Bruce Perens: the Linux colonel talks (vnunet)
Posted Sep 9, 2004 2:41 UTC (Thu) by hppnq
In reply to: Bruce Perens: the Linux colonel talks (vnunet)
Parent article: Bruce Perens: the Linux colonel talks (vnunet)
First of all: had you put it a bit more like this in the interview, I probably wouldn't have posted my original remarks at all. I'd also like to mention that I do appreciate your efforts in the promotion of Open Source. ;-)
... a subscription per seat and draconian things happen if you violate the subscription terms, for example, by putting the software on more systems than you've subscribed for ...
If this is not a misinterpretation of the actual subscription license, then somebody had better sue RedHat now. Without knowing the actual text, I suppose the last bit should read something like: "by allowing more systems to benefit from the subscription than you have paid for". Which would be perfectly legal, of course.
I feel the Red Hat model will eventually fail because 1) everybody knows the software can be had for zero cost elsewhere, and once those sources have the necessary support, they'll go there and 2) the model decouples the service rendered (support) from what is being paid for (a software seat) in a way that simply cries out for a competitor to set it right
Both points are common practice, and no vendor seems to be suffering from it. The conclusion in 1) is too easy: of course there will be some form of competition, but RedHat will not automatically lose customers. 2) is just the unit of IT support, if you like; although one might argue about its usefulness, the number of seats (or CPUs) is nothing more than a way to quantise an amount of support.
Fedora is supposed to be "Free Enough" but the certification and support is still with the virtually-proprietary Enterprise Server product and the governance of Fedora is firmly under RH management's direction.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Fedora is a testbed for RedHat's Enterprise products -- it has community support, it has no certification. Its goals are stated clearly on the Fedora webpage. Sure, one might argue that RedHat envisioned and promised a bigger, more active role for its community than currently is the case, but this is exactly why Open Source will win in the end: you can always pick up the pieces and make a better product; you don't have to whine about it. RedHat's involvement in Fedora is not fundamentally different than things are in the Debian or SuSE development processes. There is no evil plan, you might call it quality control if you like.
Besides, I very much appreciate RedHat's clear stance on the GPL and the philosophy of Open Source (resulting in the most GPL conforming major distribution), whereas the Debian solution is a half-hearted attempt to ignore the problem of non-free software by putting it just outside of the main tree where it is still distributed. (Boy, am I going to be flamed for that. ;-)
In other words, your description of "Free Enough" doesn't accurately describe RedHat's adherence to the GPL. Nor does it make any sense (it is in fact misleading) to switch from a description of Fedora to a product that requires "excellent enterprise support".
As for your plans with Debian (what happened to UserLinux?): I sincerely wish you good luck and I am looking forward to seeing how things will unravel. Your project is ambitious, if not IMHO naive on the independency front, but sympathetic none the less!
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