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Red Hat Software Businesses

Is Red Hat the Next Microsoft? 341

Patrick Dunn writes "On ZDNET's Smart Reseller they have a story about Red Hat maybe being a mini-Microsoft by it's business practices." I'd guess that the 2 most common conspiracy theories that pop into my mail box are 1. MS-Linux and 2. Red Hat becoming the next MS. What do you think?
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Is Red Hat the Next Microsoft?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I initially gave a sigh of "more FUD" when I saw this article, but reading over it, it does bring up some good points.

    1.) Red Hat should consider joining the LSB even if it doesn't agree entirely with it, at this point. If you don't like something, and you think you have a better way, present it to your peers. This seems to work extremely well in the Linux community. We have a low tolerance for BS. People in the movement have a much more clear vision of now and the future. Red Hat is probably holding up the acceptance of Linux a little by slowing the process of standardizing the Linux platform. Success cannot be had without at least a basic level of standardization. I urge Red Hat to just bite the bullet on this one, and find an agreeable solution.

    2.) Red Hat should be able to make a certification standard for whatever they want. They create the RH distro, they know whats up (usually, damn suid bugs).

    3.) I don't trust Ransom Love or Caldera as far as I could throw them. What have they really done for the free software movement? Granted, they are a business, but Red Hat's done far more for the community.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's interesting the amount of outrage and support RedHat receives, at the notion they engage in some questionable business practices.

    Of course the Microsoft comparison is a bit drastic, but is it totally off base? I have it on good authority that some of the largest Linux-only computer resellers have exclusivity deals with RH. Perhaps these were struck by the reseller and not RH, but likely not. IOW, if you buy a computer from one of these companies, they are obligated to sell it with a copy of RedHAt Linux, and RH only.
    Is that acceptible? Perhaps ...

    -No big fan of RedHat
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Even if Redhat is becoming the next M$, it doesn't matter, because they still have to release the code under the GPL. Even if M$ released a version of Linux, guess what, they'd have to release the code under the GPL. Besides that, if Redhat doesn't run the app you need to run, then use a distribution that will or modify Redhat so it will run the app. That is what Linux is all about, freedom of choice. To my knowledge Redhat has not put any secrect code in their distribution and they have never forbiden anyone from modifying the code and everything they have contributed has been free for the download or bought on a CD for $10 from another source. So my question is whats the problem?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Caldera is whining big time here. RedHat has so far done the "Right Thing". They have released all their sources unlike Caldera which has pursued the policy of vendor lock-in. The reason that RedHat is popular is that RH has been open and done the right thing by the OSS community. I wonder if Microsoft paid Caldera to whine like this and create unseemly infighting. LSB? Where was Caldera for the past few years trying to work with vendors and coming up with these supposed standards? Now that RH has the publicity, Caldera wants to undercut it by spreading FUD.

    Wake up Caldera and stop these shady tactics!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding over the nature of openness going on here. An open-community lets everyone invent and develop the innovations they want. Then the community decides which they will support. Its a fundamentally decentralized system. This article seems like its complaining that Red Hat are not supporting a centralized standardization-by-committee project which is pretty much the antithesis of this sort of openness.

    As to Red Hat selling training for their brand of Linux (including specific quirks) it seems hard to see what moral compulsion there should be on them not to do this? Sometimes, its inevitable that a de-facto standard locks in, and other varieties become extinct. This can become a practical problem, but doesn't represent a moral failing on the part of the winners. (Even Microsoft are sometimes unfairly castigated just for being big - though they're often bad too)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Apache, BIND, BSD stuff, X, Netscape...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Red Hat _can't_ screw things up like Microsoft. Imagine a worst-case scenario: Red Hat eats all the other distributions, then starts producing bad software and support.

    The solution? Somebody picks up an old Red Hat version that _works_ and makes their own distribution. Or they take a new distribution, hack on it, and make it work.

    A major point of Open Source is that it is designed to make it impossible for anyone to hold the customer by the nose ring.

    Red Hat is currently the 800-lb gorilla in the Linux market. They may become the _entire_ Linux market. If they end up with 80-90% of the market, it will be because we consumers want it that way.

    Believe you me, if Red Hat owns the market and starts pulling a Microsoft, (or some name equally unlikely) will come online, complete with the full Red Hat source, and fork the development off. The only way Red Hat could prevent that would be to stop shipping the source code--an absolute breach of copyright. That would immediately attract a school of lawyers and work them up into a feeding frenzy on the legal end, and probably a small army of crackers to "liberate" the code on the illegal end.

    The two reasons that Microsoft can do what they do are because they have the right to charge for licenses, and they have exclusive source code rights. Red Hat can become a market leader, and possibly the one-and-only vendor, but the nature of the copyrights guarantees that they cannot become a monopolist. The barrier to entry in this market will always be low, and compatibility need never become an issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Redhat is not perfect, but its the best I have seen so far. Been using it for 1.5 years and no
    real complaints.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What little I have obseverd about this issue it seems that KDE pushers were (still are?) most eager to spread this FUD about RedHat becoming the next MS, somewhat distubing given the fact that RedHat and Debian were the only distributions with enough spine to stand against Qt and it was actually TrollTech that 'saw the light' as you say and changed their license.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    /. once again spins off into uninformed bigotry.

    The LSB is not about making all distributions identical. It's about giving application authors a minimal set of libraries, header files, configuration paths, locations for dynamic state &c., in known locations. i.e. Things that just make life easier for an application writer to port their software to Linux.

    Redhat being unenthusiastic about LSB, and just attempting to have their FS layout the de-facto standard (as it is now) would be a Bad Thing. Fortunatly Eric Troan was very positive about it when I last heard him speak on the subject.

    I hope Red Hat's technical base manage to hold out against pressures from marketing to go proprietary.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    From the LSB web page (
    Current Members:
    Caldera Inc
    The Debian Project
    delix Computer GmbH
    Pacific HiTech
    >>Red Hat SoftwareSuSE. GmbH
    WGS Inc
    Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc.
    Metro Link, Inc.
    Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
    Linux Hardware Solutions
    VA Research

    As you can see RedHat, Debian, Caldera and SuSE are all members...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There will never be an MS of the free software world. There will definitely be market leaders, and that leader may take up 99% of the market. But that doesn't make them an MS.

    There are a number of market leaders that are there simply because customers believe that they're the best of breed. Think of Tobasco (hot sauce), Caterpillar (construction equipment), Lego (building blocks) or Zamboni (ice resurfacers). These both lead their respective markets so well that the brand name is synonimous with the generic product.

    In both of these cases, competition does exist, and one could argue that there are technical reasons that the competition's product is better. However, nobody argues that these products are bad at their job. If they ever started producing shoddy product or otherwise treating their customers poorly, the brand loyalty would only hold so far. Case in point: New Coke. Market leader screws up royally, and people scramble for the competition until they correct their ways.

    Microsoft is a market leader, but it's more than that. It's gotten us locked in so that they can produce shoddy products and generally mistreat the customer, and we still buy their product. I only know of a handful of other products that can make money on Microsoft's business model: cocaine, LSD, heroin, and various other illicit drugs. They are a rogue corporation operating in ways that the normal assumed laws of capitalist economics no longer apply to them.

