RedHat, Fedora future?
pros-n-cons at bak.rr.com
Sat Feb 7 11:46:28 UTC 2004
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 04:31:16 +0100
Tim Kossack <tim_kossack at web.de> wrote:
> Am Fr, den 06.02.2004 schrieb Nils Philippsen um 23:44:
> > Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion, not my employer's.
> > On Fri, 2004-02-06 at 17:51, Tim Kossack wrote:
> > > (sorry for the long response)
> > > i tried to verify your statement in looking what comes included with
> > > rhws, but i couldn't gather any info if it ships with those plugs
> > > installed. given red hat's general stance in regards shipping
> > > non-oss/free legally questionable whatever software as part of their
> > > products, quite frankly i would be very surprised if they do.
> > > as far as the "apples to oranges"-comparison is concerned, my critics
> > > was and is primarily aimed at their commercial desktop offerings - also,
> > > as i already stated above, plugins are just one part of the problem.
> > > reg. fedora, yes sure, i don't expect them to provide those plugs for
> > > free, although if red hat would finally change their stance and just
> > > license/include the stuff like lindows, suse, sun etc. do, i wouldn't
> > > complain if they would include them for free in fedora either...;-)
> > > it's just that i'm asking myself why they seem not interested at all to
> > > tackle the issues (let alone seeing that there's one in the first
> > > place), when their competition seems not having to have any problems
> > > acknowledging and adressing them...
> > I guess the point you are missing is that Red Hat is an Open Source
> > Company. While we have shipped and do ship some proprietary stuff now
> > (if I'm not off track, it's only Java, but we're working on the java
> > issue as well), we (as in what I think, see disclaimer) have some
> > problems with "oh let's put all that stuff in 'cause the others do it as
> > well" -- probably we wouldn't be where we are today if we had done that.
> it's not about "oh let's put all that stuff in 'cause the others do it as
> well", but about the other linux-for-desktop-vendors including these things
> for a reason, which is achieving a certain aim - providing a satisfying
> out-of-the-box desktop experience for non-technical-oriented users, which is
> ~90% of the pot. users
"I guess the point you are missing is that Red Hat is an Open Source Company."
> > Some points about proprietary software and its place (NOT!) in Fedora
> > (have you read the disclaimer already? ;-):
> > - We can't fix bugs in code we don't have. BAD.
> your competition obviously sees that not as a compelling reason to not
> include prop. plugs.
The competition is losing. 
> > - We (developers) don't want to "taint our eyes" with proprietary code,
> > "getting the code under an NDA" is out of the question.
> > - Besides that, we also don't want to pay licenses for stuff only a
> > fraction of our customers would use, even more so if they can download
> > it for free.
> without loosing their guarantee (isn't that modifying)?
> for example, sun which ships its desktop with the plugs is responsible to
> support them - means, in contrary to red hat, because those plugs are an official
> part of the offering, they're responsible to adress issues occuring with those.
> if you use it as shipped and it doesn't work, it's the vendors
> a customer therefore knows where to go if he has troubles with those.
> so, assuming the same price, thinking from a potential customer's perspective,
> which product would you choose?
> > Some other points about (what even you called) "legally questionable",
> > patent encumbered software: We know it sucks not to include MP3, DVD,
> > ... players. You (as in "everyone who did it") needn't tell us that it
> > sucks. We do already know.
> which makes the continued non-addressing even worse...
Thats a matter of opinion for instance I'd say your solution is worse.
> > If it were possible to legally include it, we would do it.
> > Unfortunately, the holders of the patent in question didn't issue a
> > patent waiver for OSS purposes or a royalty-free, perpetual and
> > transferable license, so at the moment it seems impossible to us to
> > distribute the software and a) still fully comply with the GPL under
> > which most of the stuff is licensed and b) not risk to be sued for
> > patent infringement. Mind that wilfully infringing patents can result in
> > triple damages convictions in the U.S., we as a publicly traded company
> > were extremely unwise (to put it mildly) if we did so. This might all be
> > different for companies not operating from or in the U.S., but I don't
> > see that many remaining...
> lindows has a fully licensed (means legal) mediaplayer. sun ships with
> real player (likely soon to be helixplayer) - guess they both paid for
> that, and both have consulted their experts for legal issues (both us
> companies, sun is even publically traded). so again, why do they seem to
> have no problem with that when red hat does? do you really think that
> for example sun risks to get sued, or lindows for that matter?
> obviously, they've successfully solved the problems which seem -
> according to red hat and you - unsolvable.
> > > my impression is basically that red hat hasn't at all understood (or
> > > needs to show it yet that they have) what makes a really polished
> > > desktop distribution. i don't make any difference between a good desktop
> > > for home use and a good desktop for businesses. neither does market
> > > leader microsoft. neither does lindows etc.
> > > getting in danger to sound circular, a good desktop is a good desktop
> > > because it's a good overall desktop.
> > For me being polished is completely perpendicular to having this and
> > that application or plug-in. BTW, does Windows ship with Flash nowadays?
> > Just being curious.
