back to article Happy birthday, Linux: From a bedroom project to billions of devices in 30 years

On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds, then a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland, sent a message to the comp.os.minix newsgroup soliciting feature suggestions for a free Unix-like operating system he was developing as a hobby. Thirty years later, that software, now known as Linux, is everywhere. It dominates the …

  1. Rob H
    Linux

    FW: hyvää syntymäpäivää!

    On 25-08-1991, Linus Torvalds wrote:

    > Hello everybody out there using minix-

    >

    > I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big

    > and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has

    > been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like

    > any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix; as my OS

    > resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-sytem

    > due to practical reasons) among other things.

    >

    > I’ve currently ported bash (1.08) an gcc (1.40), and things seem to work.

    > This implies that i’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d

    > like to know what features most people want. Any suggestions are welcome,

    > but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)

    >

    > Linus Torvalds torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi

    >

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: FW: hyvää syntymäpäivää!

      won’t be big

      That aged well...

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: won't be big

        Look, I'm going to be blunt here:

        Should anyone expect anything ELSE but "domination" when you put out a free product, built off the backs of quite a lot of unpaid development work at the least or work paid for by someone else at the most, that allows the adopting businesses to monetize said work to their *own* benefit??

        Surprise!

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: won't be big

          That seems a very 'capitalist' interpretation of the reality.

          As an alternative, how about: here's something that allows me to 'get stuff done' by giving me the freedom to organise the whole stack the way I need/want it, and I'm free to pass that on to others to do the same.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: very capitalist of me

            But your viewpoint is one based on personal use of the product. I am talking about industry-wide adoption - why does Linux have 100% penetration in the supercomputer world? Why does Linux rule in web servers?

            Because: why have to hire hundreds of developers to design the OS for your Big Business computer system when at least 80% of the hard work has been done...and it is available open source.

            The Red Hat article posted just hours after this one speaks [my] truth. Linux became popular, as per Red Hat, due to "licensing". That is, "use for no charge, improve if and where/when you can, we'd appreciate the input but it isn't required".

            Red Hat, for one, made themselves into a $34 billion subsidiary by, initially, packaging what was fundamentally other people's work into a distribution...that you paid for. 6 years later they had their IPO for $3 billion. They then used that money to create projects to help build a better Linux.

            But they were under no obligation to do this. If they had monetized their position without giving anything back to Linux...that was acceptable under the licensing plan.

            Red Hat quotes Torvalds who discussed the matter in a 1997 interview.

            "I actually originally released Linux with complete sources under a non-GPL copyright that was actually much more restrictive than the GPL: it required that all sources always be available, and it also didn't allow any money to be exchanged for Linux at all," said Torvalds.

            "That original copyright was mainly a reaction against the operating system I had been trying to use before Linux: Minix. Minix was meant to be a teaching operating system, but it had been too limited and in my opinion too expensive for that … so when I made Linux, I wanted it to be easily available over ftp with full sources, and I did _not_ want it to be too expensive for anybody. I changed the copyright to the GPL within roughly half a year: it quickly became evident that my original copyright was so restrictive that it prohibited some entirely valid uses … making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did."

            Yeah, the best thing ever: allow people to make money off you.

            And so they did.

            The rest is history.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: very capitalist of me

              "But your viewpoint is one based on personal use of the product."

              Well, yes. That's kind of the point.

              "Red Hat, for one, made themselves into a $34 billion subsidiary by, initially, packaging what was fundamentally other people's work into a distribution...that you paid for."

              Actually, you don't pay for the distribution. You pay for their support of that distribution. It might seem to be be a subtle difference to some, but its an important one.

              "Yeah, the best thing ever: allow people to make money off you."

              I have been contributing to the FOSS world since befoirre BSD was BSD. Quite frankly, I have never thought about it like that for one simple reason: It doesn't matter.

              Read that again, it's important: It doesn't matter.

              I wrote code, created patches, chased down bugs, wrote documentation, and all the other bits & bobs that go into FOSS because I am extremely selfish. I wanted it to work for ME, my way, in my time. Once it worked the way I wanted it to work, it solved a problem that I had, which more than paid for the time and effort that I put into it.

              Then I released it to the wild, without caring if anyone else needed it. It's MINE, it scratched my itch ... now, if you have the same itch feel free to make use of my scratching post. No point in you re-inventing the wheel to do the same job ... and better, it frees you up to work on something to fix another itch.

              Thankfully, other people have many other itches. In aggregate, we have created something useful.

  2. Def Silver badge
    FAIL

    I've got a suggestion...

    How about a case-insensitive file system?

    That has to be one of the dumbest design decisions ever made. I bet it's right up there with square wheels and unsliced bread.

    Downvotes in 3....2....1....

    1. PPCNI

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      I agree for what it is worth.

      But well done to everyone involved in the whole project which proves that... I don't know how to put it succinctly... That humanity isn't necessarily doomed?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        Nah, we're still doomed.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          Not me. I'm going to live forever ... or die trying.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      "How about a case-insensitive file system?"

      There are several, but VFAT should suit your needs.

      "That has to be one of the dumbest design decisions ever made."

      I guess you never really looked at an ASCII table and tried to comprehend it's ramifications when it comes to file systems. Here's one for you to peruse. Re-pose your question after you have gained some understanding.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        ASCII? That'll be because all computer users communicate only in European languages, right?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "ASCII? That'll be because all computer users communicate only in European languages, right?"

          Like it or not, the lingua franca of the Linux kernel (and indeed most of everything that happens from a technical perspective on TehIntraWebTubes) is the American dialect of English[0].

          So yes, good old ASCII (all 7 bits of it) works quite nicely. That's why it is the base that we still operate from in our 64 bit world.

          But that's not what I was talking about. We were discussing file systems, remember? Might want to go back and study that ASCII table some more.

          [0]Don't shoot the messenger ... just telling it like it is.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            It seems even less likely that all Linux users want all their files named in European languages than that all Linux users want to communicate only in European languages. Using a 58 (original) or 35 (latest revision) year old standard to justify keeping restrictions seems a bit ... desperate.

            Anyway, I've just checked and Ubuntu is perfectly happy to have files named with katakana characters, so the relevance of ASCII seems even more obscure.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          You do know that most modern OS's use UTF-8 as their main character sets nowadays. Plenty of space for characters in all the worlds languages.

