current machine (obviously) is a Mac, and unless something drastic changes, my next machine will be a Mac too.

      But.

      What I would never want to see would be Apple becoming Microsoft. I don't want Steve Jobs to own the desktop any more than I want Bill Gates to. And honestly, assuming that the "Unix desktop" ("Unix" here being broadly defined, of course) ever becomes more than a niche market -- which I hope and expect it will -- I wouldn't even want to see Apple have 90+% market share there. Obviously I want them to do well. I don't want them, or anyone else, to dominate.

      What I want is competition. I'd love to see Apple and Red Hat and SuSE and Mandrake and yes, even Microsoft, all slugging it out on something resembling a level playing field. I'd like to see the market work the way it's supposed to: the companies that do truly innovative things get rewarded, and their competitors respond with innovations of their own, and we -- the great unwashed desktop-using masses -- are the ones who win.

      Obviously we're a long way from that. Right now, OS X and Linux play complementary roles. Linux ensures the growth of Unix as a whole, and that there will be lots of great Unix software out there available for free or for very low cost -- and that software almost always ends up on OS X as well. (Fink is my friend.) OS X provides an example of what a Unix desktop can be, and introduces users who would be put off by the inherent geekery of Linux culture to the wonders of what a Unix system can do.
      • Re:Desktop (Score:2, Interesting)

        by unborn (415272)
        The problem with lack of domination of at least a standard underlying software architecture is that we may get this great software X for the Mac, this great software Y for Linux and this great software Z for Windows. Not a lot of people can afford to have three machines on their desk, at least for now.

        Competition is good only if there is some commonality, at least in the sense that a piece of software can run on multiple platforms. But this can't be technically viable for software companies if there are so
    • We need easier setup and a useable interface.

      This would also go into the area of standards. And you can only standardize Linux so much. Sure Linux, like religion, would like to expands it's "user" base, but there are some users and areas that just don't belong. We all know the saying to give utmost easy of use you have to give up security.

      Sometimes the older/cli methods of doing things_is_the best way.
    • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      but really the kernel is NOT what's holding up the success of linux on the desktop.

      Exactly. Which is why Linus doesn't talk about the problems or future in the desktop arena. The KDE developers, Gnome developers, and distributions are responsibile for getting the kernel into the desktop and presenting it to the users of the system, not Linus.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:41PM (#7372143)
      I think one of the big issues that is holding back Linux for desktop users is the fact the OS still does not completely support automatic configuration of hardware, especially hot-docked devices through the USB and IEEE-1394 ports. This is something that Windows has done pretty well, especially with Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Home/Professional.

      I'm hoping that Linux will incorporate the Open Source equivalent of the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) which has been used since Windows 98.
      • Wrong, wrong, wrong. When last have you installed a Linux distro? USB/Firewire hotplugging works better under Linux than under Windows for me. Try any modern distribution with a kernel later than 2.4.22 and you'll have support for ACPI. In fact, kernel 2.6.0-test8-mm1 on Gentoo supports all devices (including the Zoltrix Genie-Wonder-Pro that Windows XP doesn't support) on my system without a single glitch. USB 2.0 works fine. Firewire runs perfectly and my motherboard's sensors get reported via gkrellm2.
    • What I think Linux really needs to conquer the desktop in the long term is something besides X, and OSX may be instrumental in showing people that you can make a desktop by combining a Linux-like kernel with a not-X GUI. Obviously, I'd want whatever wins over X to be open source, however.

      I'm not talking about toolkit competion on top of X - that's somewhat a bad thing, because there's tons of repetition of effort, and the end result is inconsistency. That X allows this is its major shortcoming. I'm also

    • What also really holds back the desktop is an outdated X. See how many enhanchements are planned on kde-look, and how many times you see X mentioned as the bottleneck (you'll also notice some pleas to Keith. P to hurry up with his work :))
    • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Feztaa (633745)
      We need easier setup and a useable interface.

      Linux is already easier to install than Windows, the problem is that people haven't heard about Linux, and even when they do, they won't switch because they want their games.

      What linux really needs in order to make inroads on the desktop is to be preinstalled. And to have more games ship with Linux support right out of the box.
      • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Informative)

        by Haeleth (414428)
        Linux is already easier to install than Windows...

        Not so.

