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Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Licensing

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the factors-converge-to-define-reality dept.

Operating Systems 480

An anonymous reader points out an interesting, detailed interview with Andrew Tanenbaum at Linuxfr.org; Tanenbaum holds forth on the current state of MINIX, licensing decisions, and the real reason he believes that Linux caught on just when he "thought BSD was going to take over the world." ("I think Linux succeeded against BSD, which was a stable mature system at the time simply because BSDI got stuck in a lawsuit and was effectively stopped for several years.")

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This is getting old (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116106)

I've thought they've ended this flame war several years ago?
Well then, here we go, let the flaming commence...

Re:This is getting old (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116126)

It can't be helped; Andrew is right, Linus is wrong. Neither will give.

Re:This is getting old (2)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about 3 years ago | (#38116368)

Is BSD wasn't into that trouble, IBM and pretty much everybody else would take it for themselves and never give anything back to the community. For as much as I don't like to admit it, it was the gnu license which lead us here.

Re:This is getting old (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38116750)

Not really, *BSD was taking off and the Linux devs made liberal use of the FUD that resulted from the lawsuit to scare people off of *BSD. Linux itself, by Linus' own admission, probably wouldn't exist if he had had a copy before he started Linux.

The GPL itself has its utility but in all honesty, let's be honest about the effect that had on developers early on that weren't just hobbyists. The BSD license is one of the main reasons that the internet was able to grow so quickly despite MS not having a viable TCP/IP stack for its OS until late. That never would or could have happened with the GPL just because of the way it's written.

Re:This is getting old (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#38116948)

The whole lawsuit thing really isn't relevant.

The real problem with BSD as a mass movement has always been it's approach and management style. Blaming those old lawsuits are just a sort of "lost cause" excuse.

What really gave Linux the advantage was the cooperative development approach with "hobbyists". The chaos of multiple different versions that many people like to knock Linux for is precisely the advantage it had over BSD and probably still has. People fork Linux for their own reasons and make tweaks and improvements on it. Eventually those changes propagate to other distributions and the whole thing gets better.

It's the Cathedral and the Bazzar.

In my own case, Linux was simply the first Unix that supported the hardware I had at the time.

When Slackware botched the 2.0.0 release, it was nice that Redhat was there to help pick up the pieces.

Re:This is getting old (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#38117142)

In my own case, Linux was simply the first Unix that supported the hardware I had at the time.

And the BSD lawsuit delaying the distribution of the i386 versions of BSD by a few years had nothing to do with that...

How about cooperating? (0)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#38116416)

How about figuring out how to cooperate more and make all open source platforms work together better, and compete better with closed-source/commercial platforms. Silly to forget windows and mac, and fight against each other, freebsd vs netbsd vs openbsd vs bsdi vs redhat vs ubuntu vs debian. It would be wonderful for developers if some practical, less labor intensive, way were reached about how to make apps run on all platforms.

Re: One again IBM..... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116384)

GNU/Linux succeeded because IBM decided to contribute a BILLION dollars towards its development. Just a tactic in the war against INTEL & Microsoft. Offer a free operating system to the proles, and starve Microsoft of revenue. Oh, and lets not forget how IBM revived AMD from its near-death experience battling against INTELs illegal monopolistic practices, so now there is most likely a PowerPC Micro architecture in every AMD processor. Yet, APPLE has proven People are stupid and it's best to offer them very little if any choice.{Oh, it just works. Fuk you!}. Those Apple developers have fuk up GNOME, INTEL's will no longer be able to increase the performance of their processor by using a die-shrink, so the marketing department takes over by announce atom like performance is all you need, and ARM holdings thinks it can catchup to the performance of the atom processor by going to 32nm, and plastering B.S. all over the internet how great(shitty) ARM processor are.

Re: One again IBM..... (0, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#38116856)

Watch how quick honesty gets hatred Mr AC! I frankly wouldn't call EITHER Linux nor BSD a "success" when you are looking at numbers like these [statcounter.com] . hell if these numbers were from a company after TWENTY years of trying they'd be Chap 11 by now. No what Linux need extremely badly is a LEADER, someone with real vision and drive that will say "Ya know what? this is unacceptable. i'm not gonna accept 2%, hell I'm not gonna accept 5%. I'm not gonna quit until Ballmer and Cook are sitting at their desks looking at the numbers and thinking to themselves "WTF is this shit? How did THAT happen?" and Linux machines are in every damned store on the planet making both nervous as hell".

Like it or not there was a reason why guys like Gates, Jobs, and Ellison ended up on the top of the heap, and that was because they simply wouldn't settle. They would have never accepted numbers that low and then had articles written about their "success' they would have considered it a personal insult, found out what the competitors were doing to beat them, and then came out with something better and stomped the shit out of them.

As a retailer i'd love to see that day happen, i remember when there was a half a dozen different OSes and nearly as many CPUs to run them on, but that day will never get here if you continue on this path. Take that link and put in ANY date you want, you'll see the numbers are damned near flatline. Expecting the world to change and suddenly want to become geeker heavy and learn all about how the guts work just ain't gonna happen, see the iShiny or win 7 which your average 6 year old would probably have no problem running.

The way I see it there is really only two choices here, change or don't change. if you change and embrace consumers and give them what they want? You might seriously have a shot. you run faster on lower powered hardware, you don't force the user to get a new machine just to run the latest version and nobody else will be able to go lower even if you charged $5 for the OS it would still undercut anything MSFT has.

If you don't want to change that is your choice, then you'll just have to settle for a maximum of low single digits and the fact the vast majority of the planet is gonna ignore you. the OEMs, the retailers, and the users will all pretty much not care that you exist at all. but you can't eat your cake and have it too, because after 20 years the numbers clearly show you will never get the world to do things "your way" or act like you want them to. Business 101 give the customer something they want to buy and the numbers clearly show Linux hasn't done that, so I don't see how anybody can call less than 2% success. That is including the BSDs and other OSes BTW.

Re: One again IBM..... (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 years ago | (#38116988)

"Watch how quick honesty gets hatred Mr AC! I frankly wouldn't call EITHER Linux nor BSD a "success" when you are looking at numbers like these."

Honesty? From the GP post:

"Offer a free operating system to the proles, and starve Microsoft of revenue."

It is Microsoft that (effectively) offered a free operating system to the proles. More accurately, they force every desktop user who buys a PC to buy their OS, and if they want to use something else it is additional effort. So the "proles" use Windows because they already bought it, it is already installed, and they wouldn't know how to replace it even if they knew they had an option.

"I frankly wouldn't call EITHER Linux nor BSD a "success" when you are looking at numbers like these."

