Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jul 2007 16:07 UTC, submitted by Kishe
Linux "The news of Con Kolivas, a Linux kernel developer, quitting that role, along with an interview in which he explains why, could and should make loud noises around the Free Software community which is often touting GNU/Linux as the best operating system one could use, and not just because of freedom you have with it. In the interview he says certain things which should cause tectonic shifts in the mindset that we have all been having. Why didn't we realize these things before? As you can see, the article intrigued me quite a bit, and got me thinking about a better way forward for the Free Software OS. I'll go through some of the basic points that he makes and lay out one possible solution and its implications. However, take this article as just a discussion starter." My take: I have been advocating splitting the Linux kernel up (desktop, server, embedded) for years now.
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The biggest counterargument to a fork (and not merely yet another branch), is the maintenance burden. Fortunately, this guy is not afraid to write about it anyway and reflect on innovation.

Of course, innovation need not be limited to the usual suspects, such as trying out ideas from other kernels. It's safe to say there is too much tunnel vision. E.g., the eminent philosopher of technology, Andrew Feenberg, has interesting ideas that could inspire better participation in a new kernel or just less "risky" (from a cost POV) stuff such as KDE or GNOME. This is not at all the usual FSF/GNU/RMS stuff that you might think you know well. It's a different and useful way of reflecting on stakeholders.

One introductory article on this is "Democratizing software: Open source, the hacker ethic, and beyond" by Brent K. Jesiek. Here's the abstract, with my emphasis:

"The development of computer software and hardware in closed-source, corporate environments limits the extent to which technologies can be used to empower the marginalized and oppressed. Various forms of resistance and counter-mobilization may appear, but these reactive efforts are often constrained by limitations that are embedded in the technologies by those in power. In the world of open source software development, actors have one more degree of freedom in the proactive shaping and modification of technologies, both in terms of design and use. Drawing on the work of philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg, I argue that the open source model can act as a forceful lever for positive change in the discipline of software development. A glance at the somewhat vacuous hacker ethos, however, demonstrates that the technical community generally lacks a cohesive set of positive values necessary for challenging dominant interests. Instead, Feenberg’s commitment to "deep democratization" is offered as a guiding principle for incorporating more preferable values and goals into software development processes."

Edited 2007-07-26 17:32

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