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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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  • Realism (Score:1, Insightful)

    by P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) ( 1012109 ) <math.induction@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:31PM (#18114156) Homepage Journal

    From TFA:

    The culture of [Fedora's] core group has become steadily more unhealthy, more inward-looking, more insistent on narrow 'free software' ideological purity, and more disconnected from the technical and evangelical challenges that must be met to make Linux a world-changing success that liberates a majority of computer users . . . .

    Which servers to corroborate my suspicion: RMS is an autist, whereas ESR is a realist.

  • Why make a stink? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:33PM (#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.
  • by B_tace ( 802354 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:33PM (#18114190)
    This is one guy, but! Over the last few years, I have seen much more Linux and Unix devotees switch to Macs than Ubuntu.
  • Yay community (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:37PM (#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.

  • by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:38PM (#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?
  • Re:He should.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jackharrer ( 972403 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:40PM (#18114314)
    I would say it's not about proprietary stuff, it's more about compatibility, market share and choice. If you don't want proprietary drivers, codecs and so on, choose Fedora / Redhat. But if you want usable distro that you can use as a nice desktop OS, without worrying about 'if it's open source or not' go for Ubuntu. Or Linspire. Or Mandriva.

    That's the beauty of Linux - something for everybody, you can mix'n'match. The only reason why people speak about it is ESR is a big player in FOSS crusade.

    He chose Ubuntu, fine. Don't like it? Find different idol you can follow.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:40PM (#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

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

    by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:42PM (#18114340)
    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:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sprag ( 38460 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:43PM (#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!
  • Oh gawd no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moranar ( 632206 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:45PM (#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 ->!
  • by jackharrer ( 972403 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:45PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:46PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:49PM (#18114440)
    Linux package managers and formats - Band-Aids for crappy system design decisions made long ago that no one wants to fix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:49PM (#18114448)
    Then he should have just gone off to another distro and championed them. Instead he complains about how awful Fedora is after he forcibly removed a package RPM tried to stop him from removing. Fedora has been about free software from day one, much in the same way that Debian is. If he wants proprietary stuff, then he can use another distro instead of preaching his "if we have 30% market share they will fear our wrath!" crap to the Fedora developers.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:50PM (#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.

  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:55PM (#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.
  • Re:Yay community (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hexix ( 9514 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:57PM (#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.

  • by linvir ( 970218 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:58PM (#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:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:00PM (#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, Insightful)

    by Doctor Memory ( 6336 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:10PM (#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...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:11PM (#18114808)
    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 problems with Fedora Core. There are many users who have noticed that it is having QA problems. Maybe Alan Cox should listen to what ESR is saying, and address the technical issues. These sorts of personal spats don't help anyone in the open source community.

  • In Other News.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dredd13 ( 14750 ) <dredd@megacity.org> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:16PM (#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....
  • by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:20PM (#18114950)
    The only thing that natural forces will (continue) to make irrelevant is open source software that continues to ignore attractive and easy to use user interfaces....which would account for the majority of open source software in the world today.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:20PM (#18114956)
    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 olds, and I'm terribly embarrassed for both of them, because I'm sure that they don't even realize how ridiculous they look, no matter what their past accomplishments have been.
  • Human forking (Score:1, Insightful)

    by robyannetta ( 820243 ) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:24PM (#18115030) Homepage
    Go ahead and start modding me down now, but it has to be said: It's childish behavior like this that is tearing down Linux bit by bit.

    I've used Linux since version 0.9 and just recently said goodbye to it because of this shit. I've listened to Torvalds, ESR, Cox, David Cantrell and the rest of the pack of wolves nitpick it to death. THEY'RE the reason Linux never went mainstream to the desktop (I said DESKTOP, people), there's way too much infighting that's keeping it down.

    Until everyone agrees to work together like they should to _advance_ Linux, they'll continue to keep it as stagnant as it has been for the last few years, which has been nothing but arguing over software patents and proprietary drivers.

