back to article Roland McGrath steps down as glibc maintainer after 30 years

Open source luminary Roland McGrath has decided “enough is enough” – after 30 years on the GNU compiler library project. As a teenager in 1987 – working back from the age he gives in his mailing list post, as a 15-year-old, in fact – McGrath began writing glibc, and he reckons that devoting “two thirds of my lifespan so far” …

  1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Exceptional. Right now I'm trying to remember the last time someone stepped down from something, on their own accord, while declaring that they do so because things will work at least just as well without them.

    1. Michael Hoffmann
      Trollface

      Roman emperor Diocletian?

      1. EddieD

        "Roman emperor Diocletian?"

        I gave you an upvote for knowledge, as it slightly outweighed my instinct to give you a downvote for being a smartarse.

      2. Named coward

        Diocletian

        He retired because he was sick (and possibly coerced), and after he retired his system collapsed...hardly a great example

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Roman emperor Diocletian?"

        Funny you should say that! I was just thinking, "What did glibx ever do for us?" :-)

    2. Nick Kew

      @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      It's actually quite usual in the Open Source world.

      The thirty years is much more unusual. Few developers even had exposure to open source in the '80s: if he had not merely hardware but also connectivity as a teenager, it tells us there was something exceptional about his home and parents.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        ISTR a lot of 'open source' software in the 80s. A lot of things were available for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery. From academic institutions largely and too bit to run on early PC's but loads of it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

          like KERMIT :)

          I got Uni to pull a tape copy when I did my industrial placement. I put KERMIT on a Sperry 1100/70 (if memory served) and was able to pull/push files to a PC better than the supplied Sperry kit.

          I then sent my modifications back to Columbia, where they are immortalised - with my name - in May 1987.

          It makes it easy when people younger than 30 ask "what experience do you have ?"

          1. Linker3000

            Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

            Ditto - I received the full Kermit dump on a 2400' tape from Lancaster Uni so I could pull out the version for the VAX 11/750 I managed at the time. Happy days!

        2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

          Re: @ allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Same recollections here.

          In the 68xx / 68xxx world there were free compilers, OS extensions and other code described and distributed via notices and articles in the '68Microjournal, mainly for the FLEX and OS/9 operating systems. COTS hardware was mostly Tandy ColorComputer and Dragon machines, but a lot of us used single board or SS-50 bus based kit, either bought as complete boards or, more commonly, self-assembled from kits and debugged with multimeter and logic probe. That was quite easy with 1-2 Mhz clock speeds and and traditional DIL chips, but much more difficult and expensive now everything is tiny surface-mount chips and Ghz clock speeds: check out the cost of a 'scope capable of dealing with these speeds!

          When we got modems we also got the Kermit remote access and file transfer system, maintained by Columbia University, but of course floppies distributed by sneakernet and post probably moved more stuff than a 2400baud modem could manage.

        3. Stevie Silver badge

          Re:ISTR a lot of 'open source' software in the 80s

          I'll bet you didn't know that Sperry/Unisys were open source (not so much since the "new brooms" post '86).

          You paid for the O/S, but Sperry would let you have full access to the source so you could f*ck about with it.

          They just said that if you did mess with the code, you did so via a provided mechanism. You could bodge the code directly, but you were on your own if you did and it went TITSUP.

          Quite a shock for me to move over to an IBM technology that was black-boxed to Hellenbach.

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: It's actually quite usual in the Open Source world.

        There's a difference between walking away and rage quitting.

    3. Korev Silver badge

      This is the responsible thing to do, there should always be someone ready to take over at a moment's notice. What would happen if Linus or a similar person got knocked down by a bus?

      1. Bob Hoskins

        This is the responsible thing to do, there should always be someone ready to take over at a moment's notice. What would happen if Linus or a similar person got knocked down by a bus?

        PARTY!

        1. yossarianuk

          > What would happen if Linus or a similar person got knocked down by a bus?

          Greg would take over - he's almost the polar opposite personality.

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/17/now_i_can_die_happy_what_linus_didnt_iquitei_say/

      2. Weiss_von_Nichts

        There'll be a systemd service for it...

      3. Robert Moore
        Coat

        What would happen if Linus ... got knocked down by a bus?

        The Linux kernel mailing list would suddenly become much more polite?

      4. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Meh

        >What would happen if Linus or a similar person got knocked down by a bus?

        Where is Mr Reiser ?

        1. FrankAlphaXII

          I know where he is

          Prison

      5. FrankAlphaXII

        Well in Linus' case, I'm pretty sure Greg Kroah-Hartman or maybe Andrew Morton would take over, or turn development leadership into a committee sort of like how FreeBSD governs itself.

    4. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Exceptional.

      "Exceptional. Right now I'm trying to remember the last time someone stepped down from something, on their own accord, while declaring that they do so because things will work at least just as well without them."

      Carl Kasell, of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

      Oh, you meant the prima-donnas infesting the computing world. Yeah. You're right there.

      Thanks, Roland McGrath for your efforts. I'm not a 'c' programmer but thanks to people like you digging in, I have a brand new (as in about three hours old) Linux Mint up and running on a reconditioned laptop, ready to become both an evaluation of Mint and a lab for learning about Oracle installation (in the absence of actual training and/or a lab machine being provided for me by the idiots I work for).

      Have a nice rest and do something that hasn't gotten old for you.

  2. Tim99 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thank you Roland.

    That is all.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    An astonishing feat

    And given the number of titanic egoes in this business an astonishingly humble one.

    Real managers plan for and prepare for the day when they will leave and ensure that (in the nicest possible way) they will not be missed.

    Roland was a real manager.

  4. Black Rat
    Pint

    Somebody Please

    Buy that man a beer

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Somebody Please

      Me too.

      Also, donate to the FSF or wherever.

      1. Bob Hoskins

        Re: Somebody Please

        That's a terror group. You watch out.

  5. Bob Hoskins

    Finally!

    Maybe someone can get it working now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally!

      @Bob Hoskins: There is a troll icon available, you know.

  6. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    @Bob Hoskins:

    I work with a java coder who has been attempting to write C code. He also insists that glibc is horrible.

    I try not to point out to him the dep tree for java on linux.

  7. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    Pint

    Great job

    Fair winds and following seas, mate. Hoping your next years are a blast.

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