The Monolithic Cabals

A few decades ago, there was a great big flame war called the Monolithic vs Microkernel debate. It is said that the debate was won by Linus. And that is why Linux became so popular.

Personally, I am a fan of Microkernels. But I am more a fan of Open Source. I believe that is the sole reason Linux became so popular. Linux didn't become so popular because people loved a monolithic architecture. Folks embraced it because it was open source.

More recently, there have been similar flames wars, but on a much larger scale, likes of which had never been seen before, spreading out from the low-level Kernel layers to the higher layers above. Apparently, some years ago, Gnome won the battle for the top layer Desktop, or rather the Desktop Environment. What was left was the middle layers between the Kernel and the GUI. And that battle apparently ended with many distributions bowing down to systemd. This was more a victory for the Gnome camp, who had lent them more than a covert hand in that battle. RedHat won the battle this time.

These monolithic cabals want to do everything. They don't seem to understand The Unix Philosophy. Taking over everything just makes them Too Big To Fail. We should never put all our eggs in one basket.

Is the war seemingly over now? The powerful feudal lords have divided the spoils between who owns which layer of the empire. Each of them, in their wisdom, have decided that they shall be the sole decision makers over what everyone else is or not allowed to do.

The one saving grace that stops them being completely becoming evil is the fact that each of them are completely dependant on Open Source. Any change they attempt is open to the rest of the world. Even that fact didn't stop The Mad Hatters from attempting to take over the lower layer kernel, with their dubious code pushes.

If I didn't know any better, I might suspect this as a culmination or coming together of a series of covert Microsoft Strategies. If you have not read The Halloween Documents, it is worth having a quick look. The FUD has come full circle, and many camps within Linux got embroiled in major flame wars over the systemd middleware between desktop and kernel.

This also reminds me of a paper called The Cathedral and The Bazaar. Slaves never had a choice. Freemen could make their own choices, unencumbered by anyone telling them what to do or not. There must be a reason that the exalted cathedrals of yore are empty now, while the bazaars have flourished.

It all depends on which side of the fence you are. If you are among the ruling class, obviously you will want to remain in the cathedral, lording over others. But if you are not among the ones inside enjoying luxuries, you would rather be outside free to decide your lifestyle and how best to flourish yourself, than be a slave in the cathedral.

In the end, it all depends on what is best for the world. Is it better that a few rule over everyone? Or would the world be a better place, if everyone had equality of choice and rights? No one should be too poor or too rich!

There is a reason that Open Source has flourished with contributions from volunteers who gave back their skills and time, in order to make things better for everyone. In stark contrast, the extremely wealthy proprietary software companies are all sitting on great big piles of accumulated cash twiddling their thumbs, deciding what to do.

I think my thoughts are running amok now..

I just wanted to pen down some thoughts before I lost them. I will flush this a bit more later.. Keep an eye!

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