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

From: Helge Hafting (
Date: Fri Jun 20 2003 - 11:27:19 EST

On Fri, Jun 20, 2003 at 07:24:36AM -0700, Larry McVoy wrote:

> 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.

Well, ideas alone aren't enough. They can be implemented badly,
or well. There's lots of little issues that don't show
up until implementation. There are even some ideas that looks
great on paper that don't work in practice.

So Sun spends more on Solaris than all open source together, and
still can't match linux wich only is a part of open source.
Dreaming up stuff isn't enough - some of the novelty lies in
a working good implemetation, not merely in the original abstract idea.
Ideas tend to lack in practical detail.

I don't think open source is so parasitic. Commercial software
have a head start, open software is still catching up in many fields.
Thats why OSS often implementing old ideas. And they're implemented
well enough to out-compete commercial software. This is not
like a paraiste killing the host - OSS will go on even if _all_
commercial software dies. And then you'll see more new things too.
> So where is the inspiration for new work going to come from when
> Linux kills off Sun and every other source of innovation?
No problem at all. Innovation will come from people, as it always have
done. People will get ideas anyway. Some will always get paid
for programming too, altough it will be more of a service
function than it is today.

Helge Hafting
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