<CT> Re: calmira_tips Digest V3 #71

  • From: "Martin B. Brilliant" <mbrilliant@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: calmira_tips@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 06 May 2002 06:03:51 -0400

On Mon, 06 May 2002 01:48:10 -0500, Norm Finch <NormF@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> ... I think I can say with a fair degree of confidence that
> there's simply no way a one-man effort could pull this off.  And the
> likelihood of marshalling an unpaid army to do it is just as close to
> nil, if not closer.

I agree in this particular case, but not in general. Linux is an 
example of a one-man effort that grew into an unpaid army and 
arguably a threat to Microsoft. How did that happen?

Here's my theory. Linus Torvalds started by undertaking something 
that was truly a one-person task (though a heroic one): to clone the 
kernel of an existing OS. Then he went public while he was doing that.

Lonnie Cumberland is going public with a much bigger task. And there 
are holes in his concept. If the task is to create an OS that will 
run applications compiled for two different hardware platforms, the 
first step is not choosing a user interface. It's figuring out how he 
expects to run those incompatible executables on the same hardware. 
And if he expects to be credible, he has to go public with at least 
some hint at why he thinks it's feasible.

As we all know, the user interface is an interchangeable part of an 
OS. Windows 3.x can run with either Progman or Calmira as its user 
interface. MS-DOS can run with alternative shells. Unix/Linux can run 
with any of several different command line shells, or with X windows 
with any of a variaty of window managers. The user interface is the 
last thing you design; the first thing (as in Linux) is the kernel.

Martin B. Brilliant at home in Holmdel, NJ
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