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Update on Alan Cox's Sabbatical 191

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the checking-back-in dept.
seymansey writes "ITWales, a company which resides on the Swansea University Campus has posted an interview with Alan Cox regarding his progress of his MBA. It also mentions his opinions on some legal matters that he shows interest in, as well as his plans for the future, and of course for Linux itself."
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Update on Alan Cox's Sabbatical

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  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:37AM (#7772910) Homepage Journal
    The brains of the company should be in the cube farm, not the board room.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:48AM (#7772938)
      Surely the brains of the company should be everywhere? Techheads that understand marketing/sales/strategy are important, as are executives that appreciate engineering - otherwise you get a silo mentality in your company where marketing overcommits and blames the programmers, and where the engineers just want to play and find the customer a distraction.
      • by 4of12 (97621)

        executives that appreciate engineering

        I know all worker bee geeks constantly complain about the lack of management that has a clue about technology, so I'm generally in favor of more technical knowledge making its way into management ranks.

        But.

        Alan Cox has been such a phenomenally fantastic technical geek in the trenches that his loss will be felt if he does something else for a living.

        In the larger scheme of things, he'd have to be an exceptionally damn good manager to make up for his loss as direct

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The brains of the company are in the cube farm, not the board room.

      The brains of the company should be in the cube farm and the board room.
    • by rcarovano (529861) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:53AM (#7772958)
      Based upon my experience, I would disagree. As someone with both EE and MBA degrees, my observation is that you need brains in all areas within a company. By brains, I mean more than know-how, but also the willingness and capability to do the right things right. An organization necessarily exists because one person can't do it all, thus brains are required in all functions. Just my humble opinion--would like to entertain other's thoughts and experience as well.
      • As someone with both an MSc and MBA I would also agree. A warm body with a brain is a very precious commodity!!!!
      • Damn, I am impressed. An MBA who actually used the works "my humble opinion" and did not seem to be joking at the same time. Now before anybody thinks I am just going after some quick karma by insulting MBAs, I actually have a point to make here.

        A lot of the MBA types I know really have a problem with listening to other people's ideas. Sometimes I think it has been trained out of them and replaced by the "I have an MBA so I'm always right" mentality to make them better prepared to deal with other hyper-a
    • by mentatchris (585868) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:43AM (#7773124) Homepage Journal
      This just has to be wrong. I've seen many a project bloat because my fellow coders have no sense of economics and think something will be fun to work on. I think it is good that everyone has the idea that the reason we get paychecks and can support our wives and kids is because as a whole the company adds value by selling things for more than they cost us. This entrepreneurial spirit might be something that helps differentiate small companies from big ones. I saw in software developer magazine that the MBA is growing as a choice of graduate degree for developers. I think this is a good thing... in a lot of ways, the software industry is inefficient. Having a bit more of an idea about the goals and costs and strategies that other industries have used is a good thing for all of us.
      • by sapped (208174) <mstore1NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:42PM (#7774012)
        I saw in software developer magazine that the MBA is growing as a choice of graduate degree for developers.

        Unfortunately the only problem with this so far appears to be the current crop. I have thus far met 9 developers who went and got themselves MBA's. Unfortunately every single one of them was not only pretty pathetic at coding, they were even more useless around a boardroom table.

        This has led to a quite widely held perception in our corporation that developers who try to "break" into management are the useless types who should be shunned at all costs.

        This is very sad, as I have conversely seen a lot of developers who are natural leaders (note - not managers) who were perfectly capable of running projects but were never given the opportunity because they didn't have the "credentials".
        • Unfortunately the only problem with this so far appears to be the current crop. I have thus far met 9 developers who went and got themselves MBA's.

          Realistically speaking, an MBA from any but the top 25 b-schools in the US or the top 100 in the world overall isn't worth the paper it's printed on. It's just like computer science: a CS degree from CMU is worth a lot more than one from DeVry!
  • who now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Syncroswitch (656450) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nestirual.kcaj)> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:38AM (#7772915)
    Time for a new slashdot poll..

