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The Linux Identity Crisis 364

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wants-to-be-called-linuxette-now dept.
Jayze Calrtini writes "From an article from ZDNet:"If you've been following the current rift in the Linux community between Linus Torvalds and his minions squaring off against Con Kolivas and the mainstream Linux fanatics, you probably know that it's getting quite heated. You also probably know that these two entirely different ideas could create three possible paths Linux can take for the future: stay geeky and appeal to the advanced tech guru in all of us; go mainstream and leave the advanced functionality and reliable kernel behind to compete with Microsoft and Apple; or face a "civil war" that could lead to total Linux annihilation."
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The Linux Identity Crisis

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  • My Vote (Score:5, Funny)

    by baldass_newbie (136609) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:30AM (#20727283) Homepage Journal
    I vote for total annihilation.
    I mean, with Vista, who cares about Linux anymore?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Eggplant62 (120514)
      Heh. Right, Vista is just *sooo* much better, with it's restrictive interface, DRM nonsense, and overall bloat.

      No thanks, I'll pass on that pile of doo doo.
      • Re:My Vote (Score:5, Funny)

        by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:09AM (#20727659)
        Joke found [Accept or Cancel].
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xtracto (837672)
          Cancel or Allow man, Cancel OR Allow

          or maybe Abort, Retry , Ignore, Fail [microsoft.com]

          In all seriousness, from the article:
          It's interesting to me that the liberal arm of the Linux community is trying to play it off like it's not trying to turn Linux mainstream to make money. Sure, some of them say it's to take Linux away from the enterprise and towards the consumer market, but let's be honest with ourselves--it's about the money.

          This guys asks about the Linux community "identity". Well, let me tell ya, he is completely w
          • ZDNet? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by soloport (312487) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:15AM (#20728423) Homepage
            The article is from ZDNet. The author probably stumbled upon kerneltrap for the first time and thought, "OMG! There's a real *war* happening here! This is news!" -- not realizing that the "war" was business-as-usual.

            Another thing the author doesn't seem to realize is that Linux code (the kernel) is forking all the time. It may be support for real-time embedded or support for MMU-less processors, etc. The point is, people experiment, discover something interesting (fork), then try to get the interesting part back into the mainline tree. Happens a lot. Let the code fork in a big way? It will later merge and improve, yet again.

            I recommend to anyone covering geek news: Be a lurker for longer than ten minutes and try harder to understand what you're writing about. From the article: "Much like Republicans and Democrats, Linux is dominated by two factions with entirely different ideas." In psychology I think that's called "projection".
            • Re:ZDNet? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Jon_S (15368) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:34AM (#20728703)
              "Another thing the author doesn't seem to realize is that Linux code (the kernel) is forking all the time."

              More to the point, whether usability is enhanced or not has little to do with Linux, which is just the kernel. The usability issues live or die with the userland and desktop environment stuff, which isn't the stuff that Linus and the kernel hackers spend time tweaking.

              So I add another vote to the "this isn't news" position.
            • by Skiboo (306467) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:47AM (#20729793) Homepage
              We've had a few of these articles here on slashdot now, and there's a few other FUD articles making the rounds too (The Register has had a pretty terrible article up for the last couple days about Microsoft v mankind). Groklaw's PJ has an article about it up:

              http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070921112733615 [groklaw.net]

              Really, this supposed infighting doesn't exist, and having these articles on slashdot just helps us be part of Microsoft's mouthpiece. Even if there was a lot of infighting among the kernel developers (there isn't, by the way - not in the sense of a civil war causing total annihilation), all you'd get is a fork and people would move in that direction. I believe that all these articles about Con Kolivas's scheduler are part of this FUD machine and are blown way out of proportion.

              For the curious wanting to understand a bit better about Linus's tree not being the be-all and end-all, check out this gentoo kernel page [huihoo.com] that talks about some other branches and unofficial trees.

              • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:10PM (#20731029)

                Really, this supposed infighting doesn't exist, and having these articles on slashdot just helps us be part of Microsoft's mouthpiece.
                The infighting exists and it is arguably harmful, but it is nothing new. All the rapid progress in Linux that I know of has been accompanied by infighting, as strident, if not more. Just one example, the BitKeeper wars, which split the Linux kernel in half but never at any time slowed down progress. Quite the contrary.

                It may be that tension is actually helpful to the creative process. Though by the time it gets personal, the useful part effect has usually gone by. We could probably progress even faster by learning better how to defuse, back down, compromise at the interpersonal level. But please, never compromise at the technical level.
          • Re:My Vote (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gmack (197796) <gmack@innerfire . n et> on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:22AM (#20728497) Homepage Journal

            I read all the article, and it is, as the tags say a non article. This guy is drowning in a glass of water. If the lkml is indeed being spamed with flames related to this, I would suggest Linus and the others to ignore the flamers and just continue to work. If they (we) want to fork the Linux kernel, go ahead, that is the nature of Open Source.