        Installing Windows XP is a matter of putting the CD in your drive and clicking "Next" a few times. The easiest-to-install Linux distros are slightly harder to install on a PC with Windows already present, because they require you to make _some_ sort of decision about what to do with Windows, and they don't migrate your Windows applications and settings for you like a new version of Windows does. For installing on a fresh PC, the two operating sys
        • Have you ever heard of Knoppix?
          1. put CD in the drive
          2. reboot the machine
          3. profit?!
          4. if you want it to go faster, install into the HD with ONE click.
    • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alienw (585907)
      I was surprised to find no comments at all concerning OSX, wrt the future of linux on the desktop. I mean, if anything in the last two years has obviated the need for linux on the desktop, this is it.

      You just don't get it, do you? As far as I'm concerned, OS X is not any better than MS Windows. It's a proprietary OS coming from a proprietary company. Sure, it's "UNIX-based" -- just like Windows 9x is DOS-based. Its only selling point, apart from aesthetic appeal, is ease of use and stability. But it
      • No this is the main point of linux IN YOUR OPINION. I work at CERN [www.cern.ch] the world's largest physics laboratory (and the home of the web blah blah blah), and an enormous number of people are moving to macs, from laptops running windows AND linux. And I'll be following them as soon as I can afford it (my last machine was a vaio running linux).

        Don't get me wrong, I'll keep my big box at home running KDE, and I'll keep playing with code, but for day-to-day computing I want an OS that is stable, has the powerful too

    • OS X 'has obviated the need for Linux on the desktop'? When did Apple release the entire thing under the L?GPL? Until it's free software, it's not a suitable replacement.
  • by mr_tommy (619972) <tgraham&gmail,com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:23PM (#7371695) Journal
    An interesting read, but as ever i never seem to get an understanding of how Linux is going to convert the other 99% to microsoft.

    Torvalds might be saviour to the linux community, but thats where it stops. Frankly, The OS either needs some drastic marketting plans or a couple of well placed PR people if it ever wants to make some headway. Bill Gates & Microsoft didn't get rich of the quality of their programming.
    • by bstadil (7110) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:48PM (#7371804) Homepage
      If you haven't read Clayton Christensen's theory about Disruptive technologies [uic.edu]you owe it to yoursleves to do so.

      In the case of Linux the improvement in the OS is at a much steeper trajectory than Windows.

      It is starting in smaller pockets (I am talking desktop) where the requirement for compatability is somewhat lower. Pockets where only a smaller subset of functionality is needed etc. But the thing is that once in, it will not be replaced by Windows. The Niche is gone for good.

      Second Linux is Circling Windows from all sides. From big iron servers to cell phones. This means that the interoperability issue will become less and less. One day you will wake up and realize that it is actually smarter to ditch Windows than try to keep it in sync with it's surroundings.

      • by cpeterso (19082) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:56PM (#7372299) Homepage

        Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma" is a great book. It is very similar to Richard Gabriel's "Worse Is Better" [dreamsongs.com]. This theory also explains why inferior products like DOS, Windows, C++, and Java succeeded. They sucked in many ways, but they were better in some small, important way.
      • Second Linux is Circling Windows from all sides. From big iron servers to cell phones. This means that the interoperability issue will become less and less. One day you will wake up and realize that it is actually smarter to ditch Windows than try to keep it in sync with it's surroundings.

        The big day is when you realise that you're no longer modifying Linux to work in the Windows environment, but you're instead modifying Windows to work in the Linux environment.

    • The main difference between Microsoft and Open Source is that Microsoft needs its customers to buy their products. That is in Open Source hardly the case. As long as open source can count on a reliable group of supporters, development will still go on. In that way, open source doesn't need marketing the way Microsoft does. Marketing can only help open source to gain popularity, but their is no real profit attached to it.
    • "The OS either needs some drastic marketting plans or a couple of well placed PR people if it ever wants to make some headway."

      Yeah, it wouldn't have got anywhere in the corporate server environment, if it wasn't for that.

      The LAST thing Linux needs is a bunch of people persuaded to use it because of exaggerated marketing claims, and a bunch of PR people talking crap to idiots.
    • Linus also refutes the old OSS business case from 1999 (give away your software to sell your custom hardware), so that's not really going to help out with corporate support and the device driver situation he was complaining about:

      The bad news is, small companies go out of business and can't make hardware. It's just not economically viable any more.

