Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends


		   Linux Activists Mailing List Archives

From: goer@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Richard L. Goerwitz)
Subject: MONEY + Linux
Reply-To: goer@midway.uchicago.edu
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1992 03:39:17 GMT

Can Linux go on forever without some commercial support?  I mean,
it's hard to see anything as useful that's maintained by folks that
aren't doing it for a living - at least the size of a 386 UNIX
implementation.  Is there some way that a useful remuneration path
can be arranged.  E.g. could universities be site-licensed, thereby
gaining the right to have attention paid to their bugs and config-
uration problems, and to receive regular updates?

This might seem to come out of the blue to people on this list, but
many, many people won't touch Linux because they don't see it as
"going anywhere" except into an endless chain of mixed expert and
amateurish accretions that can't possibly be maintained properly.

-- 

   -Richard L. Goerwitz              goer%midway@uchicago.bitnet
   goer@midway.uchicago.edu          rutgers!oddjob!ellis!goer

From: ddj+@cs.cmu.edu (Doug DeJulio)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: 17 Dec 92 17:10:13 GMT

In article < 1992Dec17.033917.2963@midway.uchicago.edu> 
goer@midway.uchicago.edu writes:
>Can Linux go on forever without some commercial support?  I mean,
>it's hard to see anything as useful that's maintained by folks that
>aren't doing it for a living - at least the size of a 386 UNIX
>implementation.  Is there some way that a useful remuneration path
>can be arranged.  E.g. could universities be site-licensed, thereby
>gaining the right to have attention paid to their bugs and config-
>uration problems, and to receive regular updates?

A commercial support organization like this already exists!  This is
the sort of thing Cygnus Support exists for.  A university could,
right now, contact Cygnus about a support contract for Linux.
Individuals are also free to provide the same service.  Are you saying
you think there needs to be a single central source for such support?
Why?

Does anyone from Cygnus want to comment on this?  Does anyone from
Cygnus read comp.os.linux?
-- 
Doug DeJulio
ddj+@cmu.edu

From: jem@sunSITE.unc.edu (Jonathan Magid)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1992 19:57:53 GMT

In article <1992Dec17.033917.2963@midway.uchicago.edu> 
goer@midway.uchicago.edu writes:
>Can Linux go on forever without some commercial support?  

Who knows... This sort of thing is fairly new (commodity hardware with free 
operating system: there have been free OS's before but they didn't run on
machines that one can get from a zillion odd (some *very* odd :) ) 
manufacturers)

I mean,
>it's hard to see anything as useful that's maintained by folks that
>aren't doing it for a living - at least the size of a 386 UNIX
>implementation.  

hmmm. I beg to differ. the net has a history of "picking up" the 
maintenance of useful things that have been abandoned.

>Is there some way that a useful remuneration path
>can be arranged.  

sure: the free market. :)

>E.g. could universities be site-licensed, thereby
>gaining the right to have attention paid to their bugs and config-
>uration problems, and to receive regular updates?
>
You see, Linux (the kernel and most of the main utilities including
the compiler are copy-lefted.  Anyone can give them away or sell them...
So anysort of site licence based on updates will quickly be undermined
by people just giving it away.

Custom features and immediate bug fixes though, do have some potential.
Ask (who was it?) the fellow who wrote the Xenix emulator for Linux under
contract or actually ask anybody at cygnus.com who does that sort of thing
for a living.

>This might seem to come out of the blue to people on this list, but
>many, many people won't touch Linux because they don't see it as
>"going anywhere" except into an endless chain of mixed expert and
>amateurish accretions that can't possibly be maintained properly.

hmm. if you want a serious conversation, I reccomend not accusing people
who have probably together put some thousands of man (and woman) hours
into the development, testing and organization of Linux of "amateurish
accretions". It just ain't polite. 1/2 :)

Linus is our benevolent dictator kernel-wise.  Out of respect for
his work and contribution to the good of the universe, people have not
been calling things "Linux" unless its his official kernel release.

What Linus says is Linux, is Linux; he has been the channel for approving
new, contributed kernel patches and features.  This has prevented what you
fear.  Well, not exactly. All of Linus' work is by its nature, amateur.

He is an amateur (i.e. not doing this for a living) as are most contributers
to Linux.  Which is why you should read the section on "polite" twice.

Read the GPL (the file COPYING in the kernel source).  it is the license that
Linux is distributed under.  If you think such a service as you propose is
needed and you can make money on it (or you just want to be another amateur!)
go to it. 

best of luck,
jem.



-- 
Jonathan Magid     jem@sunSITE.unc.edu       sunSITE Administrator
Virtual pizza Delivery (tm)::faxed in 30 cycles or less or you get it
========================================FREE!!!=======================

From: johnsonm@lars.acc-admin.stolaf.edu (Michael K. Johnson)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1992 20:31:36 GMT


In article <1992Dec17.033917.2963@midway.uchicago.edu> 
goer@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Richard L. Goerwitz) writes:

   Can Linux go on forever without some commercial support?  I mean,

No.  Nor would it go on forever /with/ commercial support.  Linux is
not immortal.  But I imagine that was not what you meant by that
question...  Many of us who work on linux do so, not with any thought
of remuneration, but because it is interesting and rewarding in and of
itself.  I did not write the improved printer driver, for instance,
because someone paid me for the many hours I spent, but because I
learned from it.  And now a few people are having problems with it,
and I will put as much effort as necessary in to resolving their
problems.  I have seen this attitude with most people writing for
Linux.  It is precisely /not/ commercial -- It is better.