You mention IBM, and then go on to quote desktop user numbers. You can't possibly believe that IBM donated money to help improve the desktop user experience. Now go look up some real numbers, to wit the server numbers, and get back to me. On second thought, don't bother to get back to me. I accept your apology.

Frozen, I tells you (4, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about 3 years ago | (#38116128)

Wow,
he couldn't have pushed the "Linux succeeded because BSD had legal troubles" thing any harder
What was that? Three mentions of it?
I don't personally agree, I think Linux succeeded on it's own merit, but anyhow

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116318)

He comes off as a super-asshole in general. "I published a paper in 1978 on something very close to the Java Virtual Machine, but we never got much credit for it although we were years ahead of Sun. Such is life sometimes." Too bad it was just a paper. But the truth is that Smalltalk is the language which actually existed which deserves the credit that Java got technically, but it also went nowhere because it was neither packaged more marketed attractively. The state of documentation for Squeak is distressing. So, Java it is!

Tanenbaum is clearly grumpy about continually being asked questions about why Linux ate Minix's lunch, and he's very defensive of his stupid license choices which have kept Minix an "also-ran". Maybe if they couldn't get a rise out of him, people would stop asking him about it. As long as he says stupid quotable things about Linux the questions will keep coming.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Insightful)

Dr. Blue (63477) | about 3 years ago | (#38116650)

Tanenbaum has always been the kind of person with good technical insights, but no sense whatsoever about what makes something successful as a product or "in the real world." I have a lot of sympathy for that, because I'm like that as well. I'm a researcher - I write papers, they have good technical insights and contributions, they definitely impact the science of the field, and I hope that along the line they can affect practice - but I know there's a world of difference between what I do and making a product. Tanenbaum doesn't seem to get that.

And as far as the Java bit, yeah a LOT of people had that idea. It long predates what Tanenbaum did, back to o-code in the 1960's and p-code in the early 1970's (with the most popular version, remarkably similar to the Java/JVM model being UCSD's Pascal/pSystem). Those didn't take off like Java either - because there's a huge difference between having a good technical idea and having a successful product. Some is timing, some is "cool factor", some is marketing and sheer determination and drive. But superior technology, or having the first idea technically, has very little to do with it. See the success of MS-DOS or Windows for further examples... :-)

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116408)

The question is not why Linux succeeded, but why Minix failed.
The answer is simple, Tanenbaum refused to develop a 386 version,
claiming bizarrely that there were so many 286's in the world
that people would always use them.

If he had brought out a 386 version of Minix
I doubt if Linux would have taken off.

My impression at the time was that he got bored with Minix,
and wanted to move on to other things.

But the way in which Minix has been written out of the Linux story
is very strange, in my opinion.
In its origins, Linux was simply a fork of Minix.
Admittedly Torvalds had to re-write everything,
but that was just because Tanenbaum had a veto
on Minix development, and only allowed a tiny handful
of devotees to add code.

Torvalds was infinitely better at getting a team
to co-operate with him.
That was the secret of his success.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#38116630)

There is also the slightly relevant fact that Minix was a teaching demo, and was meant to be a teaching demo. It was not meant to be a sueable system.

And to get it, you had to buy a book that cost more than I paid for a used car that year. (Yes, I did buy the book too!)

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Funny)

mmcuh (1088773) | about 3 years ago | (#38116658)

Any non-trivial software is sueable.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116798)

Get your facts right. Linux was NEVER a fork of MINIX, no more than your post is a fork of Internet Explorer because that's what you used to write your drivel with.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (5, Informative)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 3 years ago | (#38116874)

In its origins, Linux was simply a fork of Minix.

Oh come on. How many people still believe this Ken Brown nonsense? Even Tanenbaum himself said this is complete nonsense [cs.vu.nl] .

Re:Frozen, I tells you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116430)

You must really like apostrophes.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (0, Redundant)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38116776)

I'm glad that Linux exists, but apart from commercial apps and manufacturer support it's really hard to find anything that Linux does better than *BSD does. At least not for home use. In fact I've had far more problems with Linux over the years due to the absolutely insane model they're using. *BSD, OSX, BeOS, Windows etc., etc., are all OSes that have all the components necessary in one install, Linux is goofy like that. Linux has no basesystem it's just a kernel and as a result you get all sorts of head aches as you can't just update the base without touching the entire userland, rather than just the software you installed.

Also, I've found that in the past the driver support was questionable. The quality has gone up greatly since I installed my first copy, but *BSD never had that kind of problem. Sure there would be fewer devices supported, but you knew that if it was supported it would work. And typically work properly, I don't recall ever having gotten a nasty surprise from FreeBSD when a device half worked.

Re:Frozen, I tells you (1)

fnj (64210) | about 3 years ago | (#38117160)

What are you talking about?

Re:Frozen, I tells you (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 3 years ago | (#38116922)

Wow,
he couldn't have pushed the "Linux succeeded because BSD had legal troubles" thing any harder
What was that? Three mentions of it?
I don't personally agree, I think Linux succeeded on it's own merit, but anyhow

Everything succeeds on it's own merit, I think the sour apples he was complaining about was that BSD would likely have succeeded first or better than Linux, if only it hand't been mired in the legal problems.

Yeah, and I can point to a dozen things in my past that have "prevented" me from making millions...

Disagree (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#38116142)

No, Linux "succeeded" because BSD was frozen out of the market by AT&T at a crucial time.

Having lived thru that, I'd disagree. BSD was way too elitist, "oh, you wanna run a BSD flavor on a 386? Oh how cute, but you suck. We all use PDP11s here. We'll let you try, if you promise not to pester us with bug reports and things, now here's a nickel kid, go buy youself a real computer like a VAX.". Minix wanted you to buy a book and the hardware support was kinda limited so its unclear if you'd be wasting your money or not, which in the pre-amazon days meant finding out the ISBN and pestering an intimidating bookstore clerk to order it for you and then rolling the dice once it arrived. Linux? That was just some downloads off the local BBSes and/or early internet provider link, and everyone was mostly friendly most of the time, unlike the *BSD guys.

Re:Disagree (1)

GNULinuxGuy (2483278) | about 3 years ago | (#38116162)

I think Linux succeeded for a few pretty obvious reasons. I really don't get why he's pretending it was mostly due to a single reason. ;)

Re:Disagree (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#38116190)

Probably because those reasons aren't so obvious.
At the time, Linux was technically behind BSD and other open source *nix OS's and had a GPL license.
Perhaps Linus was just for more succesful in gathering developers around him and it had nothing to do with the product itself?
Perhaps I'm missing the obvious reasons you are refering to?