          Mind you, it makes life much more difficult when you can't read the file name because you don't understand the language. We've just been spoilt in the English speaking world because we had such a formative effect on early computing.

          But I disagree about the premise of a case insensitive filesystem. We have the characters, why not use them and let individuals decide. We use mixed case in prose so it's not foreign to us. It's just lazyness to suggest that we limit ourselves to upper case characters. You might as well say that you should eliminate non-alphanumeric characters.

          I mean, I don't like having spaces or non-printing characters in filenames, but I'm resigned to living with them, because that is how it is.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            But I disagree about the premise of a case insensitive filesystem. We have the characters, why not use them and let individuals decide.

            It's really a question of whether "a" and "A" are different characters, or different ways of writing the same character. I can't think of any example in English (or english) where case makes a difference to meaning, though in German "die grüne" and "die Grüne" are different things.

            Is it still the case that Linux won't allow accented characters in usernames?

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      Why do you think case sensitivity is bad?

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        Casing is a strange grammatical quirk of some written languages. It has nothing to do with meaning or intent.

        Having a case sensitive file system (or any other part of the system) places a completely artificial and unnecessary burden on the user.

        Would you refuse to open a letter addressed to "JOHN" or "john" because that's not your written name?

        1. rafff

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "Casing is a strange grammatical quirk of some written languages. It has nothing to do with meaning or intent."

          How about:

          1. I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse.

          2. I helped my uncle jack off a horse.

          1. Def Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            Well done for trying to shoehorn an example of missing commas into the conversation.

            1. esque

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              English is not my native tongue, but I'm pretty sure no comma belongs in either of these two sentences.

              BTW, in German we have something very similar. And no, there isn't a comma missing in either of these, neither:

              "gut zu Vögeln", "gut zu vögeln"

              1. Def Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                Without referring to the subject, my uncle, by name, the correct English would be:

                I helped my uncle off a horse.

                When you include additional information to aid comprehension, you place commas to break up the flow and clarify the intent:

                I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse.

                (Also seen in my first sentence above, where I clarified that the subject of the discussion is my uncle.)

                1. xeroks

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  That's fair.

                  An alternative, taking "Uncle Jack" as a proper noun, would have resulted in the "my" being spurious. So the sentence would have ended up as "I helped Uncle Jack off a horse."

                  (I started this post disagreeing with you, but have seen the error of my ways)

                  1. Def Silver badge

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    Yep, going the Proper Noun route and omitting "my" would also work without introducing ambiguities. :)

                    I guess what I should have clarified in my earlier statement was that capitalisation of words in English is part of English grammar, and while the point of grammar is to change and/or clarify intent, the capitalisation on its own is not. We don't suddenly become confused and bewildered if someone writes "lord of the rings" instead of "Lord of the Rings", and by extension, neither should computers.

                    In my opinion.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: I've got a suggestion...

                      "We don't suddenly become confused and bewildered"

                      Misdirection. Human emotional condition is a wetware issue.

                      "if someone writes "lord of the rings" instead of "Lord of the Rings"

                      Actually, the two are quite different.

                      Consider the gymnasts in the Rings competition in the recent Olympics[0].

                      Down the Pub, one might say "Blimey! That dude is Lord of the Rings!" for the winner of the Gold Medal. Likewise, one would say "The other dude is lord of the rings in his country." And yes, if you are listening, you can hear the inflection, and so the meaning and intent in the spoken word.

                      "neither should computers."

                      More misdirection. The computer's file system doesn't know anything, all it does is store things for you. In this scenario, you might put general pictures of the Rings competition into a directory called "lord of the rings" out of pure whimsy, but the photos of the medal winner in a separate folder called "Lord of the Rings". Both have completely different, and meaningful (to you!), names.

                      [0]Did they even have a Rings competition this year? I neither know, nor care.

                  2. JamesTGrant

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    My Uncle… is clearly referring to my uncle.

                    Omitting the ‘my’ causes Uncle to lose his relationship with the author, could be anyone’s uncle. So

                    ‘my Uncle Jack’ is perfecto if you call him by the name ‘Uncle Jack’.

                    ‘My uncle Jack’ is perfect if you call him Jack and he is your uncle.

                    The sentence is perfect in the examples given, no commas needed.

                    Also, this is an amazeballs example which made me snort out loud so thank you.

                  3. nijam Silver badge

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    > ... resulted in the "my" being spurious

                    Not really. Other Uncle Jacks are available.

                2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  That would only be correct if you have only one uncle, and you are explaining that he is called Jack. If you are distinguishing between uncles then commas are unneeded: I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse, then I helped my Uncle Fred off a bicycle ..."

                  1. David 132 Silver badge
                    Happy

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    You helped your uncle do WHAT to a bicycle?????

                3. jake Silver badge

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  Some folks despise Oxford commas.

                  1. Weylin

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    It's nothing to do with Oxford commas. It's the difference between a defining clause and a non-defining clause.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          > Would you refuse to open a letter addressed to "JOHN" or "john" because that's not your written name?

          Actually, yes... because both of those indicate it's just spam. Or illiterate. Neither of which I want to deal with.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            Every letter I've ever received from the UK government regarding my company has the full company name and address printed in capitals.

            In fact, I have a tendency to write all names and addresses on envelopes in block capitals too because I know how piss ugly my handwriting is. So... I call bullshit.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              "Every letter I've ever received from the UK government regarding my company has the full company name and address printed in capitals."

              Wow. And I thought I was a Neo-Luddite. Is HMG still using VT50 terminals, too? Methinks an upgrade might be in order.

            2. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              "In fact, I have a tendency to write all names and addresses on envelopes in block capitals too because I know how piss ugly my handwriting is."

              Your eye/hand coordination (or lack thereof) is not germane to this conversation. For the record, mine's just as bad ... 50-odd years of using a computer keybr0ad will do that to a guy.

              Thankfully, I can still raise a glass ...

        3. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "Casing is a strange grammatical quirk of some written languages. It has nothing to do with meaning or intent."

          But looked at another way... casing is a different bloody character, and filenames are strings of characters.

          I think I struggled with the concept for at least a couple of minutes several decades ago, but I use capitals to make longer filenames readable without introducing spaces which just mess everything up. With autocompletion of filenames in almost every case when running on the command line there is no penalty for readable file names.

        4. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "It has nothing to do with meaning or intent."

          We were talking about computer file systems. Quite frankly, I do not want my computer to try to guess my meaning or intent. I want it to store my files exactly where I tell it to store them.