    Who would you like to see (temporarily) fill cox's position.
    • I guess we can count CowboyNeal out of this one. He'd never fit!
    • What I think is quite good is that he takes care of other issues such as software patents. Economists are opposed to it, but politicians believe in the lawyers who sell their broken innovation tool. The patent system of today reminds me of Mao: He ordered to make steel in each village, of course steel may be important for industrialisation, but an non-efficient patent system does not make sense, esp. when extended to areas where patents are not common usage.
  • by s20451 (410424) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:41AM (#7772921) Journal
    Look at the picture and ask yourself: Can you see this man as a CEO? Would you even buy a used car from this man?

    Yes, yes, I know, the man is brilliant. But what I don't understand is: if geeks are so smart, why can't they realize that appearance counts in the business world?
    • Well, he is in college right now. So it's okay for him to look like he just stepped off the set of Easy Rider...
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:53AM (#7772956)
      But what I don't understand is: if geeks are so smart, why can't they realize that appearance counts in the business world?

      You don't understand : if you take a smelly unkept geek, strategically shave him and place him into a suit, you won't end up someone with a good appearance, you'll just end up with a clean geek in a suit.

      Geekiness is not about looks, it's an attitude. I personally know a lot of clean 3-piece suited geeks, as well as female geeks, one of which is a stay-at-home mom who previously had a brilliant career in the perfume industry, and I guarantee you if you don't know them and you put them behind an IRC client, you'll imagine them as Alan Coxes or Richard Stallmans.

      There's a je-ne-sais-quoi that makes a geek a geek regardless of his/her outside appearances.
      • >> "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" - Ogden Nash"
        corollary: "at the dogside might be Summer" adapted from Heinlein
      • by spamhog (705867) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:42AM (#7773115) Homepage
        >> There's a je-ne-sais-quoi that makes
        >> a geek a geek regardless of his/her
        >> outside appearances.

        The likelyhood of a besuited geek showing his geekiness to a hardcore suit on IRC is a big fat 0.

        I am a part-time suit, and we're explicitly taught to act somewhat superficial and semi-moronic because in most settings this IS the most effective long-term way to extract the best out of fellow humans.

        In a way, a suit is complementary to a semi-Asperger type, with a focus switched away from the mechanics of things, and into the mechanics of humans. Not surprising that most suits come across as semi-moronic. They are, just not in the same way as geeks.

        If you want to "fool" a suit, or at least not to antagonize hir, it's actually quite easy to pretend you're one, and also eventually to become one. Gates did it very effectively for almost 20 years, even if some claim he's a mild Asperger.

        The opposite (suit->geek) is nary impossible, as it involves a lot more cerebral hardwiring that has to be developed over the years, preferably from a tender age.

        I thoroughly applaud Alan's choice to get an MBA. An MBA'ed second-in-command in the Linux camp can't but help.

        Think of this: Who will dare accuse a masterized AC of being a communist, anti-business, anti-western, anti-American, anti-copyright, or a child eater for that matter?

        Adopting a radical hair control policy might be a good idea. Steve Jobs did that when it became necessary to attract capital from Republican-leaning sources. But he wasn't that famous at the time.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Think of this: Who will dare accuse a masterized AC of being a communist, anti-business, anti-western, anti-American, anti-copyright, or a child eater for that matter?

          I can't believe how superficial you are.

          First of all there are many well educated, pro-business, American communists. Getting an MBA doesn't change a thing, unless of course the MBA makes you change your political viewpoint and ideas. And ideas is the keyword here.

          I was taught not to judge a person by the color of their skin or thei
      • Geekiness is not about looks, it's an attiitude. If you take a smelly unkept geek, shave him and place him into a suit, you won't end up someone with a good appearance, you'll just end up with a clean geek in a suit.

        I always wondered if the reverse is true, i.e., if you put a non-geek, alpha-leader type in stained geek clothes with unkempt hair, will their "jockness" still shine through?

        Will people disregrad such a person as a geek or will they soon come to respect such a person because of the attiti

    • Indeed -- I'm reminded of the saturday night live skit interview with the unabomber police sketch artist.

      Interviewer: "It seems that you always draw the sketches of suspects wearing aviator sunglasses?"

      Artist: "Yeah, uhm, I've never been very good with eyes".

      Interviewer: "...and the hat?"

