Re: [ZDNet] Late and slowed by feature creep, it's ... Linux?

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Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 18:21:29 PDT

Three words: I love you. (:

On Thu, 4 May 2000, Adam L. Beberg wrote:

> [Linux loses another pedestal to stand on in the "we're better then
> Windows" battle. It's getting harder and harder to tell them apart, and
> it's not becasue Windows is becoming more Linux-like. Old bits to those
> watching, but this is the first I've seen the delays reported. Where is
> my quake III for EROS? The quake secuity hole story is below this one.]
> - Adam L. Beberg
> Mithral Communications & Design, Inc.
> The Cosm Project -
> -
> ------------------------------
> Late and slowed by feature creep, it's ... Linux?
> By Mary Jo Foley, ZDNN
> May 3, 2000 5:09 AM PT
> It's running a year late. But many distributors, developers and
> customers say they couldn't care less.
> A new version of Microsoft Windows? Not this time. It's the next version
> of the Linux kernel, Version 2.4, which is about a year behind its
> promised delivery date.
> While the Windows world is accustomed to delays and vaporware, the Linux
> camp had until recently enjoyed a fairly regular nine- to 12-month
> update cycle. But at the current rate of development, Linux 2.4 may not
> reach maturity until October.
> The father and owner of the Linux trademark, Linus Torvalds, originally
> had committed to delivering the 2.4 kernel last October. Then, this past
> spring, he updated his projection to this summer. Sources in the Linux
> community now say they aren't expecting gold code until late fall.
> Torvalds: Don't blame Transmeta What's going on? Is Torvalds' day job at
> chip maker Transmeta Corp. not leaving him enough time to oversee the
> open-source process by which Linux is developed, as some have suggested?
> According to Torvalds, nothing could be further from the truth.
> "We didn't much have a timetable for 2.4 originally, except that
> everybody knew that the two and a half years between 2.0 and 2.2 was too
> painful," Torvalds said. "The original hope was to have a release
> schedule between nine and 12 months, which everybody thought was
> wonderful, but at the same time a lot of people wondered about how it
> would work with a minimum three-month testing cycle.
> "Right now it's been about 15 months since 2.2, and it's almost
> certainly going to be at least three more months," Torvalds said. "Oh
> well. More than I would have liked, but not surprisingly so." Torvalds
> said a big reason why Version 2.4 is running behind schedule is the same
> reason that Windows releases so often run late: Developers always want
> to add just one more feature.
> "So instead of just going to a well-threaded FS (file system) and
> cleaned-up networking, we ended up having loop-back mounts, 64-bit file
> systems, NFS v3, 64GB memory support, etc. -- a lot more than originally
> envisioned," he said. "And it's damn hard to say 'no' when it's all so
> obviously a good thing. At some point the 'no' is required just to get a
> new stable version out.
> "In this regard, open source is definitely not very different from any
> software project -- they are notorious for always being over-budget both
> fiscally and time-wise," he said. "At least we don't have the fiscal
> budget issue."
> Gold code still matters But what open source does have that traditional,
> proprietary software projects don't are efficiency claims to defend.
> Open-source leaders often tout the open-source development process as
> superior to that of Windows and other closed-source code because the
> input and testing by so many results in cleaner, timelier code.
> Torvalds noted that some developers and users have the option of going
> with nonvalidated, non-fully debugged Linux "development" kernels,
> rather than waiting for the sanctioned, more stable, product-release
> kernels.
> But for some, especially the keepers of the commercial Linux
> distributions, gold code is all that matters.
> "It matters to folks like us who are in charge of packaging Linux," said
> Lonn Johnston, vice president of marketing at TurboLinux Inc., one of
> the four primary Linux distributors. Nonetheless, he said, "It's still
> not unreasonable for us to live with the uncertainties of the (Linux)
> development schedule as a trade-off for leveraging the huge development
> pool without the cost."
> Johnston acknowledged that TurboLinux has been forced to make a choice
> whether to wait for Version 2.4 or go with the interim Version 2.3
> release (odd-numbered Linux releases tend to be more minor, less
> mainstream upgrades). He declined to say upon which the company had
> finalized its strategy but said beta testers will soon find out.
> "We mostly know what's supposed to be in the 2.4 kernel and can build
> around that," Johnston said. "We spend a lot of time with major hardware
> partners in advance to include drivers that might not be in the kernel.
> We definitely will be able to issue a build within a couple of months"
> after the final kernel release is posted. "All we really need is to have
> our (packaging) prebuilt and we'll be ready to go."

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