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Linux For Losers According To De Raadt 1314

Posted by Zonk
from the fair-and-balanced dept.
elohim writes "Theo has some scathing comments about Linux in his new interview with Forbes Magazine. From the article: 'It's terrible...Everyone is using it, and they don't realize how bad it is. And the Linux people will just stick with it and add to it rather than stepping back and saying, "This is garbage and we should fix it."'"
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Linux For Losers According To De Raadt

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:44AM (#12840860) Homepage Journal

    "Linux For Losers According To De Raadt"

    Nowhere in that article does he say "Linux is for losers" or use that label. The headline of the story rhetorically asks that question, way to generate flamebait, Forbes & Slashdot editors!

    Now I'm going to get a coffee and enjoy the comments which will probably not differ much from "Theo is teh ghey! L12nux r00lzzzzzz!!!"

    • by Fr4ncis (763671) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:49AM (#12840910) Homepage
      Theo is teh ghey! L12nux r00lzzzzzz!!!
      • by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:04AM (#12841092) Journal
        Torvalds, via e-mail, says De Raadt is "difficult" and declined to comment further.

        Eloquent and refined as always. Apparently, De Raadt has chosen to be less so. If his OS were as superior as he claims, its merits would be apparent without him having to act like the -1 Flamebait posts that are to follow.
      • does this belong here?
      • by DigitumDei (578031) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:57AM (#12841664) Homepage Journal

        ...BSD guys are a lot like Linux guys, except they have kissed girls.

        Its times like this that you have to link to penny arcade [penny-arcade.com]

        • ...BSD guys are a lot like Linux guys, except they have kissed girls.
          Well, they thought that was a girl that they paid $20 to kiss, but after googling for her name, they found some pictures of her on the `Transexuals are Friends, not Food!' web site, and noticed that she had a rather prominent Adam's Apple, so they're not quite so sure anymore ...
    • by Otter (3800) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:53AM (#12840959) Journal
      Yes, and no. He doesn't say "Linux is for losers" but I would say "scathing" is a pretty fair description of "It's terrible...Everyone is using it, and they don't realize how bad it is. And the Linux people will just stick with it and add to it rather than stepping back and saying, 'This is garbage and we should fix it.'"

      Anyway, interesting in regard to yesterday's debate on "Whimsical Comments In Code: Vital Human Right Or Proof Of Idiocy?" is:

      Lok Technologies, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of networking gear, started out using Linux in its equipment but switched to OpenBSD four years ago after company founder Simon Lok, who holds a doctorate in computer science, took a close look at the Linux source code.

      "You know what I found? Right in the kernel, in the heart of the operating system, I found a developer's comment that said, 'Does this belong here?' "Lok says. "What kind of confidence does that inspire? Right then I knew it was time to switch."

    • by Strawser (22927) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:02AM (#12841063) Homepage
      The article was awful for being kind of sloppy, but De Raadt was feeding it. It's an article composed of generalizations about caricatures of steriotypes, which is something like sloppy*10^3.

      "Linux people do what they do because they hate Microsoft. We do what we do because we love Unix"

      Could have just as easily been . . .

      "Linux people do what they do because they hate Microsoft. We do what we do because we hate Linux"

      "BSD guys are a lot like Linux guys, except they have kissed girls."

      Would have been as meaningful had it been . . .

      "BSD guys are a lot like Linux guys, except they have kissed each other."

      I mean, no, linux isn't perfect, but that's not news. It's also not news that some people in the BSD community flame people in the Linux community, and vice versa, and they're usually silly flames. I don't mind silly flames so much on /., but silly flames in Forbes is pathetic.

      I bet they just do what they do because they hate Slashdot. ;)
    • by jusdisgi (617863) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:09PM (#12842534)

      Hehe. This guy is obviously a great coder. Too bad he's such a total dickhead.

