| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 180, 4 December 2006
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It's openSUSE week, as one of the oldest and most popular Linux distributions on the market makes a brand new release on Thursday. Will the project's association with Novell (and, indirectly, Microsoft) hurt the download figures? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, the much awaited public release from Gaël Duval's Ulteo is about to hit the download mirrors - expect the live CD image later this week. Also in the news: interest in running Linux on Sony PlayStation 3 intensifies, KANOTIX is rocked by resignation of a co-developer, and Ubuntu developers react on the project's decision to include proprietary graphics driver in Feisty. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of DistroWatch's November 2006 donation is the digiKam project. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
openSUSE 10.2 "ready", Ulteo starts public testing, Linux on PS3, KANOTIX troubles
The development of openSUSE 10.2 is over. That's according to this mailing list post by the project's release coordinator Andreas Jaeger: "We've mastered yesterday openSUSE 10.2 RC5 and declared it as 'goldmaster'." The author reveals that the build process for the final set of CD and DVD images has started and should be completed by the official release date later this week - on the 7th December. However, he also warns that "there are still a lot of bugs open for 10.2 and I'm sure real usage over time will find some more." One other interesting piece of information: the next version of openSUSE will be released in around (the northern hemisphere's) "summer", which probably translates to around June - July 2007, and is in line with the project's 6-month release cycle. That's all we know at this stage, so get your BitTorrent clients ready for a download rush on Thursday!
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Speaking about new releases, those waiting impatiently for the first public test of Ulteo, a mysterious new distribution developed by Gaël Duval, the founder of Mandrake Linux, are about to get an early Christmas gift: "On the 5th or 6th of December, we are going to release the first installable Ulteo live CD (for PC). At the same time, we are going to unveil the basic ideas behind Ulteo." The Ulteo newsletter also talks about the progress achieved during the last few months and reasons for the delay of the first development build, which was originally scheduled for release in May 2006. For more information (in English, French, German and Italian) please read the Ulteo Newsletter.
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The popularity of the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) in the Linux developer community is growing by the day. While PS3 does not ship with a full Linux-based operating system as some early rumours suggested, Sony has released an installer that enables installation of a third-party operating system on the gaming console. Terra Soft Solutions has already released its Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 for Sony PlayStation 3 (it should be available for free download around Christmas), but those distributions that provide PowerPC editions of their products should also be compatible with Sony's new hardware. In the meantime, IGN has published a comprehensive review of Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 concluding that, although the distribution is indeed capable of delivering Linux desktop functionality to the PS3, lack of video acceleration combined with low amount of available system memory makes the product unsuitable for heavy-duty multimedia work.
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One of the reasons for the explosion in Linux distribution numbers in recent years is the inability of many developers to agree on common goals and work things out if disagreements arise. The latest project that has succumbed to personal conflicts over its directions is KANOTIX, a Debian and KNOPPIX-based live CD which has become one of the best-loved second-tier Linux distributions on the market. Unfortunately, as announced last week, the distribution's co-developer Stefan Lippers-Hollmann has decided to resign from the project and create a new distribution called Sidux. It has also emerged that Jörg Schirottke, the founder of KANOTIX, is considering to switch the distribution's base from Debian's unstable branch to Ubuntu and possibly attempt a more commercial orientation of the distribution - moves that are likely to displease some KANOTIX users. For a more detailed summary of the current crisis in the project please read The KANOTIX distro implodes by Tuxmachines.
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Lately, many Linux news sites have been drawn into the old debate about the inclusion of proprietary kernel drivers and other non-free software into Linux distributions. This is against the guidelines of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) which has long argued that all software should be free and compliant with the principles of four software freedoms. Unfortunately for FSF, most Linux distributions place usability ahead of software freedom, which explains why only six -- mostly obscure -- distributions (out of some 300+) have been approved by FSF for use. And although some major ones, such as Fedora Core or Debian GNU/Linux appear to respect the principles of software freedom on the surface, the FSF still rejects them due to various reasons (presence of a non-free branch in Debian, acceptance of sourceless firmware in Fedora, etc).
The debate intensified in recent weeks after Ubuntu had announced that, in line with its promise to deliver a 3D-enabled, eye-catching Linux desktop to a wider audience, its upcoming release will give preference to proprietary kernel drivers for the ATI and NVIDIA video cards over the free ones by X.Org. Since then many user forums and web logs have been full of varied opinion on the subject. Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth explained the move in his own web log, while several other well-known Ubuntu/Debian developers have also felt needs to express their views (read Scott James Remnant: Slippery Slopes and Benjamin Mako Hill: Bring the Bling?).
As in any democratic group, opinions on the issue tend to vary from radical viewpoints by the supporters of the FSF ideals and the pragmatic (or ignorant?) attitudes of those end users who expect their hardware to work to its full potential irrespective of the operating system. Or, as Groklaw likes to put, it's a toss between software freedom and market share - either an uncompromising stance on the values of software freedom or an understanding that software freedom can only be realised once Linux achieves a certain market share.
Whatever your view, it can be fascinating to read about some of the conflicting opinions expressed publicly by well-known Linux and open source personalities who don't always agree with FSF. Take this mailing list post by Linus Torvalds. In it, the creator of the Linux kernel argues against the newly drafted General Public License (GPL) version 3 and also adds a few unflattering comments about the Free Software Foundation:
The fact that the FSF has tried to paint Linux as a GNU project (going as far as trying to rename it "GNU/Linux" at every opportunity they get) is their confusion, not ours. ... Linux from the very beginning was not about the FSF ideals, but about "Full source must be available". It also talked about "Free", but that very much was "Free as in beer, not as in freedom", and I decided to drop that later on. How much clearer can I be? I've actively tried to promote "Open Source" as an alternative to "Free Software", so the FSF only has itself to blame over the confusion.
Of course, Linus Torvalds is a rather straightforward person, so there are few surprises about the way he rejects the idea that a potential move to GPL3 should be decided by a public poll:
Here's a poll for you:
- go write your own kernel
- poll which one is more popular
It really is that simple.
What do you think? Do you consider the Free Software Foundation as the ultimate authority fighting for our software freedom rights or do you think that its uncompromising stance is at times detrimental to the progress of Linux and open source software? And how do you feel about Ubuntu's decision to enable desktop eye candy with proprietary kernel modules, in spite of tainting the Linux kernel with closed-source code? Please discuss below.
|Released Last Week
SabayonLinux 3.2 has been released: "We are glad to announce another big, even more powerful SabayonLinux release. These are the major improvements: reduced boot time thanks to the integration of Unionfs and parallel execution of some boot tasks; improved hardware support: new drivers, USB scanner support, implementation of NVIDIA legacy drivers infrastructure, ATI drivers support, JMicron ATA support, AM2 NVIDIA mainboards support; improved SabayonLinux installer speed and reliability; 2GB Squashfs limit broken - this means more applications and complete localization support; new accelerated desktop infrastructure for managing Beryl...." Read the complete release announcement for more details.
Yellow Dog Linux 5.0
Terra Soft Solutions has announced the release of Yellow Dog Linux 5.0, a distribution designed for Sony PlayStation 3: "Yellow Dog Linux Enthusiasts, the wait is over! Six months of design, engineering, integration, and testing has culminated in the finest release from Terra Soft to date. Designed, not just assembled, Yellow Dog Linux v5.0 featuring Enlightenment 17 is immediately available via YDL.net Enhanced accounts for your PlayStation 3." Yellow Dog Linux is based on Fedora Core and Linux kernel 2.6.16. Besides the default Enlightenment desktop, it also includes GNOME 2.14, KDE 3.5.3 and the usual range of popular open source software applications. For more information please read the release announcement and visit the distribution's product pages.
Caixa Mágica 11
Caixa Mágica is a Portuguese distribution for i586 and x86_64 processors, based on SUSE Linux. Caixa Mágica 11 is designed for both desktops and servers; it offers an easy-to-use desktop environment with KDE or GNOME, custom configuration utilities, intuitive installation program with an option to resize NTFS partitions, convenient software installation and updates via apt-get (for RPM) and Synaptic, improved hardware detection and support, and a complete desktop environment in Portuguese. The project's latest release, version 11, was originally announced (both links in Portuguese) two weeks ago, but only now have the CD and DVD images made available for free download.
Ubuntu Christian Edition 2.0, 1.5.1
Ubuntu Christian Edition 2.0, the project's first release based on the recently released Ubuntu 6.10 "Edgy Eft", is now available for download: "We are excited to announce the release of Ubuntu CE v2.0. Improvements have been made all around, such as faster system boot up times, faster GNOME start up times, improvements to the user interface, a shiny new optimized kernel, GNOME 2.16 and much more." The release includes several new and upgraded software applications, notably F-Spot digital photo manager, Firefox 2.0, Evolution 2.8.0 and OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, as well as a better technical incorporation of the Ubuntu CE themes. Please read the full the release announcement for further details.
Xandros Desktop 4.1
Xandros Corporation has announced the release of Xandros Desktop 4.1 (marketed as Xandros Desktop 4 Professional): "Xandros, the leading provider of easy-to-use Linux alternatives to Windows, today announced the addition of 'Xandros Desktop - Professional,' featuring advanced 3D desktop graphics effects, Bluetooth wireless support, desktop search and ISV support." The new product is based on Debian 3.1 "sarge" and includes the latest kernel 2.6.18, KDE 3.4.2, Firefox 2.0, CrossOver Office 5.9.1 and many other software applications for the desktop. 3D video effects with Xgl/Compiz and the Beagle desktop search tool are among the new features included in the distribution for the first time. Please read the press release and visit the product's feature page for additional information.
Damn Small Linux 3.1
Damn Small Linux 3.1 has been released. Excerpts from the final changelog: "Converted 54 Lua and Lua/Fltk programs to Lua 5.1.1 Fltk 1.1 via MurgaLua interface; Updated SQLite to 3.3.6; made Unionfs the default boot; improved mount tool for 'after boot' pen drive support; updated hard drive install for consistent fstab; New boot option 'dosswapfile' to auto-scan or specify DOS swap file; new boot option 'fuse' to load upon boot the FUSE file system; improved Antiword fonts; added right click to MyDSL Icon for easy UCItool access; changed color escape codes to echo commands; made mydsl boot option consistent with restore boot option; new theme - Envane...." Read the rest of the changelog for more details.
The inaugural release of 64Studio, a specialist distribution with a collection of software for digital content creation, is out: "The 64 Studio project produces a distribution of native free software for digital content creation on x86_64 hardware. After eighteen months of development, the project has made its first stable release available for free download. It is named in recognition of the work of Glyn Johns and Eddie Kramer at Olympic Studios in London. The distribution is based on the pure 64 port of Debian GNU/Linux, testing branch, but with a specialised package selection and lots of other customisations. The 64 Studio project also produces a 32-bit edition for legacy PC hardware." Read the full press release for more information.
The first stable release of 64Studio was announced last week.
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Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85 has been released: "We are proud to announce that a brand new version of Parsix GNU/Linux is available now. This version brings the latest open source technologies to your PC. Highlights are: GNOME 2.16.2, X.Org 7.1, Linux kernel 2.6.18 with many extra patches and drivers including CK performance and Suspend2 patches and many wireless drivers, Intel ipw3945 wireless support, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, GNU IceWeasel 2.0 web browser, seamless hibernation and suspend support, newly released xFarDic 0.8.0 multilingual dictionary, updated installer, new artwork, NTFS read/write support using ntfs3g, updated documentation and support for 3D desktop using AIGLX/Compiz. Packages are synchronized with Debian Etch repository as Nov 30, 2006." The release announcement.
Michael Creel has announced a new major release of ParallelKnoppix: "ParallelKnoppix 2.0 is released. The 2.x series makes setting up and using the cluster even easier than before. It is also much easier to save a ParallelKnoppix setup for re-use. Of course, it is also possible to use a ParallelKnoppix cluster without leaving traces on the host machines. The 2.x series is focused on MPI-based parallel computing - PVM is no longer supported. Some details: kernel 18.104.22.168, KDE 3.5.4, new non-parametric multivariate density estimation example using MPITB for GNU Octave." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|November 2006 donation: digiKam receives €300|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of our November 2006 donation is the digiKam project (€300).
digiKam doesn't need much introduction, as most KDE users who own digital cameras are likely familiar with the software. An advanced photo-album, with tagging and light image editing features, and with support for external plugins, digiKam is developed by Gilles Caulier and a small team of core developers. The current stable version is 0.8.2, but a rapidly developing 0.9.0, with a host of new features, shouldn't be too far away.
As always, the monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch, which allocates 10% of its advertising revenue, and three online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org, OSDisc.com and TheLinuxShop.co.uk. The three CD/DVD vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to digiKam.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$10,940 to various open source software projects.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Dinux. Dinux is a KNOPPIX-based Spanish Linux live CD with support for the Basque (Euskara) language.
- Xpress Linux. Xpress Linux is a Kubuntu-based distribution developed with a goal of making Linux more accessible to Windows users.
Xpress Linux is the latest addition to the growing list of Ubuntu-based distributions.
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DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 December 2006. Until then,
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
1 • DW Delay (by Saleem Khan on 2006-12-05 10:56:53 GMT from Pakistan) |
Dear Ladislav Bodnar
Thanks for today`s ( this week`s DW ) , kept waiting for it impatiently and really wanna know why delay from monday to tuesday ? hope everything is okay there with you and your family.
Hooked to DW so a delay was really unpleasant experience.
Take care & best wishes
2 • openSUSE Release Cycle (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 11:07:17 GMT from Germany)
openSUSE is now on an eight month release cycle, not six months anymore.
3 • Free vs non-free (by marksouth on 2006-12-05 11:22:39 GMT from Switzerland)
Given the choice, I prefer free over non-free.
The hope has always been that if Linux distros refused to distribute non-free drivers, the manufacturers would give in and issue free drivers, or the specs required to write them. Seems like the big distros are caving in and giving up hope.
It's a shame for the Linux world that it hasn't been doing what the BSD folk have been doing: relentlessly building free drivers and repeatedly advising people to buy good hardware.
Linus's comments seem somewhat disingenuous. I can see he might be annoyed by the appelation GNU/Linux, but since Linux depends on the GNU toolchain for its existence and continued development, pretending that Linux is somehow independent of GNU seems merely petulant.
Incidentally, Ladislav, those "obscure" distros to which the FSF has given its imprimatur include some of the best thought out and technologically neatest distros around, especially BLAG and dyne:bolic. Amazing results from very small teams that show just what people can do with Linux.
So the question is, what's worth more: software freedom, or 3D cubes on the desktop?
Cheers to everyone,
4 • DW (by parkash on 2006-12-05 11:26:16 GMT from Germany)
As always, it is a pleasure to read DW. Hope everything is alright.
I read some things about Novell-M$. As usual, there are people who say it's good, and people who don't. I'm really getting a little confused here --is it real that M$ can sue Linux users over software patents?...
The only thing I really know is I don't like the idea of M$ being so "friendly"... It kind of... freaks me out. :s
5 • Hypocrisy (by linbetwin on 2006-12-05 11:28:05 GMT from Romania)
What does the FSF say to the PC vendors who preinstall Linux on proprietary hardware? Why is software different from hardware? Linus told them to go make their own kernel. I say to them: go make your own hardware, too! And your own search engine, because Google oh-so-not-free-software! Oh, the hypocrisy!
But they're not the only hypocrites. Canonical is so dedicated to free software, that the only pieces of software they ever developed are proprietary (Launchpad and Malone). I can understand why they want to install proprietary drivers by default, but developing proprietary software?! To me, the message Canonical is sending to the FOSS community is this: "Sure, we'll take your free software, package it, market it and make a profit by supporting it, but don't expect us to show you OUR code. Sharing is fun when you're always at the receiving end."
6 • About Linus and Ubuntu's stand (by KaruppuSwamy.T on 2006-12-05 11:36:00 GMT from United States)
I agree with Linus Torvalds. He has proven once again that he is a techie, not a politician. "Let the source be available for all" - that was his intention when he opened his kernel source to the world. He is a plain hearted technologist who wants to be away from all these "principle" speaking guys.
Personally I agree with Ubuntu on it is stand on proprietary drivers packing with educating the user. 100% gold is not suitable for making jewels or some useful stuff. We need to add some impurity to make it rigid. At this juncture Linux needs such small impurity to reach mass. Ultimate aim is **usage**, not **show piece**.
7 • Proprietary drivers (by bogdan2412 on 2006-12-05 11:54:33 GMT from Romania)
Can anyone actually give me a reason why people say that if you install proprietary drivers it messes with the kernel and causes bugs ... Does anyone have a real example? I never heard about such a thing and i can't understand what the big deal is if you put some private code in... Nvidia seems to do a very very good job at making drivers and their drivers have never slowed down my system or make it crash... I'm using Ubuntu and i understand why they want to make 3d desktops... Linux and all open source software have reached a level where there is nothing someone else can do and they cannot... Shiny desktop cubes and other stuff like that appeal to the average user.. Linux's usability has greatly improved over the last years so i believe almost anyone can use it without having to learn all sorts of commands. The truth is.. there is no reason for developing an operating system if it is not going to be used by anyone... The 3d desktop is really a way to bring more people to Linux..
That's just my opinion...
8 • Ubuntu & Linux (by Stefan Daniel Schwarz on 2006-12-05 11:57:10 GMT from Germany)
Since installing accelerated graphics drivers is one of the most common customizations done for Ubuntu on the desktop - not only for spinning cubes but simply for the hardware to be fully supported as it should be - it's only reasonable to make this easier for the ordinary user. Let's face it, first looks matter a lot, and if GNU/Linux looks like an ancient system which is out of date by now, a better-looking OS (like Mac OS X or even Windows Vista) appears more modern and attractive. So, yes, I applaud the reason for including proprietary drivers, but I think there might be better implementations than just integrating it into the default install. What I'd like to see is something like a Restricted Software Control Panel which offers restricted software for easy (un)installation to the admin. It might even pop up automatically after system installation, and every time an admin logs in unless a "never show again" box is ticked. Then the default install would be entirely Free Software, with the easiest possible way of adding/removing non-free add-ons like drivers, firmware, codecs etc.
As to the opinion of Linus Torvalds about Free Software, I'm quite shocked. There's so much more to a GNU/Linux distribution than just the kernel called Linux. And without the work of the FSF, Linux wouldn't even exist the way it does now. Plus, lots of contributors are in it for the Free Software, not just the Open Source. Without the FSF, if GNU/Linux were something like BSD/Linux, Microsoft or any other company could have done to Linux what Apple did to BSD: Take the software, turn it into your own proprietary OS (Mac OS X), which quickly becomes more popular than the one it's based on because of the proprietary additions - and the base OS doesn't gain much at all. Only the GPL prevents that from happening, so that's the only assurance we really have, to enjoy and keep enjoying truly Free Software.
9 • GPL IMHO (by Soloact on 2006-12-05 12:04:18 GMT from United States)
GPL2, GPL3, or even a different one, whichever Linus chooses, is the right way to go. IMHO, Richard Stallman needs to back off and deal with his BSD/Unix type OSes as when he started. His insistance of calling Linus' creation, "GNU/Linux" is ridiculous, as it seems to be his ego pushing for it. My opinion is to call it what it is, "Linux", regardless of the distro. Linus' opinion is what counts in Linux, not Stallman's.
Thus endeth my 2 pence.
10 • Linus or RMS ??? (by Caraibes on 2006-12-05 12:10:39 GMT from Dominican Republic)
I must say that I am considering both philosophies, and I can't really side up with one side only.
While I perfectly understand all those fights fought by the FSF is helping us to free ourselves from those big multinationals and corporations, I am a bit pragmatic, and still consider the usability of a PC to be a major priority.
Yeah, call me an ignorant if you feel like, but if there's no Free alternative, I'll use a non-free soft : I use Skype, I use Real Player (that is only because my fav' radio station uses it)...
I use Xubuntu on my laptop just because of the wireless firmware it provides !!!
However, on my desktops, since I don't have any exotic hardware I use Blag, one of those "obscure distros" you mentioned above, and I am really happy with it !
I sometimes feel the FSF is behaving like a Taliban Brigade, and I can't associate myself with any kind of fundamentalist fervour, knowing that extremism is never good. This is where I respect the pragmatic views of Linus.
But I shall conclude by giving my respect however to the FSF because it worked wonders still, whatever I might write...
11 • Free or Not (by cve on 2006-12-05 12:23:28 GMT from United States)
It's not all about eye candy. Sometimes it's just about having a system that boots. My latest pc has an ATI card, by using the free drivers I get - nothing, nada, zip, total system lockup - with the Ubuntu releases (5.04 through 6.10). By switching to the propritary drivers I get a useable system, logins, gnome, etc. I don't want any 3d interface, I just want it to boot. Surfing the web and downloading pics from my camera isn't going to ever use my video card to it's fullest potential, but it's all I need it to do.