      Artist: "Uhm, yeah... not too good with hair either."
    • by psxndc (105904) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:58AM (#7772976) Journal
      The reason for me is because I believe looks shouldn't matter. They always will, and that is unfortunate, but it will never shake the tenant from my mind that "if they can do the job, it doesn't matter what they look like." But that's a geek's perspective. Taller people will always make more money and attractive people will always get raises first because often geeks aren't making those decisions. It sucks, but that's the way it is. We can only try to improve the situation by not acquiescing and being who we are. We don't have to be obnoxious about it, but hope springs eternal that someday people will accept someone for who they are and what they can accomplish instead of the product they use in their hair or the name on the inside of their blazer. *shrug*

      psxndc

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:25AM (#7773063)
        Taller people will always make more money

        That's not always just an arbitrary decision. Taller (men) are promoted to leadership roles because it's usually in the best interests of the group.

        Tall men are usually more (overly) confident in their abilities and less likely to have a *chip* on their shoulders or the ambition to *prove* themselves to make up for a feeling of inadequacy that short men might have developed.

        They're usually lazier and more likely to delegate tasks and, in turn, others (short women) are more likely to want to provide for them. It turns out that that's exactly the behaviour you'd want from a leader.

        Short men, otoh, usually take a more hands-on, dictatorial leadership style. That never works.

        Take famous tyrants, like Napoleon, Stalin, Bush II, and Kim-Jong Il. They're all midgets. You'd never know it, though, because every one of them went to absurd lengths to make themselves appear taller. Kim-Jong Il wears platform shoes and has that bouffant hairdo. Do you ever recall seeing any pictures or footage of Stalin *standing* up next to anyone? In most of the WWII meetings, he was sitting next to FDR and Churchill, but his feet weren't touching the ground. In other footage, he was always looking down on a crowd, standing behind a railing that concealed his lower body. Remember the footage of Bush shaking Aahnold's hand? I bet it didn't look odd if you didn't notice that Bush was standing on a platform and Arnold wasn't.

        • Nice attempt to classify George Bush Jr. along with some of history's most despotic tyrants. However you failed to even check into his height with is 5'11", average height for a male and since he runs he's also in good shape. Aahnold is 6'2" so it would seem that he does tower a bit over the President though I doubt any platform the President may or may not have been on would have been that tall (no more than 3" is my math is correct). Whatever you may think of Bush's politics, he is not in the same clas
      • My retort (Score:5, Interesting)

        by glpierce (731733) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:50AM (#7773154) Homepage
        Sorry, but I've never respected that attitude. It's idealistic, wasteful, and is more often rationalization than action.

        Firstly, what should and shouldn't be is irrelevant in the real world. Idealistic attitudes will get you nowhere but the gutter, and if you don't like it, tough. This is a society - "social" being the same root. Your ideal situation doesn't matter, the actual happenings in the social (interpersonal) world do. I don't think looks should matter either (to an extent), but I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot and declare "if it's not the way I think it should be, I'll boycott it" with respect to society (buying CDs and software is a mainly a personal matter, so it's a different story). You're free to hold your belief, you're free to hold yourself back by clinging onto it, and we're free to not care. Sorry, but your theory will have only one immediate outcome: you will make less money, get worse jobs, and all the trickle down effects of monetary issues will follow. Cheers.

        Societal change is a bigger issue than one man/woman looking like a slob; if you want it not to matter, try having intelligent discussions about it with people, and if you're put in the position to hire/fire, do your best.

        Secondly, looks have to matter, but to a different extent than current. An unkempt person is a clear sign of an unkempt lifestyle; if you don't take the time to do your laundry, why would I think you'd take the time to do your job well? Throwing on whatever clothes are available suggests you'll do the minimal amount of work necessary for any task - not exactly the person I'd want working for me. Being tall you can't control - that shouldn't matter. If you are willing to invest the energy and time to stay/get in good shape to improve your health (and appearance), it suggests that you're also likely to go beyond the call of duty to present a nice finished product at your job. Your appearance is the simplest reflection of your mind; it's the easiest thing to see when meeting someone, and can tell a lot (though for the most part only negatives). Most people can dress nicely, but very few are willing to look like a slob. Take your pick, but don't blame society when you really just need a haircut.

