| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 4, 30 June 2003
|How not to fork Gentoo Linux
So what do you think of the attempt to fork Gentoo Linux and create Zynot? In principle, there is nothing wrong with taking a GPL project and creating a new distribution; this has been done many times in the past. However, in this case I am going to stick my neck out and argue that Zynot is unlikely to succeed.
Why? Firstly, it has started off on a wrong foot. Taking a project and announcing a fork is a perfectly fine endeavour; launching a personal attack and dirty campaign against the leader of the original project is most definitely not! The long announcement contains little about the project's objective, road map and time line, instead it concentrates on the author's past achievements and personal grievances. How would you like to join this project? Can you be confident that next time it won't be you who receives a call from the author's attorney? No, this is not a project announcement. This document smacks of a sensationalist campaign designed to grab media attention.
Secondly, do you know who Daniel Robbins is? Of course you do, he is the creator and Chief Architect of Gentoo Linux, the fastest growing Linux distribution of all times. If you have ever read any of his superb and authoritative articles on IBM's developerWorks, then you know that Daniel Robbins is not only an excellent coder, he is also one of the most prominent GNU/Linux authorities around! No, Daniel Robbins doesn't need to write lengthy documents describing his personal achievements; his work and tens of thousands of satisfied users are far more credible references on his Curriculum Vitae.
Thirdly, distribution forks generally don't have high probability of success. How many times has Debian been forked? Do you remember Storm Linux, Progeny, Corel Linux? Has any of the surviving Debian-based projects been able to come close to the popularity of the Debian proper? And what about Red Hat? The number of distributions that have taken Red Hat as the base to create a "new" distribution can't be too far from 100, but how many of them have succeeded in getting anywhere near the number of users that Red Hat enjoys today? One, that's how many. Only Mandrake has succeeded in attaining a decent market penetration, while the rest are either long dead or have a combined market share too miniscule to figure in even most detailed statistics.
Is Gentoo Linux perfect? No, it isn't. Is its organisation and management perfect? Unlikely. Do Gentoo users love Gentoo Linux? Absolutely! Given that, I don't think there is any reason to worry about the future of Gentoo. This event is not a community split, it is nothing but a fork created by a disgruntled individual and as such, it is unlikely to attract more that a trickle of followers. Nevertheless, Zynot is a legitimate Linux-based distribution, so as soon as the project releases files for download and installation, it will be added to the DistroWatch database and monitored for releases.
|Released Last Week
The big story of last week was of course the release of LindowsOS 4.0. There is still a lot of negativity about the company and its products in the Linux community and if the page hit count is anything to go by, the interest in LindowsOS has been dropping. Nevertheless, the company has put together a real Linux distribution, it has users who have, thanks to LindowsOS, made a successful switch to Linux and it provides a very active user forum, with Lindows.com employees always around. These are real achievements, which deserve compliments.
So what's new in LindowsOS 4.0? The first thing that comes to mind after visiting the product information page is that the product range and pricing structure have become a lot more confusing. Given that Lindows.com are experts at marketing, it seems that price restructuring was done to convey a message of affordability and price reductions, so that the true cost of the product is not immediately apparent. This is a normal marketing practice by many commercial companies, although rarely used in the world of Linux distributions.
As an example, let's compare the pricing of LindowsOS 3.0 with LindowsOS 4.0. The download edition of LindowsOS 3.0 sold for US$120 and this included unrestricted one-year access to the Click-N-Run (CNR) warehouse. Now, LindowsOS 4.0 costs US$50, while access to CNR, which is essential if you use LindowsOS, costs additional US$50 per year. However, CNR now excludes commercial applications, which are priced separately (StarOffice is US$30, Photogenics is US$20 and TuxRacer Deluxe is US$10). As you can see, LindowsOS 4.0 will at best cost you only marginally less than its predecessor, while it will be more expansive in certain configurations. Suddenly, the self-proclaimed "world's most affordable software" becomes one of the most expensive Linux distributions available on the market.
The second thing you will notice about LindowsOS 4.0 is a remarkable lack of new features. A forum user has argued that "one-click configuration, one-click OS install, one-click software install, one-click upgrading..." are great new features unique to LindowsOS 4.0. I disagree. Look closely at the screenshots of this one-click-upgrade "feature" and you'll notice that the so called "one-click" will merely launch an upgrade wizard. It would be a poorly designed wizard if it did not require any decision making and further mouse clicks! Similarly, the "zero maintenance" phrase used in the same story is nothing but a marketing stunt; operating systems are far too complex for anybody to claim that theirs require no maintenance. No, there are no new features in LindowsOS, because if there were, the marketing department wouldn't need to invent phrases like "one-click wizard" and "zero maintenance".
