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FUD: it's not just for breakfast anymore.

http://news.com.com/Who+really+created+Linux%3F/2100-7344_3-5216651.html?tag=nefd.lede

Executive Summary: a DC think-tank casts doubt on Linus Torvalds being the father of Linux.  The true credit, according to the 92-page report, belongs to Minix inventor Andrew Tanenbaum.

For those of us not familiar with Tanenbaum, he's the one who, when Linux was first released, called it "a giant step back into the 1970s" and argued that the architecture of Minix was vastly superior [ http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/appa.html ].  He's also the same Tanenbaum that today says, "The code was his. The proof of this is that he messed the design up". [ http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/ ].

But clearly Linux was just a copycat version of Minix.  How do we know that?  Well, it stole such innovative ideas as "the file system, source tree and much more".

Shocking.

It gets better, of course.  The think-tank?  Funded by Microsoft for the past five years.  How'd yours truly find out about this article?  It was the main story on the Microsoft intranet today.  Why would they bother?  Well, as the article points out, Linux is currently being sued by SCO, and may be " vulnerable to charges of intellectual property infringement by Prentice Hall, which published books on Minix".

Fortunately, Microsoft's operating system, Windows, was concieved by monks on a remote desert island and was absolutely NOT influenced by the user interface of the Macintosh, which itself was NOT a ripoff of the Xerox PARC.

Alyosha`
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Here's an interview with Tannebaum dispelling the study and bashing the author:

http://www.newsforge.com/business/04/05/20/1427257.shtml

yet another anon
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Oops, the newsforge link is just a copy of the material in your 3rd link.

yet another anon
Thursday, May 20, 2004

The interview with Tannenbaum was interesting. I actually have a copy of his "Modern Operating Systems" on my shelf, and I remember running MINIX, which was pretty neat back then

Data Miner
Thursday, May 20, 2004

ach, Minix. Wasn't that the OS that only ran on one architecture, and was sorely non-scaleable? And, btw, while MS was at it, why didn't they just claim that Bill Gates invented Linux?

David Heinrich
Thursday, May 20, 2004

I thought Al Gore was behind Linux?

Matthew Lock
Thursday, May 20, 2004

No, he invented "algore rhythms"

Data Miner
Friday, May 21, 2004

While I didn't read the linked-to article, there's a reason for it: AFAIK, Linus always acknowledged that previous work, and especially Tannenbaum's, influenced him. And, AFAIK, Tannenbaum has nothing against Linus taking credit for the OS (that credit being mostly reflected in the "Linux" name :).

Then again... I could be wrong... Though Tannenbaum's works are now a classic in CS; it's like saying that people who really deserve credit for technology X are, take your pick: Ritchie/Kernighan/Thompson, Knuth, Dijkstra, Wirth, Steele, blablabla. Blablabla may, at your discretion, include such more odious figures as Stallman :)

GG
Friday, May 21, 2004

you guys have read the usenet discussion between Andrew and Linus ?  It's a great read.

Another classic you need to check on usenet archives is the time some person was describing some esoteric and dubious feature of early c compilers only get the response :

"Oh, that must have been before my time.  -  Dennis Ritchie"

:D

braid_ged
Friday, May 21, 2004

Minix works on simple architectures, simple processors, it doesn't require much more than the set of instructions available on a Z80 to get up and going. 

But Minix was never going to be a commercial operating system, it wasn't intended to be so, much like Pascal was never intended to be a commercial language but escaped the computer lab as UCSD Pascal.

Simon Lucy
Friday, May 21, 2004

Ah, Simon, now Pascal *is* a great language!

i like i
Friday, May 21, 2004

Ah, you like descending block structures, explicit syntax for assignment versus equality and have a penchant for e e cummings.

Simon Lucy
Friday, May 21, 2004

All except the cummings bit; who was he?

i like i
Friday, May 21, 2004

e e cummings, a poet who wrote only in lower case.

pascal programs are like e e cummings poems without the sex

Simon Lucy
Friday, May 21, 2004

"wasn't that the reason he called it "Linux" in the first place?"

His name is Linus. It's a clone of UNIX. It's fairly self evident.

This whole thing is just so absurd, and the FUD machine obviously didn't bother doing any prior research -- The MINIX inspiration is a well known, accepted historical fact concerning Linux, and AT became famous as a result (even though he is a little jealous of Linus' success).

Dennis Forbes
Friday, May 21, 2004

Yes, it's a dumb report.

But really, it depends on the question you're asking.  If you ask "Did Linus write the original code for what became known as Linux?", then the answer is a clear "yes."  If you rephrase it as "Did Linus develop new concepts for an operating system?" or even "Did Linus create an operating system significantly different than UNIX?" then the answer is "no."

Junkster
Friday, May 21, 2004

Hey Dennis - you still haven't commented on the Health First article:
http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/qna/0,289202,sid39_gci964811,00.html

Philo

Philo
Friday, May 21, 2004

Absurd is right.

I highly recommend reading AT's response to the article.  Even he admits that the researcher hadn't the faintest clue about the history and development of the many flavors of unix.  It's an illuminating insight into how hack jobs like these get made into newsworthy "reports".

The FUD is so transparent it's risible.  If I worked at Microsoft, I'd be embarrassed. 

Wait, I already do.  And I am ...

Alyosha`
Friday, May 21, 2004

There was a follow-up by Tannanbaum posted today.
http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/followup/

Ah, nice try at distraction, Philo.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

Philo,

You asked about the funding of studies and their objectivity.  It seems quite likely, according to Tannenbaum, that Brown wasn't looking for the whole truth.

Scot
Friday, May 21, 2004

"that Brown wasn't looking for the whole truth."

wow, thats a polite way of putting it.

Id have said he wasn't interested in any aspect of the truth whatsoever.

I mean...Linus didn't write the original linux kernel?  its provably rubbish to anyone who can stop and think for even a second.
There is no way any reasonable person with any interest in the computer industry could believe this after even the smallest amount of research.

and _microsoft_ funded this pile of steaming crap.  or, to put it another way, microsoft went out of its way to find a person who was willing to write lies about linus and Linux and paid them money to do so.

or to put it another way, microsoft has never disgusted me more than right now.

Linus didn't write Linux?  pah.

FullNameRequired
Saturday, May 22, 2004

I think the ADTI author has a reasonable point, but he fluffed up with poor research.


Saturday, May 22, 2004

"I think the ADTI author has a reasonable point, but he fluffed up with poor research."

if by that you mean "he was an incompetent moron paid to talk crap" then im inclined to agree.

it wasn't so much 'fluffed up with poor research" as it was "driven by an agenda direectly opposed to the truth"

and a reasonable point?  what exactly was that?

FullNameRequired
Saturday, May 22, 2004

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