      This article really highlights Theo's personality problems, and may shed some light on why NetBSD summarily kicked him out on the street. Here's the first email he got from the core developers after he complained that they shut down his CVS access:

      Over the past year and a half, we have received a considerable number of complaints about the fact that you seem to harass and abuse both users and developers of NetBSD. At various times, some of us have suggested (with varying levels of severity) that you cease this behaviour, but this has been ineffective. Indeed, you have given us scant reason to believe that your behaviour is ever going to change for the better.

      Your abusive actions have seriously impaired the success of the NetBSD project in several ways. Your actions have driven away developers or potential developers, and have alienated many users. They have also squandered much of the good will that various people have directed at the project.

      Finally, it is clear that for the project to be a success, we must promote a positive environment for both users and developers. If we continue to allow you, an official representative of the NetBSD project, to behave in this manner, we create the perception that we approve of your behaviour. That perception is damaging to the project and cannot be allowed to persist.

      Because of these things, we believe that it would be in the best interest of the NetBSD project if you were to resign all official association with the project. We request that you resign from the NetBSD core team, resign as the maintainer of the NetBSD SPARC port, and post a message to the "netbsd-users", "current-users", and "port-sparc" mailing lists announcing your resignation. If you choose not to post such an announcement within one day (by 9:00AM, 12/21/94), we will be forced to inform the public about your removal from the organization ourselves.

      We regret having to do this, because you have done a significant amount of very good work for the project. In spite of that, we can no longer condone your behaviour. We wish for this parting to be as painless as possible; we have disabled your accounts on the NetBSD development machines and have removed you from the "core" and "port-masters" mailing lists, but have left your subscriptions to other NetBSD mailing lists untouched. We have no objection to your further participation in NetBSD, as long as you participate in a mature manner and make clear the fact that you no longer officially represent the NetBSD Project.

      Of course, now no one can kick him out of OpenBSD, so I guess he's found the one role that'll work for him. Luckily, it's irrelevant during the 364 days this year when some idiot at Forbes didn't decide to upchuck a completely assinine, one-sided bullshit flame from a proven asshole, and then call it a news story.

  • At last!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaHat (247651) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:45AM (#12840877) Homepage
    You mean for once I am not a loser? I never thought I'd see the day when running Windows was... cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:47AM (#12840890)
    From the article:

    Torvalds, via e-mail, says De Raadt is "difficult" and declined to comment further.

    I must say, Linus really comes across as a classy, quality person. It takes mature restraint to deal with "difficult" people like Theo, and Linus does so with class.
    • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:55AM (#12840985)
      Actually the worst part is that Theo is often right, which means you do have to actually listen to him rather than the easier just ignore him.
      • No excuse.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jsimon12 (207119) <tzzhc4@yaBOHRhoo.com minus physicist> on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:14AM (#12841201) Homepage
        Actually the worst part is that Theo is often right, which means you do have to actually listen to him rather than the easier just ignore him.

        Reguardless of whether Theo is right or wrong he should not be such an asshat. Honestly have you ever dealt with the guy? If you don't see eye to eye with him he treats you like a giant turd. WTF? This is why it is good to have social skills and to know when to keep your mouth shut and when to open it. Theo from my experiance appears to have niether.
      • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Friday June 17, 2005 @11:09AM (#12841799) Homepage
        He blames Linux marketshare on the BSD lawsuit. I'm sorry, but in this case, he sounds foolish. The way BSD was developed and promoted a decade ago had far more to do with Linux' acceptance than the BSD lawsuit.

        At the time, *very* few businesses used Linux. Well under 1%, probably more like 1% of 1% of 1%. At any rate, if you wanted to use a free *nix OS, you had three choices besides Linux:

        1) Paying a commercial BSD license fee (BSDi). This was a bit expensive for an individual, and even the commercial version didn't have drivers for a lot of the better hardware (like reasonably new Dell servers).
        2) Writing your own device drivers for anything unsupported.
        3) Sending a BSD vendor equipment so they could write your driver.

