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Zynot Foundation Forks Gentoo 455

deque_alpha writes "The Gentoo Linux distribution has been forked by a group of Gentoo developers and community members. This fork is being placed under the control of the non-profit Zynot Foundation, which will "hold the source code, trademarks, and any other intellectual property developed by and for its community." The goals of the fork include improving stability and cross-platform reliability to bring the Gentoo-developed technology to the enterprise and embedded arenas." Another reader points out Zack Welch's long article at on reasons for forking the Gentoo distribution.
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Zynot Foundation Forks Gentoo

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  • Well (Score:3, Funny)

    by Silvertre ( 472395 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:02AM (#6300463)
    its better to be forked than knifed...
  • by KentoNET ( 465732 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:04AM (#6300469)
    As a user of Gentoo on both a server and my home desktop, I understand that this could mean great things for the distribution, if executed properly. Hopefully the forkers will be able to keep up with the dynamic nature of the Gentoo community.
    • by VistaBoy ( 570995 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:13AM (#6300488)
      I do not think it is in the best interest of the developers to be referred to as "forkers"

      Those forkers!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I understand that this could mean great things for the distribution, if executed properly."

      To be executed properly, it would need to be knifed, not forked.
    • Yeah!

      I'm looking forward to the HURD port of Gentoo!

  • by NTmatter ( 589153 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:13AM (#6300489) Homepage am I going to emerge the latest updates on my Gentoo handheld?

    To me, it seems that the most useful part of Gentoo is their portage system. How can it be modified to support the embedded area without losing the features that make Gentoo Gentoo?

    Well, I guess that's why they forked, isn't it?
    • by solidhen ( 642119 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:38AM (#6300710)
      I don't think the handheld would be running portage. Instead portage would be used to create "frozen" disk images for the embedded devices.
      • No, they do actually want to run Portage on embedded devices. From the "Reasons for Forking" document:

        There are numerous outstanding issues with Portage that have been documented as part of the embedded project, and even Nick Jones, the Portage architect, has been considering the possibility of a rewrite for quite some time. Further, the current implementation language (Python) is not well-suited for many embedded systems; a rewrite in a lower level language (e.g. C/C++) will eventually be required t

    • There's always been a resistance by some higher-ups in Gentoo to move away from Python to something like C/C++ for the portage system. Although Zynot will keep portage for now, one of it's stated goals is to reimpliment portage functionality in a lower-level language.

      Zach Welch, the founder, has done a lot of work with cross-compiling, so even though it might seem stupid to build something from a handheld, if you connected it up to your beefy desktop things would go quickly. I don't think anyone wants to
      • It sounds like a pretty silly of Zynot to me. Porting code to lower-level languages is a big net loss in most cases, and I can certainly see why other developers wouldn't be excited about the idea. On desktop systems there would be zero gain, and the program would become calcified by the poor implementation language, and painful to maintain for the (usually volunteer) developers. Creating painful-to-maintain code is a deathwish for a free software project.

        But maybe that's just a sign that a fork is the

  • SERIOUS QUESTION (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:16AM (#6300498)
    This is a serious question.

    I want you to think about how much time has been spent and money and effort invested over the past (let's say) six years on the various Linux distributions. There are, what, half a dozen major ones, and maybe a dozen more niche or fringe ones?

    Now think about how much further along Linux would have been if that time, money, and effort had not been squandered on dead ends.

    Now think about how much time, money, and effort was spent on Gnome or KDE. Now think about how much further along Gnome or KDE could have been if nobody had wasted their time on the other one.

    Now think about Gecko. Gecko, as a browser technology, is essentially dead. KHTML, thanks to Apple, rules the day. How much further along would KHTML be if nobody had wasted their time on Gecko? Or, if you prefer, how much more viable and advanced would Gecko be if nobody had wasted their time on KHTML?

    Here we see what, to me, seems to be the ultimate failure of this thing you guys call "open source." What I'm referring to here is the development of large software projects by loose, unorganized confederations of hobbyists, students, and individuals; this is the phenomenon that has come to be known on Slashdot and in a few other places as "open source."

    The ultimate failure of "open source" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

    As a software engineering protocol, "open source" appears to be remarkably ineffective.

    How can this be?

    • Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, all things considered, Linux as a whole probably would have caught up to Microsoft in market share and functionality by now, if people worked together as you describe.

      Your point is a massive troll but well taken. I'm sure that 600,000 users are now going to tear you apart and say it isn't so, but the matter of fact is that 100 hobbyists split between 2 competing open source projects can't compete with 100 paid employees working on one closed source project.
    • by dsavitsk ( 178019 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:30AM (#6300547) Homepage
      It seems that the jist of your comment is a distrust of competition to weed out weakness and support strength. For better of for worse, it seems that most systems more of less work this way. MS is where they are because they beat out lots of dead ends. Same goes for GE, GM, Sony, etc. It's even true for governments, and for species (neanderthal?).

      There is some truth that competition is not always the best way to get things done. Further, winning should not be confused with being the best. Many mistakes are made, but before anyone is going to believe that competition and free markets are not the practical best way to progress, you will need to show how someone at the top could know in advance the best option. Gecko may be dead as to KHTML as you say, but one could not have guessed this when Mozilla started.

    • by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:56AM (#6300602)
      So what? Choose to use Debian ot Gentoo, choose to contribute to either. Who cares if there is duplicated effort? Opensource is what it is. It doesn't have to 'compete'. I fail to understand how open source has 'failed'. By what measure? I'm useing it, others use it. If I want to spend the next year of my life working on a useless duplication of effort, that's my problem, stop making it yours.
    • by SoulDrift ( 638565 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:58AM (#6300613)
      I totally disagree, I think that every one of these cases you've specified has *benefitted* from the very competition that you're saying has harmed them.