Re:Disagree (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 3 years ago | (#38116266)

Linux was the new "cool" thing, and it also lacked some annoying BSD-isms that were really a pain in the butt for the SystemV people - even if those weren't in any way critical to the functionality.

And Minix at the time was also under a license that limited it's spreading so when Linux came along with a "free copy for everyone" style it was almost like Stallman's wet dream realized.

Re:Disagree (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116294)

Linux was the new "cool" thing, and it also lacked some annoying BSD-isms that were really a pain in the butt for the SystemV people - even if those weren't in any way critical to the functionality.

You've been able to run the GNU userland tools on BSD for a long time, much as SunOS5 included the BSD userland from SunOS4 to keep the BSD-heads happy.

The truth is that it was actually easier to install Linux! If you compared Slackware to the BSD of its day, you hardly had to know anything to install Linux, less than you had to know to install DOS actually since it would actually find your network card and already had a driver. You did have to know more than you had to know to install Windows to get the GUI going, though :)

As you say, Minix had a restrictive license. But BSD also had an inferior license to Linux from the standpoint of those who wanted their changes to remain free. And today, Linux towers over the Free BSDs, though not over BSD in general thanks to Apple... where the license is not friendly. That suggests at least to me that there are considerations other than licenses that are important to users, so I suggest that Minix has problems OTHER than the licenses... and so does (did) *BSD.

Re:Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116348)

odd, i had slackware and a book and couldn't get it running so then switched to freebsd 2.2.2 and that installed without a book or anything, despite having weird partition schemes which i now know is intended to stop viruses from infecting a system from userland apps and worms since a replicating worm would just fill the 10 megabyte root partition and make the computer crash.

Re:Disagree (1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116390)

This is a troll, right? filling up root and crashing is not a feature, it's a bug, and it's one shared by most Unixlikes. We stop viruses from spreading with capabilities-based security. Well, we should. Mostly we don't. OSX has capabilities now but they mostly don't use them. Linux has had capabilities for forever now and we still don't use them. I'd be shocked and amazed if FreeBSD doesn't have capabilities.

Re:Disagree (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#38116752)

i had slackware and a book and couldn't get it running so then switched to freebsd 2.2.2 and that installed without a book or anything

My experience too. I also tried Yggdrasil, and Red Hat, and several other distros. They were all unprofessional dross, while FreeBSD was just like on the VAX at work! NetBSD also installed, and was quite good on some kit.

However, AFAICR, the 10MB root partition was to handle "feature" that BIOSes of the day could not boot from larger partitions.

The limited partition size issue was that /var had a tendency to fill with error messages if you had cron based problems - eg creating one error per second. A reboot MIGHT fix that if you had a suitable startup script. There were no actual worms that I ever heard of. A larger partition meant you would collect more error messages before it crashed, and that is true for all un*ces to this day.

You could, of course, have the partitions any size you like, or install the whole OS in /, but even Ubuntu is not that sad!

but maybe you would have to RTFM (/usr/share/doc/*)

Re:Disagree (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#38116846)

Gimme a break. Compared to the BSD install of the time, Slackware was a whiz. My biggest problem was that it took me a few days to download all the 3-1/2" floppy images from the nearest BBS that was hosting them, and then having to spend the time writing all those images to floppy.

Re:Disagree (4, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#38116546)

I think that Linux succeeded because early Linux users were enthusiastic and evangelistic. In that time between 92 and 96, I don't think I saw anyone singing BSD's praises except hardcore sysadmin types. Whatever system usability advantages Linux had was because of its fanatical user base.

Well.. (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116274)

Linux was behind, but generally expressed a more practical set of sensibilities that caused the relevant bits to catch up and pass BSD a bit quickly.

All of them sucked on driver support, but I seem to recall Linux tending to getting more drivers more quickly than BSD. Some of the quality was less than stellar, but there was a willingness to go with something that mostly worked and refine it in the larger community. This sort of approach was pretty well required to work as a software platform running without the cooperation of the hardware platform you are on.

GPL may have scared off companies in the beginning and maybe even a few to this day, but the value of companies that would reject GPL and embrace BSD is rather low to the community. GPL forced the companies that *did* use it to contribute back. BSD-only companies felt any and all work they did was theirs and theirs alone and BSD upstream didn't benefit. Over time, it's snowballed and most successful companies cannot ignore the benefits of Linux. It may be common sense now that their is lower maintenance cost of submitting it upstream even if not required by license, but had GPL never made waves, the 'keep your code to yourself or else' mindset may have persisted.

Re:Well.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116558)

GPL forced the companies that *did* use it to contribute back.

Only if they distribute it. In house only mods don't have to be contributed back which would make it as secure for BSD.
All the software development I've done for pay has been for internal use and not distribution - yes if you're writing something for shipping you'd need to release the source but that's not as common as most people think. Tanenbaum makes the same error/assumption as well, possibly deliberately, maybe not...

Re:Well.. (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#38117018)

Well, I meant only in the redistributable scenario, since otherwise there is no difference between BSD and GPL from a practical perspective. I presume that Tanenbaum makes the same simplification.

Re:Disagree (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#38116660)

At the time, Linux was technically behind BSD

And still is, but we are all using Linux now because, well, we are all using Linux now.

See tagline below ...

Re:Disagree (1)

GNULinuxGuy (2483278) | about 3 years ago | (#38116890)

I should have known "short and sweet" wouldn't fly here. :) Mostly everyone else has covered all the bases already, but I'll go ahead and give a quick clarified summary of my take on the situation. Linus chose the right license, which he combined with a good attitude, approach, and energy to create a strong community.

Re:Disagree (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 years ago | (#38116800)

Because Tanenbaum has hated Linus and Linux for twenty years. He and his supporters started no small number of flamewars in their day with all sorts of obnoxious claims, especially after Linus poo-pooed on the idea of microkernels.

But it's all pretty irrelevant now. The fact remains that guys like me picked up Linux in those early years in no small part because everyone looked on Minix as a toy and BSD didn't have the hardware support to allow it to run on almost all 386 and 486 machines you could pick up, from IBMs to home-built jobs. Not only that, but when hardware came out that was problematic, there were guys out there who would literally write up a device driver in a few days or weeks. There was, and still is, very much a "make it work" attitude out there.

Re:Disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116182)

There were already 386 versions of BSD before Linux ever came out. In fact BSDi was selling BSD/386 before it was sued. You're a moron.

Re:Disagree (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#38116238)

Yes, for only $995 at least in early '94. Complete non-starter. Its like asking why IBM zOS isn't taking over the world of computing today...

