Home > Rumors > Linus compares Linux and BSDs Linus compares Linux and BSDs Eugenia Loli 2005-06-13 Rumors 42 Comments Joe Barr recently asked Linus Torvalds for his thoughts on the relative strengths and weaknesses of Linux and BSD, and about how much synergy there might be between the Linux kernel and the BSDs. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 42 Comments 2005-06-13 6:03 pm Linus was so noncommital. The article was not really worth the read. 2005-06-13 6:08 pm The interview is so general. Linus does not get into details. It is lik because I wrote Linux, for me, it is better. It is just like saying because I am a beastie fan BSD is better. 2005-06-13 6:12 pm Arguably, the most uniformative interview ever. 2005-06-13 6:13 pm What did you expect? He is an expert on Linux and says he knows very little about the BSD’s. How can he draw detailed comparions when his knowledge of one area is missing. He is the wrong person to ask to compare BSD and Linux. 2005-06-13 6:16 pm It was quite informative. It just highlights how petty and pointless benchmarks and comparisons are when one side starts getting extraordinarily partisan. If you want to compare something, be clear on the goals, the problem, the intent, and the criteria. Otherwise you’re blowing smoke. That’s why it was such a generic interview. He stated it quite clearly, however. Is Linux better than BSD? To him, yes. For what he does, yes. Can’t get much clearer than that, eh? 2005-06-13 6:16 pm What would the pro-Linux folks say if the words from Linuses mouth were coming from Bill Gates mouth and Gates was talking about Windows vs Linux (as apposed to Linux vs BSD)? In fact, the point Linus makes in this Q&A are points pro-Windows folks make about Windows over Linux. Interesting…. 2005-06-13 6:17 pm The interview does a good job showing how silly “better than” arguments are. Better than what? In what circumstanses? I think the fact that Linus refuses to get sucked into what amounts to a religious war is a good thing and makes me more interested in what he has to say. Anyone who thinks, and/or actually knows something, is going to sound wishy-washy or “noncommittal” in comparison to those who live by doctrine, or advertising slogans. Thinkers have theories and informed opinions. Fanatics are always certain they know “the truth”. 2005-06-13 6:26 pm Well, one difference is you can ask: can you web surf on this OS without getting malware. That categorizes Linux and BSD the same, and both are different than windows. 2005-06-13 6:31 pm He knows well how stupid and pointless those arguments are. He also knows that you better do a good job and let other people evaluate if it is good or not. 2005-06-13 6:37 pm Hmm…I surf all I want on Windows and I have yet to get any spyware/malware/viri, etc… I don’t even run anti-virus software/ad-aware/spybot/etc. Also, I never log in as Administrator and I disable ActiveX in IE. These two simple steps go a long way towards securing my system. 2005-06-13 7:02 pm Ask two fathers which kid is cuter will the answer matter? Of course Linus prefers Linux, I would be worried if he didn’t. The bottom line is it depends on what you want. If i want an OS for my home PC, I would use linux since it is more widely accepted. However, If I am building a product to sell, I would choose BSD for it’s more favorable license. Personally I wish BSD had parity with linux so it could be my choice for both. Of course my first choice would be Mac OS X (I know it is BSD based). But it won’t run on my old junker PC’s, but there is a ray of hope! 2005-06-13 7:03 pm “Programmer y, whose solution do you like better; your complete solution or programmer x’s complete solution?” “Artist y, is it not true that artist x’s art is better than yours?” “Journalist y, isn’t journalist x more of an idiot (read: good journalist) than you?” 2005-06-13 7:08 pm Why do people make holy wars of this issue? Clearly there’s something to suit everyone’s taste… So what if something’s better or worse as long as it does what I need it to and I like it? 2005-06-13 7:13 pm The only thing I can say to that whole article is “duh.” If he didn’t think Linux was superior I’d be worried. Same goes for Bill Gates saying Windows (though, I don’t think he’s had his hands as deep in a large project like Linux, seems to be more of a cunning business man to me) is better because he made it. 2005-06-13 7:14 pm To me it seemed like every answer was a round about answer yet if you really think about it he’s dead on. He never really gave a flat answer other than that he’s not the person to ask about BSD. I will agree tho. Better? in what area and for what? I’ve been trying to get a BSD installed for 3 years but each time my plans are foiled by the evil dark lord of “cannot boot” I’ve had the install cd I just booted tell me that it’s actually an audio cd before. I’ve seen a clean install that can’t boot because it set the boot loader to boot the wrong partition even tho I used all defaults. and time and time again I see horrible configurations that make the babies cry by night. After 4+ days of configuration I’ve finally gotten my FreeBSD install up and running! where as my Gentoo system from format to finished is a mire 2 days. checkout my website for details on the fun filled days of FreeBSD configuration. After all these problems tho I still want to get a BSD system going. Why? I have no clue perhaps I’ve gone insane? 