      Every Linux distribution was designed to fill a niche, every single one of them has a different take on how things are done. And every single one of them has the opportunity to learn from all the others. In terms of what to do, and what not to do.

      I think the best example of this *is* Gnome and KDE. Both of these systems have a very different approach to solving the same problem. Both of them also have learned from and borrowed ideas off of the other one.

      I love open source software for one simple reason: The choices I am able make in my computers look, feel, and behaviour. If I don't like KDE, I switch to GNOME. If GNOME is pissing me off, I'll play with Fluxbox.

      Without the multiple competing options in the form of all these software projects/distributions, what would we have? We'd end up with ONE option that we'd have to use, whether we liked it or not, and no alternative to go to. Does that sound familiar? It's the situation I was in before I discovered there were other options to Windows.

      I'm not going back to those dark days, not if I can help it.
    • by DeathPenguin ( 449875 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:00AM (#6300620)
      I don't really see what's wrong with this approach. Using desktop managers as an example, some people simply want a full-featured (Or bloated, if you prefer) window manager like KDE so they have similar functionality to commercial OSes. Others may want a smaller one like WindowMaker. Either project would concievably be further along if the developers from one abandon their own projects and joined with the other.

      That's assuming there wasn't a lot of internal bickering going on as to how things should be done, however. I think internal strife is far more dangerous and inhibiting than forking a project. The only way to make dozens, hundreds, or thousands of developers set their attitudes and egos aside for the sake of reaching a common goal is to offer them loads of cash.
    • Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Strudelkugel ( 594414 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:02AM (#6300624)

      A good question, or several, actually. The problem with OpenSource, from a business point of view, is that it is almost impossible to make a big bet with it and gain from the insight that inspired the bet in the first place. Jobs and Wozniak bet on a friendly looking computer and a whimsical company image. Once established, no one could catch up to it for a long time. Gates bet on stripping out the windowing functions of OS/2, leaving the superiority of OS/2 behind in favor of lower cost. Similar big bets were made by Dell, Ellison and others. Now imagine an environment were their ideas were instantly distributed to everyone else, especially before they were completely evolved. I bet none of them would have market gained traction.

      As I have mentioned in other posts, there only three promising Linux markets: high end, which Red Hat will likely win, ultra low end, where Lindows is well positioned, and embedded (TiVo). Successful technology strategies have few peers...

    • by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:12AM (#6300650) Homepage Journal
      You might be a troll, but you serve much better as a devil's advocate.
      I don't think you're looking at this quite right.

      The "failure" of open source is that everybody wants it their own way, perhaps, but you should look more seriously at what that means. They want any piece of software they want to work with whatever hardware they've got as well as possible. There really isn't anything wrong with that. Shouldn't this be the case?
      This has been a HUGE problem in the past.

      There was no way to make any piece of software work well without hurting some other piece. You want easy installation? Then you won't be able to optimize. You want to optimize? Then configuration will not be easy.

      The problem is not choice, it's flexibility. Autoconfig did a lot to ensure that flexibility, and this "fork" is another step in that direction. I put fork in quotation marks because it is quite likely that a lot of the material in the fork will go back to the original. At least, I really, really hope so. Otherwise, there are certainly going to be people switching back and forth between the two distros. Gentoo is designed with flexibility in mind, and it is becoming more flexible as time goes on, so this is quite feasible. Haven't you heard how much Gentoo steals from other distros?

      Here's a better question than yours.

      How much farther along would your distro be if all open source software was easily accessable to it? How much farther would it be if someone could create packages for your distro that come from a different distro, processor, or even kernel?

      That seemed to be ZWelch's concerns when I talked to him on #gentoo-embedded last.

      One final note: in case you're thinking that something like this is just another development thing, note that Zachary Welch was the lead embedded group developer. This is going to be a distro with advanced cross-compilation capabilities, an area which is rather undeveloped (anywhere in the open source world) at the moment.

    • by Calgary ( 85460 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:15AM (#6300656) Homepage

      It's simple to say that if all the man power poured into all projects solving a certian problem were instead put into just one really good project, then the best possible solution would result. There Mack Truck sized flaw here is that you are assuming that humans are not involved.

      As the article notes, it's primarialy a personallity problem which lead to this fork. Misunderstanding happen, people's feelings get hurt, and some people just want different things. These all lead to conflicts which can ultimatly harm a project. Face the facts about human nature: some people just can't work together.

      Aside from personality conflicts, there's also the people of organizing a lot of people. Organization necessarially leads to buracracy. Lot's of people hate buracracy, and lots of people like to root for the underdog. In a large organization, which would be necessary to combine all the little projects, people coming on to the project would find the structure so unwieldly and confusing that they would just prefer to start over with a new organization.

      Competition among open source projects lets users choose (where user may denote an end user like your Mom, or a corporate user like Apple) which is right for them. In this way, OpenSource is like capitalism. People get to choose the product which best fullfils their needs. The only difference (generally speaking) is that direct monetary cost for the product is removed from the equation (support, hardware, etc would still have to be considered).

      One other point is that a lot of new coders who don't have enough skill to contribute directly to an established project will often release things they did to teach themselves as OpenSource. This doesn't really dilute the marketplace, since often such projects get abandonded quickly as their creators move on to bigger and better things, or are obviously lacking. So while it may sound reasonable to have one really good IRC client instead of a million half finished ones (and a few finished ones), the argument assumes that everyone is capable of contributing the high quality code as soon as the start to learn to program.