The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116278)

The *BSD community has been painted as being "elitist" for well over 20 years now. But that's just not the case. It's a merely a community that's built around a meritocracy. They don't care who you are, or where you're from, or what your experience is, just as long as you have skill. That's all they ask for, and that's actually quite reasonable. That's why the *BSD operating systems are so damn solid; they're built by very talented developers who know exactly what they're doing.

Those who call them "elitist" are often people who asked what are in fact very, very stupid or basic questions. These are the sort of questions that are answered in FAQs, or in the software's documentation, or these days easily found using a web search.

If you have a legitimate question, the *BSD community will be very eager and very quick to help you out. They take the quality of their software very seriously, so if you've found a legitimate problem, then they will work their asses off to resolve it. But you not knowing that "cd" is the command used to change directories isn't such a problem. If you ask that, then you should expect to be mistreated, because you are being ignorant, and you're wasting their time. They could be looking into a real problem or creating some important new functionality, rather than answering your question (which you could easily look up the answer to yourself in less time than it took you to ask the question in the first place).

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116366)

It requires the same amount of effort to politely redirect someone to the appropriate place, without mistreating the "ignorant". They are ignorant, because they don't know, they are trying to learn, but instead of being helpful, you turn to being abusive? I wouldn't call someone like that elitist, I'd simply call them an asshole.

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#38117260)

If they want to be assholes, they obviously don't "want" users.

There is no reason they should want to need users when they are working to scratch their own itch. Mere users don't contribute anything to the OS.

As a user, however, I don't need them either.

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116378)

from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elitist

(of a person or class of persons) considered superior by others or by themselves, as in intellect, talent, power, wealth, or position in society: elitist country clubbers who have theirs and don't care about anybody else.

Game, set, match?

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (5, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#38116556)

Bullshit.

My experience with BSD development is that it comprises core teams of fairly smart geeks with tireless sycophants on the sidelines taken under the wings of the elders on the basis of their ability to suck up. This is why everything BSD beyond the kernel and a few specific userland apps is an also-ran.

And the BSD operating systems are "so damn solid" only in the sense that many parts are very mature and the pace of development is fairly slow, lagging well behind Linux for a good decade. This is not to say that stability isn't sometimes a good choice - which is why many people choose Debian.

Linux, meanwhile, is much more meritocratic. Your code good enough? We'll take it, even though we're not sure who you are. Big business wanting to contribute time, money and resources? We'll take it. Not up to scratch? We'll give you advice but we won't include you in anything mainline. Hell, we'll not only give you advice but we'll point you to the copious amount of documentation produced to help kernel and userland developers.

Here's a simple challenge for you: try writing a functional network card driver for Linux over a weekend. Now try the same in FreeBSD.

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (1, Redundant)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38116852)

I call bullshit on your bullshit.

You're going to great lengths to dig up reasons for BSD operating systems to be bad. Of course the pace of development is slower with *BSD they're actually developing entire OSes rather than just using the work of hundreds of independent projects to cobble together an OS. That takes time, but it's also why you can install the base OS and not have to worry about breaking your install by updating your software. The software is by and large separate from the core OS, protecting it from the common interference you see in Linux.

As for also rans, you act like that isn't a problem for Linux, OSX, Android and Windows as well.

As for metitocratic, you ought to provide some sort of evidence to support your claim. Unlike Linux, there's a much larger group of people that are authorized to make those decisions and by and large they do so well. There are occasionally regressions, but because the OS is both stable and mature, I can't recall the last time I ran into one that I actually noticed.

Why would I write a network card for FreeBSD? The vast majority of manufacturers of such cards write their own drivers. Chances are that if there isn't a driver that it's a crap card and certainly not by a manufacturer that takes networking seriously. In practice I don't recall ever having had a computer for which the network card wasn't supported out of the box.

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (4, Insightful)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#38117008)

Here's a simple challenge for you: try writing a functional network card driver for Linux over a weekend. Now try the same in FreeBSD.

I have to say your right on the money with that statement. One of the things that made Linux so attractive was Linus et el put a lot of effort in allowing people to add driver support for hardware. It stands to reason making an OS for machines people slap together themselves you need to be able to quickly add support for a multitude of hardware. This alone is a huge reason for the success of Linux. The BSD developers on the other hand, had a clear idea of what hardware they wanted to support -- big ass servers -- so the means to support "oh look a new graphics card" type new hardware was low priority and never built in.

Re:The BSD community just doesn't accept stupidity (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#38117202)

Here's a simple challenge for you: try writing a functional network card driver for Linux over a weekend. Now try the same in FreeBSD.

You realise that a large number of WiFi drivers were written for FreeBSD or OpenBSD and then ported to Linux, right? and that the porting to Linux part typically involves copying things that are in the generic part of the 802.11 stack on *BSD into the driver?

Re:Disagree (1)

supercrisp (936036) | about 3 years ago | (#38116406)

"intimidating bookstore clerk"? Holy cow. The guys at the comic book shop must give you night sweats!

Re:Disagree (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 3 years ago | (#38116740)

Meh...I don't think it's elitism. Anyone could have picked up 4.4-lite and run with it. It's more the legal problems and the fact that Linux is more SysV than BSD, and the world was moving in a SysV direction in the 90s.

Re:Disagree (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#38116886)

I don't know if I would go so far as to say elitist. Minux was organized with a long term plan that was heavily organized the way academics do things. ie. If someone else has an idea not directly related to my work it is not my concern. Linus had an idea, posted it, and worked with people that were interested in the project. It was MUCH more relaxed and approachable. Minux was visible. People watching out for competition targeted it. Linux was deemed a toy by everyone not able to see its potential and ignored.

Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Licensi (4, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | about 3 years ago | (#38116158)

"I think Linux succeeded against BSD, which was a stable mature system at the time simply because BSDI got stuck in a lawsuit and was effectively stopped for several years."

The reasons may also be more to do with Linux and the way it was run! Early hackers have noted that they preferred BSD, but could not use it due to lack of dual booting, this would have meant deleting windows which may have been needed for work. It was also easier for aspiring hackers to contribute to Linux, you didn't have to be one of the inner circle to contribute. There was also a lack of politics, persons within the rival operating systems had noted and open differences which would have affected work.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116298)

I've been dual booting on FreeBSD since 1996 when I first learned about FreeBSD, a few years into the project. Just because you're clueless and can't read documentation doesn't mean other people can't succeed where you failed.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116402)

When you came to BSD in 1996 you were five years late to the party, since 386BSD came out in 1991, and didn't support FDISK labels, preventing users from dual-booting. Indeed, early versions of FreeBSD and NetBSD, both of which grew from 386BSD, shared this lack. Linux used fdisk from the start (Linus not seeing a need for eight confusingly-identified partitions) which permitted dual-booting if you had partition slots free.