In case you think that this is silly ideological muttering, consider
this:  For many months, people have been telling the newsgroup and the
mailing list /why/ they dumped their commercial OS's.  If you have
read those posts, you will notice one /very common/ reponse:  BETTER
SUPPORT.  This is coming from people have have been using different
flavors of commercial OS's for years, as well as relative newcomers.

If you /really/ want to pay for commercial support, it is my
understanding (may be flawed, if it is /someone/ please correct me)
that cygnus support is considering supporting or does support.  I know
that there are other people who also offer commercial support for
linux, and it is certainly better than the "service plans" you can buy
from commercial vendors, in many respects.  One is that the person
providing the support can actually do something about bugs...

   it's hard to see anything as useful that's maintained by folks that
   aren't doing it for a living - at least the size of a 386 UNIX
   implementation.  Is there some way that a useful remuneration path
   can be arranged.  E.g. could universities be site-licensed, thereby
   gaining the right to have attention paid to their bugs and config-
   uration problems, and to receive regular updates?

This is simply not needed.  It might seem like it might be needed to
someone who does not understand the ethic under which Linux is being
developed, but "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", and the
eating has proven the pudding well.  Empirically, look at what has
happened.  A large group of people has grown up to support each other
(and flame each other from time to time ;-) and in one year of
widespread use, Linux has become one of the premium OS's to put on
your 386.  Compare that with, say, coherent, which has existed for,
oh, maybe 6 years now?  Something like that...  It has been sold and
supported commercially, but comes from the same cloning background as
Linux.  Which one works better?  You be the judge.

   This might seem to come out of the blue to people on this list, but
   many, many people won't touch Linux because they don't see it as
   "going anywhere" except into an endless chain of mixed expert and
   amateurish accretions that can't possibly be maintained properly.

I don't feel a need to cater to people who are stubbernly unwilling to
challenge their own beliefs about what software can be "going
anywhere".  If people won't beleive that free software can survive,
why do we need to cater to thier commercial delusions?  Let them eat
cake... ;-)

As far as proper maintainence:  Linus has been better maintained than
most commercial source code I have seen.  As my mother always says,
"Actions speak louder than words."  It is very easy to be skeptical
about Linux being maintained, in theory, but when you look at what
really happens, it does work.  If people will rail against facts, I
have no psycological need to convert them -- they will likely just
poison the air in this newsgroup.

I have responded in c.o.l instead of by mail, because I feel that this
comes up often enough to point out the problems with this argument...

One other thing, tangentially related to this posting:

I have seen a distressing number of people who assume that the purpose
of Linux is to take over the world.  If people read Linus's postins on
the subject, and those of the other kernel hackers who have
contributed, they will find that this is simply not the purpose of
Linux.  This purpose is presumed by others, seemingly automatically
assumed from the mere existence of a *nix clone.

LINUX WILL NEVER DOMINATE THE PC MARKET.  This is a statement which is
almost assuredly true, despite Linux's superiority to things like DOS.
Does it bother me?  No.  Why should we act like the 13th century
crusaders?  Let's be civilized.  For those who wish to escape DOS, and
escape has been provideed.  for those that don't, don't drag them into
our party unwilling:  it only sullies the air.

Hope this is useful to some, at least...

michaelkjohnson

From: goer@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Richard L. Goerwitz)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: 17 Dec 92 23:29:25 GMT
Reply-To: goer@midway.uchicago.edu

jem@sunSITE.unc.edu (Jonathan Magid) writes:
>
>>This might seem to come out of the blue to people on this list, but
>>many, many people won't touch Linux because they don't see it as
>>"going anywhere" except into an endless chain of mixed expert and
>>amateurish accretions that can't possibly be maintained properly.
>
>hmm. if you want a serious conversation, I reccomend not accusing people
>who have probably together put some thousands of man (and woman) hours
>into the development, testing and organization of Linux of "amateurish
>accretions". It just ain't polite. 1/2 :)

My apologies.  Linus's work has been, by all accounts, nothing short
of remarkable.  But with all due respect, what do all the people who
maintain Linux do for a living that gives them the time to do this
sort of thing?  I know it sounds silly, but what if Linus gets married
or sick, or just gets tired of us :-)?  I really don't mean to insult
anyone.  I'm just unable to grasp what is going on here.  Maybe it
really is the best thing since sliced bread, and it just hasn't sunk
in yet!

Incidentally, for all you who wrote in saying, "Hey why not get involved
yourself?":  I'm a graduate student in Near Eastern Languages and Civili-
zations, just finishing a dissertation on Tiberian Hebrew.  I have some
hardware I could perhaps install Linux on (right now we're a Xenix/DOS
household).  If I were to get involved, how might I help out?