        I wish I could remember which prject was which for #2 and #3. Whichever group was #2, when I asked on the net about a SCSI driver for our server (a friend and I were starting a business on the side), I was flamed by a core BSD developer for not just writing a driver. HELLO! I need to run a business, not write drivers!

        I tried really hard to make BSD work on our hardware. I finally gave up and tried Linux at another friend's suggestion. It just worked.

        Linux caught on with individuals, then with startups and small projects in larger companies, and only in the past 3-4 years has started to matter in the corporate marketplace at large.

        The BSD community chased people away (that's not an indictment of the community, it's just the effect of how things were handled).

        There's an old adage that says, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Even if that were still true (it's generally not), when you start beating them in the head with the mousetrap, don't complain when tehy don't buy it.

        I'm not sure if Theo is merely ignorant of history, or is simply choosing to ignore it. Either way, he's in trouble. Those who ignore or forget the lessons of history are doomed to what? Repeat it. Theo's helping screw up BSD's chances all over again.
        • by pohl (872) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @11:46AM (#12842252) Homepage
          Your recollection of that moment in history is accurate, and I find it interesting because the BSD license is ostensibly "more free" than the GPL, because it doesn't require you to do a damned thing...but the surprising emergent property of using the BSD license is that improvements to the codebase did not flow as freely as did the changes to the linux kernel. There seems to be a tradeoff between the two licenses, and this is how the BSD license can work against you.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:57AM (#12841003)


      > > Torvalds, via e-mail, says De Raadt is "difficult" and declined to comment further.

      > I must say, Linus really comes across as a classy, quality person. It takes mature restraint to deal with "difficult" people like Theo, and Linus does so with class.

      He knows he can count on us to fill in the details.

  • Score... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Paiway (842782) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:47AM (#12840894)
    -5 Flamebait
  • by GypC (7592) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:49AM (#12840909) Homepage Journal
    Theo De Raadt Abrasive and Opinionated! Film at 11
  • by pebs (654334) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:49AM (#12840915) Homepage
    The funny thing is he has never run Linux. Quoting this interview [newsforge.com]:

    Theo de Raadt: I don't know. I have never run Linux.
    • by mrm677 (456727) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:01AM (#12841052)
      Theo de Raadt: I don't know. I have never run Linux.

      Torvalds says the same thing about Windows. I suggest that creators and active developers of open-source operating systems should start using rival systems to learn and carry over the best practices. This is quite common in industry and the attitude displayed in these quotes show arrogance and ignorance.

      • But Also... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EXTomar (78739)
        It should also be noted that Torvalds isn't unduly harsh about Windows either. On a couple of occations he has claimed an apathetic view of Windows. Torvalds works on Linux because of Linux and not because of Windows.

        Is this stuff really what TdR said or is it Forbes trying to generate click-through by scandal? I can let some of it slide but I would be worried if the leader of an OSS project has a lot of venom for another project. It clouds their decision making.
      • No. No no no no no. I'm going to borrow from Joel Spolsky for a minute, but it shouldn't matter one iota what your competitors are doing. Listen to your customers, not your competitors. Your customers will let you know what they really want that your competitors have, and anything else isn't worth looking at.
        • it shouldn't matter one iota what your competitors are doing. Listen to your customers, not your competitors. Your customers will let you know what they really want that your competitors have, and anything else isn't worth looking at.

          Sorry, but this is a really dumb attitude. While it's a poor approach to copy feature willy-nilly, it's worse to ignore expereince, however it is gained. I think you've likely taken a Spolsky idea and warped it into something he himself wouldn't agree with. Ignorance is neve

      • Linus only works on the kernel (and a couple of tools, but not equivalents of what Windows comes with), and the Windows kernel is not accessible to users. There aren't really any practices of Windows, best or otherwise, that he'd be able to carry over.
      • I fail to see how running MS Office on Win XP could give Linus some insight into how the VM of Windows works.
  • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:50AM (#12840922) Homepage Journal
    I'd be angry too. About how the Forbes article portrayed me as a raving lunatic out for blood, after giving what was probably a thoughtful interview.