2005-06-13 7:19 pm how uniquely capable he is at being the leader of such a large project. I mean look how well he points out how he thinks Linux is better than BSD without doing it in an inflammatory or insulting way. I daresay most posters on this and other sites could learn a thing or two from him in that regard. Oh, and by the way I’m a BSD user for many years and only use linux when I have to 2005-06-13 7:28 pm It’s nice to see reasonable human beings commenting on operating systems. Thanks Linus! In response to Stephen Leaf, I’ve never had any issue installing FreeBSD, at least once I figured out how the FS works (slices and tiny / partition). I’m glad you got it installed though. 2005-06-13 7:42 pm …being tame… ——————————- To me, it’s largely a mentality issue… The BSD people… are often perfectionists. They hone something specific for a long time, and then they frown on anything that doesn’t meet their standards of perfection. The OpenBSD single-minded focus on security is a good example… …I often find black-and-white people a bit stupid, truth be told. 2005-06-13 8:19 pm To me, it’s largely a mentality issue… The BSD people… are often perfectionists. They hone something specific for a long time, and then they frown on anything that doesn’t meet their standards of perfection. The OpenBSD single-minded focus on security is a good example… …I often find black-and-white people a bit stupid, truth be told Huh, Experts in security writing an OS is a bad thing? 2005-06-13 8:26 pm Is it my imagination, or was the interviewer trolling for a fight? 2005-06-13 9:05 pm read the whole article, not just a quote in a comment on OSNews. He is not saying that OpenBSD “is a bad thing” at all, he’s just saying that he thinks an OS with better hardware and software support is a better OS for him. 2005-06-13 10:17 pm This article is the equvilant to jet-fuel in potentially creating flame wars. The possible insightfulness of this article is overshadowed by its lack of depth and flame causing potential. 2005-06-13 10:33 pm if you ask stupid questions you get stupid answers. but if you ask linus stupid questions, he goes on ebetter and gives both diplomatic answers but with a humour that has two kicks: (1) the humour is a play on the stupid assumptions behind the question, and (2) reminds everyone who gets heated and emotional that its only software and there are more important things in life to worr about like bringing up your baby child! one of the best embassadors of this software movement. linux/bsd – like he said, best tool for the best job. 2005-06-13 10:45 pm If you don’t run AdAware or SpyBotS&D, how do you know you don’t have malware? Try it. 2005-06-13 10:46 pm The interview is pure Drivel. Linus is biased towards Linux, how can he give an objective view? It would have been better to ask 3 objectively minded experts that use both Linux & BSD what they thought & got better answers. My take on the issue. Linux is popular, many people will use it. Lots of hardware drivers & programs for it. BSD has greater security than Linux, was (maybe still is) better @ networking (mainly used on servers for corporations), compatibility with Linux (released by PC-BSD; Linux Layer for BSD); Also heard that BSD uses less resources than Linux, but not confirmed. One will be better than the other for certain uses, but overall it will depend on the end user which OS suits them better for their computing activities. Since many users are workstation/desktop type – the obvious OS choice will be Linux because of the greater software applications & hardware supported. The interviewer was either trying to start an OS flame war (or maybe he just loves BSD & wanted Linus to admit it too). 2005-06-13 10:50 pm Reminds me of this: http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=10761 2005-06-13 11:58 pm It only shows that you are unable to read 1-liner instructions I won’t be more specific only because I do not want to start flame between linux lamer and me 2005-06-14 1:05 am BSD has greater security than Linux, was (maybe still is) better @ networking (mainly used on servers for corporations), compatibility with Linux (released by PC-BSD; Linux Layer for BSD); Also heard that BSD uses less resources than Linux, but not confirmed. All of this is completely untrue or entirely unsubstantiated. 