Subject: Re: UNIX Weenies Are Generally Bad Guys
To: Frank Warren <>
From: Gandhi woulda smacked you <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 06/18/1999 00:03:34
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[This is the last, if not only, time I will respond on this list to this
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 correspondence.  My address is in the header :-), and I apologise in
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 Herein the discussion both agrees and disagrees with Frank.  Keep in mind
 the axiom regarding opinions and rectal cavities.]

On Thu, 17 Jun 1999, Frank Warren wrote:

# Why do I say all UNIX weenies are bad guys?  For one, they don't support
# what they need to survive, which is users, applications and so on.  For
# another, they engage in endless infighting, going nowhere, doing nothing,
# while slimes like Bill Gates take over the market because he:
# 1) Supports users
# 2) Has decent applications
# 3) Forms strategic alliances with people who can do him good
# 4) Tries to fight as little as possible

And because users:

1) Don't like to learn anything beyond bare functionality
2) Want apps on which they can play games while appearing to do real work
3) Really don't give a rodent's ripe round rosy red rear about their
   platform -- until it begins to crash on them on a regular basis

# I like BSD, more or less, and think the Linux world is a mess, more or less,
# because I've looked.  But UNIX is UNIX, and it's still pretty useless.

It's getting better.  About the only thing we're missing at this point is
a free office suite, and apparently that's in the works.  I'm holding my

I note, by the way, that we have so many tools which do things like convert
graphics formats.  Do we have anything similar out there which converts
document formats?  We have texi2roff, dvi2ps, and the like, but do we
have a roff2msw, or a msw2roff, or a msw2ps, or a msw2texi or whatever?
That's where the next freeware adventure is.

# fact, TCP/IP is the ONLY reason it endures at all.  It was pretty much dead
# except as an esoteric undertaking by 1989.  And it wasn't BSD per se that
# led the charge; it was largely Sun and Silicon Graphics, two other
# organizations that do support users, have decent apps, form strategic
# alliances and don't engage in ego-based religious wars.

It would help the UNIX community greatly if the blasted apps weren't
Proprietary (another extended four-letter word).

# Not everyone here is what I would call a Unix WEENIE.  Some are just Unix
# Developers.

I love UNIX.  I use it daily, certainly in preference to That-Other-Thing-
That-Claims-To-Be-An-Operating-System.  I've never had the ... um... joy
of installing Linux.  I've never really run on Linux.  I shy away from it
because if I wanted System V, I'd be running Solaris.  But bash it?  How
can someone who's had no experience bash something?  I'll try anything

# well in yet another generation of developers-turned-weenies.  I got news for
# you.  X sucks rocks.  The apps don't work very well.  And at this rate, the
# future does not look bright.

What planet^H^H^Htform are YOU running on?  I mean, okay, X is a mite slow
-- certainly on a slow box.  Integrating the graphic subsystem into the
kernel as a matter of course isn't exactly the solution, now, is it?
What would YOU propose?  [I would propose a way to lkm the graphics system
into the kernel, but there are probably people who will look at me like
I'm a human from Earth (ain't THAT a terrible prospect?).]

Of which apps do you speak which don't work well?  I don't have too many
problems.  The GIMP hasn't coredumped on me since its previous incarnation.

BSD works well in large part because the memory and disk footprint is
comparatively small, and because it can actually RUN as UNIX on a 486/66
quite nicely.  I used to do that, once upon a year.  I'm currently lucky
enough to run it on a 40MHz SPARCstation IPX.  This machine is not a speed
demon, but it's pretty stable (I'm still waiting for 1.4.1 to materialise,
and then I get to go through the, joy of converting everything to
ELF, oh, boy, oh, boy!).  The video hardware's nice, though it is only
8-bit single-buffered, but it's 1152x900 from a time when 1024x768 was
still hovering on the high end of affordability, and 1280x1024 was
*right* out.

# Bellevue.  Gates' headquarters.  THERE is the enemy.  It's not Linux,
# FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD or Solaris.

Can't argue that.  The problem with Linux is that there are a lot of young-
ish users who think that being part of the 31337 (pronounced "elite", some-
times spelled "eleet" -- that should give you the clue they don't have)
and bashing everything else is the way to go.  They bash BSD not because of
anything technical, they bash it because they figure they're soooooo tough
because they're young, ballsy and have installed Linux.

Advice:  Ignore them.  It is not worth the gettimeofday() to even bother
with them.  If they ask YOU something, respond.  Nicely.

I'm just so happy to see *BSD still around and running.  I'll probably be
running it until time_t wraps around (by which time I hope I either have
a faster machine or someone's fixed the 32-bit time_t problem).

# It saddens me to see the continual BS in these lists.  BSD coulda been a
# contender and not just now but in 1983.  It coulda had world domination in
# 1985, or 1986, or 1987 or....

BSD *was* a contender in 1983.  Things went real sour as soon as Sun slept
with AT&T.  This, of course, spoiled its chances at world domination in

We still are a contender, but the point is quite taken (by me, anyway)
that we gotta skip the BS (gee, should we just call ourselves NetD?).
I hate watching the infighting that happens, but infighting is almost
inevitable in areas of technical excellence.  Maybe THAT's why Microsoft
doesn't have any infighting. :-)

# Broaden your horizons, folks.  Bill Gates has you firmly in his sights, he
# undoubtedly has people monitoring these lists and would dearly love to see
# BSD die yet again.

I wonder if that's what some of those "LEET" people are.

# Having a great OS, with no applications, no adequate documentation and flame
# wars against anyone but "The Annointed" is kind of like packing a .44 magnum
# for self-defense and, when the mugger shows up, putting it to your own head
# and pulling the trigger to avoid the assault.  It will stop the mugger from
# his initial intentions.  But it's still the wrong answer.

A.  We DO have a great OS.
2.  There *are* apps out there, and more are being developed and furthered
    each and every day.

Regarding documentation, you're forgetting something.  Doco takes time,
time which is not always available.  Especially to a volunteer effort.

Further regarding apps, the apps ARE NOT NECESSARILY PART OF THE OS.
This is something Microsoft is only beginning to understand.

We don't supply X, per se.  One can get the source from
(it's somewhere else now, too, but I forget where) and there is a
file there.  You get it and you build it (recommended; the precompiled
version will not recognize any resources after you have 8k worth of them).

While we provide binary packages of apps, those are add-ons -- you
want 'em, go get 'em.

Hell, strictly speaking, we don't even own the compiler we ship.  It's
EGCS (whose point over GCC I have still yet to see).

# Someone will no doubt respond that users are not the point, not the answer,
# that having a place on desktops and having people actually use the OS is not
# the point.  All I can tell those folks is that you and whatever skills you
# have are already obsolete and pointless.  An OS without users is like a
# light shining in an empty house with the blinds shut.  If you don't want
# users, what, pray, is the point?

I don't think that users are not the point; but more TO the point is that
while we need users, users need to be educated, and that is something we
cannot force.  If they don't want to learn UNIX (my wife and eldest kid fall
into that category) there's not much one can do.  They really have
GOT to want it to pursue it, and regrettably, most users would rather
just point, click and die than be bothered with something flexible and
more stable.

NetBSD: Use the ENTIRE computer!