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March 21, 2002
From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Kernel compile times Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 17:40:12 +0000 On the LWN kernel page, you say: >Compiling a kernel in 23 seconds isn't bad - it looks like a record. You then explain how Anton Blanchard rose to the challenge and achieved a 10.3 second kernel compile. What you didn't mention was that he'd already broken the 23s mark some 18 months ago. On 26th September 2000, he posted a message to the Linux Kernel mailing list showing Linux booting on a 24 CPU Sun Ultra Entrprise E10000, and claiming a kernel compile in 20 seconds. So, a 100% increase in 18 months? Sounds like a perfect illustration of Moore's law to me :-) Tet
From: Biju Chacko <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Thinking with ones gonads Date: 14 Mar 2002 09:58:01 +0530 In lwn you wrote: > It is worth pondering, however, on why so many of us insisted on using > Linux systems in the early 90's, when it was still clearly inferior to > the numerous proprietary Unix systems that were available at the time. > Without a certain amount of "gonad thinking," Linux might not have > come so far so quickly. It's fairly simple, really. In the early '90s, when I started working with Linux, proprietary Unixes were just plain out of reach. Actually, as a penniless student in a third-world country, DOS was out of reach! I shudder to think of the sheer volume of piracy I commited at that time. Why did I use Linux in '94? Not for any political reason. It was UNIX and it was available. Why do I use Linux in '02? Ditto. With the bonus that in many areas it is superior to the competition. Remember, this is a technical field we're in ... making decisions based on politics/marketing/whatever is just asking for trouble. And *that* is the same mistake being made by both RMS and MS. -- Biju PS: The .sig is a coincidence -- but appropriate nevertheless. -- ------------------------------------------------- Biju Chacko | firstname.lastname@example.org (work) Exocore Consulting | email@example.com (play) Bangalore, India | http://www.exocore.com ------------------------------------------------- Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.
From: David Mackintosh <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Subject: "Gonads" vs practicality Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 11:13:19 -0500 (EST) Sir: With respect to your comments on Linux's history, specifically: > It is worth pondering, however, on why so many of us insisted on > using Linux systems in the early '90s [...] without a certain amount > of "gonad thinking", Linux might not have come so far so quickly. I would doubt that any kind of religion plays a significant part of selecting an operating system. The vast majority of linux users have different reasons for chosing to run this operating system. In general, before a user will consider selecting it for his needs, the OS must have evolved into at least one of two states: 1. The OS must be able to do something the user wants it to do; or 2. The OS is in a state where the user is capable of modifying it to do something they want it to do. For me, I needed a crash-resistant OS that I could afford. Linux fit "what I wanted it to do" and through perl, shell scripting, and some awful awful C code, I could "make it do what I wanted it to do" in a practical sense. Yes, OSF/1 and SunOS were far more capable at the time, but Linux fit my needs from an affordability perspective -- it cost $25 for a set of CDs and ran on the less-than-state-of-the-art equiptment I owned. I did not understand the GPL at the time, so "gonad thinking" played absolutely no roll in the decision. I think that the majority of the religious are involved with Linux because using a "counter-culture" operating system is seen to be against the mainline. With the exception of the truely sincere (such as Mr. Stallman) I think these people are useless as a core constituency, because they will flee Linux and the GPL as soon as it becomes mainstream in favor of something more "revolutionary". Perhaps this is where the Hurd's userbase will come from? -- /\oo/\ / /()\ \ David Mackintosh | firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Joe Klemmer <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: "gonad thinking" Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 16:38:09 -0500 (EST) -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 > It is worth pondering, however, on why so many of us insisted on using > Linux systems in the early 90's, when it was still clearly inferior to > the numerous proprietary Unix systems that were available at the time. > Without a certain amount of "gonad thinking," Linux might not have come > so far so quickly. FWIW, I think there's a difference of scale and/or perspective. When Linux came out there was no expectation of it being or doing real work. It wasn't needed to, nor desired for, something that actually did anything. BitKeeper, OTOH, is expected to perform a function that has some requirement for someone (specifically LKH'ers). But that's just my opinion. What do I know... - --- Using Linux since 11/91 | http://www.linux.org Linux user #29402 | http://counter.li.org/ Red Hat Linux | http://www.redhat.com -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux) Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org iD8DBQE8kRhGHeWRPx8OIHARAn2WAJ9ACa8cWyd5Kh6XQb0fUnKW2REDhgCdHF+x 6Vuw/7xOvXAwwD6Ps1HXZ94= =+tra -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
