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Talking with Matt Welsh 50

Norm J writes "Linuxcare is running an interview with Matt Welsh, author of Running Linux, 3rd edition- it's a great read. " Matt continues to display a staggering amount of good humour and intelligence.
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Talking with Matt Welsh

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  • It's people like Matt Welsh that make linux what it is.

    Look at the guy!! He's kicking ass all over the place, getting things done, pushing code, working on a Ph.D, he started the LDP, etc. etc. etc

    Self starting motivated people who apparently are able to squeeze 50 hours out of every day get things done and make linux the kick ass system that it is. Sometimes there is infighting, (not necessarily with Matt Welsh) sometimes there is arguing, but it is people like RMS, ESR, Torvalds, Welsh, and so on that keep things going in the long run.

    A proposal: Canonization in the linux community requres public knowledge of your middle name so we can make you into a three letter acronym. I propose that we find out Matt Welsh's middle name so we can call him M$MIDDLE_INITIALW :)

  • Does any one out there really use Gnome or KDE? WM is my favorite, I'm tiredof start menu's (This also includes stylized "K"'s and "little feet")

    Nope, not me--I alternate between Window Maker and Black Box. Both GNOME and KDE are just too much for me. Plus, I hate icons on the desktop.


  • Why can't we all just, like, love one another and stuff? Peace and harmony is what I'm all about

    But can we make a Beowolf Cluster out of peace and harmony? :-)

  • This guy [] seems to hang out with a better class of people, rather than the bizarre and unsavoury characters I've seen Matt hanging around with.
  • I installed linuxPPC on somebody's iMac earlier this year at an installfest. There's some real perverse pleasure in making those silly things boot Unix :) After some initial difficulties (which I don't remember too well) the install went quite smoothly, even getting X running. The mouse worked fine, so I guess the USB support is decent. However, upon starting X, the keyboard sort of stopped working--it was like it got remapped randomly. That was fun. I never heard back from him, but I would assume that something like that would be fixed by now...
  • by dlc ( 41988 )

    The LDP is one of the best projects out there, and definitely one of the most useful. Did anyone else get their start with Linux and Slackware (1.2 kernel!) from Running Linux, like I did? I remember it well--my brother had a copy in his room, and it looked interesting. I had never heard of Linux, but had been using Unix for a while, so I tried it out, and loved it. Couldn't get it to connect to my ISP though... until I read the PPP Howto from the LDP

    Even in this day and age where Linux books are coming out of every publishing house, the LDP is still the first place I go for information. Thanks to Matt for getting it started and thanks to everyone who has helped make the LDP what it is.


  • >>Why can't we all just, like, love one another and stuff?

    Like, because some of us like to be cranky.
    And stuff.

    >>Peace and harmony is what I'm all about~

    That's nice, but what about the turgidity and dissonance contingent? Were people, too!!

  • It's MDW. You obviously weren't reading back in the glory days.
  • It's probably a transcript of a conversation. Blame the transcriptor.
  • The story mentions the following:

    "I am sure that we have all heard about the classic debate between Tannenbaum and Linus Torvalds about Linux being "no good." "

    Does anyone have a link to that or more info on it?
    I learned a lot of my OS theory based on Tannenbaum's work and would be fascinated by his views on Linux.

  • I have it, but can't for the life of me find the URL. I've stuck it on my site, !Xinul [], if you're still interested. Look for "a blast from the past".
  • When I got the 2nd edition of Running Linux, I was still running the friggin' Yggdrassil distro on a 486 that dual-booted to Win3.1. Yggdrassil, fer chrissakes.

    The 2nd Edition is so out of date that I've had to recommend those sad Que and SAMS books to newcomers. At least they're aware of most of the newer apps and nifty admin tools that have come along during the last few years. Enough of that. Viva the Third Edition. It'll be nice to have a modern book that isn't shovelware and isn't tied to one version of one distro.
  • Heh. I never met him in person, but I've heard stories, he went to my high school (years before I did). Actually, a lot of people in that class ended up working on Linux... I guess it was cheaper than AIX and SunOS and cooler than VAX/VMS, which were some of the other systems at the time...
  • Here's a link to Nemesis [].

    It's a "toy" system in the sense that you'd be insane to attempt to deploy it in a real-world situation. However, it's a very useful base for operating systems research, and even though it's five years old it still supports things that I've never seen on any other operating system.

    Nemesis has a number of deficiencies which result from "interesting" design decisions, particularly (in my opinion) its inability to support confinement. I'm attempting to correct these, yet still retain many of Nemesis' good points, in my new operating system Mimesis.

  • The usenet posts are published as Appendix A [] of ``Open Sources'' [] from O'Reilly. An interesting debate between Tannenbaum (who thinks that micro-kernel OSs are The One True Way), Linus (who mainly agrees, but is more pragmatic about things), and others (guest appearances from Ken Thompson). It's a good read, and the place where I learnt LBT's middle initial :) Stephen
  • Yes, I would absolutely recommend it to people starting with Linux. It is well-written, entertaining and just detailled enough for the beginner who wants to learn a bit while getting things working.
  • I love that guy! What a whacko!

    Bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh, bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh!
  • It's good to see deserving people get recognition. And their publicity greatly benefits linux's development.
  • That has got to be THE most technical interview I have ever read. Kindof weird how they bounce back and fourth between talking about issues of interprocess communication and shared memory in a beowulf cluster and "What are your plans for ____?"
  • Wow, this is really great. I just have two questions: 1. Does anyone know how good the support for the iMac is. I know that USB support is in the works, but how reliable is it? How well would an iMac install go? 2. Now that we have this wonderful PPC distrobution, does someone know of a good place to get PPC hardware? Are those motherboards ever going to come? I hope that in the futer PPC, Alpha, and perhaps even Sparc systems will become much more mainstream. It would be great to pick which processor you want to run and not have to worry about incompatabilities.
  • I am constantly amazed at how the best and brightest are always attracted to Linux. Linux seems to be a results oriented phenonenah (SP?) rather than a "you won't believe what we have coming out soon" kind of thing. Every day I find another good reason to give MS the finger :-) Today is no exception...
  • Matt Welsh is my hero! (Score:)
    by BSD_Beck [mailto] (beckat7thdesigndotcom) on Monday September 13, @14:12 EDT ( # [])
    (User Info []) []

    I love that guy! What a whacko!

    It is actually a bit weird watching a guy calling himself "BSD_Beck" worshipping a CS guy from Berkely who wrote a B.. er Linux book. :-)

  • Lawyers argue that pointing to the HOWTOs from one's book equates to collusion.

    "People shouldn't be allowed to get together like that. It's unfair," a Wintel spokesperson said.
  • Hey, man ... any dude from Berkely is cool with me! Why can't we all just, like, love one another and stuff? Peace and harmony is what I'm all about~

    Bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh, bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh!
  • I love interviewers who are intelligent about things and not just reading questions somebody else wrote down for them. This person has pretty much been the first exposure to anything to do with Linuxcare (except those badass recovery CD-business cards they gave out at Linuxworld) and I have much respect for them now. On a related note, Charlie Rose is another person who gives really good interviews and if you can catch his show on PBS I'd really recommend it.
  • It's another of those irregular verbs:

    "My site is slow becuse of it's popularity"
    "Your site is slow because of design flaws"
    "His site is /.ed for the forseeable future"

    Watch "Yes, Minister" for further examples (If the BBC have exported it yet)
  • Yup. It's the brainpower that's so exciting. Go to a Linux User's Group meeting, or to any Linux gathering, and you'll be floored. The people who write the code are so f***ing smart it's amazing. I'm intimidated to contribute code to Open SOurce projects as a result... I don't know if I could write anything as well as some of the gurus out there.

    If you like to spend time around intelligent people, Linux and Open SOurce are the places to be.

    If not, there's McDonald's. And Microsoft. And (most) corporate IT.
  • I'm so glad to see an interview with Matt Welsh. LinuxCare picked a great subject. He has always impressed me. I'm also impressed with how normal he seems in person (and what a cutie!). At least when I met him he was. Which is not to say most geeks aren't normal (autism aside).

    He's also such a great writer. Its good to see o'reilly finally got around to publishing the 3rd edition.

  • 150,000 copies of Running Linux sold! It's great to see that people who cared (and contributed to) Linux for a bunch of reasons besides money are doing pretty well in that department too.

    Lots of the luminaries of the free software world have enough cash or cachet to work on whatever they think is most interesting. Definitely something for "World is getting better" side of the ledger.

    I really hope that this phenmenon persists. Amazing how this contradicts the knee-jerk reaction against free software -- "but programmers have to eat." Matt Welsh is eating well.
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @10:06AM (#1684626) Homepage
    Linux/BSD - WHAT do you want to DO today?

    I want to REBOOT!!!!
    Why do you think I run NT?
  • The 3rd edition kicks ass. Great for newbies, great for hackers. The 2nd ed was great. This is a classic. Put it there with the Camel, Java In A Nutshell (1st edition- the referee book), and the Armadillo. I got it last week, and it rocks.

    The 1st ed was how I first got Linux up on my box- and that was, of course Yggdrasil.

  • i actually dislike wm and like AfterStep. so there !
  • I just read the thread and I have to say that Andy Tannenbaum comes off as one huge jerk. Who the hell does he think he is with his smug condescension? Oh, he's some big, bad professor who's put together 3 OS's so he knows everything. Big fucking deal. Who the fuck is he to tell anyone that they would get an F because they disagreed with him on his theory about micro-kernel superiority? I'm glad Linus ripped him a new asshole. He needed another orifice to speak from.

    Oh, and I like the way he tried to kiss up to Linus with his little European brotherhood ploy. Andy, you may be from Europe but you are in no way related to Linus.

  • anyone noticed that they referred to a PBM instead of PVM ? Its parrallel Virtual machine you B there.
  • I know a fair amount about Nemesis, and my choice of words was poor. I meant toy in the "pet" sense of the word not in the pejorative. my bad.
  • So can we assume that at least six people read this before it went out? Could none of them spell?

    "...overhead gets so high that you loose any kind of advantage of the communications."

  • yeah. charlie rose also came out with an interview a while back in which scott mcnealy gets to bash m$..which was really good *fun* to watch. :)
    BTW, linuxcare also maintains kernel traffic if im not mistaken..thats the weekly write up on the messages in kernel mailing list..real good stuff.
  • I took a graduate operating systems court when I was at Berkeley, and Matt was one of my classmates.

    I had read his book and used linux for a while, but I never knew it was the same guy. We read a few papers about U-Net from Cornell, and I wondered who this pompous guy was that seemed to think he knew everything about U-net and the Cambridge toy OS (Nemesis). By the end of the semester I realized he was the Matt Welch who co-authored the papers. I didn't figure out until a year or so later that he was the same Linux guy.

    It's funny when you see the people who have made a difference in a normal setting. They really do stand out, and you are not always sure why. He is definitely a cool guy, and never once mentioned how cool he was. I don't think he ever alluded to what he had done unless the prof. asked him outright.

    As an aside, the prof. was Eric Brewer who started Inktomi. Another standout individual.

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.