    Red Hat is simply a market leader, and that's all it will ever be. It's another Zamboni. If they take their success and customers for granted, somebody will come up and snatch their crown. Because of the nature of the biz, this will happen _even if all other distributions are dead an buried by then_.

    The barriers for entry into the Linux distribution market are low. It takes a moderate-sized corporate infrastructure, easily enough provided by a software tycoon who can see the profit. It takes talented staff in various areas, including engineering--if it's hard for you to get such people, it's hard for everybody else as well. And it takes a copy of the source code, which you have access to because it's Linux.

    Will software only run for one distribution? Yup. If it's general purpose software (such as a database server), it should run everywhere. If one distribution has "magic code" required to run it, other distributions should get it and link it in! In other cases, distributions may optimize for different problem spaces (financial, home, gaming, backend number-crunching, internet service). If that happens, some apps will only go to one distribution. Again, if your distribution is losing share because it can't run package X, figure out why and make it run package X. All the source is available; Open Source has no secrets.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1.) Red Hat should consider joining the LSB even if it doesn't agree entirely with it, at this point. If you don't like something, and you think you have a better way, present it to your peers.

    They do. They present their whole code base to their peers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes. Look at what happens when an article about any un-fashionable operating system gets posted on Slashdot. Be OS, Mac OS, OS/2, Amiga . . . even *BSD! You get buried in venom from people who cannot stand the fact that anyone could say something positive about anything besides their precious OS. (I'm a Linux user, too, by the way, but I also use several other OSes.)

    It's a general attitude these people have, I think. Look what happens when an article gets posted about someone who doesn't look exactly right! There was something about Alan Cox a few weeks ago, and people who had never met him were talking about what trash he must be for his appearance (he has a long beard). I've never met him either, but he's done a lot of good work on the Linux kernel. That's all that really matters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 1999 @12:02PM (#1968903)
    Let's see:
    Does Microsoft authorize a $1.99 Cheapbytes CD of their NT OS (Win98 doesn't compare to Linux - NT barely does)

    Does Microsoft publish the source for NT and related apps?

    Does Microsoft offer their NT OS free from FTP?

    If your other dist isn't as progressive as RH in their libs, then download and install them - duh. The only real difference that RH has to other Linux's and Unix in general are some minor directory differences, but that's easy to get around by tweaking your PATH environment. Otherwise, they put out a good product, market it with skill, and fix bugs with haste - does Microsoft fit ANY of those descriptions? Even their marketing is stupid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:28AM (#1968904)
    RedHat isn't becoming like Microsoft, but Linux users have started to sound a lot like Windows users esp. some of the people on these boards.

    Windows users used to flame and think users of other operating systems were inferior and not worth their time. If somebody didn't use their type of hardware, they would be laughed at.

    Now, a lot of linux users are wearing that shoe. What were once advocates and evangelists are now incensed zealtos.

    Now, I don't want to start a flame war, but I invite people to take a look at what they do and say before they actually happen.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:32AM (#1968905)
    Not to long ago, I read an article here about the "Backlash against Red Hat." Someone said (AC, so I can't attribute it:

    This is is different than what I have been hearing
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10

    I, for one, generally agree with the tone of the comments above, i.e., Red Hat has been good for Linux and a win for RH is a win for Linux in general.

    But: This isn't what I have been hearing around here lately. I have been hearing about "the Microsoft of Linux" for months now. If I were a Gartner Groupie hanging out on Slashdot, I would have certainly written the same article.

    In fact, /. is a high-enough profile website that I wouldn't be surprised if some of the FUD about the Linux community had its origins right here. Take one halfclued reporter/analyst, half-a-dozen noisy distribution/free software/etc bigots, and presto! Negative press coverage.

    Sometimes we need to think before we post.

    This person got it right on. I think that this article came straight out of Slashdot, with a few of Caldera's sour grapes thrown in. (BTW, is it just me, or did it seem like this story could have been cooked up -- or at least heavily influenced -- by Caldera?) Red Hat has got their problems, but, hey. This isn't the way to world domination.

  • it doesn't matter, because they still have to release the code under the GPL.

    Maybe you should understand the facts before you profess to know them. Writing software for Linux in no way obligates you to release the software under the GPL or give your source code away for free.

    This is a choice made by RedHat to release their software under the GPL. There is nothing that forces RedHat (or any other vendor) to release programs they write under the GPL, modifications to the kernel or system libraries are a different story though.

    These damn AC's piss me off sometime.

    --Aaron Newsome [mailto]

  • by anewsome ( 58 ) on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:28AM (#1968907)
    Personally I think it's a stretch to say the Redhat may be the next MS. It might be more accurate to say they'll be the next MS of the free software world.

    The practice of being in the free software business is just too different to put them on the same playing field as Microsoft, who focus on just te bottom line, FUD and hardball tactics.

    I don't see Redhat as being the strongarm of the free software world, but I also don't think that Red Hat's philosophy is at all in line with Linus'.

    Linus says that his personal drive for Linux is guided by technical excellence and nothing more. I don't see any technical excellence being driven by Redhat with their 'not quite their yet' tools, stranger than strange file locations and other general 'do it their way' crap.

    And yes I am a bit bitter about having to upgrade all ny boxes to redhat only becuase none of the commercial software (Oracle) ran on my Slackware boxes that I'd had for years.

    Thanks, Aaron Newsome [mailto].

  • RedHat cannot be the next Microsoft, because even if they do have over 50% of the Linux market (a number which I doubt, SuSE is huge in Europe, and there are more people running Linux in Europe Linux than in the US last I checked), they cannot hijack things the way Microsoft did.

    Yes, RedHat has been lukewarm towards the LSB, but the LSB isn't even ready for a draft standard yet, there is no guarantee they will finish, much less be good. The other standard out there, the FHS, they have followed quite well (far better than the stranger than strange file locations you get with Slackware). I am sure that if the LSB is halfway decent when it is done, RedHat will follow it (I don't know about happily, but there will be lots of pressure for them to follow it).

    Don't switch your boxes to RedHat for Oracle, upgrade your libraries, and force Oracle to work for you. Better yet, use PostgreSQL (it now has better row locking and better performance than Oracle on single processor machines).
  • mw wrote:

    * RedHat is NOT the easiest to install (maybe you want to look at EasyLinux)

    I took a quick look at EasyLinux's webpage [], and it looks like they just remove one step from the RedHat installation, the disk partitioning step. The price of this is it installs Linux in a huge file on a fat partition, within which it simulates an ext2 partition. This can lead to horrible fragmentation and stability problems if the FAT partition is used often. Why do you think nobody uses Doublespace anymore?

    * not everything on their CD is GPL'ed, as well as in any other distribution (except Debian maybe). Or do you have a GPL'ed Netscape, xv, XFree86, Perl, Tcl ... on your RedHat CD?

    True, I'll assume the original poster just misspoke. On the other hand, over 90% of the programming that RedHat does is GPL'ed (the remaining bit being the XFree86 stuff, either under X-Consortium license or NDA).