From: Zygo Blaxell <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Whoa there! Linux inferior to _which_ Unix systems in the early 90's? Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 23:22:04 -0500 >It is worth pondering, however, on why so many of us insisted on using >Linux systems in the early 90's, when it was still clearly inferior >to the numerous proprietary Unix systems that were available at the >time. Without a certain amount of "gonad thinking," Linux might not have >come so far so quickly. Whoa there...I have a few problems with that statement! Last time I checked, I was a Linux and proprietary Unix user in the early 90's. I was doing a fair amount of "gonad thinking" at that time in my life, but I certainly wasn't thinking about _software_ with those organs. Uhhh... maybe that's more than my fellow readers want to know. Anyway... First of all, the world is not all Unix--by 1993, there were many non-Unix operating systems for 386-class machines that were clearly inferior to Linux. Even if we compare Linux only to proprietary Unixes, I'm having difficulty recalling which proprietary Unix vendor had a product that Linux was "clearly inferior" to at the time. Each proprietary Unix vendor optimized their product for one (usually vertically integrated) niche market, and utterly ignored anyone else, so each proprietary Unix was good at one particular kind of application and bad at most others. Linux was not "clearly inferior" to contemporary Sun, HP, IBM, SGI, or SCO systems of the early 90's--I used a bit of all of those at the time, as well as Linux, and they all sucked more or less equally, especially if you wanted to run a mixture of many different applications. This lack of generality was part of the very reason why there were so many proprietary Unix vendors in the first place! People who were serious about working on a Unix system (as opposed to merely running a single application on it) in the early 90's routinely replaced as many of the bundled system components with third-party replacements as possible, using proprietary software if you had money, or GNU and other free (beer) software if you didn't. The major motivation for this was to have a layer of portable runtime to insulate you from the vendor's Unix taste, so you could develop software for multiple vendor platforms without going insane. By the mid 90's, there was very little practical difference between a proprietary Unix system that had been mostly hidden under a thick layer of third-party components, and a Linux system that didn't have any vendor-supplied components to start with. Oh, and a lot of this third-party software was free (speech) too. Wasn't that nice! -- Zygo Blaxell (Laptop) <email@example.com> GPG = D13D 6651 F446 9787 600B AD1E CCF3 6F93 2823 44AD
From: Eric Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: nore GPL confusion Date: 20 Mar 2002 22:20:45 -0000 Gentlemen, In your 20-Mar-2002 daily updates, you quote a Financial Times article as saying "the GPL can 'convert' proprietary software into open source software - since any company incorporating licensed code into its own software products is obliged to open up its code too." You do state that this worry is "overblown", and I agree. Developers should remember that using GPL'd code is a choice that is available to them, not a burden. If the terms of the GPL are not consistent with their intention to keep their software proprietary, they should not use the GPL'd code. No one is forcing them to do so. The have the OPTION of using GPL'd code IF they desire to AND they are willing to comply with the license. The way the Financial Times article was worded, it almost sounds like they think GPL'd code can somehow mysteriously sneak into another software package when the developers aren't looking. Unless the software developers are grossly incompetent, that's not going to happen. It is a legitimate concern that software developers must be aware of the licensing on any software that they merge into a product, but this is in no way specific to the GPL. Sincerely, Eric Smith
From: Leandro Guimar„es Faria Corsetti Dutra <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: The GNU HURD will be ready by the end of the year Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 14:30:04 +0100 First, you've taken RMS words off a much edited interview... not good for acuracy. Second, you got it all right about keeping proprietary software off the GNU system. Obviously RMS isn't talking about applications being able or not to run. He's talking about "Distributions of GNU/Linux", and obviously FSF's distribution of GNU, being based on Debian, won't include any proprietary software. About licensing, obviously GNU GPL libraries won't allow proprietary software. This is already the case with GNU libraries like readline and some Gnome ones, as well as with Troll Tech's Qt -- you have to get a different license to be able to distribute your application with Qt. On the other hand, applications usually don't talk to the kernel, they talk to libraries such as GNU libc, and most of these have been licensed under LGPL specifically to allow for proprietary applications. -- _ / \ Leandro Guimar„es Faria Corsetti Dutra +41 (21) 216 15 93 \ / http://homepage.mac.com./leandrod/ fax +41 (21) 216 19 04 X http://tutoriald.sf.net./ Orange Communications CH / \ Campanha fita ASCII, contra correio HTML +41 (21) 644 23 01