        In my experience (including my own history), the whole 'society shouldn't care so I'll just do my own thing' stance is usually just rationalization. It's an easy way to make your own laziness or hatred of fashion into a righteous crusade. That may not be the case for you, but it is for many (most commonly seen in the goth/punk communities today). It's no surprise that there are far fewer punks/goths/etc over the age of 25 than under. People mature, and when they do, they realize that they're only hurting themselves by shunning societal norms.

        (I'm not pointing the finger at you, psxndc, so don't take it personally.)
        • My counter retort (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sjames (1099) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:44PM (#7773385) Homepage

          If you don't take the time to do your laundry, why would I think you'd take the time to do your job well?

          If you have a bunch of free time to do laundry, you must not stay late or go to work early.

          Throwing on whatever clothes are available suggests you'll do the minimal amount of work necessary for any task - not exactly the person I'd want working for me.

          Spending all that time and money on cloths means you'll be more worried about damaging your clothes than in getting the job done. If I wanted a model, I'd have advertised for one.

          That said, there is some room to compromize. Showing up for a meeting sporting long hair pulled back and braided (on a man) can be a show of confidence and authority. Grooming shows that there is care, non-comformity shows that the person is certain that their contribution will speak for itself (better be able to back that up, or it won't work). At other times, merely decent-ish grooming can be OK. It can project that there is a lot of work being done and no time for niceties.

          The real key is knowing the difference.

          Personally, I never wear a suit. The only image I project in a suit is that I'm not comfortable. In business casual, I tend to project a much more credible image.

          For day to day work, I tend to be more casual. The impressions have been made and now I'm there to WORK, since I'm not an actor, I don't need a costume.

          AC or RMS's appearance is likely appropriate to what they are doing. RMS is not running a company and meeting with investors, he is encouraging programmers and sysadmins to support free software. AC was leading a kernel dev team, and is now going to school. Presumably, should he decide to use his MBA later, his appearance will change to suit the occasion.

          I suppose I'm not exactly agreeing or disagreeing with you, just putting things in context.

          • Of course I agree - there is a big difference between looking presentable and looking like a model. I'm only suggesting that one should always look respectable, not that they should spend a thousand dollars on a suit. A minimal fashion sense only requires being conscious of what people around you are wearing, and little else. As for the time issue - making yourself look decent doesn't take very much time at all; if you have time to read Slashdot, you have time to shave.
            • if you have time to read Slashdot, you have time to shave.

              Very true. On days I go in to the office, I typically shave. On the days I don't, I don't have time for /. either.

              I suppose part of the problem is the all or nothing fallacy.

            • And who exactly defines presentable? I take it your company has rules such as "for males, hair must be longer than 0.25" and shorter than 2.5". No jeans are allowed. Women cannot wear green skirts". Ok, I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. I'm not a salesman. I rarely meet with customers, but if I do I "dress up". Same with upper management (president or CEO). I will not "dress up" for vendors. The point of business is to get a project finished so you can sell it, not to impress your "enterprise
              • "I'm guessing that you are a manager who is annoyed that one of your employees showed up in jeans on a Tuesday or something."

                Hah, yeah, lots of managers here finishing up at University. I'm headed off to grad school to pursue a career in academia (scientific research). You can point fingers and make baseles accusations all day long, but it won't help your case at all.

                The "techie" culture has embraced the "look like shit" attitude, but it to anyone outside, it's a joke. Do you know any people working 2+ m
                • "Do you know any people working 2+ minimum wage jobs to put food on the table?" Um, yes, I do. You just don't know how the world works yet. It isn't friendly, it isn't nice, and people fall through the cracks. Deal with it.
                • No personal attack or flame intended... just pointing out that the ability to become fixated on something isn't always bad. Not if all you're worried about is the finished product, anyway. Yes, there is more to life than that, as I would currently agree to. But it is not because geeks are lazy. So you're not management, and I hope to god you never will be.
              • I will not dress up for vendors
                I work for a vendor, and I always wear a suit onsite - I have no expectations of what you will wear, but you have certain expectations if you're paying 1000/day for me. Wearing a suit doesn't cost me much, and I'm happy to do it.
                Once we meet, and start discussing things with the suits, you'll soon be able to tell the "suits" from the "geeks in suits" so it suits me fine to wear a suit, and you'll soon know the difference.

