Linux follows an open decision process, and you can fork it if you dont like it
Posted Oct 2, 2006 10:59 UTC (Mon) by mingo
In reply to: Linux follows a closed decision process
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
So now "Linux is an open decision process"? Excuse me, but I don't find the "join" or "vote" buttons on kernel.org.
It's called the /bin/cp command and it's very easy to do. You do:
cp linux-2.6.18.tar.bz2 my-forked-linux.tar.bz2
or if you have Git installed, do:
git clone git://kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git/ my-forked-linux/
Linus has no monopoly on Linux. You are free to fork Linux anytime. In fact _I myself_ have a fork of the Linux kernel currently, and if Linus doesnt take that code for abitrary reasons then i will keep that fork and it might grow into something larger. (this has not happened so far, so i'm using my fork not as a maintainance fork but as a technical fork, to keep my latest stuff available to testers)
Yes, ask Linus and he'll readily call himself a dictator because: he does not want people to trust him, he wants people to trust the result of his work - and people can walk away and continue the work if Linus messes up. Linus will also readily call himself a stupid moron, so what?
And yes, this basic, symmetric competitive pressure of a fork has forced Linus to stay sharp and honest during all these years. This is not just a theoretical possibility, there were specific instances in the past where Linus messed up and kernel developers showed discontent - but Linus adopted to those concerns and kept a hostile fork from happening. This same competitive pressure forced RMS off the maintainership of some GNU projects when others just forked his code and did a better job.
Now where can i fork the GPL 'next version' decision process and create the next version of the GPL myself, without the huge barrier of having to write 350 million lines of code from scratch or having to convince all the authors that they accept my license and relicense to it? (where the former is probably easier than the latter)
That basic lack of competitive pressure on RMS has allowed him to stay unchanged during all these years. He is now using the "or later version" and "similar in spirit" legal wildcards (that RMS has put there himself and which clauses contributors left in the COPYING file due to trust or due to laziness), to do something that no person on this planet can do: change the licensing dynamics of 350+ million lines of code. Without any competitive pressure whatsoever. The "openness" of this process would make Microsoft proud i think ;-)
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