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Raymond Knocks Fedora, Switches to Ubuntu 608

Posted by Zonk
from the one-unhappy-penguin dept.
narramissic writes "After 13 years as a loyal Red Hat user, Eric Raymond, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, is switching to the Ubuntu distribution. In a message distributed to Linux mailing lists and news organizations, Raymond cited technical issues with Red Hat, such as the way repositories are maintained, the submission process and 'stagnant' development of Red Hat's packaging technology, as well as governance problems, the failure to gain desktop market share and the failure to include proprietary media formats. 'Over the last five years, I've watched Red Hat/Fedora throw away what was at one time a near-unassailable lead in technical prowess, market share and community prestige,' Raymond wrote. 'The blunders have been legion on both technical and political levels.'"
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Raymond Knocks Fedora, Switches to Ubuntu

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  • Fedora Responds (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spacemky (236551) * <nick AT aryfi DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:30PM (#18114144) Homepage Journal
    The fedora-devel-list [redhat.com] has already responded to this, as well as Alan Cox [reddit.com] himself.

    Personally, I'd like to see ESR's response to these rebuffs.
    • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:4, Insightful)

      by chill (34294) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:40PM (#18114322) Journal
      Yeah, and two replies deep -- after one anti-socialist rant -- gets you to this:

      https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/ 2007-February/msg01083.html [redhat.com]

      That is a telling thread and validates part of what Eric is saying:

      "After thirteen years as a loyal Red Hat and Fedora user, I reached my
      limit today, when an attempt to upgrade one (1) package pitched me
      into a four-hour marathon of dependency chasing, at the end of which
      an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system
      unusable."

      Flat out, that should have never been allowed to happen. The fact that it can, and did, highlights what is a fundamental problem with package management on Fedora/Red Hat.
      • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sprag (38460) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:43PM (#18114362)
        He used --force or --nodeps when removing that package. It tried to stop him and he overrode it.

          Better disable 'cat' since it can be used to erase your hard drive!
        • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:00PM (#18114672) Homepage Journal

          He used --force or --nodeps when removing that package. It tried to stop him and he overrode it. Better disable 'cat' since it can be used to erase your hard drive!

          If the system leaves you no choice but to override it because it is doing something wrong, and YOU do something wrong, who is at fault? Answer: everyone.

          The system is fucking stupid because it still leaves you in dependency hell. I don't really know how people can find the stomach to dispute that. It's like when some program bluescreens windows and people make excuses for it. "Well the program did such and such"... fuck you! No program should ever be able to crash any OS. Mind you, there are ways to panic Linux, as well. I just like to bring up the BSOD whenever possible, since we see it so often, or would if XP didn't default to immediate reboot. And sometimes even then the system crashes so hard it can't reboot itself anyway.

          If the system is so broken that it forces the user to do unsupported things, the system needs replacing whether the user is culpable or not.

          • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Informative)

            by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:30PM (#18115128) Homepage Journal
            I agree. The absolute decay of the Fedora package repositories and the total and utter stagnation of RPM were my two biggest reasons from moving away from Fedora Core to Ubuntu. I should never have to chase down dependencies -- ever. Especially not for a package that is considered core to the GNOME desktop. Maybe apt and the Ubuntu/Debian package repositories have me absolutely spoiled, but then again, how is Linux ever going to gain desktop marketshare with attitudes like: "Oh, well, just add this switch to your yum command-line to add the updates-testing repository to your update command and that'll work around the problem." The system should make life easy for me.

            I don't have a computer so I can go around chasing problems all the time.I need to do real work, and the package system is the LAST thing that should get in my way.

            I'm not saying Ubuntu is perfect by any stretch. But in the two years I've been using it, I've only seen one update that caused any problems at all and the mailing lists were filled with "don't update package so-and-so because it is broken" the day the bad package was released, a workaround for those who did get the update was posted just after that, and a fixed package was ready by the next morning. I'm just not seeing that level of response out of the Fedora camp.
          • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fangorious (1024903) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:40PM (#18115296)
            Using a dependency resolver like Apt or Yum, I've never suffered dependency hell. Because I'm not retarded enough to add 40 different repos with incompatible builds of the same packages. You pick a set of repos that are intended to work with each other, or you go straight to the owner of the software being package and build your own (or in the event of proprietary software you ask them to provide a build for your distribution). What was the one package he wanted to ugprade? What repo provided it? Why did he use --force and/or --nodeps?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Coryoth (254751)

              Because I'm not retarded enough to add 40 different repos with incompatible builds of the same packages. You pick a set of repos that are intended to work with each other, or you go straight to the owner of the software being package and build your own (or in the event of proprietary software you ask them to provide a build for your distribution).

              That still leaves room for a potentially legitimate complaint - that the available repositories are poorly organised or too small and don't provide the software re

              • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Informative)

                by fangorious (1024903) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:20PM (#18117130)

                But it's not the fault of Fedora or Ubuntu if two different people setup their own public repository with incompatible versions of packages not in the core repo. It's not even the fault of the individual repo maintainers, because they build all their own packages compatible with the base and with themselves. It's the fault of the user for not being aware of what they're installing. That problem exists on any platform. How many people do you see with Windows boxes laoded with spyware/adware and an inability to play a handful of avi file because they installed 3 different kazaavideocodec packages that were incompatible? It sure was easy to install but not much more usable (in my experience). That's not the fault of Microsoft. I've had the same thing happen on my Mac. It wasn't Apple's fault, it was my fault for installing too much incompatible 3rd party stuff.

