Mail Archives: djgpp/2009/05/23/07:56:22

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From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull AT sk DOT tsukuba DOT ac DOT jp>
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Subject: Re: Python, Perl, Lua, Ruby -- anybody??
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Date: Sat, 23 May 2009 20:40:52 +0900
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Rugxulo writes:

 > Is it just me or is Linux very media-oriented these days?

As RMS always says, "Linux is a kernel, it's the GNU System" that is
so bloated. :-)  This is very much by design; for example, look at GNU
hello, which now weighs in at many kB of source, or GNU true, which
sports --help and --version options (which are localized, don'cha

OTOH, the kernel has a lot of media oriented drivers, but they can all
be modularized or omitted.  I suppose you could say threads and
multiprocessor support are also important to media (especially games),
but I don't think that's main thing.  I guess a lot of the
functionality in modern kernels really is functional. :-)

 > When every distro tries to include MPlayer, XMMS, Firefox, Flash,
 > etc., no wonder they all top out at huge sizes.

Commercial distros that aim at who choose their own distros tend to
include a lot of that stuff by default (and I consider a graphical
browser an essential component of a personal system nowadays), but
AFAIK they all allow installing a "server" style system or even a
"bare" system with just enough to allow you to pull in the packages
you want.  But as long as all that fits on the DVD but you don't have
to load it on your system, who cares?

Of course if you pull in anything that starts with "g" you'll get
about 2GB of GNOME and GTK libraries to go with it, and the "k" stuff
is just as bad I suppose.  That *does* matter, but if you're not going
to install X all that is YCERIA (You Can't Even Run It Anyway ;-).

 > Originally, I think GNU tools were just clones of *nix tools, but they
 > officially allowed improvements too, as long as they didn't use more
 > than 1 MB of RAM.

Actually, no.  Go read the GNU Manifesto, dated 1985 IIRC; RMS
officially encouraged reading the whole file (whatever it might be)
into memory and using in-memory, global algorithms rather than
external, incremental ones, as a way to differentiate GNU tools from
the Unix originals (as a defense against copyright infringement).

Note that that was an *example* of how you could change the algorithm
to make legal defense easier, but it's a very prominent one.  This
implementation strategy is used in several prominent GNU tools (eg,
Emacs, which is stupid, 'cause no judge would ever mistake Emacs for a
Microsoft product -- unless of course the Microsoft lawyers managed to
exclude everything but the output of ps from evidence!)

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