            LKML is not being spammed over this at all. There was an argument over it that lasted a few days but that ended weeks ago. At this point there are more news stories and comments then there were actual posts in the threat that started all of this.

            The most laughable part about this all is that Linus never disagreed that work was needed to improve the desktop. The disagreement was over which scheduler patch would help the desktop the most in the long term.

            There are some serious misrepresentations of the facts being propagated by some of these "journalists" and they should be ashamed of themselves for their part in this.

      • by Goaway (82658)
        The party has registered your unwavering support, comrade. You are a shining example to us all.
      • Re:My Vote (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nojjynb (1003593) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:41AM (#20729735)
        I run both Vista and Linux (Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS), and I find I am more often asked for sudo permissions in LINUX than in Vista. It is funny how linux and mac people hammer on Vista's Cancel or Allow, when in truth, the *nixes have been doing this for YEARS! Su this, sudo that, chmod 755 hello_world.sh. If you want to hammer on MS, hammer on the fact that it took them SOOOO long to implement this security feature!

        Now, as for DRM nonsense, let me remind you that the libraries you install to allow DVD playback in linux are (arguably, of course) ILLEGAL in the US, unless you buy commercial ones. Vista has built in support for both MP3's (most distros no longer have this by default) and DVD's (at least, in any version with Media Center)!!

        Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan boy. I still have my trusty XP SP2 box, and Vista is very bloated, slower to start up, and even more difficult to use in some aspects. But give credit where it is due, some of the enhancements have brought more security and an easier to use Start Menu (oh search bar! then again, there's no frigging Run by default).

        Now, if I could just play those Mp3's while I was transferring files, or let the screen saver come up while listening to them :)
    • or face a "civil war" that could lead to total Linux annihilation."

      You mean like Coke or Pepsi, Intel or AMD, Nike or Converse, Apple, or Microsoft?, Ubuntu or Suse, Yahoo or Google?

      The soft drink market is doing well along with CPU's, athletic shoes, OS manufacturing, Linux, and search engines.

      Linux isn't going away. It may fork, but it isn't going away any more than search engines or soft drinks.
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fitten (521191) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:30AM (#20727287)
    Two outcomes... Linux gets better or Linux dies. Either outcome is acceptible and should be to any other OSS "believer" as well. Survival of the fittest and all... even if the fittest isn't Linux.
    • by DrYak (748999) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:09AM (#20727671) Homepage
      I don't see the point. Every problems needs a specific solution and there's enough room for both solutions.
      The article confuses Linus Torvalds' Linux (just a kernel) with distribution.
      No matter what Linus thinks, there are still out there very geeks oriented distro like Gentoo and Slackware with "let the user configure himself everything" in one end of the specturm and Ubuntu, complete with its "means 'I can't install Debian' in african dialects" types of joke.

      The TFA is just a meaningless rant.

      For me the two outcomes are without linux dying, because each variant is fittest for some specific usage pattern (geek vs. joe 6pack). And thus both outcome may happen simultaneously.
      • by ronadams (987516) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:08AM (#20728337) Homepage

        Great points, DrYak. In addition, after reading TFA, a few important issues were either glossed over, or completely ignored:

        1) Mr. Reisinger seems to be suggesting a "two-party" ideology with this issue, using the analogy of conservatives and liberals. What he fails to comprehend, or at least suggest, is the possibility of a "third party". It is entirely possible to maintain the integrity of the Linux kernel while improving the usability of the userspace tools and distributions. The author seems to be so entrenched in the idea that those promoting ease of use in the desktop environment are seeking to take his precious features away, he forgets that the two ends are in no way mutually exclusive. Ubuntu provides an excellent example of how the functionality and potential of Linux can be under the hood of an easy to drive, pretty sexy OS.

        2) The majority of patches and suggestions sent upstream have more to do with latency/tasking operations in desktop uses. Tweaking the kernel a bit to cater to those issues does NOT make it less efficient as a powerhouse server kernel, or sacrifice any of it's capabilities.

        3) I don't mean to sound pedantic, but I'm not so sure that Mr. Reisinger understands the difference between the kernel and the userspace. Optimizing a distribution to be extremely user friendly doesn't mean that another distribution has to be; that's the beauty of the openness. While there are some who are pushing for the "One Distro to Rule Them All" I would say these are in a minority of the usability proponents; most of use just want to see a Linux distribution fare well in the OS market and offer a real viable choice to consumers.

        4) The author seems to forget that Linux will never be consumer-ready or friendly, it's a damn kernel. Joe Blow would have no idea what to do with a kernel, but give him an OS with Linux as the kernel, and maybe he can get going. Linus is protective of his kernel, and I understand why. He's going to have to make some improvements to cater to how people want to use computers IF his goal is to have a widely-used kernel that is free. If that isn't his goal, then he doesn't have to do that, and Linux distributions will slowly go the way of the OS/2 buffalo.

