Still trying to find something bad here.

Story: The GPL self-destruct mechanism that is killing LinuxTotal Replies: 6
Author Content

Nov 09, 2012
2:40 PM EDT

"Sometimes it's because different developers want to focus on different things - which is why the original Linux clone of WinAmp, XMMS, has begotten the Beep Media Player, Audacious, Youki and two projects called XMMS2. Sometimes, rival projects happen over political differences - as in the resistance to KDE's use of Qt and C++ which led to the creation of GNOME. Today, they're joined by half a dozen rivals - along with umpteen Free Software web browsers."

Yeah? So what?

Nov 09, 2012
3:51 PM EDT
Oh boy, this is a fun article to review. To save anyone the trouble of trying to understand this nonsense, I'm going to graciously provide a much needed synopsis.

First, the author complains that Linux is being killed (which it of course isn't) by GPL, because it is a collection of copy-and-pastes. The author attempts to justify this statment with a series of copy-and-pastes as follows:

1- Kamp, a BSD developer, once complained that Linux is a pile of festering hacks copied and pasted. No further examples of actual problems are provided. Let's keep looking to see if the author can actually make a case...

2- After a brief history of Unix, Windows, Apple and Linux, the author complains about how BSD often has its parts taken and used in various projects with little kudos. This is of course not a comment on Linux. But a comment on how this article is a series of unrelated hacks strung together in an incoherent manner.

3- The author then quotes Balmer's irritation about the fact that if they copy-and-paste code from a GPL program they have to then open the code of their program. Let's stop and congradulate the author about directly addressing his thesis. Well, ok, he didn't. But he did use the phrase "copy and paste" which was in his thesis. Kudos on kinda talking about something that was in your thesis, author.

4- The author next conquers the subject of forking. And no, this hasn't happened to Linux, but forking sure is bad! I have no idea why he thinks this. You won't get an explanation of how this harms Linux or any other project. But he does admit, "Well ok, sometimes forked projects even merge." So what? Don't read the article if you want an asnwer to that. You won't find it. But interjected in this portion of the article he will complain that it's only personality that holds Linux together. Then he ignores the fact that it is corporate support that is keeping it together.

5- The article then meanders into the fact that Linux is a collection of C programs. Or maybe one day it will merge with other languages. The author goes on to suggest maybe Java would be a good choice.

6- And the best quote of them all ... someone in 1992 proclaimed that Linux is already obsolete. Yup. That's his summary to bring together all of the above points.

SO, what did that have to do with the idea that Linux is dying because it includes copy and pasted hacks? NOTHING! But what a joyfully insane rambling of writing. I have been on roller-coasters with fewer crazy twists and turns. At least the roller-coasters ended up back in the same place they started.


Nov 09, 2012
4:44 PM EDT
@2briancox: Good analysis there. You pretty much cover it.

@Bob: I don't find anything bad about Linux in the article either.

Nov 09, 2012
4:56 PM EDT
I can see what the article author was trying to insinuate: That "forks are everywhere" and if it wasn't for Linus the kernel would have forked too and the entire world would have come crashing down, leaving only Microsoft standing because of their total control of the development process.

His final paragraph pretty much sums it up:

Quoting:Linux is a remarkable wad of code, but as operating system design expert Professor Andrew Tannenbaum pointed out in 1992, it was already obsolete. The answer may lie in not merely reinventing the wheel, but the entire car - or replacing it with a bicycle instead.

Really, to have dragged up Tannenbaum who, after a decade, finally loosened his grip on his own little OS kernel, entirely misses the point of development.

Of course the answer "may lie" somewhere else. That's like me saying that there "may lie" two roads to reach my destination. Not much risk in that statement!

But the intimation is that because Free Software consists of nothing but "copy/paste" code, nothing is being re-examined, nothing is being analyzed to see if it actually makes sense, that there is no innovation. Only endless repetition.

But I had to read it twice to find that undercurrent.

Nov 09, 2012
5:20 PM EDT
I think you or I could show lots of code that wasn't copy/paste.

Nov 09, 2012
5:29 PM EDT
Caitlyn, somewhere in a vault is the rifle that killed Kennedy, the lost bag of US gold coins minted in 1933, Darl Mcbride's briefcase with a print-out of the stolen UNIX code, and the Arc of the Covenant.

The gold coins are somewhere, true, but for the rest, they seem to live best in the imagination of people trolling for page clicks.

Nov 09, 2012
5:49 PM EDT
"The answer may lie in ..."

The answer to WHAT!?! The article never demonstrates any real problem. Imagined ones, sure. But nothing that he can even articulae.

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