    • SERIOUS ANSWER (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:17AM (#6300663) Homepage
      The ultimate failure of "open source" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

      I'm almost ready to call troll on this one, but I figure I can answer this question yet once again and perhap it will stave off other similar comments.

      First off: What is this "open source" you speak of? There is NO centralized, organized open source movement, despite what ESR might claim. There are may individuals and groups creating and producing open source software, yes. But they are widely varied in goals, scope, and success. Many (most?) produce open source software on their own time and on their own terms. That's certainly the case for me. It's a hobby. It's a fun thing to do. And no one is going to tell me I have to cooperate with so and so just to make sure open source software succeeds. I'm doing this for fun, remember? So if I want to create my own Yet Another Linux Distribution (YALD?) or whatever, then it's my choice, particularly since I'm doing this on my own free time!

      "Open source" describes a software licensing model and, I suppose, a development model as well (not really) but certainly not a "software engineering protocol." Extreme Programming is a development model. Open source is a licensing model. It is not a grand movement. It is not a single entity bent on taking over software development. Sure there are some open source developers and free software developers with these ideas, but they do not necessarily represent the whole of the "community."

      In other words, look at your comment this way:

      The ultimate failure of "human society" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently we have ten individuals or groups working on their own various on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

      Okay, yeah, so it was a troll, but it's a common misunderstanding too. Hopefully a few /.'ers will learn something from this (other than not to feed the trolls).
    • This is because the open source community isn't one huge project to develop thingie X, as specified from the customer. It's about an enourmous amount of independent developers viewing the entire open source codebase, and evaluating "Is there anything in here I think sucks, that I could make better?", and then they do an attempt at doing that. Works basically in the same way as evolution.

      One of the reasons why this is the best approach is that all developers have different visions of how things should be an
    • Now think about how much further along Linux would have been if that time, money, and effort had not been squandered on dead ends

      Dead ends and wastage are a part of life. It's not possible to plan everything, tell everybody what to do. It's like saying "just imagine how advanced ours cars would be if everybody had simply bought Ford".

      Now think about how much time, money, and effort was spent on Gnome or KDE. Now think about how much further along Gnome or KDE could have been if nobody had wasted their

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @04:45AM (#6300840) Journal
      This only makes sense when you are a programmer.

      I have dozens, maybe hundreds of "dead" projects. Ones I will probably never complete.

      However, the technology I put together to start a "dead" project often comes to life in a completely different form.

      For example, work I did in PHP to emulate a mail server relay (for the sheer heck of it) later came back to life in a commercial venue when I needed a method to synchronize data via the Internet. I used a somewhat SMTP-like protocol, added encryption for security, and voila!

      It's sorta like being a welder in a wrecking yard - there's lots of raw material to work with to get the paying stuff complete.

      That's somewhat like how the open source model works. By working in parallel, various projects that in and of themselves never become #1, still allow for the testing and proving of various ideas.

      The ideas are then available for reuse elsewhere.

      Think of SourceForge as a wrecking yard for Intellectual Property.

      Now, those "failed" projects are ideas that were tried, and for whatever reason, failed. Each failure is actually a success, in that something that didn't work was tried, and now it's known not to work.

      If you try to climb a cliff on the 10th of April, and by the 11th, you haven't made it to the top of the cliff, have you failed? Or have you simply tried a method that didn't work, and are free to try again?

      The real issue raised by your post is really the black and white, "success/fail" mentality pounded into us by the "pass/fail" school system we all endured while growing up. But "pass/fail" is not how software engineering (or life) works.

      A "failure" is simply an attempt that didn't achieve the intended goal. It can be considered a "success" if the information gained in the attempt lead to the achievement of the goal!
    • 1) Competition is a strength and, in most cases, remarkably effective. Markets that are monopolized move very slowly becuase there's no reason to move on. Capitalism relies on this, too.

      2) Look at KDE, and how bloated it is (I know it's an opinion, but there is truth based on it). Think of how hard it would be to satisfy low-end-system users, minimalists, people who run mission-critical systems that need a GUI, but can't be bothered with fancy... anything. Think of how hard it would be to combine the
    • The ultimate failure of "open source" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

      Yeah, I see similar failures all the time.

      I go to the book store and there's hundreds of books. Different plots and different stories and different covers. Wouldn't it be better if there was just One Book!

      I go to the movie theatre and there's a new movie every week! Different plots and differe

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2003 @10:42AM (#6302615) Homepage Journal
      IN SOVIET RUSSIA, Anonymous Comrade wrote:
      This is serious question, comrades.

      I want you to think about how much time has been spent and money and effort invested over the past (let's say) six years on the various auto design teams in capitalist America. There are, what, half a dozen major ones, and maybe a dozen more niche or fringe ones?

      Now think about how much further along auto design would have been if that time, money, and effort had not been squandered on dead ends and capitalist competition.

      Now think about how much time, money, and effort was spent on Ford Pinto and Chevy Nova. Now think about how much further along Pinto and Nova could have been if nobody had wasted their time on the other one.

      Here we see what, to me, seems to be the ultimate failure of this thing you guys call "competition." What I'm referring to here is the development of large capitlist businesses by loose, unorganized confederations of businessmen, students, and individuals with no loyalty to the proletariat or planning by the government; this is the phenomenon that has come to be known on Wall Street and in a few other places as "capitalism."

      The ultimate failure of "capitalism" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

      As an economic system, "capitalism" appears to be remarkably ineffective.

      How can this be?


    • by Synn ( 6288 )
      Why do we need AMD when all the employees for that company could work for Intel?