So you're being elitist, but ironically, not elitist enough to know what you are talking about.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (-1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38116868)

Right and Linux still doesn't do that correctly. At this point it's rather a moot point, but for years it was a real challenge to triple boot Linux, Windows and *BSD because Linux would insist upon using a large number of partitions. You could sort of work around that by giving it one primary partition and several extended ones, but it was never really a very good solution.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#38117026)

Linux doesn't insist on anything.

Unless you are some clueless granny who only ever clicks on the OK button, you really have no excuse for a Linux installer not doing exactly what you want.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (2)

Nutria (679911) | about 3 years ago | (#38117098)

Linux would insist upon using a large number of partitions.

That is a steamingly incredible crock of shit, since:
(a) partition decisions are the purview of the installer, not the kernel, and
(b) even back in the day you could install everything on / . It just wasn't recommended due to the small size of HDDs.

Re:Andrew Tanenbaum On Minix, Linux, BSD, and Lice (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 3 years ago | (#38117192)

Linux would insist upon using a large number of partitions.

For values of "large" that include "one".

There's no debate. The GPL doesn't promote freedom (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116166)

I don't even know why these licensing discussions still come up. There's no debate any longer. It's quite clear that BSD-style licenses promote freedom, while the GPL goes out of its way to remove freedom.

The BSD license is all about maximizing the freedom of people to do what they want with the software, while still providing recognition of those who did the bulk of the work, and protecting the authors from liabilities. You can distribute the code unmodified, you can distribute it modified, you can distributed it unmodified for money, you can distribute it modified for money, you can use portions of it, and you can even choose not to distribute the modified source code when you distribute binaries. In short, the level of freedom is extremely high, and the restrictions tend to only affect the documentation and source code of the program.

The GPL license is all about limiting the freedom of people to do what they want with the software. It severely inhibits your ability to use the code in the first place, and then inhibits you more if you ever want to distribute it, especially if you'd rather not share your changes. That's not "freedom" in any way. There's just no debate about it. Freedom just doesn't arise from situations where you're heavily restricted in what you can and cannot do.

Re:There's no debate. The GPL doesn't promote free (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#38116296)

There's no debate any longer. It's quite clear that BSD-style licenses promote freedom, while the GPL goes out of its way to remove freedom.

That kind of depends who you are and whose freedoms you're concerned with, actually. GPL promotes certain types of freedom, where BSD goes with the idea that "freedom" means "no restrictions whatsoever". I dont think theres a clear cut "this one is more free" because both are certainly correct uses of the word "freedom".

The GPL license is all about limiting the freedom of people to do what they want with the software.

Come on, you know better than this. The GPL compromises the freedoms of future developers in order to guarentee that the end user at LEAST has the freedom to modify and redistribute.

Wikipedia sums it up well:
The distribution rights granted by the GPL for modified versions of the work are not unconditional. When someone distributes a GPL'd work plus his/her own modifications, the requirements for distributing the whole work cannot be any greater than the requirements that are in the GPL.

In a stricter sense BSD IS about maximizing freedom in the sense of anarchy; but US' society was formed with the idea that in order to maximize individual freedoms when groups are involved, you need to do so by setting restrictions (Bill of Rights, enforcing contract law, enforcing theft laws, etc). You lose some freedoms (the ability for a congressperson to vote on a speech law, the ability for you to take Bob's lunch) in order to gain a more stable, guarenteed level of freedom (being secure in your home, being able to agree to an enforceable contract, being guarenteed the right to political speech).

Re:There's no debate. The GPL doesn't promote free (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#38116796)

The BSD licence was explained to me as "You can do what the hell you like with this software, so long as you dont bother us. This specifically includes making babies and killing time ... or is that killing babies and saving time, I forget."

Now even hippies agree that is freedom! (And if you ever find a way to shove a Gnu anywhere, I, personally, don't want to know about it).

Re:There's no debate. The GPL doesn't promote free (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 3 years ago | (#38117222)

It's easy to understand.

BSD::GNU as Somalia::USA.

Mods: this is flamebait, not troll.

Re:There's no debate. The GPL doesn't promote free (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116428)

The GPL license is all about limiting the freedom of people to do what they want with the software.

Incompetent, cowardly troll is incompetent and cowardly; The GPL license is about limiting the freedom of programmers to do what they want with your copyrighted source code, specifically for the opposite of the purpose which you state; it is indeed there to prevent people from placing limits on what users may do with the software.

Try harder, weedhopper.

Thanks! (4, Interesting)

John Bresnahan (638668) | about 3 years ago | (#38116184)

Minix was my first experience with a Unix-like OS (on my original IBM Personal Computer). It was a wonderful starting point to lead on to bigger and better things.

What a tool. (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116188)

I'm sure he knows more about operating system design than I will ever even want to know, but he knows jack shit about why Linux succeeded and it has nothing to do with lawsuits against BSDi, which in turn has nothing to do with BSD-4.4-lite, upon which all free *BSDs are based (and so is OSX, for that matter, although it may still retain code from BSD-4.3 for all I know, via NeXTStep.)

Linux succeeded because of the GPL, plain and simple. It had less than a year's start before 386BSD, which was not affected by the lawsuit [wikipedia.org] .

Tanenbaum will say anything to make himself sound like less of a douche for placing such strident restrictions on Minix and thus killing it, and so he wants to take anything away from Linux that he possibly can. If he has to ignore history to do so, so be it. Thankfully there's Wikipedia.

(sigh, another reply to self) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#38116214)

Let me be clear, the *BSDs WERE based on 386BSD which is why it's relevant, and they therefore still are (sort of) but they've inherited code from 4.4-BSD-lite since.

What a tool to you too (5, Interesting)

epine (68316) | about 3 years ago | (#38116420)

In hindsight, perhaps, this is all clear. At the time, would you have bet your house on the proposition of 386BSD remaining unscathed if the BSDi lawsuit had come to a different outcome? But wait, I have a reference.

From Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution [oreilly.com] :

Like the other groups, they started by adding the six missing files that Bill Jolitz had written for his 386/BSD release. ... At the preliminary hearing for the injunction, BSDI contended that they were simply using the sources being freely distributed by the University of California plus six additional files. They were willing to discuss the content of any of the six added files, but did not believe that they should be held responsible for the files being distributed by the University of California [which 386BSD also used, one would think]. The judge agreed with BSDI's argument and told USL that they would have to restate their complaint based solely on the six files or he would dismiss it. Recognizing that they would have a hard time making a case from just the six files, USL decided to refile the suit against both BSDI and the University of California.