    * at least when it comes to buggy distribution, RedHat comes very close to Microsoft

    While RedHat does ship with bugs (as does every distribution, but many have fewer than RedHat) the bugs are almost never as bad as the disasters I've seen coming out of Microsoft. They are also fixed more quickly, and they make finding the updates much easier than Microsoft does.

    I see almost no legitimate comparisons between RedHat and Microsoft. If you don't like RedHat, talk about what you don't like, don't make pointless comparisons to a company that is completely different in size, organization, business practices, licensing practices, development practices, product offerings, support offerings, power, attitude, budget, revenue, platform, and so forth. There are only two similarities I see: they both distribute software, and both have CEO's with glasses.
  • Conceived as a computing champion, Microsoft Inc got it's hand bit battling unstoppable moves by the likes of RedHat Software Inc., Linux Torvalds, and a bored doctoral student who is currently working on some of the Linux kernel for "fun". Now it may be borrowing a page straight from North Carolina.

    Indeed, with NT garnering decreased credibility and various Linux distributions growing at a rate of 212% last year, the Redmond vendor suddenly finds itself the unintended target of an exploding industry. And Microsoft is using every bit of its current market lead to push its alternative operating system into a dominant position.

    Smart business move? Possibly. But some critics, such as the United States Department of Justice, contend that Microsoft's business practices, under CEO William Gates, are becoming heavy-handed and bad for the entire computing industry.

    Most controversial, perhaps, is the company's new plan to fix bugs and respond to consumer problems, while 3rd party efforts to make revenue off of the open-source inspired idea are in the hopper. Further flustering the hornet's nest is Microsoft's unenthusiastic reception of any standards, including POSIX above v1, X-windows, kerberos, CODA, IPv6, and it's unwillingness to accept RedHat's challenge of becoming profitable and dominent while selling what is basically a commodity product.

    It's ironic that the company which claims to be the market leader is not supporting well-known standards properly.

    While the DOJ and numerous other companies are involved with lawsuits against the Redmond based giant, it's clear that Microsoft is no longer the chummy place it used to.... oh wait... never mind.
  • from what i understand rpm was originally just a few perl scripts that existed long before Red Hat the company existed, and it just sort of evolved from there. I don't think it was ever a malicious or most likely even a conscious decision not to use deb's, probably just a natural evolution.
  • actually, to become an MCSE, you have to pass SIX pathetically easy exams. (okay, they aren't all easy... for instance I know of more than one CCIE who can't pass TCP/IP just because they keep forgetting that 'can't do that' means 'can't do that with microsoft prodcuts'.

    As for certification, well, I got my CLA at just for kicks (for $15, how wrong can you go?) and I'll wait and see what else appears that seems worthwhile.
  • Didn't they try Linux [] back in 1998?


  • Y'know this restaurant makes the best shit sandwiches... I've been eating here for 1.5 years
    so I have intimate knowledge of all the restaurants I haven't eaten at during that time.

    In my experience RH 5 and 5.1, while having some nice features, are a detriment to Linux reputation as a stable system. I was so frustrated by 5.0's crappyness that I had _3_ replacement CD's sent to
    me from linuxcentral in the mistaken belief that they _must_ be defective.
    Next step? Buy official boxed set from retail outlet. Still crap. Solution? Switch back to 4.1 which lived up to the hype, stability wise. 5.1 gets released, run out to retail outlet, buy boxed set. Install. Still crap.
    Return to 4.1 while waiting for 5.2.
    5.2 released, give it month to get in store, while tracking redhat erratta and updates.. still faithful, run to retailer.... Surprise! no RH5.2 _but_ they have Debian _and_ SuSE 5.3...Purchase SuSE, install, relax enjoy system that lives up to hype.
    I also tried Caldera OpenLinux Lite 1.0 (crap) and
    Slackware, which was good but the defaults seemed to be low on security and at the time I wasn't up to fixing it.
    Hell, I even replaced all my hardware because of
    sig11 faults when trying to compile a kernel under RH5*..
    Of course, most of the probs I _had_ were related to using the system as a desktop machine.

  • The source for a Debian package comes in three different files, actually...

    • The original source tarball - This contains all the upstream source without any changes to allow it to conform to the Debian policy and without the rules for building a .deb file.
    • A .diff.gz - This contains the forementioned changes.
    • A .dsc file - This contains the checksums for both the tarball and the .diff.gz and the checksums are PGP signed.

    Now, this does use one source tarball and one diff per package (though there may be multiple allowed, I've only begun as a Debian developer :), but the source packages:

    • *are* PGP signed
    • can be built without root priviledges (get the fakeroot package and do pkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot, it's how I build all of mine)

    About the optimisation on different architectures... again, I'm unsure, but this is because of my lack of experience... especially since once I've uploaded a i386 + source package, it seems there are people who have automated builds for other architectures running, so I kinda haven't worried about it... but it might be possible, I'd have to check :)

    Anyway, I just wanted to clarify what I knew was provided by the Debian source package system, and hope that someone else could clarify the rest for me...

  • I'm running both Linux and BSD, both on Macs (BSD for the IIcx) which can also dualboot. Therefore, I must surely be deserving of being nibbled to death by yaks ;) even worse, I have released GPLed software- but it runs on Macs! Aaaaaaa! *hides from herds of angry ex-Windows users with rocks* *hehehe*
  • Would it still be FUD if KDE advocates _wanted_ another MS? My RH-derived Linux (linuxppc) shipped with KDE built so securely into the system that you couldn't switch window managers and I'm still seeing people post forlorn pleas to c.s.l.p for help in removing the default, unkillable KDE install.
    Which is somewhat beside the point, but anyhow, if KDE advocates did _not_ want one uberdesktop, one uberdistribution, then it might be FUD to call RedHat another MS (as in, fear of it, uncertainty about using it, doubt of if it's the right thing). However if KDE people are already predominantly accustomed to Windows and want 'weak' strains of linux to die out leaving all the support and development on KDE and Red Hat, would 'Red Hat is the next MS' really be an attack on RH? Wouldn't it instead be sort of an argument that one shouldn't support any other distribution because they are all going to be Darwinned out of existence?
  • Its obvious that this journalist hasn't a clue about the GPL or Linux in general. I've lost a lot of respect for Caldera after reading this article.

    Ransom Love is whining that Informix targeted Red Hat for their port. Well guess what Caldera? If you really want to be compatible you could easily take Red Hat's ENTIRE distribution, slap your CLOSED SOURCE Novell crap on top of it and brand it Caldera. Mandrake Linux and others have done exactly this.

    If you are incompatible, FIX it. That's what open source is about. Red Hat doesn't have any secret API's that are designed to break competing software.

    I've used Red Hat quite a bit and I haven't paid them a single penny, unlike certain Microsoft products I no longer use and pay out the nose for! Furthermore, I heavily use Red Hat's ftp, web services, mailing lists, and take advantage of the fact that they are supporting development in GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment and the kernel itself (Alan Cox). I'm glad to see Red Hat is successful and as long as they continue to support Free software I will support them.