                OTOH, in the office, I won't shave, will wear a sh

                • When dealing with customers, I agree... you have to dress the part. That depends on the customers and the gig, though... the IBM consultants trying to get a contract where I work stopped wearing suits six months ago. Now they show up business casual... I guess they figured out that they stood out like sore thumbs spraypainted day-glo orange :)
          • Personally, I never wear a suit. The only image I project in a suit is that I'm not comfortable. In business casual, I tend to project a much more credible image.
            For day to day work, I tend to be more casual. The impressions have been made and now I'm there to WORK, since I'm not an actor, I don't need a costume.


            In my earlier days, I lead several peasant rebellions to drop business casual dress codes at some large shops - which were successful, I might add. My option was similar: I'm more productive when
            • The business side is where the money is at, however. Yes, the high powered technologist made a buck or two, but I think we can all recount the hoards of over paid project managers who could not double click a mouse if their life depended on it.

              It is also possible to BECOME an over paid project manager by demonstrating a solid understanding of project management. It's just one step up from lead programmer. It's more a matter of learning appropriate vocabulary and offering a firm handshake than wearing th

        • Firstly, what should and shouldn't be is irrelevant in the real world. Idealistic attitudes will get you nowhere but the gutter, and if you don't like it, tough. This is a society - "social" being the same root. Your ideal situation doesn't matter, the actual happenings in the social (interpersonal) world do. I don't think looks should matter either (to an extent), but I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot and declare "if it's not the way I think it should be, I'll boycott it" with respect to society (

        • I'll just do my own thing' stance is usually just rationalization. It's an easy way to make your own laziness or hatred of fashion into a righteous crusade. That may not be the case for you, but it is for many (most commonly seen in the goth/punk communities today). It's no surprise that there are far fewer punks/goths/etc over the age of 25 than under.

          This is a common issue, I wrote about it in a journal entry [slashdot.org] a while back. Basically, people who claim not to care about appearances actually care very much
          • It has nothing to with "I do my own thing", usually (if you're talking about geeks). It's more like "I was really busy and hand this great idea and rushed out the door without trimming my beard". When I had a long beard, I only trimmed when it got in the way of drinking coffee :)
        • > Firstly, what should and shouldn't be is irrelevant in the real world. Idealistic attitudes will get you nowhere but the gutter, and if you don't like it, tough.

          Oh please.

          By your logic, we shouldn't have laws then. "People shouldn't murder one another. Whoops, that's not relevant in the Real World (TM)".

          "I'd rather be idealistic, so people are inspired at what might be,
          Then be realisic and not have any hope because of what is"
          - Poho

          The problem is balance. Unbounded idealism is not practical.
        • Ok, I'm speaking for MYSELF, and only myself, but you are missing the point. I can focus on several things at once, sure, but if I'm really hard at work on a project I might not think about "it's Sunday afternoon, better do some laundry". Hey, there's always at least one clean shirt somewhere in the house, so it's no big deal. The point is that in my case (possibly stereotypical, I don't know) I am very task orientied, and tend to work on things I'm really interested in. I don't want to stop and cook, s
    • The voice of my parents back 35 years. Sa(i)d enough.

      CC.
    • Guess which one is Alan Cox on this picture [itwales.com].
    • why can't they realize that appearance counts in the business world?

      They sometime do, but when at work their main concern is not the look of who's selling/presenting/pushing the product, their concern is the quality and price/performance ratio. The color of your tie has absolutely no relevance except as an aid for lack of self esteem or a distraction from the flaws of the product ; that is not to say you can't wear a tie or a nice suit, but at the end they're totally irrilevant cause many geeks try very h
    • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:40PM (#7773692) Homepage Journal
      ALAN COX (AC) IS A WELSHMAN
      by Darl McBride

      AC is a Welshman,
      He's an IP thief;
      AC copied UNIX,
      And stole our SMP.

