[linux-elitists] All DJB's software released to public domain

Karsten M. Self karsten@linuxmafia.com
Fri Nov 30 10:35:03 PST 2007

on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 12:46:32AM -0800, Marc MERLIN (marc@merlins.org) wrote:
> I checked outside to see if pigs were flying, but maybe they don't fly at
> night.
> Anyway, I love this /. comment:
> "The biggest advantage of Unix is the "We stood on the shoulders of Giants"
> philosophy. The library functions are continually improved and nowdays
> there is a library function for nearly everything. Qmail goes completely
> against this philosophy by rewriting nearly every higher level function in
> libc it needs. Granted, when qmail came out some of these rewrites were
> more secure and technically superior implementations. First of all, not
> contributing them towards the libc's is sociopathic behaviour (I want only
> my app to benefit, everyone else go suck bricks sidewise through a thin
> straw). Second, their technical superiority even from a security perspective
> is no longer there. Libc has moved on and even the worst of them (HPUX and
> Irix) are now at the same level of the DJB replacements (or better)."
> I could see how at the time DJB did not want or was not able to deal with
> the libc folks of numerous unix platforms, but did he really try after the fact
> so that he didn't have to maintain all that code in qmail?
> Or were the libc folks dicks and they just laughed at him or ignored him?
> (that wouldn't quite be unheard of either)
> I guess my only coment is "good idea, but more than 10 years late"

The whole saga is a nice validation of the FSF Free Software / OSI Open
Source (as opposed to "shared source") concept.

Even where source is available, even when a one-time advantage exists,
even as agonizingly political, annoying, stupid, slow, and frustrating
as developing in concert with a larger team can be, eventually the
advantage is lost, and even an initial benefit cannot be maintained.

For those who wanted and needed fast, secure email solutions a decade
ago, qmail fit a niche.  It probably *did* do a lot to spur on both
alternatives and improvements to Sendmail.  At the same time, the model
and architecture used by qmail certainly had its frustrations for those
of us who found ourselves working with it.

Add this to a host of other tools which have experimented with other
development/distribution models:  xv (still a very nice little graphics
utility), various shareware apps (mostly Windows), smaller proprietary
apps and applets, etc.   FS seems to be  along-term tenable solution.


Karsten M. Self <karsten@linuxmafia.com>        http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
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