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October 13, 2004

    Section: Software

Does Prentice Hall Really Own Linux?
Friday June 11, 2004 (11:00 AM GMT)   Printer-friendly   Email Story
Topics: Linux , Software , Operating Systems
By: Bruce Perens

Bruce Perens writes "A recent report by Ken Brown of the "Alexis de Toqueville Institute" casts aspersions upon Linus Torvalds as creator of the Linux operating system kernel. The report attributes ownership of Linux to Prentice Hall PTR as publishers of Andrew Tannenbaum's book Operating Systems: Design and Implementation. In the book, Tannenbaum provided the source for an educational toy OS called Minix.

Brown is obviously not aware of my role as series editor of the Bruce Perens Open Source Series at Prentice Hall PTR. With ten books published so far, this series is unique in that not only are the books about Open Source software, the text of the books is under an Open Source license. They can be copied and redistributed freely in the same manner as the Linux kernel - it's even legal to sell the copies. The series has shown that a publisher can be commercially successful with Open Source text, as IBM, Red Hat, and other companies have been successful with Open Source software.

Like all technical book publishers, Prentice Hall is in the business of distributing ideas. They have copyrighted their books, but the express purpose of those books is for readers to use the ideas that their text communicates. Before Linus Torvalds created Linux, one of the ways he learned to build operating systems was by reading Tannenbaum's book and working with the Minix source code. Authors and publishers are proud of the role our books have played in developing the professional skills of Torvalds and the Open Source developer community. We should not, do not, and can not claim as our own the creations of the many millions of people who use our books as a reference in their work every day.

Regarding Brown's other assertions, it should be sufficient to point out that many of the people he quotes have published detailed refutations of Brown's text. Most interesting is that of Tannenbaum himself, parts 1, 2, and 3, that of the young programmer Brown hired to compare Linux and Minix, and scientist Illka Tuomi.

A recent title in my series, Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager, is meant to be used directly by the Linux kernel developers in their work, and uses the Linux source code as a reference for tomorrow's computer scientists. This illustrates the synergistic relationship that a publisher willing to embrace Open Source can have with the developer community. I look forward to the continuation of that relationship.

    Bruce Perens


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How to do due diligence | Linux Advisory Watch - June 11, 2004  >

Comments:  Does Prentice Hall Really Own Linux?

Top  |  33 comments  |  Search Discussion  |  

culprit found - how about the motive? (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 8:10 (#93293)
Dear Bruce,

I don't think that there is *any* doubt in anyone's mind about what Ken Brown was trying to achieve. Most of us are also quite clear about why he tried to do this. Nonetheless, I would like to hear it form you: what is in your opinion the real objective of his "research" (if that can be called by this name)?
[ Reply to This ]
Normally... (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 9:31 (#93299)
I really look forward to your articles. Your have a good writing voice and what you write about is interesting and relevant. But this article sounds more like an advertisement for your books and you didn't answer the question you posed in the Subject.

I was hoping you had contacted Prentice Hall and asked for their offical stance, interviewed Mr. Torvalds and Mr. Tanenbaum and Mr. Brown for their opinions, and had explained how this all fits into the bigger picture of IP and derivative works.

Just to be clear, I'm actually glad I read this, cause I didn't know about your efforts with Prentice Hall and publishing 'open-source' text, but the title should have been 'Prentice Hall believes in Open-Text' or something like that.

This is just feedback, so write on Mr. Perens, I look forward to more installments from you.
[ Reply to This ]
distractions (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 9:36 (#93300)
The SCO case and reports such as these are just a diversion from the real threat: SOFTWARE PATENTS! Microsoft is building its portfolio cloud to block out the sun on our growing Linux and Open Source tree.

The community should start a fund to acquire software patents and release them for free use in open source products. We can not wait for the legislation to change...

[ Reply to This ]
You sir are a..... (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 9:46 (#93301)
Frickin Idiot. what rock did you crawl out from under. Even the creator of Minux has stated that the Linux kernel was not derived from minix because it handles memory allocation differently, and there are other key differences. See the article that he posted and stop spreading FUD
[ Reply to This ]
Perens Post sponsored by Microsoft (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 9:47 (#93302)
Glad to see that your NewsForge article is being sponsored by Microsoft ads on NewsForge.

Fucking hypocrites!!!!!
[ Reply to This ]
this piece reminds me of the old academia joke (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 12:42 (#93314)
But enough about me... what do you think about my latest book?
[ Reply to This ]
Self Destruction (Score:1)
by waynesworld (188082) on 2004.06.11 14:09 (#93321)
*\\ In the book, Tannenbaum provided the source for an educational toy OS called Minix........*\\ Before Linus Torvalds created Linux, one of the ways he learned to build operating systems was by reading Tannenbaum's book and working with the Minix source code. *\\
And, just for the record; using RMSs' GNU Utilities were a very important part of the "birth" and continued rapid development of Linux. Without a completely free & open source compiler, linker,etc. IMO Lee'nus  may well have become just another cog in the wheel. Thanks Richard.

As for AdTI, Ken Brown & the rest of those selling their collective souls to the "illusion" of MS & big corporate $$$....Enjoy! Be proud of your self-serving ego driven self-centered private agendas; you are attempting to sell out the future of the next seven generations, including your own grand-children for a few moments of self owned glory & pleasure. How unique! It's no wonder Ken Brown & AdTI can't, or refuse to, grasp the idea of Freedom; weather it be as set forth in our Nations Constitution or on the grander scale of Gloabl Human Rights that ALL are inherently entitiled to.

Daemons @ the Jersey Shore
[ Reply to This ]
    Ah, there is nothing quite like it (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.11 23:17 (#93364)
    By Bruce Perens, about Bruce Perens, for Bruce Perens. Obviously, it is good to be Bruce Perens. . . isn't that what it's all about???? You just know that he'd find some way to get his name involved; it was a matter of time.
    [ Reply to This ]
      This phony thinktank in D.C. (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.12 2:40 (#93368)
      This phony thinktank in D.C.
      Spread FUD from sea to sea
      But still they were losin'
      For they met this tough penguin
      who kicked their butt back to D.C.

      [ Reply to This ]
      Funny (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.12 2:57 (#93370)
      First it's "Linus doesn't own linux, he stole it from Tannenbaum"...then when Tannenbaum tells all and sundry that no, Linus did not steal a damn thing from him, it's "Better skip Tannenbaum then...ah....Tannenbaum signed his rights away to the publisher"...I guess there's no prize for guessing that Brown will start backing SCO when he realises no-one's buying this one either?

      [ Reply to This ]
        Tanenbaum (Score:0)
        by Anonymous Reader on 2004.06.12 3:12 (#93371)
        Please have some courtesy to Prof. Andrew S. Tanenbaum, and spell his name as it should be spelled: Tanenbaum, not Tannenbaum.

        [ Reply to This ]


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