    BTW, last I heard Linus used Red Hat. I'd sure like to see how HE customizes that bad boy :)
  • For LSB, why not just create a /compat directory with links to everything? That way, the different distributions could stay different yet remain compatible with the LSB. I know it wouldn't help much for libc5 vs glibc but... libc5 is discontinued! glibc6 is the way to go now so... is this still a REAL issue?

    As for the article, I don't think RedHat has crossed the evil line yet. Anyway, it is in RedHat's best interests FINANCIALLY to remain in good standing with the community.
  • Posted by JerTheNerd:

    >When you say microsoft is selling software >because they want to make money, I say, "Don't >waste your time typing that into a keyboard."

    This is true... I should have just assumed that as a 'given.' I stand corrected. ;-)

    >Now when you say RedHat is selling Linux becuase >it works, I say, "Are you out of you mind?"

    I didn't say that that's why they're selling it. I said that's why they're pushing it, that's why they have half the sales in the open source community, and they shouldn't be picked on for it.

    >RedHat isn't some non-profit organization >selling Linux CDs so they can buy rice to send >over to somalia.

    Quite true. I know that they're doing this to pay the bills just like everyone else. My intent was to point out the marked difference between they way they and Microsoft handle the issue.

    MS made 95 (again a given, but I'll make a thought progression out of it, don't worry!) and sold it to the masses for $90 a box. I'll admit, before I gained some knowledge, I thought '95 was the best thing that ever hit my hard drive. (=>@ *(*%(*^%(%(*%) Then MS makes IE4... freely downloadable from their conxion FTP mirror. Then... they make '98. And they sell the Windows 98 upgrade for another $90. Holy rip off Batman! 95 with IE4 and 98 are IDENTICAL!! There are only a VERY few subtle differences.

    Now... Redhat makes a linux distribution. When a friend of mine bought the 5.1 box set it was $50. Then 5.2 was released. You can download the entire thing for free, or you can pay another $30 for the 5.2 box set.

    Redhat is definately NOT in this for the principle of the thing, they want to make their money. But, they're also not just selling us something we already have. And they're not inflating the value of what they sell.

    Again... my two cents. :-)
  • Posted by dwiiezle:

    I agree with that redhat is a kind of mini-m$.
    They have slow sucking "user-friendly" distributions with bugging libraries :)

    The only difference is that caldera doesn't make money like m$ does ;)

    Slackware rox! :)
  • Posted by Antinomian Chowderhead:

    This is just what I'd expect from Caldera. The trail of bodies behind that company just gets longer and longer, doesn't it?

    Not that Red Hat is any better. The rumors of prohibited biological experiments in their classified mountain bunker are too persistent -- and too detailed -- to ignore. And does anybody still bother trying to keep track of all the international war crimes tribunals that have been convened solely for the purpose of investigating the atrocities commited by the infamous Red Hat Brigade? I thought not.

  • Posted by Antinomian Chowderhead:

    The users are going to destroy slashdot.

    Yeah, if it doesn't destroy them first.

    Conviction without action is the ruin of the soul

    Ham without eggs is the ruin of breakfast.

  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangster Of Love:

    Don, you make an excellent point. I think that all Redhat needs to complete the transition to an AOL type entity is to make the default runlevel 5 in the /etc/inittab. This would cause the default install of the system to boot into xdm and remove the pure console from the equasion.

    At that point you have the equiv of M$ windoze for Linux. If that happens the dumbing down of the typical user will accellerate beyond all control.

    It's because AOL has attracted the lowest common denominator to the internet that we've had to deal with crap like the CDA. When the internet was too difficult for the average child to access, nobody used protecting children from smut on the internet as a campaign issue.

    I think of myself as a rather competent computer user and for all I know and all I can do I'm a flea compared to men like Linus, and the GURUs at bell labs who envisioned the concepts of UNIX and Linux.

    In a decade, even though I'll never be in their league, I will be that far ahead of the people who are considered very capable or competent.

    Just as now I'm humbled by people who still do assembler programming.

  • Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Man, Red Hat does seem to be doing a really good job in packaging and marketing. (I'm unqualified to judge their code, so I won't.) For Linux to be really successful, someone's got to do that. Not everybody in the world has the vision to just automatically see how Open Source works, and why their fears and doubts are unjustified. Red Hat's doing that, and doing it well.

    So the question I pose to you is: how successful do you want Linux to be? If you want it to remain where it is, then fine. But if you want it to go head to head with Microsoft on every level, you've got to accept that there are companies out there that will take the lead and become rich.

    The best thing, I think, that Linux users can do is to support a standards base and hold all companies accountable to it. And if Red Hat or someone else decides to do something squirrelly with the code, use the power that brought Linux to prominence in the first place to set things straight again.

    I tell ya...this open source thing is amazing. I hope it stays that way.
  • Posted by JerTheNerd:

    Hey, I'm 19, no college education, yet still gainfully employed. I must be doing something right. ;-) It beats what other people my age do. Would you like fries with that?
  • Posted by Lord Kano-The Gangster Of Love:

    I too think of myself as a Linux newbie in many ways. Even though I maintain two linux servers (one business, one personal), I only recently compiled and installed a custom kernel with success. Were it not for RedHat I'd still be where I was 6 months ago.

    However just because you start out doing it the easy way, doesn't mean that you should be content continue on that path.

    But as a whole it is NOT a good thing to remove people so much from technology.

    When my dad was my age, there was not a part in his car that he couldn't fix himself with a good sized toolbox. If my car weren't so hopelessly old I'd never be able to lift the hood. As automotive technlogy marched on people got lazy, we were more than happy to go to firestone, or Mr. Goodwrench to get our cars fixed instead of learning to do it ourselves.

    We are marching down the same path with computers. Hell maybe I'll open a repair center and call it Mr. Goodchips and make a load of cash.

  • Posted by JerTheNerd:

    First of all... Red Hat and MS are two completely different animals. MS is pushing software on people, basicly to make money ($90 a pop for Windows 98... WHAT THE ????) and just because they can. They (or should I say 'he') are (is) using the fact that so many people are locked into using MS products to keep digging the trench deeper.

    On the flip side of the coin, Red Hat is pushing their software because it WORKS! And works well. It's easy to install, easy to configure, easy to learn, and easy to use. Plus it doesn't crash. I think I've gotten my box to freeze all of once because that was way back (a month ago) when I had no clue what I was doing. Anyway... couple the fact that Red Hat makes good reliable software, with the price difference! I've seen the 5.2 box set for $30! Or if you're cheap, just download it!

    At the very least I'd say that comparing the two companies in the first place (in that manner) is the quickest way to get "Gold Member" status on your Moron Club Card.

    Just my two cents, feel free to dispense change. ;-)
  • I've no reason to be a fan, but from what I can observe of their behaviour it's only possible to think that they're some sort of Microsoft if you imagine that they're ill-thought-of just because their software is popular, ie if you have utterly failed to take in just how nasty MS really is.

    And they do support the LSB. And they fund free software development. And they support standards. I think their behavour is pretty much exemplary.

    I still prefer Debian though...