        5. Martin Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          It (casing) has nothing to do with meaning or intent...

          How about polish vs Polish? Different words, even pronounced differently.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            How about a few words pronounced the same, but with different meanings depending on capitalization?

            God and god.

            Moon and moon.

            Comet and comet.

            August and august.

            March and march.

            May and may.

            Coke and coke.

            Jack and jack.

            China and china.

            Cheddar and cheddar.

            Burgundy and burgundy.

            Turkey and turkey.

            Etc. etc.

        6. nijam Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          > It has nothing to do with meaning or intent.

          Case carries both syntactic and semantic information in some (albeit not all) situations.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        Because reaching all the way up to the upper case to get your letters is too much like hard work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          Gutenberg appreciates this comment.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          The sweat lubricates the composing stick. The good ones are made of bronze because it doesn't rust. Same reason we use lead for type.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      "How about a case-insensitive file system?"

      This is just a guess but I wonder if you know that was one of many things that Linux inherited by way of being Unix-like.

      It's one of those things that's part of your way of thinking. For many of us case-insensitive file systems are a strange anomoly - why would you add the extra load onto all the file handling software to say nothing of remembering that Fred, fred and FRED are all the same when quite obviously they look different?

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        I think it's far better and more efficient to place that burden on the OS than on every single user for the rest of time. Doubly so when so many aspects of using the OS rely on typing commands into a console.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        The normal unwritten solution in Unix -world is to use only lower case letters and that will then leave Upper case to really stick out.

        I still hate the Downloads, Music, Desktop ... on my Linux.

        Why the hell should I need to press Shift just to write music, (not that there is a lot of writing these days).

        (and the reason is no doubt to make life easier for who??).

        I actually think there is something cheep, a smell of cheep in capital letters because that was all there was in the cheep OS beginning some of us remember well.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          I would like to add that we do need both upper and lower case characters or the character set would be more restricted for no good reason.

          Certainly many have been forced to use both upper and lower case letters in passwords by now.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            I'm not arguing for always ignoring case. I'm saying there's a time and a place. And sometimes in some places case should be ignored. (Btw the way, that "character set would be restricted" argument is nonsense. There are over 600 thousand words in English - over a million in Korean. We can add new words quite easily without needing more characters.)

            At the end of the day there's a reason (actually a substantially large number of reasons) why Linux has a reputation for being unfriendly to users. And while this may not seem important to some, or of big consequence to others, it's *one more thing* that confounds users for no good reason.

            And even when it doesn't confound you and even when you know exactly why this is like this, it's still frustrating to type in what you think is the filename to something only to discover that the case was wrong. It wastes the user's time.

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              "character set would be restricted" argument is nonsense."

              I wonder, are miss understanding it all on purpose or what is it.

              It's not about the number of words in the Bible or elsewhere.

              Somebody provided a link to an ascii-table, link below, and as you can see in that table there are 127 different codes, removing say lower case characters will leave a smaller number of different codes, and that is all there is to it.

              https://www.alpharithms.com/wp-content/uploads/340/ascii-table-overcoded-scaled.jpg

              1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                How many files do you have on your system which differ in name from others only by capitalisation? How many commands do you use which are identical to other apart from capitalisation?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  "How many files do you have on your system which differ in name from others only by capitalisation?"

                  Many. For a variety of reasons.

                  "How many commands do you use which are identical to other apart from capitalisation?"

                  Some. Mostly shell scripts. Those that affect only the user are named in lower case, those that affect things globally have a capital initial letter. Old habit of mine from the pre-BSD days.

                  1. Def Silver badge

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    God that sounds like a fucking nightmare. No wonder you're so angry all the time.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: I've got a suggestion...

                      Organizing files in a logical way is a nightmare to you? That would explain lots.

                      Angry? Me? Nah. Life's too short for that waste of energy.

                      1. doublelayer Silver badge

                        Re: I've got a suggestion...

                        I'll admit the organization you decided to use does sound like a nightmare to me. If you really have files that only differ by capitalization, then you're relying on everybody understanding what the capitalization means. I, at least, would not. If presented with a folder containing update_database.sh and Update_database.sh, which weren't identical, I would have no clue what the difference was and would be very cautious about which one I used. When you could be much clearer about this (update_database_local_user.sh and update_database_all_users.sh or, better yet, one script which takes a parameter to select which set of users you're running on), the capitalization doesn't sound like the best method.

                        1. jake Silver badge

                          Re: I've got a suggestion...

                          In this particular case, your opinion of how I named those files is moot. The machines in question are mine, and the only other person who might (might!) access them is my Wife.

                          The point is that I, personally, find it useful to name certain files that way, and I have been doing so since roughly 1977. It works for me; you are free to customize your system in any way that floats your boat.

                          As a side note, if you were presented with ANY shell script, regardless of name, if you didn't know exactly what it did you would have absolutely zero business running it. Open it up (in vi, of course), and parse the silly thing with your Mark I brain first!

                          1. doublelayer Silver badge

                            Re: I've got a suggestion...

                            Given the discussion at hand, neither of our opinions are moot though both are unimportant. You claim your organization "logical", I don't think so. It's not a thing that can be proven either way, so it's just arguing over what we like.

                            1. jake Silver badge
                              Pint

                              Re: I've got a suggestion...

                              So let's stop arguing, and get in another round ... it's Friday.

                              This one's on me.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              "We can add new words quite easily without needing more characters."

              Misdirection.

              We're not discussing adding more words. We're discussing labeling files.

            3. jake Silver badge

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              "it's still frustrating to type in what you think is the filename to something only to discover that the case was wrong. It wastes the user's time."

              Again, that's a wetware issue, not a computer issue. The computer is doing EXACTLY what it was told to do ... while the human is not.

              1. Def Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                The computer is doing EXACTLY what it was told to do

                Yes, and this is the problem. Most people want computers to be more intuitive and easier to use. A computer doing exactly what it's told is no different to an obstinate child being a pedantic dick. It helps no one.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  So you want computers to do something other than what they are told?

                  Where is the logic in that?

                  1. Def Silver badge

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    Not quite. I (and people who use computers but aren't technically minded - I.e., about seven and a half billion people, give or take) want computers to be more helpful and less obstinate.

