Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Further Linux Musings & How to Listen

Author:Eric Kidd
Posted:7/4/1999; 10:21:02 AM
Topic:kHTTPd: Static page server for Linux
Msg #:8169 (In response to 8168)
Prev/Next:8168 / 8170

(Still speaking for myself, not for UserLand.)

I heard a great story from Jon "Maddog" Hall a few months ago. He told me how Linus got free lessons in kernel design from the competition.

A couple of years ago, Linus gave a speech on how he was going to implement SMP for Linux. The audience included a professional kernel developer who thought Linus was full of it. Later that evening, Maddog overheard a conversation between Linus and the kernel developer. Linus was sitting quietly, saying very little. The other guy (who worked for one of the big Unix vendors) was explaining, in intricate detail, why Linus was severely misguided and why his ideas would never work. Linus listened to the whole thing without complaining. Talk about learning from the competition!

The Linux community watches Microsoft in the same way. Quite frankly, the Linux folks don't understand the software marketplace. But Microsoft has generously offered to provide free lessons. When Linus was asked about the new anti-Linux group at Microsoft, he said (roughly): "At first I was upset. But then I realized that they're just another group of users. The only difference is that I read their bug reports in the Wall Street Journal."[*]

My best guess: attacking Linux is counter-productive for Microsoft. Linus and some of the other senior developers have already gotten over their anger, and decided to listen to Microsoft instead of getting drawn into the fight. As a Linux user, this makes me happy. Linus is right to think about Linux, and forget about attacking Microsoft.


[*] I can't find this interview anywhere, unfortunately. Does anyone have the URL?

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