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Re: Linux and OSS History Survey

__/ [Oliver  Garraux] on Wednesday 04 January 2006 13:26 \__

Hi Oliver,

I am not qualified to answer these questions (I am too young to know
history), but I can't stand the sight of two follow-ups you received from an
Internet troll. I last checked this thread about half an hour ago, hoping
that people like Culley or Ballard will have answered your questions.

> Hello, I'm doing a project on the history of Linux/open source for
> school and have a few questions(basically a survey) about Linux/open
> source that I'd like to have your opinions on.
> I've read a few books (The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Just for Fun) and
> watched a documentary(Revolution OS) on this, so right now I'm wanting
> to get the opinions of regular people in the community. I have my own
> opinions on most of the questions I'm asking, so I'm wanting to see
> how/if my opinions relfect everyone elses.
> 1. What events do you think have been more important in the success of
> Linux?

Looking exclusively at this decade (I first used Linux in 2000), it has been
the eveloving desktop environments. They made Linux far less dependent on
the command-line, which people who had not grown up in the DOS era found
daunting. It's one among several /milestones/, but I don't know about

> 2. Do you think that Richard Stallman's image of sort of an
> anti-capitalist hippy(I don't necessarily agree with that image but you
> get my point) has hurt the adoption and success of open source?

Richard Stallman has not hurt anything. However, he tends to reflect and
enhance a certain stereotype that has come to surround the Linux community.
It's a form of deception in the hands of many who use that stereotype to
stir up anti-Linux sentiments. You do not truly believe that all Windows
users throw furtinture, do you?

> 3. Do you agree or disagree with Linus Torvalds remarks about him being
> the engineer and Stallman being the great philosopher?

I will not comment of that. History is defined by more than a sentence or
two. It should probably remain a dialogue for those involved to ponder
about. Friction between two figures is not going to affect the initiative of
hundreds of thousands of developers.

> 4. Do you feel that another kernel would have come along and taken the
> place of Linux in completing the GNU system if Linux wasn't written or
> came about later?

I think there were (still are) various forks. Who is to say that Sun
Microsystems would not have controlled many server rooms if it were not for
Linux. The kernels always have place for extension once enthusiasts get on
board. The main branch of development naturally attracts the most attention

> 5. What do you think has made Linux as successful and popular as it is
> compared to HURD, or some of the BSD's?

I don't know the history, but I imagine that Linux was most successful,
function-wise. I don't think 'image' played a major rule. Speaking of
history, a certain man where I work (at this very moment) is said to have
created the first Linux distribution.


This goes back to 1992. Could this have had some contribution?

> 6. Who do you feel is the real leader of the open source movement -
> Linus, Stallman, someone else?

Everyone who contributes. That's the ideaology. Gurus and mascots are another
matter as leaders and managers do not exist.

> 7. In the early days of Linux(91-00), what do you think held Linux back
> the most?


> 8. If you could change any historical events regarding open source to
> make open source more prevalent today, what would you change?

Don't know.

> 9. What do you think has been the single most important event as far as
> getting to be adopted by more businesses?

I can think of some recent milestones: major cities migrating to Linux,
Massachusetts embraces OpenDocument, Firefox (being Open Source) grows
rapidly and OpenOffice (and its 'relatives') likewise.

> 10. Do you think that the GNU GPL has hurt or helped open source
> overall?

It helped rapid construction of application that are you to be used widely
and get extended. It may have deterred a few individuals that in due time
realise the importance of the GPL. Being a member of the WordPress
community, I can tell you that the large number of Webmasters that use
WordPress have learned to appreciate FOSS through its use. Firefox has
played a similar role.

> Thanks for your time and your opinions.  :)

You're welcome.

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