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Comment Re:Stallman seems to have lost his way (Score 2, Insightful) 747

There was no chance of AT&T shutting down GNU software; because, they didn't have any legal leg to stand on.

The legal issues simply hadn't been settled in court, but there was a very real risk that AT&T could have made both patent claims (they had some software patents already) and copyright claims (based on identifier names and interfaces) against the GNU project. Furthermore, many of the people contributing to GNU did have access to UNIX source code in principle, resulting in yet more ways in which AT&T could have challenged GNU. At the very least, they could have tied up GNU in legal knots for years. And whether the GPL itself would hold up in court was yet another legal uncertainty.

The GNU project has always lived under legal clouds and threats; that just comes with the territory.

Comment Icaza, not Stallman, has credibility here (Score 2, Insightful) 747

The Free Software movement's position is essentially ideological, based on the philosophy that closed source is ethically and morally wrong

When Stallman objects to things based on ethics, morality, or legality, I often agree with him. But Stallman's objection to C# is not based on ethics, morality, or legality; the Mono license and the ECMA C# standard are completely above board in those regards. Stallman's objection to C# is based on his fear of hidden legal dangers. But Stallman has been unable to translate his fear into specific legal scenarios.

As such, de Icaza is wrong when he says that Stallman is missing an opportunity here.

But Stallman has already proven that his judgment in areas of technology is weak. It was people like Linus, Icaza, and the founders of the various Linux distributions that really made free software happen. If it had been up to Stallman and his plodding approach, we'd probably still be running GNU Emacs on Solaris.

Icaza has far more credibility and a much better track record in picking a winner for writing end user applications than Stallman.

Comment Re:don't listen to Stallman (Score 1) 747

I'm sure the founder of the FSF and the author of the first GPL is wholly ignorant of legal issues in software development.

His argument is that "Microsoft is probably planning to force all free C# implementations underground some day using software patents". Which specific patents would Microsoft use to do that? How could they do that given their public, legally binding commitments not to do this? What reason is there to believe that applications written in C# are at a bigger risk of that than applications written in Python?

Just don't do it on the grounds of "he's old and doesn't know anything",

He is about the same age as I am.

Don't be stupid.

Take your own advice. Instead of going all starry eyed because you recognize someone's name, use your own head and ask the right questions.

Comment Re:When microsoft is involved (Score 1) 747

Microsoft is Microsoft.

Open source has had many enemies over the years. For years, Apple was enemy number one for Stallman (and, in that case, for good reason). AT&T, IBM, and many other companies have, at times, tried to hurt open source.

Every open source project is a calculated risk. But then, so is every closed source project and every business venture. Stallman has not been able to make a good argument that using Mono is any riskier than Python or D or GNU C.

Comment Re:A matter of credibility (Score 3, Insightful) 747

A lot of people dislike Stallman and his positions, but even his biggest detractors have to admit that he's a principled man.

Yes, Stallman is a principled man. The problem with Stallman and Mono, however, is that his objections are based on fear and innuendo, not on principles or reason.

Stallman has not been able to present a logical argument showing that the legal situation around Mono is any worse than it is around Linux, March, GNU C, or numerous other FOSS projects. In fact, Stallman doesn't even seem to understand the relationship between Mono and .NET; he is speaking from technical and legal ignorance.

Finally, he has a track record of making some pretty bold predictions that turn out to be dead on many years later.

And he has also made numerous bad predictions. Also, just because he understood the technology 20 years ago doesn't mean he understands today's technologies and their relationships.

Comment don't listen to Stallman (Score -1, Flamebait) 747

Stallman has never programmed in either Mono or .NET. He has no idea what the relationship between C#, CLR, .NET, and Mono is. And he has no idea of what the legal situation is.

If Stallman has a credible legal point to make, he should make it. But spreading FUD about other FOSS projects is irresponsible. I used to respect the guy, but not anymore.

Comment Re:As if any of this will see the light of day. (Score 2, Insightful) 366

Well, if Microsoft's new OS can handle multi-core, multi-processor transparently for the applications

No more than current OS'es. This OS simply claims to be internally more efficient.

