Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 10th Oct 2001 16:20 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today we have a special guest in the series of interviews we conducting here at OSNews. Linus Torvalds, the well known Linux founder, is with us to discuss everything about the kernel, Microsoft, the naming of GNU/Linux and the future. Read on!
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OS wars
by Mr. B on Wed 10th Oct 2001 20:32 UTC

I made a funny observation a few years ago about Linux versus the various BSD camps: the BSD people are acting more or less like CNN would like us to believe that moslems are. (Note that I am clearly saying: "like CNN would like us to believe that moslems are", not "what moslems are". There's a difference) While the BSD people seem to have this massive inferiority complex and make a lot of noise about how great BSD is and how shitty Linux is, most Linux people, save the trolls on Slashdot, really do not give a shit. They are mostly agnostic. They don't feel the need to say that Linux is superior. It works for them, it gives them something to tinker with and the atmosphere around the Linux crowd is generally more relaxed -- thus fostering creativity. <P> I work at a company where we use a bunch of OSes. Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, NetBSD, OpenBSD you name it. Usually the OS for solving a given task is chosen depending on what the people who develop, deploy and run the service are more comfortable with. Sometimes it comes down to particular things that one OS does better than the rest. <P> For instance we use a lot of Linux machines for development work. Why? Because there are more tools available under Linux. Commercial software vendors create things that just aren't available under, say, FreeBSD. Sure you can run them in Linux emulation, but why would you if there os no reason to do it? <P> Other than being a good BSD zealot and not soil your soul with the unclean and ungodly Linux. <P> We deploy a lot of solutions that were developed under Linux on FreeBSD machines. Large scale stuff. A lot larger than anything you are likely to see during your entire carreer in UNIX. Using FreeBSD during deployment is a cost issue for us. If you save a few million dollars using FreeBSD for deploying a solution because some aspect of the OS would require more hardware if you ran Linux, then you do that. I can't remember any of the Linux users in the company bemoan this fact. <P> Likewise, if you can cut development time in half because you have better tools under Linux it would be stupid to use FreeBSD; just because it is the Right OS. <P> This sounds pretty obvious, right? Apparently it isn't. The last year I've seen two individuals apply for jobs here who wanted a clause in their contract that they wanted to ONLY deal with one OS. (I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out which OS they preferred exclusively). Given that the BSD crowd is more prone to childish zealotry it didn't really surprise me. <P> It told me something important though: you really do not want zealots working for you, whether they are one denomination or another. If you can reduce the number of obvious shitheads in your company that is a good thing. <P> I think the best thing that could happen to the BSD world would be if someone well respected within the communities would step up and tell people to quit being such whiners. It is embarassing to see grown people who are supposedly intelligent act in a way that makes them look like ignorant bigots. That's not to say that Linux doesn't have the same problem; sure it has, but to a lesser degree. Most chest-thumping Linux users are just that "users". Clueless losers akin to the Amiga losers who claimed the OS of the Amiga was the best OS in the world -- but couldn't really tell you what made it so much better except the usual drivel that set it out from MS-DOS 3.2. <P> I've met Linus once. A few years ago we had dinner and an evening of talking about this and that. What strikes me about Linus is that this guy is probably the best leader you can get for any software project. He is focused and rational. <P> He is focused on what he wants to accomplish in a forseeable future and isn't easily led astray by fads or hype (unlike most people). <P> He is rational in the sense that he doesn't give in to emotional pressure but bases his decisions on what he thinks is right. This is important. I have managed open source projects and one of the things that I find very hard is rejecting bad ideas, bad code and bad people when the intentions are good. It is really hard to do. (Tridge [of Samba] said the same thing in an interview not too long ago). This is one of the things Linus does well. His level-headedness and his apparent lack of passion (apparent being the key word) when he reaches a decision is really something that other people could learn a lot from. <P> Now instead of flaming me: if you are a "guilty as charged BSD chest-thumper", ease up a little. If you are basically a loser who never wrote any significant piece of software or even tried to contribute with some actuall skills that you have: grow a brain or at least try to put some work into maturing your intellect and keeping your passion restrained long enough to stop bullshit seeping out of your face. <P> Thank you for reading.