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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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  • Fedora Responds (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spacemky ( 236551 ) * <nick AT aryfi DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:30PM (#18114144) Homepage Journal
    The fedora-devel-list [] has already responded to this, as well as Alan Cox [] himself.

    Personally, I'd like to see ESR's response to these rebuffs.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:35PM (#18114224) Homepage Journal

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

  • Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chaoticgeek ( 874438 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:41PM (#18114334) Homepage Journal
    I really want to know why anyone cares what anyone else is using for their computers? It does not matter and does not affect me so why should I care. Why should there even be an article on this topic. I change my mind all the time does that mean I should submit articles to slashdot about where I'm going to eat tonight? What video card I'm going to buy? I just think people should get their own lives and learn to think for their self. It makes no difference what anyone else uses for their OS.

    No I'm not trying to come off as a troll or start a flame war, just trying to understand why everyone cares about this.
  • Good for him (Score:5, Interesting)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:51PM (#18114466) Homepage
    I did the same thing around the time the colossal mess that was Fedora Core 3 was out. Most of the Linux users I know (which amounts to around 40 or so people I work with and know socially) have switched from Redhat to Ubuntu (or OSX) for desktops and laptops. And a lot of us have switched to Solaris 10/Express for servers. Naturally the Debian users I know still use Debian :)

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

  • Re:He should.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by esconsult1 ( 203878 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:56PM (#18114576) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm... that's just a load of bull.

    3 Months ago I installed Ubuntu.. in a virgin installation I could do nothing. After searching for and installing Automatix, I could do stuff.

    2 days ago I replaced that Ununtu desktop with Fedora 6... in a virgin installation I could do nothing. After searching for and finding the excellent HowoToForge doc on spiffing up Fedora,: ra_core6 []

    I could do everything I wanted with just slightly more effort. (My reasons for switching has nothing to do with not liking Ubuntu. Its just that my hard drive crashed and I wanted to try Fedora 6 upon re-installing a new desktop).

    Out of the box, both Distros offer the same capabilities, and lack of proprietary drivers, codecs, etc. The user has to do it for themselves by going to third part websites for these.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:58PM (#18114622) Homepage Journal
    I disagree, i hear many people wishing for a online app repository of free apps for windows and osX

    I know myself, id love to just type in pkg_add -r blaapp ( or use a fancy gui interface )
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:02PM (#18114694)
    Funny how you never hear Windows or Mac users wishing for package managers and app repositories...Just like you never hear Windows or Mac users looking to make their desktop look and function like KDE or Gnome...

    Actually there was demand for having a repository system on Mac, which is why fink [] exists. This allows Mac users to access a repository of open-source unix software.

    Also, in fact, KDE has been ported to Mac OS X. I know of people who use it, because there are some KDE apps they really want to run on OS X. The next version of KDE will in fact run on Windows too. The reason these ports were developed is because of some number of people who wanted those features.

    As for repositories, I personally love them. In fact I now find the "Windows way" of installing software to be painful and primitive. As another poster pointed out, Linux users still have the option of downloading a .deb or .rpm and installing that.
  • Re:Why make a stink? (Score:5, Interesting)

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

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

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

    His argument was a bit valid, but it is not Red Hat's fault - it is the people who own all of the little Fedora repositories that have not really worked well together. Fedora is about software freedom, and Eric cares about getting Linux everywhere no matter what. I am not really sure where ESR stands on the whole freedom argument, or if he only cares about challenging Microsoft.
  • Re:He should.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:19PM (#18114924)
    I miss the days of redhat 9 when there was 1 super good version. Good enough for corporate and home with a single distro. Ubuntu might be good for home, but there is no support for bigname devices.
  • by null-sRc ( 593143 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:27PM (#18115076)
    Fedora just worked on mystem.

    Ubuntu did all sort of weird things here and there.

    Also I prefer KDE and Kubuntu sounds very low priority for the ubuntu community.

    Fedora is the only distrobution I've tried (out of ubuntu 6.10, suse 10.1, opensuse, and of course fedora) that I didn't have to touch my /etc/xorg.conf file manually even once.

    My native resolution of 2560x1600 actually worked out on initial boot and during the installer for that matter.

    My drivers were easy to install via the add/remove gui so I got beryl working with a check box. No series of steps, a total of 2 checkboxes to get it to work.

    so in my humble opinion to rate ease of use and overall experience I would rate:

    beryl > osx > vista > compiz
    kde/vista/osx > gnome/xfce/enlight/etc
    msoffice > openoffice
    kopete > gaim
    vlc > all the other video players in linux

    I know some of these are off topic, but in the end fedora has been my best linux experience to date for whatever reason.
  • Re:Yay community (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nick.ian.k ( 987094 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @06:32PM (#18115158)

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

    I think that has to do with the fact that ESR is a high-profile guy in the so-called community that has a tendency to get really "bitchy" (I quote because I don't entirely mean it, but it's sort of applicable) when it finally dawns on him that something sucks. Never mind that the guy's got some very strong and sometimes controversial opinions. He makes a great big production out of something either breaking or not working in an expected way as though he's the first person to wrangle with these issues and yet is also the guy who's written pieces like "How to Become a Hacker" that encourage behaviors that don't coincide with his own in cases like these.