                There was an effort put forth, last time I used Fedora Core, for the most popular 3rd party repo maintainers to standardize how the built packages and how they versioned their packages, so that the repos would be compatible. But it didn't entirely work, because one of them didn't want to join the club. If memory serves, that lone standout was Livna, which I think somewhat/halfway became Fedora Extras (haven't used Fedora since FC3 I think, might have tried 4). The only thing Fedora can do is maintain a list of 3rd party repo maintainers who are certified compatible with each other on a particular release. Beyond that it's up to the user. Just like on Windows and Mac.

                The issue of repos is more visible in Linux because more often than not people on Mac and Windows get extra software direct from the software provider. If you need divx you got to divx.com. If you need The only real exception I can think of is people who are heavy into p2p and get media codec/player packs from their favorite p2p sites. On Linux the model is usually add repo X, install package Y.

          • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:17PM (#18115828) Homepage Journal

            The system is fucking stupid because it still leaves you in dependency hell. I don't really know how people can find the stomach to dispute that. It's like when some program bluescreens windows and people make excuses for it. "Well the program did such and such"... fuck you!

            Know what I like about you, Martin? We can never tell what you're really thinking. You bear the inscrutability of the Orient, the stolid face of The Gambler. Very few will ever discern your true feelings from the subtle hints you leave behind.

          • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

            by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:54PM (#18118320) Homepage Journal

            Keywords like -force are there for a reason. They're intended for use by someone who knows what they're doing. The system didn't force ESR to use them, it simply was the case that ESR didn't know what he needed to do and used the wrong "system override" to try to do it. Ordinary users would, quite simply, never have destroyed their system in the way ESR did, because of some limitation being imposed by their system.

            It's a little like someone thinking that the way to change the root password is to vi /etc/passwd and insert "secret123" in the second column. By the time they're realized they're not the expert they thought they were, it's too late. And the real answer was to use the "passwd" tool. Why did they do it? Maybe there was a bug in the OS. Perhaps "passwd" didn't work, and so they edited /etc/passwd instead. But why the hell would they edit it? Why not report the problem and let someone who knows what the actual issue is get them the fix?

            Alan Cox actually does a reasonable job of explaining why ESR has, essentially, blamed the wrong people for this here [redhat.com]. There was a problem. Instead of ESR asking for help, he blindly used the sledgehammer to try to fix the issue himself, despite not knowing what the problem was and what the consequences would be of him using the sledgehammer.

            Realistically, I don't think this has anything to do with ESR having a package management meltdown. On some level I suspect ESR knows full well that an ordinary user would never have pulled the same stunt he did, and that he bears the consequences for screwing with something he really didn't know enough about. I think this has to do with being frustrated and "out of love" with Fedora, in much the same way as marriages often break apart supposedly because He never passes the sugar, or She never makes the tea. Ubuntu? Well, of course, it's different, it's popular, and it's populist.

            I just don't see the need for press attention over it, or the drama queen act.

            • ESR has so far refused to clarify if he was running the current stable relase Fedora Core 6, or the completely bleeding-edge rawhide [lwn.net]

              Raw Hide Can Be a Bit Tough to Chew on So Run at Your Own Risk (and Enjoyment) These releases have not been quality tested by Red Hat's Quality Assurance team. They may not boot. If they boot, they may not install. If they install, they may not do anything other then waste CPU cycles. If anything breaks, you most assuredly own the many fragments which will be littered acro

      • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tenchiken (22661) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:50PM (#18114454)
        I would just point out that Alan Cox's statement is the exact reason Fedora has been loosing seats to Ubuntu as rapidly as possible. Never mind that that he ignores all real problems that led me to leave Feodora for Ubuntu, he focuses on the multimedia codecs issue, and issues a screed against open source. That arrogance is what led Fedora to it's current shrinking place in the world.

        • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Doctor Memory (6336) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:10PM (#18114796)

          I would just point out that Alan Cox's statement is the exact reason Fedora has been loosing [sic] seats to Ubuntu as rapidly as possible
          Well, I wouldn't say that's the exact reason... I've noticed on several OSS support forums that Fedora seems to be one of the most problematic distros. People have problems installing stuff, configuring stuff, things hang or eat tons of CPU time, and just generally don't work properly. And, while I've never see anyone come right out and say "You need to move to another distro", lots of times the threads will end with "I see on the project bug list that this is a known problem with Fedora Core"...

          So I don't think any mass exodus is solely based on political ideals...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by caseih (160668)
        This can happen to any number of packaging systems, including your beloved Ubuntu or Debian. In fact, a few years back I tried to install Debian on a Sparc system, and ran into all kinds of dependency hell trying to get a somewhat modern version of Gnome. The problems aren't with any packaging system per se; they are in the repositories and systems of repositories.

