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Microsoft Linux

Is Linux At the End of Its Life Cycle? 676

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the don't-cycles-repeat dept.
Glyn Moody writes "That's what Nikolai Pryanishnikov, president of Microsoft Russia, seems to think. Quoted in the context of continuing questions about Russia's plans to create its own national operating system based on GNU/Linux, Pryanishnikov said [via Google Translate]: 'We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle.' An off-the-cuff comment, or something more?"
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Is Linux At the End of Its Life Cycle?

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  • by Stregano (1285764) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:15PM (#34270026)
    ...good OS dies first
    • by drumcat (1659893) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:18PM (#34270062)
      Linux reboots you.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:20PM (#34270124) Homepage
      In Soviet Russia, GNU Hurd triumphs over Linux!
      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:23PM (#34270194) Homepage Journal

        Lifecycle ENDS YOU!

      • by arbitraryaardvark (845916) <gtbear&gmail,com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @02:28PM (#34272276) Homepage Journal

        Yuri: what's the difference between microsoft and russia?
        Sasha: One's a ruthless totalitarian empire bent on world domination, with millions of informers, riddled with organized crime.
        The other's a computer company.

        • by mangu (126918) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:26PM (#34273156)

          Yuri: what's the difference between microsoft and russia?
          Sasha: One's a ruthless totalitarian empire bent on world domination, with millions of informers, riddled with organized crime.
          The other's a computer company.

          I knew they had privatized everything when the Soviet Union fell, but this is ridiculous!

          No way they turned Russia into a computer company!

    • by IICV (652597) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:43PM (#34270542)

      I was going to go for "... Microsoft EOLs Linux", myself.

  • And Windows is? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:16PM (#34270040)
    The same criticisms can be applied to Windows. Definitely not a Russian OS, and it's definitely starting to slip.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by windcask (1795642)

      I have an earnest question:

      What percentage of the original Linux codebase remains in place today as it was in 1991?

      And what percentage of Windows 95 (a ground-up rewrite, from what I understand) remains now?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        Windows retains a lot of very insecure backwards compatibility cruft (eg lanman hash types to cite just one example)... Linux is far better in that regard..

        It was NT which was the ground up rewrite, but although NT provided a new kernel they bolted a lot of the existing legacy cruft on top of it, many of the security holes in windows are a result of weaknesses in (or as a direct result of) this cruft rather than the core NT kernel.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        >>>And what percentage of Windows 95 (a ground-up rewrite, from what I understand) remains now?

        None. Because Windows 7 is part of the new NT line (3.1, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x) while Win95/98/m.e. were part of the old MS-DOS line that microsoft terminated.

        The real question is: What percentage of the original NT 3.1 still remains, and the answer is probably "a lot" due to the need for backwards-compatibility with old apps (like Office 1995/97, or IE 5/6), as demanded by business customers. Don't know what

      • Re:And Windows is? (Score:5, Informative)

        by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @02:18PM (#34272114) Journal

        Kids these days.

        Windows 95 was an updated GUI running on DOS. You must be thinking of something else.

        Lessee... Windows NT 3.1 was the Windows 3.1 GUI running on a new (NT) kernel.

        ("New" is relative, as NT was created by a bunch of VMS coders, from which it gets message passing and other features. One could argue somewhat whimsically that Dos-based Windows up to ME was based on 1981 technology, and every Windows version since then was based on 1975 technology.)

        NT 3.51 would be called a service pack today. It was pretty solid for the time.

        Windows NT 4.0 was the NT 3.5 core with a GUI that looked more like Windows 95.

        Windows 2000 (still my favorite Windows desktop for business use) was basically a huge service pack on NT 4.

        Windows XP was a substantial update of 2000, but by no means a "ground up" rewrite.

        Vista started as a "ground up" rewrite (Longhorn) but was plagued by project delays and restarts. I'm not certain, but I wouldn't be surprised at all that what actually made it to GA had a substantial amount of XP code.

        Then there's discussions on thunking and code reuse and backwards compatibility...

        I'm by no means an expert, but I don't think that Windows has ever had a complete bare-metal ground-up rewrite.

        But if it did, it was not Windows 95.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)

      slip how? it's sold 100's of millions of copies, and is in support, and 7 is pretty good.

      I'm not defending MS, just saying I don't see anywhere any indication that it is slipping.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Exactly. It's slipping in the same way Linux is.
  • Wadka. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:17PM (#34270044)

    "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle." An off-the-cuff comment, or something more?"

    Too much vodka?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:18PM (#34270076)

    This just in, WIndows person says non-windows product will fail! Gets frontpage on slashdot!