Nevertheless, LindowsOS appears to be a solid product, at least from the first reviews published by TuxReports and ExtremeTech. While the versions of XFree86, KDE as well as most server applications remained unchanged from LindowsOS 3.0, a lot of work seems to have gone into making CNR and the entire software installation infrastructure more reliable. Overall, despite the lack of new features, LindowsOS seems an excellent product for its target market.
Anybody interested in a full review? I've never installed LindowsOS before, but I could probably get a review copy if there is enough interest. Otherwise I'd rather review some other interesting distribution - one that I've been eyeing lately is Arch Linux (not to be confused with Ark Linux), which should release version 0.5 shortly. Please indicate your preference in the reader comments area.
Other new releases this week: Bonzai Linux 2.1, Damn Small Linux 0.3.11, K12LTSP Linux 3.1.1 and ARMA aka Omoikane GNU/Linux 2.2. On the development side of things, we have seen the first release candidate from Trustix (2.0rc1) and another new beta release from ROCK Linux (2.0.0-beta6).
|Expected This Week
The Morphix project has indicated a possible release of a new version 0.4 some time soon: "I'm aiming for a release somewhere end of this month, or the first week of July, want to have it more or less working this time :-)."
While on the subject of new releases, Aryan Ameri has written a rough estimate of Debian's next stable release, probably version 3.1 and code name "Sarge": "The above gives us an approximate time line of 4 months plus an estimated 2 months' worth of glitches and forgotten stuff. This means that approximately 6 months from now, Sarge will go into freeze. The freeze period will also (hopefully) take no more than 6 months. This means that Sarge should be released 1 year from now." The article was inspired by this email from Drew Scott Daniels sent to the Debian developers' mailing list and it summarises likely features, packages and release time line. Read it here.
|Web Site News
The site's internationalisation was given a double boost last week. Thomas Chung was very kind to help with translating the menus and frequently used phrases into Korean, while Francois Thunus has done the same for Danish. Many thanks for the contribution.
One new distribution has been added to the database - a Thailand-based project called LinuxTLE. This is a modified Red Hat-based distribution with support for Thai and complete with OfficeTLE, a Thai-enabled version of OpenOffice. The Thai government has recently initiated a programme to launch 100,000 low-cost computers with LinuxTLE pre-installed on them. LinuxTLE is a non-commercial project; if you can read Thai, visit the distribution's web site here.
Linare Desktop is a new commercial Linux distribution and a supplier of sub US$200 PC systems. Besides revealing that Linare Desktop will be based around KDE and OpenOffice, not many other technical details are available at the moment. The product is expected to launch in August and will cost US$20.
QRey has been removed from the list of to-be-listed distributions. The project's single-page web site provides very little information without joining the non-free workshops, which makes compiling a page full of useful data an impossible task. Also, the web pages of both Linuxin and Luminux continue to be inaccessible and the status of both has been relegated to "discontinued".
DistroWatch database summary:
Number of distributions in the database: 151
Number of discontinued distributions: 20
Number of distributions on the waiting list: 34
"I would like an update as to when Xandros is going to release the next version." So would many others, no doubt. Unfortunately, Xandros chooses to be very tight-lipped, keeping everybody in the dark as to their future plans. With Mandrake, Red Hat and other "open" distributions, we don't need frequent announcements about the development status, because we can peek into their cookers and rawhides to see what they are up to. This is not the case with closed distributions so they owe up to their users (not to mention stake holders) to report on the development status frequently. If they don't, people will start speculating. Instead of getting new customers, the potential ones will take the wait-and-see attitude and possibly move on to other distributions.|
So what's up with Xandros? Any information about its progress is so hard to find, but you are in luck - or I was when I inadvertently came across this forum post signed by Ming Poon, VP of Software Development at Xandros Corporation: "[Xandros Desktop] V2 is on its way and will be available by the end of the year. As expected, there will be many improvements built into V2 that fits the older computer while making use of the many features that are available from a modern PC today." In a later post on the same forum, Mr Poon reveals a few more details: "V2 will be KDE 3 based for sure. We have our code running in KDE 3 for a few months now. Even KDE 3 is very stable now, it still has those usual UI bugs that will confuse a heck out of an average user."
So there you have it - Xandros Desktop 2.0 is set to be released before this year is over. If the distribution's first release is anything to go by, it should be a great product designed for ease of use and plenty of interesting new features. Hopefully, Mr Poon will soon give us much more detailed information on his company's official web site...
On a separate note, several readers submitted news about reviews of LinuxInstall.org 3.0 (OSNews) and Bonzai Linux 2.0 (PCLinuxOnline). After reading through them, I decided against publishing the news on the main page in both cases. The reason? Reviews are indeed frequently featured on the front page, together with news about distribution releases. However, a distribution review is a detailed account of the reviewer's experiences with the given product over a period of at least several days and should ideally include sections about the hardware configuration, pros and cons, conclusions and recommendations. Note the emphasis on "detailed". A few paragraphs of talk about installation and included applications does not constitute a review. I am not saying that these articles were bad or that they shouldn't have been published; in fact, it's refreshing to see users writing about less well-known distributions. Just don't expect them to make the headlines and don't demand that they do so.
