Subject: Re: Back to business [was: the Be thread]
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 15:35:02 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Crispin" == Crispin Cowan <crispin@cse.ogi.edu> writes:

    Crispin> The kernel is much easier to contribute to than GCC.  The
    Crispin> kernel is, in some sense, a very large library of
    Crispin> components, with a consistent (syscall) interface and
    Crispin> shared set of resources.  The rules one must follow to
    Crispin> play in the kernel are relatively simple.

    Crispin> To contribute to GCC, you have to grok a great deal of
    Crispin> abstraction and detail.  It takes a lot of spin-up time
    Crispin> to develop a working compiler patch.

Cool!  Um, quick question:  does "working" mean "implements your idea
without breaking what you need" or "acceptable to the GCC maintainer"?

Obvious quick hack try: bazaar vs cathedral.  Is that still accurate
with the change of maintainership to the EGCS steering committee?
Does that account for past history?

Opinions on whether GCC has to stay like that?  Whether the kernel can
stay like that?  (As I understand it, the kernel is continually being
pushed in the direction of greater modularization---does that mean
things get "better" in the sense of open to contribution from almost
anybody?)

I don't know about making profits for your investors, but if what
you're interested in is getting financing for your own salary, this
looks like kernel-style "if you can code it, you can probably (fairly
safely) plug it into our widget" strategy might have some analogies to
"Internet portal" style business models.

Unfortunately for that idea, the obvious application and business that
fits is ... GCC and Cygnus!  It works for Cygnus precisely because
integrating new stuff into the compiler requires lots of "spin-up," I
guess.  That leaves you in a position where nobody does it better, in
fact it's really hard to catch up, for quite a while.  But it also
looks like the comments on the palm computers and open source OSes.
Hmmm ... maybe that's the synergy between Cygnus and RedHat.[1]


Footnotes: 
[1]  Yes, that is very AOL of me.  Been said, twice at least, in
different ways already.

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