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SubjectRe: If Linux is to succeed
Date
Quoted from Ingo Molnar:
> On Fri, 24 Jan 1997, Alan Cox wrote:
> > Wine and wabi are ultimately irrelevant. When one vendor controls an API
> > they simply wait until they day after a new Wine/Wabi comes out add
> > 16 new features and use them heavily in their next upgrade to each package
> > Two months later nothing works again

Yeah. I was looking at the new-feature-list for Win95. It includes (gasp)
a new kind of menu.

> not only that they add new API calls. They are free to choose which API
> side gets ... hmm ... 'slower' or 'not recommended', based on what API
> part is used by the competition.

Same thing happens to Unix; bcopy() is "not portable" while memcpy is.

> most Microsoft APIs are >largely< redundant. Say i've counted 1500
> different API calls in windows.h ... and that doesnt include new bloat
> like ActiveX, 3D stuff and the networking nightmare called Netbeui and SMB
> over TCP.
>
> Compare this with the 167 Linux system calls.

That's an apples-and-oranges comparison: windows.h includes API for making
buttons, while the Linux kernel doesn't. X/Open defines just over a
thousand API calls, and some of them are not only redundant but mutually
exclusive (then again: *why*, exactly, can you not combine NT POSIX with NT
Win32 in the same executable?).

> The Posix API is small, nonredundant and rounded up. Stuff one can build
> applications on, which work, will be fast and efficient even say 2 years
> later.

Or even 20 years later...

> just look at the perfectly ok legacy software from the DOS world is being
> made impossible in Win32. Does it matter how one opens a file? How one
> prints a string or allocates memory?

I'm sure everyone who's tried to use a newer MS OS has been bitten by the
way half the programs support long networked filenames and the other half
don't.

> so 'following' the Microsoft API is suicide from the developers point of
> view. It's really a moving target.

Sigh. It looks like the only way to break the cycle is for someone
to start selling an NT-compatible OS with some cool API extensions or
whatever for less than Microsoft's NT (and of course Microsoft will drop
their NT price to zero eventually, and stop supporting Win95...), and spend
more on marketing it--in other words, beat them at their own game and
force them to comply with their own standards. That would work, but it's
not likely to happen.

--
Zygo Blaxell. Unix/soft/hardware/firewall/security guru. 10th place, ACM Intl
Prog Contest, 1995. Admin Linux+Solaris for food, Tshirts, anime. Pager: 1613
7608572. "I gave up $1000 to avoid working on windoze... *sigh*"-Amy Fong. "smb
is a microsoft toy, like a "child" protocol that never matured"-S Boisjoli.

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