Cerita Unik dan Menarik Seputar Linux : Pernak-Pernik Linus Torvalds Bagian 1

Bagi para pengguna Linux, nama Linus Torvalds bukanlah nama yang asing, karena ialah sosok yang membidani lahirnya Linux. Pria Finlandia yang kini tinggal di Amerika Serikat ini dijuluki berbagai macam julukan, mulai dari “Benevolent Dictator of Free World”, “Father of Linux”, “King of the Geeks”, “King of the Free Software Movement” dan lain-lain. Linus Torvalds adalah salah satu hacker favorit saya, bukan hanya dari sisi technical tapi juga dari sisi humor dan kepribadiannya.

Linus_Torvalds_talkingSaya adalah salah satu pengguna Linux, yang bekerja menggunakan Linux dan mendapatkan penghasilan dari pengetahuan yang saya dapatkan mengenai Linux. Kekaguman saya semakin bertambah setelah banyak membaca artikel, buku dan interview terhadap Linus. Berikut adalah beberapa cerita unik dan menarik tentang pribadi Linus Torvalds sang pencipta Linux :

BENEVOLENT DICTATOR

Linus dijuluki Benevolent Dictator karena ia adalah orang yang memutuskan keputusan akhir mengenai suatu software/aplikasi yang hendak disertakan di kernel Linux. Keputusannya bersifat mutlak. Dari sisi demokrasi, mungkin hal ini dianggap sebagai sesuatu yang tidak demokratis dan membuka peluang terjadinya masalah jika sang diktator melakukan kesalahan. Namun nyatanya Linus diterima sebagai sosok yang menentukan arah dan perkembangan kernel Linux. Mengapa?

Dalam artikel interview yang dipublikasikan oleh BusinessWeek, jawaban Linus seperti ini :

Q: You’re clearly the leader of the Linux movement, but what does that mean? How do you lead? Are you a benevolent dictator, as some have called you?

A: To be honest, the fact that people trust you gives you a lot of power over people. Having another person’s trust is more powerful than all other management techniques put together. I have no legal or explicit power. I only have the power of having people’s trust — but that’s a lot of power.

I am a dictator, but it’s the right kind of dictatorship. I can’t really do anything that screws people over. The benevolence is built in. I can’t be nasty. If my baser instincts took hold, they wouldn’t trust me, and they wouldn’t work with me anymore. I’m not so much a leader, I’m more of a shepherd. Now all the kernel developers will read that and say, “He’s comparing us to sheep.” It’s more like herding cats.

Sumber : “Linus Torvalds : Benevolent Dictatorship”

ACCIDENTAL REVOLUTIONARY

Meski dianggap sebagai sosok yang membidani lahirnya Linux dan menjadi sistem operasi yang mengancam dominasi Microsoft, Linus menganggap apa yang ia lakukan adalah “Revolusi tidak Sengaja”. Bahkan buku autobiografi yang ia terbitkan bersama David Diammond berjudul : “Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary”.

Saya punya 2 buah buku ini, yang saya pesan dari Amazon. Satu sengaja saya beli sekitar 3 tahun yang lalu saat saya masih bekerja di PT. Multi Sejahtera Abadi (Balrich Logistics) di Tanjung Priok Jakarta Utara dan satunya lagi saya beli akhir bulan lalu, melalui voucher Amazon yang diberikan oleh VMWare sebagai bonus point pada para partner VMWare. Bukunya seperti ini :

vavai-just-for-fun

Buku ini sangat menarik dan menurut saya merupakan salah satu buku wajib yang patut dimiliki oleh para fans Linux karena berisi penjelasan mengenai asal muasal Linux diciptakan, dari sang penciptanya sendiri. Kisah yang diceritakan banyak yang lucu dan membuat kita bisa memahami sosok dan kepribadian Linus Torvalds. Linus bahkan bercerita soal asal mula ia bertemu dengan Tove yang dikemudian hari menjadi isterinya

Terkait dengan “Accidental Revolutionary” dibuku ini diceritakan bahwa Linus awalnya sama sekali tidak berniat membuat sistem operasi. Sebagai mahasiswa di Finlandia tahun 90-an (1990-1991), Linus biasanya membaca berita via internet menggunakan sistem operasi Unix di kampusnya. Masalahnya, musim dingin di Finlandia membuat jarak dari apartment Linus ke kampus menjadi kendala. Daripada harus bolak-balik menempuh udara dingin, Linus memutuskan membuat terminal emulation (emulator), yang bisa dijalankan dari apartment untuk dial in ke Unix di kampus dan kemudian membaca berita via emulator tersebut.