    In the case of Fedora, it has, in my experience, been fairly doggish since around version 3. It's a pain in the ass to upgrade between versions, yum is slow and clunky, kernel headers aren't included by default anymore, it seems a bit slow, the repositories are incredibly limited, blah blah blah ad nauseum. There's certainly some folks out there who might find it useful (as I recall, it's a cinch to install and the package groupings you can select from in the process are actually sensibly arranged, which I thought was seriously bad-ass), but especially given Mr. Raymond's "we need to embrace some proprietary codecs" spiel months upon months ago, I'm honestly surprised he waited this long to move away from it. He had plenty of reasons to switch before and should have, instead of waiting to get himself into a corner, half-willfully breaking his system and subsequently raising a big stink. The better thing to do would've been to point out what he perceives as broken or wrong and suggest ways to fix it. Complaining in public is about as useful as standing about and grumbling how politican X is a shithead ruining your country but not actually getting involved in politics or advocacy for changing things: it's fine to blow off steam, but there's a point where it's counter-productive, not to mention a bit old.

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

    by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:17PM (#18115826) Homepage
    Well, at least he has the rocks to put up a cogent flame about it.

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

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

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

    Crap, gotta kill artsd again...
  • Re:Yay community (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:23PM (#18115912) Homepage Journal

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

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

    Having said this, though, I definitely prefer it that the Open Source community of developers and users at least communicate with each other. There are exceptions, but with most closed source alternatives, you could complain to a company about their product and the words disappear into a black hole. Perhaps you just get a customer service rep who does nothing, and there's no indication if anything's propagated to people who matter.

    When this type of thing happens in the Open Source community, the communication ends up being much more open. As irritating as it is at times, I think it's a good thing that simple users can speak out about something and be heard. If nobody reads their weblog, they can go and rant on the developers' mailing list (until they get banned), and at the very least they're had a decent chance to get their point across, and to the people who actually have power to change things.

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

    by bitbucketeer ( 892710 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:30PM (#18116000)
    The real reason a Fedora user learns to use --force or --nodeps is because RPM will create package dependencies on Perl for programs IN THE DOC DIRECTORY!!! It's always just sample code in a directory of example code. RPM's done this for years now, and Red Hat claimed that they wouldn't fix it (when I reported it as a bug in Bugzilla). 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.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by caseih ( 160668 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:41PM (#18116126)
    This can happen to any number of packaging systems, including your beloved Ubuntu or Debian. In fact, a few years back I tried to install Debian on a Sparc system, and ran into all kinds of dependency hell trying to get a somewhat modern version of Gnome. The problems aren't with any packaging system per se; they are in the repositories and systems of repositories.

    And I love your assertion about "that should have *never* been allowed to happen." I believe certain people should *never* be allowed to touch a computer. But that's not going to happen. The software should be as robust as it can, but we can only do so much with heuristics against the forced actions of people. At a certain point the software has no alternative but to throw up its hands.

    Anyway, people complain to no end about RPMs without ever suggesting any good uber system to replace it. With Debs? What does that buy us? Apt-get? Nope that's not a packaging format. Many be-all, end-all of packaging formats have been suggested over the years, but none of them have proved themselves to avoid all these problems that bring about the complaints in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:54PM (#18116268)
    In that article alone -

    "If I am asked for a credit card at checkin time, you have screwed up. Don't screw up, or I won't come back."

    Prima donna.

    "I don't have a secretary, I don't have a staff. There's just me, and seemingly half the population of the planet wants a piece of my time."

    Arrogant cunt.

    "If you're a cash-strapped user's group or small startup company, I'm a cheap date -- economy class and space on somebody's daybed, or half of an inexpensive hotel room, will do fine."

    How very gracious of you, your Majesty.

    ESR is the free software equivalent of a reality TV winner. Famous for being famous.
  • by CustomDesigned ( 250089 ) <> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:44PM (#18116742) Homepage Journal
    The win is, add one or two lines to your yum.conf, or if you prefer to your apt-sources list, and the problem disappears entirely under Redhat or Fedora, easily, cleanly, and without sending you into dependency hell. This RPM bashing is a real straw man. The end user package management systems used on Redhat and Fedora are yum and apt, *not* rpm. Sure you can dive into low level package management and use RPM directly - and you can even screw up your system. You can go one better and use tar or rm directly - and screw up your system even faster (if you don't know what you're doing).