      Why do we need Apple, Novell, and Sun when they could just work for Microsoft?

      Why don't all the computer manufacturers just merge with Dell?

      Why did MS make their own database when they could've just used Oracle?

      Why do we have a Barnes and Nobles and Borders book stores when we already had a Waldenbooks?

      Why a Wendy's and Burger King when they could've just gone with McDonalds?

      Why do we have different brands of milk, eggs, b
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:17AM (#6300504) Journal
    to bring a fork to a gnu-fight."

    Oh god. That's really bad.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcspock ( 252093 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:20AM (#6300514)
    I read this guy's post in disbelief. At one point he says he has been contributing for a while because he believes in linux and gentoo, and at another he says that he expected his contributions to be treated as building some sort of long term path that would be financially beneficial to him. How can you write code, contribute it to a major GPL project, then not realize that your contribution is one of thousands, and that there is no major plan to reward individual contributors?

    • Hear, hear! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Akardam ( 186995 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:30AM (#6300545)
      This guy's so full of himself it's making my head spin. He seems to think that everybody should owe him dues for everything that is Gentoo. His documents are full of "my servers...", "me" this and "I" that. It honestly looks like he had a hissy fit and took his toys home because he wanted one of Gentoo's major focuses to be embedded systems, and the other developers said, "that's all nice and dandy, but we aren't really concerned too much about that for the moment...".

      Sheesh. Some people...
      • Re:Hear, hear! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by gladbach ( 527602 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:06AM (#6300633)
        I'm pretty dubious both ways... for one thing, we've only heard his side of it, but on another thing, it sounds pretty shady for him to have contributed all that, then having DR cut him out of the loop, seemingly wanting to keep the future money prospects to himself.

        (why they couldnt have worked together, I have no idea. Could have been a nice contractual partnership)

        I love gentoo. I haven't installed another linux distro since the early betas. But when it comes to linux and politics, nothign would suprise me anymore. Certainly not when it comes to finding a buisness model to supporta GPL project.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:33AM (#6300549) Journal

      How can you write code, contribute it to a major GPL project, then not realize that your contribution is one of thousands, and that there is no major plan to reward individual contributors?

      When your 'contributions' include managing the entire ARM and Embedded projects, loaning 5 machines to the infrastructure, then practically thrown out of the loop once the founder figures out there could be good money involved.
      • Misrepresentation.

        He was thrown out of nothing, he attempted to make arrangements that may or may not have agreed with the founder's intentions for his project.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:33AM (#6300550) Journal
      Gentoo Linux is for-profit. He expected they would spin off a company to do embedded systems, and that he would be "in on it". Turns out that wasn't the case, so he forked the project (it's all GPL, after all) and he's going to do his own thing. Kudos to him, so long as this doesn't turn into a FUD war.
      • Re:Wow (Score:2, Informative)

        by avenj ( 673782 )
        Actually we're going nonprofit soon. This has been repeatedly mentioned on the gentoo-dev mailing list by drobbins.
      • He's back! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dalcius ( 587481 )
        Daniel Robbins's reply [] reads like it was written by the Iraqi Information Minister...
  • by dafoomie ( 521507 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:21AM (#6300518) Homepage
    As a Gentoo user, this makes me feel much less enthusiastic about where this project is headed. Especially the shady practices of the guy in charge (particularly, trying to pass themselves off as a non-profit). I will probably go with the fork as soon as possible.
    • by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:41AM (#6300566) Journal
      Personally, I'm going to wait before there's something fundamentally wrong with Gentoo before I switch. This guy seems to have a lot of sour grapes, although when money is involved you can kindof see why. If you're concerned about for-profit, etc, you might want to use Debian GNU/Linux [].
      • Debian (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mackstann ( 586043 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:06AM (#6300631) Homepage
        Agreed. I am no debian zealot, but I strongly believe that volunteer-driven OS's are a better idea. Motives aren't under question (well, at least to a lesser extent), and the bottom line doesn't interfere with things.
        • Re:Debian (Score:3, Informative)

          by xenocide2 ( 231786 )
          Instead the weekly news summary is filled with the joyous harmony of discussion on why certain liscences deserve to be punished for not being free enough. I like the debian package system but theres a lot of far out techno-politicals involved as well. I guess it hasn't been to large of a turn off though since I'm still using it ;).
      • by Deusy ( 455433 ) < minus cat> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @05:01AM (#6300882) Homepage
        Personally, I'm going to wait before there's something fundamentally wrong with Gentoo before I switch.

        I lean towards agreement with this statement. It's not as if Gentoo does not have a Social Contract [] and is closed in any way. Sure, a few private mail lists may exist, as they do in other projects [], and there may be business motives behind key Gentoo developers. But at the end of the day the project is GPL, top to bottom, (hence it is forkable) and it will not go in a direction that disatisfies the non-core developers and user community, otherwise it will lose those two precious commodities and cease to exist.

        And at the end of the day, people have to put bread on the table. If they find a way to do that through a GPL project, good luck to them. I say good luck to both Gentoo and Zynot, and given my excellent experiences in using Gentoo (never will I go back to something rpm based) I'll be using the best one of the two for the forseeable future.