I'm not a developer or a programmer or any linux expert, I'm just someone who wants an alternative. Linux for me is being able to give everyone something else to consider instead of being locked to one company. Windows is popular because it just works, that's what us ordinary, average, pc for dummies, people want. I'm not to interested in FSF or whoever, all I want a system that's easy to install and use.
12 • Re: #8 (by linbetwin on 2006-12-05 12:24:03 GMT from Romania)
Do you think the GPL prevents Microsoft from releasing a commercial Linux distribution with proprietary add-ons, like Linspire and Xandros do? It would spread like fire, but it would make Linux in general very popular and help kill Windows. Microsoft exists because of Windows. Not because Windows is superior to Linux, but because of its huge environment and userbase. Windows is the standard in operating systems. Why should Microsoft abandon a platform in which it has invested tens of billions of dollars over the years? How could they convince thousands of companies, millions of developers and hundreds of millions of users to switch platforms? By switching to Linux, Microsoft would give its competition the advantage of the home turf, and that advantage could prove decisive.
13 • Question about BLAG (by linbetwin on 2006-12-05 12:32:04 GMT from Romania)
So I heard BLAG is on the FSF's shortlist of approved distros. Isn't BLAG a Fedora remaster with proprietary codecs? Or am I wrong? This is not a rhetorical question, I am really asking it in earnest.
14 • re:13 Blag = free (by Caraibes on 2006-12-05 12:37:11 GMT from Dominican Republic)
Blag is a Fedora remaster, but it is totally Free Software, or else they woud not be on the FSF page... You know those guys are tough, they'll look everywhere for some non-free stuff. f Blag made it, you can rest assured it is Free...
15 • Kanotix (by d00m3d on 2006-12-05 12:45:40 GMT from China)
It is sad to learn about the departure of slh at Kanotix. The migration from Debian Sid to Ubuntu is another sad fate (for me) to face with. I used to Debian Sid and I think I will keep close focus on Sidux...
16 • Ridiculous (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 12:46:10 GMT from United States)
It's not as if anyone has to pay to get the drivers. The only problem is that they are closed source. People are taking this way too seriously. And please don't go into a whole slippery slope argument pretending like it would seriously go from allowing drivers to something it really wouldn't go to.
Maybe I misunderstand the definition of "free." If I don't have to pay to get it, use it and keep it for as long as I like, that's what I consider free. In that respect, Fedora, Ubunto, Sabayon, Debian, etc. are all free whether they used inferior open source drivers or not.
17 • FSF vs. Torvalds verbal war (by Lucho on 2006-12-05 12:47:09 GMT from Brazil)
I think most of us need to focus on the big picture. Too many of us
get lost in the details; we fail to see the forest for the trees. The FSF
and Linux exist in a symbiotic relationship; Stallman and Tovarlds
need each other, and we all need both of them. RSM's constant hectoring
is necessary; he is the community's conscience, as much as Torvalds is
the voice of reason.
This is what separates the Linux community from the proprietary models:
their voice is that of neither conscience nor reason, only profits and market
18 • Nvidia and Kanotix (by Flavio de Olivera on 2006-12-05 12:54:58 GMT from Brazil)
Very sad news about Kanotix.. Here in Brazil several livecds use it as based or at least its kernel... about proprietary drivers.. I'll not include as default anymore, but I have to say, the Nvidia driver from Xorg is horrible... yesterday, after plug my Nvidia videocard, after a while X freezed and I installed Nvidia proprietary driver...
19 • re: 13 (by tj on 2006-12-05 13:08:31 GMT from United States)
20 • Kanotix - sad to hear the news (by Cleveland Software Developer on 2006-12-05 13:14:14 GMT from United States)
I have really enjoyed using Kanotix over the past few years. I have even donated to the project in the past. Kano has always been great at answering questions and helping with things along the way when I asked.
I did start to wonder what was going on with the project when there was not a single final-release in 2006, and had my concerns. After reading the release about the co-developer leaving, it furthers my general Linux-wide concerns about the inability of various distributions (and their developer teams) to remain cohesive over the long-haul. If Linux is ever to be considered a true desktop replacement for the masses (instead of Windows), long-term project-stability is key. The average person is not going to have a clue what to do when some the departure of developer(s) jeopardizes the future of their chosen OS.
This latest move at Kanotix has all but assured me that I need to switch to either OpenSuse or Ubuntu/Kubuntu, just because of the critical-mass factor those projects seem to have. Size, funding, and perhaps most importantly the consistency of vision and the ability to keep a disparate team focused and in at least enough agreement to stay with a project over many years is what is going to make all the difference.
I really reallly want to convert my day to day business desktops to Linux, but these types of political ups/downs throughout various distributions give me pause. I do not concern myself with such things when I use a Microsoft product, simply because I know the project is so much larger than what any one developer (or tens of developers) on their teams - thus, project stability is nearly 100% assured. Sure, Microsoft OS's suffer from delays and feature-creep/withdrawal, but I know that one way or the other, there will be another version available.
In my (perhaps insane) super-idealized view of things, I sure wish all these incredibly talented Linux and open-source developers could just come together and focus on producing one or two absolutely amazing OS's, and quit fractionating into a zillion distributions, most of which will be destined to disappear. If anyone truly loves Linux and open-source initiatives, they need to love it more than their own desire to produce yet another Linux-distro that happens to meet *their* particular philosophy and requirements. The last thing we need is another 100 or 1000 distributions to choose from -- please, just focus the efforts into bug-fixes in Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, or some existing larger distribution that is likely to remain free and available for the long-term.
21 • RE: Blag is a Fedora remaster, but it is totally Free Software (by Béranger on 2006-12-05 13:21:48 GMT from Romania)
> Blag is a Fedora remaster, but it is totally Free Software
* Distrowatch page: «BLAG is a Linux distribution based on Fedora Core and reduced to one CD. It includes useful applications missing from Fedora Core (e.g. mp3, p2p, apt, etc...), as well as...».
Read it again: MP3, mp3, mp#, Mp3, _M_P_3_. Free?! That's patent-encumbered, dummy!
* "BLAG50002 Released", http://forums.blagblagblag.org/viewtopic.php?t=2622/ «BLAG is a single-cd distro with everything desktop users "expect" from a desktop, plus a collection of nice server apps. ... BLAG50002 is based on Fedora Core 5 and uses packages from Extras, FreshRPMS, Dries, Livna, and ATrpms.»
Read it again: everything desktop users "expect" from a desktop, etc.
You _do_ know why many things are on Livna, FreshRPMS, Dries, ATrpms, don't you? Because they're not free, _legally_ speaking!
RMS sucks with this one. The worst "distro short list" ever!
BTW, I suppose Slackware can't qualify especially because it still includes PINE (you know, elm, pine, dark ages...), which is not free by FSF's rules. Go figure.
22 • who is to blame over the confusion!? (by lefty crupps on 2006-12-05 13:29:00 GMT from United States)
> How much clearer can I be? I've actively tried to promote "Open Source"
> as an alternative to "Free Software", so the FSF only has itself to blame
> over the confusion.
But that "Free Software" was the whole IDEA behind Stallman's software revolution, and to this day he fights to clarify what he means by Free Software, since so many people believe that it is identical to Open Source. Use of Free Software will set us free...
I would blame Linus for this confusion of terms and watering-down of perceived freedoms. After all, even the Microsoft WindowsCE 6.0 source code is now available, but that is still as far away from Free Software as one can get...
23 • Kanotix (by Anonymous Penguin on 2006-12-05 13:32:46 GMT from Italy)
I have already written quite a bit about Kanotix, but I want to add something: the move of many developers from Kanotix to Sidux wasn't only caused by what Kanotix should be based on (Sid or something else).
That is quite clear from the Stefan Lippers-Hollmann's and Kano's announcements.
But if you were an active Kanotix user you could have sensed for months that there was something wrong: releases never materializing, the rudeness users had to endure on several occasions (it was so bad that I got a message by somebody who didn't want to write in the forum because he had enough of being insulted)
OK, what next? In fact Kano hasn't decided yet if he wants to go with Ubuntu. But if he does he'll lose an awful lot of users, including myself.
24 • Free, open and public (by Saggy on 2006-12-05 13:32:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
This FSF issue is most illuminating. My view would be to include absolutely anything for which the author(s) are willing to release the entire source code AND providing that their organisation/company has no formal or even informal, not to say financial links with any (is there more than one?!) commercial outfit that has or may have ulterior motives or designs on compromising the breed.
In other words, hardware purveyors may have to open windows on the world and make very hard and visionary decisions - jam today or a vista of world domination tomorrow. One has to have faith that the present culture of sleepwalking into oblivion with the blind leading the blind will eventually collapse - we're nearly there, but Jan30 06 could be the end of camel's backs? Linux folk need to continue to work hard, vastly improve their PR and sing in tune.
25 • Free vs non-free software and drivers (by Roger on 2006-12-05 13:43:03 GMT from Poland)
I'm a fairly new Linux user and am definitely not a "techie". I'm like the idea of having a "choice" in which OS I use and don't feel like splashing out to get the latest Mac book. I think the principles behind the free software movement are definitely worth aspiring to but they are a bit out of touch with the current situation--let's face it, about 90% of the world's computers are running some version of Windows and about another 5% are Macs and the rest is divided up amongst various Linux and BSD distros.
The majority of users are pretty clueless when it comes to their OS and definitely don't have the time or knowledge of how to compile or configure their devices--they just want a system that works and one that allows them to play their MP3s and DVDs on. I'm currently using the "free" Mandriva 2007 but need to track down those proprietary drivers that will let me take advantage of the 3-D effects of my graphics card and programs that will allow me to play MP3s and watch films. Even for an diehard anti-MS user like myself, I find it time consuming and a bit frustrating.
Novell has come under a lot of criticism for doing a "deal with the devil" but I think it can expose the general public to Linux and it also gives the movement some credibility by MS recognizing them as a business partner. It also protects them against being taken to court by MS--I recently read on Cnet that there are some "238 potential patent violations" by Linux and if MS wanted to take them to court, their lawyers could probably shutdown a few distros. Personally, I think these so-called violations are pretty lame (as in the case of SCO) but if a company like MS wants to go after them, things could get really ugly. Mainstream sites like Cnet feature articles that the open source movement is "out of touch" with reality and wishful thinking alone won't change the current situation where about 90% of the world computers run MS Windows. I'd really like to see Linux and Mac running on more than 50% of the PC's out there but that definitely won't happen in the near future without a major shift in policies of the movement. Let's face it, MS is out there to make a profit and will (and has) crushed the competition in the past. They have the financial means to hire the best lawyers and have a lot of political clout to seriously handicap the free software movement.
Let's look at the recent gains of the so-called "alternative" browsers of Firefox and Opera. I'm worried about Firefox losing it's current position of about 12% due to the new version of IE7. MS blatantly copied the features of Firefox and Opera into its latest brower and will include this browser with Vista. This has been their strategy time and time again, to simply copy the best features of the competition and then bundle it with their next version of Windows. Most users are simply don't care or are too lazy to try out another browser, media player or OS, so I feel this is why the free software movement shouldn't castigate buntu or another distro that includes proprietary drivers to make the transition much easier and less painful.
What do the rest of you think?
26 • Ubuntu (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 13:50:19 GMT from Belgium)
I think that it was the right thing for ubuntu to do. Ubuntu is not about free software, IMHO, but about giving the best operating system to the people. That makes hardware support more important than free software. This, I think, will lead only to a better adoption of free software all around the world.
27 • Dear nVidia, (by dizzy on 2006-12-05 14:01:49 GMT from United States)
Please release your specs. Is that so hard?
28 • Proprietary drivers in a distro (by GLR on 2006-12-05 14:02:01 GMT from United States)
I am drawn to and use Linux for the technical design excellence it offers and it being “free to use”. If a “free” driver does the job for enabling a particular piece of hardware, then I'll use it. As a user, not a philosopher, I want my PCs to do work for me now. I really don't care if it's closed source or not.
I know folks in commercial publishing and music industry. They would immediately move to Linux for reasons of it's technical merits if it supported the applications they purchase and use for their business. In the data center, Linux has applications and support from many of the “big guns”. This has helped immensely for its acceptance and proving itself there.
Linux has an opportunity now to be a top challenger to the monopoly but the philosophical purists don't see it or have difficulty with a compromise. Open source software is here to stay but for the benefits of more choices directly to us as consumers will require Linux to also play well with the rest of the proprietary world and not isolate itself from reality. The distros need to showcase now an open invite (I'm not sure how) to Adobe, Intuit, Autodesk etc., that Linux can do it. Could inclusion of proprietary hardware drivers in a distro help with the invitation? Good question. I personally don't think it would hurt. For the "purists", then use one of the "pure" distros. This is about choice and what works best for you.
29 • Re: #10 (by Rob H on 2006-12-05 14:04:25 GMT from Canada)
"I sometimes feel the FSF is behaving like a Taliban Brigade, and I can't associate myself with any kind of fundamentalist fervour, knowing that extremism is never good. This is where I respect the pragmatic views of Linus.
Was the FSF just compared to the Taliban? I can only hope that comments such as that are made in jest. Surly comparing software created by the FSF or by Linus or whoever to a terrorist regime cannot be beneficial to the open source movement.
As a community we need to understand that derogatory comments made against our own "camps" only serve to push prospective companies and individuals away from open source, not draw them in.
As for Ubuntu including proprietary drivers in Feisty Fawn I have one thing to say: Dapper Drake. Those who do not wish to have those drivers installed should utilize the long term support model provided for Ubuntu and not adopt the bleeding edge Feisty Fawn.
30 • sorry to hear about Kanotix (by Ken Yap on 2006-12-05 14:05:22 GMT from Australia)
I'm sorry to hear of the troubles at Kanotix. I liked the way it would just work. But experience has taught me not to use small distros for commercial work, unless I saw that there was a significant developer base and a good chance that it would continue. Or failing that, I had alternatives that I could switch to by hardware end of life. I have to say that larger distros are not immune either, they just lasted longer before I had to look for alternatives. (I have this old Mandrake box I'm migrating.) I may have to consider what to substitute for SUSE if Novell continues with its suicidal course.
Yes, I can hear you Debian people chime in. It's not that simple, stability doesn't always win. Sometimes you do need the ease of use and up to date features. It really is a trade-off, I'm trying to minimise the cost of software installation and maintenance over the life of the hardware and the migration effort at the end of life, for the customer's sake.
Oh well at least it keeps me occupied.
Proprietary vs OSS drivers is a hard one. I avoid the hardware if the manufacturer (I can think of a prominent printer manufacturer) but I don't think abstenance in distros pressures hardware manufacturers. I think that users pestering the manufacturer for open specs (using the pocketbook argument) and parallel development of OSS drivers works better. In the long run I think the FLOSS world will have to develop a FLOSH (H = hardware) counterpart.
31 • patent "violations" (by Ken Yap on 2006-12-05 14:10:50 GMT from Australia)
Just a comment on #25. SCO isn't about patents, it's about copyright. And SCO is on its last legs.
As for those 238 patents potentially reading on Linux, the patent system in the US is so broken that scarcely any significant software can avoid potentially treading on patent territory. This is due to the lack of diligence of the USPTO in examing patents. The big companies have a mutually assured destruction stand-off. The threat is probably from patent trolls, companies that are specifically formed to file trivial patents and hold the industry to ransom.
This is why the rest of the world must not go the way of the US re software patents.
32 • Excited about Sidux (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 14:12:50 GMT from United States)
I too was a long time user of Kanotix and I sensed ( along with many others) something was not quite right months ago. I went over to Sabayon at that point( great distro) But I will be keeping a close eye on the happenings over at sidux.com.
I love Linux.
When something goes haywire with a distro, usually (or at least it seems) something else pops up on the horizon that captures my interest. I always have a new toy to tinker with.
33 • Re: OS News wannabes (by Troy W. Banther on 2006-12-05 14:17:07 GMT from United States)
Boo, Hiss, Snarl ... I hope Distrowatch is not descending into an OS News style of website.
That said Linux as-well-as other open-source projects are dynamic. If we want to see all these projects survive ... pay more than platitudes, lip-service or blazing criticism. Step-up. I am not shy in saying I do in my own limited way.
My goal, shared by an online friend of mine, is to one day see McSoft (avoiding trademark) struggling for market share or even a defunct business.
34 • close drivers (by nitroushhh on 2006-12-05 14:30:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
There's a few complex issues on open and closed drivers.
replying to a question above..........
why do we need open drivers?
closed drivers can have things included or excluded from them and we have no control over that. eg. excluding support for an mpeg2 decoder or including some type of 'spyware' or it conditionally limiting the function of the hardware.
Also many closed drivers are 'broken' by new kernel releases. So we have to wait for the manufacturer to release new ones. They might decide it not worth it anymore and you end up having to buy new hardware.
If the driver is open then they can be fixed for new kernels. And as long as someones interested they will be available for ever.
Also closed drivers will only run on the processors the manufacturer decides to support.
Free software is about our choice of hardware too.
Why doesn't everyone release open source drivers ?
There may be licensing issues but i think its often down to ip and keeping secrets.
a graphics chip might have problems and they are fixed in the driver. A company doesn't want a competitor to know these things. Also they might end up giving away trade secrets by showing how their hardware works.
hardware companies may also be being leaned on not to release open or closed drivers for linux.
There are also legal issues like how a cell phone should behave to be licensed for use. If we had total access to the hardware in a cellphone then we could make the phone be a pest. Transmit to much power, jump into unlicensed spectrum etc.
I'm all for open drivers, and open hardware but i think there are some sensible reasons why we can't have it all our own way.
I want freedon, but not chaos :-)
35 • RE: I want freedon, but not chaos :-) (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 14:36:19 GMT from Romania)
> There are also legal issues like how a cell phone should behave
> to be licensed for use. If we had total access to the hardware in a
> cellphone then we could make the phone be a pest.
> Transmit to much power, jump into unlicensed spectrum etc.
Yeah, so basically, when you buy a gun, you can kill someone. When you buy a car and don't drive safely, you can kill someone. Having electricity mains in your house is dangerous, you can electrocute yourself, etc.
Therefore, we do _not_ need: guns, cars, electricity, and so on.
Or even better: we don't need computers and technology!
> I'm all for open drivers, and open hardware but i think there are
> some sensible reasons why we can't have it all our own way.
> I want freedon, but not chaos :-)
Yes, you need an authority to tell you what you can and what you can't do. Steve Ballmer is the best choice for you :)
36 • Ubuntu and Kororaa, Nvidia and GPL (by Michael on 2006-12-05 14:37:27 GMT from Austria)
Half a year ago, we had a discussion about whether the Kororaa Live CD violates the GPL. As a result, the Kororaa Live CD now comes without ATI and NVIDIA drivers.
I am no lawyer and can't say for sure whether distribution Linux + the NVIDIA driver violates the GPL or not. As Ubuntu is now planing to distribute the NVIDIA driver, this matter is again up.
I am surprised this aspect has not yet discussed more widely. While Kororaa is stil mostly unknown, Ubuntu is now *the* Linux distribution:
Is Ubuntu willing to violate the GPL?
Or do they have lawyers who say this is OK?
37 • Free software as a faith (by anonymous on 2006-12-05 14:40:02 GMT from United States)
I agree with 25 and 26 completely.
I think the issue boils down to whether Linux and other Open Source Code software is going to be an alternative to proprietary OS's or whether it is a show piece for an ideology. There is no philosophy on the opposing side, there is Windows and there is Mac. They both work right out of the gate and they both come preinstalled on average Joe's computer. Those are stiff odds for a new OS to overcome in the marketshare domain. Forcing Linux to comply to the FSF guidelines would simply kill it. I would switch back entirely to Windows in a New York minute if the FSF people had enough influence to keep proprietary drivers and codecs out of the distributions. I am tired of having to edit configuration files to get my display to have its proper resolution. Some distros simply crash afterwards. When I have posted for help after the crash, the moderators say install the proprietary ATI driver ! That is simply too hard for me and many other people right now. Is it impossible to make an installer that requires one click with Linux ? Not only is it too hard it is too time consuming and such large ventures for the Linux Newbie end up in a broken OS too often.
The better distributions are pretty good for 90% of computer users but still not up to Windows or Mac. They just aren't there yet. If one of my friends wants to go to the trouble of downloading OpenSUSE or Ubuntu then burning and iso to install. He will be greeted with a pretty cool looking OS that won't do much of anything that he is used to. No DVD playing, no autoplaying of audio CDs (at least some of the time), usually no autoplaying of MP3s, memory sticks don't mount, etc.. etc... The new user has to join a forum just to get the bleeding edge distros to do what Win 98 will do. That is a fact, torch me or not. However, there are distros that include support for formats and include codecs that make Linux actually useable. Linux is horrible without these. It baffles me that some people (free software as a religion) want to take such a good idea (open source code software) and murder it by dooming it as a useless nerd display. Few people have ever heard of Linux as it is (speaking of relative numbers here...) There is so much potential as an alternative to Windows & Mac in Ubuntu (with automatix - God Bless the automatix guys!) and PCLinuxOS (which is terrific.) Ease of use is the bottom line... most important thing.