2005-06-14 1:11 am I didn’t say I never ran these tools before. Only, after running these tools and the tools never found anything, I figured why keep them on my system. All this FUD regarding malware is overrated. I know malware *IS* a big problem, but what I’m saying is that malware is a user issue it’s not Microsoft’s fault. The only thing MS is guilty of is not locking down the OS after a fresh install. It is the user’s responsibility to lock it down. Follow these steps: * Install the OS * Apply the patches * Disable Administrator * Create another Administrator account (call it meadmin) * Create a limited user account * Disable ActiveX * Use RunAs command for administration (like sudo in Linux) Happy surfing 2005-06-14 2:51 am You have sparked my interest! How is having the installer say your cd that you just booted an audio cd a 1-liner? or about that using all defaults having it pick the wrong partition? This I’ve got to hear!!! Oh yes and if you don’t want to start a flame war I’d leave out the ‘lamer’ part .. kind of a heads up FYI. I read all the things it gave me. I’ve read up on how to do things on the freebsd website. I know how to run the thing. They just do very small silly things. Like how secure is having an init script that requires you to add a (for example) apache_enable=”YES” to /etc/rc.conf ? Surely if you have permissions to do that you also have permissions to execute the init script. true in certain circumstances, however seriously.. Why? that right there wasted 30 mins of my life that I’ll never get back! .. and I was so looking forward to doing absolutely nothing after I got done! I will agree that users should never just think defaults are the safest way to run things. but they should at least work and be good enough. the defaults that I was seeing looked like by default nothing was enabled even if it defeated the purpose of the program/service it was trying to produce. (apache denying _all_ access to _everything_?) I’m not trying to /bin/bash *BSD. (always wanted to do that, sorry bad joke I’m just in a weird mood) From what I’ve noticed the FreeBSD kernel is a bit more responsive. which is awesome! I truly love that. However this just means that they are excellent at kernel development. However they lack in terms of UI. In this way Linux did it right. They do the kernel.. distributions take care of the UI. main kernel project does what it does best and let all the other little people or w/e take care of the rest. It would appear to me that the BSD groups tries to take on too much. Kernel development _and_ distribution. Which can be done if you have a large enough userbase. BSD folks just may have that. That I won’t argue with. I’m just looking at one point seeing an awesome start and wanting them to be where I know they can be. take for example the FreeBSD ports system. nice idea! it has a lot of inconsistencies tho that could cause problems. for example: sometimes a port will prompt you with a nice ncurses like option screen. others will just take in a parmeter via command line. why is this a problem? lets say you go to install something and sometime down the dependency track there is a port that takes this parameter that you know you’ll need. but you don’t know what parameters to pass it or even that it was a dependency of the port you just went to install. In many cases the makefile design they have going I found to be quite ugly to be honest. how do I know what to pass it? you can read the makefile I suppose but those things are like reading some language you don’t know. make out a few things here and there and that’s about it. guess the rest. a makefile system on the other hand does have it’s strengths. such as low dependencies. if your going to compile something then you’ll obviously have to have make. so they did that right! lets look at what I’d consider to be a more desired design. Gentoo’s portage system has emerge. has –help so you don’t need to read any cryptic makefile. you can install a package from _anywhere_ you don’t need to cd into the right dir. their ebuilds are easy to read and write. easy to find dependencies. easy to setup what options to pick while compiling programs. In a way it’s like FreeBSD’s ports system just done right. the only downside of portage that I see is it can be slow. it does once in a blue moon not get the right dependency (mostly due to a circular dependency issue) and finally it relies on python. Which if your like me you have no other use for python. Hopefully I made at least some point. *BSDs are awesome! they just need more fine tuning to be completely totally awesome! If you know of a BSD system like this Please I want know! I love trying new Systems. seeing what they got and such. 2005-06-14 3:09 am Your actually missing a few things with respect to locking down your system. Keep in mind that not everyone uses XP and has the firewall on by default. * Install the OS (no complaints) * Apply the patches (no complaints) * Disable Administrator Some software specifically requires the use of the “Administrator” login. This can break applications. * Create another Administrator account (call it meadmin) Why create another Admin account? You do realize that the system can have user names enumerated. If your going do the add a new admin to the system, you have to disable enumeration. Or you can rename the admin account. * Create a limited user account (no complaints) * Disable ActiveX Don’t know if remote software installs