[nycbug-talk] "every bit as good as Linux"
Tue Sep 21 02:53:18 EDT 2004
Can someone say POSIX? Or um, Berkeley Software Distribution?
It seems to me, ironically, that this 'Linux Base Standard' feels a lot
like what BSD was before it was a full-blown OS... folks, this has all
happened before. Too bad this tech-writer printed nearly slanderous
misinformation about the OS family that was at the ancient root of
interoperability in computing.
"BSD stands for "Berkeley Software Distribution," the name first given
to the University of California at Berkeley's own toolkit of
enhancements for the UNIX operating system. Created by the students
and faculty, BSD was not part of UNIX itself, which was created by Bell
Labs. Rather, it was a widely distributed package of software
enhancements for UNIX -- a supplement that made the operating system,
which was originally strictly a research vehicle, useful in the real
On Sep 16, 2004, at 4:30 PM, michael wrote:
> Linux Standard Base Is Exactly What Platform Needs
> By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
> September 15, 2004
> "Take, for example, the open-source BSD operating systems: FreeBSD,
> OpenBSD and NetBSD. They're all good. You can argue, as I have, that in
> some ways they're every bit as good as Linux, if not better.
> Then why aren't more people running them? Why do we have a Linux
> Magazine but not a BSD Magazine? Well, it's simple, there are three of
> them. "
It goes on right after that to state something I can seriously dispute
"There are some open-source applications, such as Apache and Samba,
that will run on all of them. But if you want to make the most of each
one, you need to write an application that will take advantage of their
unique virtues. For most software development companies, or even most
open-source programmers, that's just too much trouble for too small a
> Say What!?! Yea, really... read the rest:
WTF? Write an application to take advantage of their unique virtues?
I just don't understand where this guy is coming from.
OK, I really just wanted to get it up somewhere online here, that this
writer is simply foolish, and here's why:
I'm a web application developer who works with Zope. For those who
don't know it, it's a huge open source application server, with nearly
the complexity of a small operating system, that lives often in the
realm of large enterprise software. In my life as a Zope developer, I
invariably compile tens of dozens of other softwares on a regular
basis, and plug them into Zope in one way or another.
Now also, my work often takes me onto a UNIX which my client has
selected for one reason or another, though I prefer to use the BSD's
when it's my call, BECAUSE, all the software I use and write compiles
the same from one BSD to another, period- and I can't say the same at
all for Linux.
With that said, I install a LOT of apps, all the time, on lots of Open
*NIX's. Portability is very important to me.
For example, in the last 9 months I've built full-blown Zope-centered
systems, with dozens of other supporting apps, on the following OS's,
- MacOSX Server
- Red Hat Linux
- Debian Linux
- Mandrake Linux
- SuSe Linux
For Dev/Personal/Fun uses:
- OpenDarwin (straight)
- Dragonfly (recent release)
With that stated, I'm not trying to puff out my chest or start any
flame wars, but I'm trying to illustrate that I know what the heck I'm
talking about here with a handful of apps portability- and BSD wins,
hands down. Everything just compiles, and works together as it should-
because of the ANCIENT adherence to POSIX guidelines, (yes, even when
it hurts sometimes).
Lets talk Developer time and ROI- the reason behind this article:
On average, off the top of my head, I'd say that my work on BSD
platforms took less than 1/2 the time for the same level of complexity
on Linux- due to portability and compatibility issues. I deal with too
much software to remember tweaks and tricks for a given OS, and usually
never build the same thing, therefore I encounter new problems with
Most of the rest of that time on Linux is tracking down a missing
library in userland for a given distro, installing things which are
common to one Linux- and not another, and the joys of de-activating or
de-installing daemons, which are often hacked beyond sane
configurability, conflicting with something I'm needing to install.
All of this, with some of the most poorly maintained and most
inconsistent man pages in the UNIX world.
All of that is a waste of time I could spend making interesting or
useful things, while eating away at my client's ROI. In english, my
client pays more and gets less- and I'm bored off my rocker with the
I'm not trying to outwardly slam Linux here, as there are some really
amazing ideas and code in there, but portability definitely isn't one
of it's strong points.
This article is a foolish attempt to create buzz about an an idea from
the Linux world, which is an ancient idea in BSD manifest in a thriving
codebase in the BSD derived OS's. BS like this is expected from the
folks who write all that buzz-pulp to confuse and befuddle IT managers
into buying crud they don't need- BUT, when a writer like this, lazily
and rudely prints misinformation that is incorrect and negative towards
the BSD's, the hair on my back stands up, and my claws come out.
If someone wants to flame, I'll simply be sending those to /dev/null
If you have something constructive to say about this, or if someone can
shed some non-bs light on what the 'Linux Base Standard' actually is,
I'm all ears- but this writer sure just did it some damage- and came
off quite historically un-informed while doing so.
For anyone interested in more historical information about BSD and
It's a fun read about history and process- with a lot of insight into
how open standards evolved. :)
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