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Open Letter to the LKML

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Linux

If we were already talking to our computers, etc. as we should be, I wouldn’t feel a need to write this to you. Given current rates of progress, Linux still seems a generation away from being the priceless piece of software useful to every child and PhD. The free software army has millions of people, but they are not working efficiently. My mail one year ago (http://keithcu.com/wordpress/?p=272) listed the biggest workitems, but I realize now I should have focused on one. In a sentence, I have discovered and “proved” that we need GC lingua franca(s). The kernel team provides code and leadership, you have influence and the responsibility to lead the rest who are like wandering ants. Science moves at demographic speed when knowledge is not being reused among the existing scientists. Some may say this is inappropriate here, but I want to get this information into the public record.

Windows is not the biggest problem, it is the proprietary licensing model that has infected computing, and science. Increasing desktop Linux use will send an increasingly strong signal to the rest of the scientists to use and write free software. Driverless cars expert Sebastian Thrun calls his team’s code “secret sauce”, and this thinking prevents the creation of a place for scientific knowledge to accumulate. If every computer Thrun saw ran the Linux kernel, he would think differently about the code his tiny team is producing. The biotech world is also filled with proprietary software.

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