Torvalds on Japan and OpenSolaris

Jim Zemlin released part two of his conversation with Linus Torvalds. I blogged about part one last month. Lots of interesting perspectives in the entire interview.

When asked to comment about OpenSolaris, Torvalds said, "It's generally hard to build a community around a commercial entity that also wants to be in control because everybody else around that commercial entity will always feel like they're at the mercy of Sun. And I'm not even going to go into OpenSolaris because, quite frankly, I don't even care." And there were a few more bits after that, but that's the gist of it. Following the comments of Torvalds about OpenSolaris has been interesting over the last few years. Sometimes supportive, sometimes negative, sometimes indifferent.

But more interesting were his thoughts about the Japanese and the value of incremental improvements: "But if you just incrementally improve on something, you will get there eventually. One analogy ... is the auto industry 40 years ago and how non-innovative Japanese companies that just plodded along, how they were looked down upon by the true innovators in the U.S. auto industry. And look -- who was it that actually ended up changing the auto industry?" Totally agree.

One of the things many Japanese are famous for is taking the long view. It's enough to drive the average westerner insane. But anyway. On OpenSolaris, very early on learned to embrace a long term perspective, and that came from dealing with many engineers at Sun who hold long term views of technology. So, I wonder, what happens if we just plod along, if we just keep improving OpenSolaris incrementally over time, if we keep learning from those who have gone before. I wonder what that perspective buys us?

Linus Torvalds - Part I | Linus Torvalds - Part II
Comments:

"if we just keep improving OpenSolaris incrementally over time"

Yea that dtrace and zfs are just incremental improvements. Give me systemtap and ext (NOT!). A lot of OS might be incremental but dtrace and zfs are huge improvements over everything before them.

Posted by Tim on February 04, 2008 at 05:58 PM JST #

True, ZFS and DTrace are more innovative than incremental, but there surely are incremental improvements going on in OpenSolaris as well. I think both have value.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on February 04, 2008 at 06:06 PM JST #

I've heard about that long view, and 100-year mortgages, too. ;)

Posted by Leah on February 05, 2008 at 08:27 AM JST #

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