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If UNIX Were a Religion 392

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gnu-slash-heretic dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Charles Stross has written a very clever article where he describes the religious metaphor he uses with non-technical folks to explain the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX. There is one true religion in operating systems says Stross and it is UNIX although there's also an earlier, older, more arcane religion with far fewer followers, MULTICS, from which UNIX sprang as a stripped-down rules-deficient heresy. If MULTICS is Judaism then UNIX is Christianity. By the mid-1970s there were two main sects: AT&T UNIX, which we may liken unto the Roman Catholic Church, and BSD UNIX, which we may approximate to the Orthodox Churches. In an attempt to control the schisms, the faithful defined a common interoperating subset of the one true religion that all could agree on—the Nicene Creed of UNIX which is probably POSIX. Stross says that today the biggest church in the whole of UNIX is Mac OS X, which rests on the bedrock of Orthodox BSD but "has added an incredible, towering superstructure of fiercely guarded APIs and proprietary user interface stuff that renders it all but unrecognizable to followers of the Catholic AT&T path." But lo, in the late 1980s, UNIX succumbed to the sins of venality, demanding too much money from the faithful and so, in 1991 Linus Torvalds nailed his famous source code release to the cathedral door and kicked off the Reformation. 'The Linux wars were brutal and unforgiving and Linux itself splintered into a myriad of fractious Protestant churches, from the Red Hat wearing Lutherans to the Ubuntu Baptists.' More recently, a deviant faith has sprung from Linux. 'Android is the Church of Latter Day Saints of UNIX: hard-working, sober, evangelizing the public, and growing at a ferocious rate. There are some strange fundamentalist Mormon Android churches living in walled communities under the banners of Samsung and Amazon, but for the most part the prosperous worship at the Church of Google.' Stross notes that as with all religion, those sects with most in common are the ones who hold the most vicious grudges against one another. 'Is that clear?'"
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If UNIX Were a Religion

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  • Sgh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:13AM (#45827207)

    Oh lookie, a navel-gazing extended, tortured analogy, and even worse, an unfunny to say nothing of uninsightful one.

  • by tomxor (2379126) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:22AM (#45827237)

    But lo, in the late 1980s, UNIX succumbed to the sins of venality, demanding too much money from the faithful and so, in 1991 Linus Torvalds nailed his famous source code release to the cathedral door and kicked off the Reformation.

    It was Andrew Tanenbaum who showed the initiative to create a UNIX compatible royalty free OS for the purpose of teaching, Torvalds Linux is surely a derivative of that initiative if not a direct derivative of the Minix book which inspired him. Torvalds deserves a lot of credit for Linux but i think Tanenbaum deserves to have the credit for enabling so many people to learn about UNIX like systems without paying absurd amounts to AT&T.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:46AM (#45827339)

    Stop calling Scientology a church. They are not.

    They are a tax evading criminal company selling a bogus cult for big money. Nothing else.

  • by thue (121682) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @07:40AM (#45827565) Homepage

    Minix was explicitly considered a toy operating system by Andrew Tanenbaum, who refused to accept patches to add functionality because the complexity would have made Minix less suited as a teaching tool.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @10:27AM (#45828445) Homepage

    The Japanese are mostly participants in two religions: Shinto and Buddhism. They complement each other well. Most people have a Shinto birth ceremony, a Shinto marriage ceremony (but with a separate western style wedding too), and a Buddhist funeral.

    I think it's possible to use several operating systems like this. Android when you want to browser the news on your phone, Linux for your router and file server, BSD to host your web site, Windows for gaming and the day job.

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