    All the article consisted of was trotting Theo out for choice quotes about how Linux sucks, and a tiny bit of BSD history. Only 2 out of the 16 paragraphs even started to cover *why* Theo thinks the way he does. The rest is tabloid-style trash-talk and what seems to be an ADD-inspired history lesson. There's nothing approaching a coherent argument.

    I'm giving Theo the benefit of the doubt on this one- he probably gave a fleshed-out argument then Forbes eviscerated it. Even if that's not the case, they should have written a better article. This is awfully shitty journalism.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:02AM (#12841065)
      I agree, but... this is Forbes magazine - it's like the equivalent of "Marie Claire" for executives, except without the fun quizzes telling you what technique to try in bed next month.

    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:16AM (#12841223) Journal
      No - Theo really does talk like this. He shoots from the hip very often. He's basically a walking PR disaster.

      But he is more often than not right.

      I strongly disagree with him on one point - "Linux is for those who hate Microsoft, and BSD is for those who love UNIX" - all the people I know who use Linux do so because they want a functional Unix-like OS, not because they hate Microsoft. The lawsuit he mentions has much more to do with Linux's popularity than hating Microsoft.

      I use both OpenBSD and Linux, and I like them both but they are different tools for different jobs. I would never use Linux for a firewall - iptables is awful - poorly documented and has a terrible syntax that means you have to dive into random HOWTO docs on the internet to get anything done. On the other hand, pf is well thought out, everything you need is right there in the manpage, and the syntax is a lot more straightforward. On the other hand, OpenBSD is simply not much of a desktop OS - it doesn't have the polish that even Debian has for that use (and that's saying something). But as a secure web server, mail server, firewall etc. OpenBSD is fantastic, and I have to hand it to Theo.
  • by jdaluz (512425) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:50AM (#12840928)
    In a NewsForge interview a couple of days ago de Raadt was asked about technical comparisons between Linux and BSD and replied, "I don't know. I have never run Linux."

    http://os.newsforge.com/os/05/06/09/2132233.shtml? tid=152&tid=8&tid=2 [newsforge.com]

    Suddenly, he's an expert on how bad Linux is?
  • Theo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evenprime (324363) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:51AM (#12840942) Homepage Journal
    Theo is openbsd's greatest strength (a fanatical security coder) and their worst handicap (a PR nightmare)
  • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:54AM (#12840968)

    Sure, I'm not a linux or BSD guy. I run OS X, I'm out of all these loops. But get this quote:

    Torvalds, via e-mail, says De Raadt is "difficult" and declined to comment further.

    I've tried never to say this on slashdot, but: LOL.

  • by qweqazfoo (765286) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:55AM (#12840979)
    Too bad Forbes wouldn't know who Theo was if it wasn't for Linux.

    Remember folks, UNIX was fragmented and dying before Linux became mainstream. BSD and GNU were nothing but obscure academic projects. The popularity of Linux brought UNIX to a whole new generation of users, and BSD has benefited from the uprising as much as anyone. Even the big boys, like Solaris and AIX, are trying to be more like Linux.

    And the whole quality thing is a myth. Linus approaches the kernel with the approach of an engineer, and the rest of Linux mirrors this approach. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work. Theo thinks of himself as an artist, and his arrogance does as much to hurt BSD as it does to help it.

    • Remember folks, UNIX was fragmented and dying before Linux became mainstream. BSD and GNU were nothing but obscure academic projects.

      Nice revisionist history. BSD UNIX was used in a lot of places before the AT&T lawsuit, and portions of it incorporated into other operating systems regularly. Time elapsed, and high-traffic web sites like Hotmail were powered by FreeBSD, while this little Linux thing was being touted as the next big thing.

      Even the big boys, like Solaris and AIX, are trying to b

  • by Nijika (525558) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:58AM (#12841019) Homepage Journal
    So the National Bank says to the 7-11, "your security sucks!" The 7-11 says "Yeah but we've got slurpees."