  • It's Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:19PM (#34270092)

    As in looking at the world with your head stuck firmly up your ass.

    The GNU tool chain isn't going anywhere. The Linux kernel isn't going anywhere. The only thing in flux to any great degree would be the packages contained in the distributions.

    If you define "end of life cycle" as the middle of eternity, then sure, GNU/Linux is at the "end" with half-way to go.

    • Re:It's Hindsight (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:23PM (#34270214) Homepage
      The use of Dash as the default shell over Bash, the growing preference for cmake over GNU Make, and the speedy progress of Clang against GCC mean that the GNU toolchain is not invulnerable. Even if they still have a few years on the competition in most areas, I think GNU needs to start thinking now about how to maintain its relevance in the long term.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by marcansoft (727665)

        cmake is built on OS tools, including GNU make in the case of Linux. What you're thinking of is the use of cmake over GNU autotools. And we're all happy for it.

        The GNU Compiler Collection isn't going anywhere (though competition from LLVM is good and welcome), but the sooner Autotools dies, the better.

        • Re:It's Hindsight (Score:4, Informative)

          by PeterBrett (780946) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:35PM (#34271446) Homepage

          the sooner Autotools dies, the better.

          I quite like autotools, actually. If you actually think about what you're doing when writing your configure.ac [gpleda.org] and M4 macros [gpleda.org], it's an elegant, clean and easy to understand solution.

          Unfortunately, at the moment it seems fashionable to throw all the configuration macros into a single, poorly commented file, with all the code copied and pasted from other projects with little understanding demonstrated of what it does or why it does it, with the predictable poor performance and low maintainability.

        • Re:It's Hindsight (Score:4, Informative)

          by graveyhead (210996) <(ten.scinorthctelf) (ta) (hctelf)> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:41PM (#34271530)

          I hear this idiocy all the time on IRC. When it happens, I ask if the person if they actually know how to use autotools. The answer is *always* no. Usually with a justification like "why would I want to learn a system that sucks?"

          You gave zero reasons for bashing autotools, so I put you in this same camp. Back up your assertions or GTFO.

          It is actually a handy piece of software. When used properly, most projects need just one or two macros - AC_CHECK_LIB and AC_CHECK_HEADERS and then just list out your sources and flags in a Makefile.am.

          There's really very little to complain about. It does it's job, does it fairly well. The only catch is that you have to RTFM.

          • Re:It's Hindsight (Score:4, Interesting)

            by marcansoft (727665) <hector@nOspAM.marcansoft.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @02:11PM (#34272034) Homepage

            Quite honestly, I don't have much experience with autotools. There are two reasons: what little I've seen looks, at first glance, as a nightmare, and, as a user, the experience is horrible. Specifically, autotools is slow . These days I spend more time ./configuring than I do actually compiling, especially with distcc (./configure not being parallelizable). Even worse, sometimes I need to rebuild all of the scripts due to some patch, and that adds even more time to an already ridiculously inefficient process. I mean, seriously, why do I need to check for a C compiler, determine the maximum length of commandline arguments, and figure out if I have 20 system headers and 30 libc functions every time I want to compile a package?

            Meanwhile, CMake is a hell of a lot faster, uses a more modern language, and can integrate better with other build environments. I've used CMake for a couple of projects and, although the language does have its quirks, it's mostly been smooth sailing. Where I don't use/need CMake, I use simple Makefiles.

            So no, I'm not in a position of familiarity with both systems to be able to do a detailed objective comparison as a developer, but as a user I can clearly say CMake is much superior (at least the way it is used by actual projects), and as a developer I can at least say CMake is nice. Several large projects have migrated from autotools to CMake, and I bet they had a good reason.

            Meanwhile, most small projects using autotools only appear to be using them because "it's what everyone else uses" and don't really understand them. Maybe autotools is great if you're an autotools guru, but it's still slow, and most people aren't going to invest the time to properly learn a system based on arcane tools. As far as I'm concerned, it's the CVS of build systems - sure, it kind of works works, but honestly, I'd rather either use a modern DVCS or stick with tarballs and patches (bare Makefiles).

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by ciggieposeur (715798)

              Here's what is good about autotools: 'make dist', ./configure --enable-XXX, and easy integration with debhelper and rpmbuild.