One of my fears is that Linux is really a hackers' tool.  I use UNIX as
a programming environment for linguistic research, using mostly C and
Icon.  I really don't care about the internals of the OS, except insofar
as they directly affect my research.  I'm not looking to have any fears
assuaged.  I'm curious, though, what the "grand plan" is for Linux.  Is
it supposed to end up replacing UNIX/386, or is it more like a really
neat Minix for people who have the time to fool with it?

-- 

   -Richard L. Goerwitz              goer%midway@uchicago.bitnet
   goer@midway.uchicago.edu          rutgers!oddjob!ellis!goer

From: pmacdona@sanjuan (Peter MacDonald)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 92 06:56:51 GMT

In article <1992Dec17.203136.18995@news.stolaf.edu> 
johnsonm@lars.acc-admin.stolaf.edu (Michael K. Johnson) writes:
>
>In article <1992Dec17.033917.2963@midway.uchicago.edu> 
goer@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Richard L. Goerwitz) writes:
>
>   Can Linux go on forever without some commercial support?  I mean,
>
>problems.  I have seen this attitude with most people writing for
>Linux.  It is precisely /not/ commercial -- It is better.
>

Permit me to expand on this point (how could you stop me :-).
Commercial software typically has one extremely unpleasant side effect
that has driven this user to using Linux: the marketing arm of the
organizations, come to control so much of the technical direction, that
as the organization grows to a size where it can start to do impressive
things, it becomes increasingly paralyzed.  And the products they deliver
become increasingly disjointed.

Worse, competition with rival firms forces jerky, aimless changes in direction,
and "strategic announcements" all serving to confuse the end user, almost
as much as it confuses its employees.

The package I coordinate (SLS) is just the kind of (un*x) system I wanted
to be able to buy from some organization for say <= $200.  As it was, I was
already paying about that for just a C++ compiler under DOS.  But it turned out
that the only thing available (in 1990) would have cost >= $1300 CDN, didn't
include source code, and was just one of many incompatible systems, none of which
was certain to still be around in 2 years.  (I ended up using Minix before Linux)

Now, SLS is available commercially from Softlanding for the cost of the 
distribution.   Also, RMS (Richard Stallman) has expressed a desire to
add it to the FSF tape distributions.  But having a package like 
SLS go fully commercial, is not really feasible because:

        - restrictions on redistribution are not allowed because of GNU.
        - marketing decisions would increasingly distort the packaging.
        - the copyright issues would be horrendous, when money is involved.

Still, I think that the growth of Linux is paralleling the rapid growth
in the internet.  That explains its sudden appearance, and warrents that
the "free support" aspect can continue, indefinitely.

Peter
pmacdona@sanjuan.uvic.ca

From: pmacdona@sanjuan (Peter MacDonald)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 92 07:03:46 GMT

In article <1992Dec17.232925.6334@midway.uchicago.edu> 
goer@midway.uchicago.edu writes:
>jem@sunSITE.unc.edu (Jonathan Magid) writes:
>>
...
>My apologies.  Linus's work has been, by all accounts, nothing short
>of remarkable.  But with all due respect, what do all the people who
>maintain Linux do for a living that gives them the time to do this
>sort of thing?  I know it sounds silly, but what if Linus gets married

Have you ever spent longer trying to get some vendors solution installed
and working on your site, than you would have just developing the thing
from scratch yourself?

I have, and once I even did implement a better system (a network manager)
AFTER we bought and paid for the commercial system.   I had it up and running
before the vendor went from alpha to beta.  We shelved theirs.  I bet I am not 
alone in this experience.  After that, contributing some of my sweat to a pool
that anyone can draw from, doesn't seem like such a hardship, anymore.

On the other hand, people like Linus claim to do it just for the shear
joy of hacking!  Imagine that.

Peter.

From: misch@eurom.rhein-main.de (Michaela Merz)
Subject: Re: MONEY + Linux
Date: 19 Dec 92 22:48:43 GMT

On Sat, 19 Dec 1992 04:14:47 GMT, rmk@rmkhome.UUCP (Rick Kelly) wrote:

|>A commercial support organization like this already exists!  This is
|>the sort of thing Cygnus Support exists for.  A university could,
|>right now, contact Cygnus about a support contract for Linux.
|>Individuals are also free to provide the same service.  Are you saying
|>you think there needs to be a single central source for such support?
|>Why?
|>
|>Does anyone from Cygnus want to comment on this?  Does anyone from
|>Cygnus read comp.os.linux?

we do also support LINUX and other FREE Software products. In most
cases for free.......

Michaela
Free Software Association of Germany
misch@eurom.fsag.incom.de


=====
Free Software Association of Germany * Great software should be free software
misch@eurom.rhein-main.de                           Voice:    ++49-69-6312083
misch@eurom.fsag.incom.de      Fido 2:247/14         Data:    ++49-59-6312934

			      USENET Archives


The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or 
research.


Electronic mail:			       WorldWideWeb:
   tech-insider@outlook.com			  http://tech-insider.org/