38 • patents and closed drivers (by Ken Yap on 2006-12-05 15:02:07 GMT from Australia)
In case you thought the two were unrelated issues, they are not.
I have been told privately that in some cases patents may have a bearing on why there are no specs or open source drivers forthcoming from the manufacturer. It's simply that by opening up their products, they may also make it easier for a competitor to use the information to claim patent infringement. Another chilling effect of the current patent climate.
I don't think this is the case for most of the closed drivers. I think it's simply a case of unwarranted fears of losing control over "secrets".
39 • Free vs Non-free (by pp on 2006-12-05 15:14:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
I would not use Linux if I couldn't use non-free apps DAILY. Would you? Let's be honest about this. Without non-free apps, Linux usage would diminish to complete irrelevance.
I NEED non-free software for my work. I NEED Crossover office and am happy to pay for it. I NEED Realplayer. I NEED all the plugins and codecs. I WANT Skype, etc.
If FSF gets it way, it's back to Windows for me - please don't force me to do that. Besides, what stops these guys from using their UTUTO or what ever it is? Demanding that ALL software is free as in freedom is idealism that can not be enforced in the real world, and it's probably not even the social optimum - profit motives are important since they lead to lot's of specialist software that would not otherwise exist.
40 • you want free software ? (by Marius on 2006-12-05 15:14:59 GMT from Romania)
So the FSF want free and open software only ? Anyone else want that ? OK well here's the thing: go and write it or pay someone ( contribute to a project ) . There a project called nouveau to write an open nvidia driver but it'll probably never get to where the proprietary driver is right now. You can talk all you want but the truth is companies like ATI and nVidia see no real reason to open source their stuff and there isn't any real alternative ( except for Intel but that's only for integrated stuff ).
I also like open source but the truth is most people just want it to be open and free but are not willing to contribute . Stuff like hey I'm sorry I don't know any programming but good luck to you ... I'm waiting for it . Sure , not everyone knows programming but try and learn it or contribute some $ to programmers working on your favorite software ... There were companies that decided to open source their software , here it is folks ... like Xara and look at XaraLX now , almost no one is contributing except for the paid by the company developers. My point if you really want like open source drivers get it done , contribute somehow , put some money or some time into it and help with the reverse engineering , don't expect ATI an NV to give you specs and stuff , they probably won't . I know it would be normal for them to do it but you can't force them to.
41 • Free or FREE? (by Manuel Suarez on 2006-12-05 15:21:24 GMT from Dominican Republic)
The heat is on in the Ubuntu free Vs. Non-Free issue. I am a great supporter of Ubuntu, and its desire to push the envelope, but at what cost to the OSS comunity?
We must really balance things out and consider, if we actually need that extra *bling* everyone talks about. Because for what i have tested so far under Xorg´s DRI extension, things go pretty smooth.
For the FSF, they see it as a case of ¨tainting¨ even more the distribution, but it all comes down to basic rights of usage and modification under the GPL. I state as many of you do, that we must advocate for ATI and NVIDIA to release their drivers onto the GPL wich would allow them to be more compliant and increase their sales.
.....end of message....
42 • 'nough said (by anonymous2 on 2006-12-05 15:24:16 GMT from United States)
#37 says it all.
That's the situation; make your choice.
43 • re:25-Free vs non-free software and drivers (by pedcol on 2006-12-05 15:26:34 GMT from United States)
M$'s gain in the browser battle was to, not only, include it with the Wintendo app, but to embed it into the "OS" in such a way as to it when you tried to remove it, i.e. your display properties didn't function. When you tried to remove "Outlook", the object picker associated with "add users & groups" did not work. Also, removing "Media Player" and it's support dll's caused major instability within the "OS". In our company we don't use M$ server software anymore because of the above issues, and slowly but surely we're moving from M$ to Linux on the desktop. Anytime any of the desktops "BSOD", we replace it with a clean Debian install.
44 • Guess what? Negroponte deals with Microsoft too! (by Béranger on 2006-12-05 15:37:34 GMT from Romania)
45 • "GNU/Linux" (by spiritraveller on 2006-12-05 15:42:06 GMT from United States)
Linus comes off as a narcissistic prick.
When the majority of code in an operating system is GNU software, why shouldn't they be given credit for it?
Why should it be called Linux at all? Linus doesn't make an operating system. He makes a kernel (with help). When he wrote that kernel (with help), all the other essential components of the operating system were already written.
They continue to be developed separately from his project.
And he has the nerve to get upset that a few people have started giving credit to the other components of the operating system?
He really thinks the whole OS should bear his name, when he wrote only a small part of it?
What a jerk.
46 • No subject (by laissezfaire at 2006-12-05 15:59:47 GMT from United States)
I applaud #3, #8, #17, and #35. On the other hand, the comment #9 is most unfortunate.
It is sad to see how the community is becoming more and more divided as GNU/Linux matures and commercial concerns start to dominate. This is like seeing how the idea of friendship changes as kids grow older and everything becomes money based.
All I can say for the average user or a newbie running GNU/Linux is that: OK, you don't have to pay for using this platform so please feel free to use it all you want and distribute it and even modify it. On the other hand, you have to be careful not to abuse it. Don't see GNU/Linux as a spoil of war. Make and effort to contribute or at least try to respect the idea. Try to understand what makes thousands of people write billions of lines of code day and night so that GNU/Linux can become a reality. If you just want things work and you don't care whether software is free or not, then go use Windows. Don't muddy the water!
47 • freedom (by ray carter at 2006-12-05 16:01:09 GMT from United States)
I would naively assume that 'software freedom' would include the freedom to use proprietary drivers. But, I guess I'd be wrong.
48 • Some funny things (by lmf on 2006-12-05 16:05:36 GMT from United States)
First there was the UFO craze...funny, because people believed in UFO's.
Then there was the crop circle craze...funny stuff too.
Now the latest craze for the loonies is proprietary drivers in Ubuntu...funny, because people think THAT is going to lead to a 60% market share for Linux. Absolutely hilarious.
Even if it worked, we'd still have almost 100% market share going to proprietary OSes. If Ubuntu or Gentoo or Suse or Fedora or Debian or (fill in your favorite distro) were installed on computers by default, Linux would have that market share. That and that alone is what it will take. At least 90% of users will use what is in front of them, as all OSes are really easy to use. If HP wants to sell Fedora preinstalled, they can install the proprietary drivers themselves.
If it's unstable to install the drivers, what happens with an update? What about those who want to get rid of them? What happens if Windows and Mac get new drivers and Linux doesn't? What happens if the Linux drivers are discontinued? What if a proprietary driver opens a security hole, everyone should have to suffer even if using an eight year old computer?
And here's the million dollar question. What the heck is the problem with an installation option for the unrealistic religious freak types that think proprietary is not always superior to open source? Mark Shuttleworth is completely unwilling to bend on the issue: everyone gets the proprietary blobs, end of discussion. It seems an easy issue to resolve, but he seems to believe a "proprietary only" strategy is best because that will lead to market share.
There is a good solution, FreeBuntu, or a similar fork, for people who have the crazy idea that the idea of open source development can work.
This is just the start. Ubuntu 7.10 will have Flash and Real Player (with Windows Media codecs) installed by default. After that, it will be MS Office running on Wine by default, because as we all know, MS Office is superior to OOo (because OOo is open source), and market share is all that matters. Until we have a Windows clone, Linux is useless.
49 • closed drivers (by nitroushhh on 2006-12-05 16:09:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
to: anon from Romania,
I picked the cellphone example as an interesting grey area.
You suggest that because I think there should be rules I'll accept any rule from anyone. Your logic is flawed. I hope you're not old enough to vote. Democracy too is flawed :-)
All rules and who should set them are considered case by case.
I do agree with you on 'the nanny state'. I think all the warnings should be taken off things so we can have natural selection again. :-)
We'd have to deal with a lot less stupid people on a daily basis.
50 • 47 (by lmf on 2006-12-05 16:10:38 GMT from United States)
Installation by default means you don't have the freedom to not use the proprietary drivers. Mark Shuttleworth is firm on the issue, read his blog. He says only that it is very easy to uninstall them. There will be no option to not install them.
It's not a question about proprietary on Linux, it's about his "proprietary only" option.
51 • I fully support Linus (by urcindalo on 2006-12-05 16:42:28 GMT from Spain)
Let's analyze what Ladislav says this week: "As in any democratic group, opinions on the issue tend to vary from radical viewpoints by the supporters of the FSF ideals and the pragmatic (or ignorant?) attitudes of those end users who expect their hardware to work to its full potential irrespective of the operating system"
First of all, FSF positions are catalogued as "ideals", which is a word everybody agree has nice connotations. Then, those of us who just want our hardware to work are presented as potencial ignorants, i.e., if we really knew what we are talking about we couldn't but agree with FSF "ideals". Thus, it's our reduced intelligence or our poor "linux" education what make us support FSF's opposite position.
Let me tell you something. It is the support of free market what makes a country progress. Just look at any atlas. And the FSF taliban position limiting us is totally against the freedom they say to defend. If I'm not given the choice which driver to use, do I have freedom of choice? Why the hell can't the FSF get along with the idea that some of us don't agree with them?
As far as I know, nobody is fighting to establish a "propietary-and-free-driver-only" linux world. However, they're trying to establish an "only-the-linux-I-think-you-should-use" world.
Let the people freedom of choice, for God's shake. If nvidia drivers were evil, for instance, just let the people judge it. We don't need the FSF "goverment" to tell us what is good for us and what not. BTW, that kind of behavior is called a "dictatorship".
52 • proprietary drivers (by octathlon on 2006-12-05 16:44:14 GMT from United States)
Fortunately, there will always be totally free Linux distros for those who want them, although they will probably always stay at a low percentage of users. Other distros that include some proprietary drivers will be able to get much more market share, it's only natural.
Linux itself is still under the GPL and as long as distros allow installing the proprietary drivers in a way that doesn't violate the GPL, there's nothing wrong with it. It's just like installing proprietary apps like Opera, let the user decide. I'm not sure if the way Ubuntu is doing it is exactly the right way, but I support the concept of making it very simple for the user to get the propriety drivers installed so that everything works out of the box.
We should all be free to choose between Totally proprietary(Win/Mac); "Pure" FOSS Linux; Mostly Free Linux with some proprietary stuff installed (nVidia driver, mp3, etc); or even Windows with some open-source installed (Firefox/Thunderbird, etc).
53 • No subject (by Andrea on 2006-12-05 17:06:35 GMT from Italy)
Maybe it's time to fork the kernel and ditch Torvalds. Mr Torvalds: the kernel it's not yours anymore! And yes the operating system is GNU/Linux, because a lot of code comes from the GNU project.
54 • Preinstalled Linux (by linbetwin on 2006-12-05 17:11:29 GMT from Romania)
I used to think Linux would gain market share once PC vendors would preinstall it on computers. Guess what? On www.emag.ro (major Romanian online electronics store) there are numerous notebook models with Linux preinstalled. No distro details, just "Linux" or "Bootable Linux" (that sounds hilarious. It's a good thing it's not _un_bootable Linux). What is this Linux? Is it properly configured? Or maybe its only quality is that it's bootable. I suspect people who buy these (mostly cheap) laptops format the hard drive to install bootleg Windows instead of this bootable Linux. Well, another hope goes down the drain...
55 • propriety drivers (by hans on 2006-12-05 17:15:22 GMT from Belgium)
Those who can afford bleeding edge hardware will want it to work of course, and the same counts for people who need it for professional reasons.
But for the people who use older or recycled hardware, free software is just fine.
And I think globaly there are more people who are not on the "edge", they just need computers that work.
56 • Mandriva 2007 (by Andrew on 2006-12-05 17:18:34 GMT from Canada)
I decided to try Mandriva 2007 because of your review and I am very happy with it. I have Mandriva ONE kde edition
57 • why not CLEARLY distinguish: free/non-free (by zuhans on 2006-12-05 17:33:58 GMT from Austria)
why isn't there a clear distinction of things: during intallation e.g.?
the system tells me, that there is a non-free-driver for my hardware, informs me about a maybe existing free-driver alternative and lets me choose afterwards with CLEAR lincensing... informations - or even informations about costs (yes: costs).
who am i - who are you/we - that we force companies to open their secrets, their work, which they payed lots for.
as lazy user, who wants everything without costs, is a shame.
companies, that do lots to choke other companies are a shame too.
so: this is the situation for free software/drivers to have it's wonderful place: indentify brutal, mafia-like companies and giving the world a free choice!
but companies who try hard to work and bring very good hard-/software to the rest of the world, should be awarded by paying them a fair price.
58 • FSF are a bunch of nerds (by fakenstajn on 2006-12-05 17:35:26 GMT from Croatia)
linus is completly right...there is no REAL limit to use proprietary software.
on the contrary, more proprietary software, more linux users.
FSF if forcing fictive and idiotic rules to software industry, and they'll lose that war. for users benefit.
59 • FREE: Back to the basics... (by Jodakila Galang on 2006-12-05 18:12:50 GMT from United States)
I posted this to Mark Shuttleworth's blog, and i just want to post it here as well.
Lets all get back to the beginning...
What started this free software movements, open source initiatives, etc. anyway? Because we want to have freedom!
What does freedom mean? It means free to use the software in anyway we like... no legal issues, no rules, no limits, just free. Whether it is open source or not, it is free. Now, being open source gives you more freedom, free to change the software, make tweaks, customize, etc. But open source doesnt apply to all. If you are just an ordinary user, being open source doesnt really benefit you at all. You cant edit the code because you dont know programming. You just want to use the software and make things work. And its as simple as that.
Now, if by creating rules, FSF is just giving you restrictions, where is the freedom in that? Rules/Restrictions is the opposite of freedom.
This is why I like Ubuntu... it is because i can just use it. And it works for me. And I can do anything I want with it. I can even share it with my friends and co-leagues without ever worrying that i may be infringing on intellectual properties.
So with regards to NVidia and ATI, its their business, they are protecting their intellectual property, but they are allowing you to use their software to make your hardware work. They dont limit you on what you want to do with your OS or your Hardware. Just use it. its free. Not open source, but its free... so what is the matter?!
Long time i've been trying to understand the logic behind these ideals that the FSF, OSS, and others are trying to promote... but it all boils down to the basics... define what is free? define what is free software? and just stick to it! Dont add any idealistic crap or any politics no rules! Cause eventually, you are all hurting everyone because you are just degrading the truth and confusing everyone.
60 • 58 (by lmf on 2006-12-05 18:14:19 GMT from United States)
"FSF if forcing"
Forcing what, exactly? Unless you are using software for which they hold the license, you can do anything you want without their permission.
Now, for us users locked into Ubuntu, who have switching costs, to be forced (correct use of the term) by Mark Shuttleworth to install proprietary drivers, that is wrong. Particularly in light of the fact that it would be so easy to not install the drivers from the start.
I hope the switching costs aren't too great. He is "forcing" me to switch distributions because of his stubbornness in pushing his preferences on everyone else.
61 • Torvalds = Egotistical Jerk (by JeffS on 2006-12-05 18:15:48 GMT from United States)
Linux Torvalds is oboviously a great C programmer, and kernel developer. He's also good at managing an open source project.
Apart from that, he is completely, utterly, useless. His opinions are such examples of ignorant, ranting hubris it's ridiculous.
I'll add on to what others have said in this thread - that the larger portion of an GNU/Linux distribution is the GNU tool chain - GCC, glibc, emacs, bash, gtk, various services, etc - and without all that great GNU software, the Linux kernel, much less any GNU/Linux distributions, would not exist.
Thus, it's only natural that Richard Stallman would want the coders in the FSF to get the credit they so richly deserve.
But Linus Torvalds, in his limitless hubris, thinks it's all about him, and only him, and wants all GNU/Linux distros to bare his name exclusively - Linux. And he continually slams Richard Stallman and the FSF at every opportunity.
Sure, any GNU/Linux distro nees the Linux kernel just as much as the GNU toolchain. And sure, the FSF has failed to produce it's own workable kernel (the HURD is a failure).
And sure, Linus Torvalds is free to disagree about FSF ideals, and take a more pragmatic approach (IMHO, both approaches, idealistic and pragmatic, are critical).
But Linus Torvalds needs to pull his head out of his ass and realize it's not all about him exclusively, and give credit where credit is due.
He also needs to recognize that his only expertise lies in C programming, kernel development, and managing the kernel project. But he thinks he's an expert on everything else (read: desktop environments where he said only idiots would use Gnome).
Please, Linus, just stick to kernel hacking and management. Either that, or just stop the arrogance and open your mind.
62 • Short-term vs. Long-term (by Anonymous on 2006-12-05 18:18:01 GMT from United States)
Using proprietary drivers is a short-term gain for the linux end-user, but in the long-term, it's a loss for linux community. And the linux community =
linux users. By the way, it's common for people to be short-sighted (as evidenced by many of the posts here), but for project leaders to have longer-term vision and are able to see the bigger picture.
On a related subject, personally, the apps matter more to me than the OS kernel. ("It's the apps, stupid.") In fact, I don't really care that much about the details of the kernel. I want my data to be in non-proprietary formats so that it is accessible over the long term. Freedom for the long-term.
There are plenty of other operating systems that use the GNU toolchain ex: Haiku http://haiku-os.org/
63 • No subject (by lmf on 2006-12-05 18:18:55 GMT from United States)
I apologize for multiple postings, but as their seems to be a lot of confusion today...
"Not open source, but its free... so what is the matter?!"
Obviously you need to check out gnu.org or a similar site to find out what is meant by software freedom and what is wrong with proprietary software. Price is a VERY small advantage of free software. I'd gladly pay more for a good Linux distro than I would for Windows XP. Software developers have to eat, right? You're not a communist or software pirate, are you?
64 • I agree with Linus (by Tiny Elvis on 2006-12-05 18:20:24 GMT from United States)
It's good to see Linus step up and say something against RMS - that it's HIS confusion to call Linux Free Software, and outright state that he agrees with Open Source to distance himself from the FSF, and that others did it too.
Sharing is good, ranting lunacy is not.
65 • No subject (by Anon on 2006-12-05 18:26:55 GMT from United States)
I say the community should stick to pressuring hardware companies to release hardware specs, not caving in to what they want us to do. The Ubuntu distribution is in a unique position to get a large amount of new users over to our side, but instead of promoting the benefits of freedom Shuttleworth decides it would be better to sell out in order to get more users in the hopes that they will eventually become customers if/when Ubuntu gets a more commercial flavor to it. This hurts everyone in the community and tells the hardware companies as well as the proprietary software companies that Linux isn't able to stand on its own two feet without help from the "enemy".
66 • Linus and cheap shots (by AC on 2006-12-05 18:48:16 GMT from United States)
"The fact that the FSF has tried to paint Linux as a GNU project (going as far as trying to rename it "GNU/Linux" at every opportunity they get) "
He does this sometimes: wilfully misrepresenting what "GNU/Linux" is meant to convey (that the full OS is GNU combined with Linux) as if it were meant to say something like "GNU Emacs" (that Linux is a GNU Project). He obviously knows better, unless he's an imbecile, which we know he is not.
67 • Simple yes/no thinking (by Bill Savoie on 2006-12-05 18:57:19 GMT from United States)
We all want to live in a perfect world. Unfortunately we all have a limited viewpoint. We think FSF against the world, or we think practical. We frame it as yes/no or either/or - these are just limited views. Reductive thinking, reduce it to something that does not refect the whole. Too close to the forest to see the trees. Ignorance. What we miss is the fact that both are OK, we don't need to fight. Lets not get stuck in struggle. In other words, the world is already perfect. FSF provides us with gcc, which gives us FORTRAN and ADA and a pile of forbidden software languages that we world normally have to pay for. Python, Perl, PHP all came from individual effort given out and made wonderful by sharing. One person starts it and other people add, and the spoken language makes us focus on 'cause' as if others and their effects didn't happen. MySQL, Apache, GTK, QT are all part of this 'LInux' thing, which is more than Linus Torvalds. We may call it Linux, but it is more than the word, or the person. It is life.
Life is what takes place between people! Some of what happens is motived by anger, we might have OJ Simpson types building our file systems. Real Killers. Many of us need anger to get anything done. We need to argue FSF because of our ignorance into our own inner peace. We like anger it helps us to keep moving and to get things done. When we open our software and give out the source, we let other people take it further. We let life transform it. Transformation is the real news.
68 • imbecile, no (by spiritraveller on 2006-12-05 19:03:56 GMT from United States)
emotionally challenged, perhaps.