Linus sebenarnya punya komputer dengan sistem operasi DOS namun ia tidak tertarik dengan sistem operasi tersebut dan lebih menyukai Unix. Biaya lisensi Unix cukup mahal karena biasanya dipergunakan untuk skala corporate. Variant Unix yang paling murah adalah Minix buatan Professor Andrew S Tanenbaum yang menggunakan Minix sebagai media pembelajaran bagi mahasiswanya yang belajar sistem operasi komputer. Akhirnya Linus menggunakan Minix sebagai sistem operasi untuk belajar sekaligus membuat emulator terminal.

Emulator yang sederhana ini kemudian berkembang setelah berdasarkan kebutuhan Linus sendiri. Akibat kecelakaan yang tidak disengaja, Linus menghapus sistem operasi Minix yang ia gunakan untuk belajar (dual boot). Daripada menginstall ulang Minix, Linus memutuskan untuk menggunakan Linux dan kemudian mengembangkannya.

Revolusi yang tidak disengaja kan? 🙂

EMAIL YANG MENJADI SEJARAH LAHIRNYA LINUX

Tanggal 25 Agustus 1991, Linus mengirimkan email yang menjadi penanda lahirnya Linux. Isinya sebagai berikut :

Hello everybody out there using minix –

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).

I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

—Linus Torvalds

Lihat tulisan yang saya tebalkan diatas, disitu Linus bilang bahwa Linux itu sekedar hobby, tidak akan sebesar GNU (GNU, tepatnya GNU Hurd adalah sistem operasi Unix-Compliant yang hendak dikembangkan oleh Richard M Stallman, pendiri Free Software Foundation). Nyatanya sekarang, GNU hurd malah tidak selesai meski sebagian besar aplikasi GNU (seperti GCC, VIM, Emacs dll) digunakan di Linux.

Pada email tersebut, Linus juga mengatakana bahwa Linux kemungkinan tidak akan pernah support harddisk selain seri AT, dan bahkan defaultnya hanya bisa digunakan di processor Intel i386. Kenyataannya, sekarang Linux mendukung berbagai macam tipe harddisk dan arsitektur sistem, bukan hanya processor Intel.

LINUX IS OBSOLETE

Di bulan Januari 1992, Professor Andrew S Tanenbaum pembuat Minix yang dipelajari oleh Linus mengirimkan email ke milis Minix (yang juga diikuti oleh Linus) dengan subyek email yang cukup menohok : “Linux is Obsolete”. Pada emailnya, Professor Tanenbaum mengatakan bahwa desain monolithic kernel semacam Linux di tahun 1990-an merupakan “Fundamental Error” dan Linus bisa jadi dapat nilai “F” kalau jadi mahasiswanya.

From: ast@cs.vu.nl (Andy Tanenbaum)
Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
Subject: LINUX is obsolete
Date: 29 Jan 92 12:12:50 GMT

I was in the U.S. for a couple of weeks, so I haven't commented much on LINUX (not that I would have said much had I been around), but for what 
it is worth, I have a couple of comments now.

As most of you know, for me MINIX is a hobby, something that I do in the evening when I get bored writing books and there are no major wars,
revolutions, or senate hearings being televised live on CNN. My real job is a professor and researcher in the area of operating systems.

As a result of my occupation, I think I know a bit about where operating are going in the next decade or so. Two aspects stand out:

1. MICROKERNEL VS MONOLITHIC SYSTEM
   Most older operating systems are monolithic, that is, the whole operating system is a single a.out file that runs in 'kernel mode.'  This binary
   contains the process management, memory management, file system and the rest. Examples of such systems are UNIX, MS-DOS, VMS, MVS, OS/360, 
   MULTICS, and many more.

   The alternative is a microkernel-based system, in which most of the OS runs as separate processes, mostly outside the kernel.  They communicate
   by message passing.  The kernel's job is to handle the message passing, interrupt handling, low-level process management, and possibly the I/O.
   Examples of this design are the RC4000, Amoeba, Chorus, Mach, and the not-yet-released Windows/NT.

   While I could go into a long story here about the relative merits of the two designs, suffice it to say that among the people who actually design
   operating systems, the debate is essentially over.  Microkernels have won. The only real argument for monolithic systems was performance, and there
   is now enough evidence showing that microkernel systems can be just as fast as monolithic systems (e.g., Rick Rashid has published papers comparing
   Mach 3.0 to monolithic systems) that it is now all over but the shoutin'.