  • LSB Home Page []

    My feeling is that it is very important. I run FreeBSD, Debian, and RedHat; I'd very much like for RedHat and Debian to be more compatible, as I imagine many people would like Slackware to be, etc. There's no reason for gratuitous incompatibility -- RedHat is a bunch of nice people, but sometimes their decisions for where to put things and what to include make little sense.

    A common starting point would be very good for Linux, and would really stuff it to the "fragmentation FUDrakers" once and for all.

  • by doug ( 926 )
    Well, none that has XFree86 anyhow. Maybe one of the tiny linux distributions doesn't have X, but all the major ones do.
  • >The power just shifts--once again you will have a company that will do anything to hold its monopoly.

    Red Hat doesn't a Linux monopoly. Hell, they don't even have a monopoly on selling Red Hat -- head to cheapbytes or linuxmall and you can buy a copy for $2, none of which goes to Red Hat. They are trying, primarily, to be a service and support vendor, not to dominate the industry.
  • Red Hat has been misquoted by ZD before, so I wouldn't take this article to be the last word on their lack of support for the LSB. I hope it's not true, anyway.


  • I don't trust Ransom Love or Caldera as far as I could throw them. What have they really done for the free software movement?

    They wrote the PPP and IPX stuff for Linux.

    I find myself defending Caldera on an increasingly regular basis. This isn't because I like their distro so much as I dislike all the FUD _within_ the Linux community. FUD is FUD, whether it comes from MS or an AC.

    BTW, I'm not singling you aout in particular, but I had to post this somewhere. :-)


  • I read somewhere that Red Hat is paying a couple of programmers to help with Qt 2.0, so it shouldn't be an issue this time around.
  • Why doesn't Informix run well in Caldera? Because Caldera is running totally out of date, bug-ridden libraries.

    I assume you're referring to libc5. They are out of date, but they aren't "bug ridden". They used (past tense, so this post isn't out of date by the end of the month...) them because they're stable. A bug (unintended program behavior) is not the same as a missing feature (thread support).


  • RH's doing a good job. They're juggling a lot of different Linux projects, and doing it well. They're also bringing more and more awareness of Linux to different groups - a Good Thing(tm). Looking forward to RH 6.0.
  • Linux is free.

    That means that anyone who doesn't want to go with RedHat doesn't have to. Given the freeness of Linux, I see no way for RedHat to somehow deprive you of your choice among the distributions. If you don't like any of them, you can even roll your own. (I'd love to do that someday, but I don't have the time.)

    How could RedHat make .rpms incompatible? rpm is GPLed. We'd all be able to see what the format changes were and they'd gain nothing but ill will.

    Remember, RedHat is a company. Their primary goal is to earn enough money to allow their employees to make a living working for them. If they ever did anything along the lines of the paranoid ravings being spouted here, they would lose all community trust. With that trust would go their profits. I doubt they plan anything so insidious.

    --Phil (Over there! It's a conspiracy! Made you look...)
  • Its great they gave it away, but it does keep me from using many distributions.

    As was found in an earlier debate, RPMS are great as long as you can trust them not to screw up your system. Some incomplete RPMS when removed can (yes do) make life a living hell for any future version of that program.

    Avoiding this requires waiting for the distributions RPMS, or others you trust or even making your own.

    But then making your own RPM is more hassle than "make install". But if you ever install something that isn't an RPM then you can never install (AFAIK) without forcing it, a program that is dependant on it.
  • But the article quotes the RedHat VP as saying their support is luke-warm.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~ ^~~^~
  • that it doesn't want people thinking Linux=Redhat.

    Redhat is the Linux Microsoft, which goes to show just how good it is. Even our Microsoft (RedHat) contribitues to the community, even our Microsoft (RedHat) sets its programs free as open-source.

    But Linux is a operating system born of community effort. And if someone wants to port, there should be an easy way they can port to the community (including RedHat) rather than just porting it to the Microsoft of Linux (Redhat).
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^ ~~^~
  • After exhausting myself over these posts I've concluded this isn't so much a debate about RedHat or Microsoft as it is a debate over Frodo's Ring. You remember in Tolkien's Lord of the Ring masterpieces, it was the ring of absolute power. It also corrupted everyone (but one) who used it.

    Its true I'm borrowing the analogy from an earlier (like last year) article mentioned by Slashdot, but it is amazing to me how much it applies. if someone could reproduce the URL I'd appreciate it greatly.

    The Ring here is the power over little things, like where files should be placed, and which libc to use. These are little things but they're neccesity for higher level apps (the ones we actually use to be productive.)

    The example of what control this can bring is Microsoft themselves. Not only by there dominance of the actualy operating system but by there dominance of the User Interface and the libraries that generate them and the API hooks into those libraries.

    That is what we're afraid of isn't it? It doesn't matter who controls the ring, its the ring itself that we fear. We fear its power over us, and I cringe anytime someone gets close to that ring, no matter the morals of that person.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~ ^~
  • Thank you for your reply. It was informative and professional. However there are a few things I'll point out also.

    When I mention a RPM screwing up your system, I mean an RPM messing up the packaging system. Like a partially installed RPM that fond a little bug that makes it abort, but enough was installed to add it to the RPM registry (nope I didn't call it a database.) I haven't found a good way yet to clean up a RPM registry after something like this happens and it happens frequently since I get impatient (I know my personal problem) for Redhat releases to update software.

    As far as maintaining multiple systems, I think in other discussions its a settled issue that the Debian packaging system and tools are even better than RPM. And they are open source, and they are GPL (and the long list of what everyone calls it these days.)

    And how do I, after installing with "make install" say the new GTK libraries, then without forcing it installation install Gimp?
  • It is true that most of these problems are natural to any packaging system. I'm not against packaging systems. However one that is more manualy editable and fixable would be nice is all I'm saying. Otherwise by its very nature it traps you into using RPMS, and for guaranteed stability the RPMS issued from RedHat (free of charge of course.)

    Stampede seems to understand these concerns really well. They're SLIP is the packaging system that doesn't have to be. ENCAPS is also really good but doesn't check dependancies.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^ ~~~^~~^~
  • cool
  • by On Lawn ( 1073 ) on Monday March 22, 1999 @10:05AM (#1968950) Journal
    ...if you've only used RedHat.

    I don't coun't it as FUD, where is the uncertanty and doubt? Infact a consliracy theory like this that says Redmond is shoveling this rhetoric IS FUD ON YOUR PART . Indeed, it is showing an early lead for RedHat to prescribe its (lame) administration nuances on anyone who wants to run propriatary software. It shows certainty of RedHat's system as the port for your MS software moving to linux.

    If proprietary software runs on RedHat then it becomes the Linux Standard Base, rather than the community well though out effort that the LSB is.
  • Not only is this more MS slanted stuff from ZD, it rings of Godwin's Law, which should be extended to include references or comparisone to Microsoft and it's overlord Bill Gates. There is, of course, only one proper response to a troll. Drumroll please....


    All Hail Sir Troll of Slashdot!
  • Hmmm, I guess I must not have a distribution on my computer since I downloaded it from a Web page..?

