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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] james on Canonical
Re: [Gnu-arch-users] james on Canonical
Wed, 19 Oct 2005 18:28:36 -0400
[FYI: Many of my questions will sound rhetorical. They are, but only
half. If I have missed something key, then feel free to respond with
honest answers. Otherwise, my objections stand as stated below.]
On Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 09:57:30AM -0700, Thomas Lord wrote:
> What it looks like from here is that Arch enabled Canonical to
> bootstrap quickly and relatively efficiently.
Free software tends to do that. That's the only way the free software
community will ever outpace corporate software -- using each other's
work as shoulders upon which one reaches even higher.
> In what is at least graceless and arguably unprofessional ways y'all
> screwed both the users and the upstream project, thoroughly.
IMO, they didn't screw the users -- at least, not by abandoning baz,
which I have to assume is what you mean. Unless they found some magic
legal way to escape the GPL, anyone is free to pick up their work and
continue or extend it, same as Canonical was free to pick up yours.
Also IMO, they only "screwed" tla by legitimately attracting more
development interest. As far as I can see and extrapolate from
the posts on this list, they did this by themselves paying people
to work on it, by accepting patches, and by creating a more
appealing development platform.
Why is this bad?
If "Canonical" were merely the handle of a user, or a group of users,
I would praise him/her/them without reservation. "He" took a project
that had lots of contributors but little overall progress (that I
could see at the time), branched it, brought in lots of contributions,
and kept it going at full tilt. When "he" inevitably lost interest,
it was up to someone else to pick it up and keep going.
I use Quagga instead of Zebra for this very reason. As I understand
it, Zebra had a very hostile development environment, so some
developers forked it, and have fixed long time bugs and added lots of
much-needed features. I appreciate their efforts, since my current
routing system would not be possible without their work. From what
I've heard, Quagga didn't screw Zebra -- Zebra screwed themselves by
alienating their developers.
This happens all the time. It's the blessing and the curse of free
software -- if you don't like how it works, change it. If you do a
good job of satisfying your developers / users, then people will
migrate to your project. If you don't, someone else takes your place,
whether you like it or not.
Is it somehow suddenly different because "Canonical" is a company?
> You've overgrazed the commons, missed larger opportunities due to a
> misguided interest in starting piss fights, and your biggest impact
> is "nothing but driving a good man from his home."
Writing free software full-time and relying on donations and
sponsorship to keep going is an inherently risky and unstable
proposition. The money may be enough to get by for a while, and one
might enjoy the work, but if donations dry up, one could also be
suddenly "out of a job" at any moment with no warning.
This is undoubtedly why most free software developers I hear about are
either paid for their work on contract/salary, or (more frequently) do
it on top of their day job.
I respect and am grateful for your full-time efforts on arch, without
which I would probably be stuck using a crappy SCM. But I also wonder
if, sitting in the shadow of a successful competitor (especially a
commercial one), it's all too easy to heap the blame on them when
things start to fall apart.
AFAICT, if Canonical hadn't done it, someone else would've. Different
players, different strategy, same effect.
p.s. As for where I stand... tla+fai for most stuff, baz when I need
something unusual. I wouldn't mind some of its features, but I
dislike several of the UI changes. *shrug*
I'm honestly considering studying today's approaches and problems
(with arch as a primary basis), then making my own (on my own
time). Naturally, I hope this does not further "screw" arch. ;)
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