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[email protected] Reseller: five reasons forking won’t hurt Linux

Mar 25, 2000 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Lately, a growing number of editors and analysts have decided to worry themselves (and everyone else) about the dangers and risks to Linux from “forking” (i.e., development of differing and potentially incompatible variations of a piece of software). An excellent editorial by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of [email protected] Reseller online puts the topic in its proper perspective. SJVN writes . . .

“To fork or not to fork, that isn't the question. Some people have suggested that Linux is a dangerous operating system choice because Linux might fork into incompatible versions. Give me a break.”

“Of course Linux is forking. It's always forking. But — important lesson ahead — it doesn't matter. Why? Because Linux is a GNU Public License open-source OS. And that means that everyone gets to see and use your changes.”

“In Linux, good changes are incorporated into the one true, Linus Torvalds blessed Linux kernel, and other changes aren't. If a change doesn't make the canonical code, it withers on the vine. In other open-source projects, like Apache and Samba, there's no Linus, but it works the same way. The good get in, the bad are tossed on the junk pile.”

“. . . If you don't understand the open-source model or know your computer history, let me give you the top five reasons why Linux isn't going to fork its way into disaster.”

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