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Raymond Knocks Fedora, Switches to Ubuntu 608

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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  • Re:Why make a stink? (Score:2, Informative)

    by sprag ( 38460 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:37PM (#18114264)
    Its because ESR is a self-important asshat and instead of just quietly slipping away he issues the equivalent of a press release.
  • I don't blame him (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:46PM (#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.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ian Alexander ( 997430 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:46PM (#18114402)
    He's responded a few times already.

    Here's the actual mailing list thread: 2007-February/thread.html#01006 []

    Here are ESR's responses from that particular thread: 2007-February/msg01060.html [] 2007-February/msg01082.html [] 2007-February/msg01097.html [] 2007-February/msg01118.html []

    He also started another mailing list thread called "Core Values" which I'll let you find in the mailing list index, which I've linked to already (albeit anchored to the beginning of "Goodbye, Fedora").
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:50PM (#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.
  • Re:Why make a stink? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:06PM (#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?
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:30PM (#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.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:40PM (#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.

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Informative)

    by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:50PM (#18116224)
    The win is, add one or two lines to your apt-sources list, and the problem disappears entirely under Debian or Ubuntu, easily, cleanly, and without sending you into dependency hell, because unlike Red Had and Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu actually have usable package management systems.
  • Re:s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:4, Informative)

    by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <kos&kosmosik,net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:20PM (#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.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:3, Informative)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:21PM (#18116544) Homepage Journal

    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 required. If you have to go outside the base distro repositories for stuff then your odds of running into an incompatible repository or confusion due to a bad mix of self compiled and repository software increases. The less that's available via standardised repositiories the greater the risk. And this is a problem that people do seem to have with Fedora in comparison to Ubuntu: the basic Fedora repositiories are (or were, I gather they are expanding them) relatively small and many people felt the need to add extra repositories, leading to increasing risks of problems and incompatabilities. Ultimately even the Ubuntu solution (of having a truly massive repository) is only partial since no repository can have everything. This is why people complain about installing software on Linux: for the most part it isn't a problem because repositories cover most things. The weaker the repository though, the more problematic things appear.
  • by debest ( 471937 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:37PM (#18116674)
    Easily the most amusing sendup of the "Ubuntu trio" I've ever seen.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:13PM (#18117070)
    My job is programming 3D videogames under Windows XP, one of the more high-pressure things you can do to the OS (what with the fullscreen graphics, large compiles, heavy multitasking and >20Gb datasets piped over the network) and I can work for months without seeing a bluescreen. When I do, it's either faulty hardware or a driver bug (and Vista is addressing the latter problem with usermode drivers). I'm satisfied with the stability of the OS.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Informative)

    by fangorious ( 1024903 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:20PM (#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 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.

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Informative)

    by nuonguy ( 264254 ) <nuonguy@yahoo. c o m> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:09PM (#18117552)
    What are you saying? Will your system still boot if you something like this?

    $ rm /lib/
    $ rm /boot/initrd-2.6.19-1.2911.fc6.img

    Does that make the 'rm' command 'fucking stupid'?
    ESR has dodged a few questions. Go read 2007-February/msg01006.html [] the whole thread. No one forced him to do stupid things. He chose to do the stupidest possible thing and you didn't take time to understand it. Your comments are uninformed, inflammatory and spread FUD. Perfect for a moderation of "Score:5, Insightful"
  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {enits.nahtan}> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:22PM (#18117660) Homepage

    In fact, the jury is still out on whether or not that is actually true. It's an assertion, but it's not gospel.
    Generally speaking, "the Mozilla people" gave Debian a blanket license to use their trademark. Then Mozilla Corp. took over licensing and decided to rescind that deal unless the Debian developers agreed to hold back any changes until they took a look at them. You can see the conversation here []. You may decide for yourself.

    I think Mozilla did the wrong thing here. Debian didn't have much of a choice. They'd have to either put Firefox in non-free or do what they did here. I think they made the right call.
  • by gbobeck ( 926553 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:38PM (#18117796) Homepage Journal

    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 [] ):

    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 rejects conventional left-right politics entirely. The only safe generalization is that hackers tend to be rather anti-authoritarian; thus, both paleoconservatism and 'hard' leftism are rare. Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day.
  • Re:Yay community (Score:3, Informative)

    by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:58AM (#18119460)
    I'll listen to him for this [], if nothing more.

    Best thing around. "Tell me how to do X!" Give 'em the link, and they either realize that they've been assholes, apologize, and try again, or they storm off in a huff and never come back. Both are good.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:4, Informative)

    by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @04:01AM (#18119750) Homepage

    Most commercial programs do it this way, it is by far the easiest way for non-free applications. But remember, it is not just HD and bandwidth... it's also RAM and disk cache. Not to mention, when a security bug is found in libxyz, it is going to be really fun upgrading all those packages that includes libxyz.

    All in all, I do not think that static linking is a good approach, except maybe for a few "emergency" class packages.

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Informative)

    by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @05:37AM (#18120174)
    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.

    I left RedHat when upgrading (IIRC) glibc-386 on a 686 system rendered the system unbootable. No warnings, no errors, just a trashed setup.

    I think it was probably this bug: id=88456 [] but it was a while ago now.

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:24AM (#18121208)
    Since, in all those years, Fedora still hasn't fixed this RPM "feature", chastizing users for having to use --force or --nodeps smacks of hypocrisy.

    Over the couple of years that I played with RedHat (and to be fair, it was some time ago: RH5.2 to RH7.0), I kept finding the need to use --force --nodeps with almost every package.

    Eventually, I woke up and went back to using Slackware, which handles packages in just as quick and dirty a manner, but is honest about it.

    But that said, Slackware is such a good environment for building stuff from source, it's often easier to do just that.
  • by crush ( 19364 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:13AM (#18121644)

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

    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 across your floor. It may not be possible to upgrade from Red Hat to Raw Hide, from Raw Hide to Red Hat, or from Raw Hide to Raw Hide! If a stable upgrade path is important to you, please do not use Raw Hide. DO NOT USE THESE RELEASES FOR ANY WORK WHERE YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION RUNNING, THE ACCURACY OF YOUR DATA, THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR NETWORK, OR ANY OTHER PURPOSE FOR WHICH A RESPONSIBLE HUMAN WOULD USE A COMPUTER. (But then again what would be the fun of hacking Linux if there wasn't some risk involved. ;-)....)

    Or if he was running one of the not quite as unstable but still a work in progress fc7-test series (which are less buggy than rawhide (whose purpose is to be buggy and fun)) which exist for the purpose of trying to stabilize things for the next release.

    But, he did post this on the fedora-devel list which is expressly and only for the purpose of being used by people that are running these UNSTABLE, TESTING VERSIONS THAT ARE NOT PRODUCTION READY AS CLEARLY INDICATED.

    ESR knows the value of reporting exactly what went wrong, which is why so many people pointed him to his own "smart questions FAQ". Add to this that he EXPRESSLY did something that he was told not to do and as a result effed up his own system.

    As a result of all of the above it can reasonably be assumed that he's deliberately trying to create the impression that Fedora Core is unstable and that the package management system makes it difficult to upgrade individual components. I can put my hand on my heart and say unequivocally after years of using Debian and Fedora Core (and latterly Gentoo), that this is complete and utter rubbish.

    ESR is trolling. Possibly for petty motives like personal attention (how pathetic), and possibly for monetary gain (to boost the Ubuntu/Linspire -- Canonical/Freespire empire). Whichever it is his content-free rant should be taken as FUD and he should have his arse kicked from here to Redmond for spreading it.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.