Re: The direction linux is taking

From: Daniel Phillips (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 05:14:28 EST

On December 31, 2001 10:33 pm, Rob Landley wrote:
> On Monday 31 December 2001 03:45 am, Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > On December 29, 2001 11:04 pm, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > > On Sat, Dec 29, 2001 at 04:03:34PM -0500, Benjamin LaHaise wrote:
> > > > On Sat, Dec 29, 2001 at 11:37:49AM -0800, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > > > > If you have N people trying to patch the same file, you'll require N
> > > > > releases and some poor shlep is going to have to resubmit their patch
> > > > > N-1 times before it gets in.
> > > >
> > > > Wrong. Most patches are independant, and even touch different
> > > > functions.
> > >
> > > Really? And the data which shows this absolute statement to be true is
> > > where? I'm happy to believe data, but there is no data here.
> >
> > Ben's right. Most patches are independant because the work divides itself
> > up that way, because people talk about this stuff (on IRC) and cooperate,
> > and because the tree structure evolves to support the natural divisions ;)
> In a fan club, saying "andrea's the MM guy, talk to him" is only natural.
> It's a meritocracy, he's alpha geek on call in that area right now.
> In a fortune 500 bureaucracy, people are largely supposed to be
> interchangeable cogs. People's worth is measured in dollars, and somebody
> worth $70k a year should be swappable with somebody else worth $70k/year.
> (It's a bit more complex than that, there's certifications and experience,
> but somebody with a BA and 2 years experience working on inflatable widgets
> should be exchangeable with somebody else with a BA and 2 years experience
> working on inflatable widgets. If not, they'll "get up to speed", it's just
> a question of acquiring experience...)
> So having a single point of failure in the development process... It's
> unthinkable. What if that guy decides to retire? What if he gets hit by a
> bus. What if the competition hires him away? What if he DEMANDS MORE MONEY?
> (It's all about money in a corporation. It's all numbers. The bottom line.
> So if the whole project depends on one guy, logically he'll ask for as much
> salary as the project's worth. That's a lot of how management thinks.)
> So if you DO have someone breaking down the project into subsections, it's
> unlikely to be a developer, it would be a manager assigning areas of
> responsibility. And shuffling them around from time to time so nobody gets
> the idea they can't be replaced. But it's easiest just to scatter
> tasks over the group and keep things mixed up all the time...
> Fan clubs are all individuals. Bureaucracies try to eliminate the
> individual: the automated assembly line with no humans in it is the
> bureaucratic ideal...
> Totally different paradigm.

Yes, that's all +5 insightful, except... what makes you think any one of the
Linux core hackers is irreplaceable? I know you didn't say that, but you
did say 'single point of failure', and it amounts to the same thing.

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