is unchecked in SP in IE. * Use RunAs command for administration (like sudo in Linux) Your forgetting that the “RunAs” command doesn’t release properly and that they system has to be rebooted to get it out of that state. Its the 6 hive which stores the systems running state, kind of like the “proc” system in Linux. There are several other services (disabled/secured), file/directory permissions and which files get mapped to which application but I digress. Also, don’t forget installing and config’ng a firewall or packet filtering (not everyone is on XP). Happy surfing (no complaints) 😉 2005-06-14 5:47 am Hey It should be simpler than that: * Install the OS (no complaints too, or it might be installed already for a new PC) * Happy surfing (and thats about it) dont care about the other stuff if ppl havent seen spywares on TV and commercials they wouldnt even know. they would think hey its an ad! so just use it with all happiness and complaints 2005-06-14 6:10 am He pretty much responded the way I expected him to respond. Linus has a few faults that he can address at some uncertain point in time. 1) He knows not a lot about BSD’s in general. At the moment it’s not a bad thing, but eventually he’ll have to get with the program and know what the BSD’s are up otherwise he’ll start to play second fiddle to them (and it already is happening. I use FreeBSD over Linux when I want something to run as a server rather than mucking with everything or twiddling distributions. People use OpenBSD for security, etc). 2) He is also know for arrogance in the face of trying to adopt or use new tools, methods and techniques. He’s a “all for it” or “not for it” sort of guy, and does not make sound judgements in hindsight (ie, BitKeeper) which is the sign of a narrow minded person. I also read his thoughts on debuggers and this attitude clearly shows. He may have changed since then, but I don’t think so. This breeds a Not-Invented-Here attitude and will hurt progress in the long term. 3) One size fits all is dead, or at least, seriously detrimental. To claim Linux is able to do it all is pretty silly. It’s the age old saying of “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” People who are adaptable to the problem are naturally more successful than a person who isn’t because they like sticking with their tried and true tools, regardless of the inefficiencies. (Though, having said that, sometimes “tried and true” really is the right solution, the difficulty is picking those times and when something else is better). Anyhow, since he’s aware of it and not knocking BSD’s off roundly, there’s still opportunities for the communities to work together in the long term. 2005-06-14 9:33 am 2) He is also know for arrogance in the face of trying to adopt or use new tools, methods and techniques. He’s a “all for it” or “not for it” sort of guy, and does not make sound judgements in hindsight (ie, BitKeeper) which is the sign of a narrow minded person. I also read his thoughts on debuggers and this attitude clearly shows. He may have changed since then, but I don’t think so. This breeds a Not-Invented-Here attitude and will hurt progress in the long term. Not trying to defend Linus here. But what will you do if you have to make decision on thousands of patches every month, and facing thousands of developers who have their own agenda and interest? Sometimes leader should do it, if he wants to keep the project going (and not be disturbed or delayed by too much conversations and not too clueful individuals). Of course this attitude should be done sometimes and not all the times. What do you think about Havoc and RMS? Sometimes leader should do it. Just for thought. 2005-06-14 9:40 am The article had nothing in it. Would be interested in reading a comparison between Linus Torvalds and William Gates though 2005-06-14 11:42 am what a good idea. now we can have BSD vs. LINUX vs. WINDOWS vs. OS X vs. [insert random OS here]. then we can rename this site to OSWars.com instead of OSNews.com. 2005-06-14 2:34 pm @ Adam BSD has … “All of this is completely untrue or entirely unsubstantiated.” Ok, I’ve used Linux (different versions) so I am fairly familiar with it, but I’ll admit that I haven’t tried out BSD (so comments on this OS will be based on what I’ve read). Linux vs BSD #1. Security. Look @ the Linux Kernels. Do you think all of them are because of new hardware additions? They incorporate security fixes & enhancements to stability. Kernel 2.4 went upto revision 31 (2.4.31) Kernel 2.5 upto revision 75 (2.5.75), etc. Look through the changelogs for exact details. How many Linux distros were using the new 2.6.1, 2.6.2, 2.6.3 Kernels? Many were waiting for higher revisions (to get out the bugs & security holes). Ubuntu I believe offered 2.6.8 as their 1st 2.6 Kernel – other distros waited for 2.6.10, 2.6.11, 2.6.12. What does this tell you? Also, Linux started around 1992 & based off Minix when it 1st began with Linus’ changes & modifications to it (Linus pretty much made Linux how he thought it should be). FreeBSD is based off of BSD UNIX (from late 1970s) which was based off of AT&T’s Unix code of 1970 (longer history; more time to get bugs worked out, not as rushed as Linux). #2 BSD has better server performance (I originally referred to it as networking, when instead this what I really meant – my mistake). This was true early on. Linux wasn’t that good in the beginning (it started in 1992) & needed time to improve. Today it is likely that Linux has the same (or even better) server performance than BSD (because Linux has come a long way & been improved). Most Corporations use BSD for servers. Another fact. BSD was around longer & adopted by early corporations (even Hotmail ran on BSD servers until Microsoft migrated it over to Windows). Some corporations are using Linux for their servers & this trend may continue to grow, but @ present the majority are running BSD. #3 PC-BSD has released a Linux compatibility layer that will allow to run most Linux applications on PC-BSD. This is a fact – check out their site for details. #4 BSD uses less resources. Just what I heard – may not be true. Linux loads more drivers/modules, OS, etc. into memory compared to BSD. So, you’ll have less memory for programs & hit the swap file sooner with Linux (which will impact performance). Only way to test this is to set both OSes with similar software & DE on the same system & compare (I don’t have time to do it – any takers?). Adam, Just saying it is untrue isn’t enough. Back up what you say either with arguments and/or benchmarks (proof). 2005-06-14 4:09 pm What a waste. And Linus is the wrong person to ask. Why not ask Ballmer to contrast Windows and Linux? Ask Ballmer which he prefers. 2005-06-14 4:17 pm Everyone who has visited OSnews for more than year should have seen all the benchmarks where Linux performs substantially better than *BSD in server operations tested. I have used FreeBSD, and I have noticed no performance increases or decreases over GNU/Linux on the desktop. Discussing security is difficult. Security depends on many factors, and the most important ones depend on the administrator. Today it is likely that Linux has the same (or even better) server performance than BSD For multi-threaded operations, GNU/Linux performance is far better than any BSD. Most Corporations use BSD for servers. Most corporations do not use FreeBSD or any open-source BSD period. Products based around Linux is a billion dollar industry, this is not true for any open-source BSD. BSD uses less resources. Not really. Linux runs on mmu-less micro-controllers, even NetBSD cannot claim that. Linux does not load more drivers/modules, unless if you have Linux load them. 2005-06-14 6:05 pm ts57: #3 “PC-BSD has released a Linux compatibility layer that will allow to run most Linux applications on PC-BSD. This is a fact – check out their site for details. ” Acutally all the BSD have had a Linux compatibility later. PC-BSD just is promoting it more that the other BSD. PC-BSD is basically FreeBSD with more drivers loaded/compiled into the kernel so the users gets the “just works” trademark happening. There is nothing wrong with this approach, it helps new comers to *BSD. #4 BSD uses less resources. Just what I heard – may not be true. Linux loads more drivers/modules, OS, etc. into memory compared to BSD. So, you’ll have less memory for programs & hit the swap file sooner with Linux (which will impact performance). Only way to test this is to set both OSes with similar software & DE on the same system & compare (I don’t have time to do it – any takers?). *BSD loads minimal services on a default install. Most distros have several services and drivers load under a default install. Makes getting the system up and running quicker. ———————————————————————- ———————————- Adam “Most corporations do not use FreeBSD or any open-source BSD period. Products based around Linux is a billion dollar industry, this is not true for any open-source BSD. BSD uses less resources. Not really. Linux runs on mmu-less micro-controllers, even NetBSD cannot claim that. Linux does not load more drivers/modules, unless if you have Linux load them.” Actually most business do use Linux. I work in a hosting company with thousands of different clients and I would say that approx 30-50 percent use some form of Linux in their operation (some large and some not so large). “BSD uses less resources. Not really.” On a default install, they load less services than 90 percent of the distro’s out there. “Linux runs on mmu-less micro-controllers, even NetBSD cannot claim that.” This may or may not be fact. If it is true, then one piece of hardware doesn’t make it run on more platforms. “Linux does not load more drivers/modules, unless if you have Linux load them.” Wanna bet. 2005-06-14 7:11 pm @ Anonymous (& Adam) Thanks Anonymous. I mostly agree with your corrections & information. I will not comment further on security other to say Linux & BSD are both very secure. BSD *was* popular choice for servers (going back 5-10 years), but many corporations are switching to either Linux or Windows (these 2 OSes have gained the