        5) There's other great ends to a prolific Linux distro than money. I think the author is completely ignoring the fact that the kernel is GPL'd, and Linus has presented no intention of changing that. Therefore, a realistic usability proponent isn't thinking about how great it would be to see a proprietary Linux sitting next to Vista Ultimate, selling for $499. There's things like vast improvements to the userspace tools, propelling even further the penetration and recognition of free software, and the subsequent push on hardware manufacturers to provide compliant drivers or open their specs. These are all things that excite me a "crazed Linux kernel liberal". But hey, what do I know? I don't write for CNET.

    • by fymidos (512362)
      > Linux gets better or Linux dies. Either outcome is acceptible and should be to any other OSS "believer" as well.

      The history of the last 16 years only shows that linux gets better and better. And i don't mean "change the theme and add a talking dog"-better. I mean that each new version of linux runs better and faster and more stable on the latest and greatest 4-way and the same dusty 10-year old hardware. Linux is still a teenager. It has a long way to go and rumors of "death" really should not be taken
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Die how? Maybe if there's a pandemic that kills all the developers but then we got bigger things to worry about. Linux doesn't need a market to funnel money back into development, it's like some undead zombie that might be slow and ugly, but you're not killing it. Sure there's some distros on top and they also pay some of the backend hackers but most people are still doing it for free.
  • Bah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:31AM (#20727291) Homepage
    Sounds like another storm in a tea cup. The linux world has had more flame wars than not, and will continue to do so as long as it exists. It's one of the characteristics of a democratic system that people have arguments. The "total annihilation of the linux world" is a load of incendiary exaggeration. Typical slashdot "editorialism", I guess...

    Daniel
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Truly, this story should be tagged storminateacup.
    • total annihilation of the linux world

      I can't wait!

      Dude, I'm building a Krogoth.

    • Actually, I don't think that editorialism can be blamed on /., but rather ZDnet...

      three possible paths Linux can take for the future: stay geeky and appeal to the advanced tech guru in all of us; go mainstream and leave the advanced functionality and reliable kernel behind to compete with Microsoft and Apple; or face a "civil war" that could lead to total Linux annihilation.

      (1) and (2) can conceptualy be alligned. That's part of the purpose of distros. Many distros help abstract users from all the stuff in

    • Re:Bah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eggplant62 (120514) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:11AM (#20727689)
      I won't hesitate to point out what PJ has already pointed out, [groklaw.net] that most of these stories about all the trouble with Linux infighting is meant as the next undermining tactic by a company with deep pockets [microsoft.com] in an attempt to further bolster its market dominant position.

      I, for one, do not welcome our FUD-spewing, bad-software-making overlords.
      • FUD Machines (Score:5, Insightful)

        by maz2331 (1104901) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:08AM (#20728329)
        The FUD machines are still running at full speed and spewing loads of irrelevant lies, damned lies, statistics, and general crap. It's done because it is rather effective on the uninformed masses of managers who have little depth of knowledge and simply want "safety".

        Seriously, the Linux kernel is in no danger of imploding any time soon. The community is rather strong and resilient. Really, the big difference is that the development process is visible, as opposed to proprietary software houses where these conversations are inside the walls of the company. The debates we're hearing about are a normal part of development and will eventually lead to a solution that works for everyone.

        Desktop Linux vs. "Server Linux" is a total non-issue at the kernel level. The userland tools and interfaces are far more important, and really the only real roadblock right now is a few hardware manufacturers' active resistance to working with free software. This isn't so much a conspiracy to lock out certain operating systems, it's just a way to manage their obselecence cycles to ensure future sales. After all, if customers can keep using that printer until it actually wears out then quarterly profits will see no replacement sales bump when the next Windows release comes out.

        This resistance is starting to fray around the edges, and we can see the evidence in AMD/ATI's starting to open up chip specs and Dell's entry into the desktop Linux market. It's beginning to become a non-viable business model to actively impede interoperability with open source software.

    • Re:Bah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:31AM (#20727909)
      Sounds like another storm in a tea cup.

      No, it sounds like either 1) a troll or (more likely IMO) 2) A shill. No, make that BOTH a trol and a shill.

      I haven't RTFA and I don't intend to. ZD is a Windows-only publication, and has been for the last several years. The only thing they want from Linux users is someone to troll. Christ, thay gave that damned "reader talkback" troll John Carroll a fucking JOB trolling!

      Make no mistake about it, ZD net is not about tech, it's not about news, it's not about anything nerdy, it's about PROFIT. And it makes its profits not from sales of magazines but advertising. And Microsoft is one of its biggest, if not THE biggest, advertisers.