              I've got a small ~60kloc project [sf.net] out there that I started out using a simple makefile and C code, and then later migrated to gettext and autotools. I really wish in hindsight that I had just started with GNU Hello World and gettext from the get-go and then built out my project. As it was, I spent days re-factoring strings for gettext and more days getting my configure.ac and Makefi

      • Re:It's Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:32PM (#34270356) Homepage

        It doesn't have to...
        GNU is not about dominance, it is about ensuring software freedom. GNU was a plan to replace proprietary tools with open equivalents, the fact that these open equivalents are now being replaced with superior open equivalents is irrelevant.

        I doubt RMS's primary goal is that everyone use GNU software, rather that everyone should use open source software regardless of who wrote it or where it came from, providing its users have the freedoms granted by the GPL (or a great level, eg BSD).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kwabbles (259554)

        You tenderfoots and your DASHES and CLANGS... you unwittingly believe that your new tools are so sexy and shiny, giggling and chuckling with your hippo dancing jokes. These tools are an abomination and a sacrilege. REPENT! The filthy whores of Babylon such is Apple may give you honey, they may give you mead now - but in the end you will be left in sorrow, pennyless. She will take your GNU purity and defile it and you will rend your clothes and mourn when you realize the extent of your filth.

        REPENT!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tetsujin (103070)

        The use of Dash as the default shell over Bash

        That's just a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.

        Bash is (as POSIX shells go) very full-featured with a bunch of enhancements (nonstandard extensions) for use in scripting and various niceties for interactive use. It's one of several shells these days that are commonly accepted as good choices for login shells.

        However, quite a lot of shell scripts on a typical system don't need or use bash extensions. (And Debian policy is that shell scripts that are interpreted with /bin/sh should not use any

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:20PM (#34270118) Journal

    is at the end of its life cycle

    That's not a bad thing. In a lot of the classic software development models, the "end" state of a software's life cycle was operations and maintenance (O&M). Which is to say you have no new requirements having fulfilled all the basic requirements. It's bad if you constantly need new features but sometimes it can be an indication that the software is mature or near complete. At this point the customer only ever pays you money to put it back into development or fix/improve something small.

    I would agree that the 2.6 kernel series is very robust [wikipedia.org] and something we will most likely use for quite sometime. But I would always shy from ever saying that an operating system has all the major features it could ever need. I mean, I know a lot of clients that are committed to some version of the 2.6 kernel in their server rooms and would only ever update if there was a necessary security flaw or performance feature [slashdot.org] that they could not live without. For a lot of them, Linux has provided all the web server or database hosting features they would ever need and the product of "Linux" is indeed in the final phase of its life cycle. The vast majority of their patches are to Apache, Postgres, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Yeah, I really don't know what this guy meant, but it's worth noting that being at the end of a life cycle generally also means you're at the beginning. That's why it's called a "life cycle" and not a "life timeline". The end of the cycle is when you start over.

      So to me, if you say that a piece of software is "at the end of its life cycle", I read that as, "This software is complete. Time to start working on the next version."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Your interpretation of "life cycle" is entirely reasonable, but it's not what MBA types mean when they use the phrase. Business schools teach all kinds of subtle warping of the language (any language: English, Russian, whatever.) The bizspeak meaning of "at the end of its life cycle" is "this is Old And Busted and we can't make any money off it -- check out our New Hotness!"

    • If we've now got to the point where Linux (and windows, too by the look of it) are really just in maintenance mode: with all the features pretty much in place and mere "tick-over" releases to fix a few bugs and support new hardware - where do we go from here?

      Will our desktops look the same in 20 years time as they do now (and did, to a large extent 20 years ago - certainly for windows). Will we still be running x86-based hardware - albeit with solid-state mass storage instead of spinning stuff? If so, the

  • Cool Story, Bro (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rakuen (1230808) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:20PM (#34270126) Homepage
    I'm not one of those people who mindlessly bashes on Microsoft for being Microsoft. But what I see here is the president of a Microsoft branch saying one of their competitors is dying. Specifically a competitor for, essentially, a government contract.

    In other news, water is wet.
  • by stagg (1606187) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:20PM (#34270142)
    Well, the president of Microsoft Russia should be a reliable, trustworthy source for this kind of analysis, right? Right?
  • by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:23PM (#34270192) Journal

    PinkOS.

  • Google Translate (Score:5, Informative)

    by kwabbles (259554) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:23PM (#34270202)

    "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle."

    could also be:
    "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is deprecated"
    "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is obsolete"
    "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is old fashioned"

    Does anyone have the exact translation for what the guy really meant or just a Google translation.

    Also, of course it's off-the-cuff. A Microsoft guy saying nothing more than "Linux is [i]x[/i]" with nothing more to back up the statement or shed more light on it.

    This is news?