      I went to AC's house,
      AC wasn't home;
      AC copied UNIX,
      And made a NUMA clone.

      I went to AC's house,
      AC was in bed;
      I grep'ed through his source code,
      And beat about his head.

      AC is a Welshman,
      Linux is a sham;
      AC copied UNIX,
      And stole our grep and man.
      I went to AC's house,
      AC was away;
      I stuffed CVS with trojans,
      And filled his logs with clay.

      AC is a Welshman,
      AC was a cheat;
      AC copied UNIX,
      And stole our SMP.

      I went to AC's house,
      AC did prepare;
      I grab his cat and traceroute
      He kicked me you-know-where.

      *Derived without authorization from Mother Goose's "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a Thief" Nursery Rhyme

    • Well, what would have happend if someone told Bill Gates that when he started Microsoft ?

    • My, that's a *very* old picture!
      I understand where you're coming from, yet firmly believe dressing well consumes resources, aswell as being a very subjective thing. Is it not better for the technically competant to marshall their focus on the job in hand? Yes, we are judged on how we present ourselves, yet first impressions are just that, if your skills don't pass muster all the grooming in the world won't keep your ass in that cubicle once you've landed the job.

    • Well, would you rather trust him [itwales.com], or him [crn.com]?

      While it's true that looks do count for something, reputation can count for even more.

      • While it's true that looks do count for something, reputation can count for even more.

        If I were a judge and they both came into my court I think I'd rule in Darl's favor without even bothering to hear Alan's side of the story. Looks are EVERYTHING in modern society and mean far more than reputation.

        • If I were a judge and they both came into my court I think I'd rule in Darl's favor without even bothering to hear Alan's side of the story.

          Ha ha - not funny. I think what you're missing is that judges are trained to look at facts and law, will generally frown upon lawyers making frivolous claims in court, and often have built up a somewhat geek-like familiarity with (particular areas of) law.

          In other words, judges tend to be far more sensible than what you imply is the typical person in modern societ

    • Look at a picture of Bill Gates. Then ask yourself the same question.

    • If my job nitpicked about how I looked, I'd find another one. Ok, I'll admit: until last night I had long hair and a LONG beard. Then I tried to give myself a haircut and beard trim with clippers that I put together from two semi-working units on the bathroom floor. I thought the results were OK, but it is kind of hard to see the back of your head in the mirror. The girlfriend offered to "even it up for me", so I let her. Now I have a shaved head. Her reasoning? "You gave yourself a bald spot." I ca
    • Those Enron executives where dashing fashion examples. And Darl's (yes, that Darl, you know you have achieved stardom when you are talked about by your first name) casual look shows how important is to pay attention to looks, not capacity.
  • OOH OOH ooh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:52AM (#7772955)
    In other news, this morning Linus woke up at 6:30, showered and shaved, and had a bowl of grape nuts cereal for breakfast, after which he had his morning coffee and drove off to work.
    • "In other news, this morning Linus woke up at 6:30, showered and shaved, and had a bowl of grape nuts cereal for breakfast, after which he had his morning coffee and drove off to work."

      That's definitely a good way of saying, "why the hell should we care about where this dude is at on his quest for an MBA?! I'm about as interested in that as the length of Linus's nosehair

  • by cluge (114877) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:58AM (#7772974) Homepage
    Alan Cox did a lot of work on the "Alpha Linux" stuff for redhat. He always seemed to have the answers when those of us that used Alpha based machines ran into problems. His "online diary" can be found at http://www.linux.org.uk/diary/ [linux.org.uk] and when he was deeply involved in the kernel, I used to read it constantly because the stuff he was working on was the stuff that interested me. This interview just confirms one thing for me. I owe him a great big Thank You, his help to Linux over the years has been invaluable. Should I ever meet Alan, he's going to get a beer on me.

    AngryPeopleRule [angrypeoplerule.com]

    • is that diary in welsh
    • What's an alpha based machine?
      • The DEC Alpha processor unfortunately has not seen much (any?) development in the last five years...