    If yum can't install a package for an end-user, the *package* is broken, not the packaging system. BTW, someone mentioned false auto-dependencies on Perl script examples in the %doc directory. I haven't run into this, but there is "Autoreq: 0" and "Requires: ...". A pain for the package builder, but not for the end-user.

    The only "dependency hell" I've ever had with yum is when building source RPMs - and of course that doesn't use yum. I would like yum to (optionally) auto-install build dependencies (but sometimes you have to build the build dependencies from source). In my dreams, building from source would be as smooth as gentoo. I've heard a rumor that this is coming.

    After building a package from source, I'll try a direct rpm. But if that is missing stuff, I just copy my new package to my own repository and let yum do all the dependency chasing!

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:52PM (#18116816)
    I've used windows... well, pretty much forever.

    I wouldn't say I've never seen a BSOD, but very very rarely. I've probably seen as many kernel panics as BSODs.
  • by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:26PM (#18117176)
    Considering what most guest speakers want, that's incredibly light.

    "If I am asked for a credit card at checkin time, you have screwed up. Don't screw up, or I won't come back."

    Prima donna.

    Someone "screwed up" like this with me once and caused me one hell of a lot of hassle. I certainly don't blame him for this policy.

    "I don't have a secretary, I don't have a staff. There's just me, and seemingly half the population of the planet wants a piece of my time."

    I've heard this at some point from half the people I know. It hardly makes someone "arrogant" to be frustrated when a lot of people want their attention at once.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by goodie3shoes ( 573521 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:32PM (#18117750)
    Dependency Hell is real. How about another approach to the problem - package the libraries an application needs with it. Bandwidth is cheap, diskspace is cheap. IIRC Opera has done this to a degree in the past.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:42PM (#18117832)
    Out of curiosity, what makes you think Gates and Jobs hate each other? They have amazingly similar backgrounds, and no shortage of things to talk about. I bet they get along quite well.
  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by livewire98801 ( 916940 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:23PM (#18118124)
    I find it amusing that this guy thinks so much of himself, he's a tool. I've had some problems with Fedora not meeting dependency requirements, but I waited a day and the issue was resolved. I use two main repos (updates, dries) and add atrpms and livna as I need, but never allow them to be included in updates. He refers to the after-install update process as "always a frightening prospect under Fedora", but mine runs in the background nightly, and I'm rarely behind the curve on the latest updates.

    That being said, I'm typing this from an Edgy install on my notebook. Figured I'd try this Ubuntu thing out since some people have heard of it or something. I like it, but it'll never replace Fedora on my desktop. There are lots of things that I find more logical on Fedora, mostly the package management. The differences between DEB and RPM are irrelevant to me, but I fine Yum (and Yumex) far more intuitive than Apt-Get and Synaptic. Of course, Yumex reloading the Repo database every time you execute a command is something I'm not missing at all with Synaptic, but thats only one advantage so far.

    Just my $0.02 :)
  • Re:Disappointed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:39AM (#18118646) Homepage Journal
    Did it bug you that they have ESR do his angry intro to Revolution OS right before your interview is shown? (IIRC, that's how it went...)

    Nah, I'm pretty thick-skinned by now. It didn't even bug me when Richard Stallman and I were presenting at the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society, and I said something about how the Open Source folks were standing on Richard's shoulders, and Richard covered his shoulders! It's in this video []. That one was damn funny, classic Richard.

    What bothers me is that this eminently trivial story about Eric quitting Fedora gets on Slashdot, and when I need you folks to help with something really important, for example, by voting for the only Secretary of State candidate in California who supports Open Voting, that gets killed. Slashdot used to be an important site in the Open Source world. They took the readers and made it a "geek culture" site. And that's a shame. The "firehose" hasn't helped, it seems. An editor's job is to uplift the content, marking schemes seem to cater to the lowest common denominator.

    * 2007-02-05 15:54:23 Open Hardware License - Call for Public Review (Features,Hardware Hacking) (rejected)
    * 2006-11-03 00:53:13 Novell-Microsoft: It's About Software Patenting (Linux,Patents) (rejected)
    * 2006-06-30 01:06:08 Software Patent Lawsuits Against Open Source (Politics,Patents) (accepted)
    * 2006-04-14 21:31:56 California to consider Open Source Voting Bill (Index,Software) (rejected)

  • Re:Fedora Responds (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:54AM (#18118742)
    Bandwidth is cheap,

    You're not living in New Zealand, are you?
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <> on Friday February 23, 2007 @04:24AM (#18119874) Homepage
    While on the whole, I'm happy with Debian, one still has to watch what apt-get does. To install one package, aptitude (apt-get shell) invited me to remove my entire KDE desktop and chunks of gnome. I decided that it was time to quit while I was still behind.

    And the chances of getting a source-build to work on Debian distros is no better than it is on Fedora. I'd love to see someone come up with an automatic build-from-source program for Debian. (I mean from tarballs)

BLISS is ignorance.