      ZDNET works for Microsoft. I will not read it; it has nothing of interest for me. I used to be the world's biggest troll biter, but I reformed myself [kuro5hin.org] Fri Apr 22, 2005 at 10:38:29 AM EST. Well, ok, sometimes like any addict I relapse (like I'm doing now) but I'm damned not going to bite ZD's trolls. At least, I'm not going to be trolled any farther than the /. blurb; I will NOT RTFA.

      stay geeky and appeal to the advanced tech guru in all of us; go mainstream and leave the advanced functionality and reliable kernel behind to compete with Microsoft and Apple; or face a "civil war" that could lead to total Linux annihilation.

      Bullshit. Stay geeky? Hell yes, I don't see the command prompt going away any time soon. Having advanced functionality isn't "anti-geek", and no true nerd could ever write such bullshit. And even if a "civil war" happened, there would not be "total Linux annihilation" but a simple and unneccessary fork.

      TFA is a fucking troll, fellow Linux nerds. "Linus and his minions?" I never saw "Bill Gates and his minions". Troll!

      God damn it, I bit. I'm such a fucking loser! [kuro5hin.org]

      -mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:33AM (#20727297)
    Come on over to *BSD. We're the 'big tent' OS. Room for everyone.

    Don't like the direction the kernel is going? Branch the kernel and call it MyBSD. Whatever, no one is going
    to get pissed.

    Linux folks take themselves WAY too seriously, and besides, *BSD has a 'cool' factor with the chicks that
    Linux will never have. You should see the honeys flock to me when I sport my FreeBSD tshirt.

    Come on in to BSD, boys, the water is fine.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:41AM (#20727385)
      Yeah, beacuse *BSD with its useless SMP support will make the arguments moot anyway. It's slow for everyone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jimstapleton (999106)
        Ahh, yes, my slow little FreeBSD install on my Dual Core system.

        The only OSes slower that I've install on that machine are Windows, Fedora, and Ubuntu.

        Could you tell me what a fast OS for a dual core optron or a Core Solo is? I'd really like to know... I can't get BeOS on them, or MacOS, so I can't test those. MINIX maybe?
        • by thegnu (557446)

          Could you tell me what a fast OS for a dual core optron or a Core Solo is? I'd really like to know... I can't get BeOS on them, or MacOS, so I can't test those. MINIX maybe?

          I only run FreeDOS and openwrt on my deprecated hardware.

          ^(this is a joke, my children)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You *have* seen what happened to NetBSD, right? And you have tried working with Theo on anything?
    • Re:another option (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:45AM (#20727431)
      Linus repeatedly and vocally encourages people to fork. (That's why he wrote git the way he did, to enable easy forking and merging of trees.) These sorts of arguments happen because some individual or small group wants the rest of the group to do what they say. The last thing they want is a fork, unless they think most people will jump on their bandwagon.
    • by upside (574799) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#20727455) Journal
      True. My wife made me install Linux over BSD when I got married. She couldn't cope with the attention I was getting. I miss the chilled attitude of the BSD people like Theo.
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      "Branch the kernel and call it MyBSD"

      I've got a better idea - branch the kernel and call it PostgreBSD. That is of course unless you want it to have all the speed and functionality of Windows 3.1.
    • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:09AM (#20727669)
      > Whatever, no one is going to get pissed.

      The thing I like about Linux is the GPL, but I guess I can just add the GPL to MyBSD.
    • Come on in to BSD, boys, the water is fine.
      You clearly haven't been paying enough attention to Netcraft ...
    • by Danathar (267989) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:43AM (#20728049) Journal
      Why would I want to use an operating system that has been dead for years? ;-)
  • sensationalist (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    desktop improvements do not need a revamped kernel. I really don't know where this idea came from.

    Both gnome and kde have their irritating features and this - IMHO - is where the problem is.
    • by ceeam (39911)
      I never ever had sound breaking/stuttering in WinAMP for example. I do occasionally with Amarok. You know what - I don't care a tiniest bit. But people do.
  • by massysett (910130) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:33AM (#20727305) Homepage
    The article--no, make that rant--has nothing to do with the debate between Linus and Con. The author somehow thinks that this technical debate about the kernel's workings has something to do with "Linux" desktop usability. The author clearly does not understand that there is a difference between the Linux kernel, the thousands of programs that comprise a Linux distribution, and the distributors who glue all this stuff together. He says Linux shouldn't "go mainstream" (here I guess he means distributions) and ignores the fact that Ubuntu can go mainstream while Gentoo can stay geeky.

    Total waste of time; prevalence of this crap on Digg is why I stopped reading it, and now Slashdot isn't too far behind it seems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The scheduler debate is entirely relevant to the "Desktop / Server" debate: It is a question of priorities. A server should never miss writing a log file to disk in order to avoid skipping a millisecond of music playback; a desktop needs to be working to the opposite goal.