        Who knows, maybe the fork will be good and any co-operation - intentional or through GPL'd code swapping - will probably benefit both distros. (Yes, projects can co-operate in when the leads hate each other, that's the GPL for you.)
    • I don't mind it being commercial at all. But in the past it seemed like they were trying to give the impression of a non-profit (and still use a .org). I have nothing against companies or making money. But yeah, it's definitely being mismanaged.
    • Same thing for me. The "Make a Donation" button on is kind of disturbing now (it's still there despite the guess in the article that it would be removed). Whether a distro is commercial or not is irrelevant when I choose a distro - I picked gentoo simply because I thought it was the best for my needs. However, this attempt to keep that unclear does not make me feel comfortable with it anymore. It's a shame since it has not only been a good distro on its technical merits but I've also apprecia
    • by avenj ( 673782 )
      When have we ever tried to pass ourselves off as a nonprofit? We're currently a for-profit. We're going nonprofit soon. We've always been upfront about our current situation. We're not making any money, by the way.
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:23AM (#6300521)
    Ok, in Mr Welsh's article, he give this as the primary reason for the fork:

    Ultimately, my personal problems with Daniel and Gentoo in general can not be solved by this restructuring; the organization will still place a single person with final authority about the distribution. I would not trust any single person to lead a distribution of this size

    Then, on the very next page, he says this:

    Who will be in charge?

    At first, I will be the ultimate arbiter and policy maker with regard to the direction, culture, and policies. I am the one that has decide to gamble career and reputation by forking this project; I am the one organizing, leading, and capitalizing it. This paper presents the vision that I have crafted for it, and while one that has been subject to significant scrutiny and feedback, it still largely reflects the vision of one single person.


  • by Akardam ( 186995 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:25AM (#6300527)
    The day that I think to myself, "Hey, you know, this Gentoo thing looks pretty cool... Linux + FreeBSD style ports? What a sweet deal! Let's give it a whack...", this happens.

    At the risk of generalizing the situation, I'll say that more often than not egos get in the way of something really freaking cool, and ain't that a pisser...

  • -1, Flamebait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrscorpio ( 265337 ) <twoheadedboy AT stonepool DOT com> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:26AM (#6300531)
    It's nice to see my intuition confirmed. Gentoo is the only community-run project of which I am aware that mostly ignores the community. Go read the posts at'll see most of the developers (Especially Kurt Lieber) are arrogant and talk down to the users. You'll see many ignored ideas that make sense; it took about 6 months for anyone to pay attention to the scores of users who wanted updates from the developers, of this supposed "community" distribution and it took another couple of months before the Gentoo Newsletter was implemented...and it STILL doesn't really give people what they want, telling people the number of bugs found and squashed, rather than good info on what the bugs actually ARE.

    Did I mention how arrogant the developers are? People who don't want to install 1.4 until it is final are looked down upon and told "it's just the installer, it's good enough." Well then, why not call 1.4 RCx "1.4 final" then, if it is "good enough?" People who suggest that new features shouldn't be added to a release candidate build are ignored. And this is not the first developer that has cried foul of Daniel Robbins. I don't know him personally so I can't say with authority, but I smell a rat.

    The sad thing is, despite the horrendous developer beauracracy, it's still the best source-based distro out there. Hopefully this Zynot project will overtake it eventually. If there is more to it than spite towards DR, I think it will succeed.

    • Re:-1, Flamebait (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KentoNET ( 465732 )
      You're right, some of the developers are very, very arrogant. Unfortunately, those few devs give a terrible reputation to the rest of the group, who are really a bunch of very nice people. If you frequented the IRC channel on freenode, you would know that. I've never seen someone like drobbins be so humble to his community. Development manager Seemant Kulleen is also very nice, and got the ball rolling on a revolutionary XFree ebuild with all kinds of patches included, even attempting to get GATOS in there
    • by pigeon ( 909 )
      Hey, not only has gentoo the ports collection like freebsd, it has also the sometimes less than friendly developers like openbsd... cool!

      (Disclaimer: this is a joke. I like openbsd)
    • I actually expected this. A project as brilliant as
      Gentoo was probably going to follow in the footsteps
      of FreeBSD. So now they have their Guido. Big
      surprise. It's kinda like how The Smashing Pumpkins
      did/do/whatever nothing but fight nonstop, but put
      out goodness. Same thing goes for The Pixies until
      they broke up in 91. You need those premadonna's
      though. They fire up everyone else enough by either
      inspiration or plain pissing them off to get to the
      really interesting aspects of people. People end up
      doing things
    • Re:-1, Flamebait (Score:3, Informative)

      by asteinberg ( 521580 )
      I think you're right on, except for the "it's still the best source-based distro out there" comment. Though I haven't really been following it recently (ever since I saw the light and switched to Debian, I haven't really looked back to the source-based distros), I suspect Source Mage might give Gentoo a run for its money.

      When Source Mage was first being formed (which itself was after a series of ugly fork-related situations) everyone made sure to put a lot of effort into creating strong Debian-like guide

  • by bsdfish ( 518693 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:37AM (#6300560)
    Having read the reasons that the author provides for starting this fork of the project, it seems to me that this is just a result of personal disagreement. There is much bitterness involved in the arguments; indeed, the end(where he discusses the changes occuring in Gentoo) sounds like overconfidence in his importance. The author is convinced of his importance - everything that happens either happens because of him or to spite him. While I hope that the fork will allow him to focus on contributing to his project without constant worries about politics, I don't think highly of his reasons. There is far too many gaps in his story(why would he loose his developer status for a few suggestions? I'm sure there was major flaming involved) . . .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:49AM (#6300588)
    Couple of days after Zynot forked from Gentoo
    a group of disgrunted Zynot users decided to
    fork Zynot to Yznge platform. The users welcomed
    this fork as it closes us to the ultimate
    Wholy Grail of the Linux movement known as
    "Linux distribution for everybody" meaning that
    each person will have his/her own Linux distro.
    Linux made another important step on the way
    to the total world domination :
    "Ein Mann, Ein PC, Ein Linux distro" !!!
  • Here are my posts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IamLarryboy ( 176442 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @02:53AM (#6300595)
    I posted on both message boards. I thought slashdot might be interested in my posts.

