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Comment Re:Mod summary -1 troll (Score 2) 365

OK, I'm going to delurk for this one.

Sometime in 1998, I attended a talk Linus gave in Silicon Valley. It was, I gather, his usual thing: he just answered questions, he didn't really have a speech. I don't remember how the subject came up, exactly, but he started talking about his goals for Linux.

He said, approximately, "I'm going to take over the world." And the audience laughed. "You think I'm kidding, I know you do. But I'm not. I'm going to take over the world." And I will tell you this: he meant it. There was a sharp look in his eye; an uber-geek at the height of his technical power, knowing that what he was doing was going to change everything. He knew it sounded ridiculous, but he was being absolutely honest, not joking in the slightest. He intended to dominate everything with his operating system.

I believe that, at the time, he thought of "the world" as being "the desktop". That was the center of computing back then; servers were rare, and the Internet was pretty young, but everyone had desktops. Linux was never really intended as anything except a desktop OS, at least in the beginning. But that early code was so amazingly reliable, compared to what Microsoft was offering, and so incredibly cheap, compared to what Sun was offering, that it ended up pressed into server duty. It was the accidental server; it fell sideways into that role, and ended up being one of the best solutions on offer, simply by the virtue of a clean design and good code.

So, here we are, fifteen years later. And, you know what? Linus *did* take over the world in most respects. But he didn't do it how I believe he expected to; I'm pretty sure he thought he would break the Windows monopoly directly, and take over everyone's home computers. But Microsoft has largely managed to defend itself there. Rather, Linux turned into an ecosystem, and it went around Microsoft, growing into many other markets. You still don't see it on the desktop, but it is absolutely ubiquitous everywhere else. Chances are quite good that any reasonably prosperous household in the First World is running Linux somewhere, possibly in multiple devices. They may even be running more Linux than they are Windows, without even realizing it. And if you use the Internet, you're talking, at least somewhat, with Linux machines. It's in phones, it's in tablets, it's in routers, it's in servers, it's in supercomputers. It's everywhere except the desktop.

Honestly, I think it would have continued to make inroads even there, but the GNOME team and Canonical went nuts chasing tablets, burning their existing users and giving them a horrible desktop product, trying for imaginary tablet customers that never materialized in any significant way. Ubuntu Linux, in 2010, was an outstanding desktop OS, and three years later, it still hasn't regained that usability, discoverability, and just general functionality again. If those desktop teams hadn't lost their collective minds, I think Linux would be doing well, even in the center of Microsoft's power.

That, however, didn't happen. None of the assaults on the Microsoft desktop fortress have ever been successful. Microsoft still rules there. But Linux is either a major player or completely dominant in every other computing market that's developed in the last fifteen years. And the advent of cheap-as-potato-chips computers, like the Raspberry Pi, will only increase that effect, as new markets arise, and Linux is adapted to fit them.

So, no, Linux has not won in the way that Linus originally intended. That battle was lost, decisively. But he and the kernel devs have thoroughly won the larger war.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well, I'm finally bailing.... 2

This place has been going downhill for a long time. I've been actually a bit pleased of late, I thought they were starting to do better again finally.

Then they shoved this new UI redesign down our throats without any ability to comment on it (share problems and solutions, etc) or turn it off. A change this major and we don't even have a spot to TALK about it? What incredible arrogance.

Vim 7 Released 665

houseofmore writes "After many years of development, Bram Moolenaar, creator of Vim, today announced version 7 of the widely used editor. New features included spell checking in up to 50 languages, intelligent completion, tab pages, extended undo branches and much more. Downloads available here for Unix, Windows, Mac and more."

The Public's First Look at Wii 282

isaacklinger writes "Time Magazine reports how it feels to play with the Wii. Overall it's a very enthusiastic review." From the Gamespot coverage: "Grossman traveled to Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, and was shown the Wii by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The reporter was especially impressed with the Wii's controller. 'It's part laser pointer and part motion sensor, so it knows where you're aiming it, when and how fast you move it and how far it is from the TV screen ... There's a strong whiff of voodoo about it.'" Update: 05/08 16:50 GMT by Z : Ran into a registration screen when I tried for the original article, but eldavojohn had more luck than I. The original Time article is available for reading.

2.6 Linux Kernel in Need of an Overhaul? 512

toadlife writes "ZDNet UK reports that Andrew Morton, the head maintainer of the Linux production kernel, is concerned about the amount of bugs in the 2.6 kernel. He is considering the possibility of dedicating an entire release cycle to fixing long standing bugs." From the article: "One problem is that few developers are motivated to work on bugs, according to Morton. This is particularly a problem for bugs that affect old computers or peripherals, as kernel developers working for corporations don't tend to care about out-of-date hardware, he said. Nowadays, many kernel developers are employed by IT companies, such as hardware manufacturers, which can cause problems as they can mainly be motivated by self-interest."