    PS - I'm not putting a company out of business either.
  • I didn't see him doing that, the most you can say is that he said they were the first *linux* distributor to use a package manager. I don't know whether that's true or not, but I suspect that it's more true. I'm pretty sure they were the first distribution to be known for it anyway.

  • RPM has a lot of features that make it more appealing to distribution developers.

    Which features? Compatability with RedHat doesn't count.. ;-)

    (not that I disbelieve you but I'm tired of people making broad claims (another good one "Gnome is founded on a poor architecture") with no examples or explanation.

  • The problem with RedHat becoming the standard distro is about choice.

    If I am not able to choose which one I want (RH, SuSE, Debian, Slackware, Turbo Linux...) then Linux will go a big step backward.

    Ok Red Hat has done (is doing) great things for Linux but I want CHOICE!

    Besides, Red Had having the biggest market share can (by changing it's "format") make all the rpm incompatible with other distros.
    This remembers me what a company from Redmond is doing to keep the lead in the desktop market...

    I am not against RH (I have it on my PC), just worried...
  • I think the LSB is a good thing, and the only fault I can find has nothing to do with Red Hat.

    IMHO, the LSB is only weak because of lack of manpower. And I don't know if Red Hat supplying that would be a good thing. The LSB just needs people with time to get things going. They recently some stress over time to even keep the HTML up to date, and that's still an ongoing battle.

    If you wanna see compatability, then lend a hand in the LSB, it's that simple. If you wanna see Red Hat Dominate, do nothing and just keep buying CD's from them. I don't have a problem with Red Hat, I use it on several boxes, but I would like to see the LSB get some more momentum, and that will just have to come from manhours.

    If Red Hat is so secretly anti-LSB as the FUD artical says, why is Alan Cox (who works for Red Hat) one of the most active members on every LSB list?!?

    • GPL'ed all software developed in house.
    • Allow free download of product they sell (including manual).
    • Openly communicate with competitors.
    If you think those fit Microsoft, well, then maybe the two are the same.

    I just don't see it (and haven't since the first time I heard this FUD over a year ago).

  • Bottom line is that is typical ZDNet FUD. Not worth my effort to say much more.

    That said, I would like to know why Robert Young had his editoria on the LSB pulled from the archive on Does anyone know the scoop (NPI!) on that? Does anyone have a copy of his editorial?

    I'm not suggesting anything here. But I would like all the facts.

    I personally use RedHat on around ten machines, not counting personal stuff, so it's safe to say that I'm not biased against them. Not that I don't have my gripes about the way their setup program works (have fun not installing X!) or the way the deviate from a given package's standard locations for files. But all in all they don't entirely suck.
    "First they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.

  • ms can release linux if they like. everyone else does.

    redhat isn't a microsoft. they produce GPL software.

    use whatever distribution you like.
  • I use Red Hat and will soon also use Suse on another machine. But Debian is our safety net. I think the Red Hat guys are smart enough to realize that and won't pull any stunts.

    Debian is important for all of us, even if we don't use it.
  • It takes me an hour to install and set it up, whereas it takes me only 15 minutes to install and set up RedHat, BUT I prefer Debian to RedHat because Debian offers a helluva lot more packages on a CD and it sets it up so that you have to be pretty darn stupid/unlucky to mess it up. Debian being able to install an RPM just as easy as its DEB is also a big help. I also find that Debian deserves at least some credit for including Alien as a part of its dist. Alien transforms your rpm/deb/tgz into deb/rpm/tgz using only a simple command. Another thing about debian is that it only releases stuff that is 99-100% stable, unlike RedHat.
  • RedHat has shown that they are committed to contributing valuable free software to the community and that they are not basing their distribution around proprietary technologies - only free software. However, they are a commercial company that is selling an operating platform and it is natural to expect that they must take advantage of opportunities to create value-added aspects to their product. They shouldn't be attacked for this, but it is okay to worry about the possibility of a small degree of fragmentation (in things like training courses, for instance). Note that "worry" is not the same as criticize. This downside should be seen as a reasonable price to pay for the investment that RedHat is bringing in to Linux. People who think this is very worrying should support Debian, an all-volunteer, non-profit, effort. Personally, I'm not too worried but I prefer Debian just because it is a better overall distrubution, and I contribute donations each time I upgrade. *-- Josh
  • If the numbers given in the article are right, then RedHat does have a much stronger position in the Linux market share than any other Linux vendor. I don't see evidence of Microsoft practices however. They haven't embraced open standards, modified them and concealed the specifications while at the same time protecting the new specification as intellectual property. They haven't released something for free to crush competition only later to consider charging money for it. They haven't released software which only works on there distribution. What they have done is come up with a relatively easy to use Linux distribution and done so earlier in the game than a lot of the competition. They've done a better job than most on making use of the latest Linux technologies. It's the first point which got them market share and I would wonder how much of that market share has actually payed for RedHat and how much has downloaded it for free (or gone to cheapbytes and picked up an unofficial package) It's a bit of a rolling stone really. Since more people use RedHat chances are that more developers are developing on it and so its more likely that it makes use of the technologies present in a RedHat distribution. This may be unfortunate in terms of squeezing smaller competition out of the running but it seems like its unavoidable. For source distributions the user and developer community is still free to modify the code and make a more distribution agnostic version. It's not RedHat's fault that there are some distribution dependancies, they were in the right place at the right time with the right product. The market share isn't so high that it can't change either. If somebody makes a better deal for the consumer the market share can be moved (ease of installation, reliability, scalability, ease of use, feature set, price, pool of resources including people who can help fix you when you're broke)

    If RedHat started developing its own closed source office suite and bundling it with its distribution then it would be infringing on Microsofts practices. I don't see that happening though. The various distributions happen not to be exactly plug and play compatible for software applications. Common sense says that most of it will work best with whoever has the largest market share.

    The RedHat training is another point that I don't agree with. RedHat has a distribution. It only makes sense both from a business stand point and a feasibility stand point. RedHat employs a lot more people that know RedHat than know Caldera etc. Caldera has the option of providing training as well, and despite their vocal objection to RedHats training I'd be pretty suprised if they didn't also do distribution specific training.

    It would be good if all the distributions had all the same libraries and all the various configuration files in the same place, but then there would only be one distribution with maybe some smaller companies selling CD's of the source and binary trees.
  • ...but what the hell. This has to be said. In the article there was a statement about software ported to Linux. they said something to the effect that it was ported to RedHat and not to other distrib's. Look ZDNet, Distribution Wars aside, Linux, is Linux, is Linux. Caldera, Debian SuSE, RedHat...IT'S ALL FRAGGING LINUX! The front ends are different, the install is different, but what's the real kernel level difference between RHL running 2.2.3 vs Caldera Linux running 2.2.3 vs anyother Linux flavor runing 2.2.3? Damn little that I have been able to work out. Word Perfect 8 ran on them all, Star Office ran on them all. Linux is Linux, all else is value added product.

    Besides, there are several distributions of linux that are little more than RedHat 5.2 with either the latest KDE or Gnome bundled with it. RedHat doesn't mind. Let's see someone put out a version of win98 with netscape as the default browser and watch the hordes of lawyers swarm out of Washington.

