Posted Mar 23, 2007 11:46 UTC (Fri) by man_ls
In reply to: GNU/Busybox ?!?
Parent article: The road to freedom in the embedded world
Who _I_ am (I'm not nigelk but he was responding to my message) is among
other things, a computer historian (see http://landley.net/history/mirror
for some random snapshots of research materials).
You consider yourself a historian? Then maybe you should set your academic standards a bit higher. Random examples from your earlier messages:
Back in the 1970's there _was_ no proprietary software market to speak
In 1978 Microsoft had 11 employees
, all doing proprietary software. It was the year when WordStar
was published, and VisiCalc
was soon to follow. But this is just in the microcomputer area; a fledging 1970s market saw the birth of such companies as Compuware (1973)
, Computer Associates (1976)
, SAS Institute (also 1976)
or Oracle Corporation (as SDL, 1977)
; meanwhile Software AG
had been founded in 1969 in Germany; and in 1972 in the US. I would hardly call that "no proprietary software market".
Micro-soft was one of the first, and they were a
shoestring operation with three employees, one of which was part time and
one of which had a day job at HP.
As someone has pointed out, Microsoft had no HP employees
. Paul Allen
used to work for Honeywell, Bill Gates dropped out of school. You are confusing Microsoft with Apple.
The _very_ first might have been
Digital Research, which was a one-man operation Gary Kildall ran out of
his living room to make and sell CP/M for the very first commodity
hardware platform, the S/100 Altair clones.
DRI was hardly the first; by 1974 (the year DRI
was founded) several companies were successfully selling business software. By 1980 Apple had 1000 employees
, while Digital Research had more than 200. It never was a "one man operation"; from the start (1974) his wife was an integral part of the company.
AT&T didn't try to
commercialize Unix until 1983, by which time it was about as old as Linux
According to Levenez
, by 1983 there were already several commercial Unix variants, including Microsoft's Xenix and HP-UX. Presumably AT&T were making money from it, which counts as "commercializing" IMHO.
marginalized because he hasn't done anything new for 15 years.
Stallman has been marginalized? Well, I guess that going around the world speaking about Free Software in various public (e.g. the European Commission
) and private venues, and publishing books and articles all around doesn't count. Meanwhile his GNU project has started subprojects such as the GIMP or GNOME, and his GPLv3 committees have brought together most companies involved in Free Software from around the world. Not bad for a marginal character.
And the first complete reimplementation of Unix
(BSD, again predating the GNU manifesto) still has several forks active
As has been mentioned before, not true: Coherent and a few other independent variants existed before BSD itself was independent.
The big advance in open development in 1984 was the invention of the
program "patch", which was done by Larry Wall (who went on to invent
Perl). What Stallman had was an FTP site donated by MIT, back when that
was hard to get, so lots of people like Wall signed up to get distribution
on ftp://athena.ai.mit.edu. Stallman claimed credit for this code but he
had nothing to do with it, he was running the sourceforge of his day.
I have just downloaded a fresh copy of patch and there is a very clear explanation of the roles of Larry Wall and the FSF. Without an explicit reference it is impossible to check your statement.
When FTP space became easier to get (cdrom.com and sunsite were both
pretty active by the early 90's) the GNU project faded into well-deserved
obscurity because they couldn't browbeat people into putting up with
Stallman as a condition of getting distribution for their code anymore.
I'm not sure "well-deserved obscurity" describes particularly well their past or current status. By the time I got acquainted with Solaris in 2000, the first thing everyone did to accomplish anything useful was to download several GNU packages such as Bash or GNU tar; not to speak about GCC. I am certain that GNU's popularity was not because it provided "FTP space".
important projects the FSF once maintained all stagnated and forked,
gcc->egcs (and the name was handed over with gcc 2.95), glibc->glibc2 (and
Ulrich Drepper who forked it and still maintains the fork was kinda pissed
when the FSF tried to muscle back in on it:
has not stagnated; it is currently past its 4.0 release and moving along nicely, having been redesigned several times since the fork you mention. Similarly GlibC: the differences you mention have been put aside and development seems to move along. Many other GNU projects (such as the aforementioned GNOME or the GIMP) are moving along at constant speed. Your statement is so biased that it is hard to find any GNU packages which have actually languished or stagnated because of political differences, any more than e.g. your ex-project Busybox.
I could go on. Unverifiable and biased statements are not (or should not be) the modus operandi for a historian. You write well, but your foundations are really too shaky. Please verify your statements before posting them in public; even a few trips to the Wikipedia can save a lot of embarrassment later.
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