Subject: Linus' Keynote at COMDEX: What's the Deal with Open Source, and What's Up with Linux?
From: Crispin Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 03:33:35 +0000
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 03:33:35 +0000
What's the deal with Open Source?

   * Bring users & developers closer
        o people with problems can talk directly with code developers,
          rather than going through a beurocratic hierarchy
   * Open up competition
        o development thrives on competion

Top 5 reasons to do open source:

5.  Who needs all those IP lawyers anyway?
4.  The bug reports have the fix attached to them
3.  The internet is more than porn

Open up ...

   * The market is getting too complex not to ...
        o look for a more "biological" self-organizing approach
             + Top-down decision making doesn't scale.  Not in politics,
               not in engineering
        o Netowrks of companies working off a common base
             + Being open is what made the pc successful

Companies Embracing Open Source?  Sure!

   * Software Companies
        o Netscape started the commercial trend
        o SunSoft, Corel, testing the waters
   * System houses
        o IBM, HP, Intel all working with open source
   * Hardware manufacturers

What's happened in the last year?

   * Penguins Everywhere
   * Market exploded

Where are things going?

   * technology sets the boundaries
        o faster, cheaper, and smaller, as ususal
   * ...but users and their needs will decide what happens
        o convenience & price - the real driving factor
             + wireless, low-power mobile devices
             + specialization and embedded devices
             + even more powerful desktops and servers: brute force
             + common interfaces across the whole range

Wireless and Mobile Computing

   * Wireless networking and the internet
        o need a full-fledged OS
             + plan for the future: don't fall into the trap of half
             + wireless networking & complex user interfaces with media
               plug-ins making the system much more complex
        o New innovative approaches
             + flexibility and price major issues: obvious match for
               open source
        o infrastructure requirements: power management, new drivers

High-end hardware

   * from dual or Quad PII, 1 GB of RAM a year ago
   * ... to 8-way PIII with 8GP+ of RAM
        o much increased scalabiity on CPU loads
        o accessing memory above 4 GB with a 32-bit CPU
   * Linux: the choice of cross-platform hardware
        o While PC_based servers are easily the most visible ones, you
          have a choice of ALpha, SPARC, PPC at the high end, and ARM,
          MIPS, SuperH on the low end
        o First on Merced, with a solid history of 64-bit support

The Desktop

   * The hardest market to enter by far
        o However
             + traditional UNIX workstation environment going well
                  + much better desktops through proj. like KDE and
                  + clearly pushing down into the nontech desktop
                       + games, wacky screen-savers
                       + well-publicised DVD effort
        o Still cleary the strategically most important market

Questions & Answers

   * Stock questions.  Yes, these are real questions ... people are
     strange :-)
        o Q: is the dark side of the source stronger?
        o A:  no, quicker, easier, more seductive it is
        o Q: so what does Transmeta actually do?
        o A: a "smart CPU" the first microprocessor built with
          software.  Full details to be disclosed on Jan 19, 2000.  Our
          web site actually exists now :)
        o Why is Leonardo diCaprio mentioned before Linus Torvalds in
          Esquire's "Genius Issue"?
   * Floor questions:
        o Q:  when will Linux have transaction file systems and B*
        o A:  certification is mosty about verification, which is mostly
          a company issue
        o Q:  what do you think about TurboCluster, and the potential
          kernel fork?
        o A:  forking brings intra-project competition, which just makes
          us stronger
        o Q:  what about Linux for astrophysics & supercomputing?
        o A:  users have to push it.
        o Q:  as linux develops, are there legal/political problems that
          will now arise?
        o A:  there are always friction problems .. but to the contrary,
          Linux is sometimes adopted in favor of other systems precisely
          because of political problems with the alternatives.  Open
          Source trumps.
        o Q:  when will we see the first instructional commercial on how
          to use basic Linux commands?
        o A:  don't know.  Saw a commercial from maximillion on the
          local closed-circuit TV ...
        o Q:  do you think that Windows would make a good base for an
          open source OS?
        o A:  would find it very interesting, but doubts it will happen
        o Q:  what about NUMA support?
        o A:  Linux supercomputing is mostly clusters ... NUMA work is
          being done, esp. memory management, but it's nascent.
          Nobody's done it in less than 10 years, so I bet it will take
          us at least three :-)
        o Q:  what about Linux performance WRT the Mindcraft study?
          what about ISP's preference for FreeBSD & it's allegedly
          faster TCP/IP performance?
        o A:  Took Mindcraft in a positive light.  It highlighted a real
          problem, and 2.4 fixes it.  2.4 also fixes scalability in the
          filesystem.  Claims the TCP/IP thing is a rumor.
        o Q:  What about ext3?
        o A:  Not in 2.4.
        o Q:  What about companies bundling proprietary wares?  What if
          MS made their own distro?
        o A:  Linus welcomes a MS distro.  What happens when you open
          source something is you give control to the users.
        o Q:  How small can Linux go?  Does it need an MMU?  Or can it
          fit in a cell phone?
        o A:  Everything can go in everything if you push hard enough.
          Linux will likely always need a few meg.  This makes it
          attractive for set-top boxes.  Power management looks really
          good, because no one ever spins in Windows apps.
        o Q:  what distro is on your laptop?
        o A:  This laptop runs SuSE.  Home machine runs Red Hat, I have
          a Caldera machine.
        o Q:  What is your fav. text editor
        o A:  this meeting is deteriorating ... I use micro emacs.
        o Q:  do you plan to add a meta data processor into the kernel?
        o A:  I flux, but I tend to want complex things in user land
          instead of the kernel?
        o Q:  when do we get Plug-n-Play in the kernel?
        o A:  it's there now in the development series
        o Q:  what are you doing to professionalize the Linux
          development community?
        o A:  the development management works well now.


What's the deal with Open Source? Top 5 reasons to do open source:

5.  Who needs all those IP lawyers anyway?
4.  The bug reports have the fix attached to them
3.  The internet is more than porn

Open up ...

Companies Embracing Open Source?  Sure! What's happened in the last year? Where are things going? Wireless and Mobile Computing High-end hardware The Desktop Questions & Answers Crispin