That's all for this week, see you next Monday,
1 • Oh, I saw a new Distrowatch Weekly icon (by W T Zhu on 2003-06-30 01:12:50 GMT) |
It seems the new icon is not as beautiful as the previous one :-)
2 • Lindows 4.0 (by FaithMAX at 2003-06-30 02:57:41 GMT)
You should try it out and give a decent review. It really performs well and is a great OS.
3 • Arch Linux (by Charlie Hahn at 2003-06-30 03:37:44 GMT)
Yes, I'd like to see you review Arch after 0.5 is released.
4 • DW Weekly is on the right track (by Civad on 2003-06-30 03:56:17 GMT)
I didnt have much time last week to take a peek at the distrowatch website. The Distrowatch Weekly provided an excellent summary of some of the things that happened...
And I liked what I read about Xandros so far. :)
5 • Arch Linux (by Andrew at 2003-06-30 05:08:50 GMT)
I'd be very interested in reading about Arch Linux in some detail!
6 • Archlinux (by Johan on 2003-06-30 08:32:38 GMT)
Please review Archlinux! :)
7 • Arch Linux (by Doc at 2003-06-30 10:29:11 GMT)
Please, review Arch Linux, Lindows is not worth the pain.
8 • Arch Linux (by Luk van den Borne at 2003-06-30 13:02:56 GMT)
I'm anxious to read a review about Arch Linux, too.
9 • Gentoo Fork (by Charles Bandy at 2003-06-30 13:56:17 GMT)
Thanks for your sane and straightforward comments on the Gentoo fork. You addressed the real issue without hesitation.
10 • Critique of Zynot (by James R. Phillips at 2003-06-30 14:57:12 GMT)
Your critique of the fledgling Znot fork of Gentoo consists almost entirely of ad-hominem arguments. My reading of the documents at the web site indicates that the author has legitimate gripes with both Daniel Robbins and the Gentoo distribution infrastructure. As long as he is bearing the risk, and willing to do the work, of forking the distribution, I say more power to him.
Also, in contrast, perhaps, to the evident lack of success of forking binary distributions, it can be seen that one well-known source-based distro, Sorcerer, has successfully forked into two other source-based distros, Lunar-Linux, and SourceMage.
11 • Forks (by DaveW on 2003-06-30 15:32:27 GMT)
I'm wondering why you consider Mandrake to be a fork of RH,but not SUSE or the other dozens of RPM-based distros? Not disagreeing, just wondering what makes Mandrake alone in this regard.
Since I'm here, now's the time to say I really enjoy the Weekly and look forward to the latest issues. It made me realize that in spite of the flood of Linux info out there, what's been missing has been informed opinion that helps users sort their way through the options that are GNU/Linux"s blessing and its curse. With the Watch, we get to know your inclinations and biases and have a way to put them in context. Keep up the great work! Guess there's no longer any excuse not to sign up for timesavers.
Hate the new Watch logo, tho. Keep trying.
12 • Gentoo, Zynot, et al... (by Grunt on 2003-06-30 15:40:07 GMT)
Hey there, Ladislav!
It's quite evident that you have a fairly strong stance on the issue (Gentoo fork). However, I personally am wondering whether more caution shouldn't be exercised in this - and similar - cases.
Before proceeding, I must admit that I am neither a Gentoo dev, nor am I personally acquainted with either Mr. Welch or Mr. Robbins. Therefore the only source of information on the subject in my possession is the net. And based on this information, I can't honestly say that things seem as cut and dried to me as they do to you (which in itself means exactly NOTHING, of course).
Overall, it would seem that what has taken place here is a conflict of personalities and business interests - hardly a rare occurance in Linux world these days. Neither the fact that Gentoo is a popular distro (to a certain - and very limited at that! - degree), nor the fact that Mr. Robbins has a set of impressive achievements under his belt mean much as far as Mr. Welch's accusations go. Nor am I sure that it is entirely appropriate for you, Ladislav, to publicly take sides in this conflict, which you clearly have done in DWW#4.
Moreover, while I'm sure that pondering the life expectancy of Linux distro forks right alongside one particular fork announcement is NOWHERE NEAR "launching a personal attack and dirty campaign", it did peak my curiosity. Would you care to reprint the 4th paragraph of "How not to fork Gentoo Linux" alongside EVERY new distro/fork announcement?
To sum up, I'm not sure there's enough RELIABLE evidence out there at the moment to say exactly who ripped off whom, and thus to warrant a reaction as sharp[ish] as yours in DWW#4. If you are aware of any such evidence, I would be delighted if you could share it with the community.
Obviously, all of the above is just IMHO.