    • by TurtleBay (1942166) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:29PM (#34270296)
      I have to second this. My girlfriend is trilingual and is a professional translator. She jokes with her coworkers at how bad online automated translations are. Take a look at funnytranslator.com. After 30 online translations the phrase: "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle." becomes: "The Linux Caozuojitong what life in Russia, you know."
      • by LifesABeach (234436) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:56PM (#34270776)
        After listening to Nikolai's comments, a more accurate translation turned out to be, "If 'I' use Linux, 'I' will be at the end of 'My' Life-Cycle." It's a common translation mistake.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

        Take a look at funnytranslator.com. After 30 online translations the phrase: "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle." becomes: "The Linux Caozuojitong what life in Russia, you know.

        Your girlfriend should know better than to evaluate a translation system based on a series of repeated translations.

        Translation, whether it is done by a human or a machine, always involves trade-offs. One of the most important trade-offs is between fluency and faithfuln

    • by windcask (1795642) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:33PM (#34270360) Homepage Journal

      He could also be saying "We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS, and moreover, is the ass of a living bicycle."

      or

      "Die, capitalist pig."

    • by sheehaje (240093) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:55PM (#34270762)

      "This is news?"

      It has the words Linux, Microsoft, and Russia in it. News? This to Slashdot is like the Ark of the Covenant is to religion.

    • by PaulBu (473180) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:15PM (#34271094) Homepage

      Yes, he did literally say "end of life cycle". Most probably because in modern Russian corporate-speak expressions and terms like this are direct translations from English (in the same way 300 to 100 years ago they were borrowed from French :) ).

      Paul B.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have no trouble believing that the translation is accurate, because it sounds exactly like the kind of thing you'd expect an English-speaking Microsoft exec to say. Bizspeak is a universal language: MBAs around the world spout the same meaningless crap no matter what language it sounds like they're speaking.

  • Just Days After.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:24PM (#34270226)

    ...Steve Ballmer said that (paraphrasing) Linux is what all our competitors use

    This was in response to a question by their stockholders about the possibility of breaking the company up

    http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/11/ballmer-and-gates-heres-why-were.html [techflash.com]

    Divesting something only means creating a harder time competing for all relevant parties . The operating systems that are popular on clients also tend to be popular on servers. They're all based around Linux technology. We happen to build our server business on Windows technology. It creates dis-synergy in fact to split our server and enterprise business from our client business.

  • Oh come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jethro (14165) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#34270232) Homepage

    Really, this is the kind of remark best ignored rather than obsessing or getting upset over. Company execs talk nonsense all the time. I mean what do you expect him to day "Oh dear, this new OS will cut into our sales, as Linux has been doing and will continue doing for the foreseeable future"? Didn't think so.

    Let him talk, just nod politely and continue compiling your kernel.

  • Russian OS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gregthebunny (1502041) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:26PM (#34270242) Journal

    Linux is not a Russian OS

    Neither is Windows! I don't see the relevance of that statement.

  • Russian OS.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:26PM (#34270256) Homepage

    Windows is not a Russian OS either... I'm not aware of any OS which has been developed from scratch in Russia.

    Linux at least comes with source code allowing the Russians to customise it however they wish. Windows doesn't provide that flexibility.

  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealGrogan (1660825) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:14PM (#34271068)

    Most of these Microsoft people believe their own FUD. They'll argue that the sun is the moon to discredit alternatives. One of the best that I've heard from someone I used to think highly of is that "Windows has far more security mechanisms in place than Unix"

    I think that part of the driving force for the attitude among Microsoft enthusiasts is that they are scared of change. They are happy in their safe little world (safe, in terms of job security etc.) and it makes them angry that better systems exist and people are taking an interest in them.

    Note that I'm an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solitaire Engineer) but please don't hold that against me :-)

    • Re:Bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:33PM (#34271416) Homepage
      There's also the infatuation people have with wealth and power. Microsoft infuses everything with vast hype and very expensive, flashy, and overwhelming marketing, and most people are hopelessly dazzled by it. Bill Gates is or was Forbes' richest man for years, and people fall into an emotional transference trap by concluding that this makes him some kind of a wise sage who can do no wrong, and the magic is generalized to everything he touches. It is superstition and tribalism deep within our subconscious pulled back out with the most powerful force known to man: money.

      It is sad, it is pathetic, it is moronic, it is self-destructive, but it is.
  • by ElmoGonzo (627753) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @01:15PM (#34271080)
    This guy is the "president of Microsoft Russia". Does anyone think that he's going to say anything positive about Linux?

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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