      Scheduler plug ins is going to have to happen, regardless of the overhead and effort.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423)

        The scheduler debate is entirely relevant to the "Desktop / Server" debate: It is a question of priorities. A server should never miss writing a log file to disk in order to avoid skipping a millisecond of music playback; a desktop needs to be working to the opposite goal.

        Apparently, windows Vista will halt network communications in order to play back music. Do we need to get linux to that advanced stage of desktop readiness? I don't see why you cannot have both. There doesn't seem to be a need to play m

    • Agreed (Score:4, Informative)

      by upside (574799) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:43AM (#20727407) Journal
      I don't know what he is basing this crap on, like that Linus thinks Linux shouldn't go mainstream. Linus works for the Linux foundation that "promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms. [linux-foundation.org]"

      Next article, please.
    • by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:59AM (#20727573) Homepage Journal

      Total waste of time; prevalence of this crap on Digg is why I stopped reading it, and now Slashdot isn't too far behind it seems.
      Digg has a "Bury" button.

      Slashdot needs a "Chop up and feed to the pigs out back" button.
    • by Danathar (267989)
      This is actually a serious problem. Many people confuse or don't know the difference between LINUX and Operating system.

      LINUX is not an operating system. There is no distribution that is named "LINUX" (that I know of).

      It's up to all of us who use LINUX based operating systems to correct people so that when they say "LINUX" when they should mean Redhat, SuSE, Debian, Ubuntu, etc. It's easy, when somebody says "LINUX" unless they are talking directly about kernel you should give them a curious questioning loo
    • Another thing that the author misses is that these sorts of fights happen all the time between engineers. When it comes to linux we get to see the fights because of the open nature of its development. Do people not think fights happen in MS over features and engineering decisions?

      I would also argue that fights like this are a good thing. They force people to think about prove their position.
  • Pure flamebait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:36AM (#20727323)
    TFA has no real substance and makes a number of major statements as if they were written in stone. From TFA

    The Linux community is an interesting group. Much like Republicans and Democrats, Linux is dominated by two factions with entirely different ideas. The conservatives want Linux to stay Linux and the liberals want to make money. Call me a conservative, or call me what you will, but the liberals are off-base.
    i.e. if you disagree with me then you're 'off base' - well that's a good start for a reasoned arguement!
    • by yuna49 (905461)
      Not to mention the needless and infuriating comparison to political conservatives and liberals, which suggests conservatives are purists and liberals are shills.

      What so wrong with continuing along the path of development that Linux has trod these past fifteen years or so? Looks like it's been pretty successful to me.

      Oh, and so now one article by Walt Mossberg has stopped Ubuntu dead in its tracks? Right. Perhaps the kind of people who give credence to trash like this article might be deterred, but if so,
  • by BigTom (38321)
    Keep the advanced functionality and reliable kernel while incorporating other features and continuuing to go mainstream.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iiii (541004)
      Exactly. It is tricky but nearly always possible, through good design, to create a system that works for different skill levels of users. It can be easy to use, easy to start learning, easy to install, with functionality that is easy to discover, and still be highly reliable, customizable, and efficient for people who use it all day every day.
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:37AM (#20727335)
    One part of me likes the first two ideas. I mean, there could eventually be a Windows killer distro out there. And at the rate things are going, Ubuntu seems to be the likely candidate. On the other hand, Linux does have a place with hardcore geeks out there who like to tinker and tune the kernel.

    A second part of me is wondering why we all can't get along. Linux isn't going to be annihilated. Even if Torvalds were to walk out in front of a bus tomorrow, development of the Linux kernel will not cease entirely. Businesses have too much riding on Linux for it to fail. I could be wrong; but I highly doubt the doom sayer's claims.
    • by LarsG (31008) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:03AM (#20727597) Journal
      Businesses have too much riding on Linux for it to fail.

      Exactly. Which is why I found the following part of the article so puzzling: "Historically speaking, Linux has never "been about the money," so why should it start now?"

      Linux development has pretty much always been directed to some extent by money. IBM and others pour cash and time into Linux because they want it to run well on servers, so to claim that the "conservative"/server faction is less about money than the "liberal"/desktop side rings untrue.

      Anyway, the desktop experience is mostly about the GUIs. As far as the kernel goes, there isn't that much that needs tweaking for desktops - mainly the IO and process schedulers. And it isn't that unusual for distros to maintain their own set of patches, so if the worst comes to pass (e.g. kernel has scheduler that won't play mp3s without skipping) the desktop distros will just have to do that job.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:39AM (#20727355) Homepage
    What really pisses me off as far as Colivas camp is concerned is that they equate 3D games smoothness to desktop performance and keep on quacking about "desktop linux performance". Their stuff has nothing to do with it.