                    Interaction design is a subject I find thoroughly interesting and am constantly amazed at how badly developers still get it completely and utterly wrong. Myself included at times - it's very easy to write something that you think works perfectly well only to see it fall apart in seconds in the hands of someone else.

                    No matter how good it is at doing something, software should not get in the way of the user and, where possible, provide the user with an easier path to their goal.

            4. Man inna barrel

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              A file name is just a sequence of bytes, that happen to represent characters in a Latin alphabet, based on the ASCII encoding standard. It is convenient to think of file names in terms of words in a human language, but the OS does not interpret the words according to any human language. Having distinct upper and lower case characters in a Latin alphabet is convenient for human readers, when writing byte sequences to be interpreted by a computer. For example, camel case is quite a nice way to concatenate words into one string, without using spaces between the words.

              That brings me onto the real bugbear, which is spaces in file names. This does actually break computer interpretation of byte sequences, because spaces are used to separate tokens. Yes, the OS will accept spaces in file names, because a space is just another byte, but you have to muck about with quoting to use tools like cp, when you have spaces in file names. Consider the command 'cp Uncle Jack relatives'. What the OS sees is that you want to copy two files, called 'Uncle' and 'Jack', to a destination called 'relatives'. What you probably wanted to say is 'cp UncleJack relatives'. You need a way to tell the OS that a byte sequence is one token, so conventions like camel case, and underscores instead of spaces, are needed.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                Just escape the space character with a backslash, like so:

                $ cp Uncle\ Jack relatives

                Simples.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I've got a suggestion...

                  >Just escape the space character with a backslash ...

                  Yes, I know that, but why should I faff around with escapes? Why not make file and directory names like identifiers in a programming language? I know it is a bit late to change things, but I think life would be easier if we used conventions like underscores in place of spaces, or camel case, which allow you to have multi-word tokens, without fiddling with escaping spaces.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: I've got a suggestion...

                    You are free to do so. It's your system.

                    Personally, I don't find escapes to be particularly arduous ... but I don't usually use spaces (or any other "special" characters) in file names. No point.

                    What drives me nuts is when people use so-called "non standard" characters willy-nilly, thus making things difficult to port between unicies. Or the idiots who flip randomly between hyphen/dashes, underbars, plus signs and spaces to signify a space between words. You know who you are ...

                    Concur on CamelCase.... Seems to be the best of all words.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "I still hate the Downloads, Music, Desktop ... on my Linux."

          It's your system, change it.

    5. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      Personally I disagree for a couple of reasons.

      The first is that "case" doesn't mean anything for some character sets or has ambiguities. In some languages there are one to many or many to many mappings for characters and various digraphs. Are file systems supposed to maintain lookup tables and complex rule matching for characters just to decide two strings refer to the same thing? It wouldn't just be on file names either but all the folders along the path.

      Secondly, it's just ick. When you introduce vagueness and ambiguity into computer programming you introduce bugs. It is far better to be ultra strict and then everyone knows the rules. At least down at the software level.

      It doesn't stop the operating system from offering some kind of file filter that sits above the file system that can be utilised for user facing actions like file pickers, explorer, search etc. But it should absolutely not be in the file system itself.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        That's exactly my point. From a user perspective case doesn't mean anything, and so introducing an artificial and illogical meaning where there shouldn't be one makes Linux less accessible for new users.

        Back in the mid 90s I was quite interested in OS development (I still am), and so started looking around at alternatives to Windows and possibly for a project to join and collaborate on. I found one (I have no idea what it was - it might even have been a Linux variant) with an very active community. One of the threads on their forums was about case sensitivity. This thread went on for pages and pages and pages with the eventual conclusion that the file system should be case sensitive, but when there are multiple choices available the user should be asked to clarify which one they meant. Which was quite possibly the most moronic decision I've ever seen. I didn't stick around to see what other gems were hiding in there.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          From a user perspective case doesn't mean anything, and so introducing an artificial and illogical meaning where there shouldn't be one makes Linux less accessible for new users.

          This might have made sense when all you were considering was languages based on 7-bit ASCII (i.e. English and some other Latin-derived alphabets*), but in these global days with Unicode catering for a vast variety of languages, many of which aren't "cased" in the Western sense, and where a huge proportion of users may be unfamiliar with Western convention that means two completely different glyphs "mean" the same thing ("A" looks nothing like "a", no matter which font you use) it makes far, far more sense for the operating system to understand every codepoint as a unique value and leave the semantics up to higher level systems.

          If you want to make a "user friendly" GUI file manager which is case-insensitive, do so. It shouldn't be any more difficult than the clunky "long filenames" overlays which Windows (and other similar vintage systems) foisted on us.

          Just check out what unicode.org says about case mappings.

          There was also an interesting discussion around the Python str.lower() function which I found when I was creating a short utility which recognised file types by .extension, and had to cater for ".jpe", ".jpg", ".JPG", ".jpeg", ".JPEG" and several other variants which all mean the same thing semantically about the contents of the file, but which I really, really don't think the operating system should be trying to second-guess. What about filenames which contain spaces+? Should the OS treat 0x20 ("space") the same as 0xa0 ("non breaking space")? Under what circumstances should 0xd7 ("multiply") be treated as equivalent to 0x78 ("x"), and 0xb7 ("middle dot", or "decimal point" to my ancient mind) be treated the same as 0x2e ("full stop")? How about minus-hyphen (0x2d), soft hyphen (0xad), punctuation hyphen, non-breaking hyphen, en-dash and em-dash (various codepoints)?

          Can't find that discussion now, but here is the relevant bit from python.org and here's the bit which describes how it's done. It's all a far cry from the days when an uppercase-to-lowercase conversion was as simple as adding 32 to any ASCII code in the range 65 to 90.

          Oh, and consider how many of us cut our teeth in BASIC where case sensitivity made life a lot easier - if your variables were all lower-case, you didn't have to worry about clashes with keywords. Was it MS BASIC which only recognised the first three characters of a variable name so a variable named PRICE would class with the keyword PRINT? Even Sinclair worked around that problem, and I grew up with BBC BASIC so it wasn't a problem at all...

          Discovering a case-sensitive file system seemed so much more logical!

          M.

          *ironically, of course, actual Latin as written by Romans some 2,000 years ago wasn't really cased, though I gather that there were several variants of most glyphs, typically to make it easier to handwrite

          +an abomination in my eyes, cause more trouble than they are worth. The only benefit of spaces in filenames is to avoid civil war about using camelCase, underscores_or-dashes between words

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            A really well written OS would also recognize that "Geschenk für meinen Mann.jpg" and " "Geschenk fuer meinen Mann.jpg" were the same file ...

