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The Linux Identity Crisis 364

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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  • 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.
  • 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...

  • sensationalist (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:33AM (#20727301)
    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 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:Bah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Bastard ( 1143615 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:36AM (#20727329)
    Truly, this story should be tagged storminateacup.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:39AM (#20727361)
    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.

  • 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.
  • by kcokane ( 253536 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:41AM (#20727389) Homepage
    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) mismanagement
    in some layered, undocumented fork from network?

    Com'on guys, the field's 100 yards. No touchdown until
    the job's finished. We don't need another 'final coding
    left to end user' version of anything.
  • Re:another option (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:44AM (#20727419)
    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.
  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iiii ( 541004 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:46AM (#20727443) Homepage
    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.
  • 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 [] he's leaving linux kernal development?

    How did this make the /. front page?

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:52AM (#20727495) Homepage Journal
    Maybe. Maybe not. It depends.

    Either way, it doesn't matter and we win. If the kernel doesn't fork, then probably some kind of compromise has been reached that brings the best of both worlds. If the kernel does fork, we get two independent projects, perhaps each geared at different requirements.

    This has happened before. Firefox started as a fork of Mozilla Seamonkey. The needs of embedded developers have spawned small Linux kernels like ELKS []. Ximian started as a GNOME fork that eventually was merged back in. Then there's egcs vs. gcc, and so forth...the list goes on and on.

    In the end, the community wins. We get better code, and in some cases, we get new projects that meet specialized needs.

  • 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 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 Millennium ( 2451 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:58AM (#20727559)
    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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:04AM (#20727611)
    Con Kolivas wrote some nice patches.

    No he didn't. He did huge uncommented patchsets, and refused to break them down as is required by the kernel maintainers when introducing something large and invasive. He then prattled on about mathematical proof of why his code should be accepted as is - a proof that no one could actually follow; he refuses to discuss code - the language the kernel developers understand, and has a tendency to avoid specific questions when asked something direct. All he's been doing is throwing his rattle out the pram, and stomping up and down about getting some credit, which he's been given multiple times.

    If he has something worthwhile, he's lost all credibility with those that matter. If you can't work with people, you won't get far with linux developers.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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, [] 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 [] in an attempt to further bolster its market dominant position.

    I, for one, do not welcome our FUD-spewing, bad-software-making overlords.
  • 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 [] 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! []

    -mcgrew []
  • 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.
  • 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 WED Fan ( 911325 ) <> on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:51AM (#20728139) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why this was tagged as FUD. For those that can't stand the light of truth, they may strike out with such a tag, but the truth remains.

    The only way to take down Microsoft, or make them improve their ways is through serious competition. And, I means s e r i o u s.

    In it's current form, the geeky-nerdy-rebel OS that can't decide if it wants to be a server or desktop or embedded or social change harbinger cannot be that serious competition.

    Current legal action cannot change Microsoft. Nor should it. In a capitalist system, the market is going to have to do that. And that empowers people. Always has. But, first, you have to offer the alternative.

    The efforts should be, and this could cause a certain amount of forking:

    • Mainstream a Linux desktop, and by mainstreaming, I mean make it commercial. Make it so Joe Notageek, and his grandmother, can install it with less clicks than it takes to install Windows. Provide apps for it.
    • Mainstream a Linux server. Yes, I know there a lots out there, but again, only a few companies are really commercial. This is probably where Linux is most strong.
    • Not a Linux problem, but a parallel issue: Mainstream Linux apps. The killers are office and games, then accounting, then graphics. Open Office is quaint, but users still want MS. If the new commercial Linux Desktop seriously competes with MS, MS will start an Office Linux version. AND, game developers will create games for it that don't suck. Creating an auto-WINE that will allow a user to load existing Windows apps in Linux would help. Getting the industry to create a logo for Windows apps that are compatable under a WINE or other emu system would be great.

    The point is, make the consumer, a.k.a. Joe Notageek feel comfortable that it is easy to use, that he can buy applications for it at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or Amazon.