      I was also quite shocked to learn that Linus doesn't know what quantum computing is!

      -a
  • Forth? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Distinguished Hero (618385) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:24PM (#7371701) Homepage
    I thought no one used Forth [everything2.com] anymore. Now Linus tells us it is the future of Linux?

    Seriously though, is it just me, or is the title phrased in a peculiar manner?
    • FreeBSD uses Forth in the boot manager. We're the future, and Linus is following.

      p.s. Yes, I know the parent post was a joke. So is this one. Get over it.

      p.p.s. Don't you long for the days when you didn't have to put stupid disclaimers like the above in your Slashdot posts?
    • Sun's OpenBoot PROM uses FORTH. You can write programs for it if you're so inclined.
  • Linux on the desktop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:25PM (#7371706) Homepage
    He pretty much dodged that question. He made a vague reference to locking down pcs and how linux is much better at it ? Sorry but you can do that on windows as well.

    Folks have said this before but it bears repeat, oss shouldnt be trying to clone windows, it should be trying to innovate something new...but hey what do i know
    • by broeman (638571) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:02PM (#7372358) Journal
      I never got the feeling that the linux kernel is like the windows kernel32 ... I think he likes KDE because it is trying to move things (like windows is trying to), instead of GNOME, who wants to be perfect and clean (like Apple). Cloning windows/apple is only done because they in a hurry (if you call 5 years fast) wanted to create a usable desktop. Now that OSS is at the point of looking like Windows/Apple, the development can go even further and maybe in new innovative directions.
    • Sorry but you can do that on windows as well.

      Sure you can lock windows down, but its impossible to maintain. If you know ahead of time what application every person needs then yeah you can manage it maybe... But in Windows there is basically a switch can install, can't install. So say you lock down windows boxes, then users suddenly can't install fonts, or they can't install some little utility app that they need (because any install in windows needs admin rights). so then you spend your days running
  • Geekcruises (Score:5, Funny)

    by HBI (604924) <kparadine@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:25PM (#7371711) Homepage Journal
    Someone should tell desperate, single women about this.

    There might be an explosion as the matter of women and anti-matter of geeks annihilate each other. What a way to go out with a bang, though!

    Besides, Linus could use some groupies. It'll make Gates jealous at the very least.
    • Besides, Linus could use some groupies.

      Would not happen. By the time the first one was saying something to Linus, they would have their a** kicked. Nice to have your own loving guardien.
    • Re:Geekcruises (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sri Lumpa (147664)

      Tove Torvalds (Linus's wife) was a Finnish Karate champion so I don't think the Groupies would stand the challenge of going past her.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:26PM (#7371716)
    Is that where a huge luxury liner sails through beautiful waters and near exotic locations and not a single person is on deck because they'd a) be away from their computer and b) have to stand in the sun?
    • I think you've missed the point of Geekcruises going to remote places, and in particular to Alaska.

      It's not so much to give geeks nicer surroundings (beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway), but to make them inaccessible to the thousand and one annoying non-tech people and events that interrupt their daily lives with irrelevancies, and to bring like-minded tech people together.

      A simple definition of a geek (I'm one) is a person who enjoys technology above all else, and who prefers the company of like
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:28PM (#7371723)
    Hi all,

    Recently, I've been thinking a lot about where Linux development should
    head now that 2.6 is out. Specifically, I've been thinking about how we
    ought to make some cultural changes as well as technical changes. Now I'm
    not *entirely* sure what directions we should head in as we move towards
    3.0, but I'd like to point out a few areas that need to be addressed as well
    as propose some possible solutions. Nothing is set in stone yet, but these
    are definitely issues we need to work on.

    First off, I don't like a lot of the elitism that does on among Linux
    hackers. Just because you can tell what the following script does without
    executing it, doesn't mean that you're some kind of god.

    #! /usr/bin/perl
    @k = unpack "a"x5,'x_,d@';@o = unpack "a"x19,'Q8>tUxLm\@`Y%N@cIq]';
    while ($i19){print chr((ord($o[$i])-ord($k[$i++%5])+91)%91+32);}

    Learning to hack Un*x is an impressive accomplishment, but it's closer kin
    to solving a Rubik's cube than scaling Everest. If you think using Un*x
    makes you some kind of super genius who should be feared by mere mortals and
    end users, either get over it or start using *BSD. *BSD users (and
    developers) are all complete jackasses, so you'll fit right in.