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I've got a suggestion...

            "If you want to make a "user friendly" GUI file manager which is case-insensitive, do so. It shouldn't be any more difficult than the clunky "long filenames" overlays which Windows (and other similar vintage systems) foisted on us."

            This! The entire discussion about case sensitivity making Linux "unfriendly" to new users is rubbish as far as I'm concerned. People who use the command line don't care, once they know the rules. People who use GUIs constantly, ie the "average" user, are just clicking on stuff and rarely typing file names anyway. If a GUI user has no concept of file case (in)sensitivity, then even when creating a new file or using Save As, they will look at the list of files presented and type something different whether the case matches or not.

            So, whether the file system is case sensitive or not, or whether it's a GUI overlay pretending to case sensitive or not matters little.

            It sounds like what the OP is asking for is the BBC Micro DFS file naming system. You can use both upper and lower case in filenames and they will be preserved and shown in a *CAT listing as they were typed, but are not actually case sensitive. You can save a file named Fred and Fred is what you see in a listing, but you can access that file by typing it as FRED, Fred, FreD or whatever.

            1. Def Silver badge

              Re: I've got a suggestion...

              Yeah, pretty much.

              The filesystem should preserve case, but not allow filenames to differ by case alone, and case should be ignored when searching/matching.

              If I have a directory called "Work" and I type "ls w" and hit tab, "Work" should be included in the results. Similarly if I accidentally hit caps-lock and type "LS" that should still work as expected.

              You could leave this to every application to implement in their own special (and subtly different) way, but it's functionality that belongs in the filesystem.

              That's how most systems work these days, and there are moves to change Linux to work like this.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                "If I have a directory called "Work" and I type "ls w" and hit tab, "Work" should be included in the results. Similarly if I accidentally hit caps-lock and type "LS" that should still work as expected."

                As expected by whom? I would expect the computer to not return the CAPS ... unless I explicitly asked for them. I would also expect accidentally typing in commands after hitting caps lock to result in swearing at myself, turning off caps lock, deleting the offending characters and retyping what I meant.

                Of course I touch-type, and look at the screen when I'm typing, so I'd catch the error after one or two characters are entered. For me, it takes no time to correct that kind of thing. Your mileage may vary.

                Besides, I've sensibly remapped my keyboard so the <capslock> key is actually <control>, and <capslock> no longer exists on my keyboard ...

              2. nijam Silver badge

                Re: I've got a suggestion...

                > That's how most systems work these days

                No, just MS stuff.

                > and there are moves to change Linux to work like this

                I really hope no-one is wasting there time doing that.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          "From a user perspective case doesn't mean anything,"

          Debunked elsewhere.

        3. nijam Silver badge

          Re: I've got a suggestion...

          > From a user perspective case doesn't mean anything

          If you'd care to re-read some of the comments, you might note that your statement is the exact opposite of the actual situation.

          Filenames are labels, devoid of meaning to the computer, but loaded with meaning for the user who created or uses them.

    6. adam 40 Silver badge

      I'm insensitive

      Why bother when 'find' has -iname case insensitivity?

    7. oknop

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      The only reason unix is case sensitive is because the makers are to lazy to make it case insensitive.

      ODS-2 rules!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        Files-11 is, in general, a good file system. I agree. (It's also a really good learning tool to understand the basic concepts of a distributed file system.)

        However, there is a reason that ODS-5 exists.

    8. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      Case insensitivity might not be such a great idea

      bash$ DIFF PASS FAIL | LESS

      command not found: DIFF

      bash$ echo $LANG

      tr

      bash$ export LANG=de

      bash$ DIFF pass fail

      file not found: pass

      bash$ LS

      FAIL PAß

      bash$ export LANG=de-DE-1996

      bash$ DIFF PASS FAIL

    9. jake Silver badge

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      Nobody has actually addressed the question.

      The reason a file system is normally not case sensitive is because a file system is agnostic to language. All a file system is is a system of storing blocks of ones and zeros of arbitrary length and meaning ("files"). So is the index into that system. So basically, any and all characters (except NUL '\0' and slash '/') can be used in file or directory names. But note that the computer doesn't know, or care, that you are giving them names. All it sees is a series of ones and zeros that in turn points at the file you are looking for.

      What you are ACTUALLY looking for is a case insensitive index into the contents of that file system. Many of which exist, as I pointed out earlier. Most are available for use with Linux ... but most are not used, for the simple reason that more characters means more flexibility for the cognizant user.

      Your "more complicated" complaint is a wetware issue, not a software issue, and should be addressed as such.

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        > you are giving them names.

        You may think of them as names, but they're just labels really.

    10. This post has been deleted by its author

    11. jetjet

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      I am glad you didn't ask for file names in capital letters only.

    12. simpfeld

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      To be honest Windows is wrong to have a case insensitive file system.That quick hack has landed us all with the problem that people think this is a feature.

      It's easy to decide what upper and lower case is in English but not for all the world's languages as well. This is a lot of crap to put into an OS level driver to make that work. Better to do this at a UI level.

    13. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: I've got a suggestion...

      Your beef is with the UNIX developers...and taken as a whole, the OS seems to have done fairly well in spite of the case-sensitive file system.

      I suppose you wouldn't mind going back to upper-case only terminals as well?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I've got a suggestion...

        One wonders if the OP has ever read the adventures of archy and mehitabel, paying close attention to the chapter called "CAPITALS AT LAST". Recommended.

        Recommended to all y'all. Author's name is Don Marquis. Get thee to a library.

  3. hammarbtyp

    It dominates the supercomputer world, with 100 per cent market share.

    Nice to see window supercomputer world domination attempts going so nicely

    Windows HPC Server

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      I think he meant in the top 500 list.

      Between 2009 and 2015, there were at least 6 top 500 supercomputers running IBM AIX. The same systems could also run Linux, but a number of customers wanted AIX, although I found it a bit strange.

      Kept me busy for a number of years, though.

      I think Microsoft are again attempting to buy their way onto the list by offering free hardware to sites wanting to run HPCs.

