Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Feb 2014 00:18 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

The University of California, Berkeley, has been authorised by Alcatel-Lucent to release all Plan 9 software previously governed by the Lucent Public License, Version 1.02 under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.

You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.

I never really dove too deep into Plan 9, but it has always fascinated me. I think it's time to learn more - and I suggest you do so too. It's weekend, after all, right?

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RE[2]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by Jondice on Mon 17th Feb 2014 00:26 UTC in reply to "RE: My Plan 9 ritual... "
Jondice
Member since:
2006-09-20

I couldn't agree more. Maybe the GPL license will get some people interested that weren't previously, but I guess that will be marginal.

Of course this topic came up on the 9fans list, but it doesn't look like much came of it, other than the conversation straying here and there to how much they dislike GNOME and GTK+, with a few voices of reason trying to keep the conversation on topic:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.plan9/GRfjY9ICcLg

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by Alfman on Mon 17th Feb 2014 03:43 in reply to "RE[2]: My Plan 9 ritual... "
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Jondice,

I couldn't agree more. Maybe the GPL license will get some people interested that weren't previously, but I guess that will be marginal.


I'm not so sure about this, at least for me the license was never the problem. I could not afford to target such a tiny niche, at least not professionally, so I overlook it simply because it's too small (rather than because it has no merit). This catch-22 is the biggest slap in the face to any small project and it kills me inside that I'm guilty of it myself.

I guess I'm cautiously optimistic that the best parts of plan 9 will be adopted into other operating systems now that it's GPLed. However it's hard to judge whether this would lead to the increased participation the plan9 community is seeking.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by jockm on Mon 17th Feb 2014 03:51 in reply to "RE[2]: My Plan 9 ritual... "
jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

That conversation, oh my.

No matter how "elegant" or "beautiful" Plan 9 is, it is nothing more than a footnote unless it contains the things that users actually need.

I find it deeply ironic that the Plan 9 crowd if critical of Unix because the "everything is a file" metaphor is either stretched to the breaking point (according to them) or not followed. And then you see them spinning their wheels because they can't map the web to Plan 9's metaphor.

Is it really better to be pure over pragmatic? Pure only takes you so far, sooner or later you have to bend or break. Real world systems are "ugly" because they have to adapt to the realities of the real world.

I am not dismissing their goals out of hand, but holding back things that are needed for general acceptance is the wrong approach; and if you can't adapt your metaphors to what is needed... maybe the problem is with their metaphors.

a couple of decades ago I designed what I called a universal information manager. It combined email, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc into a single interface. I started with the idea that everything fit on a timeline with search being the way to change how you looked at information.

At first everything worked great. I had a handful of friends testing it and they loved it. Of course it was missing lots of features and I endeavored to add them in. Many fit nicely into my timeline system, others (like contacts) had to be wedged in. Some had to be pounded into place with a hammer.

I realized it was collapsing under its own weight, and so I walked away. These days I think Apple and Google got it right: discreet apps that can share data, that is the best way to handle that domain model. Pragmatism won.

I have yet to see a case where pragmatism doesn't ultimately end up being "better", because "better", "beautiful", "elegant", "ugly" are all subjective. There aren't objective measures for them, at least when it comes to software. When someone tells me thing X is better, the next thing I want to know is "at what?".

But do you want to know the worst part about that thread? It was more than 13 years ago, and from what I can tell nothing has changed...
Eventually everything was being pounded into place, and it was becoming a stretch to fit them into my timeline metaphor. The system was becoming uglier and harder to use and maintain because I was doggedly sticking to my metaphor.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by jockm on Mon 17th Feb 2014 04:38 in reply to "RE[3]: My Plan 9 ritual... "
jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Sorry that last sentence "Eventually everything..." should appear before the paragraph "I have yet...". I don't know what happened there...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by Alfman on Mon 17th Feb 2014 07:31 in reply to "RE[3]: My Plan 9 ritual... "
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jockm,

I find it deeply ironic that the Plan 9 crowd if critical of Unix because the "everything is a file" metaphor is either stretched to the breaking point (according to them) or not followed.


Really? I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to since they follow this metaphor even more than unix does (successfully I think). The concept of processes as files (/proc) in unix/linux/bsd was cloned from plan9. They took it to a whole new level with distributed computing using 9p.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9P


And then you see them spinning their wheels because they can't map the web to Plan 9's metaphor.


But this is how brainstorming works, it's *good* to talk these things through like this to see if there's a better way to do things. It seems a little harsh to judge the project by what was, in retrospect, nothing more than a very brief (and off topic) discussion on the potential of applying unix tools to the web that took place over a decade ago. It didn't work out, so what? What would you have had them do, not discuss their ideas at all?

What is more disappointing to me is that the OP was discouraged from contributing:
I'm trying to port gtk to Plan 9.

i think it is very _bad_ idea. your next step will be to port gnome with 20MB cd player and so. do you want make _yet another FSF Windoze_ of plan9, like linux? look at tcl/tk better...


However there was a voice of reason back then:
Our society is too small to do everything by ourself.


It's probably for this reason that the GPL based license was adopted, they need the help of others and going with GPL can help get it.

Edited 2014-02-17 07:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: My Plan 9 ritual...
by ichi on Mon 17th Feb 2014 15:33 in reply to "RE[3]: My Plan 9 ritual... "
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I am not dismissing their goals out of hand, but holding back things that are needed for general acceptance is the wrong approach; and if you can't adapt your metaphors to what is needed... maybe the problem is with their metaphors.


That might hold Plan9 back, but on the other hand having a project that pushes a specific metaphor to the limit comes handy for other more pragmatic projects to decide where such metaphor really works and where it doesn't.

Reply Parent Score: 3