        A 'kick-ass' 64 bit processor, long before its time, from a company called Digital that found itself in a litigation about patents with Intel, that ended with a settlement that sort of made both parties happy. But in the mean time, (IIRC), Compaq had bought the part of Digital that made the processor and, basically, did not do much with it. The Alpha would need a significantly lower clock speed than AMD/Inte
        • The DEC Alpha processor unfortunately has not seen much (any?) development in the last five years...

          The last major overhaul was indeed 5 years ago, the EV6 / 21264. Development has carried on, but, TTBOMK, mostly for process shrinks/speed bumps. Note that the next, and final, iteration of alpha is due out next year sometime - the EV79.

          Digital that found itself in a litigation about patents with Intel, that ended with a settlement that sort of made both parties happy.

          NB: it's "digital", not "Digital"
    • I sent him Scooby Doo videos. :)
      -l
  • "A kernel hacker in the employ of Red Hat and widely accepted as second only to Linus Torvalds himself in the echelons of open source illuminati"

    First off, he's not a kernel hacker. He's a kernel developer. I'd like to think the changes he makes are well thought out [to the extent possible].

    Second, Linux Torvalds is by far not the largest OSS contributor in the world. First off, there are 100s of Kernel developers. Second, what of all the userland and development tools required to build the fucking ke
    • by Effugas (2378) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:17AM (#7773043) Homepage
      Tom--

      Alan's pulled off some gnarly stunts with the 2.2ac series; some definite hackworhty brilliance. Remember, hacker isn't a prejorative, any more than soldier is. I do understand the distinction you're trying to make, but it's pretty likely that Alan would call himself a kernel hacker.

      I should point out they weren't talking about lines of code as much as public respect. Who's the lead coders of Samba? I know Tridge and Jeremy, but most don't. How bout Apache? KDE? Even if you can name them, they don't compare to Alan and Linus for not only coding so much themselves, but so successfully managing those hundreds of other kernel developers.

      Yes, you need devtools to build a kernel. That doesn't make the kernel unimpressive.

      It's very interesting what would have happened had Linux not shown up. I expect BSD would have forked into what Linux became. Had AT&T's lawsuit not slowed things down for years, Linux would not have happened, as BSD would have been far more mature at the appropriate time. How strange is that?

      --Dan
      • Not to take anything away from Alan Cox, but this phrase:

        ...and widely accepted as second only to Linus Torvalds himself in the echelons of open source illuminati...

        That's just silly. If they had said Linux kernel source illuminati instead, obviously I'd agree. But all of open source? I'm sorry, that just isn't so.

        I'm not even sure Linus rates #1 here... RMS has a very beefy claim to this throne too. Certainly, if there's a #1 and a #2, it's these two guys who are duking it out. Not Alan Cox.

        • a very simple question.

          what will be the state of open source today without linux?

          • "what will be the state of open source today without linux?"

            Would have developed a different kernel.

            Think about it -- the only reason hurd has never been extensively funded (in workforce terms) is that when linux appeared, it ticked off the "kernel" item in GNU's to-do list. If linux hadn't been Free Software, then all those kernel-hackers (other than linus) would have been working on hurd or some other kernel.

            Without the kernel, what use is GNU? There would have been enough people whose business would
        • Not to take anything away from Alan Cox, but this phrase:
          ...and widely accepted as second only to Linus Torvalds himself in the echelons of open source illuminati...
          That's just silly. If they had said Linux kernel source illuminati instead, obviously I'd agree. But all of open source? I'm sorry, that just isn't so.

          I have to agree. Also throw in Larry Wall.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Dude, the fact that this even appeared as a story on Slashdot should have been warning enough...
    • by swb (14022) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:53AM (#7773162)
      I've always found the People-magazine like fawning over the "stars" of Open Sourcedom alternately nauseating and amusing.

      I'm not trying to take anything away from the accomplishments of Alan or anyone else. And there are times where features of people are worthwhile, but only when they've done or said something noteworthy. "Alan Cox went to class today" isn't one of them. "Alan Cox gets a crew cut", however, would be..

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Alan has always been active in the hacking culture. A solid 'developer' is going to be a well conditioned person capable of not only thinking in the box but understanding the box.

      A hacker is not afraid to think outside of the box. A good hacker also understands the box. Alan is an excellent hacker.