The fact is that Linux would not be what it is without GNU software. It would never have become as popular as it is, and Linus would still be in Finland fending off polar bears. (that's a joke)
I suppose he wishes he could go back and change it so that all of the code people contributed to Linux would be his and his alone. Then he could sell it to Microsoft or something and retire a gazillionaire.
That's the only explanation I can think of for his constant ranting against GNU and anything GNU related (eg Gnome). But if it weren't for the GPL, nowhere near as many people would have helped write Linux and contributed to his project, and by now the people who use and develop Linux would be using and developing some GPLed version of FreeBSD.
If it weren't for the work of GNU and the FSF, Linux wouldn't exist as it does today.
69 • FSF vs Industry and Market Standards (by Tazix on 2006-12-05 19:44:26 GMT from United States)
The FSF needs to quit beating their chests.
Like it or not, the Industry AND Market supports certain things... like MP3, WMA, WMV, and other non-free propriatary things like Video Drivers.
Trying to force people to accept the "free stuff" like Ogg doesn't work when the other formats have such deep market penetration. Forcing extra work in order to get a box working with the industry / market standards is NOT really providing choice (for the average Winblows user).
Provide fucntionality FIRST, then try to sway / prove to people that the "free stuff" is better. (If it really is)
The first thing just about everyone does after they install a distro, is load propriatry video drivers, get DVD fucntionalty working, load non-free codecs, install MS fonts, getting network shares working between their linux box and winblows box, etc. etc.
It's a pain in the butt and turns off any Winblows user looking at linux as an alternative. All they care about is something that works "out of the box". I have major difficulties convincing normal users of linux's superiority, when I have to explain to them all the extra work that needs to be done in order to get their box as functional winblows.
Political crap from the FSF, infighting amongs the devs of different distros and applications, and elitist / purist attitudes... that's what is holding linux back from being a true competitor of MS. And MS knows it.
70 • 68 Linus (by AC on 2006-12-05 19:45:41 GMT from United States)
I don't think Linus is that bad. I don't want to bash RMS or Linus. And I really doubt he wants to sell out to Microsoft. I think he just resents that the FLOSS communities do not buy into the same myth that the mainstream media supports: that the entire OS sprang from his head, like Athena from Zeus' skull, fully armored and ready for combat.
I just wish he were as thoughtful now as he was when he wrote, "Sadly, a kernel by itself gets you nowhere."
An additional remark about his cheap shot: apparently he's oblivious to RMS actually encouraging people to pronounce the slash in "GNU/Linux" to avoid precisely the misunderstanding that Linus accuses them of fostering.
71 • Stallman and Torvalds should thank each other (by JeffS on 2006-12-05 19:52:24 GMT from United States)
Torvalds should thank Stallman for both the GNU tool chain (Linux is compiled with gcc and glibc), and for the GPL (Linus wanted to ensure code sharing, and GPL delivered on this).
Stallman should thank Torvalds for producing a workable kernel, the final piece of the complete Unix work-alike puzzle that up until then (and still) the FSF failed to do.
But alas, Richard Stallman never flames Linus Torvalds. He merely keeps promoting Linux distributions go by the name GNU/Linux distributions, to give credit where credit is due. Plus he uncompromisingly preaches free software ideals.
Meanwhile, Torvalds constantly flames Richard Stallman and the FSF, and steadfastly refuses to give credit to the FSF for the GNU tool chain, upon which he completely relies.
I'd have to say that Richard Stallman is the real adult here, while Linus Torvalds is the bratty, smart-mouthed teenager.
72 • FSF (by AC on 2006-12-05 19:58:58 GMT from United States)
The FSF is not and does not have the power to force people to use or not use any software. Why shouldn't they encourage people to use distributions with philosophies compatible with their own? Why shouldn't they give those distributions that acknowledgement? (I happen to support Debian and support the decision to make non-free readily available, but I also respect the FSF's right to disagree and to not endorse Debian for that reason.)
If you like distributions that include all sorts of non-free software "out of the box", support those distros, just as the FSF supports the distros it approves. Why oppose the FSF defending the principles that made possible much of the software you support. Support the distributions that meet your needs.
Attacking the organization that helped make much of that software possible and actring as if they are somehow holding you back makes you an ingrate.
73 • Linus and Stallman (by UZ64 on 2006-12-05 20:05:51 GMT from United States)
I can't believe people are still fighting over this. Linux *created* the kernel. It is his project, and was from the start, he can name it whatever the hell he wants. What is wrong with that? I also recall reading a quote by him, saying that forcing people to say "GNU/Linux" is just stupid--leave it up to the distros to decide how they want to name their distro. Again, I completely agree on that. Not to mention, "GNU/Linux" both sounds stupid while spoken and looks stupid while printed.
RMS just brought in Linux as an "unofficial" "temporary" replacement for the day Hell freezes over, Duke Nukem Forever is released, and the Hurd is finally released, and thinks for that reason he should get a slice of the pie. He GETS his credit with all the GNU utilities... but *why* should he get credit for simply accepting someone else's Unix-like kernel as a temporary piece to fill his puzzle? If he would have given up on the Hurd way back then and officially taken in Linux as the FSF kernel, then maybe his words would have more meaning. But as it is, Linux is just the temporary missing piece to the puzzle.
Here's a suggestion, RMS: get that damn Hurd out the door and release the "official" GNU system, and then you can lay down the rules on how all distros using it at their core name it. Until then, it's appropriate for the Linux kernel to be named Linux, and for distros to name themselves with "Linux," "GNU/Linux," or no Linux in the name at all--whatever they want.
RMS just sounds like a crybaby, and Linus seems to just be getting annoyed by it. I can't blame him at all.
In conclusion, leave the naming to the distributions themselves.
74 • 73 (by AC on 2006-12-05 20:31:06 GMT from United States)
First, "crybaby" is pure ad hominem
Second, RMS has NEVER said that the kernel should be called "GNU/Linux". No one disputes that the kernel is named "Linux". That's a strawman.
Third, no one is talking about "forcing" anyone to do anything. That's just hollow hand-waving on your part.
As for "GNU/Linux" looking and sounding stupid, that's a matter of opinion and you're entitled to yours.
75 • "Non-free" Drivers, blobs, whatever (by ubuwalker31 on 2006-12-05 20:44:00 GMT from United States)
I don't see what the big deal is. The goal of both the free software and open source software movement is for everyone to have free access to 'free software' and 'free operating systems' to freely access their hardware.
How can I 'freely' use my $400 graphics card without using a proprietary driver that has been ok'ed to be used and distributed with Linux? I bought the hardware, and g-d dmn it, I have the right to use it, and distros have the right to distribute it under the 'non-free' branch.
76 • Patents and specs myth (by dizzy on 2006-12-05 20:49:02 GMT from United States)
I don't see how making your specs open makes you more of a target to patent trolls. It seems to me that you are *more* of a target if you do not open your specs.
No, nVidia and ATI are being greedy swine, and are just trying to out-engineer each other. They need to get a grip and realize that there's a whole world out there that doesn't care about their elitist attitude, those who simply want to use a product that they've bought and don't want this BS.
77 • No subject (by laissezfaire at 2006-12-05 21:04:43 GMT from United States)
I agree with #74. I also wonder how many people posting here have read the GNU manifesto. Some people just talk without having an idea of what free software.
As for including propriatery drivers in Ubuntu. I think it is a poor decision. GNU/Linux market share is not going to increase by doing this because most people do not make a deliberate decision when using operating systems. Most people just use and learn what is available, which is Windows in most cases. Consequently, the popularity of GNU/Linux can only increase slowly, over time with education. Until then we need to stick to the free software ideals.
GNU/Linux project did come a long way in 21 years and this did not happen by caving in at obstacles or taking the easy way out.
Of course, now that it has some important commercial value, some people just want to get rich (or make a living) out of other people's hard work on GNU/Linux over the years. I can see why they would not like what RMS is saying. It is in their benefit to discredit RMS, say he is stubborn, call him names etc.
78 • Best luck to Kanotix (by Henrik on 2006-12-05 21:34:12 GMT from Sweden)
Best luck to Kanotix whatever way they decide to take in the future, Kanotix is my favorite Debian based distro, but if they feel they can do better with Ubuntu, I wish them the best.
Ubuntu is conquering one more :) And since Ubuntu is now even conquering Debian (http://beranger.org/index.php?fullarticle=2022) I can understand why more and more distro's are moving from Debian base to Ubuntu base.
79 • Video drivers by default (by dizzy on 2006-12-05 21:37:54 GMT from United States)
As far using non-free by default, I think this is a good idea. Compiz/Beryl by default would be a *bad* idea, however. They are highly unstable. I've recently tried Beryl, and it crashed when I merely tried to change a few settings in their configuration program.
80 • Re: Ubuntu and Kororaa, Nvidia and GPL (by Ariszló on 2006-12-05 21:39:28 GMT from Hungary)
Both Kororaa and Sabayon are Gentoo-based binary distributions. Kororaa no longer comes with proprietary kernel modules but Sabayon does. Go figure:
81 • GNU's language (by Ariszló on 2006-12-05 22:03:44 GMT from Hungary)
AC wrote: RMS actually encouraging people to pronounce the slash in "GNU/Linux"
GNU does not respect English phonology, semantics or syntax:
[gn] is not a possible onset in English: words like gnat, gnaw, gnome or gnu are pronounced without a g but GNU and GNOME are pronounced as if they were German or Hungarian :) words with an initial [gn] cluster.
Free is an ambiguous word in English but not in GNU's lingo.
The slash is never pronounced in compounds like and/or but it is in GNU/Linux.
82 • This is Distrowatch people! (by JQ on 2006-12-05 22:28:53 GMT from United States)
OK, is anyone besides me getting tired of all this? This is Distrowatch Weekly, and used to be the Linux highlight of my week. It is beginning to resemble a forum for fighting about the very thing we all apparently have in common. The rants are getting out of hand!
Including only free stuff - or Including non-free stuff
RMS is right - Linus is right
Ubuntu sucks - Ubuntu rocks
Nvidia should be thanked - Nvidia should be boycotted
GNU is nothing without Linux - Linux is nothing without GNU
and on, and on, and on, and on. Where is the discussion about the new distro versions being released, or links to cool new tools, or screenshots of the latest distro desktop, or a harmless plug for a favorite distro, or a kind word for Ladislav and his hard work? Sure, there are still a few of all of those in here....along with a whole bunch of negative, hurtfull, misguided, and just plain pointless comments. Freedom ensures that we all have a right to make comments, but lets not use those comments to turn Distrowatch Weekly into something nobody wants to read anymore!
83 • freedom vs. anarchy (by mfs on 2006-12-05 22:32:06 GMT from Austria)
Both Linux kernel devs, including Linus himself, and FSF, including RMS have a pretty similar stance regarding binary only modules, imho best summarized within  and . Binary modules are tolerated by the kernel devs so far, but they are to my knowledge not blessed.
Re #59 :
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with your "no legal issues, no rules, no limits, just free" statement. If that would indeed have been the motivation for RMS et al in the beginning, there wouldn't have been a need to create the GPL. Instead, they would have had either the option to go with a BSD style license or to put the code directly into the public domain.
Their goal/ideal/mission/vision/whatever was to create a framework, where the initial "freedom", as summarized by the four freedoms should be preserved.
Don't get me wrong, anarchy (== the absence of rules) is not bad per se, and in itself a desireable state. But systems without constraining rules (aka restrictions) tend to scale not as good as systems with a minimum set of good rules, when the community grows (e.g. there are more possiblities to take a "free ride" and thus to exploit the community, undermining the very reason the community exists in the first place). In most free countries, you don't have the freedom to rob banks or kill your neighbours (in fact, I guess, this are rules many communities can agree on). In most free societies, you are restricted how fast you can drive your car in certain roads and what minimal (environmental/security/technical/...) requirements your car has to fulfill to be tolerated in traffic.
The Free software community is also a society based upon a rather minimal set of rules, with the purpose to preserve the freedoms initally granted by the authors who start project. Neither the FSF, nor the "Free" side of the FOSS community try to win a competition of popularity.
Bottom line: As long as the kernel devs don't close the holes to allow binary only drivers (and this has indeed been discussed), you can make the decision for yourself, if you want to go the binary or the free driver route. You should consider, that with binary blobs, the incentiative to develop free/open source drivers declines.
 "Basically, I want people to know that when they use binary-only modules, it's THEIR problem. I want people to know that in their bones, and I want it shouted out from the rooftops. I want people to wake up in a cold sweat every once in a while if they use binary-only modules."
Linus Torvalds - 1999
84 • Kanotix: adopting Ubuntu would be suicide (by Arthuro Maletti on 2006-12-05 22:45:05 GMT from Canada)
I don't believe Kanotix will finally be based on Ubuntu: there are already too many Ubuntu based distributions. But providing on-time releases from Debian testing would make a lot of sense. Maintaining a bleeding edge distro is a lot of work and can appeal to only a limited number of Linux users. Cutting edge is good enough. Besides, testing is not so much behind unstable. Even there, a careful choice has to be made.
85 • 81 GNU language (by AC on 2006-12-05 23:11:30 GMT from United States)
Of course, RMS is fond of eccentric language. So was Lewis Carroll. Surely, those who defend Torvald's right to call his kernel what he chooses don't begrudge RMS the same right?
Be that as it may, the point stands that, contra Linus, RMS has NOT attempted to convince people that the Linux kernel is a GNU project.
86 • Linux Torvalds - a little bit of hypocisy? (by stolennomenclature on 2006-12-05 23:18:19 GMT from Australia)
Linus Torvalds comments re the FSF and the fact that he intended the Linux kernel to be "open source" and "free as in beer" seem a little odd considering he published the software under the GPL - a license that very much is about the Free Software Foundations ethics and supports their point of view. Perhaps Linus didnt read the license properly before he used it?
Why didnt he publish his kernel using an MIT or BSD style license if this kind of "free as in do anything you like with it" philosophy is what he supports?
We should also take into account that Linux STARTED the kernel - it is not exactly a 100% Torvalds projects - their are many other contributors. I wonder how many of these would have contributed if Linus had used a BSD style license? Far fewer I would suppose. A lot of people would have been reticent to "give away" their code in that manner.
I feel very strongly that Linus Torvalds has hitched a ride on the FSF wagon while it was convenient, but now that his kernel has become established, he is looking to divorce himself from those that helped put him where he is, now that he (thinks) no longer needs them.
Even Linus could not now publish the kernel under a BSD license since so many of the other contributors use the GPL. I wonder how many of them would support a change?
I think Linus should either separate himself completely from this venture, tainted as it is with the FSF and the GPL, or shut up about it, because all he is actually achieving is putting his hypocrisy on a platform for the world to see.
Lastly I would like to point out that I do NOT support the FSF stand on outlawing binary drivers. I am not a FSF sycophant.
87 • whats wronf with binary drivers (by stolennomenclature on 2006-12-05 23:29:23 GMT from Australia)
I fail to see any problem having binary drivers in Linux for the following reasons:
1. They are essentially part of the hardware. That they execute inside the PC rather than on the device seems to me to be a mere technicality. I see no substantial difference between a driver and a firmware blob (which does execute on the device).
2/. Does the FS stand against firmware within Linux mean that they also object to any hardware device with a controller and an onboard ROM containing firmware? If so then all hard drives, DVD writers, etc would also be outlawed until they are equipped with on board RAM and open source firmware blobs!
3/. Why should the open source/free software community build and support software which enables proprietry companies to make money - e.g. become unpaid lackeys of corporations? They make the hardware, let them make the drivers too.
4/. Who writes the open source drivers - the hardware company or the community? Does the company hold up new product releases while it waits for open source developers to volunteer to write drivers for it?
Hardware cannot be open - you cannot copy hardware or modify it and give modified copies to your friends. It can never conform to the FSF freedoms - that is about software not hardware. And drivers and firmware blobs are part of the hardware.
The FSF foundation should be a lot less pendantic and nit picky. Even the best ethical principles can become ridiculous and out of place when taken to absurd extremes.
If the FSF wants open source firmware and drivers, then they will have to first design and manufacture the hardware - that would be fine and dandy. But to insist on open source drivers and firmware for proprietary hardware I think is simply rdiculous and impracticable.
88 • re 82 (by Five seasons on 2006-12-05 23:31:43 GMT from Germany)
I'm a g-nu! A g-nother g-nu! I wish I could g-nash my teeth at you!
I'm a g-nu, how do you do? You really ought to k-now w-ho's w-ho... (etc.)
89 • re 88 (by Five seasons on 2006-12-05 23:33:04 GMT from Germany)
Oops. Sorry, that should've been "re 81", of course.
90 • nothing wrong with hardware manufacturers (by stolennomenclature on 2006-12-05 23:36:15 GMT from Australia)
We would not be able to run any programs, free or otherwise, without hardware. It costs money to manufacture hardware. You cant give it away for free.
The hardware manufacturers like Nvidia, ATI, Intel, AMD etc are not the enemy! There is nothing ethically wrong with a nvidia graphics card, nor with the driver that makes it work.
Im happy to pay for both.
91 • Kanotix (by Michael on 2006-12-05 23:58:31 GMT from United States)
As a devoted Kanotix user, I am saddened by the departure of its co-developer and other members of the inner circle. Kano is a brilliant young man and has created a magnificient distro. Regardless of the future, he should be proud of what he has accomplished. Debian and the entire Free Software community have benefited greatly from his contributions. There may be as many distros based on Kanotix as there are on Ubuntu. Yes, it's that good.
92 • Can closed source video drivers be used for remote Surveillance ? (by Philippe Landau on 2006-12-06 00:19:02 GMT from Switzerland)
93 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 00:57:46 GMT from United States)
#87: >I fail to see any problem having binary drivers in Linux for the following reasons:
>1. They are essentially part of the hardware. That they execute
> inside the PC rather than on the device seems to me to be a mere
>technicality. I see no substantial difference between a driver and a
>firmware blob (which does execute on the device).
Perhaps you need to think about it a little more then. Imagine you hired me to cut your lawn. Then one day you came home, you found me in your bedroom, going through your belongings. Is the fact that I was going through things in your bedroom a mere technicality?
94 • #86 (by Ringwraith on 2006-12-06 01:03:45 GMT from United States)
Rather than suggest that Linus give up the project that he started and owns any copyright and trademarks on, why don't all of the true believers use the hurd kernel rather than use Linus' kernel and then demand he do things the way you want.
95 • Automatix (by Kanwar on 2006-12-06 01:08:54 GMT from United States)
Why can't Mr. Shuttleworth distribute Ubuntu with Automatix? Even on windows, its necessary to get the driver CD's for most peripherals, including video cards. So, just install automatix by default and let the user install the drivers himself/herself. Why is doing so in Linux so painful to people when they've been installing and rebooting windows for every silly little gadget they plug-in?? Beats me, man!
However, making installing those drivers and configuring the system automatically can be improved but distributing all non-free stuff with the CD itself is a mistake. It will lead to more and more Novell-MS like situations and soon linux will be redundant. Remember, GPL3 will prevent deals like what Novell-MS are involved in at the moment.
I see all these issues connected.
96 • frustrated (by David J Hutson on 2006-12-06 01:21:15 GMT from United States)
Is it just me, or is anyone else bummed that people with a new game console are OFFICIALLY able to install and run linux but for the INTEL iMac - nada. How absurd is this???
97 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 01:37:24 GMT from United States)
>Rather than suggest that Linus give up the project that he started
> and owns any copyright and trademarks on
Linux was started by Linus, but what percentage of the code in the linux kernel currently was written by Linus?
He could probably fork the code that he wrote and put it under a different license, but I don't think it would be very useful without the code and hundreds of man-years of work others have put into the kernel.
98 • 82 • This is Distrowatch people! (by johncoom on 2006-12-06 01:42:46 GMT from Australia)
"OK, is anyone besides me getting tired of all this? This is Distrowatch Weekly, and used to be the Linux highlight of my week. It is beginning to resemble a forum for fighting about the very thing we all apparently have in common. The rants are getting out of hand!"
You are not alone JQ ! I am also fed up with it all
99 • RE: # 96 (by Anonymous Penguin on 2006-12-06 01:52:44 GMT from Italy)
You could ask here:
It is one of the most friendly Mac communities I have ever come across.
Maybe you could start with this subforum:
100 • #94 (by JAG on 2006-12-06 02:12:11 GMT from United States)
I was also thinking about the Hurd Kernel...
as opposed to GNU/Linux you'd have GNU/Hurd or...
cleverly renamed/abbreviated to GNurd...
and pronounced NERD...LOL LOL LOL!!!
