[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Gnu-arch-users] fedora core 2 will include subversion (and not gnu

From: Robin Green
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] fedora core 2 will include subversion (and not gnu arch)
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 00:39:55 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.4i

On Sat, Feb 21, 2004 at 07:37:46PM -0800, Tom Lord wrote:
> the positioning of commercial GNU/Linux distributions as a platform
> for running proprietary applications.  In this trick, commodity
> hardware combined with a GNU/Linux operating system are, for
> customers, just a cost-effective alternative to (for example) running
> Oracle on Solaris.  I find it shocking when vendors embrace this
> strategy while hypocritically claiming to be members of the free
> software community.  RMS has recently written that today's agenda for
> the GNU project is, in part, to finish replacing these unfree programs
> -- if these vendors were not hypocrites, they would be embracing that
> agenda publicly and aggressively rather than building a business
> around "making Oracle deployment more affordable."

That business is a good source of revenue for investing in free
software development. Also, Red Hat may not want to do DBMS
development. They can't do _everything_. It's a bit like saying
"Joe's 1-man Free Software Company is _Evil_ because it is too busy
doing X development to do Y development." Yes, Red Hat is a bit bigger,
but it does have finite resources.

> and by failing
> to work aggressively on the problem of funding free software R&D -- of
> reseeding the commons on which they've sprouted up like predatory
> weeds.


There are some good, innovative developers working at Red Hat.

Or do you mean "They should be working on hard on inventing business
models and handing them to me on a plate so I can make money doing
free software R&D?"

Seeing as arguably no-one else has managed to find sustainable Free Software
business models (outside of the non-profit world, which to my old-
fashioned vocabulary doesn't count as "business models") that would
be _quite_ a tall order to meet.

And quite a bizarre request in a capitalist economy to boot.

> Whenever a programmer decides to answer a bug report or add a feature
> requested by a vendor operating in any of these manners, I think we
> have look at the event with a critical eye.

They are just fwding from a "real user", most likely. Why should we
differentiate between helping "Redhat's users" and "our users"? Aren't
they all (prima facie) equally important? Aren't Redhat, by being so
large, in fact representing N users when they make a RFE (where N is
highly likely to be greater than 1)?

> Whenever one of these
> vendors promotes a project (like fedora) and encourages people to help
> with it, I think we have to ask "who benefits?" 

The whole community, actually. Fedora is a great testing ground and
dispertion mechanism for new projects (potentially). The importance
of distros (and not just Debian with it's bloody unfriendly installer,
thankfully to be replaced by a port from... er.. Red Hat, as it happens)
should _not_ be underestimated!

> What's really going
> on in these situations?  We have vendors who are adopting the legal
> framework of the free software movement

Which is good.

> adopting the rhetoric of the
> free software movement,

Which is excellent publicity. (IBM's ads, 1bn investment, etc.)
Helps with credibility.

> asserting themselves as _leaders_ of the free
> software movement,

Which in RH's case is arguably true.

> directing the labor of contributors to the free
> software movement

Uh, that's kinda how things work in a capitalist economy. Coders get
employed and have to do what the boss says (unless their name is Linus,
then they get to do what they want, allegedly). As for volunteers,
see my comments above on bug reports and RFEs.

> -- and then turning around to use these advantages
> in the market by recreating exactly the sort of user-disempowerment,
> user-dependence, and non-cooperative organization that unfree licenses
> were used to create.

Uh, that's kinda how things work in a capitalist economy. To really
solve this we need a new form of social organisation. Something like...

>  And their building these practices on the backs
> of volunteers.  Something has gone wrong over the years.  The free
> software development volunteers have become little more than the
> unpaid R&D division of a handful of may-as-well-be-unfree vendors.
> How many of you are paid by Red Hat?   How many of you have realistic
> prospects of being paid by Red Hat?   And now -- how many of you write
> software, without compensation, from which Red Hat generates profit?
> And how many of you work on projects whose users don't speak directly
> with your project at all -- but mediate their concerns via Red Hat?

Are you proposing that by refusing to communicate with Red Hat, we
will achieve anything? If so, what exactly do you hope to achieve?

Wouldn't Red Hat just post using psuedonyms? Or (I can hear the RH
alpha geeks now going "Pah! Mailing lists are for mere mortals!")
figure things out themselves?

High quality, well-designed well-documented software with standard
data storage formats and public maillist archives is going to be
easier for Red Hat to support without any help. Advantages which
accrue to "good guys" typically also accrue to "bad guys" and
everyone in between, with free software. That's a fundamental
fact about free software.

> Who gives a flying fuck about fedora?  and why the hell should the
> effort of people wanting to help arch succeed go to fedora?

Because the effort required is tiny and the potential reward -
for arch and for users - is huge exposure.


Attachment: pgpKmC9Kft7uB.pgp
Description: PGP signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]