    I have read most of Zach's rant and it disturbs me. Much of what Zach is complaining about seems to be dealt with by the Gentoo top-level management structure proposal. However, the most important part of his claims, the "business" part, are not. I of course will hear D. Robbins out as well.

    Regardless, I think the Gentoo project needs to CLEARLY establish what is bussiness and what is not. This should, hopefully, prevent these claims frum being made in the future.

    The way I see it this whole affair is nothing but bad news. I hope and pray it all works out.
    and on
    I have read most of Zach's rant and it disturbs me. Much of what Zach is complaining about seems to be dealt with by the Gentoo top-level management structure proposal. However, the most important part of his claims, the "business" part, are not. I of course will hear D. Robbins out as well.

    Regardless, I think the Gentoo project needs to CLEARLY establish what is bussiness and what is not. This should, hopefully, prevent these claims frum being made in the future.

    The way I see it this whole affair is nothing but bad news. I hope and pray it all works out.
    I will not sleep well tonight.
  • Zy the hell not??
  • All I can say is wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JonnyRo88 ( 639703 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:03AM (#6300627) Homepage Journal
    As to the "sweat equity" arguments I can only say that he submitted his code as a volunteer. If he was concerned about getting certian business considerations as a result of his work he should have taken it in writing.

    One thing I was not certian of; did he loan or donate those servers he mentioned. If he loaned them I could see it being the nice thing to do to return them if he no longer feels comfortable lending them out.

    We'll see how this all turns out a year or two from now. I doubt any useful information will come out of either side for a good couple of months. The sanatized reports are all we will get for a while, until later on enough secondary evidence tricles out for people to make their own decisions.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I will not make any attempt to correct your account of events, even though they contain numerous gross exagerations, innaccuracies, massive "spin," and false insinuations that I am ripping people off, just in my initial scan of what you wrote. Littered with lies, and slanderous, certainly.

      What was that about not correcting his account?

      Because, frankly, life is too short for this kind
      of stuff. I don't want to waste it by launching personal attacks on people.


      I could easily "win" the argument by e
    • Anyone who suspects that I am rich can come visit my home in Albuquerque and form their own opinions

      He's invited us all round to his house! Let's all go together - bring your own beer. This friday, 8pm. Does anyone have his address?

  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:22AM (#6300672) Homepage
    Then perhaps this is one of the unspoken victories of the GNU liscence. Rather than squabbling over whether the man's work was some form of unpaid volunteer labor, he is free to take his efforts and start his own camp. Neither side suffers from debilitating lawsuits, and hopefully the two can coexist peacefully.

    In truth this is not particular to the merits of GNU. Any project run with a public source repository allowing use to the public benefits from this. What is truely interesting is the general lack of forks, and of those forks that do exist, the frequency that they "consolidate." I've said it before but observing OSS projects often seems like watching Communist Russia. The software is liberated, but control is wrest over the 'common' source code. This code repository was referred to by ESR as a form of cathedral, where design is king, but I see it as more of a beuocracy, where people are sent in recursive loops to submit patches for application. Marx suggested the idea of the proletariot dictatorship, but in practice Stalin felt that the proletariot required a Leader. Such is the role of the Maintainer. But Orson Wells probably did a better job with Animal farm than I can do with OSS. I do not mean to disparaige the GNU liscence by calling it Communistic, but simply that often large projects like Gentoo (and BSD) suffer from this wrest for control.

    In conclusion I wish the Zynot group luck in this quirky fork, and hope that he can find a solid niche outside of x86 and PPC as he claims.
  • joke (Score:2, Funny)

    by MoOsEb0y ( 2177 )
    Random Guy: Why'd you make a fork off Gentoo?
    Ex-Gentoo Devel Guy: Zynot?
  • by 73939133 ( 676561 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:39AM (#6300714)
    Open source is driven by market forces. If Gentoo makes sense, people will continue to use it. If this new effort makes sense, people will start using it. If either organization violates open source licenses, they can kiss their business model goodbye. It's no big deal.

    As for all the personal stuff, well, people need to think about ahead of time what they are investing their time in and what they are going to get out of it. In the business world, all you get is what is guaranteed to you contractually in writing (or by law). So, don't spend time developing open source software expecting that some profit or job will magically materialize. Either develop open source software under contract, or do it for fun or as a volunteer.
  • by Twinkle2 ( 661935 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:55AM (#6300752)
    REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.
    P.F.J.: Yeah...
    JUDITH: Splitters.
    P.F.J.: Splitters...
    FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.
    P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...
    LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.
    P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...
    REG: What?
    LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.
    REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!
    LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    REG: People's Front! C-huh.
    FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    REG: He's over there.
    P.F.J.: Splitter!
  • by wiresquire ( 457486 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @03:56AM (#6300753) Journal
    OK, bye bye karma...

    This is a really great strategy. While the rest of the industry consolidates, we Linux'ers will start forking and flood the market with too much choice!

    Seriously though, this is my greatest concern about Linux. Are we just recreating unix wars? Already, there is *significant* variance amongst different linux distros, even ignoring forking those. Argue against this all you want. The fact of the matter is that anyone writing to Linux needs to do a lot of testing/QA to have any confidence that their software will work on distro X version Y. Unless like 99.9% of our community, you want to just throw some source up and hope that an *end user* can 'make' it.

    Major distros have a competitive reason for having other distros fork. Divide and conquer is a sound principle. The more distros there are, the more it forces you to pick the top X.