The thing I found quite elegant in Erlang is that it makes it so transparent

Erlang really does little that you can't do as easily in other languages. The real value of Erlang is in what it lacks: it prevents you from doing things that are hard to distribute across cores.

Imagine an OS with a "normal-looking" set of library that can handle all the hard works transparently. I'd say, bully to them.

That's wishful thinking. "Normal-looking" code is "normal-looking" because it uses constructs that are intrinsically hard to parallelize.

Comment Re:As if any of this will see the light of day. (Score 1) 366

Microsoft is getting more like the old Xerox and IBM every day.

Not really. Xerox PARC did create entirely new technology. Xerox also turned that technology into products-good, if expensive, products. The technology didn't catch on because Apple undercut them with a low-cost knock-off.

There's little "industry changing" about what Microsoft has been releasing: microkernels, message passing, database technology, sandboxing, kernels in functional languages, that's all old tech; Microsoft is just implementing their own version of it.

The only reason people are paying attention to it is because of the power Microsoft holds in the market; if they finally update their totally obsolete Windows platform, that's news, even if they merely update it to something slightly less obsolete.

Comment Re:direct CPU-CPU interconnects; Transputer? (Score 3, Informative) 366

"Marshalling" means converting data structures into byte streams. No, you didn't have to do that multiple times. The term you're looking for is "routing". Routing can be abstracted into libraries and the OS; no need for every application to worry about it. It was just that the Transputer (as well as a lot of other system software development) was killed when Microsoft monopolized the market.

Comment Re:Obvious weird Windows comparison (Score 1) 639

I am generally talking about PC's, here- and I can't think of what these IBM systems would offer that market.

What does the size of the hardware have to do with innovation? The fact remains that none of what you claim as "innovation" is actually new.

but technology-cleansing and losing the server market was all Unix.

By the time Microsoft had its opportunity with NT, UNIX was already legacy technology. UNIX would have been dead if Microsoft actually had actually come up with something better. And, believe me, people like me gave it a serious try.

It was Microsoft who missed their opportunity to innovate in operating systems, by betting on Cutler and NT and delivering a warmed over VMS.

leaving a VMS-based system like NT in a competitive position. Systems like NT and Unix are cognitive, they interface well with people. They won in a human market, not a technical market.

Yeah, that was a "human market" alright. A "human market" that consisted of Microsoft pressuring its business partners into shipping NT through illegal tying and bundling deals. Without Microsoft's marketing and business muscle, NT would have been DOA.

Comment Re:manned exploration (Score 1) 251

People with a base and some equipment (microscopes, spectroscopes, chemistry gear) would be extremely useful.

A dozen astronauts vs. one unmanned probe? Perhaps. (Of course, in several manned touch downs and sample returns, we didn't find any solid evidence of water.)

A dozen astronauts vs. 10000 unmanned probes? The probes win hands down in terms of utility, longevity, and scientific output.

And if you look at the costs involved, it's the dozen astronauts vs. 10000 space probes that we need to consider.

Comment Re:Obvious weird Windows comparison (Score 1) 639

That's completely and utterly unrealistic. If those techniques and languages produced workable products, some would exist.

Since the 1960's, people have produced numerous kernels in languages other than C. Systems had virtualization, elaborate access controls and security architectures, and tons of other features. These weren't academic exercises, they were the workhorses of the computer industry. IBM alone had a highly virtualized product line, plus an entirely separate product line based on virtual machines. People were working on highly parallel systems, multicore support, verification, sandboxing, kernels in functional and managed languages, and all sorts of other "modern" things.

All that came to a halt in the 1990's. It came to a halt because Microsoft took over the industry, not with better technology, but with its illegal monopolistic practices. After Microsoft's takeover, neither academics nor companies felt there was much point in working on kernels anymore because Microsoft would not let anything succeed in the market anyway. It's going to take us another decade or so to recover from the Microsoft dark ages and for people to start working on operating system research again.

It sounds like you have a very absurdly ivory tower perspective anyway.

And you sound like the typical guy who was hired into Microsoft fresh out of college and has never seen anything else.

As for your "multi-role" arguments, you really need to read up a bit on the history of operating systems since you obviously have no idea of the history of this.

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