    The current Linux culture responds with a few old gems:

    • Linux is a server and isn't meant to be mainstream (if this is so, then you are already resigned to MS dominance).
    • We don't want Joe Notageek to use it.
    • We don't want it to be commercial, capitalism is evil.
    • But, if we beat MS, who will be rant and rave about?
    • If Joe Notageek is to use it, we'll have to write better documentation that a consumer can read, and I may have to start using standards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:58AM (#20728235)
    Indeed, there's really not much of a problem to fork the kernel or maintain a patch set exactly like Con did. So, have you considered that maybe, there's simply noone with technical knowledge that think it's worth it? This "desktop is not a priority in the core Linux kernel!!1" feels like mostly pure FUD.

    Con did great things, and it's sad that he left the kernel development. But according to what I've seen CFS _is_ better than SD. Should they have just accepted SD anyway to not hurt anyones feelings?
  • by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:06AM (#20728309) Homepage Journal

    Make it so Joe Notageek, and his grandmother, can install it with less clicks than it takes to install Windows.
    What zero clicks? Most people use pre-installed operating systems. If they are installing it themselves, have you counted the clicks? Linux is pretty easy to install.

    Mainstream a Linux server. Yes, I know there a lots out there, but again, only a few companies are really commercial
    Almost every major server vendor will sell you server with Linux installed and supported. How much more mainstream do you want?

    Open Office is quaint, but users still want MS
    A matter of branding rather than suer needs. This is a problem to be solvedby marketing. I have no idea what you mean by "quaint". Open Office does its job perfectly well.

    The current Linux culture responds with a few old gems
    By "current Linux culture" you mean a tiny minority of idiotic Slashdot posters. can you find any major distro or OSS project leader who would endorse any of that.

    I do not consider myself a nerd of geek. I use Linux because it works for me, because I avoid vendor lock in, because it is easier to admin and secure.

  • 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.

  • 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 drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:09AM (#20728341)

    Mainstream a Linux desktop, and by mainstreaming, I mean make it commercial. Make it so Joe Notageek, and his grandmother, can install it with less clicks than it takes to install Windows. Provide apps for it.

    This is a vastly overblown issue. Normal people don't install OSes. Normal people don't even understand what an OS is. They buy computers, not OSes.

    This is the biggest difference between Joe Average, and geeks. To a geek, a computer is a collection of (mostly replaceable) components. To Joe Average, it's an appliance like his microwave, iPod or DVD player. How many people do you know who upgrade the coil in their microwave ?

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @10:11AM (#20728371)
    You should check out 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.

  • 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:My Vote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmack ( 197796 ) <.ten.erifrenni. .ta. .kcamg.> 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.

  • 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 dumb_jedi ( 955432 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:01AM (#20729117)
    I find it amazing that people that can't understand the different between source and compiled code come talking about the linux kernel and how it should be split, forked, etc. Maybe we should lock Linus an Kolivas in a dark room, each one armed with a knife, and let them decide in the good old fashioned way what's best for the kernel. This is a slightly better solution then forking the kernel.
    First, Kolivas is free to create a kernel for him, just setup his GIT server and he's done. That's what *free* software means. And *ANY* distro is free to use his kernel.
    Second, what's all the fuss about the scheduler ? Damm, it works FINE, Linux's problem is NOT the scheduler. It's the lack of some basic features, like MP3 playing, AVI playing, etc. Yeah, I KNOW that this is because of commercial rights and such, but the average user doesn't and doesn't care. Computers are supposed to work out-of-the-box, if it doesn't then it's broken.
    Third, what's the point of forking the kernel ? Just compile it with the right options and you're set. The source code can contain dozens of different schedulers, you use the one best for you. Discutions like this **ARE ** FUD and I think Linus must find all this very amusing, because it's a buch of people wasting energy in a non-issue.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @12:35PM (#20730435) Homepage 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...
  • Re:ZDNet? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday September 24, 2007 @01:06PM (#20730987) Journal
    The problem is that not only does it betray some ignorance of Linux kernel development, but it betrays a pretty intense ignorant of software development in general. As I said, you get a team, or with a really big project like a kernel, teams of programmers working on various components, sometimes in competition, sometimes competing on how things will fit together, and you get politics. I don't care whether it's the Linux kernel, Windows, OSX or QuickBooks, that's the way these things work.

    It's almost made-up news. Yes, there are some conflicts and to some extent some long-standing issues, but all in all, kernel development is what it was since Linus released the thing into the open sea.

    If you want to see conflicts, I'd wager a year ago when Microsoft started axing things so that Vista could be released before the Sun ran out of fuel was a period of very intense feelings by many of Redmond's developer groups.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears