AdTI's Minix FUD Rises From the Swamp at a MS Conference - Where Else?

Friday, July 02 2004 @ 01:45 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

AdTI's misinformation continues to circulate, and amazingly enough, it shows up on ZDnet. Where else would anyone print such claptrap after it was so thoroughly debunked?

"At Microsoft's Tech Ed conference in Amsterdam on Wednesday, a session was devoted to how, according to one Microsoft fan at least, the Linux kernel is beginning to resemble, well -- Windows.

"The talk, given by Mark Russinovich, chief software architect for Winternals Software and co-author of Inside Windows 2000, 3rd edition (published by Microsoft press), was clearly delivered to a home crowd, and its message was clear: Linux is paying catch-up with Windows and the gap is narrowing. . . .

"Meanwhile Linux, noted Russinovich, owes a great deal to the work of Andrew Tanenbaum, who created the Unix-like Minix operating system for educational purposes. Although Linux creator Linux Torvalds readily admits that he based his work on Minix, both he and Tanenbaum refute claims that Torvalds borrowed more than he admitted."

So when Microsoft said the Samizdat book wasn't helpful, they didn't really give up the ghost. They are still pushing the Minix nonsense, it appears. Linus did not base his work on Minix. He didn't admit to borrowing anything. He wrote on a machine running Minix. If I write this article on my Mandrake box, does that mean I borrowed code from Linux? How stupid does that sound?

The article links the "readily admits" phrase to an article that doesn't say one word about Linus readily admitting anything. Instead it says that Linux and Minix are two different types of kernels:

"No, most of Torvalds' enemies are to be found closer to home. For instance, the first to have his hackles raised by Torvalds was Minix operating system author Andrew Tanenbaum, who did not like the monolithic approach to the Linux kernel."

Uh, duh. Two different kinds of kernels means one isn't based on the other. And Linus and Tanenbaum are not enemies, either, if accuracy means anything to anybody any more.

What makes this unforgiveable is that the second link takes you to an article about the AdTI book -- by the same journalist -- that talks about the accusation about Linus stealing code from Minix and states as clear as clean water that it isn't true:

"In an email interview, Torvalds disputed the study's conclusions. 'Linux never used Minix code... We never credited anybody else's code, because we never used anybody else's code,' Torvalds said. . . .

"Minix, he said, was simply a platform on top of which Torvalds did his programming work. The study suggested that Torvalds might have gradually replaced Minix code with Linux but Torvalds denied it. 'I didn't "write the Minix code out of Linux",' Torvalds said. 'I was using Minix when I wrote Linux, but that's in the same sense that you are using Windows when you write your columns. Do your articles contain Windows source code because you use Windows to write them?'"

The list of those who have proven that there is no Minix code in Linux and never was is a long one. Why then do they persist in repeating this slander? Your guess is as good as mine. Actually, it's probably identical to mine.

That isn't by any means the only idiotic thing to be found in this article. I've never seen such negative feedback on any article in my life. Usually there are at least a few comments that support the author, even if they are only trolls. But on this article it was consistently negative when I went to read it. It's bad enough that the author showed up and made one very obviously needed correction, but the rest is still festering over on ZDNet.

Poor things. Maybe they have to write such things.

And Russinovich? You can read his his history of NT if you wish. Here is his funny conclusion to the similarities between the Windows kernel and Linux: that "the gap between the two operating systems will continue to narrow to a point where their underlying kernel becomes irrelevant. 'Layered services will become more important,' he concluded." Aside from the fact that this makes no sense, since Linux is only a kernel, they don't get it that we want the Linux kernel. We don't want Windows with anything on top. First, it works better, and second, Linux comes to us with a license we can live with, the GPL. For that reason alone, it will never be irrelevant and Windows will never be able to compete with it.

Also, the folks who bring us Linux don't do FUD. We like that about them, that they don't attack and tell lies about the competition. In fact, they don't even care about competition. That's why we trust them.

And there is another major difference. Nobody has to pay anyone to say bad things about Microsoft.