Unity Interface in 10.10 Netbook Edition

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Sat Oct 30 17:04:38 UTC 2010

On Sat, Oct 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM, Glenn Holmer <shadowm at lyonlabs.org> wrote:
> On Sat, 2010-10-30 at 01:20 -0400, Ric Moore wrote:
>> > Anyone know if this "Hurd" is more than vaporware? I mean after ten years
>> > of "active development".....
>> IMHO, it was wind from the backside of Stallman trying to be relevant,
>> long after the horse left the barn, when Linus made his gift to the
>> world. Linus made it happen. Linux will become what we allow it to
>> become. Just as in politics. Ric
> http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd-and-linux.html

It's a good story. It's not actually entirely *true* but it's a good story.

Yes, when the GNU Project decided to write a kernel, Linux did not
exist yet. True.

But there /was/ a free and Free Unix kernel that *did* already exist.
They considered it, looked at it, decided not to adopt it and went for
something else.

The result was that the Free Unix-alike OS was not ready and usable
except for specialists until about 1996 or '97 and not by only
moderately-technical types until '98 when KDE 1.0 appeared.

The kernel that the GNU Project decided not to go with was BSD.

Although this was long before FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and so on, BSD
had existed for 15 years or more and was widely used (with full
sources available) in the US academic system. Unfortunately, it
contained copyright code from AT&T and thus was not Free.

But the GNU team didn't want the rest of the OS - they already had
utilities, a compiler, an editor, etc. Most of a "userland". They just
wanted a kernel.

They could have gone for the BSD kernel, sorted out the licensing
difficulties and started work on a complete Free Unix at the end of
the '90s - but they chose not to. They decided to write their own, and
worse still, chose a particularly ambitious design (not that they were
to know that at the time).

The statement on gnu.org carefully omits that bit, which is a shame,
as it's rather important.

Liam Proven • Info & profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/lproven
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