    It is just one tiny facet of desktop linux. Further to this, in order to demonstrate any of the performance you have to throw in two big unknowns - a binary only driver and a card without a fully disclosed and known specification.

    Self-serving benchmarks for 3D game on local machines should not be used to claim superiority in all desktop linux tasks period. In fact they should not be considered at all at least until something comes out of the recent ATI and Intel spec disclosures. When non-binary 3D accelerated drivers become widely available there will be a point to start benchmarking towards 3D performance and smoothness. Until then this is a complete waste of everyone's time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Slashcrap (869349)
      You make me sick with your intelligent, well reasoned and above all, technically correct arguments. You should know by now that we don't tolerate that kind on thing on Slashdot.

      But I also wonder what percentage of the people being so vocal about the CK affair are just ricers who build everything with CFLAGs set to "-O9 -fomit-instructions" just in case it give them an extra .1 FPS in glxgears. Or are actually running Linux at all for that matter.
  • by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:39AM (#20727363) Homepage
    Why can't it keep the nerdy, hackable kernel and go mainstream at the same time? I though that was the reason why we have different distributions; obviously not everyone's going to be happy with Gentoo, luckily the casual user has Ubuntu and Linspire, and us network admins have our server distros. Do these people really have this George Lucas kind of power over the things they have released to the public, or is the community in the driver's seat enough to keep it working for everyone? I feel like it certainly leans more to the latter, although I guess I'm pretty far removed from the development process.
  • by dominux (731134) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:40AM (#20727373) Homepage
    lkml has always had robust arguments bounced about. This is not new, but new people are reading it all the time and sometimes it hits the mainstream. TFA is mainly not about lkml flamewars, but about a review by Walt Mossberg which might be important to a certain readership in the USA. He isn't very important to readers in the rest of the world. I read the review. It was fairly balanced, he found good points and areas for improvement. The fact that he reviewed it at all is more significant than any findings or conclusions he made. I am amazed at the number of meta-articles about this one review that I have seen. Journalists - do your own flipping review. Don't write articles reflecting on someone else's reflections.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fred_A (10934)

      TFA is mainly not about lkml flamewars, but about a review by Walt Mossberg which might be important to a certain readership in the USA. He isn't very important to readers in the rest of the world. I read the review. It was fairly balanced, he found good points and areas for improvement. The fact that he reviewed it at all is more significant than any findings or conclusions he made.

      Quite so. I didn't agree with all that was said in the original review (by Mossberg) but I found the fact that it appeared in the WSJ much more interesting than the review in itself.

      I have to confess that I've had pretty much the same kind of problems with Vista (although mostly on the network side and when trying to access the flash card reader) when I poked at it for a couple hours on a new laptop as Mossberg has had with Ubuntu but then I never use Windows while I'm quite familiar with Linux...

      In all I

  • Maybe the real question is, how to get Linux
    developers to play the game professionally.
    Do we really need more incomplete, undocumented,
    fail-disable, unverified software? The issue
    of Linux success is more a question of when will
    Linux software become polished, real end user
    value? Why do I spend so much time hacking
    around fixing scripts that should have been done
    right before they were posted? Why am I re-writing
    resolv.conf after re-boot to replace the incorrect
    (gateway address, not nameserver address) misman
    • by gmack (197796)
      As someone who has been using Linux since 1995 I can tell you things are a whole lot better than they used to be.

      The scripts and kernel have improved a lot. When I started you were presented with a bash prompt after the CD loaded and had to run fdisk yourself (don't forget to set the partition type) before loading the installer which would just dump a bunch of tar files onto the drive. The X server required entering the screen frequencies manually and then you had to edit the conf by hand to get a decent s
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:41AM (#20727395) Homepage
    LINUX IS THE KERNEL.

    Ubuntu is a distro comprising of a linux kernel and userland tools/libraries. Why would going the "ubuntu" route would involve any changes in the kernel is beyond me. Ubuntu is nothing more than a well engineered collection of userspace tools that makes the PC useful, it relies on the Linux kernel to manage the system.

    In short, you can appeal to the "mainstream" [also known as the dumbification of society] and yet keep a technically impressive kernel behind the scenes.
    • May RMS was right after all and the thing that you run on a computer should be called something else than the kernel of that OS.

      The kernel will always be to complicated for grandma, and there will be lots of distributions. Always. Maybe someone can make a linux for grandma, and maybe it takes as long as your girlfriend being a grandma. It will be the distribution that will be simple or complicated. Not the kernel.

      In a comment linus said: I don't care.
    • by thegnu (557446)

      In short, you can appeal to the "mainstream" [also known as the dumbification of society] and yet keep a technically impressive kernel behind the scenes.

