Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Jun 2008 22:28 UTC
Linux Linus Torvalds - a classic example of the love-it-or-hate-it type of person. Brilliant programmer, of course, and the father of one of the most extraordinary software projects in the world, but sometimes, he can be utterly arrogant any annoying, yet the other moment completely sensible and utterly spot-on in his statements. CBR listed the ten best Linus Torvalds quotes.
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RE[4]: Torvalds
by krreagan on Sat 7th Jun 2008 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Torvalds "
krreagan
Member since:
2008-04-08

Can you be more specific what you don't like in the Linux kernel? I think you're wrong, I think Linus is a great architect, but the kernel is quite old large general low-level piece of software, and that means it can be a lot complicated. I think you're confusing ugliness from complexity and ugliness from bad design.

It's a huge monolithic "hacked" piece of SW when it should have been an "engineered" piece of SW.

Krreagan

Reply Parent Score: -3

RE[5]: Torvalds
by chemical_scum on Sat 7th Jun 2008 18:55 in reply to "RE[4]: Torvalds "
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

"Can you be more specific what you don't like in the Linux kernel? I think you're wrong, I think Linus is a great architect, but the kernel is quite old large general low-level piece of software, and that means it can be a lot complicated. I think you're confusing ugliness from complexity and ugliness from bad design.

It's a huge monolithic "hacked" piece of SW when it should have been an "engineered" piece of SW.

Krreagan
"

And here is Linus's response to that spurioius arguement (much loved by BSD bully boys):

"From: Linus Torvalds
Subject: Re: Coding style - a non-issue
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 16:50:34 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 30 Nov 2001, Rik van Riel wrote:
>
> I'm very interested too, though I'll have to agree with Larry
> that Linux really isn't going anywhere in particular and seems
> to be making progress through sheer luck.

Hey, that's not a bug, that's a FEATURE!

You know what the most complex piece of engineering known to man in the
whole solar system is?

Guess what - it's not Linux, it's not Solaris, and it's not your car.

It's you. And me.

And think about how you and me actually came about - not through any
complex design.

Right. "sheer luck".

Well, sheer luck, AND:
- free availability and _crosspollination_ through sharing of "source
code", although biologists call it DNA.
- a rather unforgiving user environment, that happily replaces bad
versions of us with better working versions and thus culls the herd
(biologists often call this "survival of the fittest")
- massive undirected parallel development ("trial and error")

I'm deadly serious: we humans have _never_ been able to replicate
something more complicated than what we ourselves are, yet natural
selection did it without even thinking.

Don't underestimate the power of survival of the fittest.

And don't EVER make the mistake that you can design something better than
what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a
feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence _much_ too much credit.

Quite frankly, Sun is doomed. And it has nothing to do with their
engineering practices or their coding style.

Linus"

This is one of Linus's great achievements introducing "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" into software development.

Reply Parent Score: 4

v RE[6]: Torvalds
by krreagan on Sun 8th Jun 2008 03:20 in reply to "RE[5]: Torvalds "
RE[5]: Torvalds
by WereCatf on Sat 7th Jun 2008 22:20 in reply to "RE[4]: Torvalds "
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

It's a huge monolithic "hacked" piece of SW when it should have been an "engineered" piece of SW.

What is the difference between a "monolithic hacked piece of sw" and "engineered piece of sw"? Windows NT kernel too is a monolithic kernel, yet you aren't complaining about it. And what do you mean with "hacked"? The fact that it has been brought together by developers around the world for free instead of a company who has hired them to work on the kernel around the world? Just stating a fact doesn't make one design decision better or worse than an other, mostly because they are based on opinions or because they are suited for one task better than another one. So, Krreagan, please do explain in-depth what is wrong with the Linux kernel? Because if you fail to describe the real reasons WHY you think one or another feature is inferior to some other implementation then you are just trying to spread some bulls*it here and no one will believe you.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Torvalds
by krreagan on Sun 8th Jun 2008 03:01 in reply to "RE[5]: Torvalds "
krreagan Member since:
2008-04-08

It's a huge monolithic "hacked" piece of SW when it should have been an "engineered" piece of SW.

What is the difference between a "monolithic hacked piece of sw" and "engineered piece of sw"? Windows NT kernel too is a monolithic kernel, yet you aren't complaining about it. And what do you mean with "hacked"? The fact that it has been brought together by developers around the world for free instead of a company who has hired them to work on the kernel around the world? Just stating a fact doesn't make one design decision better or worse than an other, mostly because they are based on opinions or because they are suited for one task better than another one. So, Krreagan, please do explain in-depth what is wrong with the Linux kernel? Because if you fail to describe the real reasons WHY you think one or another feature is inferior to some other implementation then you are just trying to spread some bulls*it here and no one will believe you.

This discussion is not about NT (or its legacy), for which I am more or less ignorant about its design and implementation.

"hacked" is a piece of SW that has no real design, it's just regurgitated as its hacked together! It's characterized by large amounts of debugging, recoding and re-debugging, typically more time is spent in the debugging phase then in the coding phase. Can you show me a detailed design document for the (extremely complex) Linux kernel? I doubt it, and one that was written after the coding does not count.

An engineered piece of SW is thoroughly designed beforehand, the coding is almost a formality. advanced algorithms are prototyped and tested ahead of time, not during the coding phase...

This is one reason why software engineering will never (in the foreseeable future at least) be seen as a true engineering discipline!... because hacking is too prevalent.

My use of the term monolithic was not directed at the (lack of a) design of the kernel as both (monolithic and micro) have their strong and weak points, but that is another discussion.

I'm not an evangilist in this religoous war I was just providing my opinion!

Krreagan

(BTW I do embedded development on PPC linux systems and am appalled that it is being used in aerospace embedded systems. If it was not for the fact that I have a family to support...)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Torvalds
by ba1l on Sun 8th Jun 2008 00:40 in reply to "RE[4]: Torvalds "
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

Oh, not that argument again.

Centrally designed software just doesn't scale up to the number and diversity of developers the Linux kernel has. Hell, it doesn't actually work in virtually any large piece of software - you either end up spending 99% of the time managing things without doing any work, or you get the same kind of smaller-scale parallel development in different directions.

Reply Parent Score: 1