101 • RE: BLAG and mp3 (by contents on 2006-12-06 02:20:48 GMT from China)
RE: 21 on BLAG's supposed non-freeness due to its inclusion of an mp3 player. Here's what RMS says:
> > * What is FSF's position on distributions that ship patented software
> > like mp3 codecs. It seems Blag does for example does this and is listed
> > as a Free software distribution. Also note that shipping mp3 codecs
> > licensed under GPL is a licensing violation since there is no compatible
> > patent grant on it as implicitly specified in the license.
[RMS]:The term "patented software" is confusing since it presumes a patent
that is specifically about the particular program in question. There
are no such patents; that is not how software patents work. The issue
is about programs that appear to implement ideas that are covered by
That category includes nearly all large programs -- that is what makes
software patents such a harmful system. To pick one example, the
kernel Linux, Dan Ravicher found that it implemented 283 US patents.
We think there is nothing wrong with distributing free software that
implements patented ideas, as long as the patent holders don't stop
BLAG is an excellent distro that people should try out. It's by far my favorite.
Linus does seem a bit full of himself these days. The GNU people are not trying to take credit for his work. On the contrary, it sounds like he's trying to take credit for or minimize their work. Though he doesn't agree with their philosophy, he should maintain a level of respect for their contribution.
102 • RE: 98 in RE: to 82 (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 02:29:21 GMT from United States)
You are not alone JQ ! I am also fed up with it all
Add me to that list.
103 • XPressLinux (by Shane Graham on 2006-12-06 03:03:03 GMT from Australia)
Noticed this distro was waiting to be included - downloaded and installed without fault - sent congratulations to designer saying how impressed I was - received back from him a disgusting response telling me to @#$ - hope you never deal with people like that and will remove his distro even though it runs better than Kubuntu on which it is based.
Please avoid these uncouth people.
104 • closed-source ONLY until FOSS alternatives arrive! (by Clint Brothers on 2006-12-06 03:07:08 GMT from United States)
I love my mepis / dsl / fedora / pclinux / freespire / berry / Mint PC! However if it weren't for Mepis integrating nvidia drivers back in late 2003 I would have ditched linux for a second time. Now freespire and Mint are integrating these which I now can do myself however I couldn't in 2003. The point is WHATEVER WORKS DO IT! Feisty is going to WORK OOB for the noob and drive adoption. Out Of Box Experience!!! OOBE!!! or Off Of Burner Experience!!!
105 • Also agree JQ (by Arch user on 2006-12-06 03:07:15 GMT from United States)
I also agree.
Linux is about a choice. (not software freedom or freaking out and arguing about every god damm stupid little debate)
So chose distros that OSS software or NOT.
106 • Distrowatch RSS feed no longer validates (by jadr on 2006-12-06 03:51:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
107 • FSF is running debian (by Darren on 2006-12-06 04:13:27 GMT from Canada)
Guess FSF can't find a distro from their list to run their servers
108 • FSF (by Brandon on 2006-12-06 04:21:42 GMT from United States)
Maybe the FSF should do like Linus said and make thier own kernel.
109 • No subject (by Wyatt on 2006-12-06 04:26:36 GMT from Canada)
Why not make December's donation to a project that is working no OSS video drivers?
110 • Ulteo (by ubuntu user on 2006-12-06 04:31:42 GMT from United States)
no one else wondering what Ulteo is? i hadnt heard of it yet till this article. i am really curious, hopefully it will be out tomarrow and i will know.
it is just like a mandriva developer to continue with that "the release is going to be a secret and we wont tell you what it is about till then" attitude. JUST TELL ME ALREADY!!!
111 • #16 - what does "Free" mean? (by Gnobuddy on 2006-12-06 05:03:40 GMT from United States)
Anonymous wrote: "Maybe I misunderstand the definition of "free." If I don't have to pay to get it, use it and keep it for as long as I like, that's what I consider free."
Your viewpoint is quite common for Linux users who are not themselves programmers; to such users, software is a tool to be used, the software is believed to be the binary you download, so if it's available at no cost, it's free.
However, many programmers feel differently: to them, the source code IS the software, because that is where all the intellectual content is. The binary executable is an empty nothing from the programmers point of view - merely a long string of 1's and 0's, a barren intellectual desert.
To such a programmer, denying access to the source code is tantamount to locking up the software in a safe; the binary is worth nothing, and the only thing worth while - the intellectual content in the source code - is denied to them. Without the source code, a programmer cannot learn anything from the program; she cannot fix anything that is broken; she cannot extend and improve it, she cannot even modify it slightly to suit her own interests and needs.
This is what burned Richard Stallman so much that he set out singlehandedly to change the world of software two and a half decades ago. He succeeded more than he could have imagined, and also failed more than he could have imagined. Stallman is a great man, and I admire the heck out of what he achieved. But he is also a fanatic, and he will forever find a cross to crucify himself on, because he will never accept the slightest compromise of his own viewpoints, and in this universe, at least, things never go exactly as you want them to for long. If you do not compromise, you will be forever unhappy.
I look around at the world today, a world where Iraqi's are slaughtered so a few wealthy Americans can steal their oil, where the president of a superpower suggests torture is okay, where people die of hunger, disease, and malnutrition, where global warming threatens us all, toxic waste destroys the environment, and the gap between the poor and the rich is wider than ever. With this background, really, how important is it whether your video driver is "free" or not? My common sense tells me that it is important, but really, honestly, in the big scheme of things, it is only trivially important. Far less important that finding a cure for AIDS, or feeding a hungry person, or even replacing one light bulb in your house with a high-efficiency fluorescent one.
So I say: put the proprietary drivers into Linux. Make Linux work better, and keep giving it away to everyone who can benefit from it. The good that you do by giving everyone a wonderful operating system at no cost exceeds any tiny "bad" you do by accepting a few long strings of proprietary, non-free ones and zeroes.
Maybe one day the universe will suddenly align itself exactly with Richard Stallman's dream, and all software will be Free. And maybe, as John Lennon said, one day there will be "Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too", and all the people will be "living life in peace".
But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. And unless you too want to crucify yourself alongside poor Stallman, neither will you.
112 • 104 (by lmf on 2006-12-06 05:17:08 GMT from United States)
"Out Of Box Experience!!!"
That's great, you go do that. But leave me out. Why do I HAVE to install proprietary drivers that I don't want?
The postings here make it sound like the debate is over whether it should be possible to put proprietary software on Linux. That debate was decided many, many years ago.
113 • free (by ryan moszynski on 2006-12-06 06:24:18 GMT from United States)
i've been a ubuntu user since the second release. if non free video drivers are installed by default, i won't be using it anymore. I think thats a bad decision, though i won't boycott them as ferverently as i will suse, previously my favorite distro.
114 • PARDUS 2007 RC 1 (by Halil İ ÇELİK on 2006-12-06 06:44:05 GMT from Turkey)
I try all new leading distros releases as soon as i read Distrowatch anouncement. After trying Pardus 1.1 and lately Pardus 2007 RC 1 by auto update, I couldn't install another linux distro. Because Pardus linux is so fast and robust. I like it: I found every aspect i looked for.
Thanks Pardus good job!
115 • 85 • GNU language (by Ariszló on 2006-12-06 08:01:11 GMT from Hungary)
AC wrote: Be that as it may, the point stands that, contra Linus, RMS has NOT attempted to convince people that the Linux kernel is a GNU project.
No, he has not. He only wants to restrict the meaning of Linux to the Linux kernel but Linux has been the name of the whole OS since the very beginning. The OS made from the Linux kernel and some GNU userland was put together by Linus Torvalds, not RMS.
Although the OS has always used a lot of GNU libraries and applications, even Linus acknowledges that, most Linux distributions are also shipped with X, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla products, Apache, etc., none of which are GNU products.
Another argument for including GNU in the name of Linux (the OS, not the kernel) is that GNU deserves credit for starting the Free OS projects. However, GNU is not a cover term for all free software projects. Just browse the Free Software Directory:
Linus did not add the last missing piece of the GNU puzzle. He made a new puzzle with some pieces borrowed from GNU.
Linux is not just the kernel. It is an OS. Call it a fork of GNU if you like but don't call it guh-NU slash Lin-ux.
116 • RE: 115 • RE: 101 • RE: BLAG and mp (by Béranger on 2006-12-06 08:15:12 GMT from Romania)
Regarding FSF's response to Fedora (sourceless firmware, and MP3 in BLAG):
* If inclusion of sourceless firmware does not lead to rejecting a distro "on this account", how was Fedora rejected from FSF's "short list of free distros"?
* Note that including sourceless firmware is a GPL violation to RMS. When Fedora mentioned that "shipping mp3 codecs licensed under GPL is a licensing violation", RMS turned a deaf ear! Why this double standard when comes to GPL violations?
RMS is definitely disqualifying himself...
117 • The subtle fallacy (by urcindalo on 2006-12-06 08:22:06 GMT from Spain)
#112: "Why do I HAVE to install proprietary drivers that I don't want?"
This clearly summarizes, in my opinion, the subtle reasoning fallacy emerging from the people supporting the above statement. The answer is really simple: you don't have to. Just use another distro. No one is forcing you to instal and use the one you don't want. My position:
1) Ubuntu's owners, or any other distro's, have the right to do whatever they want with their distros, because they're paying for it.
2) You, as a user, or FSF-like group, have the right to choose which distros to use and which ones to refuse.
3) You, as a user, or FSF-like group, DO NOT have the right to force the owners of a distro to follow the path you want in order to use their distro. You can, of course, try to convince them they're wrong if you feel like it, but that's where your freedom ends.
4) You, as a user, or FSF-like group, DO NOT have the right to take actions preventing other users from using the distro you refuse to use. Much less can you forbid their actions regarding their distro. The FSF would do either one if they had a chance.
Finally, as a Gentoo user, I've never installed a single package I didn't authorize. That's the advantage of Gentoo-like distros, where you can choose even which system-logger or cron-engine to install. Freedom of choice!!
118 • Re: 86 • Linux Torvalds - a little bit of hypocisy? (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 08:43:22 GMT from Hungary)
stolennomenclature wrote: Linus Torvalds comments re the FSF and the fact that he intended the Linux kernel to be "open source" and "free as in beer" seem a little odd considering he published the software under the GPL - a license that very much is about the Free Software Foundations ethics and supports their point of view. Perhaps Linus didnt read the license properly before he used it?
Chronology matters. First he published the Linux kernel under a GPL-incompatible open source license and he only changed his mind later.
119 • sad (by Pau on 2006-12-06 09:07:06 GMT from Germany)
The comments of Linus Torvalds are sad, sad, sad... Even more sad the fact that more and more GNU/Linux distros are including blobs. This has made that I move to OpenBSD... to my opinion it's a more mature *nix system (and not a kernel + software) and Theo makes it CLEAR when it comes to freedom
120 • Re: 114 - Pardus 2007 RC 1 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-06 10:05:04 GMT from Hungary)
Yes, Pardus is cool. I have tried several Gentoo-based binary distributions but Padus was the fastest of all with a heavey-weight desktop.
121 • Out of CURRENT context... (by boxopen on 2006-12-06 10:21:45 GMT from Portugal)
The Linus Torvalds mailing list post cited in the article is dated Mon, 25 Sep 2006.
As obvious, well BEFORE the not-yet-publicly-know Novell/Microsoft agreement.
So I think it's not correct to use such transcription WITHOUT know the CURRENT Linus oppinion.
122 • RE: #104 (by Hard Rock Hallelujah on 2006-12-06 10:38:14 GMT from Finland)
"Out Of Box Experience!!!"
The easiest way to get your "Out Of Box Experience" is to only buy hardware that Linux supports natively with open source drivers.
123 • re: 115 (by truth machine on 2006-12-06 11:38:24 GMT from United States)
'He only wants to restrict the meaning of Linux to the Linux kernel but Linux has been the name of the whole OS since the very beginning."
There should be a special place in hell for people who authoritatively state falsehoods. Were you even alive at "the very beginning"? Linus's software, which was originally named "freax", was -- and is -- a kernel only. "in the beginning" it was developed under, and required, /Minix/; only later was combined with the GNU utilities. The latter did not magically change their names or become part of Linus's kernel at that point. RMS rightly asks that the name of the combination reflect that it is a combination.
"The OS made from the Linux kernel and some GNU userland was put together by Linus Torvalds, not RMS."
And there should be another place in hell (and you should spend time in both) for people who employ strawmen. No one, certainly not RMS, said that he created such an assembly. But then, /the assembly wasn't created by Linus, either/ -- he builds kernels not distributions. Duh. Sad that people ignore such a basic fact.
"Linus did not add the last missing piece of the GNU puzzle. He made a new puzzle with some pieces borrowed from GNU."
That is completely and utterly false. The missing /essential/ piece of GNU was the kernel. Linus provided a kernel -- /not/ originally intended for use with GNU -- that was added /by others/ to the GNU utilities to provide a complete unix replacement (GNU = "GNU is not unix"). He did not "borrow" anything -- GNU software is free and need not be borrowed -- and it wasn't just "some pieces"; all of the GNU utilities are found in Linux/GNU distros.
"Linux is not just the kernel. "
The kernel developed by Linus is just a kernel. Duh. Whether "Linux" is just the kernel is a matter of how the name is used -- which is precisely the dispute. So you're begging the question -- which earns you another ticket to hell.
"It is an OS."
Only in the sense that the term "OS" originally meant a kernel -- which is one source of the confusion.
"Call it a fork of GNU if you like"
It's not a fork of GNU -- that shows a complete lack of understanding of the terms and concepts.
"but don't call it guh-NU slash Lin-ux"
Why, because some ignoramus and fool posting on the web says not to?
124 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-06 11:43:41 GMT from United States)
"You, as a user, or FSF-like group, DO NOT have the right to force the owners of a distro to follow the path you want in order to use their distro. You can, of course, try to convince them they're wrong if you feel like it, but that's where your freedom ends."
That's all anyone here is doing, is trying to convince others; no one is passing laws or waterboarding anyone.
125 • where... (by zuhans on 2006-12-06 11:53:18 GMT from Austria)
where... is a distro with a clear distinction of things?
a distro, that - during intallation - tells me, that there is a non-free-driver for my hardware, informs me about a maybe existing free-driver alternative and lets me choose afterwards with CLEAR lincensing... informations - or even informations about costs (yes: costs)?
please tell me such a distro!
126 • free software open source (by Geert on 2006-12-06 12:48:22 GMT from United States)
Finally my hardware will actually work on a linux distribution!
Congratulations to Ubuntu and Linus.
Because we really want an alternative for monopolists.
Because we want an operating system that is an alternative.
By the Way, Ubuntu must get rid of the sudo way of doing things. I had to reinstall 2 times because sudo broke. No real help on the bulletin boards, and surely none that is newbie understandable. Explain that to a newbie "linux now just works" .
127 • 74 (by AC), Linus fighting for himself, RMS fighting for freedom (by Yagotta B. Kidding on 2006-12-06 13:01:34 GMT from Germany)
74 (by AC), Linus fighting for himself, RMS fighting for freedom
I couldn't agree more with the posting 74 by AC on 2006-12-05 20:31:06 GMT from United States.
Well, as an admin of PC-DOS (from 1.0), MS-Windows (all), SUSE (from 5.2), Ubuntu (from 5.04 Hoary) and two dozen other OS, mathematician, programmer and system/software architect I am deeply saddened by the confusion about what an Operating System really does, and even what it is there for.
We 'Linuxer' use GNU Free Software - get use to it. GNU, really. There would be no 'Linux' w/o GNU Free Software, but there will be quite a nice and well designed Operating System without the kernel - you take GNU Free Software and you are done (just add Solaris).
Remember all them 'just add water' ads? This is it.
GNU Free Software in a given 'Linux' distribution overgrows the kernel by a factor of 30..40. Yes, there is some THIRTY times as much GNU Free Software in a distribution than the kernel software, be it Linux, Solaris (a perfectly valid kernel), or Hurd.
Call the distribution the way you please, yet it will be a GNU Free Software distribution with some kernel of choice; possibly suited to the hardware you happen to use.
Linus started a kernel of his own, and deserves all the credit for it. Then, he started an organization in order to let many contributors to add their code to his. In fact, such an organization was the world's first, the first one of this kind, and Linus – programmer turned manager- deserves all the credit for starting it, too.
Afterwards, he has been a kernel maintainer (one of many), occasional contributor (one of plenty), and a moderator (a special one, to be true). Yet he has no agenda but his own, no goals but his own, and no ideals at all. Call his "open software" an ideal, and I will answer you that this is nothing but the modus operandi of his ORGANIZATION. He could not boss other programmers within his organization if you had not given him the code he then accepts or rejects.
Hectoring others by means of open source seems to be a strong management methodology indeed. No wonders others jump on this train, too.
Yes, Microsoft is now doing exactly the same, not yet full-scale, but they are trying hard. Redmondians under Monkeyboy seem to manage code by open source to the very same purpose Linus does since a decade. Open source is for them nothing more than a management methodology. Managing developers by means of COMPULSORY open source, yes. Welcome to Linus' world. And Microsoft's.
You'd better not wonder too much he is fiercely defending his way – it is what keeps him in charge, gives him influence and power over others, lets him use other people skills for his purpose. Ladislav, thanks for the link – there is more down the thread, which shows 'Linus the Manager' attitude even better.
Richard M. Stallman is radically different. His notion of Free Software (FOS, FOSS, FLOSS, whatever you call it) is one of true freedom, as American as apple pie, and as militant as ESR libertine world-view. Though he started the Free Software movement single-handedly, he gained a great following since. There is no such following to Linus Torvalds.
RMS does not try to harness your (here's looking at you, Developer) manpower to his own use, his own pleasure, and his own might and influence as Linus does. When working on GNU Free Software you contribute to a common goal of Power to People rather then to a particular goal of Power to Linus.
GNU Free Software puts YOU in the boss' seat, not Linus, not Novell, not Microsoft. You may build what you need without having to rely on a Big Boss Linus (or Big Business MS, or whatever) and release this piece of craftsmanship to the world without any fear it is going to be STOLEN, or otherwise put to inappropriate use.
GNU Free Software cannot be turned against you. When someone tries this, the GPL should guard you against ill-willed attempts. Ludicrously, the management method of Linus merges well with, and gains a lot from the protection delivered by GPL2. Were it not this protection, Linus and his 'Linux' would be a footnote of history, a long forgotten footnote.
Linux kernel is truly a good one. Nothing against its use with GNU Free Software. Yet neither Linus himself, nor the product of his management called Linux will protect YOU against ill use of your own code. This kind of guard is the first goal of Free Software Foundation. That's why we all should support FSF.
Don't care about Linus - he uses FSF to the max already. Use his kernel, and get good results. No harm done if you use any other kernel - gosh, you might even GAIN from it! Nothing particular happens if Linus - or the kernel he manages - is once gone, dead and forgotten. The hardware you work on will be, and a kernel has lots in common with the hardware.
But if FSF is dead, then you are dead as well. Thirty times as much dead - think about it.
Open Source disowns you of your work. It is no use to say otherwise; it is a matter of fact. Some have to be forced upon to open, some do it voluntarily, some even woo others into doing it (Linus, MSFT). By means of Open Source you strip yourself of your posession, yet it is yours to decide if you want to go this way, the Linus' way.
Remember that Open Is Not Free. It will never be.
GNU Free Software put under GPL2 (or GPL3) prevents theft – if it is what appeals to you, good. Well, you might not be a freedom advocate, and I do not want to evangelize you. But I trust you in that you can discern between “thief” and “proprietor”, and act accordingly.
Just do it. Support FSF. Live free.
128 • Everyone can have what they want (by octathlon on 2006-12-06 14:51:17 GMT from United States)
#117: Very well-stated. There's no shortage of distros for every philosophy , but if you can't find one, you can make one!
#111: I agree with you, let's keep things in perspective.
Distros that include proprietary drivers don't force anyone to do anything, but they will draw users who would otherwise stay with Windows. People's switching to Linux will not impede anyone's freedom to use all-free OS's any more than their staying with Windows would; in fact, the opposite - Linux will have even more influence with the hardware vendors as it gains market share.
129 • RE: BLAG and mp3 (by contents on 2006-12-06 15:05:37 GMT from China)
I don't understand these issues very well, but as far as I understand, the issue boils down to this: the music player in BLAG plays mp3s and is GPL. Some people might hold the opinion that such an music player violates the patent on mp3. But then again, some people think that all sorts of things within every GNU/Linux system violates all sorts of patents. Should we just believe any joe shmo who comes along and says "your so-called GPL software violates my patented idea as recognized by the US patent office, so you can't use it!" We might not be left with much, then. Is the divine wisdom of the US patent office the final arbiter of who can design what software to do what anywhere in the world? Maybe some big companies might be worried about getting sued for using someone else's patented ideas (defined in some cases more or less loosely). But should that fear paralyze everyone who wants to design and use software?