    Not to mention that Microsoft must love this kind of behaviour: "Man, here we were worrying about them, and they fscked themselves!".

    Personally, I think there may be some funky logic behind using some of the principles behind JCP. You specify a version of Linux* like J2EE that's made up of a particular version of common component technologies. 'Scuse my ignorance if United linux is doing/trying to do the same.

    Differentiation and innovation is cool, but it is happening at the very core of Linux* itself, forcing people who write software to make choices that are as good as proprietary (I write to distro X). Man, flame me and pick this apart all you want, but I'm *really* trying here.

    *Correct, I incorrectly use teminology to talk about not 'Linux the kernel' but 'Linux the kernel + other things'.
    • by evbergen ( 31483 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @05:01AM (#6300879) Homepage
      Multiple major distros is good. Why? Because it hopefully forces the ISVs to specify their requirements in terms of standards instead of in terms of distros, thus lowering the barrier to entry for distros, which is good for innovation.

      Oracle targetting RedHat only is a big problem, and not a solution for anything whatsoever. It doesn't help anybody but RedHat. They should support their product on any LSB-compliant linux.

      Fragmentation will help there, because it makes standards not just a nice-to-have, but a /necessity/.
    • Already, there is *significant* variance amongst different linux distros, even ignoring forking those.

      Oh, I would argue that it's not so bad. Distros are normally entirely source code compatible and mostly binary compatible if you know what you're doing as well.

      So yes, you cannot test on every distro out there. But if iD put up a Linux binary of Enemy Territory and say "only tested on Red Hat", do you honestly think a Slackware user is going to give a damn? If he downloads it and it runs, he'll be hap

  • How goes Gentoo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yaar ( 680953 )
    First, I think it best that we keep the hype beat back and focus on the facts-- namely that this is apparently a not-so-core contributor that has issues with Gentoo's direction and Gentoo's directors; the very same directors that managed to architect a distro that the principle plaintif is so very fond of. Second, persons that pick up gentoo because it's bleeding edge tech, implementing god knows what next ( hardened, ppc port that blows the dedicated ppc distros away, ... ), go on to complain that th e d
  • by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @04:24AM (#6300796) Journal

    Disclaimer; I'm not a Gentoo user, or even a daily user of any Linux-distro. Partly this is because I 'grew up' on Windows, partly because I've mostly been more interested in what I do on my PC than with what OS is on the bottom. However, I've been playing a lot with Knoppix lately, and are considering moving to Linux when I upgrade my computer later this year.

    Reading the articles posted, and the 'reply' that was posted slightly higher up in the comments, I feel that this is but a reflection of what is the largest problem, and yet one of the great strenghts, of open source operating systems: They are dependant of the 'personal chemistry' between the various contributers. If they fall out, as it has clearly happened in this cause, the distrebution can suffer near fatal wounds (if he pulls all the hardware he says he has loaned to the project, I think things can get messy for a while). On the other hand, we might see two good (or even great) distributions where there only was one before.

    The articles also raises a number of valid points which should be taken to heart by all who contribute to open source software; unclear roadmaps, unclear lines of command, hard to get a descission made, lack of communications. While these issues are found in closed source operations as well, it is easier to combat them in that area as they are traditionaly more hirarcical in their organisation.

    Oh well, one more distro to consider when I take the leap into using Linux as my main OS

  • sounds just like the LRP guy from the other day...Bitter because his expectations were not met because you can't control what other people do. Why does this guy feel the need to bring this political BS out into the public just because he had a disagreement w/ the lead developer? Because he just wants attention...

    Its a shame this even ended up on slashdot, but people who know about Gentoo and Daniel Robbins nature won't be influenced by this crap. If you read Daniel's response, you'll know what I mean. He
  • by bwdunn ( 85165 ) <> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @04:32AM (#6300811) Homepage
    I'm one of those silent users of Gentoo. I have Gentoo running on roughly 4 dozen production servers to date, with another 170 or so waiting their conversion from Debian, Redhat, SuSE, BSDs, etc. I've used just about everything under the sun, but I find Gentoo to be the very best as what it is - a Linux distribution that is, in effect, my own. I have a standard server installation on a new box down to 10 minutes of my time from a remote connection. I couldn't ask for more.

    As for Mr. Welsh's comments, they seemed very personal to me, and I would suggest this isn't the best way to kick things off. I hope he can leave his personal issues aside and concentrate on the fork if that is what he believes is the best solution for him. Good luck to him.
  • Please choose a better name.. Zynot sounds like "snot" and a word with a "not" as an ending brings negative connotations.

    How old is this Daniel Robbins guy anyway? He acts like an obnoxious brat. Well, typical geek.
  • by mritunjai ( 518932 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @05:16AM (#6300920) Homepage
    So you mean that this is Gentoo for embedded systems... Hmmm I can see it now-

    Me: What're you doing buddy ?
    Zaurus chap: Umm nothing... I "emerge"ed a calendar app yesterday... just 5 more files to compile

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2003 @06:45AM (#6301120)
    Yay! at last!

    Funny to see this happen now, almost two years ago, even before Gentoo 1.0 was released, at the FOSDEM I meet with a bunch of hackers to drink some beer(Tea for me, thanks :)) the day before the conference started, among us were a very cool guy that used to be one of the main Gentoo developers, but had quit recently; and another hacker that was still trying to get some work done, but was growing tired of dealing with drobbins.

    After much ranting about the problems the project was suffering and drobbins complete incompetence, a fork was suggested by someone(can't recall who), a few names were discussed ("genthree" I think was one :)), and someone with a dedicated server for hosting was found...