Yeah, totally clear how 386BSD was free and clear of the legal fog of war. And a huge debt owed by everyone to Marshall Kirk McKusick and friends who fought this battle on our behalf while Linux thrived under the legal radar.

In my own view, Linux had a crazy-making anthill culture, which appealed to many young coders with more energy than brains. But you know, I wouldn't bet against energy in retrospect. The annual ipchains rewrite boggled my mind. Not my cup of tea. An even crazier splinter group made hay with PHP, breaking just about every rule of thoughtfulness and elegance known to God and man. And look where that got them: pretty damn far.

I would personally, however, have jumped on the BSD wagon at the time had it been able to promote a coherent vision of life after lawsuit. What would be the balance be now if BSD had gathered twice as many elitist greybeards into the fold? I have a feeling it would have continued to lag in the department of crappy consumer product device drivers, compromising a major defection path from Windows 98. Greybeards don't do popularity worth a damn.

Debian zealots notwithstanding, Linux quickly became popular enough to become a willing host for binary blobs.

Re:What a tool to you too (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116794)

The point is not whether or not he 'should have known better at the time', the point is even today he refuses to concede that Linux has gotten as far it has due to something more than 'dumb luck'.

Re:What a tool to you too (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 3 years ago | (#38116970)

[..] breaking just about every rule of thoughtfulness and elegance known to God and man. And look where that got them: pretty damn far.

Worse is Better [jwz.org]

Denial... (5, Informative)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116200)

I don't understand how one can say BSDI suit could do anything much for Linux. The suit did not preclude the creation of FreeBSD/NetBSD and thus Linux and BSD both had opportunity. If the claim is that BSDI lent some sort of credibility/support, during that time Linux had none of that either (Red Hat didn't even technically have an offering until 94, and I would say it wasn't worth taking seriously until '97 or so).

Whatever went 'right' for Linux and 'wrong' for BSD had nothing to do with that suit.

Tanenbaum? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116220)

I thought Tanenbaum was the name of a German Christmas carol (sung to the tune of "The Red Flag')

Re:Tanenbaum? (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 3 years ago | (#38116284)

One thing doesn't exclude the other.

And both Linux and Minix has their merits, but Linux has one big advantage and that is that it has so many drivers that it did overtake Windows a while ago. You may find cases where you miss a driver for Linux for your pet device but it's starting to get unusual unless it's a very new device.

Re:Tanenbaum? (2)

Richard_J_N (631241) | about 3 years ago | (#38116412)

I think you are confused with "O, Tannenbaum" - note the double "n", which is the song translated as "O, Christmas tree".

Minix the sleeping giant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116340)

Tanenbaum finally decides he wants to rule the world after shooing people away for 20 years.

But maybe his timing turned out to be right after all, as the hardware is now fast enough to support a microkernel OS (obviously, because VMware runs with acceptable performance on Windows laptops).

Linus is right on about microkernels (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116376)

Try doing a simple modification to the MINIX kernel like adding a new system call. The new system call doesn't even have to do anything interesting or touch hardware: just add some numbers and return them, for the sake of argument or something. Last I tried in MINIX this required touching something like 6 or 7 different files in the source. There are a lot of different components in the kernel that need to know about the new system call, which component it gets forwarded to, how to package up the message to send to that server. I think Linus is bang on when he says microkernels add complexity on to the interactions between components, which is where the worst of the complexity was to begin with.

Linux does run every component of the kernel in the same address space, which has its downsides (a buggy video driver can theoretically affect your network driver), but I haven't seen these downsides come up in practice. Truth be told, if one of your drivers crashes, there's little hope of maintaining a useful system and you'll likely want to reboot anyway.

As far as AST's assertion that Linux is "spaghetti" code, no no no, look at the code for yourself. The components in Linux are very well separated. Linux keeps them separated by coding discipline rather than by some technical enforcement (like different address spaces), but this discipline is kept up very well. I suspect the high-level Linux developers (like Linus) spend a lot of time and effort tracking people down and yelling at them for breaking this discipline and trying to put in some spaghetti, but in my dealings with the kernel, they've done a very good job of staying disciplined. I haven't come across anything in the Linux kernel that I'd call "spaghetti".

Back to the example of adding a system call, I think in Linux this requires 3 source files that need to change. I've only spent a few weeks on each of them, but in my experiences, Linux has the edge on MINIX when it comes down to keeping components logically separated. In Linux, what you do in one place, no other code ever needs to know about that. In MINIX, you have to worry about how and where to forward messages and, while it is sort of elegant in its design, but I don't see an actual benefit coming out of it.

Re:Linus is right on about microkernels (2)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | about 3 years ago | (#38116662)

Why would you be modifying the kernel/adding a system call? The kernel, in this case, is just a kernel.

Re:Linus is right on about microkernels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116994)

Because it shows the difference in complexity, and gives away the lie of the purported "simplicity" of the microkernel, maybe? Any other bright questions?

Re:Linus is right on about microkernels (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116758)

Linux does run every component of the kernel in the same address space, which has its downsides (a buggy video driver can theoretically affect your network driver), but I haven't seen these downsides come up in practice. Truth be told, if one of your drivers crashes, there's little hope of maintaining a useful system and you'll likely want to reboot anyway.

Not just theoretically, I've used some development kernels and what keeps Linux running is a damn good set of reviewers and a quality nazi (in the most positive sense) on top. One buggy line of kernel code and poof comes a kernel panic. That is why Linux has user space drivers too, like for example just the basic USB I/O is in the kernel, the actual driver is in user space. As long as the hardware isn't borked beyond a software reset, I'd much rather see my network card reset itself - obviously breaking all connections but still, rather than taking the whole kernel down. Actually I feel Linux is extremely stable in practice, so if less abstraction makes it easier to validate then maybe in practice the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. That is also why the kernel developers don't really want bug reports with "tainted" kernel modules loaded, anything they see can just be random trash written by proprietary code. Checking that your code doesn't overwrite other kernel memory is one of the absolutely top priorities that reviewers check.

Re:Linus is right on about microkernels (5, Informative)

naasking (94116) | about 3 years ago | (#38116834)

Truth be told, if one of your drivers crashes, there's little hope of maintaining a useful system and you'll likely want to reboot anyway.

Except this isn't true of microkernel systems like Minix. And this is the point: microkernels enforce protection boundaries between components so failure and recovery become feasible. That simply isn't possible in a monolithic kernel without resorting to proof-carrying code of some sort.