  4. Geoffrey W

    Linux has been very successful, if not on the desktop. Imagine if it had been a commercial project. They would have had way more resources and might have been able to iron out the wrinkles and problems sooner and, dare I dream, have been a viable competitor to Microsoft while Microsoft was still in the early part of their success. Being a FOSS project slows down development and gives your competitors time to develop/market ahead of you. Linux developers still need to live so still need to have a day job, so don't have as much time to spare as those working full time at Microsoft. Imagine if Linux had been commercial then we might be living in a very different world by now, and I don't necessarily mean a world where Linux viruses/virii proliferate (though that would always be a possibility since Linux would then offer a much larger and more profitable target) - you can say I'm a dreamer, am I the only one?

    1. Scotthva5

      I would argue that Linux succeeded because it is not a commercial project. Granted it may have initially started with more resources but for how long? Commercial products demand a revenue stream to be successful and what if early iterations of a commercial kernel simply didn't sell? The plug would be pulled at an early stage in development then put back on the shelf to wither.

      1. Geoffrey W

        I would argue that Linux succeeded because it is a great project. With more resources perhaps it might have been more successful and the great demon from Redmond not quite so demonic. (I'm not trolling, honest :-)

    2. Adair Silver badge

      Nah, it's way better for being what it is, both at a commercial level and a philosophical one.

      'Rate of development' is hardly the goto benchmark metric for deciding the worth of an Operating System, although it does count for something.

      If Linux had been a commercial project it would a. have been hijacked by the priorities of 'bean-counters' and 'share-holders' - a drag on progress in both cases, and b. would be hidden behind an obscuring cloud of 'lawyer' - an even bigger drag on progress.

    3. desht

      Imagine if it had been a commercial project

      What, like OS/2?

  5. Lars Silver badge
    Linux

    Grattis, Onneksi olkoon

    Linus, Linux.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Still a security nightmare.

      as opposed to...say, Windows?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Still a security nightmare.

        Theory is all very well and good.

        Reality is what I make a living at.

        Windows is an overall admin nightmare. Linux less so, and by a wide margin.

        So why is all my Internet-facing kit based on one of the BSDs?

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge
    Linux

    If only more OSes had been named after their creators.....

    We might also have computers running Billux and Wozzox, and the Americans might have spent decades saying "why do they laugh in Britain every time I say the name ?"

    Happy birthday Linux, from a happy user.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: If only more OSes had been named after their creators.....

      In a previous job, the in-game UI system written by one of the guys on another team was called Timdows.

  8. big_D Silver badge
    Pint

    For everybody...

    That has changed back-and-forth over the years.

    I love Linux, for what it is, but it can also be very frustrating. I've had some strange hardware over the years, which has meant it needed proprietary drivers, because open source just didn't exist. That either meant doing without or you had to jump through hoops to get things working, because the Kernel devs (rightly, based on the philosophy of Linux, but wrongly, based on pragmatism and user friendliness) put so many stumbling blocks in the way, at times.

    I had switched to all Linux at home and needed a laptop. I bought a new Acer laptop, with discrete Radeon X600m chipset, a mobile version of the then relatively new X-series graphic chips. The desktop version had rudimentary support - no graphics acceleration, but basic desktop. Enough to get a standard install up and running and then install the proprietary ATi graphics driver.

    The X600m, on the other hand, wouldn't even boot in standard VESA 800x600 mode! It just had random lines across the screen. I re-installed SUSE half a dozen times, trying different graphics settings, but nothing worked. In the end, I had to do a plain console install, download the proprietary driver using the command line (thank goodness for the Lynx browser), then link the driver modules into the Kernel, then, finally, I could manually install the graphics desktop.

    It was the same story for the Wi-Fi on that laptop. But it thankfully had an Ethernet port that "just worked".

    This goes beyond the Kernel team, it was more the distributions upholding the ideals of open source, so that the proprietary drivers weren't available in the software repositories and didn't have automated scripts to bind them in during installation. Idelogically and legally, they were clean, but it made Linux a complete pain, when there were no open source drivers available.

    I wanted to use Linux and I wanted to use as much OSS as possible, but I was also pragmatic, if it required proprietary software, I didn't really care, just as long as it worked reliably and optimally. Thankfully, I haven't really had such problems in recent years...

    Here is to the next 30 years...

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: For everybody...

      Yes, I remember when highres game cards didn't bother to support standard VESA modes.

      It's called bleeding-edge for a reason. You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs.

      I remember buying stuff based on if it was supported by Linux or not. There was a lot of sites that told you if a particular laptop was hostile to Linux. Remember the Sony VAIOs that had the floppy drive select line inverted just for the fuck of it?

      I remember when you had to hand-calculate X11 "mode lines" for EVERYTHING, and if you screwed it up, you had a good chance of blowing up your expensive monitor.

      I remember when EDID showed up and you could ASK the monitor what resolutions it supported! What a concept!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: For everybody...

        "Yes, I remember when highres game cards didn't bother to support standard VESA modes."

        I remember when VESA modes first came out and wondered what all the fuss was about when we already had "standard" CGA, EGA and VGA modes and a plethora of non-standard SVGA modes. But then again, I also remember patching programmes with the correct ESC sequences for cursor movement etc on different terminals, or patching in the codes for bold/italic/half-line-feed etc for different printers. Some programmes such as WordStar even came with it's own Patch programme to make it easier and even had sample file for the common terminals and printers :-)

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: For everybody...

          Yep. We used DEC VT terminals, IBM PCs and HP PCs with CP/M and DOS. The DECs used extended ANSI, the IBM PCs had an ANSI driver to allow it to emulate ANSI escape codes, but the HPs used their own sequences. We had different header files for the versions of our programs for each platform.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: For everybody...

            This is what curses, termcap and terminfo are for. You didn't need to embed terminal escape codes into your programs, and if you did, you really missed a trick, and people like you have been the bane of my life by putting raw escape sequences into the initial setup of the colourized ls, grep, vim and all the other installation crap that modern GNU/Linux's do.

            You could even just pull the sequences out using tput to use in your own shell scripts.

            Curses and termcap has been around since BSD 2.3 or thereabouts in the late 1970's or early 1980's.

            Honestly!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: For everybody...

              "Curses and termcap has been around since BSD 2.3 or thereabouts in the late 1970's or early 1980's."

              Bill Joy invented termcap using what would become 1BSD in '77-'78, where I first came into contact with it. Many other people also added it to their bag of tricks as they heard about it through the grapevine. It first shipped as an "official" part of the OS on 2BSD, in May of '79. It wasn't perfect (still isn't), but did you ever try to use ttycap?