    And that's about as much sense as this conversation makes.

  • by cpn2000 (660758) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:00AM (#12841038)
    From the article ...

    Lok Technologies, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of networking gear, started out using Linux in its equipment but switched to OpenBSD four years ago after company founder Simon Lok, who holds a doctorate in computer science, took a close look at the Linux source code.

    "You know what I found? Right in the kernel, in the heart of the operating system, I found a developer's comment that said, 'Does this belong here?' "Lok says. "What kind of confidence does that inspire? Right then I knew it was time to switch."

    So this guy switched from Linux to BSD not because he saw some poorly implemented code, but because of a comment?
    That is absolutely insane.

    • by Jacco de Leeuw (4646) on Friday June 17, 2005 @11:32AM (#12842053) Homepage
      "Does this belong here? [openbsd.org]" is in OpenBSD too.

      Time to switch again...

  • The prom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beforewisdom (729725) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:07AM (#12841120)
    This guy is one of the people behind Open BSD which wants to fill the gnu/linux niche and for various unfair ( and fair ) reasons missed the boat.

    This is coming off as jealous in the article, like the girl ignored at the high school dance who decides to talk trash about the girl the guys are dancing with.

    He comes off looking bad and were I involved with OpenBSD it would be my wish for him to stop talking as his behavior is a bad reflection on that good project.

    He is acting like a child.
  • by Mephisto_kur (300898) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:11AM (#12841172) Homepage
    We all know the guy is a bit off. Why is it that the Linux community can't listen to criticism, tho?

    You talk about usability. The Linux people come out with "just because it isn't like Microsoft doesn't mean it's wrong."

    The excuses are rampant in the Linux world. Do I use Linux? Sure. When I can get it running. Even modern distros are kludgey and clunky. Half the time the GUI does nothing but provide useless and cryptic error messages. I have a Win2k print server. I have tried (easily) a dozen distros to get things working. One will see the network. One won't without downgrading Samba. One will, but can't access anything. One sees everything and accesses everything but can't print. Sound is the same way. Some have issues with setting resolutions on the video side, others have other problems.

    There are too many distros all in it for themselves. Even the ones that use one of the main distros as their base. Debian, Red Hat, what have you, all are kludgey and unrefined.

    I want Linux to work. Desperately want it to get out there and do good. But it isn't going to, especially if every response to criticism is not "okay, let me see if I can work on that" and continues to be "Its better than Crapple and Microshit!"

    No one wants another Microsoft Windows, but some friggin' usability isn't going to hurt your cause, and you may even be able to swing it without giving up your anti-Microsoft rhetoric. You can be different and still be intuitive and intelligent.
  • by Cytlid (95255) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:13AM (#12841197)
    ...was who is this clown on Forbes bashing Linux? Then I saw it was an OpenBSD thing... and went, oh, nothing new there.

    Then I felt dumb when I realized it was *the* OpenBSD guy. But I still didn't feel so bad.

    The best part of the article was the mention of "In a sort of hacker equivalent of the Ford-versus-Chevy rivalry..." which is exactly what it boils down to.

    So to add to the petty bickering, I've decided I like Linux more only because I've had more exposure to it, and I like the mascot more. Of course, here I was thinking it was the little Devil thing, but I guess thats just my confusion of the BSDs, eh?
  • Lunix For Losers (Score:5, Informative)

    by elohim (512193) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:16AM (#12841229)
    The title I submitted this with was "de Raadt Blasts Lunix in Forbes Interview"... Blame Zonk for the "Lunix For Losers" title.
  • Bullshit again, Dan. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Erris (531066) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:17AM (#12841231) Homepage Journal
    What a hack job. I'm sure Dan Lyons, who has a long history of Linux hatred, pumped Theo and then took everything out of context. It's possible he made most of the quotes up, as Microsoft lovers will. Still, people read Forbes, so I'll respond to what's published.