        And I love your assertion about "that should have *never* been allowed to happen." I believe certain people should *never* be allowed to touch
      • Noob alert (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sleepy (4551) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:30PM (#18117734) Homepage
        (not you, the parent poster).

        Reading Eric's message, did anyone get CHILLS down their spine? ...at the end of which an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system unusable."

        ACTUALLY, it was using --force that rendered the system unusable. It's called a SAFETY mechanism.

        Quick... someone give this man a nail gun, and show him how 'limiting' it is that the nailgun has to make contact with wood before firing. Someday, we'll read about how ESR dropped something out his car door, reach for it without using PARK, and then we'll hear about how his CAR rendered his shooting finger "unusable". It's always someone else's fault Eric.

        There used to be a name for users like this on IRC. I remember seeing new Debian users who install Debian stable, then wontonly mix in Debian Unstable and nightly. The next time they did an apt-get update, this class of user would demand to know why "apt broke my system".

        This guy is a poster child for why conservative managers stick with Windows. It's been YEARS since he wrote anything that was genuinely useful and NOT designed to get a headline ('zork' style kernel config manus, anyone?). Did anyone else get a laugh on at the Fedora list quote, how 2006 New Years Resolution was to help the Fedora package folks? Gee it's 2007 now.

        Every word or letter from him is blatent self promootion, and should be viewed with the same skepticism reserved for Paul Therriot and their kind. Right now it appears Ubuntu is becoming more popular than Fedora (or at least there's that PERCEPTION), and this alone is ESR's motive for switching.

        • Re:Noob alert (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bilbo (7015) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:46PM (#18118280) Homepage
          Wish I had some moderator points to push parent up.

          I don't think I'd be quite as hard on ESR as you are -- I still like some of his classics -- but you're right about his tirades, and more recently about his self-serving editorials. He's likely to latch on to any little thing he doesn't like in a system and go on and on about it like it's the end of the world. There's not a package management tool in the universe that will completely get you around all the complexities of maintaining a system, especially if all the package creators aren't really careful. Do you remember him going on and on about CUPS? Now, I hate CUPS too, but he went absolutely ballistic, about calling it one of the worst software packages in the history of the industry.

          I think he's more interested in headlines than he is about shedding light on the subject. He's long been at odds with the more purist philosophies of people like Cox and RMS, and has made no attempt to hide his beliefs that Free and Proprietary should "learn to get along with each other."

          I think he's just looking for a reason to bash Red Hat's "Pure Free Software" stance.

    • s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:3, Insightful)

      One could easily use ESR's accusations about Fedora on himself too.

      He went from a technically superior person wiith use positive impact and a great standing in the OSS community to a cynical self-promoting has-been.

      • Re:s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:4, Insightful)

        by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:54PM (#18115494) Journal
        I really don't care who that person is, or who he was. I will judge his arguments based on the arguments only. Even if he is Lucifer himself, that doesn't make his arguments any less or more valid. Learn to avoid ad-hominen attacks, learn to argue the issue and not hte person. That's the only way to get some value from the clash of opinions.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by PCM2 (4486)

          Even if he is Lucifer himself, that doesn't make his arguments any less or more valid.

          Umm... I think by definition that actually would make his arguments less valid.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by otis wildflower (4889)
            Umm... I think by definition that actually would make his arguments less valid.

            IFF they were based on a lie. Otherwise it's just more ad-hominem hijinx. Ala "Vegetarians are evil because Hitler was a vegetarian": it might be fun, but it's not necessarily valid logic.

            I don't recall any lies in TFA, but it's getting late and MEGO...

        • Re:s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:4, Informative)

          by kosmosik (654958) <kos@@@kosmosik...net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:20PM (#18116528) Homepage
          But his two main arguments are not valid:

          1. He stated that his system got trashed because of what he did and said that it is Fedora fault. And nothing else. He didnt tell what he did exactly. So you can or cannot belive him. But he has not given any details. He said something like "I did something and then my system crashed". But he did'nt specify if he did "rm / -rf" or "apt get update kernel". So this argument is shallow.

          2. He stated some retarded stuff about Fedora not including WMF support. First of all I think he mistook WMF with Windows Media. Secondly he stated that Ubuntu provides support for given WMF and Fedora doesn't. Either Fedora and Ubuntu support WMF. Either Fedora and Ubundtu do not support Windows Media.

          So he *is* basically stupid because all he said is plain false.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not very impressed with Alan Cox's response [redhat.com], especially considering he sent it from his redhat.com email address.

      That sort of rudeness is not needed between a representative of a major open source company and its customers/users. It doesn't matter how much Alan has contributed to Linux, or how much he dislikes ESR, or how much he supports Fedora Core. His response was not needed, and reflects badly on himself, Red Hat, and Fedora Core.

      ESR isn't the only person who has experienced some pretty serious pro
    • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity@@@sbcglobal...net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:13PM (#18115766) Homepage Journal
      I think Alan Cox's comment pretty much validated what ESR said, so for ESR to respond would be redundant.

      ESR said he wants an OS that does what he wants it to do, rather than doing things according to a moral code. Cox said he wants an OS to do things according to a moral code, even if it means he's not able to do some things you want to do.

      They agree that they disagree. What more is there to say?
    • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Interesting)

      by otis wildflower (4889) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:17PM (#18115826) Homepage
      Well, at least he has the rocks to put up a cogent flame about it.

      Nonconfrontational folks like me just get fed up with the puritanical bullshit about MP3 playback and NVidia drivers, buy a Macbook, and have done with it.

      I'd have said go Gentoo, which I did for awhile (abandoned about 1yr ago), but I find OS X just a whole lot less stressful than dealing with Yet Another Buggy App or Yet Another Goddamn Artsd Collision or Yet Another Flash Thing That Doesn't Work Well With Linux or Yet Another Codec That Isn't Available On Linux Without Getting The Stinkeye From RMS or Yet Another Ban From WoW For Cedega Use or or or or...

      And I may roll with CentOS at work, but I have no illusions of any 'normals' being happy with it. Even with my pymp'd Baghira themes!

      Crap, gotta kill artsd again...
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:56PM (#18116870) Homepage Journal
      LWN ran this a day or two ago, and their headline was ESR's Farewell Letter. I had such great expectations for a moment, until I read the article :-)
  • Truly an American icon.
  • Why make a stink? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnowZero (92219) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:33PM (#18114186)
    Can't a prominent OSS person just switch anymore? It seems like they have to make a big political stink out of it. It's really too bad that people can't leave when things are still amicable, and instead they let it boil over to a traditional email flame-fest by the time they act.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sprag (38460)
      Its because ESR is a self-important asshat and instead of just quietly slipping away he issues the equivalent of a press release.
      • by jackharrer (972403) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:45PM (#18114380)
        He chose to make it public to show what he's fighting for. He wants Linux to get real, not to be totally out of touch with reality. We need proprietary software, and very often, they need Linux. It's not about fighting with them - it's about cooperating.
        • Re:Why make a stink? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mrcparker (469158) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:06PM (#18114744)

          He chose to make it public to show what he's fighting for. He wants Linux to get real, not to be totally out of touch with reality. We need proprietary software, and very often, they need Linux. It's not about fighting with them - it's about cooperating.
          Haha. Sure he did.

          He also just happened to join the Freespire board [desktoplinux.com]. Freespire is Linspire, a company which just signed a deal with Ubuntu [desktoplinux.com]. hrmm

          His argument was a bit valid, but it is not Red Hat's fault - it is the people who own all of the little Fedora repositories that have not really worked well together. Fedora is about software freedom, and Eric cares about getting Linux everywhere no matter what. I am not really sure where ESR stands on the whole freedom argument, or if he only cares about challenging Microsoft.
    • by garcia (6573)
      Can't a prominent OSS person just switch anymore? It seems like they have to make a big political stink out of it. It's really too bad that people can't leave when things are still amicable, and instead they let it boil over to a traditional email flame-fest by the time they act.

      Because it all online circles (just as in real life) people are obsessed with drama. My opinion isn't only limited to the major players but to everyone on the lists/forums/sites they post to.

      It's really disappointing that people ca
    • Re:Why make a stink? (Score:5, Informative)

      by rainman_bc (735332) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:06PM (#18114746)
      Can't a prominent OSS person just switch anymore?

      Exactly. And for that matter, why the hell should Linus care what DE I ( and a great deal of people ) like to use? Just because Linus likes KDE doesn't mean Gnome is a POS.

      Still, I have to agree with Raymond - you are almost forced to use third party repositories like freshrpms or dag because the repositories just plain suck.

      Then you get stuck in dependency hell because one site doesn't necessarily use the same package names as the other.

      And where the hell is Firefox 2 for Fedora anyway? They decided that we don't need it and they're going to hold out for Firefox 3? What the hell's that all about anyway?
  • by B_tace (802354)
    This is one guy, but! Over the last few years, I have seen much more Linux and Unix devotees switch to Macs than Ubuntu.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Over the last few years, I have seen much more Linux and Unix devotees switch to Macs than Ubuntu.

      I've certainly seen the same thing. I know about 100 people who have switched to OS X in the last few years and I know 1 person who went back to Linux. Most of these people are Linux developers, writing software for Linux servers, using OS X desktops. For myself, I rely upon OS X more and more on the desktop and I migrated my Linux desktop from a separate box running Fedora to a Kubuntu install in a VM on top of OS X. The list of desktop apps I still use it for has shrunk to pretty much gimp, inkscape, an

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:35PM (#18114224) Homepage Journal

    I want to know WTF Cox is talking about when he says that "The moment Fedora includes non-free stuff it becomes a problem for all the people who redistribute and respin it". The people who respin it aren't your problem. You're not obligated to support them. They're making a derivative let them derive. The people who redistribute don't have a problem so long as your licensing agreement permits redistribution. As for the statement "it becomes unfair in the proprietary world in the eyes of everyone who didn't get included", uh, so? Life isn't fair. Love isn't fair. Nothing important is. If they want to court redhat users, they can do that without any help from redhat.

    • by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:55PM (#18114562) Homepage
      It becomes a problem when the goal of Fedora is to use Free Software. Cox et al. give a damn about making it easy for people to make derivative distros. Would you fault Debian for being the same way? They're even worse than Fedora when it comes to non-free software.

      Fedora has a goal of making it easy to distribute derivatives, just as ESR has different goals of functionality at the expense of freedom. Neither is wrong or right, just different.
  • Yay community (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:37PM (#18114254) Journal
    It's always interesting to observe the reaction of the people who supposedly make up the "open source community" when these things happen. On the original article and on the OSNews post as well the general attitude is the same that I saw when ESR dared criticize the CUPS GUI - he's a "fucking idiot", essentially.

    While I am normally amused at the cries of "FUD" whenever someone outside the user/developer community criticizes anything that has to do with open source (especially when the criticism is a valid one), things like these I think pretty much paint a picture of a group of people who've become institutionally incapable of absorbing and incorporating criticism of any sort, no matter who it emanates from. One would think Raymond is among the few people who have earned the right to say "wow, this sucks and needs to change". The recent back-and-forth between Torvalds and GNOME is another good example.

    Maybe is the mythic "vociferous minority" that also pollutes teh interwebs with the "M$ IS TEH SUXX LINUX ROOLZ" mantra, but whatever it is, it looks damn bad.

    • Re:Yay community (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hexix (9514) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:57PM (#18114596) Homepage

      In this case he announced that he's switching Linux distributions and flamed RedHat/Fedora for the problems it has as he sees it. But he's switching to another Linux distribution, so that seems to reason that he views the problems he has with being fixed in this other distribution. So what's with the drama if there's a solution?

      I can understand the CUPS thing, or if he took on the state of software installation on Linux as a whole, but he's not. He's simply crying about something to see if he's popular enough to get a reaction.

      Hopefully this is the last time he'll be able to get news for throwing a tantrum. He's really not an important figure in the Free Software world anymore, as much as he wishes he was.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jimicus (737525)
        You tried Redhat lately? I'd say they basically lost it a few years ago, shortly after spinning off fedora (and the warning signs had been there for some time before).

        Mandrake and YellowDog had done a lot to obviate the most glaring deficiences in rpm with urpmi and yum, but things were still a long way from being perfect.

        Now as a Linux user, I find that whenever I want to use anything RedHat based (eg. Fedora, CentOS) frustrating because it's missing fundamental packages which I need. That's OK, I can li
    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bastian (66383) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:28PM (#18115106)
      One of the things that has amazed me about the Linux community (and really, it seems to be a Linux thing; other open-source apps seem to be able to weather honest critiques without all the knee-jerk bile spewing) is its inability to stomach criticism. I read ESR's article, and regardless of what someone might feel about his personality, the article and its writing made sense.

      He gave a very reasoned explanation for why he left, and one that deserves consideration. I know I ditched RPM distros for the same reason years ago, and if he's complaining about the same things that I was experiencing back around the turn of the century then I'm very willing to believe his allegation that package management on RH/Fedora has been stagnant for a long time.

      Meanwhile, the overwhelming color of the response has been people attacking ESR's personality rather than trying to speak to his criticism. Like you said, it makes us look damn bad. Moreover, it should serve as evidence that ESR is right to any outside observer, since character assassination is usually only used by people who can't actually refute a person's arguments.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nick.ian.k (987094)

      It's always interesting to observe the reaction of the people who supposedly make up the "open source community" when these things happen. On the original article and on the OSNews post as well the general attitude is the same that I saw when ESR dared criticize the CUPS GUI - he's a "fucking idiot", essentially.

      I think that has to do with the fact that ESR is a high-profile guy in the so-called community that has a tendency to get really "bitchy" (I quote because I don't entirely mean it, but it's sort o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      One would think Raymond is among the few people who have earned the right to say "wow, this sucks and needs to change". The recent back-and-forth between Torvalds and GNOME is another good example.

      I'd be lying if I said that I thought this whole exchange looked at all mature. My first reaction to seeing the Slashdot headline was along the lines of Why the hell should I care what ESR thinks? And I still don't care what he thinks... if he wants to move from Fedora then good for him. But a few Fedora user

  • by mhall119 (1035984) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:38PM (#18114266) Homepage Journal
    What with all the Ubuntu stories of late, far outnumbering the Red Hat/Fedora stories, shouldn't we get a Ubuntu logo on these articles now?
  • I'm not very familiar with Fedora, so the "proprietary formats" complaint intrigues me, since Ubuntu doesn't strike me as particularly proprietary-format friendly... it's based on friggin' Debian, after all.

    How is Ubuntu going to be any better at supporting proprietary formats? It sure doesn't support any "out-of-the-box" (er... from a fresh install) -- you have to add multiverse to your sources list in order to get access to them. (Or you can use Automatix, but that's hardly an "official" part of the distr
    • by chill (34294) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:50PM (#18114450) Journal
      Ubuntu has signed on to use Linspire's Click-N-Run.

      Inside CNR are some things like a legally licensed MP3 plug-in and DVD player. I believe the DVD player was a plug-in for Xine and cost $4.95. Click, buy, done. It was really that simple. I was watching DVDs on a Linspire system in minutes and it was worlds ahead of adding DVD playback on Windows.

      So, yes. Ubuntu and Linspire both have a very simple framework for dealing with commercial and proprietary software that Fedora and Red Hat do not.
      • ... it's an interesting one to be sure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by crabpeople (720852)

        "I believe the DVD player was a plug-in for Xine and cost $4.95."

        Cool! Got a torrent?

  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chaoticgeek (874438)
    I really want to know why anyone cares what anyone else is using for their computers? It does not matter and does not affect me so why should I care. Why should there even be an article on this topic. I change my mind all the time does that mean I should submit articles to slashdot about where I'm going to eat tonight? What video card I'm going to buy? I just think people should get their own lives and learn to think for their self. It makes no difference what anyone else uses for their OS.

    No I'm not trying
    • by timotten (5411) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:38PM (#18115248) Homepage
      But I'll tell you what - after seeing slashdot, and this here story I'm about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin' every bit as stupefyin' as you'd seen in any of them other places. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin' like the good Lord gypped me. Now this here story I'm about to unfold took place in the late '90s - just about the time of our conflict with Milo and the Kosovars. I only mention it because sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? Sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about ESR here - ESR from slashdot. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's ESR. ESR, from slashdot. And even if he's a drama queeen - and ESR was most certainly that. Quite possibly the drama queeniest in all of slashdot, which would place him high in the runnin' for drama queeniest worldwide. Sometimes there's a man, sometimes, there's a man. Well, I lost my train of thought here. But... aw, hell. I've done introduced it enough...
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:53PM (#18116260) Journal
      Because it's Eric S. Raymond! The Eric S. Raymond! Author of 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar' and... umm... that fetchmail thing? And...Eric S. Raymond! And he hasn't really been in the news much since he told everyone to abandon the GPL in 2005, so he needs a bit of a publicity boost, just to remind everyone that he's Eric S. Raymond and he's still terribly, terribly relevant to... something.
  • Oh gawd no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moranar (632206) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:45PM (#18114374) Homepage Journal
    Now we'll enjoy his enlightened commentary on the Ubuntu MLs. How many variations on the theme "you don't subscribe my opinion, therefore you're a bumbling fool" will we have to suffer before he jumps ship again? ESR, LFS is over there ->!
  • I don't blame him (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cthefuture (665326) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:46PM (#18114394)
    I have never been a RedHat (I'm including Fedora here) fan. I have run almost every version since the beginning because I'm a consultant and RedHat/Fedora is one of the "standard" Linux distros that some companies use. RedHat based systems have always had two basic problems:

    1. The install is non-standard. They move stuff into wierd locations and often you have to add special considerations to your build process to make it work on RedHat based systems.

    2. The packaging system sucks donkey balls! I can't stress that enough. RPM is awful. They have tried to fix it with all sorts of tacked on systems but they all suck. They're always slow as hell and the dependancy system often doesn't work right. I mean the term "RPM hell" was coined for a reason.

    But I am biased because I started with Slackware (basically before there was anything else) and went to Debian not long after. Although I have tried many, many distros over the last 15 years I always come back to Debian based systems. Ubuntu is what I run now because it has the goodness of Debian with a better/faster development model.

    I saw the response to Raymond's comments. It's always the "do the right thing" argument which is valid but I believe there needs to be a balance between reality and complete fanaticism. Windows is a commercial product from an "evil" corporation yet they are still top dog dispite morally attractive alternatives. There are many good valid reasons behind that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:46PM (#18114396)
    Same thing I posted to LWN yesterday --

      ESR seems to be very unprofessional and childish. Examples:

    * Regularly sends "open letters", ostensibly to some party he disagrees with, but really to the public. These should either be privately directed to the intended party, or should be addressed to the public.

    * Sends this drive-by flame about how he is switching to Ubuntu, without mentioning his financial relationships with Linspire, and by extension, Canonical.

    * Makes a speech about how Linux should have nonfree codecs WITHOUT disclosing his financial relationship with a distro that specializes in that. It comes out some time later.

    * Made up that stupid story about how Bill Gates insulted him at a conference once, and told it to lots of reporters.

    * Threatens people with physical/gun violence (like Bruce Perens), thus hurting the cause of gun rights which he seems to care about.

    * His obnoxious "travel rules" -- http://www.catb.org/~esr/travelrules.html [catb.org]

    * Claims to speak for everyone in "his movement". Uses "we" a lot when making claims.

    * Changed the statement in the jargon file that most hackers tend to be somewhat libertarian, which is probably true, whether you agree with that philosophy or not, to read that most hackers are Neoconservative, which is demonstrably false, again whether or not you agree with that philosophy. He did this because he HIMSELF had become a neoconservative and warblogger.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bazman (4849)
      His travel rules might explain why his list of speaking engagements seems to start and stop at 2004.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbobeck (926553)

      Changed the statement in the jargon file that most hackers tend to be somewhat libertarian, which is probably true, whether you agree with that philosophy or not, to read that most hackers are Neoconservative, which is demonstrably false...