P.S. As far as the aforementioned 4th paragraph is concerned... Aside from being slightly sarcastic here, I actually think it might be not that bad an idea. DESPITE the fact that the idea that "fragmentation of 'Linux movement' does overall far more harm than good" is hated by the members of this 'movement'... ;)
13 • Timesavers? (by DaveW on 2003-06-30 15:43:57 GMT)
Mostly because of DWW I decided it was time to sign up for timesavers and support a worthwhile resource. But I see you haven't had anything new to say about it since April. Is it still a going concern?
14 • Gentoo & forks (by Anonymous on 2003-06-30 16:41:00 GMT)
Starting a fork in this manner is really unprofessional and shows a real lack of human-human skills. But that does not necessarily mean that they guys are bad programmers. If they can pull off a good distro, all the best to them - I don't have to like them to enjoy their work (as I don't have to like someone's work even if I like them!).
So give them I chance I say, and hopefully they will learn to communicate with humans like they can communicate with computers.
15 • Gentoo Fork (by Charles at 2003-06-30 17:17:54 GMT)
Isn't Gentoo a fork of Sorcerer?
16 • Open accounting for non-profit .org (by Gilles Pelletier at 2003-06-30 18:25:40 GMT)
This part of Robbins' reply:
"As always, if any developer has questions about *anything* related to Gentoo, including how money is spent, please feel free to ask me."
is indicative of a deep problem at Gentoo's.
Nobody should have to refer to the boss for an "insider view" on accounting. Non-profit organisations' accounting should be open to any and everyone, just as OS code is. Otherwise, they're just a stinkin' joke.
Also, I'd rather not see Dan Armak Zionist flag on the site (or any national flag for that matter):
I'm not sure any politically conscious Muslin will be eager to participate to this kind of "universal" distribution.
Robbins writes indeed very well, but I'm afraid there are huge problems with the way he runs his distro.
17 • Arch Linux (by Ben at 2003-06-30 18:38:24 GMT)
I'd love to see a review of Arch Linux. I actually suggested it sometime back, and was going to do a review of my own, but... I no longer have a PC of my own, so...
18 • Gentoo and SuSE origin (by Penguin Domesticus on 2003-06-30 19:44:35 GMT)
"Isn't Gentoo a fork of Sorcerer?"
No, it is not. Gentoo is an independent distro. The source-based software management system of Gentoo was inspired by FreeBSD ports system though.
"why you consider Mandrake to be a fork of RH,but not SUSE or the other dozens of RPM-based distros?"
SuSE Linux is RPM-based but not Redhat-based. It is stated on this site: "As for SuSE, a reader has pointed out that it was originally based on a German distribution called Jurix, which is no longer maintained."
Just take a look at the section "How independent is your distribution?" http://www.distrowatch.com/stats.php?section=independence in the Statistics section of this site to find out which distros are derived from what.
19 • Lindows install test? (by Greg C at 2003-06-30 19:49:20 GMT)
Yes - I vote for an install test on Lindows 4.0
20 • Arch Linux or Lindows review? (by Penguin Domesticus on 2003-06-30 19:59:39 GMT)
As to Arch/Lindows reviews, I'd like to see a review of both if possible. They represent quite opposite approaches too. What ever may be said about Lindows business strategies etc, it is one of the most interesting distros nevertheless.
But if I have to choose, my vote goes to Arch Linux too. It is one of the most interesting, yet little known new hacker-oriented distros. I'm yet to try it too, but the positive comments and reviews I keep reading about it hint that it might even be the next Gentoo or Debian. Also its goals of simplicity, speed (i686 optimized), stability and easy up-dates are just what most experienced hobby users look for.
The cons? I think the main problem of Arch Linux is the lack of documentation. At the moment you have to be quite an experienced Linux user in order to start to use or even install Arch Linux. Hoy, Arch devs! Take the excellent Gentoo documentation as an example, write better and more detailed documentation, and Arch Linux will soon have lots of more users.
22 • Re : Open accounting for non-profit .org (by Grunt on 2003-06-30 20:43:08 GMT)
Hello there, Mr. Gilles Pelletier.
Your comments regarding "Zionist flag" gave me a good chuckle...
For starters, if my memory (and Google) serves me well, it's neither a "Zionist" flag, nor Israeli official flag at all. Rather, it's some sort of stylized unofficial variation of Israeli flag held by the Linux mascot. (If you're curious enough, try searching for "History of Israli flag" in Google then clicking the very first link that comes up. "Zionist" flags can be found here : http://www.grey-net.com/fotw/flags/il-other.html , while the official Israeli flag historical versions can be found here : http://www.grey-net.com/fotw/flags/il-his.html ).
In addition, the "Zionist flag" you're talking about is a part of screenshot illustrating (guess what!) Hebrew support in KDE, which if not fully appropriate then at least somewhat logical.