              I don't have an exact date for Ken Arnold's curses, the earliest source I can find here locally is unversioned (!!), and claims to be from early 1981. Odd fact for collectors of UNIX trivia: Many people think vi was written to take advantage of Curses. The reality is that Arnold used vi's internal routines as the basis when he wrote Curses.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: For everybody...

                Thanks for the authoritative information, Jake.

                The earliest I had was I believe a BSD 2.6 add-on tape for Bell Labs. Edition 6. But I didn't keep a copy (I wish I had, and of the Edition 6 and 7 tapes that I had access to). I have to rely on TUHS now.

                I would love for someone to find Bill Joy's vi rewrite that he lost. I am really interested in how he was going to make it cleaner and better than the version that was actually shipped. I understand that he had made a lot of improvements.

                Unfortunately, I could not make vi work on my PDP-11/34 (no separate I and D spaces), even with the overlay loader that shipped with BSD2.11 (or whatever was the last PDP-11 release of BSD2). Even if I had, I reckon that it would probably have used a significant amount of the memory of the system, even though this unusual 11/34 has 22 bit addressing, the 22 bit Unibus map and 2MB of memory.

                I really enjoyed the entire time I spent with these early UNIX releases on PDP-11, and learned a lot. Happy days, long gone, even though I have a PiDP-11 now.

            2. big_D Silver badge

              Re: For everybody...

              Yes, but not with standard MS-DOS 2 or 3, or CP/M or VMS...

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: For everybody...

                Actually, I believe that DECUS has a curses implementation available for free for it's members for VMS, and I bet that there was an MS-DOS one as well. I'm not that sure how many CP/M systems had ANSI compatible terminals, although I would guess that many drove their interface through a serial card, so would use whatever terminal was attached, which may well have been any of a myriad of cheap non-ANSI terminals like Wyse, Lear Siegler or Televideo.

                The problem with ANSI 3.64 is that it was actually a bit limited, and acknowledged this by allowing vendor-specific extensions. Almost nobody made non-extended terminal implementations of it, and everybody extended it in different ways, meaning that often a program may nearly work, but not quite enough to be used.

                A classic example is colour support, where the standard, although it specified the sequences to select colour, did not specify what colours were in which position. Same with extended character sets and fonts.

                In VMS, the last time I used it (a very long time ago), the terminal driver code worked fine with DEC made terminals and 100% compatibles, but did not make much allowances for other ANSI 3.64 terminals. But at the time, if you were buying a terminal to attach to a VAX/VMS system, you would make sure that it was compatible enough. I have no idea whether DEC ever embraced the idea of a customizable terminal capabilities database.

                Hardware terminals soon became replaced by PC's running terminal emulators (and I even wrote a couple), so multi-vendor terminal support fell out of fashion. But that does not mean that the emulators are perfect. Simon Tatham, I'm looking at you!

                I was regarded as the terminal SME at many places that I worked, because I understood this more than most other people.

    2. Adair Silver badge

      Re: For everybody...

      I don't get it, is this a complaint or simply anecdotal experience?

      I mean, I could sit down and moan extensively about the crimes and vicissitudes of Windows or OS-X. All OSes are crap to some degree. It's simply a case of finding out and living with the type and degree of crapness that has least impact on your workflow and need.

      To that extent Linux is no different to any other OS. From another point of view it's the differences, when set against the alternatives, that make it the valuable tool that it is.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: For everybody...

        To that extent Linux is no different to any other OS. From another point of view it's the differences, when set against the alternatives, that make it the valuable tool that it is.

        Other operating systems have workable and usable sound systems, unlike the God-awful intractable mess which the Linux world only makes worse by adding a new standard every couple of years.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: For everybody...

          Fine, but that only matters to those who 'need' a 'workable sound system' (whatever that means).

          Clearly, to thousands of users it's not particularly an issue. Now we could pick something Linux does extremely well, compared to the alternatives, and then complain that the alternatives aren't any good. But then, we need to pick our tool accordingly.

          Linux/OS-X/Windows et al are all general purpose OSes. The reality is that all of them will have their strengths and weaknesses.

          If Linux was generally crap, but being made out to be the panacea of OSes, then we would have a genuine complaint, but in reality it simply has, like all OSes, areas of relative weakness, so basically some people are whining. Not only that they are whining about something that: a. they didn't have to pay for, and b. something that (in principle) they could actually do something about to solve their problem, because the source code is there for the asking.

          I'm not suggesting we don't have reasons to be frustrated about Linux, simply that 'frustration' is the de facto standard with any general purpose OS, sooner or later.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: For everybody...

            Fine, but that only matters to those who 'need' a 'workable sound system' (whatever that means).

            "You shouldn't want to do that because I don't want to do that" is the fundamental philosophy of far too many FOSS developers. Sure it's their right to take that approach, but if you design an OS which cannot reliably (for example) play sound on YouTube videos, don't get huffy when once again it's not your year of the desktop.

            1. Def Silver badge

              Re: For everybody...

              A friend used to point out occasionally that using Linux is like going back in time: Everything is a lot simpler, but nothing works quite how you expect.

              1. nijam Silver badge

                Re: For everybody...

                > A friend used to point out occasionally that using Linux is like going back in time

                Strange. I've always found the same thing about Windows.

            2. Adair Silver badge

              Re: For everybody...

              The only people getting huffy seem to be the one's who expect somebody else to solve all their problems.

              Like I said, if the tool doesn't do what we need we need to get a tool that does. Can't say I have EVER had problems in recent years (the last ten?) getting acceptable sound from Youtube, but maybe I was just born lucky!

              OTOH, I would appreciate some better OCR facilities (mind you that's not actually a 'Linux' problem). Overall though I seem to get things done across the board without needing to tear my hair out, so it can't be all that bad.

              I just don't get the whining, do folk assume that because something is 'free' it should necessarily be 'perfect', i.e. be everything they want/need it to be? There seems to be some kind of logical disconnect going on, where the fact that 'Linux' is just another OS - with its own peculiarities - which people are literally 'free' to take or leave according to their need and whim, gets thrown out the window and replaced by existential rage at the unfairness of life and the clear malice of the software developers.

              If, however, you are compelled to use it through your slavery to 'The Man' then, of course, Linux is as fair game as any other OS for being held up as a crime against IT, and humanity generally!