   MINIX is a microkernel-based system.  The file system and memory management are separate processes, running outside the kernel.  The I/O drivers are
   also separate processes (in the kernel, but only because the brain-dead nature of the Intel CPUs makes that difficult to do otherwise).  LINUX is
   a monolithic style system.  This is a giant step back into the 1970s. That is like taking an existing, working C program and rewriting it in
   BASIC.  To me, writing a monolithic system in 1991 is a truly poor idea.

2. PORTABILITY
   Once upon a time there was the 4004 CPU.  When it grew up it became an 8008.  Then it underwent plastic surgery and became the 8080.  It begat
   the 8086, which begat the 8088, which begat the 80286, which begat the 80386, which begat the 80486, and so on unto the N-th generation.  In
   the meantime, RISC chips happened, and some of them are running at over 100 MIPS.  Speeds of 200 MIPS and more are likely in the coming years.
   These things are not going to suddenly vanish.  What is going to happen is that they will gradually take over from the 80x86 line.  They will
   run old MS-DOS programs by interpreting the 80386 in software.  (I even wrote my own IBM PC simulator in C, which you can get by FTP from
   ftp.cs.vu.nl =  192.31.231.42 in dir minix/simulator.)  I think it is a gross error to design an OS for any specific architecture, since that is
   not going to be around all that long.

   MINIX was designed to be reasonably portable, and has been ported from the Intel line to the 680x0 (Atari, Amiga, Macintosh), SPARC, and NS32016.
   LINUX is tied fairly closely to the 80x86.  Not the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy with LINUX.  It will get all the people who want to turn MINIX in BSD UNIX off my back.  But in all honesty, I would
suggest that people who want a **MODERN** "free" OS look around for a microkernel-based, portable OS, like maybe GNU or something like that.

Andy Tanenbaum (ast@cs.vu.nl)

P.S. Just as a random aside, Amoeba has a UNIX emulator (running in user space), but it is far from complete.  If there are any people who would
like to work on that, please let me know.  To run Amoeba you need a few 386s, one of which needs 16M, and all of which need the WD Ethernet card.

Email semacam ini, dari seorang professor sistem operasi komputer dan pembuat buku yang menjadi bacaan wajib di Universitas tentunya merupakan surprise yang tidak mengenakan, namun kita bisa melihat respon Linus yang awalnya agak sensi menjadi lebih wise dan perdebatan mereka menunjukkan tingkat intelektual masing-masing. Dari perdebatan yang sangat populer ini kita bisa melihat bahwa perbedaan pendapat bukan merupakan masalah, apalagi jika argumentasi masing-masing disampaikan dalam kalimat-kalimat yang mencerdaskan.

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
Subject: Re: LINUX is obsolete
Date: 29 Jan 92 23:14:26 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki

Well, with a subject like this, I'm afraid I'll have to reply. Apologies to minix-users who have heard enough about linux anyway.  I'd
like to be able to just "ignore the bait", but ...  Time for some serious flamefesting!

In article <12595@star.cs.vu.nl> ast@cs.vu.nl (Andy Tanenbaum) writes:
>
>I was in the U.S. for a couple of weeks, so I haven't commented much on
>LINUX (not that I would have said much had I been around), but for what 
>it is worth, I have a couple of comments now.
>
>As most of you know, for me MINIX is a hobby, something that I do in the
>evening when I get bored writing books and there are no major wars,
>revolutions, or senate hearings being televised live on CNN.  My real
>job is a professor and researcher in the area of operating systems.

You use this as an excuse for the limitations of minix? Sorry, but you loose: I've got more excuses than you have, and linux still beats the
pants of minix in almost all areas.  Not to mention the fact that most of the good code for PC minix seems to have been written by Bruce Evans. 

Re 1: you doing minix as a hobby - look at who makes money off minix, and who gives linux out for free.  Then talk about hobbies.  Make minix
freely available, and one of my biggest gripes with it will disappear. Linux has very much been a hobby (but a serious one: the best type) for
me: I get no money for it, and it's not even part of any of my studies in the university.  I've done it all on my own time, and on my own
machine. 

Re 2: your job is being a professor and researcher: That's one hell of a good excuse for some of the brain-damages of minix. I can only hope (and
assume) that Amoeba doesn't suck like minix does.

>1. MICROKERNEL VS MONOLITHIC SYSTEM

True, linux is monolithic, and I agree that microkernels are nicer. With a less argumentative subject, I'd probably have agreed with most of what
you said. From a theoretical (and aesthetical) standpoint linux looses. If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to
even start my project: the fact is that it wasn't and still isn't. Linux wins heavily on points of being available now.

