[oclug] Linux id the Future
linuxdoctor at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 30 11:31:44 EST 2001
--- Sandy Harris <sandy at storm.ca> wrote in "Linux destined to Fall by
> I see much of Linux' success as a side effect of that. Linux is in
> many ways the best
> Unix available today.
I'd say Linux's success is about 75% due to Unix. The basic
underpinnings of Unix is it's philosphy of design and implementation
which Linus has taken to heart and so do all the 'real' hackers out
there. The rest can be divided up as 15% GNU and 10% the Linux
community.(1) These numbers can of course be quibbled over, but the
general divisions are probably close enough.
Since I don't like the word nerd (although I am rather fond of
gnurd!) and nobody should actually attempt to change it's proper
usage as a put down, I'll restore it's correct meaning as an epithet
and say that there are no Windows hackers just nerds. Hackers are
first and foremost Unix enthusiasts although they are always
interested and intriqued by all true computer technology, both
hardware and software. The proper attitude of a hacker (or more
properly, in it's original form 'hack', circa 1970's) towards Windows
is one of disdane (sp?) and towards nerds in particular sympathy and
empathy (poor fellows, they don't even know they don't have a real
As for the assertion that Linux is probably the best Unix available
today, I'd have to generally concur. One of the exciting things about
Linux is that it is still a 'work in progress.' The people who are
developing it as well as those who use it and develop for it are
genuinely enthusiastic about it. I've noted this excitement in the
past and I am gladdened that it is still with us today.
The down side of Linux growth both in user base and popularity is
that it is attracting the more unsavoury side of the industry: the
corporatists. Nothing will damage Linux and it's future success more
than to have the corporatist agenda take over. Things like
proprietary distributions and closed kernel enhancements will do to
Linux as what AT&T did to Unix, ie. cause a proliferation of
incompatible systems. This will occur despite any standardization
efforts. Remember, corporations are interested in attaining the
largest market share in any market. The ultimate corporate measure of
success is to attain a monopoly, despite any denials to the contrary.
So, the old latin saying of 'caveat emptor' not only warns the buyer
of what it is he is purchasing but also what it is he is getting
himself into. We, as Linux and ultimately Unix enthusiasts should be
very watchful of any corporate involvement with Linux in all of it's
manifestations (system, product, market, community, etc.) and be
aware that the only corporate agenda is the bottom (monetary) line.
All altruistic actions on it's part is always coloured by this and
designed merely to placate any community it may have to deal with. It
is, in other words, not sincere.
However, that is not to say that corporate involvement is in itself
bad, just that we as community members must be aware of their
ultimate goals and be able to manage and control their involement in
our community. We must be always aware of our own agenda and help
them attain theirs without compromising our own. The moment that we
are seen to be anything less than totally committed to our own goals,
they will subsume us and incorporate us into their own. In other
words, we become a subsidiary to some other corporation, or at the
very least seen to be a tool of some corporation. This will of course
destroy our credability and reduce our movement to irrelevance.
This is why it is important, as OCLUG members in particular, that we
assert our own indepence from any corporate influence. Invite them to
assist and help us, yes, but on our terms not they'res. We have the
advantage of a correct philosophy and a technology that works and is
evolving as the future demands necessitate it. It is our job to
enlighten and evangelize and get them to accept us. We do not require
nor do we seek their approval, but they do need us in order to
realize the future as it should be.
The future will unfold regardless, it is up to us to ensure that we
play a part in shaping it.
1. I do not count the indifferentists in the 10% figure.
Indifferentism is the proposition that all computer operating systems
are as good as any other and that the measure of a system is defined
more by it's user base, it's widespread acceptance and use rather
than any purity of philosophy, its usefulness, capability and
extensibility, foresight in design and reliability. Indifferentists
are a pox on the movement and should exposed and rooted out.
2. Naturally, this necessitates the call to evangelisation on the
part of hackers to enlighten the nerd and bring him into the fold.
To say that something is 'nonessential' is to say that
it is 'unnecessary.'
GUIs, while nice, are nonessential.
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