Re: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]

From: Larry McVoy (
Date: Fri Jun 20 2003 - 09:24:36 EST

On Fri, Jun 20, 2003 at 12:09:10PM +0200, Stephan von Krawczynski wrote:
> On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 00:12:17 -0300
> Werner Almesberger <> wrote:
> > Larry McVoy wrote:
> > > These discussions always make me wonder if the open source crowd is ever
> > > going to realize it's reasonable to be friendly with commercial companies.
> >
> > The problem is that you can't trust a company. You may choose to
> > trust people who control or shape a company, but they may lose
> > that control, and then all bets are off.
> And that is exactly _the_ argument in this whole discussion. There seem to be
> people out there who want to make a living from _others_ _ancient_ work they
> bought for small bucks by sueing just about anyone.
> GPL has an inherent long-term strategy, you are talking of short-term, Larry.
> That does not match. If I am using only GPL-software I know I am able to use it
> as is in five years from now.

Actually, my point is about long term strategy and what you think is long
term I think of as short term. 5 years isn't long term in my book.

Here's some mail I sent last night which summarizes my view. I didn't
intend to post it here as it is a little harsh but what the heck, in for
a penny, in for a pound.

    I've said for years that the open source world is all about
    reimplementing and not about new innovation. Sure, people make
    the thing they copy somewhat better and maybe even lots better.
    I personally like Linux better than any of the Unices and I've been
    running Unix since 32v timeframe.

    But the deal is that if Linux and the rest of the open source world
    was creating their own stuff instead of copying someone else's,
    this wouldn't be a Linux problem, it would be an IBM problem.

    The reason I take this point of view, unpopular though it may be,
    is that I see open source as basically parasitic. It lives off the
    efforts of others and the big bummer is that it is killing its host.
    If open source can realize this and change gears fast enough to learn
    to create its own work, great. But that's going to take a lot more
    money than open source is currently generating. Like at least 3
    orders of magnitude. Sun spends more in a year on Solaris than all
    the other open source revenue put together. Think about that for
    a while. Then realize that a ton of the work in Linux was dreamed
    up by the Solaris engineers. Remember, I've been on the mailing
    list since 0.99 days or earlier and I worked at Sun, I know where
    stuff came from. There is very very very little new work in Linux.
    Better tuned? Sure. Leaner? Sure. Cleaner? Maybe. New? No.
    So where is the inspiration for new work going to come from when
    Linux kills off Sun and every other source of innovation?

    Don't get me wrong, Linux is better in some ways. The main thing,
    however, is device drivers. That's hardly innovation.

    I hate to sound like Bill Gates but I start to think he has a point.
    I wouldn't be surprised if I get sent to /dev/null in your procmailrc
    for this rant but that's my view of where we sit.

Larry McVoy              lm at
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