      I just want to point out that the dumbification of society applies to geeks who buy cars with good warranties rather than cars that are easy to work on, and geeks that buy non-stick pans and who cook on electric stoves, and myriad other geeks who do mainstreamy sort of things.

      Geeks will call a particle physicist an idiot if he can't find his way around his

  • People still do not understand open source, in that there is always a little friendly "nudging"... Because everything is out in the open, a few people upset means to some people that "Linux is in peril"... The reality of the situation is that business drives Linux development. I for one feel that if IBM did not contribute what it did, that Linux would only be a fraction of what it is today. Meaning, IBM, from my perspective, helped businesses see Linux as a viable business tool... I do not think that the
  • by sqldr (838964) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:45AM (#20727429)
    go mainstream and leave the advanced functionality and reliable kernel behind to compete with Microsoft and Apple

    Would help if the author knew what the trade-off was. Servers are simple. They maximise throughput fairly. Then there's desktops, which are supposed to remain responsive to mouse and keyboard and audio events even under high load. The latter is more complex. It is the one with the "advanced functionality", and it loses reliability in the process.

    There are geeky people in both camps. Geeks who want a server, and geeks who want a desktop.

    The geeks who want a desktop want advanced functionality at the expense of reliability, and since the entire hypothesis of the article falls over in the first paragraph, I'm not sure why I bothered to continue reading

    Then it continues with crap like If we want unstable systems, we can buy a Windows box.

    NOBODY, not even windows users WANT an unstable system! I want a good opensource system that will run reliably and efficiently on my desktop. By the same logic I could say "if we wanted a reliable server, we could just use BSD".

    Con Kolivas wrote some nice patches. I'm still yet to see if the CFS is as good.
  • Vaporous Hype? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MECC (8478) * on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#20727465)

    between Linus Torvalds and his minions squaring off against Con Kolivas and the mainstream Linux fanatics

    This looks like vaporous hype designed to try and make linux look unstable. Didn't Con Kolivas say last july [apcmag.com] he's leaving linux kernal development?

    How did this make the /. front page?

  • Dont fear the penguins!
  • OMGWTFBBQ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Borealis (84417) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:53AM (#20727513) Homepage
    We're all doomed! Doomed I say!

    Am I just jaded or does this seem a wee overdramatic? Total destruction of Linux? Civil war? Yeah.
  • by Tribbin (565963) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:55AM (#20727533) Homepage
    I think I go for the fourth outcome:

    Really good make-up sex between the parties.
  • by Xabraxas (654195) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:57AM (#20727541)

    You also probably know that these two entirely different ideas could create three possible paths Linux can take for the future: stay geeky and appeal to the advanced tech guru in all of us; go mainstream and leave the advanced functionality and reliable kernel behind to compete with Microsoft and Apple; or face a "civil war" that could lead to total Linux annihilation.

    That's quite a leap to make without giving any evidence at all. The article first mentions Con Kolivas' spat with Linus as if that is some kind of indicator of Linux's future when it means very little. It makes the assumption that CK's scheduler was more techinically advanced than Ingo Molnar's scheduler. That isn't the case. I don't think the author understands the reasons behind Linux choosing CFS over SD. It was more about maintainability than anything else. It was a decision that took into account long term issues instead of just short term emotions people had for CK and his scheduler.

    The Linux community is an interesting group. Much like Republicans and Democrats, Linux is dominated by two factions with entirely different ideas. The conservatives want Linux to stay Linux and the liberals want to make money. Call me a conservative, or call me what you will, but the liberals are off-base.

    When did this become a Republican/Democrat issue? Maybe I'm showing my bias here but how in the hell is the "liberal" wing in Linux all about making money? Isn't that the domain of Republicans? If you think that Linux really is split into a liberal wing and conservative wing the comparison would make more sense if the roles were reversed. Conservatives want this to be based about money and the free market. Conservatives would rather have corporations like HP choosing the direction of Linux based on their needs. Liberals are more worried about their rights with the software and abuses taking place by the corporations.

    Even without taking the phoney political comparisons into consideration this article is an anti-Linux fluff piece with no meat at all. There is no critical thinking involved at all. It's purely an opinion without any facts to back it up. I wish garbage like this would stop showing up on Slashdot.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      "When did this become a Republican/Democrat issue? Maybe I'm showing my bias here but how in the hell is the "liberal" wing in Linux all about making money? Isn't that the domain of Republicans?"
      Yes you are showing your bias and what is worse you are contributing to what you say you hate.

      Desktop Linux isn't making money, server Linux is. I doubt that Desktop Linux will ever make money but will instead allow a top to bottom Linux stack with companies making money on the server and embedded ends.