    Secondly, I'd like to address the issue of cleanliness. Quite frankly, the
    standards of personal hygiene practiced by many members of this community
    are simply unacceptable. As you all know, I am a fairly clean cut,
    well-kempt person (I know, I have a bit of a gut, but compared to Maddog,
    Nick Petreley or ESR, I'm a modern Adonis.), and in the Linux community that
    is something of an anomaly. Virtually all users of Linux (and all other
    forms of Un*x) are unkempt, longhaired, beast-bearded dirty GNU hippies, and
    I am sick and tired of having to deal with them.

    The person I have the greatest problem with is that (in)famous communist
    RMS. Now, RMS may have been responsible for GNU, the GPL, GCC and many
    other contributions to the computing community, but his stance, as well as
    stench, displayed in his essays and actions, nauseates me. I mean, with
    that filth-ridden beard of his, where does he have room to demand that
    people refer to Linux as GNU / Linux? When he is as clean-shaven as I, he
    may claim that right, but until then, he should go back to playing his
    little flute and dropping acid like there's no tomorrow. Honestly, if he
    doesn't shut his mouth and go back to reading Marx, I'm going to shut it for
    him. I am sorry to sound so harsh, but a little hygiene every once in a
    while is a Good Thing(TM). Makes me wish I'd gone with a closed source
    license back in the day.

    Next in line of dirty scuzz-balls I have to deal with, and probably the
    worst thorn in my side, is Alan Cox, the primary coder of my kernel's TCP/IP
    stack (ha, what a joke!) and all around dirty GNU hippy. Alan views
    toothpaste the same way a vampire views garlic. The man's wife (who I spent
    a few years with at the University of Helsinki) often calls me crying in the
    middle of the night to complain of the rank, unbearable stench the man
    exudes after sex. On several occasions at trade shows, exhibitions and beer
    bashes, I have nearly fainted from the torrent of rotten odor that pours
    from every inch of his toxic person. Along with the typical GNU hygiene
    (mis)habits he practices, he also bitches and whines about... well,
    everything. He lies a lot too; evidence for this can be seen in the fact he
    almost always wears cheap black sunglasses when talking to people he knows
    are better than him (such as myself).

    And then we come to ESR. I won't reiterate the sewer-dweller like cleansing
    habits he practices as well, but I would like to focus on his general
    lifestyle. I like to refer to ESR as AGB or "Arrogant Gas Baron." The man'
    s flatulence is legendary. I honestly believe that given a meal of refried
  • having a bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argoff (142580) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:29PM (#7371733)
    Apparently people think it's allright when you have a bias for superior technology, or for example, a bias that the earth is round rather than flat. But when it comes to a bias in favor of free (as in freedom, not beer) then all of a sudden it becomes so taboo - not even Linus wants to have that bias. I think that is such a shame, hasn't history shown that it's a worthy and rational bias by now?

    Just my opinion.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:18PM (#7371906)
      We've still got RMS :)
    • For thousands of years there were many many people who believed that you shouldn't have to pay for things that you want. The fact that such people continue to exist, must necessarily constitute a historical proof that such beliefs are indeed worthy and rational. (Note that free as in "speech" is usually accompanied by free as in "beer", blurring the distinction by the simple observation that neither product makes any money for its developer. Look at RedHat, for example, which makes no money at all from its
      • For thousands of years there were many many people who believed that the Earth was round. The fact that such people continue to exist, must necessarily constitute a historical proof that such beliefs are indeed worthy and rational.
    • Re:having a bias (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Telex4 (265980)
      I couldn't agree more with you. There's a strange intellectual cowardlyness amongst a lot of geeks on this, which I think in part comes from their reluctance to step outside technical discussions. Making a confident statement on Free vs proprietary software requires a degree of philosophical and political confidence and knowldge that I think many don't feel they have.