Moreover, I don't quite see why presence of an Israeli (or any other country's, for that matter!) flag should prevent an intelligent human being from "participating to this kind of 'universal' distribution". If you'd ask for my personal humble opinion on the matter, I'd say radical Moslems should skip visiting the page you linked to altogether (as probably should you, if you'd "rather not see" its contents!). After all, the page is written in the language of "Great Satan", the language of filthy infidels! IMHO they should avoid using Linux AT ALL, as overwhelming majority of GUIs, man/info pages, HOWTOs, source comments and even C/C++ keywords and function names are written in that same language of infidels...
23 • If you do review Arch... (by DaveW on 2003-06-30 20:57:41 GMT)
I hope you'll compare it to other non-RPM distros. It's hard to tell from their website just how Arch works. So here's what this one reader would like to have answered: How does its package management differ from SlackWare, which also uses tar.gz? Is it a fork or development of Slack? From the user's standpoint, is its update/app installation system an improvement on the Debian and Gentoo efforts to bypass RPM?
It doesn't include my most-used apps: Oo.org, Evolution, Galeon, probably because it seems heavily committed to KDE. Is there any reason Gnome-based apps would be at a disadvantage if used with Arch?
Does Arch, like Gentoo, require a broadband connection to achieve reasonable installation/maintenance?
24 • Open accounting for non-profit .org (by Gilles Pelletier at 2003-06-30 23:07:25 GMT)
> Your comments regarding "Zionist flag" gave me a good chuckle...
Misinformed as you are, you must get quite a few chuckles for cheap.
> For starters, if my memory (and Google) serves me well, it's neither a "Zionist" flag, nor Israeli official flag at all.
It is indeed Israel's flag. Google would have served you better had you looked for the present flag. Amongst many other places, you'll find it here:
You'll find here:
the story of how Lord Balfour's idea of a jewish "homeland" in Palestine has become the horror that Lord Curzon has foreseen on the very same year. (1917)
I wouldn't say the whole story is there, but there's quite a lot on how the small people got killed in the camps while most bigwigs moved to the US: from the the Weimar Republic to today, from the St-Louis to the Kristallnacht.
As for the hebrew language, it doesn't equate at all with the state of torturers that Israel has become. Many jews who speak hebrew are part of every protest walk against the state of Israel.
You obviously have no information to bear the stupid comments you made, this is not an appropriate forum and there's no way I will loose my time discussing with you.
My text is in french but many links refer to english pages.
Regards and end.
25 • Lindows 4.0 review! (by Kreek on 2003-07-01 02:05:21 GMT)
I say yes, get a copy of Lindows 4.0 and let us know what you think! Just try not to look at from the stand point of a Linux guru but as a Windows convert.
26 • LindowsOS 4.0 (by Kevin Carmony at 2003-07-01 02:21:47 GMT)
Email me and I'll be happy to get you a copy to review. You know my email address.
There are actually a LOT of new feautres and the pricing hasn't change, just more options (choice = good).
President, Lindows.com, Inc.
27 • Re : Open accounting for non-profit .org (by Grunt on 2003-07-01 03:14:09 GMT)
> Misinformed as you are
Actually, you might be surprised at how informed I am... :p
> It is indeed Israel's flag.
If you would have actually FOLLOWED the first link you posted in your last message, you would have found out that neither the size of the Magen David (aka "the blue star in the middle") nor the color of the bars match those on the Israeli flag. Insisting that whatever Linux mascot is holding in that screenie is Israeli flag is akin to saying that Green-White-Red flag is the French one, or that a flag with 69 pink stars and orange and white stripes is the US flag.
As for the rest of your "political" claims... What-bloody-ever you say, mate. To each his own, you know.
28 • No subject (by Kevin Carmony on 2003-07-01 03:24:29 GMT)
Ladislav wrote back and turned down our offer.
Can't say we didn't try ;-)
29 • SuSE origins (by Anonymous on 2003-07-01 06:15:10 GMT)
As said SuSE is based on Jurix, which itself evolved from Slackware.
30 • RE: Gilles Pelletier (by Penguin Domesticus on 2003-07-01 11:40:43 GMT)
"this is not an appropriate forum"
Indeed, DW Weekly should be no forum for such cold political propaganda that you have used it for. I hope Ladislav will mod down such political propaganda from this forum in the future.
Some screenshot on the Gentoo website shows a version of the Israeli flag, so what? The picture showing a penguin holding the flag seems to be just a logo of a national Linux users group: http://www.iglu.org.il/IGLU/, like the ones we have elsewhere too. The country is a member of the UN. Israeli politics may often be harsh, but lots of bad things have been done under various other national flags too, but you cannot usually blame the local Linux users for the harsh politics, can you? Enough said.
31 • Critique of Zynot (by ladislav at 2003-07-01 12:02:01 GMT)
Sorcerer, has successfully forked into two other source-based distros, Lunar-Linux, and SourceMage.
Successfully? Each of the three has something in the region of a few hundred users at most and you call it a success?
