Open source rival attacks 'terrible' Linux

Open source rival attacks 'terrible' Linux

Summary: Linus Torvalds' brainchild is full of "cheap little hacks", says the founder of OpenBSD

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The founder of the OpenBSD operating system has criticised the quality of Linux software claiming that it is full of code hacks, according to reports.

Theo de Raadt, the founder and lead developer of the open source operating system OpenBSD, said Linux developers should work to improve the quality of the code, according to an interview in Forbes .

"It's terrible," De Raadt reportedly said. "Everyone is using it, and they don't realise how bad it is. And the Linux people will just stick with it and add to it rather than stepping back and saying, 'This is garbage and we should fix it.'"

Linux is lower quality than Open BSD and many parts of Linux are "cheap little hacks", added De Raadt.

OpenBSD is a secure Unix-like operating system, that is popular among system administrators running firewalls. De Raadt told ZDNet in an earlier interview that it maintains its high code quality through rigorous code auditing and by spreading major code changes across three six-month releases.

"We are the software auditing kings -- we go through code a lot to make sure there are not many bugs," said de Raadt.

Various studies in the past have praised Linux for its code quality compared with proprietary operating systems. A study in December 2004 by code analysis company Coverity found that the Linux kernel had only 985 bugs in 5.7 million lines of code, significantly fewer than the 5000 bugs that would be expected in a commercial program of similar size. Another study in 2003, which compared the implementation of a networking component in different operating systems, found that the Linux defect rate was 0.1 defects per 1,000 lines of code, compared with a defect rate of between 0.6 and 0.7 in general-purpose operating systems, according to software inspection service company Reasoning.

De Raadt also criticised hardware makers such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM for using Linux as an unpaid workforce, rather than spending money to develop their own version of Unix.

IBM, HP and Sun have come under criticism before for their work with the open source community. Jesús Villasante, the head of software technologies at the EC's Information Society and Media Directorate General, said last month that big companies such as IBM, HP and Sun are using the open source community as subcontractors rather than encouraging the community to develop independent commercial products.

"IBM says to a customer, 'Do you want proprietary or open software?' Then [if they want open source] they say 'Ok, you want IBM open source.' It is [always] IBM or Sun or HP open source," asserted Villasante, speaking at a debate on open source innovation at the Holland Open Software Conference in Amsterdam.

The full Forbes interview with De Raadt can be read here.

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13 comments
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  • Is Forbes for losers? Sounds to me like Daniel Lyons, noted anti-Linux, anti-OSS professional troll for Forbes took what he said, twisted it around and turned it into an attack. And this isn't the first time. Lyons and Forbes appear to have a chip on their shoulder against Linux and Open Source. Considering that the entire internet could not have existed without Open Source, this has to make one wonder whether Forbes and Lyons with their ideological bias are a reliable source for technology information.
    anonymous
  • I am amazed by the arrogance of these self porclaimed authorities. To declare that code which is not compliant with any given standards is therefore deficient is to disregard everything that is meaningful in favor of that which is accepted.
    anonymous
  • I am amazed by the arrogance of these self porclaimed authorities. To declare that code which is not compliant with any given standards is therefore deficient is to disregard everything that is meaningful in favor of that which is accepted.
    anonymous
  • Mr Daniel Lyons should demand that www.forbes.com must run on top of whatever-comercial-web-server and not LINUX ehehehe.
    anonymous
  • Mr De Raadt's comments tell us more about Mr De Raadt than about Linux.
    anonymous
  • De Raadt should know. The Open BSD project is focused on fixing bugs and securing code. This is why Open BSED has earned the title "the worlds most secure operating system". Right from the start of the Open BSD project, the project spent a couple years doing a ground up source code audit to find and fix quality/security issues. In fact, the review even identified bugs in Linux (due to borrowed code) and some other commerical Unix flavors. The Open BSD project continues to this day, with its primary focus on code reviews to enhance the quality/security of the code.

    While many Linux guru's will emotionally disagree with this arcticle, De Raadt is correct. Open BSD, via its attention to the development cycle, make Linux look like *junk* (and I qualify junk) "in terms of both security and quality of code". To be fair, Linux is superior to Open BSD in terms of a stronger user community, more applicattions, etc. It can't, however, compete in terms of security and code quality and De Raadt has definitely earned the right to call refer to Linux as junk... he'd know.
    anonymous
  • De Raadt or whatever his name is may hve done a bit of work on code cleanups but that in no way at all gives him any right to acuse linux of bieng terrible IF linux is so "terrible" then why is it so popular Eh..?.. answere that if you can Oh and BTW the windBloZe analolgy dont work or wash .. NO De Raadt needs to shut up and vanish back into his beloved BSD hard to install no apps slow and the rest of it and yes i have looked at the latest stuff and canned it again

    Linux since kernel 0.99a ..
    anonymous
  • "Mr De Raadt's comments tell us more about Mr De Raadt than about Linux."

    That's right. Whoever said that is the man.
    anonymous
  • It is sad that we see persons from the BSD community openly attacking Linux when just last week Linus Torvalds in an interview went out of his way to avoid making a single negative remark about the open-source BSD's. http://os.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=05/06/09/2128249&from=rss
    anonymous
  • Ask a developer a directed question about their opinion and you'd expect and answer like this. Don't hold Theo de Raadt "guilty".... this is his professional opinion.

    Ask any Linux developer what they think of windows and they'd say "Windows is junk!..If people knew how bad it was they'd use Linux". (Windows developers would reply "If its so bad why is it so much more popular than Liniux?" :-) ). While I'm sure Theo de Raadt was setup to sound "bad" I don't think his comments are out of line. Comparing OpenBSD to Linux is like comparing Linux to Windows. No one is going to get 'offended' about the Linux/Windows comparison...so why the offense of the Linux/OpenBSD comparison?
    anonymous
  • Funny how the guy is attacking Linux when a few weeks ago he admitted to have never used it. Even if he's looked at the code in the weeks since his last interview, it won't have been a thorough enough observation to say whether Linux is junk code or not.
    anonymous
  • So Linux is written by hackers? Wow! Linux users know this, but still prefer use it. No use complaining about IBM and HP, they are just supplying what the punters want. Unix wars belong to the 1980s, what is stopping this guy submitting his own patches to the kernel if he thinks it is that bad?
    anonymous
  • I agree with Lou Harrison about the comparison, though the case of comparing OpenBSD to Linux is more of an airing of dirty laundry of the FLOSS community, than is the comparison of Linux to Windows. I believe this is what will be most upsetting to people. That FLOSS in general is viewed as somewhat of the underdog and the do-gooder, and that one shouldn't bash the do-gooder.

    In addition, this is wholly unverified and just my sympathizing, but it seems to me that Theo may just be under a lot of pressure right now with the OpenBSD project (that he and many other developers have spent many years of their lives working on) in jeopardy due to a lack of funding. I think we should excuse him. Although, he may not feel a need to be excused. Or Forbes may have quoted him out of context.

    Who knows?

    I'll still buy CD's and swag from OpenBSD, and still run both OpenBSD and Linux, and still (perhaps naively) trust that I'm using software of a much higher quality than other alternatives.
    anonymous