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Re: Debian/GNU Freebsd


On Thu, 18 Feb 1999, Joseph Carter wrote:

> [donning asbestos underwear]

*** RISCy dons the asbestos full-body armor. ;P 
> > Well, again it's not GPL, so I don't think we could call it GNU.
> GNU/FreeBSD == GNU + FreeBSD....

Ayup. That's all that needs said here. ;P
> > But anyway, if there really is a problem with Linux compared to FreeBSD,
> > which I maintain there isn't, why not fix Linux?  This would require far
> > less effort than porting a lot of Linux stuff to FreeBSD.  We'd still
> > potentially get those people that were avoiding it, which would again mean
> > more diverse users. 
> "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" 
> "One World, One Web, One Program"
> "One Community, One Operating System, One Kernel" ?
> Why is "Linux Everywhere" any better than "Windows Everywhere"?  Don't be
> so quick to replace one oppressive system with another.  Yes, I said
> oppressive.  How many times have I heard in the last week alone cries for
> Linux "World Domination"?  Many people have said they don't believe
> anyone takes it seriously---look again, people ARE taking it seriously
> and they're acting like they are on a Jihad to take down the "Evil
> Empire" and replace it with Linux.
> What happens when 90% of the computers out there are running Linux?  I
> see a very grim future if that happens with the community in the state it
> is now.  In the US at least, if you are talking about Linux in the press,
> you're really talking about Redhat.  This is dangerous because most new
> users are by default Redhat users.  Most Redhat users could care less
> about free software, all they want are binaries for free.
> Redhat is not a Free Software distribution nor is it an "Open Source"
> distribution.  Much of what they distribute we consider non-free and if
> the Open Source Definition is essentially equivalent to the Debian Free
> Software Guidelines, well...
> Linux is quickly being invaded by non-free software en masse from
> corporations that all want to make money, as much as they can, with
> Linux.  They all want to see Microsoft taken down, but any one of them
> would like nothing more than to take the place as the company that
> controls the computer industry.

Yes. It is. Look for an open letter from me next week on this topic. Very
lengthy draft as is. Getting longer every hour. And more detailed, and
inflammatory. So I won't put it here, because it's not done, and it'll
devolve the list into a huge flamewar within an hour, I'd bet.

Anyways. That's what's happening. Commercialism. Two ways; the 'let's make
money off a big thing' way, and the 'let's fake it so we can look good and
sell more hardware' way. I go over these in great detail in the letter,
but I'll be brief for now.

Our primary offender isn't RedHat at this point. Gods, no. RedHat makes up
for their ways somewhat, thanks to RHAD Labs. Our offender is Caldera. The
absolute WORST offender of ALL commercial distributions. $200+. Little to
zero contributions to the community. They don't have the marketing or
publicity RedHat's getting, but they're still growing nonetheless. They
use other methods. I have a Caldera "Network Desktop" 1.0 Preview CD. This
is without a doubt the absolute *MOST *OFFENSIVE** distribution I have
*EVER* seen. It's YEARS old. (1.2.13 kernel!) But they did some truly
CHEAP shit to it. 30 days, and Linux itself no longer boots. Not just
their stupid windowmanager, 'Crystal Desktop' or whatever it is. Crystal
Meth? *shrug* Either way, they got it so that init kills the machine after
30 days. Uhm, yeah, that's the Linux we all know and love, right? Right.
That's what I thought too. I keep that CD as a reminder of what Linux
should never be.

Then, in category two, we have IBM. The most recent, and obviously *worst*
offender in the world. They're claiming to support Linux. To quote Stacy
Quandt, with Giga Information Group, "Other vendors said they are flying
the Linux flag, but IBM is actually flying it at full mast."

Can you say MISINFORMED?! Thanks muchly, drive right on through. Here's
the cold hard truth. Maybe on their x86 line, but the straight story is;
RS/6000's? Forget it! Their little thing with RedHat and LinuxPPC, Inc.?
Pure distraction. A diversion, as they phase out the PowerPC 60x-based
RS/6000's. For those of you who don't keep up to date on RS/6000 hardware,
IBM is very *very* quietly phasing out the PowerPC 60x in the RS/6000, to
replace it with the Power2, Power3, and PowerPC RS64 II processors. IBM
has no intentions in assisting with a port of Linux to these processors,
except perhaps the Power2, as it is being phased out as well. Why not?
Because, IBM makes it's money not only on *leasing* the hardware, but
leasing the service. The service means you run AIX. And only AIX. You will
*never* see RedHat on an IBM RS/6000 S70 Advanced Server, and most
certainly not on an RS/6000 SP2. That would cost them MILLIONS. In the x86
market, they lose absolutely *nothing*. They don't make Windows, so they
lose no money if they offer Linux as an alternative. However, AIX is
commonly referred to simply as 'IBM's unix' for a reason. It's an IBM
product. It's licensed to Motorola's CSG. They are responsible for every
aspect of AIX. Sales, development, etcetera. They stand to lose a LOT of
money should they offer a *free* alternative that many customers will see
is superior to it. Of course, that's where the Linux-RS/6000 Project steps
in, but you did NOT hear that yet. ;) (Attention to hardware vendors!
Don't trifle with me. Open letters that state facts about your company
that make it look bad generally give upper management and PR fits. ;)

