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osOpinion: The Forking Bugaboo Rears its Ugly Head

Mar 22, 2000, 06:36 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by TJ Miller Jr)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"First, there is already some minor forking that has gone on in the Linux kernel. That's right, it has (gasp) already occurred. Anyone with a Mandrake distribution: type "uname -a" in your console right now: Notice the kernel version number, especially that "mdk" tag on the end of it. (I have Mandrake 6.5 running here on my 'puter, which had kernel version # 2.2.13-7mdk) Mandrake has obviously modified the kernel to suit their own specific desires, no? Okay, so on comes the ZD wail: "See!? It's forking! it's forking already! Linux is dead - Dead I tell you! To The Lifeboats!..."

"Now, one of these so-called analysts had said, in effect, that Microsoft, with its closed-source code, was somehow immune to forking. Well then, would someone please tell me why Windows NT 4.0 cannot directly access Win98 FAT32 partitions? Why is it that I cannot install MSIE into my Philips Velo without getting a version written specifically for Windows CE? And why can I get Deer Hunter II to run perfectly on Windows 98, but not at all on Windows NT 4.0? I have yet to see any Windows version other than NT or 2000 access an NTFS partition directly. Windows 2000 was the biggest fork I've seen yet, with a host of incompatibilities and "must upgrade or else" 'features'. I'm sorry to say it boys, but Windows has forked at least 5 different ways, not counting DOS."

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