I don't know how closely you followed the events, but it was a nightmare situation for all involved. It wasn't a simple fork - it was a split in the developer community which left a very bitter taste behind. Back in those days, Gentoo was a little-known distribution while Sorcerer was a rising star. Unfortunately, once the split happened, many users who were interested in a source distribution got tired of petty bickering and went over to see what Gentoo was about.
No, I would not call that "success". "Disaster" might be a better word.
32 • RE: Gentoo, Zynot, et al... (by ladislav at 2003-07-01 13:00:01 GMT)
Would you care to reprint the 4th paragraph of "How not to fork Gentoo Linux" alongside EVERY new distro/fork announcement?
Of course not. But I think it's good to remind people about it every now and then. New distributions are popping up at a rate of about 2 - 3 per week and the majority of them will be dead in less than a year. It's not to say that _all_ new distributions will fail, but we've gotten to a stage where only the most determined or most innovative will survive (never mind thrive).
To sum up, I'm not sure there's enough RELIABLE evidence out there at the moment to say exactly who ripped off whom.
I didn't look for evidence. I expressed an opinion on a subject that shook the Gentoo community last week, that's all.
33 • not an appropriate forum? (by motub on 2003-07-01 15:03:32 GMT)
>"To sum up, I'm not sure there's enough RELIABLE evidence out there at the moment to say exactly who ripped off whom, and thus to warrant a reaction as sharp[ish] as yours in DWW#4."
Mr. Welch's assumption that anyone got ripped off at all, and that I care, is exactly the source of the sharpness, I think.
Ladislav has a point. The "Reasons for Forking A Linux Distribution" paper is full of opinion rather than actual information about the distribution itself; such info is also not to be found on the "The Future Of Zynot" page linked at the veeeerrry bottom of that paper.
Opinion about the value of his contribution. Opinion about what others offered or expected. Opinion about what he told others he wanted or expected. You notice that while Mr. Welch refers to messages that various parties posted, and his "documented" contributions, detailed "elsewhere"-- he provides no links to any of this hard data (if we actually wanted to follow this yellow-brick road of "who's zoomin' who", despite the fact that there was no NDA stopping him from publishing the very contract in question if he was so inclined. People tend to respond to hearing one opinion by offering an opinion of their own. People tend to respond to high emotion with emotion in return.
So Mr. Welch's emotional public presentation has generated a response in kind. The interesting difference is that Ladislav has actually supported his own credibility by noting publically that Mr. Welch's paper undermines his credibility as someone who can successfully seed and maintain a distribution.
If Mr. Welch is so angry about and disappointed by his experiences on the Gentoo team that he has to present all this dirty laundry before telling us a word about what the distro will actually do or be used for, what reason do I, as a potential user, have to believe that he's actually going to focus *on* the distro, rather than "showing up" Daniel Robbins (he thinks he's so smart.... I'll show him!)?
Ladislav has also "kept his head" by confining this "opinion" to DistroWatch Weekly, where it belongs. Mr. Welch doesn't seem to know where his opinions belong. It definitely isn't the project announcement, though.
>>"My reading of the documents at the web site indicates that the author has legitimate gripes with both Daniel Robbins and the Gentoo distribution infrastructure."
Yeah, and? Are these legitimate reasons to fork (as opposed to creating your own distro from scratch)? Are these legitimate reasons to offer potential users for migrating to your distro? I don't see what Mr. Welch's gripes, legitimate or not, should have to do with me. And I don't see how airing them before even detailing your distribution's roadmap is supposed to instill confidence in potential customers. And wasn't *that* supposed to be the point of a project announcement, ultimately?
34 • Laissons sa chance au coureur! (by Gilles Pelletier at 2003-07-01 19:44:32 GMT)
IMHO, Welch certainly has a point when he writes:
"there certainly is no public accounting of how the funds received from the Gentoo Linux "Make a Donation" page or from sales of merchandising in the Gentoo Store actually reach the community."
Even Robbins confirmed this in writing:
"As always, if any developer has questions about *anything* related to Gentoo, including how money is spent, please feel free to ask me."
This suggestion is ludicrous. Without an eye in the books, only the vaguest questions can be asked and any answer would have to be taken at its face value. That Robbins cannot fathom how stupid his answer is is indicative of a serious problem at Gentoo's.
Ladislav is certainly right in saying that:
"The long announcement contains little about the project's objective, road map and time line (...)"
The negative comments certainly have some ground. Are they all true? God knows! But sometimes resentment is justified and obnubilates "the road map". Besides, drawing such a map is impossible for Welsh at the present time. Though some Gentoo developpers /seem/ to support him, he most certainly has no idea of the ressources at his disposal. Gentoo's roadmap included the release of 1.4 final at the end of January and it hasn't been released yet. So what are roadmaps worth when starting a new distro?
