[lug] The changing Linux Community was Re: cp and rm

Alan Robertson alanr at unix.sh
Fri Aug 3 04:02:26 MDT 2001

Tom Tromey wrote:

> So this kind of transparency and community involvement doesn't
> necessarily accompany corporate involvement.  Instead, my experience
> is that corporations would be smart to approach things this way.  It
> has paid off big time for gcc and gdb.
> I don't know why Red Hat OS Devel is more closed.  It's at least
> partly a cultural issue (perhaps "we've always done it that way" -- I
> can't say for sure).
> My impression is that SuSE has this problem even worse.  As I
> understand it their distribution isn't free software.  I really think
> that is too bad.  Actually, I think it is worse -- I think that is a
> bad decision, which could cause them problems in the future.  The big
> lesson of the free software businesses, I think, is that more openness
> is better.

There are one or two pieces of their distribution which require licensing to
redistribute.  You can use the whole thing in your organization without
further ado, you can even enhance those small pieces -- but you can't
redistribute the whole thing outside your company without SuSE's agreement. 
On the other hand, SuSE falls all over themselves trying to be first to be
LSB-compliant.  They have a genuine committment to "Linux" as opposed to

Red Hat has several "open source" pieces to their distro which are "gated"
communities - where the software is open source, but the development
community is completely controlled by them and effectively closed to

I know of recent cases where Red Hat has castigated very large potential
customers for even asking for LSB-compliance and told them they don't want
it (really!).  [This info came directly from the customer].

I think only Debian has their entire process open.

In terms of openness, I think the distros besides Debian are pretty similar
- but the faults are different for the different distros.  One or the other
of their "faults" may offend you more than another's - but that's more a
matter of what offends you most.

	-- Alan Robertson
	   alanr at unix.sh

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