    Me two shillings worth
  • I don't think RedHat is acting like M$ either, on the contrary, they seem to be better as time goes (no longer any proprietary software in the dist.) but I keep an eye on them in case that changes.

    But one thing disturbs me, but I am not sure I got this right since I wasn't there at the time but:

    1. Debian made their package system. (right?)

    2. RedHat thought: Great idea, let's make one too.

    Under many circumstances I can understand that. The problem is that the Debian system clearly is better so why didn't they use that? Or even renamed it to RPM but kept them compatible??? Or was Debians packaging system really crappy at the start?
  • ...and as long as they continue to license their tools and software under the GPL, they can not become "the next MS". Think about Mandrake...people used it because they like RH but they also like KDE. Red Hat got the message and, since the license change, KDE will be included in RH 6.0 (atleast as an option). Now people will move back to Red Hat. With the GPL, we will always have this branching option.

    I can't even think of examples where Red Hat has bullied other distros around (yes: I remember the LSB, but I understand that that is somewhat rectified, and I still wouldn't call it bullying).

  • Quoted from some "old" book.
  • I find it very ironic that Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera, is taking RedHat to task for using "closed business practices". Caldera bundles more non-GPL software with its distribution than any other company in the Linux industry!

    What exactly are "closed business practices", or "open business practices" for that matter?

    Sometimes it's necessary to run your business in a "closed" manner. Other things can be run right out in the open. How many "open" business practices does Ransom Love practice?
  • So I asked, does that make me Steve Ballmer?

    -- jase, who hopes never to be middle-aged, paunchy, and balding. At least not in the order.

  • Well you have to think about who most of the linux community is.. converted M$ users.. (not all.. just most). So the same way of thinking still exists. The only solution is just to "grow up"

    Every OS sucks. Its just find the one that sucks the least for you.
  • And they really did. They complied to lamers and changed to the QPL. QPL is an excellent license. Still, lamers continue to lame. However, knowing that lamers are an immortal specie, the KDE people ripped off some bits from their work time and, instead of putting out for everyone their good code, they had to think at lawyer business and supplied to the lamers the KDE Free Qt Foundation. But of course, lamers are immortal, so anything Qt or KDE will do, will never be good for everybody.
  • There's a divide and conquer thread. Didn't read it, but if people wonder what proprietary vendors will do to combat Linux, there's one.

    Red Hat's work is open for all to see. I fail to see Microsoft connections, which brings me to another point: Microsoft bashing.

    There are some people who support Linux only because they begrudge the success of MS. That's not helpful to the field, and in the end it's not helpful to Linux. Red Hat is feeling the heat from those people.
  • As long as RedHat continues to release their software under the GPL, other distros will be able to attain comatibility easily, and, like Mandrake-BeroLinux, be able to stay ahead of RedHat in terms of kernel, egcs, glibc, and other packages.
  • I wonder if anybody is still reading this thread..., Donnie Barnes. (sorry if I spelled that incorrectly).

    The passage I refer to comes from his visit to the UCLA LUG, roughly this:
    Q (somebody from OCLUG): Why doesn't RedHat make a windows program which detects and sets up the hardware, then automatically installs Linux.
    A (djb): Because we don't want to hire a Windows developer, or pay MSDN subscription fee...

    a) This isn't the exact quote, but it's along these lines.
    b) I don't want to reflect negatively on djb, he is a great guy
    c) This is a damn good idea. ZipSlack is along these lines. It's how I got started with Linux many years ago.

  • by Vince ( 4999 ) on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:52AM (#1968979) Homepage
    RedHat doesn't seem at all willing to work with Redmond. At the UCLA LUG meeting last year, djb reject the idea that they write a Windows program that detects the hardware, sets up partitions, and automatically installs Linux, because they refuse to hire or pay a Windows developer. If they're unwilling to work with MS when it clearly only benefits RH, I doubt they'd work with MS in some mutually-beneficial agreement.
  • "put binaries in the default location"?

    Which default location do you mean? Many programs default to /usr/local/bin... does it make any sense for a dist to do this?
  • The GPL has no impact whatsoever on exlusive deals like the original author mentioned. However, since most of the redhat distribution is GPL'd, the OEMs could theoretically just buy one $50 copy of redhat (or even a $2 copy from cheapbytes) and install it on all of their machines. I expect the redhat "deal", whatever it is, is mainly just for providing support - not for licensing the software itself.

  • Try to imagine Micros~1 turning their high-profile website into a portal. Now imagine that this portal prominently displays headlines like this one from another site. Now imagine if this other site included commentary from any and everyone filled with the typical lies we usually hear ( "Red$at is just for newbies" vs. "Red$at makes me fix bugs", along with "Red$at makes me use their stupid Win95 imitating GUI" vs. "Red$at won't give me MY stupid Win95 imitating GUI").

    Hard to imagine M$ doing this. Red Hat has already shown an acceptance of Linux diversity and a remarkable tolerance for criticism, deserved or otherwise.

    Support the distribution of your choice, but also support Red Hat.

    ------------------------------------------------ --

  • This is ZDNet's obligatory linux article for today. It's just them not being able to come up with anything more exciting - so they made something up.

    I just wonder how many interesting story submissions got passed up for this one (which was worthless).

  • The truth is that the imperious, greedy criminal distributions such as the fudding Red Hat must be eradicated, as well as the pitiful $lackware that came before them and the evil $u$e.

    The Calderaan$ are the most impure of all and shall be purged by fire.

    They are all evil. We must all inform on the Red Hat filth among us. The enemy is everywhere!

  • As has been explained before, RedHat is completely incapable of exerting monopolistic control over the linux market, and is fact unable to survive without an army of loyal supporters and coders. Were they to become as unpopular as Microsoft, they would cease to be relevant. This is just divisiveness, and is therefore bad for everyone. Not every large or growing company which is the computer biz turn into Microsoft.
  • Matlab, for example, runs its licence checking software as a client-server thingy, so the licence server needs to get started from inittab.

    Matlab's own install script coped fine with this on my debian box (after I fixed the libs I broke with careless sym-linking in /usr/lib)

    I agree about easy upgrades with debian. It's very impressive.
  • by Laxitive ( 10360 ) on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:35AM (#1969011) Journal
    Well, from the past 5 comments.. I can see the linux defense guns coming up and aiming. "FUD" they scream. Step back and take a look people, I think this article has some valid points.

    This sort of situation is really inevitable. When companies get involved, they are going to pursue their bottom line, and they really dont give a shit about anything else. They dont give a shit about freedom, open source, or the community unless it is really advantageous for them. There is no advantage for RH in LSB. Why should they advocate something that might take people away from their platform?

    "Look at gnome.. rpm," you say. There's a difference. Gnome is different because I believe redhat sees a financial advantage right now about keeping it's contribution open source. Furthermore, they cant close-source it because it's based on GTK, which is OSS. They know that if they could close-it, and they did, everyone would stop using RH, pretty much, so they dont.

