Why Linus sucks and is awesome at the same time

Warning, naughty language.

Behold :

On Sun, Dec 23, 2012 at 6:08 AM, Mauro Carvalho Chehab
<mchehab@redhat.com> wrote:
> Are you saying that pulseaudio is entering on some weird loop if the
> returned value is not -EINVAL? That seems a bug at pulseaudio.


It's a bug alright - in the kernel. How long have you been a
maintainer? And you *still* haven't learnt the first rule of kernel

If a change results in user programs breaking, it's a bug in the
kernel. We never EVER blame the user programs. How hard can this be to

To make matters worse, commit f0ed2ce840b3 is clearly total and utter
CRAP even if it didn't break applications. ENOENT is not a valid error
return from an ioctl. Never has been, never will be. ENOENT means "No
such file and directory", and is for path operations. ioctl's are done
on files that have already been opened, there's no way in hell that
ENOENT would ever be valid.

> So, on a first glance, this doesn't sound like a regression,
> but, instead, it looks tha pulseaudio/tumbleweed has some serious
> bugs and/or regressions.

Shut up, Mauro. And I don't _ever_ want to hear that kind of obvious
garbage and idiocy from a kernel maintainer again. Seriously.

I'd wait for Rafael's patch to go through you, but I have another
error report in my mailbox of all KDE media applications being broken
by v3.8-rc1, and I bet it's the same kernel bug. And you've shown
yourself to not be competent in this issue, so I'll apply it directly
and immediately myself.


Seriously. How hard is this rule to understand? We particularly don't
break user space with TOTAL CRAP. I'm angry, because your whole email
was so _horribly_ wrong, and the patch that broke things was so
obviously crap. The whole patch is incredibly broken shit. It adds an
insane error code (ENOENT), and then because it's so insane, it adds a
few places to fix it up ("ret == -ENOENT ? -EINVAL : ret").

The fact that you then try to make *excuses* for breaking user space,
and blaming some external program that *used* to work, is just
shameful. It's not how we work.

Fix your f*cking "compliance tool", because it is obviously broken.
And fix your approach to kernel programming.


OpenBSD: Otherwise known as Marmite

There are a lot of misconceptions about OpenBSD, chief of which is that it’s bulletproof. Well, the default install has had “only two remote holes, in a heck of a long time”, however those of us on planet Earth realise that few people stick to the default install in the first place. If you need your system to do anything aside from being a router or text-only web browser, then sure, default works handily.

The rest may get tedious so feel free to browse away now.

Security is a process

I’ve lost count of how many times this has come up, but it still bears repeating.

It’s not a destination. Never has been and never will be considering vulnerabilities are discovered all the time in other software needed to turn the afore-mentioned brick into a house. Just because you run a very secure OS, doesn’t mean anything else running on it won’t break and let in something bad through the cracks.

From the FAQ :

The packages and ports collection does NOT go through the same thorough security audit that is performed on the OpenBSD base system. Although we strive to keep the quality of the packages collection high, we just do not have enough human resources to ensure the same level of robustness and security.

Introducing any new software to the machine, regardless of a tar download or ports, will create potential vulnerabilities which the sysadmin has to keep an eye on, apply patches and chroot as necessary. I’m sure I don’t need to go over backing up before applying said updates as that’s just common sense.

Current vs Stable

Current is more likely to break, but you also get fixes fairly quickly. Stable is slower to get fixes, but is less likely to break in the first place.

This is pretty much true of any of the BSDs or really most of the Linux distros for that matter so plan accordingly.

Don’t choose current just for needless features on a production system.  Make an informed decision on whether you’re using the full capabilities of a current branch before using it. I generally stick to stable for production systems unless there’s a feature absolutely needed that’s not in stable, which is very rare.


The FAQ, the manual and the mailing list are your friends so don’t ignore them.

Always treat these sources from the project site as your primary references. There are many wonderful tutorial sites on the net about configuring, securing (see above), and otherwise using OpenBSD, but the main sources provided on the project site are still your most reliable, up-to-date, and complete reference. Also it has, by far, one of the most comprehensive manuals for an open source project.