      What gets me
  • How much more easy can it get?
  • by Millennium (2451) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:58AM (#20727559) Homepage
    I actually agree with Con's assessment that Linus' refusal to accept these performance enhancements shows that the desktop is not a priority in the core Linux kernel, just as embedded devices are not. What I don't understand is why there's so much controversy over creating a kernel variant to address this. It's been done before, and these variants seem to coexist more or less peacefully with the core. You have uClinux handling embedded devices, while SELinux has a following among the security community, RTLinux does realtime stuff, and so on. Why should a "DeskLinux" with Con's performance enhancements be any different?
  • Fud Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:59AM (#20727563)
    Just another article spreading FUD by making it appear that some internal rift will cause the downfall of Linux.

    This whole thing scheduler issue and Con thing regarding focus on the desktop is rather funny.

    This is linux we are talking about here, don't like the direction feel free to change it. If no
    one will listen patch your own kernel and call it my ultimate desktop edition. It certainly would
    not be the first time a focused distro has been developed.

    Bottom line, there is no rift in the community somebody cried because there scheduler got beat out. I assume this is because it did not make the cut for some reason, however if I wanted to run Con's scheduler I would just patch my kernel and run it.
  • One for the advanced geek in all of us (which is going to probably also mean the server market)

    and, one for the mainstream user.

    its surprising you already didnt do it. you should not need fight for it. you need to create 2 subprojects.
  • by downix (84795) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:04AM (#20727613) Homepage
    There is nothing to see here. These sorts of infights are not only common, they're necessary, due to the very nature of the project. Competition means survival of the fittest, and these fights are the best method for weeding out the strongest code solutions from the ho-hums. Best we fight amongst ourselves, for the world itself wants to crush us in it's fight for mediocrity! But the moment an external force tries to pick on onef us, we unite into one gigantic geeky mass. We can pick on each other, because we're family, even the BSD guys. But nobody else has that right!
  • Do civil wars ever lead to "total annihilation"? Don't the survivors end up rebuilding?
  • Boy, Good thing we are not getting tired of these Taco Linux troll and Linux bashing pieces!

    You would think it would be so transparent that he would be embarrased, but no - that does not seem to worry him.

    So, Keep the anti Linux Fud coming Taco, no one seems to notice!
  • Go more mainstream to improve adoption among the general populace while maintaining a stable kernel.

    There is no reason to give up advanced functionality or stability.

    Maintaining a stable kernel is not hard considering it is change that creates instability. Advanced functionality can be available through the command line or even GUIs.

    The kernel functionality is good. What is needed is better usability, especially for configuration and management of non-kernel OS components.

    I would love to put a better face o
  • Utter crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rbanffy (584143) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:34AM (#20727949) Homepage Journal
    The article is utter crap.

    It confuses Linux (the kernel) and the CK/CFS spat with the various distributions of GNU/Linux, Gnome and KDE and their usability issues for non-techie types.

    There is no risk of a "civil war" and one, certainly, would not bring total annihilation. At most, there would be the threat of a fork and some distros offering a CK patched version of the mainline kernel. I would like to be able to start up my machine with a choice of schedulers or, better yet, as someone pointed out, starting my servers assigning different schedulers to different processors according to their workload.

    But all of this has nothing to do with how grannies use their Linux boxes.
  • Just do it! Don't talk about it for 10 years.
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fozzmeister (160968) on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:44AM (#20728065) Homepage
    What in the Kernel (the only place really that Torvalds has anything to do with Linux) makes it impossible for Linux to enter the mainstream... Maybe some slight license wranglings about attaching proprietory drivers to the kernel (this seems to be becoming less of an issue anyway). Some of the current(?) scheduling stuff might be relevant too, but these are _very_ minor.
  • by mmcuh (1088773)
    ...are bloggers and reporters trying to make a technical argument about kernel schedulers into some sort of holy war between free software server geek fanatics and corporate desktop smooth integrated experience lovers? Does the scheduler even matter that much?
  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:11AM (#20728371)
    You should check out www.groklaw.net. There has been a lengthy article just recently about the latest anti-Linux FUD campaign. Now that SCO is bankrupt and nobody believes anymore that there is any Unix code copied into Linux illegally, they had to come up with something new. The new campaign is: Linux is self destructing! Sources are the usual suspects, like ZDNet in this case.

    However, if you think about it, there are several thousand Linux developers, and with that many developers, occasional arguments are unavoidable. The same arguments happen within Microsoft software development, except that you don't read about them on some kernel development newsgroup, and the press doesn't pick up on it.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:35PM (#20730435) Journal
    ... that really does not exist?

    Like the BSD/GPL licensing issue that was used in a failed attempt to create a problem that did not really exist.
    Matt Dillion of Dragonfly BSD clairified it... There really was no issue or concern...

    Whats this gotta go this way or that way crap now?

    There is no spoon....feeding..... there is forking for the masses...

    So fork the fool wants to creat a problem that really doesn't exist...

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries

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