Now, back to the first way. RedHat, I tolerate. They contribute, thanks to
RHAD Labs. gnome is GPL, as are the related libs. It's got it's own
.debs. Caldera and SuSE, I refuse to stand for. Ever. SuSE's *only*
contribution that I have seen is that they have a version for most
european languages. They include StarOffice. And KDE, which is non-free
and dependant on the HORRIFIC Qt libraries, whose license gives me
migraines just THINKING about it. It's an affront to the GPL, as far as
I'm concerned. May Trolltech's libs go the way of AT&T UNIX(TM). Caldera,
I can't even THINK of a non-commercial part of their so-called
'professional distribution' that you can't get in any other distribution.
Yet they all claim to be innovators, and real supporters of Linux.

While I'm ranting about distributions, let's get down to all these new
companies! Wow, I can order a Linux box from VA Research, Penguin
Computing, or Linux Hardware Solutions. Waitasecond, here, folks. Linux is
an OPERATING SYSTEM, correct? Okay, good, we're all on the same page so

So why don't these so-called 'Linux' hardware vendors offer anything but
RedHat? The only alternative is from VA Research, and it's SuSE. Excuse
me, but just when the hell did RedHat become Linux? Did they change their
name to Linux Software, Inc.? And now we have Linux Advanced Development
Labs? Uhmmm.. no, we don't. So where do they get off calling themselves
Linux vendors? They aren't. They're RedHat vendors. You can get a computer
with RedHat on it. Don't want RedHat? Okay, you might be able to get one
without an operating system, but NONE of them have that option listed on
their respective 'configurators.' Has anybody even seen RedHat's reseller
agreement? Somebody want to send me a copy of it? I'm starting to think
that the people declaring RedHat the Microsoft of the Linux community just
may be correct!

ANYWAYS... truth is, these people will only support Linux so long as it
brings them more money. When Linux is no longer a cash cow, they'll move
on, rest assured. Continuing right along...
> > I don't see how FreeBSD increases portability.  It runs only on i386 (and
> > maybe Alpha by now).
> It increases portability to non-Linux kernels, that's a start.

Exactly. Any gains in portability only help us.
> Creating a BSD kernel based Debian distribution may not do a thing to
> stop the above nightmare Linux could become from happening, but it's one
> small step closer to being ready, just in case things happen the way
> they're likely to at the moment.

It probably won't. I'm going to have to use a metaphor that you'll see in
the letter, but it's the best way to describe it.

Personally, I hopped on the Linux bandwagon when it was a Radio Flyer
being pulled by Linus, and a signifigantly(sp) team of dedicated kernel
developers. In the 5 or so years since I jumped on that wagon, I've seen
it grow into something that could crush an M1A1 Abrams battle tank, just
by rolling over it. A huge steel and titanium juggernaut. With a hitch.
People like you and I; the developers, the people dedicated to Linux and
not the profit, we're the ones pulling this huge wagon. The end-users. Joe
Average who's just now trying Linux, and Joe Manager, who's putting Linux
on the old NT servers, they're the ones riding the wagon. And at the back,
hanging onto that hitch with all their marketing strength, is quite a line
of leeching companies, slowly eating at the wagon and starting to slow it

Compaq. Caldera. IBM. RedHat. SuSE. Dell. Gateway. VA Research. Penguin
Computing. Linux Hardware Solutions. XiG. Metrowerks. BRU. The list goes
on for QUITE a ways. And it even includes Microsoft. 

A time will come when the weight of the leeches hanging onto the hitch
will outweigh those pulling the wagon. What happens then? The collapse;
code stagnation. Frantic kernel hacking to try and save the wagon. People
jumping off the wagon. Then, all at once, the leeches will let go, but
there will be no wagon left; they'll have eaten it all.

Now, maybe I am jumping to conclusions. Maybe I'm not. Either way, I did
get off track a bit, but either way, we can only benefit from adding
FreeBSD. Likewise with any other kernel. But now, the question becomes,
will it be enough to stop the commercialization and corruption of Linux?
Is it too little, too late? Only time can tell. 

And with that, I will return to my writing, after sorting through the
30+ emails that have come in while I was typing this. As always, the
comments and such are welcome. Just keep in mind; these are *MY* views.
You are more than welcome to your views. I won't argue that one second. So
please, let's show one another respect, and not go off on tangents over
views. I welcome *anyone* who'd like to debate *REASONING* with me
**PRIVATELY** (that kind of stuff does NOT belong on debian-devel). But I
won't even respond to anyone who simply flames me because of what I see
happening. To each his own, and as always, it's only my $.02. 

*stumbles off to read much email, and get back to writing by candlelight*

| Phillip R. Jaenke       | "Not all wisdom comes from without;  |
| prj@nls.net   -and-     |  much wisdom can only come from      |
| rs6000@linuxguru.net    |  within. Only you can teach yourself |
| Professional Unix Guru  |  some of the most important lessons  | 
+-------------------------+  of life." --Takes-Many-Roads,       |
Project Head              |              Silent Strider Theurge  |
the Linux-RS/6000 Project +--------------------------------------+
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