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Re: Is Linux Unix?

Elsewhere in this thread (really a tree), I have argued that GNU/Linux
will win over commercial software because of its cost advantage for
business users of software. I assumed the obvious, that GNU/Linus 
software was good enough for serious use by serious users. Karsten
claims that it is much better than that. With which I surely agree.
But there is another reality that I think has not been recognized:
Any body of software requires for its continued use, a body of people,
users and developers. If this body becomes too small, the software 
withers and dies. The curious fact that is apparent in GNU/Linux, is
that the minimum size that assures survival, when expressed as a %
of the total 'market' is really very small. Thus GNU/Linux will not
die, not even if some crazy government were to make it illegal. 
Because the technology exists to preserve the source in many places,
it really cannot be killed by even a thoroughly totalitarian gov't.
Karsten claims that GNU/Linux is really superior to other software.
I agree, but others may not. What is really new in GNU, is that
it really cannot degrade over time, as seems to be happening with
Intel Fortran Compiler. So, even if one doesn't believe that GNU/Linux
is already better than other, one should believe that it will 
inevitably become better. In summary, it cannot die, and it cannot
degrade, because it is a social/technological phenomenon, not a 
business. So why argue? Victory of GNU/Linux is certain. Resistance
is useless. (And why argue in favor? It will happen whether your
audience believes you.)

One caveat: The above sounds a lot like the 19th century view of 
social progress. The modern, US/European society is better than
other, and will get more better without doubt. 

Paul E Condon           

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