      This is also why he will make a great leader in the biz world if he decides to go that direction.
    • No matter how much you Open Sourcers want to deny it, heirchies always form in organizations of any sufficient size.

      At the top is our FEARLESS LEADER, Linus Torvalds.
      His right hand man, his #1, his Heir Apparent is the ever humble, Alan Cox.

      Forget this, and you forget EVERYTHING!
      • You just have insulted a lot of people very close to Linus... Linus pretty much doesn't have just one right-hand man, but a whole team. Plus, quite few of them regularly bite his hand because there are disagreements. Linus is a very central person, not because he has a title (such as in most organisations), but because he is a good reasoner, has very good insight and ideas, and understands very well how 'the pack' runs...

        Other than jokingly referred to as such, he is definitely not the 'fearless leader', b
    • by Quixote (154172) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:15PM (#7773566) Homepage Journal
      First off, he's not a kernel hacker. He's a kernel developer.
      Maybe you need to read the true definition of a "hacker", instead of the NYT definition?

      Second, Linux Torvalds is by far not the largest OSS contributor in the world. First off, there are 100s of Kernel developers.
      Linus' biggest contribution, IMHO, is coordinating the whole kernel thing. They should give him a f'in Nobel just for that. Don't believe me? Try coordinating a small group of programmers in a company. See how difficult it is. Now, imagine doing the same with

      • 100s of developers, each of whom has a sizable ego, and is a prima donna in his/her own mind (no offense meant)
      • 100s of developers, who are spread out all over the world, each working at his/her own schedule
      • 100s of developers, who aren't paid, which means you can't even hold the "you're fired" axe over their heads
      just to name a few.

      Believe me, managing hackers is quite hard. Someone once rightfully said, it is like herding cats. And Linus is the best damn cat-herder in the world today.

      • Go look at the jargon file. ESR considers it a virtue to not think through the solution before jumping right into coding. The idea of designing, documenting and testing software is not part of the "release early, release often" philosophy. So don't go on about the NYT's definition of "hacker". Sure it's not what ESR has defined it as but what he has defined it as is not something to proud of either. If you're a software engineer and some calls you a hacker, punch em in the face.
    • i think you misspelled your name, isn't it suppose to be spelled "RMS"?

      Calm down, i was just kidding. ;)
  • by mschaffer (97223) * on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:22AM (#7773054)
    I wonder if Mr. Cox has read the article on the 235,000 Fewer Programmers by 2015. Maybe this is why he is getting an MBA?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You mean: "Why be a Programmer if you can be his boss"?
    • This was modded as funny; but it's pretty apt. Quite a few people are thinking the same thing. I was talking with a fellow developer a few days ago; he is Indian and used to work at one of the big Indian contract houses and now he's here in the US as (I think) a Resident Alien. His take is that even more work will be farmed out overseas: he told me of a small company he knows of (fewer than 15 employees) that is sending programming work to India because it's so much cheaper than anyone in the US quoted. Gra

    • I wonder if Mr. Cox has read the article on the 235,000 Fewer Programmers by 2015. Maybe this is why he is getting an MBA?

      I think it will be funny if during his MBA course he has to put together some kind of business proposal. Of course he puts forward an open source business case which his prof thinks is ridiculous, and maybe he fails the assignment?

      -a
  • Iechyd da! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by openmtl (586918) <polarbear&btinternet,com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:32AM (#7773083) Journal
    Alan would make a good geek in the boardroom. Good to see he's making progress in welsh even if few out of Wales can read the menus either. He did mention that when he handed over maintainance to Marcelo Tosatti two years or so back.

    Supporting minority languages on our favourite Open Source OS is about accessibilty to all. Essential in multi-cultural Europe. At least 500,000 people would be interested in welsh so still a very good audience.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @11:33AM (#7773084)
    Even Ron Jeremy needs a rest from time to time.
  • by The Cydonian (603441) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:20PM (#7773266) Homepage Journal
    or even if he doesn't, this has probably already been discussed here by now, but as a CS major who will be graduating in another few days (thank you, thank you), I have to ask:- does anyone know why he's pursuing an MBA?

    I mean, the article seems to suggest that he'll jump back into kernel development and not take a management job after his MBA.

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