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SubjectRe: Availability of kdb
On 6 Sep 2000, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> In article <39B6A683.3F75DC9D@timpanogas.com>,
> Jeff V. Merkey <jmerkey@timpanogas.com> wrote:
> >Linus Torvalds wrote:
> >
> >> Apparently, if you follow the arguments, not having a kernel debugger
> >> leads to various maladies:
> >> - you crash when something goes wrong, and you fsck and it takes forever
> >> and you get frustrated.
> >> - people have given up on Linux kernel programming because it's too hard
> >> and too time-consuming
> >> - it takes longer to create new features.
> >>
> >> And nobody has explained to me why these are _bad_ things.
> >
> >They are bad because they cost people money that could be spent more
> >productively in other areas due to the lengthening of the development
> >process and the support costs.
>
> Ehh..
>
> Explain to me again why I should care?
>
> Read my posting again. Read the "I'm a bastard" part twice. Realize
> that in the end, I don't care who speds money, time, and effort. In the
> end, I think that we're better off _without_ code that hasn't been
> thought through.
>
> More code, more people, more money. Why should I think they are good
> things?
>
> The people, the projects, the companies that come though that test of
> fire victorious are not only stronger for it, but more importantly, they
> are the kind of people, projects adn companies who DID get through.
> Dedicated. Smart. And careful.
>
> Think of rabbits. And think of how the wolf helps them in the end. Not
> by being nice, no. But the rabbits breed, and they are better for having
> to worry a bit.

It cuts the other way as well though. If it is prohibitively hard and
difficult to get fixes out for bugs in the Linux kernel, then companies
will tend to choose other operating systems to run their applications on.

I guarantee you that IT managers and CTOs do not share your enthusiasm for
slow, correct coding when faced with their business being down, their
revenue stream being interrupted and their stock options losing value.
If you ignore those concerns then you may find that wolf at your door as
IT managers choose other operating systems (e.g. FreeBSD, Solaris), kernel
developers choose other operating systems to work on (e.g. FreeBSD), and
Linux companies start going under.

I'm really kind of surprised that companies like SuSE, VA and RedHat
haven't started talking about forking the kernel already. Those companies
are serving the administrators and managers whose needs you are openly
admitting that you are not concerned with. For those companies the
present state of affairs isn't sustainable.

And I don't ask you to care about it. I guess my point is just that the
linux kernel is an experiment in what happens when you ditch the managers
and administrators and business-types and try to write a major software
project entirely driven by developers. I will place a friendly wager that
the experiment will show that not all the needs of those people are as
dismissable as many software developers seem to think.

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