      Not quite. The exact wording is (From http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/politics.html [catb.org] ):

      Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative (hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism). There is a strong libertarian contingent which rej

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic (135348)
      ESR really likes to rewrite history with his jargon file. The one that galls me the most is his claim that he coined the term "open source" [catb.org]. He provides a specific date of March 1998. This claim is easily refuted by a Google groups search limited to all posts from before 1998 [google.com]. The earliest relevant hit is from 1993 [google.com].
  • Good for him (Score:5, Interesting)

    by finkployd (12902) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:51PM (#18114466) Homepage
    I did the same thing around the time the colossal mess that was Fedora Core 3 was out. Most of the Linux users I know (which amounts to around 40 or so people I work with and know socially) have switched from Redhat to Ubuntu (or OSX) for desktops and laptops. And a lot of us have switched to Solaris 10/Express for servers. Naturally the Debian users I know still use Debian :)

    Looking back, I should have left Redhat around 7.3, which was the last good and consistently stable RH release.

    Finkployd
  • We may not like the process but these open arguments are good. We all get to hear the various versions of what's good or bad about GPLv3, or what is great or sucks about Fedora.

    We have no chair-throwing morons.

    We get to see the process and watch the final outcome. This gives us a better understanding of why Gnu/Linux is the way it is and where it is going.

    Good for ERS speaking up. Even better for Alan Cox to reply. I only hope ERS replies to that. :)

  • by linvir (970218) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:58PM (#18114620)

    Here is part of Cox's response:

    Maybe it is time the term "open source" also did the decent thing and died out with you.

    Sure, ESR's comment was fairly divisive, but why pour more fuel on the fire? This was divisive enough as a Fedora vs Ubuntu flamewar. Now it's Open Source versus Free Software. And Alan Cox just told Eric Raymond to go and die.

    Can you imagine Bill Gates telling Steve Jobs to go screw himself? In fact, I just recently saw some photos of those two hanging out at some social function, chatting and getting along fine. Now my head is filled with the image of Gates and Jobs living it up and having a laugh, with Cox and Raymond hunched over their computers in the background banging out enraged emails to one another.

    We can be a fucking embarrassing bunch at times.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by garcia (6573)
      Can you imagine Bill Gates telling Steve Jobs to go screw himself? In fact, I just recently saw some photos of those two hanging out at some social function, chatting and getting along fine. Now my head is filled with the image of Gates and Jobs living it up and having a laugh, with Cox and Raymond hunched over their computers in the background banging out enraged emails to one another.

      Yeah, you just pointed out what I would have imagined. Two people who despise each other at some stupid public social func
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DogDude (805747)
        That's the whole thing. I seriously doubt that Gates and Jobs hate each other. "Grown ups" just don't think like that. They're competitors, but that's no reason they can't be professional, or even genuinely friendly towards each other. This isn't a fight to the death. It's just business. It's even quite common for people to have serious philosophical differences to still be friendly with each other. It's a maturity thing.

        Sounds like Cox and ESR both have the maturity level of pre-pubescent 12 year
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by W2k (540424)
        Two people who despise each other at some stupid public social function pretending that they are all honky dory while one is ready to take a clue from a co-worker and throw a chair and the other wants to give a wedgie.

        I think you'll find that this is often considered good social skills out there in the real world. Also, why would you think that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer despise each other?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MarcoAtWork (28889)

        Two people who despise each other


        Respecting your competitors should be rule #1 in business as well as in sports: if you don't respect your competitors odds are you're going to end up losing whatever competition you're in, because you're going to start taking things personally and let that influence your thinking, instead of focusing all your energies on the competition in the most objective and level headed way possible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Out of curiosity, what makes you think Gates and Jobs hate each other? They have amazingly similar backgrounds, and no shortage of things to talk about. I bet they get along quite well.
  • In Other News.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dredd13 (14750) <dredd@megacity.org> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:16PM (#18114896) Homepage
    .... people had been wondering "what the fuck it was ESR was up to lately, since he hadn't gone off on an ill-advised tear in a while".

    What exactly *does* ESR contribute these days? I have to be honest when I say that -- while he was in the right place at the right time with the right idea when it came to Open Source -- for the most part the rest of the time I see him as a tremendous Oxygen Thief, stealing valuable oxygen that could be consumed by other more productive folks.

    Who cares if ESR uses Red Hat or not? I don't care if he uses Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu or dusts off some Yggdrasil disks, to be honest. Let him use "what works for him."

    It's not like he's going to be leading this army of "Red Hat Deserters" or something. If it wasn't for Slashdot running a story about it, nobody would even have noticed or cared....
  • Bigger news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RelliK (4466) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:27PM (#18115082)
    I think even bigger news is that somebody still pays attention to ESR.
  • News (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:29PM (#18115118) Homepage Journal
    I guess I can see how it's big news that such an important person [geekz.co.uk] has switched distributions. No wait, actually I don't see at all.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:40PM (#18115278) Journal

    RedHat was my first choice for whenever I wanted a Linux box; because of its long history. It just wouldn't install on my laptop, and I had better things to do than figure out why. Ubuntu was a snap. Synaptic package manager is very intuitive. I just wish it included more geeky items. I know Ubuntu is "for the masses", but it's still Linux after all. However, I was able to use a combination of apt-get and tarball to make it fulfill my latest needs, and it's sitting there happily chugging along. Like all Linux desktops, it's a bit flakey. I have to use keyboard shortcuts to make windows re-appear, and if I had been a real n00b I probably would have had to ask somebody. Still though, the bottom line is that it installed. If it can't do that, game over. The willingness to include proprietary drivers may have had something to do with that.

