[conspire] Re: Sun's strategy to discredit Linux.
einfeldt at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 11 21:37:18 PDT 2004
On Friday 08 October 2004 12:50, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at earthlink.net):
> > > Please see: "Fear of Forking" on
> > > http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Licensing_and_Law for background on
> > > the proprietary Unix wars of bygone years.
> > Thanks for your thoughtful reply! Particularly the fear of
> > forking link. It was all very informative!
> Thanks for taking my answer in the spirit intended.
Yeah, it was thoughtful. I probably am going to have sit down an
look at that reply a couple of times over a period of a couple of
months in order to digest it, because it was thorough.
> I hope I
> didn't sound too harried, because (actually) I was pretty harried
> when I wrote that -- but for reasons completely unrelated to your
> posts. (Sadly, today's turning out to be pretty darned hectic,
> too, but I wanted to acknowledge your post.)
> I'm sorry that isn't very profound, but, hey's Tim's essay wasn't
> either. ;->
Well, maybe it's a case of the emperor's new clothes, but I was
impressed. Tim O'Reilly gave that same talk as a keynote speech at
OSBC 2004 to a packed audience of about 800 people who applauded
wildly after his talk, and so maybe it really was good. When I see
a roomful of true geeks and suits applauding Tim for this speech, I
am influenced. But maybe as you say, it is just a case of
following the tribal elders.
But in this case, I think that the tribal elders are actually
correct. I liked Tim's essay because I wouldn't have thought of
Google as "delivering software". Rather, I would have just thought
of it as a service that happens to run on computers powered by gnu
linux. But I think that Tim has an interesting argument. To a
simple end user like me, it all comes down to where you get your
work done. In a sense, I see Google as offering you some time on
their computer in exchange for your attention. You see their ads,
or whatever, and they let you use their computer for a brief split
second or two.
When I look at the common threads of what Amazon and Google and Ian
Murdock's (and Garth Dickey's) Progeny company are doing, it seems
to me that they are offering integrated architectures (stuff they
designed or built) which is wrapped around modular open source
stuff they did not design or build. Here is one of the places I am
getting that idea from. It's from the book "Seeing What's Next" by
Clayton Christensen, Scott Anthony, and Eric Roth:
“Conservation of integration holds that, when an interdependent
system architecture is necessary to optimize performance at a stage
of value added that is not good enough, the architecture of the
product or service at the adjacent stage of value added must be
modular and conformable in order to optimize the performance of
what is not good enough. In simple terms, modular stuff must
surround integrated stuff to optimize the integrated stuff.” Page
19, published in 2004 by Havard Business School Press.
So for example, Christensen's team says that the Linux kernel is a
perfect example of innovating in ways that wouldn't work with
"Consider the difference between Microsoft Windows and the Linux
operating system. Windows is a highly integrated, interdependent
operating system. To optimize the operating system, applications
developers must conform their products to meet Microsoft's
interface requirements. Efforts to try to modify Windows to
improve individual applications would be disastrous; any individual
change would have literally thousands of unanticipated consequences
and operating system problems. Linux works the other way, because
its goal is to enable optimized applications. The Linux operating
system itself is modular. As long as you follow the rules, you can
modify it to optimize the performance of an application." Seeing
What's Next, p. 20.
So what I thought that Ian Murdock and Tim O'Reilly are talking
about is the stuff that people are wrapping around Linux, as
Christensen says about above. Progeny, for example, is optimizing
the stuff around the gnu linux OS so that their individual
customers can use linux for the unique tasks that their businesses
demand. So in my mind, that is a "proprietary" adaptation of an
open source tool.
However, maybe we really are just saying the same thing, not sure.
So to try to put it in more simple English: Progeny "owns" the new
stuff that they create to make Linux work better. They "own" it
because they can sell it and people will buy it. But the mere fact
that they can "own" it and sell does not make it any less "open
source", at least in my mind.
The reason that all of this is important to me is that I am somehow
going to try to boil it down to present it to a broad (geek and
non-geek) PBS-type audience, and I want to be able to stay true to
the topic and at the same time make it interesting enough for a
documentary movie format. (I'm talking about the Digital Tipping
Point film, of course.)
We are getting near the end of filming, and we are going to start
editing soon, hopefully, so I need to get this stuff right.
> I'm sorry that isn't very profound
You're selling yourself short. ;-)
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