              1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                Re: For everybody...

                I just don't get the whining, do folk assume that because something is 'free' it should necessarily be 'perfect', i.e. be everything they want/need it to be?

                I'm not whining, just pointing out that sound in Linux is a bloody awful mess and that the Linux developer community, on the whole, doesn't seem to care. Just as they didn't care that printing was a mess until Apple solved it, mostly.

                The whining comes from people who don't like having it pointed out that sound in Linux is a bloody awful mess. Why so defensive?

                1. Adair Silver badge

                  Re: For everybody...

                  Where's there defensiveness? Your anecdotal experience is your anecdotal experience.

                  My anecdotal experience is that I have no issues with Linux sound. I'm not a professional sound engineer so I guess I don't have much cause to push the envelope or do complex audio work, but I do use Linux for recording and live broadcast work (BBC) and to date I've not had any notable problems nor any complaints.

                  Having said that I am quite prepared to believe that in certain use cases, or hardware setups, the 'sound' is sub-optimal in Linux, but that can be said for any OS, even if Linux happens to have a genuine weakness in that area, which it may do, but I wouldn't know and if it does it's clearly not relevant to the sound work I do.

                  You still seem to have the idea that Linux should match your use needs, and are offended that it doesn't, instead of just accepting that in that area it clearly isn't the right tool for your needs. That is obviously frustrating, but that's life - nothing is perfect, and as neither of us have paid to have Linux as a fit for purpose tool for our particular needs we haven't really got a leg to stand on when it comes to moaning.

                  Alternatively, you're not using it right.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: For everybody...

                    I know plenty of people who use Linux sound with no difficulties. Including sound professionals.

                    Yes, it's shit aesthetically. But it works just fine for almost everybody (at least 6 nines). I don't have time to fix it, so I'll muddle along with the ugly thing until I can't stand it anymore and start coding ... or someone else beats me to it. Probably the latter, I have better things to do in my !copious free time.

                    ::shrugs::

            3. nijam Silver badge

              Re: For everybody...

              > "You shouldn't want to do that because I don't want to do that"

              Never mind the "too many" FOSS developers.

              It is the universal, without exception, philosophy of all commercial software developers.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: For everybody...

        This was anecdotal about how the level of "openess" of the Kernel fluctuated over the years. The code was open, but it was very closed to the ideas of proprietary drivers having the relevant access, which made it extremely difficult to get hardware working at times.

        When a majority of manufacturers hadn't gotten the Linux and OSS bug and the number of developers available to reverse engineer video drivers, network drivers etc. was limited, there was often no way around using those proprietary drivers, until an open source video driver came along - in the case of the X600m, I think the open source driver turned up about 2 years after I purchased the laptop. But the distros and the Kernel devs made it as awkward as possible and made users jump through as many hoops as they could think of, in order to get a running system off the ground.

        It was the difference between the Kernel developers and the distributions, and the end users. The former 2 groups were ideological about their solution, whereas the latter had more practical problems - Linux doesn't run on my hardware, I'll do what it takes to get it running, even if it need proprietary drivers until the OSS community can get around to producing their own.

        It was this attitude, whilst understandable, that put so many people off using Linux. They'd try it, find they'd need to manually download drivers using either Lynx or wget, learn how to link the drivers into the Kernel through the command line, and then manually install a graphics shell over the top and manually configure it. And, if they were very unlucky, they'd need to source a network adapter driver from somewhere else, copy it onto the PC - manually mounting the media in the process - to be able to get at the website with the graphics driver.

        That is a big ask of somebody who has heard how great Linux is, yet only knows how to use the desktop on Windows or OS X.

        Once it is up and running, Linux is great, but if there are configuration problems, it is a real pain.

        My mother came over to visit me and was using an old laptop (not the Acer, an older Advent laptop with integrated graphics). She said, "your Windows is much better than my Windows." She ended up taking that laptop back home with her, it was running SUSE.

        Nowadays, thankfully, that sort of problem is few and far between with most off-the-shelf PCs these days.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: For everybody...

      I have found that Linux seems to work best on hardware that is "not too new and not too old", with emphasis on the first. Coincidentally, that's what I tend to acquire, through discards from work or finds on eBay. Stuff that's 5-10 years old seems to fit my needs, and as time has progressed, Linux has had fewer and fewer problems.

      I do recall, 10 years or so ago, a lot of hassle with wifi and BT interfaces and their proprietary firmware. That seems to have resolved itself. I was able to get through it, learned a lot more than I wanted to about firmware and the Linux bootup process, glad I no longer need that knowledge.

      Anyhow, for what I paid for it, I can't complain.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: For everybody...

        Linux, like BSD and Windows (Minix, yadda yadda yadda ...) works best on hardware that is at least 6 months old, but I usually stick to year old or more. This gives the devs time to shake out the driver bugs, which affect ALL operating systems, and pretty much equally.

        Leave the bleeding edge hardware to the fanbois with deep pockets who have the opinion that system stability is far less important than having the bragging rights to the newest, fastest kit available.

        Ever hear a sysadmin say of a gaming rig "I wish I had that as a server!"? I thought not.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Things have changed

    I remember when Slashdot would have been all over this, and they haven't even noticed.

    The 1st version I installed from scratch was 0.99PL13 in 1993.

    Remember when the system froze when you accessed the floppy drive? (Remember floppy drives?)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Things have changed

      Slashdot still exists? Who knew‽

      My First Linux[0] was Slackware's original 0.99.12 in August of '93 ... although I fiddled about with it a trifle earlier but have no memory of the version(s). (Other OSes at the time included Coherent and BSD, along with a battered old PC 7300 (so-called AT&T UNIX PC) hacked into a 3B1.

      I still (occasionally) use 8" floppies. Shoot me. Shoot me now ...

      [0] Wasn't there once a distro called My First Linux? If not, there should be ...

      1. Myself

        Re: Things have changed

        > Slashdot still exists? Who knew‽

        Slashdot is why I'm here right now! I have my Slashdot homepage configured to show the recent Reg headlines in the sidebar, along with a few other addins.

        It's not what it once was, but it's still Slashdot.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I tried Linux once

    My dog died.

    He was rather old.

    It’s possible the two events are unrelated…

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No competition yet? What about...

    ...whatever kernel FreeBSD etc uses? Is that not "competition" for Linux?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: No competition yet? What about...

      "Is that not "competition" for Linux?"

      Mu.

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