  • Late to the Game (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:03PM (#18115642) Homepage Journal
    I'm no fan of ESR, but on this issue there are two important things to note.

    First of all, he's absolutely right on this issue. Sure, Ubuntu has problems with package management just as much as the next distro. However, they will only bite you if you try to stray from what is supported. If you want to install something that requires newer libraries you will get bitten. If you try to install a weird package from source, you might get bitten. If you try to add too many third party repositories to your sources.lst, then conflicts will emerge. For the most part, it all works. Even if you stray a little bit and add an extra repository or two, you'll still be ok. If you stick with what Ubuntu supports, you'll be perfectly fine every time.

    With Red Hat or Fedora this has never been true. In fact, it has never been true with any rpm distribution. It has almost always been nearly impossible to find anything but the most popular software in the standard repositories. Not only that, but it's even harder to get the newest versions of things when the come out. All you can do is stick with what they provide on the CDs and upgrade whenever they have a new version to get the newer packages. 9 times out of 10 when you find an rpm out in the wild it creates a dependency nightmare.

    This brings me to the second point. All his complaints about Red Hat and Fedora have always been true. I've used Red Hat/Fedora at least once every year since '99 and every one of his complaints was as true then as it is now. He seems to be acting as if these problems are more recent, when my experience tells me that is not true. RPM has always sucked and it's never gotten better or worse. The only change now is that Ubuntu appeared and got better. Red Hat and Fedora haven't changed at all, and that's the problem.
  • ESR's Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caballero (11938) <daryll.daryll@net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:22PM (#18115894) Homepage

    ESR is getting all the attention he wanted, but posting his public letter all over the Linux web sites. Unfortunately, everyone is falling for it. Just because he jumps and down and screams doesn't mean he deserves the attention. It's also interesting how he mixes a few personal technical items with a big political issue. That gets people frothing (on one or the other), but doesn't really provide constructive discussion.

    Let's look at the reality:

    1) ESR has a package conflict. In an attempt to fix that he removed a library that was critical to the functioning of the package system, and then he was stuck, unable to restore his system.

    Users aren't supposed to delete libraries from their system. If they try to do this with the package system it complains and stops them. If you do it by hand or you use the switches that allow you to override the system, then it's up to you to know what you're doing. Obviously ESR didn't know what he was doing, because it caused him these problems. You can sum this up as:

    ESR removed the safty, waved the gun around, and pulled the trigger, and then was surprised when he shot himself in the foot. He should know better.

    2) ESR didn't say what packages he had a problem with.

    A lot of work goes in to making sure the primary Fedora repositories are consistent and work, but mistakes do happen. A bug report would have been more useful than just ranting about it.

    I often see consitency problems in unsupported repositories and work around them. They're unsupported, which means it isn't Fedora's fault and is sort of to be expected.

    3) ESR wants RPM to be statically linked so this can't happen.

    Unfortunately, ESR hasn't looked at the realities of a modern distribution. Statically linking key applications used to be a good idea, but Linux today has a lot of pieces that won't function without shared libraries. Given all the things the package managers do, they need a fully functional system. Statically linked applications work when you're doing system recovery, but that's about it.

    4) ESR couldn't fix his system.

    Fedora ships with a system recovery disk. It is a full Linux system running from a CD. It's designed to let you fix just about anything that happens with your system. He could reinstalled the missing library by using that. Rescue disks are far from perfect. You really need to understand what you're doing to use them. But he didn't try, and didn't ask for help, and clearly didn't know how to do it himself.

    5) ESR is important and everyone should listen to what he says

    ESR is no more important than any other developer out there. Developers and users should get listened to. But if you look at the history you'll see that ESR has pulled this sort of histrionics several times before. And if you go through the archives and compare the state of things today, you'll even see that many of ESR's ideas have been implemented regardless of how loudly he shouted about it, and claimed that they've wronged him, and they don't respect his years of work.

    Now the big political fight. ESR thinks Linux should include closed source modules when no open source version exists. Since Ubuntu is doing that, he's going to switch to Ubuntu. Good for him. I don't care. There was no reason to send the fact to web site expect to get attention.

    It's good that Ubuntu gives you that option. Fedora made the choice to stay 100% open source. Ubuntu may get more people using Linux. That's a good thing. Fedora may get more people to develop the missing pieces. That's a good thing. I can't predict which will be more effective in the long term, so they're both good options. Everyone can make their own choice.

    So what do we make of all this? ESR threw a hissy fit, and it got him attention. That's what he wanted so it worked for him. He may have hurt people at Fedora and he may may have attracted more Linux people to Ubuntu. Those are both very selfish actions. Reacting to his hissy fit is bad, because it hurts communication and it promotes more hissy fits in the future. So next time ESR rants, read it for the points it makes, but don't react to the hissy fit. Then maybe next time he'll have a discussion instead of trying to grab attention.

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