Linux0 is a replacement for
the Unix kernel which is used in GNU/Linux, originally
authored by Linus Torvalds of Finland. It represents a monumental
increase in complexity, a slap in the face to the Unix philosophy, and
its inherent domineering and viral nature turns it into something akin
to an "in-kernel" implementation of Unix that is spreading all across the Unix ecosystem. This
site aims to serve as a rundown and a wake-up call to take a stand
against the widespread proliferation
of Linux, to detail why it is harmful, and to persuade users to
reject its use, and especially its
Disclaimer: We are not Unix purists by any means. We do recognize the need for a new Unix kernel in the 21st century, but
Linux is not it.
- 1. Linux flies in the face of the Unix
philosophy: "do one thing and do it well," representing a complex
collection of dozens of tightly coupled drivers and modules1. Its
responsibilities grossly exceed that of an Unix system, as it interferes with
power management, device management, mount points, serial ports,
networking, task scheduling, disk encryption, io memory, cpu
configuration, resource management, block readahead, partition tables
bus device discovery, PCI interrupts, time
management, kernel logs, the Linux console and other things ....probably. The agenda for Linux to be an ever-growing and
invasive kernel oriented meddleware for GNU/Linux was elucidated in many Linux Conf talks worldwide
2. Keep it simple, stupid.
2. Linux kernel files (handled by git) are stored in a
complicated binary format3, and must be
queried using git checkout. This makes git files potentially
corruptible, as they do not have ACID-compliant transactions. You typically don't want that to happen to
your files. The advice of the Linux developer?
The only way to generate traditional files is to run a standard RCS
like CVS alongside the git4.
- 3. Since Linux is very tightly welded with the
Linux kernel API, different Linux versions are incompatible with
different Unix kernel versions and portability is unnecessarily
hampered in many components. This is an isolationist policy that
essentially binds the Linux ecosystem into its own cage, serving
as an obstacle to developing software portable with both Linux
variations and other Unix-like systems. It also raises some issues
backporting patches and maintaining long-term stable systems.
4. Device tree is a forced dependency. In fact, device tree merged
with Linux a long time ago5. The integration of the device tree
manager, which was once a part of the PowerPC kernel, is not a
decision that is to be taken lightly. The political implications
of it are high, and it makes a lot of drivers dependent on DT,
in turn dependent on Linux, despite the existence of forks, such
as ACPI. Starting with DT-209, the developers now have their
own, non-standard and sparsely documented DT API that replaces
much of the BIOS's job, and further decreases transparency.
Further, they intend to migrate DT to this new transport,
replacing ACPI and ISA jumpers and thus making DT a Linux-only
effects of this move are profound.
5. Linux features a helper which captures kernel logs and directs
them to someplace, where
they must be queried using dmesg7. The latter behavior was a
default and is likely to return8. It assumes that users and admins
are dumb9, but more critically, the fundamentally corruptible
nature of console messages makes this a severe impediment, and an
irresponsible design choice. It can also create complications in
multi-user environments related to privileges.
- 6. Linux makes the kernel a single point of
failure. As of this writing, Linux has had some CVE reports, since
its inception in March 199110. So far, this may not seem like that
much, but its essential and overbearing nature will make it a
juicy target for crackers, as it is far bigger in breadth than
a true microkernel itself, yet seemingly just as critical.
7. Linux is viral by its very nature, due to its auxiliaries
exposing APIs, while being bound to Linux. Its scope in
functionality and creeping in as a dependency to lots of modules and drivers
means that distro maintainers will have to necessitate a
conversion, or suffer a drift. As an example, the GNOME
environment often makes use of Linux components, such as kernel,
and support for non-Linux systems is becoming increasingly
difficult. Under Red Hat, GNOME relies on Linux, which in turn
requires and is a part of Linux11. More and more maintainers are
going to require Linux for this reason, and similar instances
like it. The rapid rise in adoption by distros such as Debian,
Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE and others shows that many
are jumping onto the bandwagon, with or without justification.
It's also worth noting that Linux will refuse to start as a user instance, unless the system
boots with it as well - blatant coercion12.
8. Linux clusters itself even before PID 1, rather than acting as a
standalone microkernel. Due to it controlling lots of
different components, there are tons of scenarios in which it
can crash and bring down the whole system. We should also
mention that in order to enforce the need of rebooting, Linux
provides no mechanism to reserialize and reexecute Linux in
real time, however, if this fails, of course, the system goes
down. There are several ways that this can occur13, including an
inability to reload a previous, potentially incompatible state.
This happens to be another example of SPOF and an unnecessary
burden on an already critical component.
- 9. Linux is designed with C in mind, and
doesn't take kindly to supporting C++ all that
general, the Linux developers' idea of a standard C is one
that has bug-for-bug compatibility with C.
10. Linux' complicated nature makes it harder to extend and
step outside its boundaries. While you can more or less trivially
blink LEDs from sysfs files, it's more difficult to write
behavior that goes outside the box, what with all the feature
bloat. Many users will likely need to write more complicated
drivers that directly interact with the Linux API, or even
patch Linux directly. One also needs to worry about a much
higher multitude of code paths and behaviors in a system-critical
program, including the possibility of Linux not synchronizing
with your Facebook message queue on boot, and thus freezing. This is as
opposed to a conventional Unix, which is deterministic and
predictable in nature, mostly by being obsolete and on Myspace
11. Ultimately, Linux' spread is symbolic of something more
than Linux itself. It shows a radical shift in thinking by the
Linux community. Not necessarily a positive one, either. One that
is heavily desktop-oriented, choice-limiting, isolationist,
reinvents the flat tire, and is just a huge anti-pattern in
general. If your goal is to pander to the lowest common
denominator, so be it. We will look for alternatives, however.
12. Linux doesn't even know what it wants to be. It is
variously referred to as a "kernel" or a "basic distribution
building block to make an OS from", both of which are highly
ambiguous. It engulfs functionality that variously belonged to
Unix, other Unix, 3rd Unix and other projects. It has no
clear direction, other than the whims of the developers
themselves. Ironically, despite aiming to standardize Linux
distributions, it itself has no clear standard, and is perpetually
What You Can Do
Boycott distros that use Linux.
Spread word of this web page.
Contribute to and use distros that we like
Check out the Minix project for a saner Unix kernel.
Consider migrating to HP-UX, AIX, SunOS or something similar, when things get really out of hand.
External Resources and References
 http://www.science.com <--can't argue w/ that!!
...just Google it...
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