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Stupid Torvalds

I love finding quotes that show just how clueless otherwise smart people can be:

"In my opinion, shareware tends to combine the worst of commercial software (no sources) with the worst of free software (no finishing touches). I simply do not believe in the shareware market at all." -- Linus Torvalds, 1998

At least he acknowledges that his own steaming pile of poo (I exaggerate) lacks "finishing touches." What he fails to acknowledge, of course, is that "shareware" ranges the gamut from 5-minute AppleScripts and Web services to full-on software that competes directly with commercial software, but has a downloadable "demo," plopping it into the "shareware" category in the minds of many (and let it be understood that we can't actually make fun of Linus without knowing how he defines shareware. Is MailDrop shareware? DayLite? Audion?)

6 Responses to "Stupid Torvalds"

  1. So what you're saying with your downloadable demo argument is that if a commercial product is shareware in Joe Public's mind, it magically becomes shareware and stops being a commercial product?

  2. Oh, and if you think Linux is a steaming pile of poo, then what is Mach?

    (Reflecting, you've probably confused Linux with GNU/Linux.)

  3. I was exaggerating, Aaron. Being facetious. Y'know, sarcasm. Lighten up! 🙂 All kindred spirit, they are.

    And Lauri, I'm not saying anything. I said "in the minds of many." I personally consider the three apps I listed as commercial apps. Others might consider them shareware. If Linus considers them commercial software too, well his statement makes more sense… if he wants to rule out all the "upper end" shareware.

  4. Aaron: I must protest. I am the author of a shareware app (at least I've always *thought* of it as shareware) that incorporates a custom parser framework I developed to read and display a proprietary, completely undocumented binary format. The entire project took me approximately six months of reverse-engineering and laborious coding. I charge $6 for it.

    I do agree with your criticism in principle. I am just as annoyed as everyone else at people who charge for simple log readers and so forth, but I think to lump all of shareware in with those types of apps does a great disservice to shareware developers who have made huge contributions to the Mac community over the years.

    Oh--and BTW--many of us are familiar with the differences in design philosophy between, say, Mach (with its microkernel architecture) and Linux. And many of us like Mach better.

  5. Sorry Buzz, I meant that the kind of thing Torvalds criticized were that kind of junk, not that all shareware is that kind of junk.

    And while you may like the microkernel design philosophy better (it appeals to me more too), I think it's pretty clear empirically that monolithic kernels have won. (Just look at the benchmarks between Linux and Mach.)


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