      You get to the point where everybody is saying that all opinions are valid, and nobody needs to have one, which is really daft. In fact, each
      • Re:having a bias (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dipipanone (570849)
        I couldn't agree more with you. There's a strange intellectual cowardlyness amongst a lot of geeks on this, which I think in part comes from their reluctance to step outside technical discussions.

        I'm not sure that's true. Look at the number of comments on the Symantec/Gun Control thread compared with the comments on this one.

        Of course, I'm not sure what that means either. Perhaps that you have more wannabee geeks than real geeks reading Slashdot?
        • That's true. I'd then have to change my statement to say that a lot of geeks are reluctant to go beyond technical points in discussions about technology and other geek things where there are some very vocal geeks.

          Linus seems to have this attitude that so long as there are other geeks out there lobbying on his behalf, then he can quite happily hack away oblivious to the outside world. Many admire him for that; I think it's childish.
    • ...when it comes to a bias in favor of free (as in freedom, not beer) then all of a sudden it becomes so taboo - not even Linus wants to have that bias. I think that is such a shame, hasn't history shown that it's a worthy and rational bias by now?

      I take the stance that you have to look at base motivations. For some things, propriatory wins out...others, open and free. People make propriatory software for a reason, while open software is usually made with a different set of goals.

      That said, it is not

  • by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:31PM (#7371743) Homepage
    I would be happy to say anything bad about software patents if I could just ... formulate a sentence that makes sense.
    Linus Torvalds

    There you go. Don't tell anyone you got it from me ;-)
  • by spacefem (443435) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:38PM (#7371767) Homepage
    "psychology is so important. It made a huge difference to call it [the newest Linux kernel] 2.60 Test 1. Because we started getting a lot of bug reports from people who would never touch 2.5.79 with a ten-foot pole. Even though it was the same code. Especially on the desktop that's the only way to test it. Because desktops are just so varied that you literally have to get it tested by the user base."

    I suddenly understand why 2.6 has been in the works all this time, it's brilliant. I'd think analysis like this would lend developers into more and more X.X changes instead of X.X.X.XX.X... going that deep into releases just isn't practical, especially when you're needing people to help out.

    I went into science a long time ago thinking it'd be so great because it wouldn't involve people's silly perceptions and personal idiosynchrocies but I've come to find the opposite, and I've come to find that it's not always bad to have technical people be "human" after all. If that makes any sense.

    In other news, I still don't know how to correctly pronounce Linux.
    • There's that, but there's also an implied statement of intent. With a 2.5.XX kernel, they're saying "this is a work in progress" while with a 2.6-test version number, the message is, "this is now supposed to work correctly."

      At that point, you know it wasn't just a bunch of patches thrown together to see if they work.

  • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @02:43PM (#7371784) Homepage
    Sub Captain: "Captain to ops."
    Ops: "Ops here."
    Captain: "I need a solution. Target bearing 323. Speed 16 knots. Distance: 5600 meters"
    Ops: "Aye Aye. Solution ready."
    Captain: "Tropedo room."
    TR: "Aye."
    Captain: "Ready and load tubes 1,3,5."
    TR: "Aye. Tubes loaded and ready."
    Captain: "Fire 1,3,5. Call run times!"
    Fire Control: "Fish away."
    Sonar: "Explosions, sir!"
    Captain: "Excellent."
    Sonar: "Sir, something disturbing."
    Captain: "What?"
    Sonar: "Strange screams of anguish."
    Captain: "Huh? Don't let your emotions rule you son."
    Sonar: "No sir. Just things like: 'I can't swim.' 'Where's my inhaler?' 'What? No backups?' 'Save the Anime DVDs!' 'There ain't no women and children here, save Linus first!' 'Leave RMS behind. He's old and bitter. Tis a better fate.' 'You have been, and always will be, my friend.'
    Captain: 'Surface!'
    Number One: 'Will we take on survivors?'
    Captain: 'Prepare the .50 cal on deck....'
  • Is there any project which has as its goal providing tha coherent network-distributed (or fibre-channel distributed) filesystem that Linus intelligently realizes is a critical need?
    • by ComputerSlicer23 (516509) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:03PM (#7372369)
      Intermezzo and GFS/OpenGFS are two I know of.

      Intermezzo sounds like it wants to be the end all be all of every feature you could ever want in a filesystem. Hence I think it won't work.

