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osOpinion: The Failure of Linux: Credibility and Responsibility

Oct 04, 2000, 07:17 (42 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Monty Manley)

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"Alone of the major engineering disciplines, software has inculcated in its users an expectation that it will fail: that it will be late, buggy, balky, and over budget. Programmers, unlike other engineers, tend to have low credibility in their organizations since their time and budget estimations are invariably far off the mark. Often, programmers will simply refuse to provide time or money estimates, preferring instead to give the old "it'll be ready when it's ready" answer...."

"When I first began using Linux (an early Slackware distribution), I remember thinking that it was a good-but-not-great Unix. Six years later, that caveat still holds true: it's a good-but-not-great Unix. But it happened that Linux became a lightning rod for many other forces in the industry: the rise of the Internet, the waning of Microsoft's power and the emergence of the "appliance" computer. Add to this heady brew the whole "Open Source/Free Software" philosophy, lard it with lavish media attention, and what you have is a big billowing cloud of hot air with a tiny kernel (pun intended) at its center."

"There are many operating systems on the market that are better designed and more capable than Linux, even other free operating systems -- most good software engineers consider the *BSD flavors to be technically better than Linux. But Linux got the all-important "mindshare" of developers not because it was better, but because it was popular."

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