Subject: Re: Linux/BSD [Was: Do We Need a New Evangelist]
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 30 Mar 1999 16:33:34 -0500

   From: craig@jcb-sc.com
   Date: 30 Mar 1999 20:20:06 -0000

   I still don't know how important that difference is.  Linux vs. BSD
   is an example, but I've been told (fairly reliably) that the legal
   threats by AT&T against BSD (I'm shaky with the precise terms
   and acronyms here) were mostly, if not entirely, responsible for Linux'
   success.

I've heard that theory, but I don't agree with it.  I think the
lawsuit was a significant factor.  However, I think a more important
factor was that Linux development was focused on a single person,
Linus Torvalds, who was open to all technical discussion while
remaining clearly in charge.  For whatever reason, BSD development had
no single controlling person, and personality conflicts led to splits,
which led to market confusion.

Another way to look at it is that Linux splits (e.g., the various
distributions) have all been under the single umbrella of allegiance
to Torvalds.  BSD splits have no such common ground.

I've observed the problem directly as GNU binutils maintainer.  I've
never had a serious problem with working with the Linux community.
There have been technical differences, but they were always resolved
at a technical level.  On the other hand, I've three or four times
stepped into BSD political warfare between different groups.  (I don't
want to rehash the details, and in any case I never did understand
just what the different groups were or why they were mad at each
other.)  This generally leaves me feeling 1) my life will be simpler
if I don't push BSD people to put their support in the binutils,
whereas I used to push Linux people pretty hard until everything
eventually got merged back in, and 2) my interest in using BSD
personally is low, although I think it is technically excellent.


   Say MS decided it had to offer "Microsoft Linux" soon.

I would rate this as extremely unlikely.  MS Office for Linux I can
imagine.  MS Linux I can not.

Ian