[NCLUG] "red hat - the new redmond?" comment from mainstream online media

Idris S Hamid ishamid at attbi.com
Sat Sep 7 09:34:38 MDT 2002

> Don't forget the rebuttle from a Red Hat employee which points out a number
> of things which make it impossible for RHAT to become the MSFT of the LNUX
> world, not the least of which being "EWeek doesn't get 'it.'"

Analogies work on different levels. M$ takes advantage of a certain software 
paradigm (proprietary formats, closed source, etc) to unfairly ensure market 
dominance. It's disingenous on Red Hat's part to merely point out that they 
cannot become a pseudo-M$ because of a different paradigm. The open-source 
paradigm can be abused as well. Whether or not E-week "gets it", Red Hat 
certainly has shown tendencies in the Linux community which, in their 
broadest outlines, are certainly _reminiscent_ of M$. The best example is 
their abuse of KDE, which they first tried to kill, and are now butchering in 
a way which, while quite legal, is very clearly not in the spirit of the 

Hiding behind the GPL does not make their actions any less odious. It is 
perfectly legal to take GPL software, cripple or near-cripple it, and then 
release it under the same name as the original. This is a loophole in the GPL 
which allows a force of market dominance to push its own software agenda, in 
this case making KDE, if not unusable, then at least unappealing as a desktop 
solution. Their dominance in American markets gives them the leverage to have 
an impact in this regard. It is highly unlikely that they would have have 
dared do such a thing if not for their market dominance. Red Hat's excuses in 
this regard that they are acting in the best interests of their consumers (a 
typical M$ line) are laughable given the thinly-veiled hatred of KDE that 
permeates much of their development team (the recent "kde-crapland" remark 
comes to mind). When the lone KDE developer at RH pointed out that many users 
would flood them with bug-reports and complaints for some of their butchery, 
the response from higher powers was basically ``tough''.

What amazes me is the number of Red Hat apologists who can't see a spade for a 
spade, or the forest for the trees. While the "RH=M$" remark is certainly an 
exaggeration, RH has shown broadly similar tendencies, and I for one will not 
buy or recommend the RH distribution.

Best wishes
Dr. Idris S Hamid
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523

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