Re: [ZDNet] Late and slowed by feature creep, it's ... Linux? (Oops, pushed my button)

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From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 18:10:28 PDT

On Thu, 04 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

Umm, no, it's not getting more Windows-like. If Linux were evolving
toward becoming an integrated platform ala Windows, Mac, NeXT, etc,
it would be producing a coherent integrated API/ABI (to make the
programming model as simple as possible). There's no sign of such.
Linux *is* evolving toward being the underlying OS service on
everything from mechanical pencils on up, (free is cheaper than QNX
or BeOS) but it is not evolving toward a common user environment, or a
common programming model, despite some convergent evolution in the
KDE/Gnome area. That's cosmetic.

I'm a Linux bigot. I love the thing. I'll steal Alan Kay's line and
say that 'it's the first operating system worth criticizing.' Linux
makes it fun to be a computer geek again.

Linux is still more anarchic than anything else that's out there. I
was just discussing a port of Microsoft Office to Linux and siding
with the 'they won't' school for technical reasons. To put an app
like that on Linux you have to make a lot of decisions about which
libraries to lean on, which desktop environments to support, etc, and
after doing all that, you have to implement a lot of the support that
isn't there on Linux at all, and test on an insanely complex
environment matrix. Red Hat deserves their premium price just for
testing on a reasonable subset. Red Hat is the only distribution
that will install on my stranger bits of hardware. I prefer
Mandrake, but Red Hat will identify the hardware and install
correctly, which is worth money.

I'm not trying to say that the Windoze or Mac programming interfaces
are simple or sane, but some attempts have been made to get them to
be somewhat consistant, which is not the kind of thing that one
expects from the Linux world. Think about it. That's not what Linux
is about. Most people are never going to get used to that.


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