Linux Snobs, The Real Barriers to Entry 1347

McSnarf writes "It's not Windows. It's not distro wars. Sometimes it's just the arrogant attitude that keeps people from switching from Windows. 'As I spoke to newbies, one Windows user who wanted to learn about Linux shared the encouraging and constructive note (not) he received from one of the project members. The responding note read: "Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn.""

Border Security System Left Open 195

7x7 writes "Wired News is running an article on documents they recovered via the Freedom of Information Act and a lawsuit. From the article:" A computer failure that hobbled border-screening systems at airports across the country last August occurred after Homeland Security officials deliberately held back a security patch that would have protected the sensitive computers from a virus then sweeping the internet, according to documents obtained by Wired News." It looks like Zotob made it in to the supposedly protected network."

An Overview of Virtualization Technology 147

Jane Walker writes to tell us that TechTarget has a short writeup on virtualization and some of the ins and outs of using this technology effectively. From the article: "Virtualization is a hot topic in the enterprise space these days. It's being touted as the solution to every problem from server proliferation to CPU underutilization to application isolation. While the technology does indeed have many benefits, it's not without drawbacks."

The Real Purpose of DRM 235

Roberto writes "Gorgeous nerd Annalee Newitz hacked a political interpretation to recent vacuum cleaner cockfights at O'Reilly's ETech: 'Hollywood corporations have finally admitted that the real reason they built digital restriction management (DRM) software into PVRs and DVD players was to stop geeks from turning their recording devices into back-alley combat machines. You haven't seen ugly until you've watched what a DVD player without DRM can do to a TiVo.' Don't try to even think of this at home."

Super-ATMs Being Rolled Out 270 has an article up looking at something I find interesting and somewhat confusing. The Vcom ATM is an attempt to make people's lives more convenient by adding unexpected functionality to the standard Teller Machine. Besides dispensing cash, new ATMs can fulfull the roles of PayPal (by sending money to people), bank (by cashing checks on the spot), and cellphone store (by selling Verizon services). From the article: "The Circle K and Exxon Mobil machines are far more basic than 7-Eleven's Vcoms, which have been called overengineered. Several dozen customers polled informally outside a 7-Eleven in Winter Springs, Fla., recently said that they had never used the Vcom inside, and one woman who said she did use it once to withdraw cash complained that it was 'confusing' and 'complicated,' and added that she would not use it again. 'There were just too many steps,' said the woman, Peggy Baker, who teaches French in Winter Springs. 'And the $1.75 transaction fee was too much--it was painful.' She said she was not interested in the other Vcom features, which require users to enroll and enter a Social Security number on a touch screen."


tini1212 writes "LIKE OMG!! Have you guyz seen Barbie Linux!!??!?!?!? It's like totally cool! It's open source too!!! We can spend long nights patching the kernel, and look at pictures of that total hottie, Linus Torvalds!" From the site: "Making a bid for a piece of the emerging desktop Linux market, Mattel, Inc. announced the immediate availability of downloadable beta ISOs for BarbieOS 0.99, and said it hoped the final 1.0 retail version would be on store shelves in time for Christmas. The new OS was created by Mattel to power the upcoming revision of its popular B-Book line of laptops for girls between the ages of four and eleven. The original B-Book laptop, which ran a modified version of PalmOS, was a huge hit with consumers last holiday season, so much so that many stores had trouble keeping them in stock."

Microsoft Buys 124

Micahel West writes "As reported on 'For an undisclosed sum but reputed to be in the billions, Microsoft's Bill Gates has personally bought the leading open-source desktop project. Saying he "was sick and tired of open-source eating away at his profits," the world's richest man decided to put an end to the nuisance and simply buy It will form part of a growing list of Microsoft acquisitions including several erstwhile competitors, a considerable number of prominent politicians, and a few small governments.'"


Bananatree3 writes "A monkey has learned to control a remote arm to fling its own poo at researchers. From the article: " Researchers at Duke University have taught a lab monkey to control the movement of a robotic arm, using only signals from its brain. The monkey's immediate utilization of this new skill was to shower a group of neurobiologists with feces, according to the report by lead researcher Miguel Nicolelis.""

OpenSSH Vulnerability Discovered 116

farker haiku writes "Those of you who haven't heard of the metasploit project, it's an open source product for performing security audits. This time they've managed to find a remote buffer overflow in OpenSSH. Ya'll might want to read the link and then do whatever updating is necessary." It's unfortunate that something like this gets released today since nobody will bother to patch.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.