>   MINIX is a microkernel-based system. [deleted, but not so that you
> miss the point ]  LINUX is a monolithic style system.

If this was the only criterion for the "goodness" of a kernel, you'd be right.  What you don't mention is that minix doesn't do the micro-kernel
thing very well, and has problems with real multitasking (in the kernel).  If I had made an OS that had problems with a multithreading
filesystem, I wouldn't be so fast to condemn others: in fact, I'd do my damndest to make others forget about the fiasco.

[ yes, I know there are multithreading hacks for minix, but they are hacks, and bruce evans tells me there are lots of race conditions ]

>2. PORTABILITY

"Portability is for people who cannot write new programs"
             -me, right now (with tongue in cheek)

The fact is that linux is more portable than minix.  What? I hear you say.  It's true - but not in the sense that ast means: I made linux as
conformant to standards as I knew how (without having any POSIX standard in front of me).  Porting things to linux is generally /much/ easier
than porting them to minix.

I agree that portability is a good thing: but only where it actually has some meaning.  There is no idea in trying to make an operating system
overly portable: adhering to a portable API is good enough.  The very /idea/ of an operating system is to use the hardware features, and hide
them behind a layer of high-level calls.  That is exactly what linux does: it just uses a bigger subset of the 386 features than other
kernels seem to do.  Of course this makes the kernel proper unportable, but it also makes for a /much/ simpler design.  An acceptable trade-off,
and one that made linux possible in the first place.

I also agree that linux takes the non-portability to an extreme: I got my 386 last January, and linux was partly a project to teach me about
it.  Many things should have been done more portably if it would have been a real project.  I'm not making overly many excuses about it
though: it was a design decision, and last april when I started the thing, I didn't think anybody would actually want to use it.  I'm happy
to report I was wrong, and as my source is freely available, anybody is free to try to port it, even though it won't be easy. 

          Linus

PS. I apologise for sometimes sounding too harsh: minix is nice enough if you have nothing else. Amoeba might be nice if you have 5-10 spare
386's lying around, but I certainly don't. I don't usually get into flames, but I'm touchy when it comes to linux :)

Di tahun 2013, 20 tahun setelah perdebatan ini, kita bisa melihat pendapat siapa yang benar dan pendapat siapa yang salah 😉

Link Artikel : “Linux is Obsolete”

Masih ada beberapa cerita menarik seputar Linus, misalnya perkenalan dia pertama kali dengan isterinya yang cukup unik, kemudian respon saudara-saudaranya mengenai keseharian hacker hebat ini serta pengalaman Linux dengan Linus 2.0 alias pengumuman kelahiran bayinya yang diumumkan di milis Kernel Linux serta kegugupan Linus saat pertama kali jadi pembicara. Saya akan menuliskannya lagi setelah mengerjakan pekerjaan administrative di Excellent 🙂

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17 thoughts on “Cerita Unik dan Menarik Seputar Linux : Pernak-Pernik Linus Torvalds Bagian 1

  1. ditunggu tulisan2 selanjutnya gan, apalagi sambungannya yg ini (y)

    btw keren tuh yg debat dgn prof, prof di bidang os pula dan mendunia dgn minixnya kekekekekeke…

    #prof juga manusia, tidak selalu benar.

  2. Pingback: Cerita Unik dan Menarik Seputar Linux : Pernak-Pernik Linus Torvalds Bagian 2 | Bisnis Having Fun

  3. Ini bukan soal “siapa benar siapa salah”, tapi lebih ke “siapa yang dapat merangkul dunia dengan baik”

    Efek Minix relatif terbatas, dibandingkan dengan Linux yang sangat luas

    Pendekatan AST cenderung teoritis, pendekatan Linus relatif praktis. Saya kira keduanya orang-orang hebat di dunianya masing-masing

  4. @Stwn,

    Yang saya tulis benar atau salah bukan “siapa”-nya melainkan “pendapat”-nya. Keduanya punya argumentasi yang benar ditinjau dari disiplin ilmu, namun pendapat AST bahwa : “Linux is Obsolete” sudah terbukti salah.

    Jadi point “salah” saya bukan soal pendapat AST secara keseluruhan melainkan untuk case “Linux is Obsolete” saja.

    Dan, soal kehebatan, keduanya tidak perlu dikira-kira lagi. Keduanya memang orang hebat didunianya masing-masing 😉

    Thanks buat commentnya.

  5. Pingback: Cerita Unik dan Menarik Seputar Linux : Pernak-Pernik Linus Torvalds Bagian 3 | Bisnis Having Fun

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