I’m by no means an OpenBSD expert, but I’m patient when it comes to learning and I don’t get embarrassed about asking questions if I don’t know something. You never stop learning.

That said, people who say “OpenBSD is pretty easy” or equivalent are pretentious and condescending. OpenBSD has a steep learning curve and downplaying that with statements attesting ease of use only serve to frustrate and offend people just getting into it. It gets “easier” as time goes by and  as you get familiar with the environment, you will end up with a lot of capability in a very secure and stable system.

It takes a lot of reading and familiarization to get your feet wet and even if you come from a *nix background, it never hurts to read-up. OpenBSD’s strong points are security, consistency and predictability. The last two really help when learning the system.

People within the Linux and BSD community can only help their platform of choice by getting rid of the condescension toward novices.

It’s Marmite (I.E. It works for me)

OK, I get it. You don’t have to go on-and-on about how hard it is and how you just don’t understand or how anyone can use it vs, say, another BSD or Linux distro to get the same, if not better, functionality for the same effort.

If any of the other BSD or Linux flavor floats your boat, well then, more power to you.

I’ve been using Nginx + MySQL + PHP + OpenBSD on one particular production site for quite a while and I’ve been very happy. Maintenance has rarely been a problem, albeit it’s more involved due to chrooting, but I’ve had no complaints so far with the site breaking.

If anyone asks me and if it’s appropriate, this is what I’d recommend, not just on security grounds, but also because I found it consistent and reasonably straightforward to keep secure for the forseeable future. And I’m using it on that production site because it was appropriate for my situation.

Quit trying to convert people to your religion in regular face-to-face conversations saying your Kool-Aid is better for everything. You just sound like a bunch of intolerant morons; as if we needed more of those these days. If what someone does with their system isn’t your cup of tea, but doesn’t affect your system or what you do, then mind your own damn business.

Linux vs BSD comparisons?

I’ve gone over this so many times in real life, I don’t have the energy to do it again, but I will say this. Apples and Oranges — Linux is a kernel and you have a zillion different distros (Operating Systems) that use said kernel which specialize in different things or you can roll out your own. Choose or build carefully.

As for how I feel about other people’s opinions on what I choose; I’ll let Denny Crane explain :

Jerry Lee Cooper: The reason MS can still make a buck

Thanks to Goblin for bringing this to the light…

The following is a vertaitum copy of a post by a certain Jerry Lee Cooper illustrating very clearly why Microsoft is still able to fleece funds out of organizations without delivering as hyped.

Linux looks very interesting, even if some of the screen colours and menu options appear to be a little out of the ordinary.

But you are missing a vital point, a point which takes some experience and depth of knowledge in the field of computers. You see, when a computer boots up, it needs to load various drivers and then load various services. This happens long before the operating system and other applications are available.

Linux is a marvellous operating system in its own right, and even comes in several different flavours. However, as good as these flavours are, they first need Microsoft Windows to load the services prior to use.

In Linux, the open office might be the default for editing your wordfiles, and you might prefer ubuntu brown over the grassy knoll of the windows desktop, but mark my words young man – without the windows drivers sitting below the visible surface, allowing the linus to talk to the hardware, it is without worth.

And so, by choosing your linux as an alternative to windows on the desktop, you still need a windows licence to run this operating system through the windows drivers to talk to the hardware. Linux is only a code, it cannot perform the low level function.

My point being, young man, that unless you intend to pirate and steal the Windows drivers and services, how is using the linux going to save money ? Well ? It seems that no linux fan can ever provide a straight answer to that question !

May as well just stay legal, run the Windows drivers, and run Office on the desktop instead of the linus.

Let’s get a few things cleared up about this…

Linux won’t replace Windows because it’s not trying to be Windows. The idea is to be better than Windows. If Linux only replaces Windows, then it fails to surpass it. I’ve only selected a few lines here as a line by line debunking would constitute the entire quote. Virtually every sentence is either an outright lie or half-truth intended to mislead the reader. It’s entirely possible this individual is a prankster or troll, but in the interest of fairness we have no choice but to debunk these statements.