    Sadly the idea never got anywhere, I guess mainly because everyone was too busy with other things, and I lost touch with all them(I was hopping to meet them again in FOSDEM this year, but work got in my way and I couldn't make it. :( )

    Still, after the meeting, it was clear that a good percentage of the Gentoo developers were really unhappy with the current leadership, and that it was just matter of time for something like this to happen.

    I really wish them good luck, and maybe I will look into switching to the new distro from Debian Sid(that so far has been "Good Enough"(tm), but could use some improvements) and I hope all the 31337 h4x0rs keep using Gentoo, and don't come to bother the nice people that is forking.

    It was sad to see some really good ideas and good quality work wasted because leadership sheer incompetence(anyone remembers drobbins rants about commercial distros "not contributing" "fixes" back to the mainline kernel? no that must have been embarrassing) and a user base that was mainly formed by clueless idiots that thought that Gentoo was the Mandrake of the 21th century("Hey dude, how cool I am! my box is so super-optimized! muhahaha...")

    To the fork: good luck! to drobbins: have fun crashing in hell!

    [posted anonymously to protect the identity of the confabulators ;)]


    P.S.: DISCLAIMERS: I'm a Debian (l)user, and ex-BSD-zealot(still have a few BSD boxes around), and over time I have got really tired of solving the problems of clueless Gentoo (l)users in IRC, not to mention listening to their stupid rants about how 'optimized' their distro is, while they can't even use vi to edit a fucking file.
  • by mmurphy000 ( 556983 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @07:32AM (#6301213)

    This story is a cautionary tale for anyone looking to exploit commercial opportunities in open source: always remember that community is community, and business is business.

    The Zynot founder made a mistake: he expected the community leadership to support his efforts "to capitalize from my significant sweat equity contributions to the project". In the absence of a business contract, all open source contributions are volunteer work -- that's why they're called "communities" and not "start-ups" or "incubators". This holds true whether the contributor is a major organization (like IBM) or an individual volunteer.

    This is not to say that the Zynot founder is behaving badly by forking Gentoo. In fact, forking is the ultimate right granted by open source.

    In an ideal world, perhaps, there would have been a way for the Gentoo leadership and for the Zynot group to work off the same codebase in a symbiotic relationship. It appears that MySQL AB is able to acheive that to some degree. But, as the JBoss group split demonstrates, sometimes business interests do not fit well within a community framework.

    I suppose two lessons come from this:

    • The leadership of open source projects with significant commercial potential need to recognize this and have a model for how they are going to deal with it, such that their goals are met and as many goals of the community as possible are also met, as the community is what gives the project "legs"
    • Non-founders of open source projects need to recognize that social relationships are not a replacement for business relationships, so if you intend to commercialize open source, either establish the business relationships you need or be prepared to rely solely on the license if the social relationships prove insufficient
  • wait a sec (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SupahVee ( 146778 ) <superv@mischievo ... .net minus punct> on Thursday June 26, 2003 @08:54AM (#6301619) Journal
    Isn't the very thing that he's complaining about, that the main Gentoo project was taking 'his stuff' and without compensating him for it, The very same thing that he has just done to Gentoo?
    i.e. Yes, he may have donated several machines to the project, and some specific coding related tot eh ARM branch, but what about the parts that really make gentoo what it is, like, say portage, the boatloads of prepatched kernels for things like grsecurity, selinux, vanilla, etc. I could check again, but I don't remember seeing his name anywhere.
    Seems to me it went like this:
    -drobbins- Wanna help?
    -zach- sure, but I want financial compensation for everything I do
    -drobbins- Well, this gentoo thing makes money, but let's face it, it's a linux distro, and it's not a whole lot of money.
    -zach- *GASP*! Fine, I'm taking all my stuff and forking your distro!

    Am I missing anything? (flame away)
  • Knee-jerk reactions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srussell ( 39342 ) on Thursday June 26, 2003 @11:40AM (#6303223) Homepage Journal
    I read Zach's article, and was vaguely disturbed. I really like Gentoo, primarily because of the easy systems-administration, but also in large part because Gentoo penguins are cool.

    Anyway, by the end of the article, I had started wondering whether my "investment" in Gentoo was mislead; I contribute ebuilds, and not an insignificant amount of time submitting bug reports, and so on. What if the leaders of Gentoo were sitting in a dark, smoky room somewhere, secretly making hoards of cash off my labors and contributions?? Yegods! I could be being ripped off!

    After the initial wave of panic, I got to thinking about it: I don't really care what people are doing with Gentoo. I use Gentoo because I believe it is the best distribution; they keep my most important packages up-to-date, Gentoo is easy to administer, and they have at least the illusion of being an open community. Nothing they're doing is hurting me, I'm running Gentoo on three or four machines, and I don't pay anything to use it. In fact, I consider my contributions to the project to be my "payment". If "they" can figure out a way of making money off their efforts, and it doesn't impact my use of Gentoo, then more power to them.

    Now, if I were Zach, and I'd contributed that much time and effort, I'd probably be pissed too. At some level of contribution, you sort of expect to be included in the reaping of whatever nebulous profits are being gleaned. I think it is probable that Daniel, et al, are acting unethically -- being unwilling to acknowledge someone else's significant contributions is bad form (old chap) -- so at this point I wouldn't trust Daniel as far as I could throw him, but ultimately, it has little bearing on my use of Gentoo.

    Personally, I think commercial software is doomed; software engineering will still be profitable, but it'll be more as service/support/specialized solutions providers. That's not very germane to the discussion, except that in my hypothetical future, throwing away the talent of a willing, and proven, contributor is like throwing away money.

    I wish Zach luck.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.