      GFS is by Sistina (the people behind LVM and Device Mapper in Linux, but not ELVM) and uses SCSI3 locks as it's locking mechanism (the locking mechanism defined at the bottom of the SCSI layer, in version 3 of the standard).

      Sistina did it GPL'ed thru the beta, and then took it propriatary after the beta. Thus OpenGFS was spawned. I haven't seen much out of that. Never used it really.

      Kirby

  • by devphaeton (695736) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:05PM (#7371859)
    Linus: I don't care. I used to be a lot more worried about it. A long time ago I used to be worried about companies having their own (garbled) about doing this stuff.

    Are we sure that Linus wasn't saying gollum?

    Whoops!

    I mean... er... uhh... Cursed Yellow Face!! It burnses us! We hateses it! Yessss preciouss... We hateses it!!

    I mean.. how often do coders actually go outside? Huh?
  • Space Image (Score:3, Informative)

    by InsaneCreator (209742) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @03:13PM (#7371887)
    One of the questions in the interview is:
    Q: (Something about somebody rendering an image in space using Linux on an IBM laptop.)?

    I believe this is the image: Reach for the stars [oyonale.com]
  • I've since lost the link, but a friend of mine (At CU in Boulder, CO) is putting together the main software package used on a small satellite. If I remember correctly, he's using at least some linux stuff on it... Something like that anyway. If indeed it is running Linux, once it lanuches it should set some sort of record for the highest use of Linux.
    • If indeed it is running Linux, once it lanuches it should set some sort of record for the highest use of Linux.

      Merely being in Orbit won't be enough for the record, Debian has already flown on the Shuttle [debian.org] back in 1997. In fact, it's done so twice [debian.org].
  • Openoffice and QT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vivek7006 (585218) on Sunday November 02, 2003 @04:18PM (#7372491) Homepage
    I think the biggest single thing that has happened on the (garbled) have been a lot of good library frameworks. Qt in particular I think made a huge difference.

    OpenOffice is still, in my opinion, a complete disaster. And part of the reason is that it's not using any of these frameworks that were signed for different applications. It built its own framework. I am told people are trying to fix it.


    Qt guys should focus on porting openoffice using the QT framework. Openoffice is great, but a QT port would be totally awesome. Even linus thiks so
  • I find Linus' comment about visual basic very interesting. We're dealing with the issue of how to make it easy for people to put together the same kind of bespoke application with tools like kjsembed. This lets you write applications using Javascript - you have access to things like KDE's DB support, XMLGUI facilities and UIs created with Qt Designer. Maybe after a couple more release cycles that could become a 'killer app' for linux.
  • Woah, can you imagine how the OpenOffice developers must feel after reading that?


    If I was working on some huge Linux project and Linus said it was a disaster, I'd feel pretty bad. I probably wouldn't stop building it or anything, but it'd be a downer.

    • Woah, can you imagine how the OpenOffice developers must feel after reading that?

      If I was working on some huge Linux project and Linus said it was a disaster, I'd feel pretty bad.


      Open Office may be a "disaster" from the elegence and interoperative perspective, just as Netscape was a "disaster."

      And just like netscape (for all of those years before Mozilla and Konqueror were mature enough to be usable as serious browsers), Open Office is critical to GNU/Linux's usability on the desktop today.

      Without Nets
  • "DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS!"

    "....YES!"

    (obligatory extra text to evade the lameness filter. Yes, there are lots of caps there. I was quoting Ballmer. Stupid filter...)
  • It should read #ifdefs surely?
  • with a particular eye towards developers

    Steve Ballmer thinks so too [windowscrash.com]

    ;)
  • [An audience member added: "HP has started QA with Linux on the laptop, shipping BIOS updates... Not in the old market, but in the commercial market. There needs to be pressure in the commercial market. Customers are stepping up and saying, "We're going to buy ten thousand Linux machines..." So the pressure is starting to be put on the larger vendors.]

    I would warn severly against the thought that HP is actually supporting Linux in some way. This is the same company that made a full committment to JUST WI

  • Since most people seem distracted by "why didn't he mention Mac OS X", I'd just like to be the first one to say that the transcript of this interview really sucks.

    Linus has some interesting things to say but the number of typos and half-completed sentences make it hard to know how much more he actually said.

    Is there another transcription somewhere?

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