“even if some of the screen colours and menu options appear to be a little out of the ordinary.”
Jerry seems to be unaware that you can change the look and feel of the desktop in linux using a multitude of software available for the platform. Even to the point of being completely unrecognizable.

“Vista is far more powerful than windows XP, and runs twice as fast”

Vista is faster at “certain” tasks whereas there is no improvement and even slower performance in others (I.E. Certain high-demand games that don’t require DX10). After having installed Vista in about 30+ computers, I can clearly see this for myself. This is on identical hardware.

“However, as good as these flavours are, they first need Microsoft Windows to load the services prior to use.”

No mature Operating System that isn’t designed to piggy back on another OS or run as a virtual machine requires spoon fed drivers. You either have Windows/Linux/*BSD/UNIX drivers or you don’t.

“…without the windows drivers sitting below the visible surface, allowing the linus to talk to the hardware, it is without worth.”

Take a peek at any major hardware retailer in the past 5 years and you will see an increasing number of models in all functions with available drivers and software for the *NIXes.  Prior to this there have been issues with vendors either not releasing drivers outright or releasing semi-functional drivers/software that is closed source.

“Linux is only a code, it cannot perform the low level function.”

That sentence doesn’t even make sense… “only a code”? Everything is “only a code” in that regard, even Windows. And it’s not “running on top” of anything as it seems to be implied. Linux is not a virtual machine, it’s a stand alone platform that requires no other OS as mentioned before.

There’s Assembly and C code in there, performing low level operations as is required by every OS currently in the market. Dig down into Windows, and you will find Assembly and C as well. Followed by a layer of C++ and C# on top. In the same vein, you will find Python or Perl running atop many Linux distributions. Where’s the difference?

“unless you intend to pirate and steal the Windows drivers and services, how is using the linux going to save money”

You don’t need to “pay” for Linux support unless you bought a commercial distro that includes this. You save money by not relying on a release cycle or a treasure hunt through the OS trying to lock down everything. While Microsoft has finally taken some initiative in the Windows Server 2008 release, there are still things to be desired. Linux allows a near unlimited degree of flexibility in regard to clustering and load balancing that Windows still lacks. Couple that with per-client licensing issues and there goes your IT budget.

There’s a tutorial site called How To Forge that deals with industrial grade installations using freely available software for the Linux platform. Considering resources like this all over the Internet, how exactly are you not saving money and time in deployment?

Meanwhile, I have a bone to pick with Marc Wagner, the author of that article as well…

Unfortunately, this is not a choice most people have.  The fault does not lie with Microsoft.  Nor with Dell or its competitors.  The fault lies squarely at the feet of Linux vendors who do not wish to compete against Microsoft for the commodity desktop workstation market. 

Until they figure out that they MUST compete for the consumer desktop to make a serious dent in Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop, they won’t make a dent – and no amount of wishing will make it so.

What a silly statement. This is exactly what distributions like Ubuntu and its offspring Linux Mint are aimed at. There are even several distributions aimed at pre-school and kindergarten through K12 students as well as teachers (I.E. Edubuntu, K12LTSP, Skolelinux). These are most certainly not expected to run on big iron.

No one in the Linux community is wishing while twiddling their thumbs. They’re actually doing something about it.

The hardware vendors for their part could be more forthcoming in their licences for driver releases or at least provide better abstraction code for older hardware.

Has hell frozen over? Or is Windows Server more reliable than Linux?

For the last week, according to Netcraft, Windows is #2 behind FreeBSD for web servers and it outnumbers all other OS’s in the top 50. Linux isn’t even on the list?

Something's rotten in Denmark

Something's rotten in Denmark

See the list for yourself. The list is limited for the most requested sites due to notability and performance reasons.

Either MS has done a bangup job convincing sys-admins to keep their servers up to date and secure, or Linux is starting to slip a little. This is the first time I’ve seen BSD being threatened in the weekly averages and Linux completely falling of the list.

FreeBSD in particular is one of the most stable (arguably the most stable) platform for servers so no surprise there. But Windows Server?!