It seems Welsh wants to release a distro much akin to Gentoo, but he hopes to get his releases more in time with a more open, less centralized administration. He seems confident that his experience in business administration and his participation to different projects will help him do that.
Is he just a loud mouth? Is he a competent developper? Maybe, maybe not. All I can say is Robbins has confirmed one of his POV. To me, the rest is speculation upon speculation.
So the last word goes to Ladislav:
"Nevertheless, Zynot is a legitimate Linux-based distribution, so as soon as the project releases files for download and installation, it will be added to the DistroWatch database and monitored for releases."
No one can ask a developper to work for free for a distro whose administration he's in conflict with. He better split. Otherwise, it would be a terrible lost of time both for him and the distro.
What remains to be seen is if his vision is shared, how many developpers will follow... and how many new developpers will be convinced to join in by this new /vision/.
In other words, there are problems on both sides. Though in the best of worlds, Gentoo would have continued on a straight line without splitting, in the best of worlds possible, we'll have to wait and see who clears his act the fastest.
Ladislav has taken sides in this debate. I prefer not to because it wouldn't make the issue resolve any faster and the resolution happen in the most uncontrived way. As we say in french, je laisse sa chance au coureur.
35 • Re: Gilles Pelletier (by Rootless Cosmopolitan on 2003-07-01 23:34:06 GMT)
It sounds like M. Pelletier would prefer a Judenrein distro. May I suggested EinVolk Linux? I understand that his home country has quite a record when it comes to sheltering Nazi war criminals and Holocaust deniers; perhaps he can get together with some of them and put together a LUG that reflects his political prejudices.
36 • No more politics (by ladislav at 2003-07-02 00:38:17 GMT)
Come on, guys! Please leave the politics out of here. Any further opinions about national flags, Israeli conflict, war criminals and such will be deleted.
37 • Lindows 4.0 review (by Dale Lester at 2003-07-02 00:50:56 GMT)
I would be very interested in a review of lindows 4.0, I have used it and find it a lot easier to insstall and setup than a lot of other linux distro's I have tried.
38 • Gentoo? (by Luke on 2003-07-02 10:29:44 GMT)
> I would be very interested in a review of lindows 4.0, I have used it and find it a lot easier to insstall and setup than a lot of other linux distro's I have tried.
Surely it can't be as easy as gentoo?
39 • Arch Linux (by Nick Danger at 2003-07-02 18:00:11 GMT)
Arch linux looks like it has a lot of potential... i'd prefer to see a review on that to a review on Lindows 4.0... Lindows 4.0 will be reviewed on a gazillion more sites and Arch has yet to be reviewed by anyone.
Or hey, why not get me a review copy of Lindows and i'll do the review for you!
40 • Arch Linux Review! (by Crow at 2003-07-02 18:02:32 GMT)
Arch Linux review!
I would prefer an Arch Linux review over a Lindows, firstly, becouse i had already enough of *ows stuff ;-)
Now, seriously, i rather Arch becouse it doesnt have a review yet, it seems very promising as its community and sofware base is growing daily, also, there are not much of this kind of distros out, at least not as stable and complete as this one, the other i can think of is Gentoo, and i havent tryed it yet, but i will soon, if possible at the same time i get Arch Linux 0.5...
Also, i think Pacman it self is worth the review, its a package manager, wich has some funcional simils with apt or urpmi, at least thats my impression. And i would like to know how it works...
And like someone sayd, Archs lack of documentation is an issue, but! thats another point for reviewing it, that way, you will see how hard is to solve problems (if any ;-) and how the community responds to them...
Well, hope Arch gets the review!
Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy, nice doggy... till you can find a rock!"
41 • Off-subject.... (by LM at 2003-07-02 22:18:01 GMT)
This is a bit off subject but can anyone recommend a live CD distribution that can be chroot'd into (i.e. a live CD that is not compressed). Would Suse for e.g. do this?
42 • Arch support (by hapy on 2003-07-02 22:51:02 GMT)
"It doesn't include my most-used apps: Oo.org, Evolution, Galeon, probably because it seems heavily committed to KDE. Is there any reason Gnome-based apps would be at a disadvantage if used with Arch?"
All of those apps do indeed have packages on Arch. It may be the distrowatch page does not show the "unofficial" tree of packages. Please check http://archlinux.org for a more complete package listing. Gnome is fully supported and many Archers use the gnome desktop and/or gnome apps.
43 • Another Linux Distribution Again And Again (by GG at 2003-07-03 05:38:48 GMT)
Firstly, I want to write my comment in french, it's most easy for me.
Pourquoi il y a tant de distributions de Linux? Pourquoi les développeurs ne travaillent-ils pas tous ensemble? J'ai parcouru le Web à la recherche de distributions de Linux et j'ai vu sans cesse les mêmes objectifs. Il y a des distributions pour les débutants et pour les utilisateurs avancés et je peux le comprendre. Je peux comprendre aussi qu'il y est des distributions commerciales et d'autres communautaires. Ce que je ne comprend pas c'est pourquoi deux projets identiques ne travaillent pas ensemble. Cela éviterais peut-être le nombre important de distributions abandonnées. C'est bien d'avoir de bonnes idées mais c'est encore mieux de les partager.