Linux made UNIX easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116398)

I find it hard to believe that the lawsuit had much impact. GNU/Linux has had the success it's had because it's made UNIX easier on top of being free, in both senses of the word. BSD has been around for a long time and is still with us, but in terms of usability it's still light years behind Linux. Sure there's been some decent attempts at it such as PC-BSD but they're still lacking. NetBSD may be well designed and correctly programmed from an academic point of view and obviously one of its strengths is the sheer number of platforms it runs on but it's just painful to use. The biggest thing that irks me about the BSDs, is a complete lack of decent package management and decent installers that do most of the hard work for you. Sure I can manually partition a system as good as the next guy, set up swap space, compile the software I need, mess about getting X configured etc but you know after a while that just gets dull and tiresome. Do the hard work for me and let me tweak where I need to.

Re:Linux made UNIX easier (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#38116878)

in terms of usability it's still light years behind Linux

Looks like you have not actually tried then. Usability is not the distinguising feature. (AFAICT Gnome is Gnome, and KDE is KDE, even on Solaris). If you mean the problem with *BSD is that "the file hierarchy is well defined, but I cant be bothered to read the docs, so I prefer one that is not" then that is probably also true. I admit that some of the directory names are not the most appropriate, and would not be used if you started from scratch, but the truth is, by leaving them alone, you can still re-use your skills from 1986.

If you weren't using Unix in 1986 - Get off my lawn

Tannenbaum is right about licensing (3, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | about 3 years ago | (#38116404)

The license is really less important than community in making a project successful. What is important is a high pace of development and a large developer community, not whether a project uses the BSD or GPL licenses. In these cases, economically most commercial players will contribute most of their changes back.

Re:Tannenbaum is right about licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116748)

Licensing is at the core of community. The mine vs. ours dynamic in the differences between BSD and GPL says it all.

But it did... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116866)

Do you think for a second that the likes of IBM would *ever* have contributed back to FreeBSD if that had been the 'winner'? No way, they would have taken it for themselves and kept it private. For the early life of linux, this was largely a moot point as the community was largely comprised of enthusiasts and the logistics of how the community was managed mattered more than licensing, but as things progressed into the 2000s, the GPL did have an impact as more and more commercial users were forced to adopt a particular behaviour with respect to contributions.

Re:But it did... (1)

koinu (472851) | about 3 years ago | (#38117236)

Do you realize that the returning of contributions even works with Apple on FreeBSD? The evilest of evil companies when it comes to IP.

A true academic OS (2)

chill (34294) | about 3 years ago | (#38116448)

Download Minix and you get a microkernel OS. Browsing the FTP site for packages and I see SSH, X, Vim, the make suite and Perl. It seems any actual useful programs are left as an exercise to the student.

Loads of education fun -- if I was stuck on a rocket to Jupiter and had a few years to kill reinventing the wheel. In Perl, none-the-less. *shudder*

Why so harsh? (2, Interesting)

aglider (2435074) | about 3 years ago | (#38116458)

No, Linux "succeeded" because BSD was frozen out of the market by AT&T at a crucial time. That's just dumb luck. Also, success is relative. I run a political website that ordinary people read. On that site statistics show that about 5% is Linux, 30% is Macintosh (which is BSD inside) and the rest is Windows. These are ordinary people, not computer geeks. I don't think of 5% as that big a success story. [AST]

I'm still convinced that it's one of those ideas that sounds nice on paper, but ends up being a failure in practice, because in real life the real complexity is in the interactions, not in the individual modules. And microkernels strive to make the modules more independent, making the interactions more indirect and complicated. The separation essentially ends up also cutting a lot of obvious and direct communication channels. [LBT]

Maybe the webserver itself is running Linux, though. As well as your home broadband router, prof. Tanenbaum!
I'm sad because of the short sight.
Linux is successfull (no quotes). This is a fact. Also Windows is (used to be) successful at some time.
Do you see Windows everywhere? Nope. Do you see Linux everywhere. Nope as well, but it's very, very popular.
Maybe it's not popular in desktops. But it is, indeed.
With the computing power available today, wasting a bunch of cycles in safer communication for microkernels is not a sin, Linus.
So, why being so harsh to each other?
I'm really convinced that Linus could help making Minix a better kernel. And the other way around as well.
So, please, Andy and Linus, stop it.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one ...

Marketing (1)

grumling (94709) | about 3 years ago | (#38116472)

All the cool kids started wearing Tux t-shirts. Linus Torvalds did interviews with the press, and it didn't hurt that he's somewhat photogenic. Wired Magazine said you weren't hip unless you ran Red Hat and had a frame relay connection to your house.

And then the startups in the 1990s didn't want to (or just couldn't) spend money on SUN boxes, so they found a "good enough" solution.

A few choice quotes from Theo de Raadt (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#38116498)

So the HP guy comes up to me (at the Melbourne conference) and he says, 'If you say nasty things like that to vendors you're not going to get anything'. I said 'no, in eight years of saying nothing, we've got nothing, and I'm going to start saying nasty things, in the hope that some of these vendors will start giving me money so I'll shut up'.

Hardware donations do not come from vendors who use OpenSSH on parts of their stuff. They come from individuals. The hardware vendors who use OpenSSH on all of their products have given us a total of one laptop since we developed OpenSSH five years ago. And asking them for that laptop took a year. That was IBM.

Yes, people have mentioned a million times how much BSD has done for OS X. What has OS X done for BSD? On the desktop it's fallen off the map, it used to be listed at 0.01% at hitslink now it's nothing. Nobody uses just BSD and I strongly doubt anyone using OS X contributes much to BSD so that the next version of OS X will be better. That I think would have happened with or without Linux. At least on the server side there's a few using BSD as-is, perhaps we'd have a BAMP stack instead of a LAMP stack. But without all the corporate contributions I'd probably be more of a Win/Unix market with BSD as a simplistic, free server.

BSD depends on people and corporations that are willing to give, give and then give some more. Would Linux be where it is if everybody has constantly grabbed features to put in AIX, SCO (before they turned troll), Solaris, OS/2, MacOS, Windows and so on? No. The BSD license lacks the self-preservation to exist as an independent product, sure the code won't go away but all the users disappear on proprietary spin-offs and so too in essence all the potential developers. With or without Linux it'd end up just as libraries for products people actually use. Then you can pound your chest and say our BSD code is in the TCP/IP stack of Windows, while Microsoft laughs all the way to the bank.

Re:A few choice quotes from Theo de Raadt (3, Insightful)

maztuhblastah (745586) | about 3 years ago | (#38116724)

Has it occurred to you that some people don't share your view that everyone should be forced to use their code in a way consistent with Stallman's ideologies?

(As an aside: Apple has actually done a fair bit -- but since you're borderline trolling I wouldn't expect you to mention that.)

