Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Thu May 13 20:39:59 UTC 2004

On 13 May 2004 at 19:14, João Miguel Neves wrote:

> > Projects such as ReactOS should be getting the very fullest of
> > weight from the FSF, not Linux [1]. I don't know why people have
> > missed this very self-evident point.
> > 
> I completely disagree with you. ReactOS is a project that is condemned
> to guess all the mistakes MS did. 

What mistakes? Windows NT was designed by one of the most famous & 
respected operating system designers the world has ever known. It has 
a superb kernel. While it has a few structural mistakes, it has far 
fewer than say the 2.4 series Linux kernels [1] and remember it was 
designed long before Linux.

The crud in Windows is mostly but not exclusively based in the COM 
infrastructure most of which could be removed with a 
reimplementation. The new managed code infrastructure which 
supersedes this looks promising, but really it's MS preemptively 
guarding against cloning of the Win32 API and extending & embracing 
ISO C++ like they did to Java.

>I really prefer projects like GNUWin
> that allow you to present Free Software to windows users and then
> change to a Free Software system.

If it can't run unmodified Windows binaries natively it's pointless. 
The thing stopping most home users is games compatibility and while 
WINE is excellent, it's not good right there.

> > Anyway, point is that yes Windows programmers are far more important
> > than any other kind of programmer though I wasn't talking about
> > programmers per se. This is how the world has always worked - it's
> > why all shoes are made for a European foot etc. and every attempt to
> > work counter to how things must be fails.
> [snip]
> BTW shoes are made for an european foot because most of shoe buyers
> have european feet.

No, it's because those of European descent have the most buying power 
- therefore industrial production is orientated primarily around 
them. As a proportion of total would-be shoe buyers European feet are 
a small minority.

If the self-proclaimed leaders of the free software philosophy really 
wanted to maximise its spread, pushing a system incompatible with 
>85% of all systems & programmers out there is not the way to do it. 
Far better clone that system [2] and beat the devil at his own game.

[1]: If you view this as inflammatory, go compare the FreeBSD 5.x 
series kernel with a Linux 2.4 series kernel and try not to wince too 
hard when looking at the latter. I've not looked at the Linux 2.6 
kernel much yet.

[2]: Many (and I'd be one of them) view recent Linux advances as 
increasingly cloning Windows functionality but in an ABI incompatible 
way. There's a lot of wasted opportunity but then volunteer based 
software development is incredibly conformising.


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