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Date:      Mon, 18 Jul 2011 13:55:12 -0700
From:      Bruce Ferrell <>
Subject:   Re: Lennart Poettering: BSD Isn't Relevant Anymore
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <BAE7C8EACEC781AE26C2E7B5@utd71538.local>
References:  <20110717071059.25971662@scorpio> <> <>	<> <> <> <> <> <BAE7C8EACEC781AE26C2E7B5@utd71538.local>

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On 07/18/2011 01:32 PM, Paul Schmehl wrote:
> --On July 18, 2011 2:44:15 PM -0500 Gary Gatten <> 
> wrote:
>> <snip>
>> I've always been curious why "Linux" seemed to take off so fast when
>> other FOSS / non Winblow$ OS's were available for some time with not 
>> much
>> traction; OS/2, BeOS, *nix with X11, etc.
>> Not just on the desktop, but servers as well.  "Supported" versions of
>> Linux such as RHEL, Suse, etc. seem to have made more headway into the
>> enterprise computing environment in the last ten years than *BSD did in
>> the last 30.
>>> From my personal experience - which is relatively limited - it seems
>>> applications just work on Linux?  When I need to compile an app, it
>>> takes a few mins on Linux - but may take me a few weeks on FBSD.
>>> Granted someone more knowledgeable with FBSD, Compilers, etc. could do
>>> it much faster than I.
>> Anyway, if someone has a brief explanation of why Linux has apparently
>> triumphed (in so far as installed base, desktop penetration, etc.) where
>> so many others have failed (including IBM with OS/2) I'd be 
>> interested in
>> hearing those thoughts.
> I'll hazard a guess.  Linux was new and shiny and all the rage when 
> computer science really took off in the higher ed field.  So geeks 
> wanted to use it, but to do so at that time you had to be a bit of a 
> coder.  So the number of people hacking on it and submitting changes 
> ballooned. Basically, anyone who wanted to submit a change could, but 
> Linux kept the base kernel code management to prevent major mistakes.
> Then all their friends wanted it too, but they couldn't code.  So the 
> push for ease of use began.  That was the genesis of projects such as 
> kde and gnome and the drive behind getting things like flash and 
> "cutting edge" drivers working in Linux.
> Meanwhile, the *BSDs were those "old" "stogdy" OSes that "nobody" was 
> using any more, so there was no great incentive for geeks to check it 
> out and use it.  Remember the old saw, "Unix is user friendly.  It's 
> just picky about who its friends are."?
> So Linux was becoming more "user friendly" and gaining all sorts of 
> GUI crud that made it easier for non-geeks to be "admins" while the 
> BSDs were still rolling down the tried and true path of development 
> that required that you actually understand the innards if you really 
> wanted to be an admin.
> Linux hasn't "triumphed", BTW, it's merely in ascendancy right now.  
> It could well go by the wayside if a major problem erupts and doesn't 
> get resolved quickly.
> In short, some people chase the newest shiniest thing.  Others prefer 
> to stick with what works.  Often, the newest shiniest folks, after 
> they've gained some wisdom, move to the other camp.  So you could well 
> see a resurgence of BSD as Linux admins who've grown tired of its 
> quirks but have gained some unix skills start moving back toward the 
> BSD side.
This isn't a guess.  Back in the olden days of 1991, in the days was 
386BSD was a glimmer of articles in Dr Dobbs I and a lot of other *IX 
enthusiasts dutifully compiled what was given us.  Among  us there was a 
young Finnish student who want to contribute... And wasn't allowed.  SO 
he went on to create this new thing that accepted contributions from 
anyone just so the code hung together.  He called it Linux as a sort of 
pun on the then prevelent training system called MINIX.  Because it 
accept contributions from anyone who could code or test, it gained 
enormous popularity.  It wasn't exclusive.

*BSD to this day still suffers from it's exclusive attitude to this very 
day.  You can find the attitude in it's developers as evidenced by 
fairly recent posting from lead developers says (or words to this 
effect) BSD is for developers and we don't care what the desktop users want.

This isn't intended as a flame, just a historical recounting.  If you 
want to know what's wrong (and in my opinion Lennert is every bit as 
wrong in the same exact way) look inward.

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