From: Jeroen Dekkers <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: The GNU Hurd Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 17:52:33 +0100 It's nice that you write something about the Hurd, but it would be better if you would have looked at the Hurd homepage, http://hurd.gnu.org, a bit better. To start with, you write it as "the Hurd", not capitalized like "HURD". See http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/faq.en.html#q1-2 for more information. Second, the Hurd isn't a kernel. It's a multi-server system running on a microkernel, Mach at the moment. In the future the Hurd will probably run on L4 (http://os.inf.tu-dresden.de/L4/ and http://www.l4ka.org) and other microkernels. There are plenty of reasons for producing the GNU system. One of the reasons is to give attention to the GNU project. GNU/Linux never did (at least not before RMS started with his GNU/Linux campaign) give much credit to GNU. (Just name LWN for example. Your article about the Hurd perfectly shows that it's misnamed). The GNU system will do. It also generates money if the FSF is going to sell cds with the GNU system. Money which will be spend to advocate and develop free software. You really misinterpretted RMS his reasons for creating the GNU system. He only says that he's looking forward to see the GNU system available because it will only contain free software. He didn't say anything about forbidding the user to install non-free software on it if that user doesn't care about his freedom. The following sentence doesn't make much sense to me either: "Thus, it seems unlikely that the HURD will mount a substantial challenge to the established free kernels anytime soon." And that's not only because it doesn't make much sense seeing it stand-alone, the potential of the Hurd is very big, but because the arguments before it. Why shouldn't it be able to challenge the existing free kernels because the GNU distribution doesn't contain non-free software? I'm not sure if you know that one of the most populair distributions, Debian, doesn't have non-free software in its main distribution. Debian works perfect without the non-free section and a lot of people I know have are running it without it. Proprietary software isn't necessary any longer. Debian also has a Hurd 'port', BTW. But what is actually the biggest reason? It's because of its technical superiority. Although the current implementation doesn't show it, the design of the Hurd and the ideas behind it really rock. And of course I get flamed about this by people who think microkernels suck. I'll just say that research proved that it's possible to make a good system based on a microkernel. It can be fast, for example. That there isn't a good system at the moment doesn't make it impossible. All flames based on FUD will go directly to /dev/null. The Hurd has many nice features. To give an example, you can run servers implementing file systems, network protocols, file access control, etc just as a normal user and debug it as a normal program. Any user can add things to the filesystem, for example mounting a directory on a ftp server in its home directory. All this is possible without special permissions. And all those things and more are possible because the Hurd is a multi-server system running on a microkernel. This is the reason why the Hurd is still developed and why the number of Hurd developers and users is increasing. It's nice that the Hurd is getting more usable. You would probably ask why the Hurd taked so long. The answer is simple: manpower. The Hurd only has a few developers and never had much in the past. The Hurd is a redesign of Unix, a redesign takes much more time than a reimplemention. That's why Linux was much easier to develop, they didn't have to think about the interfaces and the design. But one thing is sure: The Hurd isn't dead and the GNU system has a lot of potential to beat a lot of operating systems, even those much used proprietary ones. Jeroen Dekkers -- Jabber supporter - http://www.jabber.org Jabber ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Debian GNU supporter - http://www.debian.org http://www.gnu.org IRC: jeroen@openprojects
From: "Robert A. Knop Jr." <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: reverse FUD Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 13:13:11 -0600 It's striking that as the news of the zlib flaw gets out, what we're seeing is lots of patches from Linux and FreeBSD distributors, and at the same time realization by Microsoft that maybe this is their problem too. Yes, this flaw is a bit of a PR black mark for open source, but it is interesting to note the speed of response of the two different communities. There's another take on this too. Assuredly this security flaw is going to be a giant pain for Microsoft, if they have to patch all sorts of applications as a result. BUT, if zlib had been released under the GPL, Microsoft wouldn't have used it, and they wouldn't have this problem! So... Microsoft likes to go around saying that GPL "breaks the cycle" that they think ought to be present in the computer industry. But, really-- when somebody releases something under the GPL, they're just trying to protect you, Microsoft, so you won't be succeptible to its flaws! It's all done for your own good. Really. -Rob -- -=-=-= Rob Knop =-= email@example.com =-= http://www.pobox.com/~rknop =-=-=- Help the EFF protect basic freedoms online: http://www.eff.org Playwrights & theatre types, see The Dramatic Exchange: http://www.dramex.org
From: "David L. Craig" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: On Overstatement Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 16:37:18 -0500 In "Cal Senator: Hollywood Over Tech (Wired)," the abstract ends with "Yes, it's true: the U.S. government really wants to outlaw free software." Now, honestly, don't you think that is retractable nonsense? It is proper to attribute this to some members of Congress, but to the whole kit and kaboodle? These new bills are still in committee, after all. If you remember the U.S. electorate IS the U.S. government, you will see how overstated this was. In fact, I perceive it to be inflamatory and beneath the journalistic standards I have come to expect from your Web site. I beg you, fix this pronto. -- May the LORD God bless you abundantly! Dave Craig - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - "So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe." --Athor 77, formulator of the from _Nightfall_ Universal Theory of Gravitation by Asimov/Silverberg