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

J. Paul Reed preed at sigkill.com
Sun Sep 8 01:08:42 MDT 2002

On Sat, 7 Sep 2002, mbutcher wrote:

> > I'll bring this back to using an open source tool.
> > Congratulations in making my killfile in one day:

> > -- Russ Herrold
> That was unnecessary.

Woohoo! I'd just like to point out that I stayed out of this one... I *can*
act like an adult. :-)

After reading the posts here, my general thoughts/response:

> I do not think that Red Hat is (or could possibly become) the next
> Microsoft.

Neither do I, for the expressed reason that the legalities and economics of
the situation prevent it. RedHat *cannot* legally engage in the tactics
Microsoft has employed... and if they did, their support within the
community would dry up along with their business model. Thus, from these
simple facts, those who claim that RedHat might as well move in next door
at Redmond are claiming the sky is falling; it just *can't* happen, because
the facts AND the subtle dynamics of open source prevent it.

Those who claim otherwise, including EWeek, don't "get" "it."

Now, as for RedHat's handling of the KDE situation, you're claiming that
they modified some GPL software to respond to their own marketing plan and
customer requests, and that this somehow makes them like Microsoft?

I'm sorry, but I don't see it.

RedHat is a company. This is what companies who are in the business to make
money do: they listen to customers and follow their own marketing/R&D
plans. Your claim that other distros aren't modifying KDE in this way is
invalid because what Linux distro company do you know of operating today
that actually *makes* money? Debian has no marketing plan that they're

As an aside, you claim this is bad because it will provide
incompatibilities with "official" KDE releases. Two problems with that,
though: a) if you want an "official" KDE release, *nothing* RedHat is doing
is preventing you from getting one (and I'll bet the KDE team is even
maintaining "official" RPMs, too). This is in stark contrast to Microsoft,
where it's been proven time and again (Netscape, Word Perfect) that if
Microsoft wants to block people from using your software on *their*
platform, they'll do it. b) You claim (lack of) support is a big issue,
especially in hunting down bug requests. *Support* is how RedHat makes
their money. If you buy a boxed set of RedHat 8.0 and have problems with
*their* modifications to KDE, file a bug, and expect from RedHat to give
you the support you're paying for. Simple as that.

In summary, I just don't see the arguments of those who claim RedHat =
MicroLinuxsoft. Their tact or communication with open source teams that
produce software they include *may* need some work, but at the end of the
day, if the two disagree and RedHat makes (and supports, per a contract with
their customers) changes to that open source software to fulfill their
business requirements... well... that's just how this game is played.

  J. Paul Reed                 preed at sigkill.com || web.sigkill.com/preed
  Wait, stop!  We can outsmart those dolphins.  Don't forget: we invented
  computers, leg warmers, bendy straws, peel-and-eat shrimp, the glory
  hole, *and* the pudding cup!  -- Homer Simpson, Tree House of Horror XI

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