    "It's terrible," De Raadt says. "Everyone is using it, and they don't realize how bad it is. And the Linux people will just stick with it and add to it rather than stepping back and saying, 'This is garbage and we should fix it.'"

    The bottom line is that it works better than commercial software. Anyone can look at the source code and see the comments, which are blunt about what needs fixing and how crappy the hardware is. Even commercial Linux rocks next to popular alternatives. For ease of installation, use, relative protection from mal and spyware, you can't beat a distribution like Mepis. Winners can step up to pure Debian, "losers" can fall all the way down to Caldera Open Linux and still do better than what 90% of the world uses.

    There's also a difference in motivation. "Linux people do what they do because they hate Microsoft. We do what we do because we love Unix," De Raadt says. The irony, however, is that while noisy Linux fanatics make a great deal out of their hatred for Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ), De Raadt says their beloved program is starting to look a lot like what Microsoft puts out. "They have the same rapid development cycle, which leads to crap," he says.

    That's what Micrososoft would have everyone believe, and so Microsoft is worth hating. People use Linux for freedom and the superior performance it brings. Study after study show this. Why people like Dan Lyons don't get it is beyond me, except that he might be a Fanboy.

    Let's look back at other nasty junk he's written:

    Dan Lyons, you are a shill. I dare you to make the entire tapes of your interview with Theo available. Anything less is second hand BS and the kind of thing the web makes obsolete.

  • by mukund (163654) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:18AM (#12841249) Homepage

    "You know what I found? Right in the kernel, in the heart of the operating system, I found a developer's comment that said, 'Does this belong here?' "Lok says. "What kind of confidence does that inspire? Right then I knew it was time to switch."

    Damn. Somebody remove that comment.

  • not news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daytona955i (448665) <flynnguy24.yahoo@com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:25AM (#12841337)
    This would be like Bill Gates saying linux is for losers.

    Let's face it, Raadt is pissed off that linux has supassed OpenBSD in terms of userbase. A little resentment? I think so.
  • Overstatement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrispolarized (881712) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:38AM (#12841463)
    From the article, De Raadt states:
    "Linux has never been about quality. There are so many parts of the system that are just these cheap little hacks, and it happens to run."

    If Linux just "happens to run", how come it knocks out [bulk.fefe.de] OpenBSD when it comes to performance? I very much doubt that Linux would win tests like these if "many parts" of its code were low quality and badly designed.

    Granted, the test linked to above is soon two years old, and De Raadt refers to style of coding or general code quality rather than raw performance -- which other prominent people [66.102.9.104] also have commented (in a perhaps more balanced way), but the fact that Linux runs is not merely a coincidence, as De Raadt seems to insinuate.

  • "I don't know. I've never used Linux"
  • Good cop, bad cop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peacefinder (469349) * <alan.dewitt@ g m a i l . com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @11:30AM (#12842029) Journal
    As Linus says, Theo is difficult. This is well known, and I salute Mr. Torvalds for saying it so succinctly. Linus leads by gentle methods, and he's apparently damn good at it.

    Theo does not take that path. He's a zealot... but he's not just a zealot. He's a clear-eyed, effective zealot who manages a solid project that produces the result he intends: a highly secure OS. If you'll recall from that other interview:
    Christos Zoulas: I think it goes both ways, especially when it comes to porting Linux to architectures where NetBSD is already ported to or vice versa. Due to the relative size of both projects and the wealth of drivers on Linux, I would say that it is more common that NetBSD developers refer to code in the Linux device drivers to find about specific device quirks and undocumented device programming information. This is necessary because hardware manufacturers do not always publish proper documentation for their products (with all the errata) and the only way to get functional device drivers is by trial and error, reverse engineering, or getting the necessary information informally from the vendors. The situation is getting worse because all open source products (with the exception of OpenBSD) tolerate the status quo of supporting products that provide no documentation, using vendor-provided -- sometimes binary-only -- drivers. I don't think that OpenBSD's abrasive campaign is the way to go, although it appears to be producing results. I believe that the hardware vendors can be convinced that it is advantageous to them to publish proper documentation, but all open source products need to work together for that to work. If a vendor cannot be convinced, we need to vote with our feet and exclude support from our products.
    Here we have a NetBSD guy saying, essentially, "I don't agree with Theo's approach, but it does work better than ours and we may all need to adopt it one day."

