Игорь Пашев - Post a comment

Mar. 25th, 2011


06:19 pm - Linux vs Solaris


This list definitely can be continued but the statement that I want to make is that rumors about linux being an innovative OS are greatly exaggerated :-). Moreover Linux track record in innovation looks pale even in comparison with other major branches of commercial Unixes each of which also introduced important parts of modern Unix infrastructure that linux reimplemented. For example AIX introduced concept of volume manager (licensed from Veritas but actually pretty native for all IBM Operative system products with idiosyncratic distinction between physical and logical drives which comes from the days of OS/360) and one of the first really successful in production implementations on Unix of paravirtualization (Lpars in AIX).

I would like to stress it again that it was Microsoft XENIX not linux, which created most of the infrastructure for Unix on Intel including the critical mass of books. Whether we like it on not linux owes much of its success to Microsoft: it was XENIX which provided all (yes, all) the major technical solutions and infrastructure used by each and every subsequent Intel Unix implementation. Moreover even later after abandoning Unix in favor of OS/2 Microsoft indirectly subsidized all Unixes on Intel as the de-facto owner of PC standard: hardware that any Intel based Unix is running on is created by OEMs using the standards that Microsoft license for free to all PC manufactures and the cost of this hardware is mainly determined by the size of the market created by Microsoft OSes. Plug and play hardware specification is a nice example of Microsoft contribution to linux success here. Whether we like Microsoft or not, the simplest and reasonably precise definition of PC always was "Microsoft compatible computer". As the most recent example it was actually Microsoft who politely and firmly explained to Intel that it should provide hardware compatibility with Opteron and not to reinvent the 64-bit extensions wheel. For Intel breach of relations with Microsoft was too serious threat to ignore. That's just one example of how Microsoft provides and defends unification and standardization of hardware platform often mistakenly called Intel-platform, but which properly should be called Microsoft-Intel platform, the platform that linux uses for free without any investments. In this respect one can state that linux is just a side effect of Microsoft success in hardware. The undeniable fact is that linux is critically dependent on Microsoft-subsidized hardware and without Microsoft success there would never be any linux as mass, supported by such companies as IBM and HP, operating system. I think that Linux Towards should seriously consider adding Microsoft to the list of kernel contributors ;-).

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