Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jun 2014 22:06 UTC
Linux

In the latest contest, not only did Linux dominate, but Linux showed that is slowly pushing out all its competitors. In the June 2014 Top 500 supercomputer list, the top open-source operating system set a new high with 485 systems out of the fastest 500 running Linux. In other words 97 percent of the fastest computers in the world are based on Linux.

With numbers like this, it's easy to forget that this project started with the words "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu".

This hobby now dominates almost every field of computing - from mobile to supercomputing.

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At risk of monoculture?
by ameasures on Wed 25th Jun 2014 12:05 UTC
ameasures
Member since:
2006-01-09

If Linux becomes the only way then evolution will have run it's course. Are we then left with a monoculture and something approaching a blind alley?

I have a lot of time for Linux in various contexts but seriously folks... we need upstarts, experimentation, debate and competition. All of it on-going.

Reply Score: 4

RE: At risk of monoculture?
by ricegf on Wed 25th Jun 2014 12:32 in reply to "At risk of monoculture?"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Since Linux is open, it's growing dominance is not necessarily leading to a monoculture. Are Ubuntu, Android, and Chrome really the same culture? Or are they three distinct products which rely on the same kernel? Sure, I can run bash on all 3, but the primary application environments target different markets IMHO, and advance technology in different directions.

It's possible that, should Linux attain true dominance over the industry, it will lead to even more rapid advances in technology rather than the stagnation we saw with Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6.

Hope so, at least.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: At risk of monoculture?
by Lobotomik on Wed 25th Jun 2014 13:07 in reply to "RE: At risk of monoculture?"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Truly so. Even if Linux seems to be One, there may be very different approaches to multiprocessing one can choose (and implement). The ecosystem you fear will go missing is really built-in, to a very large extent.

If you build an extremely expensive system with a one-of-a-kind architecture, you will want your own memory manager, job dispatcher etcetera. Linux lets you add this in relatively easily, and you can even build up on previous work. I guess this is not the case with Windows, OSX, Solaris or AIX.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: At risk of monoculture?
by andih on Wed 25th Jun 2014 20:09 in reply to "At risk of monoculture?"
andih Member since:
2010-03-27

Dont worry, there is no risk of monoculture..

Linux is open, and if it kills Microsoft, then be happy. This will give space to a lot of smaller open and not open projects ;)

World would be better off with many open projects like OSV and similar stuff instead of the proprietary monoculture we got in desktop world by Microsoft.

I seriously hope Microsoft will die soon.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: At risk of monoculture?
by Dasher42 on Thu 26th Jun 2014 02:26 in reply to "At risk of monoculture?"
Dasher42 Member since:
2007-04-05

Has Linux's success hurt or helped Haiku? AROS? Genode? What do you think, and why?

I think it's helped those efforts incredibly. The projects that aren't helped are those that are so similar in application that it's up to smaller differences like development styles and licensing to make it worth doing something not Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: At risk of monoculture?
by ricegf on Thu 26th Jun 2014 10:35 in reply to "RE: At risk of monoculture?"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

Has Linux's success hurt or helped Haiku? AROS? Genode? What do you think, and why?


If Linux (the kernel) hadn't been created by Linus Torvalds, I believe a similar product would have arisen in its place.

The hurd was the obvious heir apparent in 1990, but it lacked the practical leadership to get an actual product out the door. The obvious benefactor in hindsight would rather be BSD Unix, but I don't believe it would have had the same level of success as Linux has seen (even in Linux' absence), partly because Linus is a uniquely talented engineer and leader (and Linux needed both), and partly because IMHO BSD's license offers insufficient protection from exploitation by competitors to justify the kind of investment in open code from major corporations that Linux has received. If not BSD, perhaps Minix would have overcome it's licensing problems to become commercially viable. Others such as Haiku (fond of it though I am) would have had an even steeper playing field on which to compete than those above, but the potential is certainly there.

But I think an open kernel would have eventually and inevitably achieved widespread adoption, just not quite as successfully as Linux.

I think the amazing (to me) success of Linux has certainly had a motivational effect on the developers of later open kernels and systems, and probably a demotivational effect on developers of closed kernels and systems. Open is clearly the future IMHO. Open products are too good now, and proprietary development is too expensive, to attract the needed venture capital and industry support to proprietary kernel endeavors at this point.

But I think the most singular pivot point in history was the decision by rms to almost single-handedly create the free software movement in the 1980's out of sheer dogged determination.

IMHO, the free software movement (and it's nephew the open source movement) wasn't a near-inevitable creation like the Linux kernel, but a kind of genius to see the direction that proprietary software was taking the industry, and decide that something better was needed.

Yes, he's opinionated, controversial, prideful, lacking in personal charisma and maybe even hygiene. But people who make a real impact in the world often are. I've never met him, and I certainly disagree strongly with him on almost everything else, but I do respect the man for creating and executing a clear vision of a type of liberty that wasn't at all obvious except in hindsight.

I consider myself in his debt.

That's what I think, and why. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4