    What's left for me? I'm keeping my Solaris x86 server and I've bought a Mac. Case closed.
  • by W2k ( 540424 ) <wilhelm...svenselius@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:25PM (#18115040) Homepage Journal
    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?
  • Bigger news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:27PM (#18115082)
    I think even bigger news is that somebody still pays attention to ESR.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:28PM (#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:Yay community (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:33PM (#18115178)
    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 live with that and roll my own. But then dependencies are missing, and it's frequently quite difficult to find out what "cannot link lib-obscure-random-string" is fixed with which package. Then you find that you're downloading the latest version of a given tool, which was developed on the assumption that you've got the latest version of every library. Except you don't, as your OS was put together and tested 6 months ago and hasn't moved since. So it's back to compiling,

    The only thing which amazes me is that ESR has either put up with this for so long or has never been seriously hurt by it.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fangorious ( 1024903 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:40PM (#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:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Insightful)

    by junkgui ( 69602 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:44PM (#18115358)
    Could this also be because more people are using Fedora--more new users, or more users doing difficult things...

    I think the biggest difference is the yum is really slow (and I cant figure out why)... and that I often have to enable and disable an ever growing set of rpm repositories.

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

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:52PM (#18115478) Homepage

    Stuff like Mepis and Ubuntu are handed out freely and frequently in places where there's a physical Linux USER population. Not only would I expect the non-Fedora distributions to have more users, I would expect them to have more of the LESS experienced users expecting that old style "smooth Redhat Desktop experience".

    This really is non-news.

    ESR after all of this time finally realized that he as an end user might actually want to use a distribution that is NOT BETA or is for END USERS. The mind boggles.
  • Re:s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:54PM (#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.
  • Late to the Game (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:03PM (#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.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity@sbc g l o b a l . n et> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:13PM (#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:s/Fedors/ESR/ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:22PM (#18115884) Homepage
    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...

  • ESR's Opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caballero ( 11938 ) <daryllNO@SPAMdaryll.net> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:22PM (#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.
  • Re: Ubuntu Logo? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by neil.orourke ( 703459 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:30PM (#18116006)
    You could have marked that as potentially NSFW!

    Plus, you owe me a keyboard. And a hot cup of tea.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:53PM (#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.
  • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:55PM (#18116280)

    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.
  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:58PM (#18116310) Homepage Journal

    I disagree wholeheartedly. Did you notice the part that he's giving speeches for free? The gist of the rules seemed to be that if he's doing this, he doesn't want to spend his own money to provide a free service, or to be unreasonably uncomfortable in transit to the location.

    Prima donnas have rules like "there must be exactly 23 brown M&Ms" and "[star] only drinks imported goat milk". Rules like "I don't want to spend 12 hours in economy class flights" and "I don't want to lose money on the deal" sound pretty kind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:08PM (#18116398)
    Sure you can *download* vlc, but before you *use* it you have to do a patent search in your country and pay licensing fees to holders of patents that apply. The parent is talking about a way to get that step done for you as well.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:43PM (#18116730) Homepage Journal

    That's actually what makes it worse. This is almost like Paris Hilton switching from Slackware to Gentoo and Slashdot covering it as a major story.

    At the end of the day, I'm surprised ESR considers it important enough to be pompous about. I'm amazed that so many outlets are covering it. In the great scheme of things, this is celebrity gossip, not a great open source/free software "event".

  • Noob alert (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:30PM (#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.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:05PM (#18117984) Journal
    Because it is still illegal. That may not mean much to you (or me, in this case), but it does to packagers. You know, companies with money to sue for? Linspire -- and now Ubuntu -- have a "legally palatable" solution, whereas Novell, RedHat and others do not. Their is a "nod, nod, wink, wink" and point you to a foreign site to get the files from. Notice the disclaimers they also put on there as well.

    It sucks, yes, but it is the law and big companies need to play nice with the law. (At least until they become HUGE companies, then they can go back to flouting it just like they were rebels again -- just with stock options.)
  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:07PM (#18118008)
    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].
  • Re:Noob alert (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bilbo ( 7015 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:46PM (#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.

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

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:54PM (#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.

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

    by thephotoman ( 791574 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:53AM (#18118738) Journal
    Yes, it will boot. Simply put, without root, you just can't do either of those commands, and I don't run as root. Of course, put an su or sudo in front of those lines, and you've got a different story.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.