Regarding fedora, the RMS-fedora exchange I linked to says that fedora is NOT being excluded in the list of Free distros because of its inclusion of sourceless firmware, because at present such firmware is so hard to remove that such a stricture is impracticable. The reason fedora is excluded at the present (if I'm understanding correctly) is that the repositories include proprietary software, and there is no fedora policy to exclude such software.
Forgive me if I don't know what I'm talking about--I'm pretty new to all of this. Maybe more knowledgeable people can correct me.
I'm sorry, 115, that the BLAG web page doesn't meet your standards of beauty. I think that there has been some talk about redesigning things. It's a good Free distro, though.
130 • I liked Kanotix because it was Debian (by Distrowatch reader on 2006-12-06 15:39:57 GMT from United States)
I like Mepis which changed to an Umbunto core.
I will try Kanotix based on Umbunto provided it is Kde with the ability to log into a ROOT account.
131 • Simple plan to finish with that Linux for good. (by Bill G. on 2006-12-06 16:46:46 GMT from Poland)
- let them include "attractive" but proprietary software/drivers (nVidia, ATI etc.) in the sore points of the system.
- wait till open source developers get dispirited on work on open source equivalents.
- wait till "attractive" but proprietary software/drivers became irreplaceable, important parts of the system.
- pay/buy (whatever works) companies who develop proprietary software/driver for Linux and drop Linux support.
- Linux without developed integrated, "attractive" but proprietary software/drivers will be one big mess, where developing anything will be a horror of designing for not working anymore "attractive" but proprietary software/drivers.
132 • #130 (by ray carter at 2006-12-06 16:47:56 GMT from United States)
1) it is Ubuntu.
2) and the problem with Kubuntu or installing Ubuntu then installing the KDE desktop via synaptic would be???
3) you can always "sudo passwd" to enable root login.
133 • Ulteo crap propergander (by johncoom on 2006-12-06 16:48:38 GMT from Australia)
I had a look at the home page http://www.ulteo.com and saw this
:"Ulteo is the easiest system to use on computers."
How the heck any one can claim this BEFORE they have issued it, is beyond my comprehension. - I do wish Gaël Duval in his endeavors - but please no BS - it is still at the present just "wish full thinking"
When it is available for every one to judge it, he can claim what he wants.
Until then leave out the "talk it up" mentality that is for fools or metally deficient !
134 • RE: 133 (by johncoom on 2006-12-06 16:58:55 GMT from Australia)
NOTE: I should have written:-
I do wish Gaël Duval "much sucess" in his endeavors
AND if his site had said
WE AIM TO PRODUCE Ulteo TO BE the easiest system to use on computers.
Then I'd have had NO complaints - as it is, it seems like an ego trip to me ?
135 • Torvalds v. Stallman (by kilgoretrout on 2006-12-06 17:23:12 GMT from United States)
I have to agree with Linus on the GNU/Linux naming controversy. Stallman sat idly by and said nothing for many years while OSes based on the linux kernel and the GNU tools all called themselves some flavor of "Linux", not "GNU/Linux". Preusmably that was just fine with RMS since he voiced no objection. Then a few years ago he changed his mind and insisted that the naming should be changed to GNU/Linux. It was like demanding Coca Cola to rename their product GNU/Coke; it's just silly. You don't see the xorg people demanding that linux be called XORG/GNU/Linux, yet no one here would have a linux desktop without xorg. Linux distros are modular OSes using the linux kernel and tools from many sources, not just the FSF.
The same RMS obsession with controlling language can be seen in the more recent "open source v free software" naming controversy. Again, for years, open source was just fine with RMS but now he insists on the "free software" moniker instead. All this strikes me as petty attempts at control of free software movement in an ironically unfree, dictorial manner. It's like Prince demanding that he be called "the artist formerly known as Prince"; it's just pure ego.
136 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-06 17:29:15 GMT from United States)
Here's the final word on the BS from folks like Ariszló that "Linux has been the name of the whole OS since the very beginning". From Linus's own post (http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/9/25/161): "read the release
notes for Linux 0.01, and you will see:
2. Copyrights etc
This kernel is (C) 1991 Linus Torvalds ..."
"Thinking that Linux has followed FSF goals is incorrect. IT NEVER DID!"
That only makes sense if, but "Linux", Linus means the kernel, since of course the GNU portions of GNU/Linux distributions do follow FSF goals.
Since the Linux kernel is an open source project and the GNU utilities are a free software project, it makes no sense to lump them all together under the name "Linux", whereas the term GNU/Linux makes clear that this is a combination of two different projects. As AC noted in #66, Linus's attack on that term is a cheap shot, a willful misrepresentation.
137 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 17:34:55 GMT from United States)
kilgoretrout is a fool and ignoramus. The term "free software" long preceded "open source". There would be no free software or open source movement without RMS, and for a know-nothing little puke like kilgoretrout to liken him to Prince is outrageous.
138 • 135 kilgoretrout (by AC on 2006-12-06 18:05:09 GMT from United States)
You have a very interesting way of using phrases like "many years" and "a few years". Apparently there were "many years" between when Linus authored the kernel and distributions started appearing and 1994 when Debian called itself "GNU/Linux" by request of the FSF. And apparently, 1994 was only a "few years ago". One would assume "a few years" < "many years", so when was the kernel written again? In the 70s?
As for free vs. open source, RMS was voicing his objections almost from the inception of that movement.
139 • my friend Ariszlo (by AC on 2006-12-06 18:06:49 GMT from United States)
I'll let truth-machine's remarks stand as addressing your remarks, but just allow me to say I have no wish to see you in Hell over arguments with which I do nevertheless disagree. ;-)
140 • a conciliatory note (by AC on 2006-12-06 18:29:19 GMT from United States)
I happen to prefer "GNU/Linux" for a number of reasons, but there is a sense of "operating system" that is synonymous with "kernel", and in that one sense, the OS is properly named "Linux". Fine.
The Debian Project explicitly states its commitment to Unix philosophy and to Free Software philosophy. Obviously, the latter commitment guides their choice of "GNU/Linux" (acknowledging the role of the GNU project, which is not to have created all Free software - preposterous - but to have started the Free software movement), but the former does as well: what it takes to be a complete Unix or Unix-like system require quite a lot of GNU as well as the Linux (or some other - GNU/kFreeBSD is coming along nicely) kernel. And it does not require X, OOo, Mozilla, Apache, et al. So, they have very good reasons for calling their system "GNU/Linux".
In 115, Ariszlo seems to suggest not only that "Linux" is an acceptable name, but that "GNU/Linux" is simply wrong. He is correct if we are talking about the kernel, but he says "not just the kernel".
On this point, Debian is fully justified in saying "GNU/Linux". Perhaps not so justified as to make all those who say "Linux" incorrect, but certainly justified enough to make their own usage perfectly legitimate, contra what Ariszlo may have to say.
141 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-06 18:34:05 GMT from United States)
It's not that I disagree with his remarks, but that they are /intellectually dishonest/. Ariszló (and kilgoretrout) made a series of authoritatively /factual claims/ that are not based on research or personal experience but are simply made up out of his own head.
142 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-06 18:45:37 GMT from United States)
but there is a sense of "operating system" that is synonymous with "kernel"
It's a very strong sense. I've been in the systems software business for 40 years, and for the great bulk of that time "operating system" only meant what is now called a kernel; operating system design courses in universities have always been about kernel design, and the wikipedia article for "operating system" says "a computer program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. At the foundation of all system software, the OS performs basic tasks such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritizing system requests, controlling input and output devices, facilitating networking, and managing files. It also may provide a graphical user interface for higher level functions." The latter is largely a sop to Windows, which is most responsible for the breakdown and confusion over the meaning of "operating system".
and in that one sense, the OS is properly named "Linux".
Which no one disagrees with. As you noted, Linus's claim that RMS and the FSF want Linux -- the operating system -- to be renamed GNU/Linux is a "willful misrepresentation".
In 115, Ariszlo seems to suggest
He's talking through his hat.
143 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-06 18:55:13 GMT from United States)
Arrgh ... I should have said
As you noted, Linus's claim that RMS and the FSF want Linux -- the kernel -- to be renamed GNU/Linux is a "willful misrepresentation".
(The first statement was correct, but depends on people understanding that the term "operating system" does not include applications.)
144 • Re AC comments ## 137, 138 (by kilgoretrout on 2006-12-06 20:02:59 GMT from United States)
One of the earliest linux distros that I know of came out in 1994. RMS first started complaining about GNU/Linux in 1999:
althought the campaign didn't really get rolling in the general technical press until 2000 where you start to see a lot of articles on the subject. So he did nothing for five years. Accordingly, I stand by my initial comment. Once a name is estabolished it's silly to demand that it be changed.
The "free software" term predates "open source" which first started to be widely used in 1998, 99. They are really two different things. The term "free software" as advanced by the FSF embodies the philosophy of that organization as reflected in the GPL. "Open source" centers on whether or not the source is freely available and modifiable. RSM and the FSF really didn't get publicly upset about the term until it was latched onto by numerous commercial offerings having little to do with the goals of the FSF which occurred around 2000 onward. Suddenly, every one was "open source" or talked about it in their marketing literature. Prior to this time, I don't recall the constant harping on the distinction by RSM or the FSF or on the insistence that the term free software be used instead of open source.
Finally, what's wrong with Prince?? He's a great musician albeit with a giant ego. RMS is a great developer/philosopher with an equally large ego. And Linus is no shrinking violet here either.
145 • 144 kilgoretrout (by AC on 2006-12-06 20:39:15 GMT from United States)
You wrote, "Stallman sat idly by and said nothing for many years", but the request that Debian call their project "GNU/Linux" in 1994 is not doing nothing and belies your claim that he only started talking about it in 1999. You're wrong. Period.
And the open source definition was based on the DFSG which were derived from the FSF's definitions. And open source proponents explicitly stated that their goal was to make free software more palatable to businesses. "If you want to change the world, you have to co-opt the people who write the big checks." (ESR)
As for Prince, you have confused me with another poster.
146 • 145 (by AC on 2006-12-06 20:41:30 GMT from United States)
Btw, Yggdrasil, started in 1992, was called "Linux/GNU/X", so you can't claim that prior to Debian, everyone was just saying "Linux".
147 • Linux (by AC on 2006-12-06 21:03:27 GMT from United States)
Another tricky thing about dating this controversy and discussing precedents is that the very ambiguity of "Linux" upon which advocates of "Linux" rely makes precedents hard to identify prior to Stallman raising the issue.
What I mean to say is that there is no documentary evidence (nor should we expect there to be such evidence) of, e.g. Pat Volkerding, in 1992, saying, "I am calling this 'Linux' because Linux is the operating system (which I am using in a sense which is synonymous with 'kernel') but I am including a variety of other software, such as from the GNU project, which is not part of the OS as I am defining it," nor alternatively, is there evidence, in 1992, of him saying, "I am calling this 'Linux', by which I mean all of the software in Slackware, because I regard it as right and proper that the whole assemblage be referred to by the name of one of its parts, namely, the kernel."
148 • No subject (by spiritraveller on 2006-12-06 21:43:15 GMT from United States)
You don't see the xorg people demanding that linux be called XORG/GNU/Linux, yet no one here would have a linux desktop without xorg.
Well, considering that we had a Linux desktop for many years WITHOUT xorg, I think you are quite wrong. Before xorg, there was XFree86 (which still exists, but noone uses anymore because they changed to a ridiculous non-free license that noone liked).
Besides, X is not a requirement of the operating system. Nor is mozilla or openoffice.org or Apache. Those are all applications. They are great applications, but they are not the "operating system."
149 • now let me see if i got you nerds right (by fakenstajn on 2006-12-06 21:44:58 GMT from Croatia)
i was carefuly reading all thesis that you FSF and stallman fans are using while screaming against anything that is not according to FSF limitations. that "taliban brigade" is not such a bad expression, only it's too insulting to a real taliban brigade :)
when i compile all your "arguments" i got these:
nvidia will join ati and adobe and wireless cards manufactures, and they'll form an evil alliance with ms/novell/whomever to enslave us all. yeah with patent rights and proprietary software, they'll bring chains to every PC in every home. and of course, i forgot people who made audio video codecs. they're on the mission to enslave the world too!!! even Linus is included in the conpiracy!!!
and the only saviour from this horror "end of the world" is Stallman and his "freedom" organization.
sounds much like a religion to me, and a quite a dangerous one.
just give me a fucking break from this paranoia nonsence. tell your phyhiatrist such a story, and you'll quicky find yourself in a mental institution. it's where you, in my not so humble opinion, belong.
and i can't belive some people constatnly repeating that rubbish about proprietary drivers making linux kernel unstable (hahahahahahahaha). how come proprietary drivers doesn't crash BSD kernel, which is far more stable than linux?
KERNEL IS OS. always been, always will be. post 142 said it all. there is no GNU/Linux, and Linus said it right "write your own kernel".
and do you know...they're writing it?
these wise asses from FSF, they're writing HURD kernel for 16 (almost 17) years now, and it's not even in alpha stage. before that they spent 5 years lamenting about using some existing kernel, and which one it should be. if you don't belive me, see www.gnu.org, hurd section, history. such a group of uncompetent philosophers are no authority for anything.
and i'm so sorry for kanotix story...hope there will be a new kanotix... :((((
150 • 17 years ahhahahahahahh (by fakenstajn on 2006-12-06 21:51:15 GMT from Croatia)
i must again point to endless "hurd" development, it's just too hilarious:
151 • Re 145 (by kilgoretrout on 2006-12-06 22:07:59 GMT from United States)
You don't give a link but if what you say is true RMS made one isolated request to Debian in 1994 and apparently was silent until 1999 when he started his GNU/Linux capaign on the kernel mailing list. After that date you can find all kinds of statements by RMS on this subject in numerous interviews; in fact, he can't stop talking about it. I think it is inaccurate to claim that this has been some kind of burning cause for the FSF from 1994 onwards.
The GNU/Linux campaign didn't become a real cause until linux started to become very big commercially in the late 90's early 2000's. It's a reaction by RMS to what he percieved as the movement being co-opted by the pragmatist/technologist views of people like Linus who viewed the whole open source thing as a superior development model as opposed to the broader humanist philosophy espoused by the FSF. He saw the movement being taken in directions he didn't like due to linux's commercial and technological successes and has moved very clearly from 1999 onwards to stem this trend. That's what the whole GNU/Linux thing is about. It's a code word for controll over the movement and its direction.
152 • 149 better a nerd than a turd (by AC on 2006-12-06 22:13:05 GMT from United States)
"taliban brigade" is not such a bad expression, only it's too insulting to a real taliban brigade
Yes, because Stallman and the FSF are so much worse than people who wished to deprive 50% of their population of education and the most basic civil liberties and who supported and gave sanctuary too people who orchestrated the mass muder of thousands. I mean, the Taliban never did anything so obscene as suggesting that people use particular software distributions or use a particular set of favored terminology. The horror!
One definition of "operating system is synonymous with "kernel" and 142 rightly points out that this technical usage has significant precedent. But only a terribly naive essentialist would suppose that this is the only usage in existence. POSIX, SUS, and other technical standards related to Unix use "operating system" to define something that would require more than a kernel, and of course, popular usage recognizes various systems from Redmond as being "operating systems", when they include much more than just the kernel.
153 • 151 (by AC on 2006-12-06 22:41:17 GMT from United States)
"The FSF explicitly requested that we call our system 'Debian GNU/Linux', and we are happy to comply with that request."
"The name "GNU/Linux" was first used by Debian in 1994."
Note the article continues:
In GNU's June 1994 Bulletin, Linux is referred to as a "free Unix clone (with many GNU utilities and libraries)". In the January 1995 edition, the term "GNU/Linux" was used instead. In May 1996, Stallman released Emacs 19.31 with the system target "Linux" changed to "Lignux", also suggesting the alternatives of "Linux-based GNU system" or "GNU/Linux system". Stallman later used "GNU/Linux" exclusively.
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html the first version is 1997. So, Stallman was also writing articles on the subject before 1999.
in 1996 Torvalds discusses "Lignux" and refers to "GNU/Linux".
"The GNU people tried calling it GNU/Linux, and that's ok."
So, obviously he was aware of it and aware that "GNU people" (not Debian) were behind it.
Again, you're wrong. the controversy became more heated around 199, but to say, as you initially did, that Stallman was silent the whole time prior to that is simply false.
154 • armchair psychology (by AC on 2006-12-06 22:58:08 GMT from United States)
Playing armchair psychology with dates to suggest Stallman is just on a power-trip is a dubious endeavor, but if we're to play such a game, we might just as easily suppose that for Linus to have gone from "Sadly, a kernel by itself gets you nowhere," and later, "The GNU people tried calling it GNU/Linux, and that's ok, " to his present tirades (whereas, apart from entertaining other names like "Lignux", RMS has had a consistent position), that perhaps Torvalds has become so intoxicated by the myth the media has created, of him creating the entire system that people call "Linux" from scratch, that he resents any reminders that it just ain't so.
155 • Free Software Foundation demands on distributions (by Warren Willson on 2006-12-06 23:32:57 GMT from Australia)
I think the FSF, like many single issue organisations, has succumbed to a mistaken belief that THEIR ideals are the ONLY ideals.
If Linux is to grow in popularity as a base for free software the FSF needs to understand that, while their version of FREE is certainly a great ideal to strive towards, their zeal must be tempered by practicality in terms of platform usability. If they don't then users will simply ignore their blustering and the FSF will eventually go the way of the dinosaur.
What is stopping an explosion in FREE software? Among other things, many users of that other operating system simply can't switch their systems to Linux without support for often proprietary drivers and symbiotic applications. That is the reality. Deal with it, FSF!
156 • 155 demands (by AC on 2006-12-07 00:17:09 GMT from United States)
FSF has made no demands. they have made requests and recommendations. They are in no position to make demands, unless someone is violating the GPL in their use of a piece of GNU software.
157 • In other news: (by towsonu2003 at 2006-12-07 02:57:03 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu stirs some controversy in Turkey: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Kurdish_operating_system_under_investigation_by_Turkish_attorney_general
158 • GNU matters (by PePa on 2006-12-07 06:39:30 GMT from Canada)
Reading the first comments on this week's DW, I was very disappointed with the caliber of contributions. But AC and Yagotta B. Kidding have good info, insight and values to bring to the table, as do content and trhuth machine. I'm getting increasingly disenchanted with Linus, and I do value the Four Freedoms. The FSF is still on the right track!
159 • Place in Hell • 123 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-07 10:03:58 GMT from Hungary)
truth machine wrote: There should be a special place in hell for people who authoritatively state falsehoods.
The more you listen to a narrative, the more you believe it. The more you believe it, the more you believe that those who disagree are stating falsehoods.
Yes, Linux has been the name of the whole OS since the first release of its kernel (which I vaguely phrased as the very beginning).
Linus Torvalds announced a new operating system in August 25, 1991:
Even RMS had used "linux as value of opsys" before he changed his mind. You can verify it by reading the Emacs Changelog.
GNU's June 1994 Bulletin mentioned Linux as a free Unix system:
Linux: a free Unix system for 386 machines Linux (named after its main author, Linus Torvalds) is a free Unix clone that implements POSIX.1 functionality with SysV and BSD extensions. Linux has been written from scratch and contains no proprietary code. Many of the utilities and libraries are GNU Project software.
Admittedly, the very same bulletin mentions Debian as Debian GNU/Linux (that's its name, isn't it?) but even "Debian is available from sunsite.unc.edu in `/pub/Linux/distributions/debian'." You see? /pub/Linux/, not /pub/gnu-linux/, or /pub/gnu/linux/.
As for the puzzle metaphor, I have not found any reference prior to 1991 in which GNU defines itself as a meta-OS that could use any kernel. AFAIK, GNU was designed as an OS based on HURD. It seems that GNU only reinvented itself as a meta-OS when Linux (the OS based on the Linux kernel) became more popular than the original GNU project (the OS based on HURD). To survive, they decided that any OS project that uses GNU userland should be properly called GNU/$kernel. Later they also produced some proof-of-concept OS's like Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. (I wonder why should anyone use it? Real FreeBSD is a better choice for users who prefer the ports system and Debian GNU/Linux has better hardware support than Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.) The idea of using the GNU/$kernel pattern came clearly as an afterthout.
truth machine wrote: It's not a fork of GNU -- that shows a complete lack of understanding of the terms and concepts.
A fork is an unauthorized modification of a project. In 1991, GNU was not yet a cover term for any OS that used the GNU userland. It was conceived as an OS with its own kernel called the HURD. The OS first used by Linus Torvalds was an unauthorized modification of GNU in the sense that it used some GNU libraries and applications but gave up waiting idly for the release of HURD, so he created a kernel for a new OS that became known as Linux.
160 • Re: a conciliatory note • 140 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-07 10:15:58 GMT from Hungary)
AC wrote: On this point, Debian is fully justified in saying "GNU/Linux". Perhaps not so justified as to make all those who say "Linux" incorrect, but certainly justified enough to make their own usage perfectly legitimate, contra what Ariszlo may have to say.