> polished for me means making my life as a user as easy as possible, and
> for that, windows is still the reference (or os x ...).
> compared to that, especially red hat (desktop) products are still miles
> as far as flash is concerned, no it's not, but it's very easy and
> reliably to install. as is java. shall we also pls not loose sight of
> the real issue, means why red hats competiton seems it necessary to ship
> this stuff by default?
It's a risk they are willing to bet their company on. What if one day the
MP3 patent people say "okay its cash cow day you all owe me 30 cents per ISO"
didn't something similar happen with GIF? Didn't all this start because the MP3
policy was changed on a whim and Red Hat dropped support to protect themselvs?
AFIK this issue has not been resolved with how they allow distribution/use in OSS
software. This is why "i think" they want the code to EVERYTHING not just for
fixing bugs, but to ensure what they dump money/resources/development into will
still be there in 2 years. What if there was no OGG when MP3 pulled that move
red hat would be swinging in the wind leaving them with 3 opnions I can see:
1.) write similar software from scratch to fill the gap (start writing OGG 2 yrs development)
2.) Pay whatever ransom the copywrite holder feels is fair for him.
3.) Not have high quality sound.
Which of these is good for "joe-user" exactly?
> > > all i'm trying to communicate is that many other smaller companies with
> > > less ressources are (at least partly) pushing the status quo here, while
> > > red hat still seems to sit, basically waiting to for gnome, kde etc. to
> > > get the stuff done. i just miss them going the extra-mile which one
> > > should and could expect from the market leader.
> > I don't understand what you're trying to imply here... that we're
> > waiting for GNOME to include MP3? Well, there already are lots of MP3
> > apps we could ship but don't, due to the patent issues. Hey, we couldn't
> > even ship it legally (IANAL of course) if we coughed up the cash that
> > MP3 licensing wanted for that because the GPL isn't compatible with
> > non-royalty-free patent licenses (but I already told you that)
> i'm trying to imply that every other major distro is not satisfied with
> shipping basically stock gnome or kde with its own theme, but puts more
> efforts into polishing/modifying it, and especially puts more emphasis
> on ease-of-use for non-linux-"experts" than redhat does, even with
> partly much less resources of workfore and/or money.
I don't know if you're aware of this but Red Hat sends patchs upstream so
"modification" isn't generally needed since they're the ones doing a HUGE chunk of the
development in the first place. Do a grep of the gnome source for @redhat.com
address. You're likely to find some of their "polishing"
> > > and (not just) imo, if they will continue that way, they will get under
> > > increased pressure form smaller, more flexible vendors in the future at
> > > least as far as the desktop is concerned, because it's not so much about
> > > the big eating the small, but the quicker outperforming the slower.
> > Trust me, all what you complain about is not because of too much inertia
> > or lack of will on our side (as I have outlined above).
> (not just) i have the opposite impression (even more after this thread)!
> my feeling is that all the reasons red hat (or you as an employee) puts foward
> are just poor excuses to defend the undefendable status quo.
> why? because there are vendors out there who do all that what you -
> despite clear evidence - still declare being impossible, that means
> shipping (and further improving) an easy to use, complete desktop for
> "normal" end users with the lowest possible administration efforts.
> > > then, besides certain undoubted advantages - i also see a problem with
> > > the "community-based" approach, namely because the community around red
> > > hat's testbed - fedora - consists mainly of geeks, means people who want
> > I flat out refuse calling Fedora "Red Hat's testbed" -- the QA a Fedora
> > release gets is surely equivalent to, possibly even better (through the
> > open development process -- all betas/test releases are public) than the
> > traditional Red Hat Linux releases. If you intended to offend the people
> > working on Fedora, congratulations.
> maybe i'm misinformed, but that us the general overall impression:
> providing linux "early adopters" (geeks) with new stuff, who in turn
> provide bugfixes etc. so that those packages can be applied downstream
> into red hat's enterprise linux which has a slower release cycle.
> so i can't see where i offended anyone with my statement!
You're partly correct in that "early adopters" thing but there is still
testing before it gets into fedora. So you insulted all those people
who are patching rawhide so we can have a better beta then a better Fedora.
there are 3 levels here and months of work people on this list have done.
If it was me id be offended.
> > > imo, it's time for red hat to act instead of reacting...
> > Instead of talking in platitudes, some people actually put their
> > "money", their efforts where their mouth is and prepared repositories
> > where people living in countries where there isn't (yet?!) such a patent
> > mess (pun intended) can easily download from and install all the
> > software you were rambling about. There is so much that can be done, I'd
> > say it probably isn't only time for Red Hat to act, eh?
> isn't it more like _you_ trying to offend _me_?
> look, it's not that i wouldn't have anything better to do with my time
> than trying to teach you what your marketing department should have told
> you already a long time ago, you know...!
> call that "platitudes" if you like, but i'm quite sure my points are
> valid, and that red hat has to move significantly reg. the discussed
> but promised, no more "platitudes" from me!
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... Not saying they are not good products only that because they are behind the leader
they will attempt to posistion themselvs with any advantages (gambles) they can.
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