Linked by David Adams on Wed 29th Oct 2008 21:04 UTC, submitted by irbis
Linux Would the internet as we know it exist without Linux? "Absolutely not", says Rich Menga. "Where Linux shines the most is in its server applications". In the 1990's "There were thousands of Mom n' Pop ISPs that operated out of a garage and the vast majority of them were all running Linux. Windows couldn't do it back then and neither could MacOS. What would you have used that you could afford? Netware? Lotus Domino? HP-UX (that requires those refrigerator-sized HP servers)? Linux was literally the only OS out there that had the right price (free), ran similar to a Unix and could use existing computers of the time to connect customers. The internet as we know it today predominantly runs on Linux. There's an extremely high probability that the internet connection you're using right now is connected through a Linux server - and routed through many other Linux servers along the way."
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RE[2]: Yes it would
by lemur2 on Thu 30th Oct 2008 00:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Yes it would"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

We might not have the comical explosion of distributions that Linux has, but the technological basis and the freedom to develop for the BSD platform would have allowed the thundering hordes contributing to Linux a medium every bit (no pun intended) as accessible.


Nice in theory, but I don't think so.

With BSD, one can toil away and have satisfaction in producing great code ... only to see it adopted by some software megacorp, changed into incompatibility, incorporated into a proprietary product, pushed, advertised, and sold to the public.

The megacorps gets the profit fruits of your labour, and the general public essentially get ripped off. You get virtually nothing.

At least contributing under a copyleft license, the following occurs: (1) other people contribute to your project, so that the code remains open but gets better and better, (2) you get an improved codebase, (3) the code remains open so you get the credit/kudos and continuing visibility for the pieces that you wrote, and (3) the public does not get ripped off.

Everybody wins (except perhaps for the software megacorp).

This I believe is the ONLY reason why you get "the thundering hordes contributing to Linux".

You just wouldn't get that happening with the BSD license, IMO.

Edited 2008-10-30 00:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: -2

RE[3]: Yes it would
by fsckit on Thu 30th Oct 2008 00:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Yes it would"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

While I completely disagree with your assessment of the BSD license, that is a topic for another time. The argument you are using has absolutely nothing to do with the question asked here. Had Linux not been around, BSD could have been used in the cheap server role just as easily. You don't have to write one bit of code to run a server. And even if you develop an app that runs on *BSD, there's nothing saying you have to give it a BSD license.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Yes it would
by lemur2 on Thu 30th Oct 2008 02:36 in reply to "RE[3]: Yes it would"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

... Had Linux not been around, BSD could have been used in the cheap server role just as easily.


Agreed. BSD is probably better than Linux in a server role.

You don't have to write one bit of code to run a server.


Disagree. You have to write server applications ... such as the LAMP stack itself itself (this could easily have been the BAMP stack instead, I agree) ... but then after that in addition you need AJAX, CUPs, Alfresco, Citadel, OpenChange, Samba, LDAP, NFS, Python, Ruby, symfony, Django, Jena, Pylons, Cappuccino, Durpal, web2py, Helma, jitsu, Lift, Wicket ... just a few examples ... the list is getting quite long by now.

And even if you develop an app that runs on *BSD, there's nothing saying you have to give it a BSD license.


True.

If it were not for the inspiration of the GPL and Linux, however, much of the list of applications above, I believe, would never have even got started.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Yes it would
by r_a_trip on Thu 30th Oct 2008 13:53 in reply to "RE[3]: Yes it would"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a differing factor between the GPL and BSD. Both GPL and (original) BSD code remain open, but the GPL as a copyleft license has a domino effect. Everything you put in, becomes GPL and the whole can never be closed off without consent of all the contributors, which in practice means that the code stays non-proprietary.

The BSD license is very lenient and that is a very good quality, but it tends to "lose" development and contributions, because of proprietary interests. Every distributed and closed source addition to BSD code is not available in the free eco-system (and must be implemented in BSDL code a second time). As a developer you can have valid reasons to allow this, but you'll forgo the avalanche effects of the GPL.

I wonder if IBM, Sun, Novell et all, would have contributed to a BSDL ecosphere as "freely" as they did to the GPL ecosphere. The GPL is a good protection against a competitor taking and running off with your code. GPL is a forced joint venture and a completely level playing field. No one can change the rules mid-game. (Except ALL contributors and the FSF with a new version of the GPL, but that is only in conjunction with the GPL upgrade clause).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Yes it would
by Morgan on Thu 30th Oct 2008 13:37 in reply to "RE[2]: Yes it would"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

And yet there are GPL violations occurring every day at companies too lazy to read the license or too indifferent to care. GPL alone isn't what "saved" linux, it's the will of the masses who write the code and use it daily.

I'm not going to say the GPL is a bad thing; it's a great idea in many ways, but to call it the "most free" license as many of its fans do, is highly inaccurate. It is more restricted than nearly all the other open source licenses out there. I understand that those restrictions are absolutely necessary to maintain the philosophical goals, but to call it Free is a gross misnomer.

Also, your example about BSD licensed code being "stolen" for commercial use hurting the community? Have a look at the single most successful commercial use of BSD itself, Apple's OS X. Not only did a great OS come about, but Apple went above and beyond their legal obligation and opened up the vast majority of the Darwin/Mach code to developers. The only major thing they kept proprietary was their Aqua interface, which is quite understandable and is their right; it's mostly their own original code after all.

Reply Parent Score: 2