McKusick & Stallman

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Open Sources:

  • "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix" (McKusick)
  • "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement" (Stallman)


  1. Which of the populations discernible in the Introduction and in Raymond do McKusick and Stallman fall into?
    Commentary: Who are McKusic and Stallman?
  2. Most *nix distributions today are ported to a wide range of hardware(both processors and peripherals). How common was machine independence before the introduction of Unix? How did it show up in its development? What issues does this raise for free software?
    Commentary: Machine independence
  3. How did Berkeley emerge as a major supplier of Unix software? What changes were occurring at AT\&T at that time? What role did DARPA play in developing the complementary notions of portability and standardization? What led them to look to Berkeley rather than AT\&T for Unix?
    Commentary: Emergence of BSD
  4. McKusick notes that some of the decisions made in BSD development were primarily matters of expedience. Similarly, some of the tools that were distributed were intended to be temporary. Stallman has similar stories. To what extent have these become legacies? Is it necessarily a problem if they do? Is there a greater risk (or opportunity) of this kind of evolution in a bazaar model than in a cathedral model?
    Commentary: Legacies
  5. How did BSD isolate itself from AT\&T and derivative license issues? How did GNU?
    Commentary: Licenses
  6. Where in the spectrum (presuming there is one) between cathedral and bazaar models did the original BSD development process fall? Where do the development processes of the various BSD-derived systems fall these days? Are there identifiable points of transition? If so, what events drove those changes? Where did the initial GNU development fall wrt these models? How did it evolve? Where is it now?
    Commentary: BSD and GNU development models
  7. Stallman states that his motivation in undertaking to develop a free (libre) operating system was to rekindle the "community of cooperating hackers" he had experienced in the `70's at MIT. How plausible is this? What do other accounts of the emergence of the GNU project suggest?
    Commentary: GNU motivation
  8. What was Stallman's business model? (Would he be comfortable with calling it a business model?) What is it now?
    Commentary: GNU business model
  9. GNU is guided by unusually clearly stated fundamental principles. But, as Stallman notes, the LGPL represents a more pragmatic choice. Why be pragmatic with respect to licensing libraries but not with respect to using non-free libraries? Does the mixing of free and non-free software undermine the principles of software freedom? Has the kind of commercialization that has occurred in the "Open Source" industry undermined those principles?
    Commentary: Pragmatism
  10. Where are they now: Motif, Qt, KDE, LZW and RSA patents? Have "Linux" magazines tended to undermine the development of free software, as Stallman suggests they might?
    Commentary: Proprietary challenges

--Jrogers 11:08, 23 Sep 2008 (EST)