Now, the translation :
Why there are so many distributions of Linux? Why the developers don't work all together? I traversed the Web in the search of distributions of Linux and I saw the same objectives unceasingly. There are distributions for the beginners and for the advanced users and I can understand it. I can also understand have commercial distributions and community ones. What I doesn't understand is why two identical projects doesn't work together. Perhaps that would avoid the significant number of abandoned distributions. It is well to have good ideas but is still better to share them.
44 • Lindows/ARCH Review (by Coolcmsc at 2003-07-03 08:21:48 GMT)
As a Newby with enough experience to consider a shot at Gentoo soon, I would like to see a review of ARCH. This is because one click or ten to install a LINUX distro is not an important issue for at present (it will be of course - see below).
What does matter for market penetration (ie the punters) at present is how the thing 'goes' for broadband users who have made an effort to learn a bit of command line stuff - yes, LINUX has not really got beyond that yet if you want a smooth experience after an install (eg for 12 months without getting irritated and trying another distro to see if it is any better!).
I recon that this will be an issue by 2005 when Bill G offers up the next Windows which definately will be a challenge to LINUX if it has not moved on by then (cf MS's increasing support for developers by giving peeks at bits of source code and its support for SCO by buying its code and the HP - "whose code is whose" thingy in the news just now etc.).
If you do not agree with this, it is likely you are unaware of what is planned for son of XP in 2005 (read a mag or two) or you have been blinded by an entirely honourable loyalty to LINUX.
Lindows still presents lots of difficulties compaired to XP (Heave...) once it is loaded, but they are all intersting and educational as is the case with all Linux Distros I've tried. So, no I have no need to see a review of Lindows.
Let us see how ARCH compairs to Gentoo in terms of flexibility, speed, bleeding edge apps and most especially lets see a "pros and cons table" compairing Portage (http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/portage-user.xml) and Pacman (http://www.archlinux.org/pacman/) because this is what these two are all about for most of us.
Thanks for the chance to say all that! Coolcmsc
45 • Wow, I Agree (by Kenneth on 2003-07-03 13:33:43 GMT)
Wow, I've only studied French for 2 years and I could understand most of it without peeking at the translation! :)
And I agree, there are enough reviews of Lindows. Just look at all those related links on the Lindows page. Arch obviously should get the review. Not that we have anything against Lindows, but it's just not something that hasn't already been done over and over.
46 • I like distrowatch...but (by matty-x on 2003-07-03 17:49:42 GMT)
I like to come to distrowatch while I'm at work because it looks like I'm working, but I'm really just slacking off. But now that you've incorporated this damn Distrowatch weekly, I don't need to take 20 minutes a day on your site. I only need 10 minutes a week! What the hell? How _DARE_ you increase my productivity???
But seriously, great work guys! Love the site.
47 • re: Forks (by anon192731634fnord525171 at 2003-07-03 18:42:24 GMT)
Because mandrake used to be just redhat+kde for the first few releases.
48 • I'd like to say Lindows but don't think it's appropriate (by mrd on 2003-07-04 16:08:09 GMT)
My perception here is of someone who *appears* biased against a distribution, namely Lindows. I don't know if it is because of the political shenanigans that put so many OS/FS peoples' noses out of joint a while back or if it because it is trying to take Linux to the masses.
So as much as I'm interested in Lindows 4 and seeing how it performs in a few areas, I'm not sure I have seen things here to make me feel you'd be able to be unbiased enough in a review of it...
49 • Arch Linux (by pligeo on 2003-07-05 13:38:01 GMT)
Review Archlinux! ^_^
50 • Suckering up... (by Alex de Landgraaf at 2003-07-05 14:12:12 GMT)
just have to say: kudos to Ladislav, this is turning out to be a fine weekly column. Well, at least it has a strong opinion and enough people who disagree, it's about time us 'forkers' are held at gun-point ;)
But seriously, you are right that most forks never get anywhere, but forks (most of the time) aren't made to be as popular as the forked distro: they are forked to fill up a niche, to make a point, scratch an itch or to be useful for a certain group. Sure, Knoppix is a fork of Debian, but how many Knoppix users would you trust with a woody install? (stepping on someones toes here for sure...) It might not be as popular as Debian proper, but statistics and marketshare arn't everything. If something different works for another group of users, well, there's nothing wrong with that. Then again, I'm biased, having made a fork-of-a-fork :)
Oh well, guess I've got a release to work on, thanks to you. I'd vote for a Arch review btw, still have the iso somewhere but too lazy to give it a spin ;)
Number of Comments: 50
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