Why should I disagree with you about the name of Debian GNU/Linux, my second favorite distribution? That's its name, isn't it?
161 • OK... (by spiritraveller on 2006-12-07 12:58:34 GMT from United States)
I think I have a headache now.
Linux, GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD...
I'm just going to call it Supercalifragialistix from now on.
162 • DW needs a new forum ... (by Anonymous on 2006-12-07 16:25:00 GMT from United States)
... to discuss 'Distros'.
As of this writing, there were 164 comments in this weeks issue, of which only 18 were posts about Distros. The rest were just a pi**ing contest, that's not why I come here.
I'll come back next week. Maybe the comments will be back on track.
163 • OpenSuse 10.2 review in german (by Anonymous on 2006-12-07 16:30:56 GMT from Germany)
to all the german dww-readers:
here is a 'first look' review of OpenSuse 10.2 in german (from the famous german news site heise.de)
164 • 117 (by lmf on 2006-12-07 16:36:23 GMT from United States)
The point of my comment was in the context of the Ubuntu community, which is where the controversy is. I do plan to switch from Ubuntu to something else. However, as a member of the Ubuntu community I have the right to express my opinion. I have contributed (financially and otherwise) to the project and don't think it is a good idea to have a dictator at the top imposing proprietary software on all users, and completely disregarding everything I and others have done.
Also, he doesn't necessarily have a right to do what he wants, because there is no such thing as "ownership" of a Linux distro. He has done only a tiny fraction of the work that went into building the distro. If he wants contributions from others, then he has to respect everyone rather than talking about high horses. He is the leader of a community and nothing more.
I have switching costs, so there is a reason for me to complain. I've tried Gentoo, but it beat me. I gave up on Windows because it's too technical, so that gives you some idea of my skill set (what's a registry?) I have only been able to use Ubuntu and a Mac to this point.
I will probably go with the new Debian when it comes out. Debian is now very user-friendly, having tried it in VMWare. I do not, however, appreciate him dumping this proprietary stuff on us after my monetary donations, bug reports, evangelizing, and answering newbie questions for Ubuntu.
165 • If you don't like the GPL, don't use software licensed under it (by Anonymous on 2006-12-07 20:16:03 GMT from United States)
Anyone so vehemently opposed to the FSF or Stallman's views are free to make their own operating system without GNU or GPL'ed software. There's plenty of other kernels out there, and plenty of other open source applications that aren't under the GPL.
166 • 159 Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (by AC on 2006-12-07 23:15:51 GMT from United States)
Setting aside the debate about nomenclature, already won by virtue of Godwin's Law ;-) , I offer a distro-related remark:
"Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. (I wonder why should anyone use it? Real FreeBSD is a better choice for users who prefer the ports system and Debian GNU/Linux has better hardware support than Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.)"
Personally, I'll be migrating some systems I administer to GNU/kFreeBSD, because of the superior OpenBSD PF firewall and FreeBSD's jails. (Iptables sucks and basic chroot is sometimes not enough, but I like doing things the Debian Way on all of the systems I administer.)
167 • Open Source vs. Companies (by Dr. David on 2006-12-08 00:13:29 GMT from United States)
I have a close friend at nvidia, and he says the drivers would never be released. I understand this, they are a business trying to make a profit. This is a free country and they are free to offer what they want. We are free to buy it and free to go without it if we so choose.
So what's left? The OSS community must either be determined to develop (reverse engineer) the drivers or else be satisfied with the other offerings.
I'm fortunate to not require advanced video performance. But to those that need it, please stop whining or contribute to the development of alternatives.
168 • Re: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD • 166 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 07:19:42 GMT from Hungary)
And how about the license? Aren't you uneasy to use a BSD-licensed kernel in place of a GPL'd one?
169 • Re: If you don't like the GPL... • 165 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 07:27:45 GMT from Hungary)
The set of people who prefer the GPL to other licenses is a superset of the set of people who always agree with RMS or the FSF.
170 • Re: If you don't like the GPL... (Cont.) (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 07:34:22 GMT from Hungary)
Oops, it may not be a superset. If Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is blessed by the FSF then there might be some FSF advocates who prefer a BSD-licensed kernel to a GPL'd one.
171 • 168 (by AC on 2006-12-08 08:12:58 GMT from United States)
While I do prefer the GPL to the BSD family of licenses, I am not opposed to any free license. (I'd have serious reservations about contributing code to a BSD-licensed project however.)
Post 165 was not mine, but I'd also add, in answer to your other comments, that I don't always agree with RMS or the FSF. For example, I believe that the Debian project is right to have non-free repositories and to allow users of that non-free software to avail themselves of the Debian bug-tracking system, et al, while nevertheless not making the Debian system dependent upon non-free software. I agree with the Debian Project in balancing the needs of its users against their commitment to Free Software. (I do, however, respect Stallman's position of not endorsing Debian for that reason.)
172 • Godwin's Law (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 08:26:24 GMT from Hungary)
AC wrote: Setting aside the debate about nomenclature, already won by virtue of Godwin's Law ;-)
Thanks, that's really funny :)
173 • TaFusion, Mepis, & Pioneer Linux (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 08:45:18 GMT from Hungary)
The banner at http://www.tafusion.org/ says that TaFusion is powered by MEPIS. So what's this Pioneer Linux?
174 • distro w/ working bcm4318 wireless card (by ken on 2006-12-08 09:28:43 GMT from Philippines)
freespire have bcm4318 wifi card working right away but i got problems w/ booting after install,is there other distro w/ out of the box functionality for dreaded bcm4318 wireless card?dont know how to use ndiswrapper-etc.s
175 • summary (by ray carter at 2006-12-08 16:19:47 GMT from United States)
I believe I succintly summarize 90% of this week's discussion.
"Much ado about nothing".
176 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 19:43:48 GMT from United States)
"The more you listen to a narrative, the more you believe it. The more you believe it, the more you believe that those who disagree are stating falsehoods."
That's a lovely ad hominem, but it doesn't change the facts -- Linus posted the source code for a kernel -- which, at that time, was pretty much synonymous with "operating system" -- that he called initially called "freax" until someone else christened it "linux" . Only later was that combined with GNU utilities to form linux "distributions".
"Linux (named after its main author, Linus Torvalds) is a free Unix clone that implements POSIX.1 functionality with SysV and BSD extensions. Linux has been written from scratch and contains no proprietary code."
Do you have any idea what POSIX.1 refers to? It refers to the API -- which is kernel functionality only.
177 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 19:52:31 GMT from United States)
"KERNEL IS OS. always been, always will be. post 142 said it all. there is no GNU/Linux"
That's kinda funny, since I wrote #142 and I've said that RMS is justified in asking that Linux kernel + GNU utilities be called "GNU/Linux".
178 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 20:02:25 GMT from United States)
"POSIX, SUS, and other technical standards related to Unix use "operating system" to define something that would require more than a kernel"
I worked for Heinz Lycklama at Interactive Systems Corp., while he was putting together /usr/group and pushing for a unix standard. I can't recall he or anyone else at ISC ever using "OS" to refer to anything other than the kernel. Keep in mind that POSIX.1 only defines the unix kernel API -- that's what the "operating system" in "portable operating system interface" refers to. That standardization of unix tools got folded into POSIX is because that was the existing framework. That it all got labeled "operating system" is because there was no other good term available. But in the context of this discussion, what matters is that, when Linus initially wrote and distributed an "operating system", he wrote and distributed a kernel -- period.
179 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 20:16:45 GMT from United States)
"As for the puzzle metaphor, I have not found any reference prior to 1991 in which GNU defines itself as a meta-OS that could use any kernel. AFAIK, GNU was designed as an OS based on HURD. It seems that GNU only reinvented itself as a meta-OS when Linux (the OS based on the Linux kernel) became more popular than the original GNU project (the OS based on HURD)."
This is utter nonsense. GNU is "GNU is not unix" -- it was intended to replace unix -- the kernel and all of its tools. Stallman's intent was to either base the kernel on existing public domain software or to write it from scratch. It most certainly was not "designed as an OS based on HURD" -- it's hard to come up with a more ignorant and confused claim. From the original announcement of September 1983:
"Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete
Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and
give it away free(1) to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time,
money, programs and equipment are greatly needed.
To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to
write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker,
assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text
formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of
other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that
normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including
on-line and hardcopy documentation.
GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical
to Unix. We will make all improvements that are convenient, based
on our experience with other operating systems. In particular,
we plan to have longer filenames, file version numbers, a crashproof
file system, filename completion perhaps, terminal-independent
display support, and eventually a Lisp-based window system through
which several Lisp programs and ordinary Unix programs can share a screen.
Both C and Lisp will be available as system programming languages.
We will have network software based on MIT's chaosnet protocol,
far superior to UUCP. We may also have something compatible
Note that Stallman used the term "software system", not the ambiguous and confusing "operating system". And of course there is no mention of HURD, the development of which didn't start until seven years later, after an initial attempt to use the TRIX kernel.
180 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 20:21:06 GMT from United States)
"Why should I disagree with you about the name of Debian GNU/Linux, my second favorite distribution? "
Lord only knows why you should, but you did: "Linux is not just the kernel. It is an OS. Call it a fork of GNU if you like but don't call it guh-NU slash Lin-ux."
181 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 20:23:40 GMT from United States)
"The set of people who prefer the GPL to other licenses is a superset of the set of people who always agree with RMS or the FSF."
Certainly, since the set of people who always agree with RMS or the FSF has at most one member (RMS).
182 • 178 (by AC on 2006-12-08 20:25:43 GMT from United States)
Please do correct me if I am mistaken, but does not POSIX 1 include the C Library, a substantial GNU component of a GNU/Linux system?
183 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-08 20:33:51 GMT from United States)
"A fork is an unauthorized modification of a project."
No, it's not. From Wikipedia: "In software engineering, a project fork happens when a developer (or a group of them) takes a copy of source code from one software package and starts to independently develop a new package."
But GNU/Linux distributions do not contain a fork of the GNU utilities -- they contain the GNU utilities themselves. An example of a fork of the GNU utilities is DJGPP.
184 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 20:44:28 GMT from United States)
"Please do correct me if I am mistaken, but does not POSIX 1 include the C Library, a substantial GNU component of a GNU/Linux system?"
You're not mistaken -- I overstated it when I said that it's kernel functionality only. But the main reason the C library is included is to give access to kernel functionality from C programs -- there is no separate kernel API defined. But again, in the context of this discussion: glibc did not exist when Linus distributed his kernel.
185 • C Libraries and forks (by AC on 2006-12-08 20:56:45 GMT from United States)
Pertinent to two recent threads, Linus DID fork glibc (but it is no longer a forked version) and it did exist when Linux distributed his kernel.
6. glibc --> Linux libc --> glibc
This is a nearly mirror-image case. Any Unix relies extremely heavily on a library of essential functions called the "C library". For the GNU Project, Richard M. Stallman's (remember him?) GNU Project wrote  the GNU C Library, or glibc, starting in the 1980s. When Linus and his fellow programmers started work on the GNU/Linux system (using Linus's "Linux" kernel), they looked around for free-software C libraries, and chose Stallman's. However, they decided that FSF's library (then at version 1-point-something) could/should best be adapted for the Linux kernel as a separately-maintained project, and so decided to fork off their own version, dubbed "Linux libc". Their effort continued through versions 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x, but in 1997-98 they noticed something disconcerting: FSF's glibc, although it was still in 1-point-something version numbers, had developed some amazing advantages.  Its internal functions were version-labeled so that new versions could be added without breaking support for older applications, it did multiple language support better, and it properly supported multiple execution threads.
The GNU/Linux programmers decided that, even though their fork seemed a good idea at the time, it had been a strategic mistake. Adding all of FSF's improvements to their mutant version would be possible, but it was easier just to re-standardise onto glibc. So, glibc 2.0 and above have been slowly adapted as the standard C Library by GNU/Linux distributions.
The version numbers were a minor problem: The GNU/Linux guys had already reached 5.4.47, while FSF was just hitting 2.0. They probably pondered for about a millisecond asking Stallman to make his next version 6.0 for their benefit. Then they laughed, said "This is Stallman we're talking about, right?", and decided out-stubborning Richard was not a wise idea. So, the convention is that Linux libc version 6.0 is the same as glibc 2.0.
186 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 21:08:34 GMT from United States)
"Pertinent to two recent threads, Linus DID fork glibc (but it is no longer a forked version) and it did exist when Linux distributed his kernel."
I believe it was HJ Lu, not Linus, who forked glibc, and that happened later -- not when Linus distributed his kernel (I doubt that Linus and HJ knew each other at that time). You're right that glibc existed when Linus distributed his kernel, but that glibc only supported HURD, not Linux.
"When Linus and his fellow programmers started work on the GNU/Linux system (using Linus's "Linux" kernel), they looked around for free-software C libraries, and chose Stallman's."
Which happened later, after Linus distributed his kernel.
187 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 21:11:14 GMT from United States)
"FSF's glibc, although it was still in 1-point-something version numbers, had developed some amazing advantages. "
Due almost single-handedly to the efforts of Ulrich Drepper.
188 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 21:17:03 GMT from United States)
"it did exist when Linux distributed his kernel"
Actually, I'm not sure that even that is true; glibc 1.0 came out in 1992. glibc did exist by the time HJ Lu distributed his boot/root disk.
189 • ruminations (by AC on 2006-12-08 21:20:06 GMT from United States)
Although, as I have maintained, RMS began talking about "GNU/Linux" quite early on, it is also true that it was in the late 90s that he became much more vocal. If we take "operating system" to mean "POSIX 1 compliant system" (and therefore include the requirement of C libraries), then his claim became stronger at just that time, when the Linux kernel was no longer using a forked version of glibc, but reverting to the mainline version from the GNU project.
That is to say, if "opeating system" includes libc (and "POSIX operating system" certainly does, which is what Linus was claiming to provide), it might make sense to call the Linux kernel plus Linux libc (forked from GNU) simply "Linux", but it makes less sense to call the Linux kernel plus GNU's libc that.
190 • truth-machine (by AC on 2006-12-08 21:26:44 GMT from United States)
I just want to add my appreciation for your clarifications and corrections. They have helped turn something that could have been a pointless pissing match into something educational and constructive.
191 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 22:50:14 GMT from United States)
"it is also true that it was in the late 90s that he became much more vocal."
What is important is that he became vocal for legitimate reasons, and not just because he has a big ego. One doesn't have to agree with his agenda to understand that he felt it was threatened and needed to address it. And, given his significance (e.g., all those "RMS -- remember him?" comments in the fork article you cited) in the history of the free software/open source/whatever-one-wants-to-call-it movement, I think he's earned the right to better treatment than being dismissed as an egomaniac.
"If we take "operating system" to mean "POSIX 1 compliant system" (and therefore include the requirement of C libraries), then his claim became stronger at just that time, when the Linux kernel was no longer using a forked version of glibc, but reverting to the mainline version from the GNU project."
Perhaps, but it I don't think it likely that that's why he became vocal at that point.
"I just want to add my appreciation for your clarifications and corrections. They have helped turn something that could have been a pointless pissing match into something educational and constructive."
I'm not one to cling to an error when it has been pointed out. I follow W.V.O. Quine's dictum:
The desire to be right and the desire to have been right are two desires, and the sooner we separate them the better off we are.The desire to be right is the thirst for truth.On all accounts, both practical and theoretical, there is nothing but good to be said for it. The desire to have been right, on the other hand, is the pride that goeth before a fall. It stands in the way of our seeing we were wrong, and thus blocks the progress of our knowledge.
192 • Ad Hominem • 123, 142, 176 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 22:52:42 GMT from Hungary)
First a place in hell then talking through one's hat then ad hominem. Nice.
193 • Freax • 176 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 22:53:58 GMT from Hungary)
truth machine wrote: Linus posted the source code for a kernel -- which, at that time, was pretty much synonymous with "operating system"
Yes, but GNU's June 1994 Bulletin lists Linux alongside with Amiga, OS/2 and MS-DOS, which are not just kernels. What's more, it is described as "a free Unix clone."
194 • Utter Nonsense • 179 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 22:55:17 GMT from Hungary)
truth machine wrote: This is utter nonsense.
No, it isn't. One piece of the puzzle didn't fit (the name of the kernel) but we know that one piece of a puzzle is only one piece of a puzzle. Here's an updated version:
I have not found any reference prior to 1991 that GNU was designed to be a meta-OS that would use various alternative kernels concurrently and that its realizations would be named after the GNU/$kernel pattern. AFAIK, GNU was designed to be an OS that would preferably use its own kernel. It seems that GNU only reinvented itself as a meta-OS when Linux (the OS based on the Linux kernel) became more popular than the original GNU project which was not considering using a kernel from outside the GNU project but was working on its own kernel called the HURD when Linus released Linux. When Linux became more popular than the original GNU project, GNU reinvented itself as a meta-OS made from GNU userland and any kind of a GNU-compatible kernel. The idea of using the GNU/$kernel pattern came clearly as an afterthought.
truth machine wrote: Stallman's intent was to either base the kernel on existing public domain software...
Did he express his intent to possibly include a non-GNU kernel in GNU before 1991 or is that a retroactive narrative? Could you supply some references, please?
195 • Lord only knows • 180 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 22:56:13 GMT from Hungary)
Yes, the name of the OS is Linux and the name of one of the Linux distributions is Debian GNU/Linux. No, I did not disagree with you about the name of Debian GNU/Linux.
196 • 191 (by AC on 2006-12-08 23:00:09 GMT from United States)
"Perhaps, but it I don't think it likely that that's why he became vocal at that point."
No, I know of no evidence to support taking this as motivation, still less that he would have appealed to such an argument, but that aspect of the timeline still seemed worth noting. That's why I labeled the observation "ruminations" rather than presenting it as an argument.
Re: the Quine quote. Actually, i was thanking you for correcting me rather than yourself, though both are appreciate, of course. ;-)
197 • Trix (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:04:27 GMT from Hungary)
Oh, yes. Trix.
198 • No subject (by AC on 2006-12-08 23:10:23 GMT from United States)
199 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:15:47 GMT from United States)
That is to say, if "opeating system" includes libc (and "POSIX operating system" certainly does, which is what Linus was claiming to provide), it might make sense to call the Linux kernel plus Linux libc (forked from GNU) simply "Linux", but it makes less sense to call the Linux kernel plus GNU's libc that.
I think see what you're saying here, since glibc contains a lot of functionality above and beyond the posix.1 requirements, but I don't think this is what concerned RMS. GNU was, from the beginning, intended to be a complete free replacement for unix. The important early step in that development was gcc, which was RMS's creation, and which many people had doubted could compete with commercial compilers. Later, via FSF, came bison, bash, binutils, fileutils, shellutils, etc. etc. -- these were the tools that people associated with unix (something that late comers, GUI users, don't appreciate). So you had all these people sitting in front of their computers running "linux" systems, not aware of the history and source of these facilities, and not aware that they had been developed by FSF as part of the GNU project and still were part of the GNU project and owned by FSF. RMS no doubt saw that people were referring to numerous GNU features as features of "linux"; the timing was most likely a consequence of the severity of this growing problem, as linux became more popular. So it was a reaction to linux's popularity, but only indirectly.
200 • Hurd history (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:15:48 GMT from Hungary)
I was reading it when I saw your post. I found the link at
Going back to the events in 1991, Trix was no longer considered and GNU was working on its own kernel.
201 • No subject (by AC on 2006-12-08 23:18:41 GMT from United States)
Kernel We are negotiating with Prof. Rashid of Carnegie-Mellon University about working with them on the development of the MACH kernel. MACH is a message passing kernel that will probably succeed 4.3bsd as the standard kernel used for ARPA-sponsored operating system research. If an agreement is reached, we will use MACH as the kernel of GNU; otherwise, we will probably use a free remote procedure call kernel called TRIX, which was written at MIT. TRIX runs, and supports basic Unix compatibility, but needs a lot of new features.
Kernel We hope to use the MACH message-passing kernel being developed at CMU. The current version of MACH is not free, and cannot be, because it contains the file system code from BSD. However, the MACH developers say that all this will be replaced with free code, or at least moved into user processes, and MACH will be free then. This version of MACH is supposed to be released in a few months (as of December 1988). If MACH does not become available, then we will probably develop the GNU kernel starting with either MIT's TRIX kernel or Berkeley's Sprite system. TRIX is a remote procedure call kernel that runs and supports basic Unix compatibility at about the level of version 7. So it needs a lot of additional features. Sprite is mostly at the architectural level of BSD Unix, but with a fancy distributed file system and process migration. One thing we are considering is adapting the file system from Berkeley's Sprite kernel for use in MACH. This file system was designed from the beginning to work in a distributed manner. The file system is the largest part of MACH that needs replacement, now that the Berkeley TCP/IP code, also used in MACH, has been declared free.
