SJVN and what’s wrong with GNU/Linux

If there’s one person in the OSS community that I am allergic head to toes, that’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. The guy is non-objective and his kind of talk reminds me why I didn’t want to do OSNews anymore (I guess I owe him that).

In the latest of his editorials he writes that Linux might equal the graceful Mac OS X: “[…] between the driving pace of open-source development, and Shuttleworth’s millions, I can see it happening. Why not? After all, Mac OS itself is based on FreeBSD.

Argh. This just shows that this person has no freaking idea what he’s talking about. Like the reason that OSX is graceful is because it’s using some of FreeBSD’s kernel code. How is that guy still on the internet?

Mac OS X is graceful because it has a team of good engineers and designers working on it under strict guidelines and targets, and under the single authority of Steve Jobs who has a clear idea in his head as to what he wants from his product. Mark Shuttleworth isn’t Steve Jobs. And worse, even if Mark was as good as Jobs, no one gives a shit. 95% of the OSS developers will give him the finger on his requests to fix this or that, and the rest 5% will try to eat out his millions. And in the meantime, that 5% of developers will be so far away physically from each other that would make it impossible to create a truly coherent OS. So in my opinion, Mark is wasting his money on a dream. [Update: Do NOT underestimate the importance of engineers being physically together. Read my reply in the comments here explaining it.]

If he really wants something done right, he should start a new Google project and use the company as his vehicle by hiring all major project OSS maintainers (including Linus) and a new crop of engineers. All at Google’s campus. No tele-commuting. Mark, either take control of GNU/Linux in some way, or retire. Buy an island instead. OSS in its current form hasn’t worked for 20 years in terms of desktop experience, there is no reason why it would start working now with a few extra millions poured into the sauce. If mediocrity and being No3 is your goal, you have already succeeded. If changing the world is your goal, then you should first change how GNU/Linux gets maintained and developed.

And while you are at it, never give SJVN an interview. Tell him you’ll call back.

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