[linux-elitists] Re: New Essay: The Linus Torvalds Bus Factor

Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il
Thu Apr 5 07:02:46 PDT 2007

Hi Greg!

Happy Passover and Easter to everyone!

On Thursday 05 April 2007, Greg Folkert wrote:
> On Thu, 2007-04-05 at 14:44 +0300, Shlomi Fish wrote:
> > Hi all!
> >
> > It was deemed off-topic and flamatory on LKML after I posted it, but I
> > think that's what linux-elitists is all about, so feel free to read and
> > comment:
> >
> > http://shlomif.livejournal.com/41088.html
> >
> > You can either comment on my blog or here. (Just make sure not to CC
> > anyone else or the E-mail software will reject it.) I'll try to read all
> > the comments.
> >
> > Even if you disagree with it, it is my not-so-humble opinion that you
> > will find it amusing.
> Please nobody reply to his posting, I'm shit-canning this thread from
> the start as it's nothing but flame fodder.
> <wink> - <wink>
> It is something that does need to be addressed, but since it is
> something that if discussed on LKML would cause havoc world round.
> Mainly since then MEDIA and $LARGE_EVIL_COMPANY and
> to no end. How? to scare folks even more. (Yeah uhuh)

I see. I think people overestimate the damage that some bad media can do. Yes, 
Microsoft, SCO and the Media may cover it and spread some FUD, but one should 
understand that the GNU/Linux/FOSS world has withstood worse bad publicity 
before and is still going strong. In the contemporary Internet world, the 
media has only so much power ( http://www.paulgraham.com/opensource.html ). 
People, especially those that matter are smart and can get a good perception 
of reality not by media alone.

We shouldn't let our fear of bad publicity prevent us from discussing 
decisions that matter and may make a difference. I think both of my 
suggestions will be very good for the Linux kernel, and good in general for 
any project. For example, I suggest that Guido resigns from his role as the 
Python benevolent dictator for the same reason - so Python can restructe 
itself better without him. (In Python case's the central svn repository has 
more than one commiter, so my other suggestion is irrelevant). 

People who are afraid of bad publicity would do very little of value. The 
people that matters often said things that made many people angry. I believe 
in being completely honest, as you can see from many resource on my web-site 
( http://www.shlomifish.org/ ). While I have changed some of my opinions, I 
still stand by a lot of what I said, despite a lot of criticism I received.

RMS speaks his mind. ESR speaks his mind. While I think ESR often makes a fool 
of himself (as was the case with the proprietary codecs and Fedora->Ubuntu 
fiascoes), I do agree with many of his opinions, and found his recent "We'd 
better use the GPL instead of the BSD" thought-provoking. I appreciate the 
fact that Linus remains professional and stays out of politics (and also 
tends to gently mock himself and others), but sometimes even he makes 
decisions that hit the news, and cause a lot of Slashdot Anonymous Cowards to 
say bad things about Linux.

> So, how do you discuss this? A private moderated mailing list.

Hmmmm.... I really hate these. I don't have anything against them in these 
cases, but I think a discussion like I suggested should be public. Perhaps 
not on LKML, but somewhere.

> Linux getting killed would really only slow the project down. Similar to
> when Bit-Keeper was cycled out, to use early git.

I really love all those "Linux will be killed because of X and Y" doom sayers. 
I heard many such doom sayers since I seriously started using Unix in 1996, 
and Linux, other free UNIXes and UNIX in general are still alive, kicking, 
better and more popular than ever. How would a small amount of bad 
publicity "kill" Linux? We have survived Pharaoh - we will survive that.

> Sorry, but discussing things like the "bus factor" just scares most
> people, when they are pointed to it on some mighty mailing list like
> LKML. So, I guess my point it, it is a private thing. Perhaps it has
> already been addressed, acted on and all we see are Linus_bots doing
> everything.

If it's not going to be discussed on LKML, I think it should still be 
discussed elsewhere. Not in private (which always ends up being ineffective 
and stupid) - in public. Censoring out the thread may have been an 
appropriate action, but I believe such a discussion would have been of value. 
The Haskell community has a "haskell" mailing list, and a "haskell-cafe" 
mailing list. Perhaps an LKML-cafe mailing list would be a good idea.


	Shlomi Fish 

Shlomi Fish      shlomif@iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
    -- An Israeli Linuxer

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