majority lately). I still was under the impression that BSD had the lead (on servers), was sure I read it online somewhere, but realized that isn’t true no more (from further research). Proof: http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/Hosters Present day Linux has *better* server performance than past versions (before 2.1 or so kernel). The reason why it is gaining popularity as a server OS. Both BSD & Linux are great for running servers (hard to tell which one is better than the other @ it). Linux default installation loads more drivers, services & so uses more resources & memory (=affects overall system performance). Tweaking & compiling custom Linux kernel may help, but many users to Linux will use the default kernel & settings. I’ve seen other posts similar to Anonymous’ say the same thing on this topic, but having not used BSD – I can’t say exactly why (just what others have commented). Older comparison (2000?) of BSD vs Linux vs Windows. Good starter, but information is now outdated. Wish I could find a recent comparison similar to this. http://people.freebsd.org/~murray/bsd_flier.html 2005-06-15 1:55 pm But what will you do if you have to make decision on thousands of patches every month… It’s called delegation. Delegation is different from being ‘difficult’ over certain tools. Linus delegates OK, ever since he almost broke down a while ago over some patches and went off at a few developers. If you recall a quote, it was “Linus does not scale” which was pretty apt, so everyone worked on the problem and he was able to delegate a lot of the stress off him. Sometimes leader should do it, if he wants to keep the project going (and not be disturbed or delayed by too much conversations and not too clueful individuals). Yes, however there is a point where a person should listen and heed what their peers are telling them. Linus has a hard time being convinced that there is a better tool, or a better way of doing things. In my case, an impartial vote for xyz feature or using xyz tool by the majority is more effective than having someone veto a great new tool just cause the old one is more traditional. That’s what NIH (Not-Invented-Here) syndrome is. It’s about people refusing to explore new tools and options, and preferring to invent the wheel again under the guise of being cool when really they’re just being stubborn about learning new tools. I work on the theory of: 1) Find the best tools available. 2) If better tools don’t exist, adapt or build them from existing ones. 3) Go back to 1 after evaluating 2 & 1 for use. Ironically, people who have NIH usually think they’re saving time by not learning new tools, but ultimately, they’re wasting time by not adopting them. Even when the best minds lay it before them, they must be dragged kicking and screaming before they’ll accept it. Is that the correct way a leader should act? I don’t think so. What do you think about Havoc and RMS? Sometimes leader should do it. RMS is OK, his actual contribution to OSS is less hands on now and more political and informative. In this case, he can afford to be uncompromising as it is more nebulous area that he works in (ie, converting people’s minds). For instance, I find his simple request that Linux be referred to as GNU/Linux is not that onerous given that without GNU software, Linux is dead in the water. Not sure about Havoc (if you have a link I’ll check into it). If you want to read Linus’ view on debuggers, it is here http://lwn.net/2000/0914/a/lt-debugger.php3 I value time. I hate people who waste my time. If you value your time, you will subscribe to the attitude that I have, which is to find the best tools. Not only that, consider people using your code or software. Are you saving them time as well? Being “a bastard, and proud of it!” doesn’t mean you should waste other people’s time, in fact, I find that the highest insult you can deliver. Ever been stood up? It’s like that except people think it’s normal in the computer world to be treated badly. Think about that. That’s why I use FreeBSD most of the time when I want stuff to “just work”. I don’t have the time or inclination to futz with numerous GNU/Linux distributions much (well, I kind of like Centos, that is OK so far) and I use MacOS X primarily as it saves me time. A lot of time. Windows is probably the worst time waster of all, over GNU/Linux even, so I dislike Windows even more than GNU/Linux due to all the viruses and malware, and in general all the dumb things that can happen that could be avoided. If developers and companies were directly responsible for wasting time, so that I could email, fax or phone abuse at them whenever something bad happened, I think a lot of people would think twice about releasing bad code or software. For my future projects I’ll probably set up a bulletin board system, so they (the users) can hurl abuse and vote for new features and get help rather than hassling me. I find that if I let people email me, they get very very lazy as they can’t be bothered to read, or learn. Best not to let that happen, I think.