This is getting a little weird. Twice in the last couple of years, Linus Torvalds has gone out of his way to diss Solaris, the OS technology and Sun corporately. Now, anyone who’s spent time on a mailing list with Linus knows that his opinions are sharp-edged and rarely withheld. But now we have a pure attack piece from Amanda McPherson, identified as “the marketing director of the Linux Foundation”.

She goes on about how the L in LAMP is Linux and Literal; and how Sun in general and Jonathan in particular are hopeless losers because there are more of them than of us. Oh, and because there’s a nasty little dispute in the OpenSolaris community.

Well, let me be clear: I like GNU/Linux, in particular the GNU userland part which I’m delighted to see the Solaris guys finally warming up to. The blog you’re reading runs on a Debian box and I use Ubuntu in my living room. And I run Solaris for concurrency work and when I need NetBeans to go really fast. And it’s all just fine.

And yeah, the OpenSolaris community has had some foot-stomping of late, and IMHO the Governing Board needs to do some Governing PDQ. But, uh, flare-ups around personalities and naming and so on are not exactly earth-shaking news in any of the OSS communities that I’ve lived in. (Well, except for Ruby. But I digress). Perhaps GNU/Linux has been blessedly free of such things?

But whatever. Yes, there are more Linuxians at the moment. I’m one myself from time to time. The software is good. There is competition now. This is also good. The childish sneering? Not good.


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From: Paul Boddie (Feb 18 2008, at 03:57)

"Now, anyone who’s spent time on a mailing list with Linus knows that his opinions are sharp-edged and rarely withheld."

Some people haven't realised that one aspect of being famous is knowing when to keep quiet rather than opining about everything and anything. "No comment" would be a useful addition to the Torvalds repository of one-liners.

Anyway, the best way to silence the detractors would be to make OpenSolaris available under version 3 of the GPL. It'd put a bunch of Linux people on the defensive, and it'd remove a number of obstacles from more widespread usage of the software.

And Sun has to stop wanting to own everything around their open source projects. Even the perception that former employees are being messed around over severance pay and transfer of code ownership sends the message that the "community" is a distant second place to Sun's corporate interests. And I'm still not sure where Sun is at over software patents.


From: Dalibor Topic (Feb 18 2008, at 08:14)

For contrast :

Kick below, bow above ...


From: Mark (Feb 18 2008, at 10:56)

> Perhaps GNU/Linux has been blessedly free of such things?

So there I was, minding my own business, when I came across your query about naming conflicts in GNU/Linux. I tried to contact you on Pidgin but you were offline. I thought maybe I could send you an email but Seamonkey Mail wasn't cooperating, so I typed up this reply in XEmacs and pasted it into Iceweasel.


From: bloodnok (Feb 18 2008, at 20:14)

amanda mcpherson was a marketing hack at covalent technologies back in the days when it was trying to sell apache to those too dumb to download & build it themselves. she reported to the infamous jim zed & together they dog&pony'd a great illusion of wealth & wonderfulness! but the dotbomb bubble fizzled out & covalent let zed & team go, along with the rest of their armwaving dreamers & went back to the reasonable task of providing apache support. meanwhile the armwavers found something else to agitate about. pwah!

nothing to see here, move along ...


From: eonnen (Feb 18 2008, at 23:16)

Saw plenty of this during my brief time on a corporate advisory council to what was at the time the OSDL. Of the core team I've had immediate experience with, I wouldn't put it above most to argue ethos to the death rather than submit to a more legitimate technical argument.


From: Assaf (Feb 21 2008, at 19:41)

Well, Roy Fielding is not happy with the way Sun is handling Open - as in branding - Solaris. I heard similar gripes about Open - as in disruptive - Office from several fronts, and similar concerns about Open - as in free to ship with RHEL - JDK.

It smells like CIO checkboxing and trading license stream for market share, but no earnest intent to ever form a community around these projects (licensees and channel partners aside).

I didn't like Amanda's post, I kept thinking "neener, neener, neener, my daddy is better than yours", but responding to her writing style and not the main point isn't dealing with the problem.

Open source communities do not form around anything that smells of vendor self-interest, and Sun is giving off that particular odor.


From: Jeff Carroll (Feb 23 2008, at 09:15)

"Perhaps GNU/Linux has been blessedly free of such things?"

Has rms yet quit shunning people with whom he disagrees? Has FSF yet abandoned its position of "Linux is just a kernel for GNU"? (Their website suggests not.)

I should probably have just assumed this was a rhetorical question.


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