    RPM is a different problem altogether. RPM was created by RH when linux was still quite a small deal. Since then, RH has grown by leaps and bounds, and so has Linux.

    The thing to know about companies is, they are NOT human. After a certain critical mass, they retain NO human qualities. RPM was released when RH was still run by humans, and humans who cared somewhat for the linux community. Furthermore, Linux itself was a very small platform back then, and all developments had to be shared if it had any chance of hitting the big time. Now it has.

    There's just one more thing I'd like to point out. There are tons of people out there who have absolutely no problem with Linux getting in bed with the big guys - IBM, SUN, SGI, Dell, Compaq, etc. I just ask, has anyone noticed how far Linux has come WITHOUT any business help? Were the businesses here when kernel 1.2.13 became 2.0.0? Why do people attatch such a big significance to "market share"? Is "market share" going to make Linux inherently better? Is the worth of an operating system decided by how many people use it, or it's technical features? What is the worth of an OS if it is used by everybody, but technically lacking? What price is this community willing to pay to gain widespread acceptance in the world?

    Big business did not help Linux 1 iota in it's development - and they wont help either unless they see a very direct way for them to profit from it. And greedy profit-seeking, in this case, is very very bad.

    The feeling now is something akin to "look mom, I build my own race-car and it won the indy-500, and now all these nice rich people want me to wear their shoes and clothing, and they say they'll give me lots of money for it too.. gee whiz". Big business has a way of leaving everything it touches in a state of decrepid waste. Watch out.

  • Who cares about the maturity level of Linux users. That's an argument ad hominum (sp?).
    I've never seen BSD and I imagine that it kicks ass but Linux has so many killer aps for it already and more are flowing in daily. Plus, it's fast, efficient (not a memory hog, are you listening Bill?), and it doesn't crash. I bet you could say the same for BSD and more power to you.
    You can't fault an OS for its users.
  • Isn't this article basically someone interviewing caldera as they whine that everyone else isn't as backwards as they are? Life goes on, and progress happens. Any app which isn't a major system app shouldn't be distribution dependent other than requiring certain minimum system libraries. So does Caldera want every dist to package antiquated libraries to be "compliant"?

    And what is that about the LSB being "an industrywide push to decide what basic components should go into every Linux distribution"? Well, actually, I just checked out the page, and RedHat is one of the members. There doesn't seem to be much that's actually in LSB at the moment, aside from a spec for glibc 2.0. Exactly how imcompliant is RedHat to these "standards"? How many of these "standards" exist for RedHat's dist to be incompliant?
  • As for my grammer. Terribly sorry.... Anyway I run Slackware 3.5 on one of my computers. I have 4. The 1st one is my 486 and it runs slackware...the reason is its the best for a lower end computer. Redhat tends to load to much crap at startup and Slackware is more convient in that area. Now my firewall runs Debian. And my k6-2 300 runs Redhat. I like redhat cause its the easiest to configure overall. I know how to configure Slackware to do the same thing...but its a hassle. Anyway and on my 4th computer I run LinuxPPC. So don't go off and Flame cause I run Redhat. I have tried every distro and the 4 I use are my fav's. I aggree that Slackware is cool...but once u run Slackware you have to have alot of time on your hands...and second have you every tried to upgrade slackware when buying a new Slackware CD? Pretty $hitty if you ask me. Redhat has a "upgrade" option on it and is a hell of alot easier to upgrade compared to Slack. Anyway Flame all you want but I think Redhat has done nothing but positive stuff for Linux. They haven't Fuxed anything up.
  • Given that everything on Redhat's CD is GPL'ed, I can't see how they are supposed to maintain a monopoly.

    Someone else already pointed out that it isn't all GPL'ed, but even if it were, RedHat could still lock people into their distribution; the key is in how they put it all together. A co-worker of mine compiled pine on a RedHat 5.2 machine, and it won't run on Debian 2.1. When we recompiled pine on the Debian machine, it ran on both platforms. Something about RedHat's development environment prevented the RedHat compiled binary from running on Debian. Whether or not this is intentional on RedHat's part is irrelevant, but this demonstrates that if a company develops a product on RedHat, users may have trouble running that product on other platforms. Unfortunately, many companies feel that they must develop on RedHat if most of their customers will be using RedHat.

    The company I work for is using Debian 2.1 as the primary development environment for the libc6 version of our product, even though having our product work on RedHat is absolutely imperative. There are a number of reasons we chose Debian 2.1 over RedHat, but the one I would like to emphasize here is that I'm confident in Debian's development environment being as standard as possible. (Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's my perception.)
  • In terms of one-sided reporting, this piece by Ben Elgin ( takes the cake. I don't see ONE quote from Red Hat on the matter, despite the fact that they are the topic of the article. In fact, I don't see much of their side of the story at all.

    So what's the story?

    Do we want ONE standard from LSB, or do we want to let the different "quirks" thrive, the very diversity and ability to try out new ideas without "standards approval" (why does that sound so much like microsoft, and its windows logo/co-marketing deals)?

    Do we really beleive that Red Hat has some proprietary libraries that allow Informix to run on their system but not one others, when ANY system, including Caldera's can take any library, even the Red Hat package manager from Red Hat and use it in their own distribution?

    Do we see a company that provides programmers, bandwidth, and a damn nice distribution for free? Or do we see a microsoft which is shutting down the competition (there seem to be more distributions than ever).

    What we see is a piece of rock-bottom ZDnet reporting, and I read their stuff every day, by a reporter who couldn't be bothered to get the other side of the story, and got the story wrong. It's so pathetic it is unbeleivable, and worrisome because it might be believed.
  • I'd say that MS-Linux isn't likely at least for the forseeable future: MS have too much of a
    gold mine in Windows in all its forms to give
    credibility to a competitor, plus they don't
    exactly have a good brand image for this one.

    However, Office for Linux is another matter - they
    can play exactly the same game that they do with
    Office for Macs.

    Let's face it - the Halloween memos show that
    MS is aware that the effect of Linux is to
    commoditise the operating system. If there's
    no way they can kill it [1], they'll want to
    be in on it and the easiest way they can
    do that is through Office.

    [1] I'd guess an attempt at FUD, patents and
    especially FUD about patents. I don't think
    it'll work, but I bet they try it.
  • by Transzip ( 19873 ) on Monday March 22, 1999 @08:27AM (#1969080) Homepage
    Given that everything on Redhat's CD is GPL'ed, I can't see how they are supposed to maintain a monopoly. At least their software is all open, unlike SuSE's YAST tool for example. Fact is, Redhat are reaping the benefit of being the "easiest" Linux to install when more and more Linux newbies are arriving; 'nuff said
  • I certainly don't think that Red Hat is the easiest to install. I tried it with version 5.0. It took me longer than any other distribution I tried, and still couldn't get it running properly. Then I went back to Slackware and installed it in about 20 mins. I think that Red Hat has the best marketing team (kinda like MicroSoft) and is using that to make it look like the easiest. The best software isn't the ones that say they are the best, its the software that users who have tried others come back to.

    "Normality - What one individual (usually deranged) perceives that the world should be, which does not directly coorelate to the views of any other people" -- me

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.