[linux-elitists] Mailman Must Die

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Fri Oct 26 11:49:49 PDT 2007


Ruben Safir wrote:
> How do you think the Linux Kernal got started? Or the Slash server?

Actually Slash is a bad example.

Slash was written before there was a preponderance of what we eventually 
came to call "weblog software," but didn't have a name back then. The 
Linux Kernel was dicey, but Linus justified it in probably the most 
reasonable way he could: he wanted something small that implemented 
POSIX syscalls, and acted as a 386 terminal server. Minix wasn't quite 
POSIX enough at the time and a re-write of those innards would have 
meant messing with a lot of Minix that was beyond the scope of what his 
little thing needed to do. He didn't want an extra feature added to 
Minix the way you want an extra feature or two in Mailman, he wanted a 
fundamentally different implementation that was a much smaller task. BSD 
wasn't clearly going to land on 386 at the time, so it wasn't as much of 
an option. BSD386 (later FreeBSD) changed all that, of course.

It was not until later that Linux became a general purpose Kernel project.

Writing your own thing isn't always bad, it's just that the myopic and 
proprietary attitude that drives most people to re-implement instead of 
spending half the time figuring out how to add features to an existing 
system seems counter-productive, especially in the world of open source 
software.




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