    CZ is saying that Theo may be forging the path that many will need to follow before long. Theo was a security fanatic a long time ago, and I think events have proven that he made a good call on that. Events have yet to say if his abrasive approach to documentation will turn out to be a good call. CZ clearly recognizes that Theo may be ahead of the curve again, although it's too soon to say.

    It seems to me that there exists a diversity of approaches to driving open-source and free software forward. At one extreme is Good Cop Linus, at the other is Bad Cop Theo, and everyone else is arrayed somewhere in the middle. A company being asked to provide documentation hears "It's in your best interest to get broad support from Linux" and on the other "Give me the goods or support for this device will be dropped." This is an effective combination, and the two together work better than either alone.

    Theo is abrasive, yes... but the collective endeavor of free and open software needs someone abrasive, just as much as it needs a benevolent dictator.
  • by puzzled (12525) on Friday June 17, 2005 @12:26PM (#12842766) Journal


    Theo is a paranoid, perfectionist, peckerhead. I say this in the most kind, loving manner possible, as I've got half a dozen OBSD boxes running on the internet right now, along with many more FreeBSD boxen and a few SuSe Linux machines that I'm learning to love.

    BSD and Linux are different animals - on the development side BSD is like an American funeral home lawn - not a blade out of place, while Linux is more of an English garden, with all sorts of wild experiments happening.

    I prefer BSD for server work because I like the discipline that exists in both development and maintenance, but I love the steady flow of GPL software that comes from Linux into the FreeBSD ports tree.

    Both have an ecological niche to fill ... use Theo's software, but don't pay too much attention to the ranting.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:08PM (#12843351) Homepage Journal

    There is a genuine weakness to the open source world when it meets the mass market.

    90% of computer users do not have the knowledge necessary to evaluate whether a piece of software is garbage or not. Because open source software can be forked and kept around by anyone, garbage often can't be removed. No matter how awful the code, someone will keep it alive.

    This problem applies somewhat to the BSDs too; except that there aren't as many BSD distributions, so it's more likely that they'll all decide to remove a given piece of crap that should be removed. With Linux, there's practically no chance of getting something godawful removed from every distribution, because they all compete with each other for completeness. I mean, we still have sendmail, and RPM was even made part of the LSB. There are still IMAP servers that use mbox format, and one of them has such shitty code that it doesn't even check malloc return values for failure.

    Actually, if we're talking about fundamental flaws in OSs, perhaps Theo could spend some of his time fixing BSD's syslog [xciv.org] before he turns his attention to ranting about Linux.

  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Friday June 17, 2005 @01:53PM (#12843897) Homepage
    which was quoted on another discussion of this article elsewhere on the Net:

    "On December 20 [1994], Theo de Raadt was asked to resign from the NetBSD Project by the remaining members of 'core'. This was a very difficult decision to make, and resulted from Theo's long history of rudeness towards and abuse of users and developers of NetBSD. We believe that there is no place for that type of behaviour from representatives of the NetBSD Project, and that, overall, it has been damaging to the project.

    This decision was difficult to make because Theo has a long history of positive contributions to the project. He was the principal caretaker of NetBSD's SPARC support, and has written too much code to mention.

    We are certainly willing to accept (and would very much like to see) future contributions from Theo, but we believe that it is inappropriate for him to be an "official" representative of the project any longer."

    I'd say that pretty well takes care of that. Theo is apparently an asshole. That he prostitutes himself to Daniel Lyons, a know anti-OSS/Linux FUD merchant, seems to make it clear that this rant is to be ignored by anybody with a brain, whether you like the BSDs or not.

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