And yes, I do use FreeBSD exclusively on everything but my laptop. Who gives a shit if it's not listed on some popularity-ranking website? There were plenty of doofuses saying the same thing about Linux when it started, and Mac OS X back in 2001.

The BSD license allows people to use code for pretty much whatever purpose, provided that they don't claim to have written it. The GPL allows people to use code for whatever purpose -- provided they conform to the GPL ideology, license their code under the GPL, and don't use it in certain ways that Stallman et al. think are unacceptable.

You tell me which embodies the spirit of freedom more.

Re:A few choice quotes from Theo de Raadt (4, Insightful)

naasking (94116) | about 3 years ago | (#38116858)

Has it occurred to you that some people don't share your view that everyone should be forced to use their code in a way consistent with Stallman's ideologies?

That's irrelevant to his point of software dominance via natural selection. His point was simply that the GPL is a better survivor given software market dynamics and the human mindset, and that's why it's thrived more than BSD. Nobody cares what license you choose, but it's undeniable that the GPL is more successful.

Re:A few choice quotes from Theo de Raadt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38117148)

And it's super funny how it's always Stallman's this and that. Fuck, *BSD nuts hate the man as much as everyone else Jobs or Gates. By everyone else, I mean 1% of the population.

Well fuck, I don't care if it's Stallman or the Avatar of the God of Free Software, GPL > BSD. Philosophically as well as realistically (see the natural selection bit in the comment above).

Re:A few choice quotes from Theo de Raadt (1, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#38117244)

Has it occurred to you that some people don't share your view that everyone should be forced to use their code in a way consistent with Stallman's ideologies?

Who said anything about force? Apple is using their freedom to make OS X out of BSD. Users are using their freedom to choose OS X over BSD. Everybody is free to contribute to or use BSD, I'm just saying most don't. That even if you take away Linux and the GPL, most would continue to use their freedom to not contribute back to do just that. That the market share currently held by Linux would belong to proprietary alternatives, not BSD. It's my opinion of how an alternative timeline would look.

(As an aside: Apple has actually done a fair bit -- but since you're borderline trolling I wouldn't expect you to mention that.)

Because BSD is so far away from being a competitor it doesn't matter. If they saw competition from BSD, they'd probably keep a proprietary fork. But why bother when 99.9%+ of the people using that code will be OS X users anyway? It is really just another indication that BSD is completely harmless and no substitute at all, a library more than an alternative.

The BSD license allows people to use code for pretty much whatever purpose, provided that they don't claim to have written it. The GPL allows people to use code for whatever purpose -- provided they conform to the GPL ideology, license their code under the GPL, and don't use it in certain ways that Stallman et al. think are unacceptable.

Actually just conform to the license. Like Linus has shown many times, there's no need to take everything RMS says as gospel. So the code is free but almost only Apple uses BSD code, users use OS X. Through that they use the code, as every BSD fan likes to point out, but they have no access to it or freedom from it. The only free form, the pure BSD form, is a form almost nobody uses on its own.

You tell me which embodies the spirit of freedom more.

What I refuse to agree with are the BSD pundits that pretends it is more popular and more free at the same time. You can either say you have a 5%+ market share of users with no freedoms, or a <0.01% market share with freedoms. But when they try to pretend they have 5%+ of the market enjoying those freedoms as if they were OSS users, it's being intellectually dishonest. <troll>It's almost as bad hearing RIAA math where you take the number of pirated copies and multiply it with the retail price, you reach a completely imaginary number.</troll>

Enforced freedom too free (2)

abelb (1365345) | about 3 years ago | (#38116508)

"We know that many companies find the GPL so unacceptable that they won't use Linux for that reason. In this regard we might become a small BSD-licensed Linux replacement."

BSD programmers around the world proudly proclaiming: Macintosh was me, it really was, promise....

Freedom to build a wall around other people's work. Freedom?

Lame lawsuit excuse (4, Interesting)

tokul (682258) | about 3 years ago | (#38116514)

BSDI got stuck in a lawsuit and was effectively stopped for several years

Linux kernel started in 1991. Lawsuit started in 1992 and settled in 1993. Linux kernel 1.0.0 was released in 1994.

Good to know that mature BSD was no match to Linux v.1.0.0.

Tanenbaum does harp on, rather.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38116590)

You'd think he's sore because Linux took his ball away.

Surely not? :-)

One of the main reasons Minix crashed and burned was the difficulty in getting the bloody thing. I have a copy of his book "Operating Systems, Design and Implementation", published by Prentice Hall INternational Editions in 1987. I bought a copy in 1990 as I was interested in Unix like operating systems. The prices listed for the Minix software at the end of the preface were out of date even then, Prentice Hall in the UK wanted about £140 for the IBM PC (640K) build and you had to fill out a rather odd invioce to get it.

Needless to say, I didn't proceed.

My requirements for a functioning Unix-like system were then filled by Coherent which was half the price and came with a really good printed manual. I've still got that too... Then in 1993 the MCC distro showed what could be done; that and Slackware launched the Linux revolution as far as I was concerned. Minix got left behind - it was irrelevant. I downloaded the Minix 2 installs some time ago but I've never installed them on a system.

right... (2)

wooptoo (1075345) | about 3 years ago | (#38116826)

I remember Tanenbaum saying that he uses Windows because Photoshop does not run properly on Linux. Come on, really? I bet he uses Photoshop all day to make rage comics. At least the Linux folks eat their own dog food and actually use Linux. While Tanenbaum runs Minix in a VM.

You Never Really Heard About BSD (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 years ago | (#38116844)

I think I looked into it in '89, as a potentially free alternative to SCO Xenix, which my company was running at the time. They'd bought the base OS, but didn't feel like shelling out an extra $1200 for the C compiler. I don't recall finding a whole lot of information on BSD, though I do seem to remember something along the lines that they'd send you some tapes with the system on it. It sounded like it'd take a whole lot more investment of my time than I or my company was willing to commit to even try to get it running.

A few years later I heard somewhere (May have been Wired) about this spiffy new Linux operating system. By then I had a (more or less) stable internet connection and the instructions were quite easy; download 20-some-odd slakware diskettes from Sunsite and you were in business. Nothing was mentioned about BSD. So I downloaded 20-some-odd diskettes from Sunsite and I was in business.

At least in my case, Linux won out over BSD largely due to marketing and the easy distribution method. No one every really talked about BSD, and Linux worked brilliantly for me, so I used Linux.

Sour Grapes (2)

hexhead (106412) | about 3 years ago | (#38116870)

Tanenbaum: These grapes are so very sour.

What a baby! I was once impressed by his move to create an alternative to commercial unices, but now I just want this guy to go away play with his own toys. Typical elitist academic.

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