202 • 200 (by AC on 2006-12-08 23:27:32 GMT from United States)
"Going back to the events in 1991, Trix was no longer considered and GNU was working on its own kernel."
That's true. But as I've shown, the GNU Project had been considering a variety of options, contingency plans. And these were shaped by changing circumstances. This gives lie to the suggestion that the "puzzle-piece" narrative is just a piece of revisionist history.
203 • Re: 201 • (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:28:16 GMT from Hungary)
204 • No subject (by Anonymous on 2006-12-08 23:28:53 GMT from United States)
"First a place in hell then talking through one's hat then ad hominem. Nice."
Neither of those was ad hominem. But saying that my labeling your statement as a falsehood is a result of listening to a narrative too many times, while ignoring the reasoning and facts I provided, is ad hominem.
"No, it isn't."
Naysaying is not an argument. I provided the material that shows that it is utter nonsense.
"Did he express his intent to possibly include a non-GNU kernel in GNU before 1991 or is that a retroactive narrative? "
You're moving the goalposts. It was your claim that GNU was based on HURD; that is rubbish. gcc was not based on HURD. bison was not based on HURD. bash was not based on HURD. None of it, other than the initial version of glibc that came years later, was based on HURD. What he expressed, in 1983, was his intent to include a kernel in GNU; at that time he apparently intended to write one himself, but two years later the GNU Manifesto says "An initial kernel exists" -- that referred to the TRIX kernel. The only retroactive narrative is yours.
205 • GNU Features • 199 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:29:19 GMT from Hungary)
truth machine wrote: So you had all these people sitting in front of their computers running "linux" systems, not aware of the history and source of these facilities, and not aware that they had been developed by FSF as part of the GNU project and still were part of the GNU project and owned by FSF.
Yes, that could be frustrating but I don't think it justifies renaming an OS. One may give credit to GNU without adding GNU to the names of OS's that heavily rely on GNU software.
206 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:31:32 GMT from United States)
"Going back to the events in 1991, Trix was no longer considered and GNU was working on its own kernel."
But YOU said GNU was conceived of as an OS based on HURD. GNU was conceived of in 1983, not 1991. You are full of crap, and have been throughout this discussion.
207 • 199 (by AC on 2006-12-08 23:33:22 GMT from United States)
First, I agree completely with what you've written concerning the cause of Stallman's increasing displeasure. That said, I do want to clarify my point (which again, was just ruminations, not an attempt to reconstruct RMS' position.).
It is not that glibc implemented more than just POSIX 1, but that glibc was a necessary ingredient to implementing the standard. Prior to that, a fork of glibc, called Linux libc was being used. And it is all well and good to call the fork "Linux". But once you are using a big GNU program (not just a fork) as a necessary part of implementing POSIX 1, the issue of credit for that implementation becomes more forceful.
208 • 206 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:35:04 GMT from Hungary)
Yes, that was inaccurate. That's why I posted 194.
209 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:35:28 GMT from United States)
"but I don't think"
Indeed you don't. The OS is the linux kernel; calling the whole software system "linux" renamed the GNU utilities. RMS objected to that, justifiably so. If you don't think it was justified, that's your problem, and really is of no consequence.
210 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:37:15 GMT from United States)
"Yes, that was inaccurate."
It wasn't "inaccurate", it was flat wrong -- utter nonsense, as I said.
211 • No subject (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:41:32 GMT from Hungary)
"calling the whole software system "linux" renamed the GNU utilities."
And the "renaming" was originally accepted by RMS, too, in Emacs when he was using "linux as value of opsys."
212 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:44:42 GMT from United States)
"And the "renaming" was originally accepted by RMS, too, in Emacs when he was using "linux as value of opsys.""
Quine could have written his comment just for you.
213 • 210 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-08 23:46:31 GMT from Hungary)
You did not get the point. A parenthesized phrase is just a parenthesized phrase. The point is and it has been emphasized throughout that GNU was not designed to be a meta-OS with concurrent kernels. First Trix, then HURD but not GNU/HURD, GNU/Linux, GNU/kFreeBSD, GNU/Minix simultaneously.
214 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-08 23:52:56 GMT from United States)
"You did not get the point."
I get the point, which is that you are confused, ignorant, and intellectually dishonest.
"GNU was not designed to be a meta-OS with concurrent kernels."
On the contrary, GNU utilities were designed to be portable, to the point that they run on systems that aren't even POSIX compliant.
"not GNU/HURD, GNU/Linux, GNU/kFreeBSD, GNU/Minix simultaneously."
Why not? We now have systems like Belinix, where the GNU utilities run under OpenSolaris. It's a simple matter of orthogonality, one of many concepts that you seem not to understand. And I'm getting tired of wasting my time on your foolishness.
215 • No subject (by Ariszló on 2006-12-09 00:00:55 GMT from Hungary)
"GNU utilities were designed to be portable"
That's not the meaning of a meta-OS. Java, OpenOffice.org and Mozilla are all portable.
"Why not? We now have..."
Yes, now. But before Linux, GNU was married to one kernel at a time. In 1991, they would have probably refused Linus if he offered his kernel to be included in GNU.
216 • No subject (by AC on 2006-12-09 00:11:09 GMT from United States)
"In 1991, they would have probably refused Linus if he offered his kernel to be included in GNU."
Evidence supporting this supposition?
217 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-09 00:12:51 GMT from United States)
"That's not the meaning of a meta-OS"
meta-OS is a term you've invented in your desperation to have been right.
"Yes, now. But before Linux, GNU was married to one kernel at a time."
Before Linux, GNU was seeking to develop a kernel; they were "married" to developing one at a time because they had finite resources.
"In 1991, they would have probably refused Linus if he offered his kernel to be included in GNU."
Linus didn't have to "offer"; he GPL'ed the code, so GNU could have settled on the Linux kernel. But they chose not to because they had already put a lot of effort into HURD, which was considerably more powerful. In hindsight, that was a mistake -- they hadn't anticipated how difficult it would be to implement HURD.
In any case, neither of these points are significant to the question of naming. The significant points are given in
This one, for instance:
Sadly, a kernel by itself gets you nowhere. To get a working system you need a shell, compilers, a library etc. These are separate parts and may be under a stricter (or even looser) copyright. Most of the tools used with linux are GNU software and are under the GNU copyleft. These tools aren't in the distribution — ask me (or GNU) for more info.
"the tools used with linux". Linux did not include the tools; it was just a kernel.
218 • 215 (by AC on 2006-12-09 00:20:45 GMT from United States)
That's not the meaning of a meta-OS. Java, OpenOffice.org and Mozilla are all portable.
But none of those are part of any specification for Unix, and the express claim of both Linus and RMS was to produce a Unix system.
219 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-09 00:21:47 GMT from United States)
"Evidence supporting this supposition?"
Well, it's pretty much true according to the HURD history link you provided, but it doesn't have the import that Ariszló seems to take it to have. The reason they rejected Linux is not because GNU was designed around HURD, or it wasn't a "meta-OS", or any of the rest of his nonsense. They almost certainly would have incorporated Linux into GNU if that had been the only choice, but they had already invested effort into HURD and thought it offered richer features -- a factor that has played a major role throughout GNU development, where they didn't just clone unix functionality but added richer features.
220 • No subject (by AC on 2006-12-09 00:23:38 GMT from United States)
People sometimes ask, ``Why did the FSF develop a new free kernel instead of using Linux?'' It's a reasonable question. The answer, briefly, is that that is not the question we faced.
When we started developing the Hurd in 1990, the question facing us was, ``How can we get a free kernel for the GNU system?'' There was no free Unix-like kernel then, and we knew of no other plan to write one. The only way we could expect to have a free kernel was to write it ourselves. So we started.
We heard about Linux after its release. At that time, the question facing us was, ``Should we cancel the Hurd project and use Linux instead?''
We heard that Linux was not at all portable (this may not be true today, but that's what we heard then). And we heard that Linux was architecturally on a par with the Unix kernel; our work was leading to something much more powerful.
Given the years of work we had already put into the Hurd, we decided to finish it rather than throw them away.
If we did face the question that people ask---if Linux were already available, and we were considering whether to start writing another kernel---we would not do it. Instead we would choose another project, something to do a job that no existing free software can do.
But we did start the Hurd, back then, and now we have made it work. We hope its superior architecture will make free operating systems more powerful.
221 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-09 00:34:19 GMT from United States)
"That's not the meaning of a meta-OS. Java, OpenOffice.org and Mozilla are all portable.
But none of those are part of any specification for Unix, and the express claim of both Linus and RMS was to produce a Unix system."
This discussion is confused. Ariszló said that GNU was not designed as a "meta-OS", something that could be used with any POSIX kernel. I pointed out that GNU -- that is, the utilities and libraries that make up GNU -- were designed to be portable. That of course implies that they can be used with any POSIX kernel, so it implies that GNU was designed to be a "meta-OS" (according to his apparent meaning of the term). His saying that portability is not the definition of "meta-OS" is ridiculous -- I never said it was. The only relevant point is that there's nothing in the design of the GNU utilities that is based on HURD or any other specific kernel, which reflects good software design, as well as the fact that the kernel was still a moving target when Linux came along. Linux could have been the GNU kernel -- obviously, since it is the GNU/Linux kernel.
222 • RE: # 175 (by Anonymous Penguin on 2006-12-09 00:45:12 GMT from Italy)
>>I believe I succintly summarize 90% of this week's discussion.
"Much ado about nothing".<<
Absolutely. That is why I stay away from this gibberish.
223 • Fork • 183 (by Ariszló on 2006-12-09 08:41:55 GMT from Hungary)
Fork • 183
Anonymous quotes Wikipedia: "In software engineering, a project fork happens when a developer (or a group of them) takes a copy of source code from one software package and starts to independently develop a new package."
I see. Then how about this: "In 2003, Texstar created a fork of Mandrake Linux 9.2"?
Or this: "'How to fork Ubuntu' guide with full src"?
224 • The Puzzle Metaphor (by Ariszló on 2006-12-09 08:47:13 GMT from Hungary)
Thanks Truth Machine and AC for pointing out my errors. Hopefully, now I can present my opinion about the puzzle metaphor more accurately.
Quoting from http://www.ofb.biz/article.pl?sid=261
"...GNU was an almost complete operating system lacking only a finished kernel. Linux was the puzzle piece that completed the GNU System..."
Linus Torvalds' 1991 announcement of a new operating system contradicts that. He does not announce an alternative kernel to complete the GNU System but an alternative OS:
"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
professional like gnu)..."
You see, he contrasts his project with GNU, not HURD.
He also writes:
"I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work."
Why did he write this? Did he need to port bash and gcc because they were not ready for i386? No, I don't think so. They were written for a different "software system," GNU, and had to be adjusted to Linus's new OS.
Linus did not submit the Linux kernel to the GNU project in 1991 and GNU did not consider using it as GNU's kernel in 1991 either. So the later narrative that "Linux was the puzzle piece that completed the GNU System" is a wishful misrepresentation of the events in 1991.
As is evident from the Free Software Directory, GNU is not a cover term for all free software projects:
"The Linux kernel is a central component of the free operating system originally conceived as a clone of the Unix operating system and which is properly named "GNU/Linux," but which is often called "Linux" after the kernel alone."
"This is not a GNU package."
It is not enough for a project to be Free as in Freedom. It will not automatically be labeled "a GNU package": http://directory.fsf.org/
Linux was started by Linus Torvalds, a non-member, and his kernel is not a GNU package.
Quoting from http://www.gnu.org/
"Variants of the GNU operating system, which use the kernel called Linux, are now widely used; though these systems are often referred to as “Linux”, they are more accurately called GNU/Linux systems."
I wonder how an OS built on top of a non-GNU package may be called a variant of the GNU System?
Qutoing from http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/history.html
"By December of 1986, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) had "started working on the changes needed to TRIX" [Gnusletter, Jan. 1987]."
So they started working on the changes themselves. IMHO, this implies that they considered turning it into a GNU project. Linux has never been turned into a GNU project.
Another quote from http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/history.html
"As of [Gnusletter, Nov. 1991], the Hurd (running on Mach) is GNU's official kernel."
kilgoretrout wrote in Post 135: Stallman sat idly by and said nothing for many years while OSes based on the linux kernel and the GNU tools all called themselves some flavor of "Linux", not "GNU/Linux". Preusmably that was just fine with RMS since he voiced no objection.
RMS himself had used "linux as value of opsys" in Emacs before he changed his mind. It is documented the Emacs Changelog.
GNU's much quoted June 1994 Bulletin mentions Linux as a free Unix system and groups it together with Amiga, OS/2 and MS-DOS, which are not just kernels. Linux is listed as one of the several OS's for which GNU software is available.
225 • Meta-OS (by Ariszló on 2006-12-09 09:06:43 GMT from Hungary)
An OS requires a kernel. A meta-OS is a promiscuous entity that associates itself with concurrent kernels. The early history of GNU (prior to 1991) shows that they did not plan to create a "software system" with concurrent kernels. First, they wanted to develop their own kernel from one already available kernel then from another one but they only started to talk about "variants of the GNU operating system" using all kinds of non-GNU kernels when the original project using GNU's own kernel failed. That was when GNU reinvented itself as a meta-OS which is happy with all kinds of GNU and non-GNU kernels. Well, happier with non-GNU kernels...
226 • Ulteo (by Ariszló on 2006-12-09 09:31:39 GMT from Hungary)
Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux, one of the most popular rpm-based distributions, releases a Debian-based distribution. Would you have expected this a couple of years ago?
227 • Ariszlo (by AC on 2006-12-09 12:11:26 GMT from United States)
In your last posts, you've brought up many points that strike me as strawmen and non sequiturs. However, I think that the discussion has degenerated to a point where we are weighing arguments as to the merits of other arguments as to the merits of a difference in usage and I can't imagine you aren't just as tired at this point as I am sure everyone else is. I've attempted to get some clarifty by pointing out that what is at issue in the claim "'Linux' is the name of the operating system", is as much the use of "operating system" as the use of "Linux". I've spelled out my view pretty clearly, I believe, and it is unclear with which elements of that view you disagree.
Just for clarity sake:
The "operating system" in the sense of "kernel" is properly called "Linux". I don't dispute the legitimacy of that use of "operating system", nor do I dispute that clearly "Linux" is the correct name for that kernel.
The "operating system" in the sense of "POSIX system" or "Unix-like system", which includes, at a minimum a kernel and a C library, but likely other tools, depending upon which version of which standard is used (though it does not include, e.g. X, Mozilla, Apache, et al, which have never been considered essntial to a Unix system), can with good reason be called "GNU/Linux". This is solely a question of who created what, regardless of their motives or narratives put forth (revisionist or otherwise).
The "operating system" in the popular sense of the word, which is inevitably colored by the ubiquity of a certain family of software systems from the Northwestern United States, a paradigm that provides little guidance for how to use the term in different cases, could be called "Linux", "GNU/Linux", or the name of the specific distribution. Like it or not, to the extent that this system is spoken of in the mainstream, it is called "Linux". It isn't spoken of much, so who knows how that may change, but there's no reason to suppose that as it becomes more popular, "GNU/Linux" will take hold. There's no standard that makes either correct, only the evolution of usage.
For my part, first because I work with a variety of Unix systems and deal with issues like portability across them, I tend to favor the second sense of "operating system" and to use "GNU/Linux" accordingly. I also do so because, Quixotic as it may be, I want those who I expose to this software to think about freedom as well as cost and about the principles as well as the technology, and emphasizing GNU connects with that. But I also try to teach those who are interested, the Unix way of approaching problems, and to think in terms of Unix, rather than a free replacement for Windows, and as I said, calling the Unix flavor "GNU/Linux" is well motivated.
228 • Ulteo (by Johannes Eva on 2006-12-09 12:43:59 GMT from Spain)
Still no review of this Ulteo alpha for the moment?
Still not understand what's new about it...
229 • FSF, patents and proprietary drivers (by roger on 2006-12-09 16:36:03 GMT from Poland)
This last week really generated a lot of debate on FSF and open source vs. proprietary software. As much as I admire the FSF and their goals, it seems a bit of "pipe dream" that companies such as Nivida will ever open up their drivers to the community--that's just wishful thinking! The situation in the US with patents and the leverage that MS has is scary--I really hope the EU won't go down this path. Remember when MS's Ballmer personally went to Munich, Gremany to try to convince politicians not to switch to the city admin's computers over to Linux? Fortunately, he failed to convince them! Then there are all those cheap "special" versions of Windows designed for countries which are less developed and can't afford a full-priced version--the idea is to get them hooked on Windows and then some day in the future, they can afford to pay for the full fledged version.
I think it would be a good idea to simply let the user to choose to install proprietary drivers or open source and also let the individual choose whether they want to install flash, media players. I think a lot of people would switch over to Linux but the lack of usuability "out of the box" is just too great for the average computer user and they will quickly give up. This is something the community should take a long hard look at and recognize-- instead of dividing up into warring factions, let's give people a choice and encourage users to try something over than Windows and not kill the chance for Linux to gain greater acceptance in the workplace and at home.
230 • RE: 229 (by night owl on 2006-12-09 22:37:33 GMT from Germany)
"I think it would be a good idea to simply let the user to choose to install proprietary drivers or open source and also let the individual choose whether they want to install flash, media players. I think a lot of people would switch over to Linux but the lack of usuability "out of the box" is just too great for the average computer user and they will quickly give up."
I don't think that people actually need a free (as in "free beer") Windows replacement. Sure, they might want one but they don't need it. What people really might need is something better than Windows -- an alternative to Windows, not just a cheap copy or replacement.
But things like proprietary drivers and patent/license encumbered codecs are dragging Linux toward becoming a cheap clone of Windows. Those things are taking freedom away from Linux -- the freedom to develop an easy to use, secure and fast alternative to Windows.
And why should Linux become more popular in the first place? I can understand that some people, who make money by selling Linux or related services, might like Linux to increase its "market share" but to ordinary users this shouldn't be an important goal at all.
IMHO, Linux is already fine just as it is and it's only getting better. Linux is a great alternative to Windows and if more people need such an alternative, then Linux will inevitably become more popular. But if the multitude of people prefer to use Windows instead, that's fine too. Just, please, don't take this Linux alternative away from us by turning it into a cheap imitation of Windows.
Here's an article that says this all much better than I can:
231 • 230 (by AC on 2006-12-10 00:02:27 GMT from United States)
When I wrote, "...I also try to teach those who are interested, the Unix way of approaching problems, and to think in terms of Unix, rather than a free replacement for Windows", I was thinking in part of that very article! Thank you for posting the link!
232 • debate (by spiritraveller on 2006-12-10 04:11:48 GMT from United States)
I don't exclusively use F/OSS, though I'd like to. I agree with the ideal that Stallman pushes, and I think that some day F/OSS will be the way that everyone follows.
It really is about freedom. If you have a computer, it should be doing what YOU want it to do, and not what some third party wants it to do. Software should be written by and for those who use it. And those who use it should be free to modify it.
But that's just my opinion, and I really don't care what you think if you disagree, so shove off.
233 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-11 05:38:54 GMT from United States)
Linus did not submit the Linux kernel to the GNU project in 1991 and GNU did not consider using it as GNU's kernel in 1991 either. So the later narrative that "Linux was the puzzle piece that completed the GNU System" is a wishful misrepresentation of the events in 1991.
It might seem so to someone as irretrievably confused and sophistic as you are.
234 • No subject (by truth machine on 2006-12-11 06:21:00 GMT from United States)
"IMHO, Linux is already fine just as it is and it's only getting better."
Um, isn't that a bit self-contradictory? I've worked with unix and linux for 30 years, and vi was available for most of that, and the idea that building an equally functional but more user-friendly editor would earn a Nobel Prize is absurd; quite a number of such editors (e.g., Epsilon, and Brief which was originally a clone of it) exist for unix/linux. People are mostly familiar with vi because it's available on the base system, not because they have explored all the alternatives. And the idea that the UI of any linux program is the best that the author could do is also absurd; if that were true, there wouldn't be so many different programs that address the same task because the author didn't like the UI of the existing alternatives. The article makes a few good points, but mostly it attempts to portray Linux's weaknesses as virtues. The car/motorcycle analogy sucks; this is the same sort of argument that people used to make about command-line programming vs. GUI's -- people who didn't understand the power of GUI's (and a lot of those people were DOS users, not just unix users). The fact is that a windowing GUI with shell windows is far more powerful than just a text console -- even Linux's multiple text consoles, which was a big improvement over unix. And the fact is that it's possible to have all of Window's user friendliness without sacrificing any of Linux's strengths -- a fact recognized by the developers of KDE, Gnome, Linspire, Xandros, etc.
Number of Comments: 234
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