Re: Darwin Continues Open Source Evolution

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From: Kragen Sitaker (
Date: Tue Dec 12 2000 - 10:28:25 PST

Tony Finch writes:
> wrote:
> >Lisa and the first Mac was innovation (ahem: an inferior
> >consumer copy of what Xerox PARC did earlier).
> You speak as if Xerox were capable of doing something worthwhile with
> their technology. Ahaha.

And this is the real point; innovation and popularization are
different, and both are important, and they rarely happen temporally
together or nearby.

In software, the step from nothing to a cool idea is a lot smaller than
the step from a cool idea to a useful implementation.

> >The only worthwhile technological innovation (software) is
> >OpenSource, even though the architecture still sucks (compare QNX).
> Also crap. OSS is just re-implementing ideas that have already been
> worked out elsewhere. I'd be really interested to know of good
> counter-examples.

Well, TCP/IP, Emacs, ssh, the Web (CERN httpd, every Web browser up to
and including Mosaic, Apache), Perl, Zope, rpm, apt, CAML, Qt, FreeNet,
TeX, the ArsDigita Community System, AOLserver, Back Orifice 2000, VNC,
Slashcode, the X Window System, Ingres, ReiserFS, mec-replay, and bzip2
come to mind.

Still, there's a lot of value in re-implementing ideas that already
have an existing, but shitty, implementation. Implementation quality
matters a lot more than technical innovation in producing useful

I'm rather mystified by Eugene's statement that open source is a
technological innovation whose architecture sucks. Does he mean
"Linux" instead of "OpenSource"?

> >(Ok, I'll grant them that their cases are typically easy to open).
> The same is true for most brand-name PCs. Generic cases IME are
> utterly shit and far more expensive than their price tag would
> suggest.

I've been quite impressed with the improvement in quality in generic
Chinese cases over the last ten years.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we possess
       -- Gandalf the White [J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Two Towers", Bk 3, Ch. XI]

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