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Linux Software

Linux Turns 17 Today 285

Meshach writes "Over at the Linux Journal, Doc Searles is noting that today marks 17 years since Linus posted to Usenet, starting Linux (post). As a Linux user at work and at home I say, thanks Linus!" The anniversary is also featured on the top page of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Linux Turns 17 Today

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  • Re:Poor Quality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikesd81 ( 518581 ) <> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:21PM (#25269071) Homepage
    I don't think it was meant to be a history lesson. If you're looking at the fact linux is 17 today, then you know what linux is. I kinda think, and this isn't one of Doc's better articles, it's saying where Linux is now at the moment and where it may go?
  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:24PM (#25269095)

    and STILL IS to those who know what it really means.

    No, it really isn't. The old usage of the word has been eclipsed at this point. Not fair, but nothing you can do about it either. Insisting that "hacker" is still a positive label is needlessly muddying the language at this point.

  • by dragonturtle69 ( 1002892 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:30PM (#25269141)

    This is partially related to Linux's slow adoption rate, the "Hacker" stereotype presented in movies and such. If "Hacker" was portrayed accurately as similar to say "Skilled Mechanic", would Linux have more adoption? A Hacker being the one who helps get more from the hardware/software like a skilled mechanic getting you 5 MPG more than stock, and a cracker (not mentioned due to USA racial concerns?) being the one who takes your car on joy rides and brings it back beat up.

    I think that the true hackers need to new group moniker, something that we'll get and Hollywood will not touch.

    Many thanks to Torvolds for the initial release and every DEVHEAD since then who has contributed code, bug reports, or word of mouth advertising.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:35PM (#25269181)

    Not only that, but it was a negative term before, too.

    A "hack" is an ugly thrown-together bit of code that is used because "it works" rather than coming up with a proper solution. A "hacker" is someone who largely produces this low quality, but mostly functional code.

    I usually stay quiet when all these people insist that they are "hackers" since, by and large, I agree with them (based on the above definition).

    And, this goes right along with the "It is currently meant for hackers", because at the beginning of a proof-of-concept project, "just works" is good enough; it will get reworked later.

    Now, I will agree with them that it shouldn't be used to describe a "cracker" or "black hat", although they are largely "hackers" as well.

    Now, get off my lawn, damn it!

  • by Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:42PM (#25269207) Journal

    Open Source is full of guys with huge egos, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't see any difference between Linus and say, RMS.

    Then again, at least Linus is a good coder...

  • by zkiwi34 ( 974563 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:50PM (#25269249)
    I'd say he (Linus) is far far more humble than Gates, Ballmer, Ellison et al. In fact, I should add that I rather think RMS is shy and retiring compared to those guys.
  • by saleenS281 ( 859657 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:52PM (#25269257) Homepage
    Ya frigging Stallman. While he may be a bit off his rocker... he only created the license Linux currently uses, as well as the compiler it was created with. Other than that, a COMPLETE hackjob.

    Or did you conveniently forget that it's GNU/Linux? Without Stallman you likely wouldn't have Linux at all.
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:02PM (#25269307)

    No, but you could still have Free/Net/Open BSD, though. So what, really, would be the loss?

    Of course, gcc is really the engine that makes all our worlds revolve these days.

  • Re:also: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:04PM (#25269319)
    "First failed attempt" implies nothing about a later successful attempt. It just points out that you need an ordinal to tell which of the many failed attempts was meant.
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:44PM (#25269575) Journal

    Mod down? No. But there's an important distinction: to get technical excellence, you have to have some way to filter out technical mediocrity. Therefore, in an environment demanding technical excellence, those who are technically mediocre will feel slighted and rejected.

    Building excellence is not about "feeling good", a bunch of hairy hippies sitting around in Buddha style kumbaya. It's about building excellence, and it's not always pretty.

    Linus is very forward and very direct; a display of the confidence that comes from years of proven experience producing and overseeing real, valuable excellence. He's OK with stating his opinion very openly and succinctly, confident that if his ideas are wrong, they'll be picked apart ruthlessly and publicly.

    Linus has done an amazing job of coordinating an insane amount of information in one of the largest, most complex, and most distributed project ever attempted by mankind. And he accepts that his ideas are only valuable if they are RIGHT by the standards of excellence.

    I don't care if he is "polite", he is an amazing fellow simply because he's OK with being wrong, and puts his ego in 2nd place after technical excellence!

    This is the hallmark of good science and good engineering: when who has the right answer is less important than what's the right answer!

    Hugs to Linus!

  • Re:Age of Consent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:48AM (#25270129)

    It wasn't... until you MENTIONED IT!

    Aaahh... a thousand years of darkness....! ;)

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:56AM (#25270175)

    I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be
    out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows), and I've already got

    This brings tears to my eyes...
    I didn't know, that Hurd was already in development back than...
    And 17 years later... it's still not done...
    Even the Firefox spell checker does not know it... It recommends "Turd". *lol*
    Hey, it does not know "Firefox" too. Oh well...

    Think of what happened if Linus had waited* for Hurd instead...

    [* Is that correct English? It's not my first language... I don't know...)

  • by orzetto ( 545509 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:33AM (#25270757)

    No, but you could still have Free/Net/Open BSD, though. So what, really, would be the loss?

    A lot of Linux development is done by companies such as IBM and many others. They contribute back only because the GPL says it's the only way to play. Had it been BSD, they would rather keep their drivers (as they do in Windows), and distribute them with their hardware—it would be a binary blob nightmare. There are indeed binary blobs for Linux, but are more the exception than the rule.

    Without the GPL, engineers cannot justify giving back code done on company time in front of their employers. Sure, BSD would be there, but would be nowhere as successful as Linux.

    A lot of BSD developers are nice people, willing to give their work for nothing in return (no irony nor paternalism intended here; it's a good character trait); however, there are far more cheapskates around than white knights in shining armour.

  • by ZarathustraDK ( 1291688 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:18AM (#25271159)
    Which is why RMS complements him very well. It is not about liking one guy over the other, or having the whole debate about who is the best.

    Those 2 guys are the sword and shield Linux, one without the other makes no sense. Yes, I could see Linus aiming for some approximation of free software, but not with the fervor or excellence that RMS has done it. Yes I can see RMS making some software in accordance with his beliefs about free software, would it be Linux? No, I do not think so.

    A bit of a badly applied Einstein quote here, but you get the meaning :

    Religion without Science is blind.
    Science without Religion is lame.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:43AM (#25271491) Homepage

    Linus is very forward and very direct; a display of the confidence that comes from years of proven experience producing and overseeing real, valuable excellence. He's OK with stating his opinion very openly and succinctly, confident that if his ideas are wrong, they'll be picked apart ruthlessly and publicly.

    Oh please, I've seen enough of his posts to know he can be plain old rude and at times borderline insulting, at least to be a mailing list smackdown. On the other hand, those on the recieving end have mostly deserved it like blatantly ignoring the release process and what's acceptable patches for an RC. And he takes it in good stride when people he does get "picked apart ruthlessly and publicly", though it doesn't happen often. You can dismiss technical mediocracy with a little more tact, but all in all it's better that he's right and rude than wrong and courteous.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis