| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 1026, 3 July 2023
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Last week the news feeds and discussion forums were alight with talk about Red Hat restricting public access to the company's source code. This change in Red Hat's policy has people wondering about the legalities of this change, the future of Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones, and how people will perceive Red Hat sponsored projects such as Fedora. We discuss Red Hat's change, how it affects clones of the enterprise platform, and how people are reacting to all of this in our Questions and Answers column. Are you running a distribution affected by Red Hat's source code policy change? Let us know about your plans in this week's Opinion Poll. Meanwhile, we added a new distribution to our database last week called Kumander Linux. This distribution tries to copy the look of Microsoft Windows as well as some of the nicer elements of that operating system's behaviour. We talk about how Kumander works and what it does to appear Windows-like in our Feature Story. Plus, in our News section, we report on the ReactOS project sharing an overview of its progress and new release schedule. We also talk about new features coming to TrueNAS which improve file transfer performance while Zorin OS introduces a new upgrade utility to jump between versions of the distribution. We're also pleased to share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Kumander Linux 1.0
Kumander Linux is a young distribution based on Debian and running the Xfce desktop environment. The project's key selling feature is that it is designed to look and act like legacy versions of Microsoft Windows, specifically Windows 7. The idea seems to be that users should feel at home when migrating from Microsoft's operating system to Kumander with as little fuss as possible.
The first stable release of the project, Kumander Linux 1.0, was published in June and I decided to take it for a test drive. The current version is based on Debian 11 (which has been succeeded by Debian 12, though it is still supported for about three more years). The Kumander distribution is available as a single edition for x86_64 computers. Its install media is provided as a 4.4GB ISO file.
Booting from the provided media offers to launch a live desktop where we can test Kumander or start the distribution's system installer. Taking the live option loads the Xfce desktop which has, as advertised, a strong Windows 7 theme. There is a desktop panel at the bottom of the page which holds an application menu (labelled as "Start"), some quick-launch icons, and a system tray. On the desktop we find icons for opening the Thunar file manager.
A welcome window opens on the desktop. This window has several tabs. The first includes a link for an introduction to Kumander. Clicking this link opens the VLC media player and displays a tutorial and overview of the desktop experience. The second tab lists several popular open source packages (such as LibreOffice, Blender, and GIMP). Clicking the icons for any of these entries opens the Chrome web browser to play a video on YouTube which introduces the software. The third tab of the welcome window displays releases notes. The remaining tabs offer donation acknowledgements, contact information, and thanks to people who participated in the project.
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- The welcome window
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The live desktop session was working well for me and so I went looking for a way to launch the system installer. Not finding one, I decided to restart the computer and take the install option from the boot menu.
Kumander uses Debian's graphical installer, with some steps cut from it. As with Debian, we're asked to pick our language, location, and keyboard layout. We're also asked to make up a username and password for ourselves. We're given the option of using guided or manual partitioning, with the guided option setting up an ext4 partition for the operating system and a swap partition. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive.
What I found noteworthy about this is a lot of the extra, mostly pointless steps from Debian's installer have been removed. We don't get asked to pick mirrors, set up a web proxy, set our domain name, or pick which services we want to install. This makes Kumander faster to set up and less confusing for new users.
When the installer finishes its work it reboots the computer and presents us with a graphical, blue-themed login screen. The login page is fairly simple, showing us just our username, a password box, and a power button in the lower-right corner of the display. Signing into our account brings up the Xfce desktop and welcome window again.
The distribution does indeed look a lot like Windows XP or Windows 7 in its layout, theme, and icons. The blue colours, the stark contrast of black text on white backgrounds, and the "Start" text on the application menu all make the operating system look like a Microsoft product.
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- Exploring the application menu
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Sometimes the Windows-like style extends to some unexpected places. For instance, when I opened a virtual terminal I discovered the prompt was set to "C:/home/jesse>" instead of something like "jesse@~ $". It's a bit unusual, but I suppose it sticks with the concept of making former Windows users feel at home.
One minor issue I noticed early on was that, despite having provided my location to the system installer, the clock on the panel was displaying the time for a location in east Asia, not my location in Canada. While I was changing the clock settings to use my timezone I noticed the clock was configured to be set manually rather than synchronize with time servers. When I selected automatic time synchronization an error window appeared and said NTP support was not installed. This prevents Kumander from automatically updating the clock.
I found the Kumander desktop experience to be unusually responsive. Opening applications, accessing menus, and moving windows all happened with a surprising degree of snappiness. This held true whether I was running the distribution in VirtualBox or on my workstation. I also found that, when run in VirtualBox, the Xfce desktop would automatically resize to match the dimensions of the host window.
Kumander was completely stable during my trial and worked well with all my hardware. The official build of Debian 11 does not work with my workstation's wireless card until non-free firmware has been installed, but Kumander connected wirelessly without any issues.
A fresh install of the distribution took up 9.6GB of drive space and, when signed into the Xfce desktop, the system consumed 400MB of RAM. This makes Kumander a little larger on the disk than is average for a Linux distribution, but its memory consumption is lower than that of most mainstream distributions.
Kumander ships with a lot of software installed by default. We're given two web browsers (Chrome and Firefox), Transmission, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, the Putty OpenSSH client, Blender, and Inkscape. LibreOffice is installed for us, along with a PDF viewer, and the Geary IDE.
The Thunar file manager is included along with VirtualBox, Timeshift for making system snapshots, and the Back In Time backup utility. VLC is provided for playing audio and video files (with media codecs included). We're also given the Kdenlive video editor, the Audacity audio editor, and "Notepad" (which is the Mousepad text editor under a different name).
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- Running LibreOffice, Thunar, and DOSBox
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We are also given a tool for managing user accounts, the Steam gaming portal, and a handful of small games. There are some emulators too, such as a C64 emulator and DOSBox for running DOS games.
The distribution ships with the GNU Compiler Collection, GNU command line utilities, and manual pages. Kumander runs the systemd init software and, in the background, we find version 5.10 of the Linux kernel.
Something I feel Kumander does well is it places a few icons in the application menu which are labelled as being installers, not the actual program indicated by the icon. The entry for Thunderbird, for example, is an installer rather than the e-mail application itself. These installers have grey launchers, distinguishing them from the installers for local applications. When we click one of these install icons it opens the distribution's software centre and displays the page for the selected item. (I will talk more about the software centre below.)
The distribution includes the Xfce settings panel which makes it easy to adjust the look and behaviour of the desktop environment. There is also a module for managing the firewall, using Gufw. While there is a user account manager in the application menu, it does not appear to be included in the settings panel. I like Xfce's settings portal and find it easy to navigate.
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- The Xfce settings panel and Gufw firewall utility
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In the application menu there is a task monitor. This monitor works well for tracking resource usage and processes. I tried the popular Windows shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Esc to see if it would work. The shortcut is recognized and using it pops up an error message saying the command xfce4-taskmanager failed to execute because it is missing. In other words, the shortcut is registered and a process monitor is installed, the shortcut just doesn't point at the proper executable program.
Something the Kumander team has done which may appeal to some users and put off others is set up the first user (and any other users added to the sudo group) with the ability to run sudo commands without entering a password. Likewise, we can add and remove software, adjust the firewall, and perform other admin actions without providing our password. This is both convenient and a bit dangerous as it allows the user to perform potentially destructive commands without the usual barriers. We can change this behaviour, if we wish, by editing the /etc/sudoers file. I will admit the default behaviour does do a good job of imitating Windows when running that operating system as an administrator or power user.
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- Running Firefox and launching Steam
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Kumander ships with GNOME Software as the primary tool for managing software. The software centre is divided into three tabs - one for locating new software, one for seeing installed items we can remove, and a third tab for fetching updates. The first tab pulls in software from Debian's Old Stable repositories and from Flathub. A few packages are also pulled from the Google Chrome repository and the VirtualBox repository. This gives us a fairly wide range of packages from which to choose. The second tab allows us to remove items, even ones which came installed with the operating system.
Kumander Linux 1.0 -- Finding new applications with GNOME Software
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The third tab presented a problem. The update tab listed available updates and a "Restart & Update" button. Clicking the button does nothing, no actions are taken and no error message is displayed. I ran into the same problem when working with Debian 12 last month and it seems Kumander has this issue in common with its parent.
The classic Synaptic package manager (a common feature of many Debian-based distributions) is not included in Kumander, however we can turn to the command line to use the APT and Flatpak command line utilities. These allow us to fetch, remove, and upgrade packages. There doesn't appear to be any dedicated, graphical update utility and (considering the problems I had with GNOME Software) I feel this leaves a gap in functionality which is likely to prevent users from gaining access to (or even being aware of) security updates.
It has been over a decade since I have used Windows with any degree of regularity and two decades since I used the operating system at home. For this reason, I tend not to gravitate toward Linux distributions which try to look or act like Microsoft's operating system. I don't have anything against them, but resembling Windows isn't a selling point for me the way it would be for someone in the process of migrating from Windows to Linux. Projects like Zorin OS, for example, I admire as good options for Linux newcomers, but they don't hold a special appeal for me based on their appearance.
With that said, I really liked Kumander's user interface. I liked the soft blue shades, I liked the high contrast text fonts, I liked the lack of distracting visual effects. I especially liked how unusually fast and responsive the desktop was. Xfce usually performs well, and it was running at top speed during my trial, even in a virtual machine. This allows Kumander to run circles around other distributions I've used recently, such as Debian or Ubuntu running GNOME and openSUSE running KDE Plasma. In short, Kumander offers some of the visual design benefits of Windows 7 while doing away with the distracting visual effects, annoying pop-ups, and mass of background services which often make using that operating system unpleasant.
There are a few bugs. Kumander just hit its first stable release so things like the task manager shortcut not working or the timezone being set improperly are small issues which are to be expected. They're small issues and not critical. The one big issue I ran into was GNOME Software not being to install updates and there not being an easy way to fetch security patches from a GUI application. This is a significant problem and will hopefully be addressed with a dedicated update manager or a fix for the software centre in the next release.
There are some design choices I have mixed feelings about. Having some configuration modules in the application menu and others in the settings panel feels a touch disorganized. Allowing users to run admin tasks without a password feels on-brand for a distribution trying to imitate Windows, but it's not a feature I feel good about. Then again, I'm not the target audience and many users will probably appreciate this characteristic.
For a first stable release, Kumander is doing a lot of things well. It's fast, stable, and achieves its goal of being Windows like (in a good way) without most of the negative aspects of using Microsoft's product. There are some issues to work out, but few serious problems.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo desktop with the following specifications:
- Processor: Hex-core Intel i5-10400 CPU @ 2.90GHz
- Storage: Western Digital 1TB hard drive
- Memory: 8GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 wired network card, Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11ac PCIe wireless adapter
- Display: Intel CometLake-S GT2
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Visitor supplied rating
Kumander Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.2/10 from 5 review(s).
Have you used Kumander Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
ReactOS explains its new release schedule, TrueNAS offers SMB Multichannel support, Zorin OS introduces upgrade utility
The ReactOS project develops an open source operating system which strives to be binary compatible with Microsoft Windows while also offering a lot of the same look and feel as classic versions of Windows. The project has appeared outwardly dormant recently and the project's latest newsletter addresses the reduced level of visible activity: "The latest release of ReactOS is 0.4.14, published on 16th December, 2021. That release alone took a year to be engineered. Back then, ReactOS followed a 3-month cadence, releasing a new version every 3 months. But since 2021, ReactOS is still at 0.4.14. Are you guys dead?
The answer is certainly no, the way we handle releases has changed. Back in the day, ReactOS releases were made for the sake of quantity rather than quality. Every new release after 3 months was similar to the previous one, with the exception of a small number of added features and bug fixes. But overall, the net gap between the releases wasn't that big. For a while now we have instated a rule that for a new version to reach 'Release' status, it needs to have a reasonably low amount of regressions (no more than 20) and the stability mustn't be badly impacted by the introduction of new features or code changes done during development.
In other words, the ReactOS project is now focusing on providing quality releases, which rules out the 3-month release cadence. That previous approach wasn't feasible for a development team with a size like ours anyway." The newsletter goes on to talk about an x64 port and updates to applications.
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The TrueNAS team announced a number of few features and fixes which are coming to the project's network-attached storage solutions. One of the more attractive enhancements is SMB Multichannel support through the web-based user interface. "TrueNAS 22.12.3 adds official (WebUI) support for SMB Multichannel and increases maturity and quality. SMB multichannel is used where systems have multiple LAN interfaces and can take advantage of more bandwidth than a single LAN interface. A customer can aggregate 4 x 1GbE ports, 2 x 10GbE ports, or 2 x 25GbE ports on TrueNAS. The resulting multichannel connection uses the aggregate bandwidth and makes more efficient use of the client's CPU by reducing the dependence on the performance of a single processor core. After upgrading to TrueNAS SCALE 22.12.3, SMB Multichannel can be enabled from the (SMB Service Screen) menu by toggling the 'Enable SMB Multichannel' option." Additional improvements are discussed in the TrueNAS blog post.
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The Zorin OS project has unveiled a new upgrade utility to help users migrate between versions of the distribution. "In the past, the only way to upgrade between major releases of Zorin OS (for example, Zorin OS 15 to 16) or between editions (Zorin OS Core to Pro) was to perform a clean install. That meant you needed to back up your files and erase your apps & settings upon each major upgrade, before setting up your work environment from scratch again. The new Zorin OS Upgrader makes this process easier by allowing you to keep your current installation. Simply follow a few quick steps to select your upgrade option and sit back while it handles the heavy lifting." Instructions on how to use the new upgrade utility can be found in the project's documentation.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Red Hat changing its approach to sharing source code
A little over a week ago we reported Red Hat had announced the company would be changing how it shared the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, this seems like a good opportunity to discuss what the change is, how this affects people who use members of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family, and what it will mean for distributions based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
First, a little context is in order. It's important to understand the flow of code from one place to another. Typically source code originates with an "upstream" project. Upstream projects are open source organizations like KDE, GNOME, LibreOffice, Mozilla, and the Linux kernel. These organizations publish the source code for their applications, services, and desktop environments publicly and usually for free. Then distributions, such as Fedora, take the source code and package it. Distributions like Fedora usually create two types of packages - source packages which contain the source code, images, and data files required to build the software; and binary packages which contain the executable programs and resources required to run the software.
In the case of the Fedora and Red Hat ecosystem, the source code passes from the upstream projects to Fedora and then to CentOS Stream. CentOS serves as a sort of slow-moving testing ground for the community and Red Hat. From there, the source code flows downstream to Red Hat Enterprise Linux where it is used to build binary packages which are provided to Red Hat's customers.
For most of the life of RHEL, Red Hat has published its source packages publicly while reserving the binary packages for Red Hat customers and developers with Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions. The publicly available source packages meant developers could take the source packages, strip out anything bearing Red Hat's trademarks, and use the source code to build their own equivalents of RHEL. These equivalents are called RHEL clones.
Red Hat's approach to publishing its source code has meant it has been possible for other organizations to make clones of RHEL which use the same source code and therefore are considered 1:1 compatible (or "bug for bug" compatible) with RHEL. This has given rise to distributions such as Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux OS, Oracle Linux, EuroLinux, and a few others.
In theory, this situation has led to a mutually beneficial relationship. The Linux community gets free clones of RHEL for small deployments and testing purposes. Meanwhile, small organizations who start out with a free RHEL clone can "upgrade" seamlessly to RHEL's commercially supported distribution when they get larger and more successful. The clones act like free samples, something which might appear to take away from Red Hat's business while also promoting the company's software stack and encouraging people who don't need commercial support to stick around in Red Hat ecosystem until they do.
Red Hat's recent announcement changes this relationship a bit. What the company has done is effectively say they will no longer publicly publish the source packages for RHEL. They will only provide the source code used to build RHEL to Red Hat's customers (and subscription holders) and those customers need to abide by a license which prevents them (in essence) from creating Red Hat clones. Meanwhile, the source code for Fedora and CentOS Stream will remain publicly available.
The company's announcement led to a lot of people questioning whether the company can do this under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), which governs the distribution of much of the company's software. The answer is: they can. The GPL does not require organizations to provide public access to their source code, it only requires that companies offer to provide their source code to people to whom they distribute binary copies of their software. In other words, Red Hat only needs to provide their source code to Red Hat subscription holders who request it, according to the GPL. The GNU organization explains this in its GPL FAQ document:
The GPL does not require you to release your modified version, or any part of it. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them. This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing it outside the organization.
In short, what Red Hat is doing might be considered outside the "spirit" of open source software development, but it is within the "letter" of the appropriate licenses.
But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program's users, under the GPL.
Some people have pointed out that section 6 of the GPLv2 states, in part: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein." Which some have suggested contradicts Red Hat's stance that their clients may not use Red Hat's source code to create new clones. However, while the GPL's clause likely prevents Red Hat from legally blocking the creation of RHEL clones, it does not require Red Hat to continue to do business with clients who assist in the building of RHEL clones. In other words, Red Hat likely can't sue customers for making a clone, but they can deactivate the accounts of people they suspect are assisting the development of clones.
What will this mean for clones of RHEL? That is a bit of an open-ended question. In a blog post titled Impact of RHEL changes to AlmaLinux, Benny Vasquez outlines the issues they face, how it came as a surprise even before Red Hat's announcement, and what this is going to mean for AlmaLinux OS and other clones:
Late last week one of our build SIG members noticed that some updates for Red Hat 8 hadn't been published on git.centos.org like they were supposed to be. They assumed it was a bug and opened a report appropriately, but as the days went on with no resolution, we knew something was up. This morning we got our answer:
A similar news post was published by Rocky Linux, expressing surprise over the restriction to sharing source code that was introduced in the middle of the life cycles of RHEL versions 8 and 9:
Red Hat has decided to continue to use the Customer Portal to share source code with our partners and customers, while treating CentOS Stream as the venue for collaboration with the community.
This change means that we, as builders of a RHEL clone, will now be responsible for following the licensing and agreements that are in place around Red Hat's interfaces, in addition to following the licenses included in the software sources. Unfortunately the way we understand it today, Red Hat's user interface agreements indicate that re-publishing sources acquired through the customer portal would be a violation of those agreements.
Last week we had identified we were about ten updates behind. Wednesday's announcement confirmed these missing updates had not been a simple oversight. So we have been solving immediate concerns while simultaneously developing mid- and longer-term responses. After tireless efforts by team members, we have completed update composes for Rocky Linux 8 and 9, including all the updates we were missing, also including all errata information.
In other words, clones of RHEL are now cut off from using Red Hat's source code and security patches. The AlmaLinux blog post goes on to say that, in the short-term, AlmaLinux will be working with other clones and the CentOS Stream source repositories to try to keep up with security fixes. In the long-term, well, that is more of an open question and one for which nobody seems to have an answer. Without access to Red Hat's source code it becomes difficult to (legally) make a 1:1 clone of the company's distribution.
The Rocky Linux team published a statement, indicating plans to keep the project going and continue their work despite Red Hat's embargo.
In response to the backlash from people who were upset about Red Hat cutting off access to their source code in the middle of a support cycle after having used open source to build their business model, Mike McGrath, the Vice President of Core Platforms Engineering at Red Hat, wrote:
Ultimately, we do not find value in a RHEL rebuild and we are not under any obligation to make things easier for rebuilders; this is our call to make.
The AlmaLinux team fired back, listing several of the ways free clones of RHEL contribute to the Red Hat community:
AlmaLinux community members have submitted PRs to projects such as RPM, AWX, and VirtualBox. Our community has sent over 50 PRs to GlusterFS and also extended openQA. A Red Hat employee even thanked us for enabling Fedora tests to run on ELN and RHEL. An AlmaLinux contributor was so fired up by our community that he now maintains over 600 Fedora and Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) packages, including some widely-used ones like certbot, brotli, iperf3, imapsync, and countless Python libraries, many of them as the primary contributor maintaining them for the greater Fedora and Enterprise Linux ecosystem. EPEL is tremendously important to both Red Hat and RHEL users.
As it stands, clones of Red Hat's distribution likely either need to switch to a new base (such as CentOS Stream), convince Red Hat to change direction on this decision, find a way around Red Hat's restrictions, or shut down their derivative projects. Time will tell which way each clone decides to go. This issue is likely to be especially of interest to Oracle as the company has long presented itself as an inexpensive, binary-compatible alternative to Red Hat with optimizations for Oracle's database software. At the moment, it's too soon to tell what the various RHEL clones will do to protect their existence, however there are some ideas now in circulation.
The Rocky developers have started exploring ways to work around Red Hat's blockade by using paid-for-containers and cloud instances:
One option is through the usage of UBI container images which are based on RHEL and available from multiple online sources (including Docker Hub). Using the UBI image, it is easily possible to obtain Red Hat sources reliably and unencumbered. We have validated this through OCI (Open Container Initiative) containers and it works exactly as expected.
An interesting side-effect of this situation is seeing how other open source projects are reacting. Red Hat has, over the years, gradually been isolating its RHEL distribution, distancing itself from community efforts, and making it more difficult for clones to exist and users to function in their extended ecosystem. We've seen these efforts in the taking over of the CentOS project and then terminating CentOS Linux, replacing it with the moving platform of CentOS Stream. We've seen efforts to make it harder for other distributions to use Red Hat's kernel. More recently, Red Hat has discontinued the position of Project Manager at Fedora and dropped the maintenance of LibreOffice packages for their ecosystem. Red Hat appears to be trying to take control of its ecosystem and weeding out community contributions, and it's not making developers in the community happy.
Another method that we will leverage is pay-per-use public cloud instances. With this, anyone can spin up RHEL images in the cloud and thus obtain the source code for all packages and errata. This is the easiest for us to scale as we can do all of this through CI pipelines, spinning up cloud images to obtain the sources via DNF, and post to our Git repositories automatically.
For example, Jeff Gerrling announced plans to drop support for RHEL in Ansible roles - Ansible is a popular way to manage multiple machines on a network:
Support will be 'best effort', and if you mention you are using my work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, I will close your bug/feature/support request as 'not reproducible', since doing so would require I jump through artificial barriers Red Hat has erected to prevent the use of their Linux distribution by the wider community.
Other developers, particularly those in the Fedora community (such as Philip Wyett), are now questioning why they should bother contributing to Fedora when their efforts are going to disappear behind Red Hat's paywall:
Let us face it, our efforts with the Fedora project are not valued and it means nothing to the new corporate IBM/Red Hat enterprise systems that we have to struggle to get access to SRPMS to
make a community. What is community now to Red Hat? I see an impasse here. Why contribute to Fedora when Red Hat will lock it down in other products?
The Software Freedom Conservancy meanwhile has a look back at the history of Red Hat's business, their relationship with community clones of RHEL, and concerns over software licensing. Even SUSE, another commercial enterprise Linux company, took issue with Red Hat's move, writing:
RHEL's existence owes much to the collaborative efforts of many upstream projects, including the Linux kernel developed by many different contributors, among them SUSE. At the center of our world is innovating together. We are all working to build something greater than the sum of all our parts. We are all interdependent.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Red Hat seems to be trying to slowly gather up the pieces of its scattered ecosystem and squeeze them under the umbrella of the company's control. However, many developers are not keen to have a more centralized, locked-down environment in which to work. For now it's too soon to tell how clones of RHEL will adjust in an attempt to stay alive or what effect this change will have on other community efforts like RPM Fusion which builds add-on packages for Fedora and RHEL. We're almost certainly going to see ripples coming off of Red Hat's decision to restrict access to its source code in the months to come.
What Red Hat is doing appears to be legal and within the bounds of its licenses, but this surprise move has left a bad taste in the mouths of many community members and developers.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Nobara Project is a modified version of Fedora Linux with user-friendly fixes added to it. The distribution comes with certain features that do not ship with the regular Fedora. The project has published Nobara 38 which includes a number of fixes for Davinci Resolve, Payday 2, GStreamer codecs and improves support for XBox controllers. "Nobara 38 released. New to Nobara: Davinci Resolve workaround will detect if Davinci Resolve installer has been run from terminal and, after installation, will prompt for user to run a wizard to perform additional actions; payday 2 workaround will detect if the native Linux version of payday 2 is run and, if so, will use the zink driver to run it, as the OpenGL implementation is currently broken and the native version no longer receives official support; udev rules - rule added so that the 'Xbox 360' controller devices are forced to use the Xpad driver - this allows devices such as the gpd win max 2 and gpd win 4 to retain controller support while still also allowing the optional xone/xpadneo driver to be installed when users need wireless dongle and/or better bluetooth support for XBox one controllers." Additional information is provided in changelog.
Nobara 38 -- Running the Official desktop edition
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Proxmox 3.0 "Backup Server"
Proxmox is a commercial company offering specialised products based on Debian GNU/Linux. Proxmox has released version 3.0 of its "Backup Server" edition which is based on Debian 12. The Backup Server edition is equipped with ZFS support for large scale storage volumes. The release announcement reads: "We're excited to announce the release of Proxmox Backup Server 3.0. It's based on Debian 12 "Bookworm", but uses the newer Linux kernel 6.2, and includes ZFS 2.1.12. Here are the highlights: Debian 12, with a newer Linux kernel 6.2; ZFS 2.1.12; additional text-based user interface (TUI) for the installer ISO; many improvements for tape handling; sync jobs: 'transfer-last' parameter for more flexibility; we have included countless bugfixes and improvements on many places; see the release notes for all details." The aforementioned release notes and press release offer additional information.
Peppermint OS 2023-07-01
The Peppermint team have published a new version of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop. The new release is based on Debian 12 "Bookworm". "Branding updated; new Plymouth design; adjusted the Welcome screen... removed features or added features based on feedback; Peppermint Docs updated; Peppermint Hub adjusted features added or removed based on feedback; suggested feature has been simplified based on feedback; Kumo has been updated to use lua, and the GUI was simplified; Neofetch configured to use the basic output (no logo); the OS base is now Debian Bookworm stable; Calamares installer removed installing packages during install feedback suggested that if too much was selected the install process would take too long or fail, that's why we removed that module; added a few Marawaita themes and Tela Icons." The release announcement and release notes offer additional information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
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|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Opinion Poll (by Jesse Smith)
Are you using a distribution affected by Red Hat's change to its source code policy?
This week we talked about changes to the way Red Hat handles sharing its source code. The new limitations regarding how the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is distributed is likely to affect clones of RHEL, such as Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux OS and other related projects. We'd like to know if you are currently running one of the potentially affected distributions. If you are a clone of RHEL, do you have any plans to migrate to another distribution?
You can see the results of our previous poll on the preview of KDE Plasma 6 in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Are you running a clone of RHEL?
|Yes - and plan to stick with it: ||67 (4%)|
| Yes - and plan to migrate soon: ||79 (4%)|
| Yes - and am waiting before making a decision: ||114 (6%)|
| No - running another member of the Fedora/Red Hat family: ||160 (9%)|
| No - not running any member of the Red Hat family: ||1423 (77%)|
New distributions added to waiting list
- SpaceFun. SpaceFun is a lightweight, Debian-based distribution featuring the LXDE interface. It is intended to be used by young children (ages 4-14). SpaceFun has two companion editions called IceFun and Moonlight which use the IceWM interface.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 July 2023. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Weekly Archive and Article Search pages. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Will was on to something (by R. Cain on 2023-07-03 00:45:19 GMT from United States) |
From "Questions and Answers"--
"...It's important to understand the flow of code from one place to another. Typically source code originates with an "upstream" project..." ;
"...As it stands, clones of Red Hat's distribution likely either need to switch to a new base..."
From Will Rogers--
"Never drink downstream from the herd."
2 • RHEL option (by John on 2023-07-03 01:33:47 GMT from Canada)
Now is the time for SUSE to make a move to replace RedHat. Start up it's own community and get the spins based on it instead of RHEL.
3 • Commies ... goddam everywhere! (by Ang El on 2023-07-03 01:46:59 GMT from Bulgaria)
So many communist souls around Linux and the similar. Not a surprise, given the altruist philosophy. Horrible!
All the best to RedHat with the new strategy! Thanks for all the value you've provided to me and the world, and continue to provide!
4 • Allowed to create clones (by Chris on 2023-07-03 03:08:34 GMT from United States)
"They will only provide the source code used to build RHEL to Red Hat's customers (and subscription holders) and those customers need to abide by a license which prevents them (in essence) from creating Red Hat clones."
There is absolutely nothing in Red Hat terms that forbids subscribers from taking the source code, removing the Red Hat trademarks and creating a clone. Saying that Red Hat's EULAs and Agreements prevent such things, or that Red Hat will end subscriptions, or anything insinuating such is utter F.U.D. being spread by some members of the Linux community.
5 • Yet Another RH Observation (by jc on 2023-07-03 03:22:09 GMT from France)
Tried Fedora some time ago, did not like it. Did not want to pay RH for home use GPL software. Ended up with CentOS 5 for daily use. However with CentOS 6, RH6, etc. Gnome was replaced with less desirable DTE, abandoned RH and derivatives. I did buy several early versions of RH. Adopted SUSE briefly. All of these sometimes suffered RPM dependency hell. I started using Debiam, until systemd cancer was foisted upon the community. DW had some comments on MX linux, I checked out MX linux and used it as replacement for debiam. My current main linox is Devuan/Mx. Slackware is my third linux. Keeping an eye on PCLOS, should these have problems. Tried Ubuntu early on, did not like color scheme nor many of their questionable decisions over the years. Don’t care for flat packs or snaps, forget which on requires systemd, Appimage is great. If linux ecosystem gets really unacceptable, there is thankfully BSD.
RH is touting all their work for the community and they feel they should be compensated, that's called commercial software. When the RH propaganda machine mentions all this “giving”, they fail to mention that RH recent receipts are 300+ million dollars. RH builds its products on the back of the community.
No. 3 commenter talks about “Commies” everywhere, perhaps if RH wrote their own kernel they would not have to rely on the GPL, which is not a commercial license.
Fortunately I abandoned RH and family years ago; however their source code stance is a dick move, no matter what pretty words they may use.
6 • Red Hat license (by Jesse on 2023-07-03 03:36:26 GMT from Canada)
@4: "There is absolutely nothing in Red Hat terms that forbids subscribers from taking the source code, removing the Red Hat trademarks and creating a clone. Saying that Red Hat's EULAs and Agreements prevent such things, or that Red Hat will end subscriptions, or anything insinuating such is utter F.U.D. being spread by some members of the Linux community."
You clearly have not read the Red Hat license agreement. If you had you would know that section 1.2 (specifically section g) forbids users from taking RHEL source code and using it in clones. The text of the license is as follows:
"Unauthorized Use of Subscription Services. Any unauthorized use of the Subscription Services is a material breach of the Agreement. Unauthorized use of the Subscription Services includes: (a) only purchasing or renewing Subscription Services based on some of the total number of Units, (b) splitting or applying one Software Subscription to two or more Units, (c) providing Subscription Services (in whole or in part) to third parties, (d) using Subscription Services in connection with any redistribution of Software or (e) using Subscription Services to support or maintain any non-Red Hat Software products without purchasing Subscription Services for each such instance (collectively ,“Unauthorized Subscription Services Uses”)."
Section (b) of the license goes into more detail, but I think you get the point. You can read the entire license agreement here: https://www.redhat.com/licenses/Appendix_1_Global_English_20230309.pdf
So there you are, Red Hat's agreement explicitly forbids redistribution of software or making clones (non-Red Hat Software products), unless you pay for every single copy that is deployed. How is it FUD to share what is written out in their own license?
7 • Red Hat's source code publishing (by Gordon Messmer on 2023-07-03 03:50:45 GMT from United States)
It seems biased to quote Fedora developers who have concerns about Red Hat's changes, and not Fedora developers who think the changes represent a modernization of CentOS (such as myself).
I laid that out in detail in https://email@example.com/in-favor-of-centos-stream-e5a8a43bdcf8
I also want to note two serious factual errors in your commentary:
1: CentOS Stream is not a "slow-moving testing ground" for RHEL. It is the release branch for the corresponding RHEL major release. Everything in Stream has already passed testing and QA.
2: It is not true that "For most of the life of RHEL, Red Hat has published its source packages publicly." Red Hat has historically published only a subset of packages, consisting only of the sources fo the packages in the newest minor release branch. They have never published the source to packages in the extended support branches after a new minor release was published. Now that Stream is a project, that is the newest available release branch, and the minor release branches are all effectively extended support branches.
I covered both of those points in more detail in the article I linked above, and I'm happy to answer any questions that you have.
8 • SpaceFun (by mnrv-ovrf-year-c on 2023-07-03 03:54:21 GMT from Puerto Rico)
Can we talk about something else?
I don't think this distro is ready yet. They opened a forum which is largely in German with no easy way to get a download to any ISO. If this comes with a W.M. then it should honestly show it, but the website shows something else that apparently comes from a desktop environment. Lying to children is bad. I don't think this distro is going to pick up very fast. Their website looks nice, which is an acquired taste, but without a download link to the ISO (I can't find it so it's probably my fault), and a "store" nobody is going to care. I don't want to buy a shirt if all of them are too small for me to wear!
A pre-adolescent or a bit younger starting to go to junior high school is well capable of going into Garuda. Not just for games and not just for the technical stuff. It's easy enough to install. People like being shot through the eyes. But I could say that for many other distros, some based on Debian but not Debian itself.
One more thing. A kid doesn't want to be stuck with "grandpa's computer" with the system requirements SpaceFun claims. He/she is going to want daddy's latest rig. Or buy him/her a better one than daddy's.
Recommend something else instead for the whole nuclear family, not just the children and their young game-playing cousins. No I don't have children LOL but IJS.
Offer a distro for children, which is a good concept, but please be honest and diligent about it.
9 • RE: Red Hat License (by Chris on 2023-07-03 03:58:56 GMT from United States)
@6: ""Unauthorized Use of Subscription Services. Any unauthorized use of the Subscription Services is a material breach of the Agreement. Unauthorized use of the Subscription Services includes: (a) only purchasing or renewing Subscription Services based on some of the total number of Units, (b) splitting or applying one Software Subscription to two or more Units, (c) providing Subscription Services (in whole or in part) to third parties, (d) using Subscription Services in connection with any redistribution of Software or (e) using Subscription Services to support or maintain any non-Red Hat Software products without purchasing Subscription Services for each such instance (collectively ,“Unauthorized Subscription Services Uses”).""
From that same document.
Section 4 - Definitions:
“Software” means Red Hat branded software that is made available in a Red Hat Product.
“Red Hat Products” means Software, Services, and other Red Hat branded offerings made available by Red Hat.
Section 1.4 End User and Open Source License Agreements:
The Red Hat Software is governed by the End User License Agreements (“EULAs”) set forth at www.redhat.com/agreements. Software Subscriptions and Subscription Services are term-based and will expire if not renewed. This Agreement establishes the rights and obligations associated with Subscription Services and is not intended to limit your rights to software code under the terms of an open source license.
Taken _collectively_. You are free to redistribute the source code as granted by the GPL, so long as you remove any and all Red Hat branding (logos, trademarks, etc..). The definitions for terms matters in contracts, which this agreement is. A contract.
10 • Is it legal? (by Mehdi on 2023-07-03 04:34:37 GMT from Algeria)
What if someone take a GPL licensed project modify it and make it behind a paywall, but Include a term saying "I have the right to end your subscription if ask me for source code".
Is it legal?
If No, then the same logic applies to RHEL case.
To those who defend RH move, I'd say this is "how GPL works".
If you think that you have the right to make your source code behind a paywall then choose another license.
11 • RE: Is it legal (by Chris on 2023-07-03 05:09:55 GMT from United States)
@10: That is how the GPL works. Stallman even has said so, many times. The GPL can be sold at any price. It only guarantees two things, access to the source code of the binaries you were provided, and that you can modify and distribute the source code you were provided without having to pay royalties back to the person(s)/company you bought the binaries from. There is a gulf between what the community thinks the GPL guarantees and what it actually guarantees.
12 • RH has switched to 3-chars... (by the sea on 2023-07-03 06:13:20 GMT from Italy)
...therefore don't be surprised for what's their present action plan. PS/2+OS/2 were handled just the same (and remember how, and especially why, they came to a dead end).
13 • Mint well ahead of the game on this (by perstreperous on 2023-07-03 06:44:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
The Will Rogers quote puts it brilliantly, although there is a caveat: Mint produces LMDE because its upstream source cannot be corrupted (unless there is a complete, spectacular, inconceivable turnaround in how Debian operates).
LMDE started years ago and was a smart move; there is no sign of Canonical doing a Red Hat and Mint has always managed to accommodate Ubuntu's oddities and changes of direction, but that cannot be guaranteed indefinitely with a commercial entity managing those quirks.
14 • In favor of CentOS Stream (by Ali on 2023-07-03 06:48:22 GMT from Iran)
Great and informative article. Thank you.
15 • Red Hat could have done so much better. (by LRX on 2023-07-03 07:54:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm obviously unhappy about the direction Red Hat have taken, first with CentOS, then locking the source code. The end result has been that I've moved my company to Debian. But the biggest reason is less "what" they have done but more the "how" it was done. I was in the middle of a CentOS 8 deploy when they cut support and moved to Stream. At the time I was nervous to keep my company on an unsupported OS or to migrate to a very new community distro without much history (Rocky or Alma - you guys rock but you were so new back then!). So I moved to Debian.
If Red Hat had announced with ample warning that they would not be releasing CentOS 9 and that after that RHEL 9 code would be locked away it would, in my opinion, have been so much better. I may not have agreed with it or thought it a good move, but I think I would have settled on "it's their call." Pulling the plug on CentOS 8 with no warning then effectively killing community alternatives a couple years later mid cycle again with no warning is just (insert expletive here.)
16 • Enterprise Linux (by Linuxseekers on 2023-07-03 07:54:44 GMT from Malaysia)
I wish ORACLE would help since they have all the resources. Fyi, the only thing i like about RED HAT is the hat.
17 • Kumander Linux (by Guido on 2023-07-03 08:30:05 GMT from Philippines)
Nice to have again a Linux Distro made in the Philippines, although I use Manjaro. Kumander looks really very much like Windows 7.
It can have a future, when they keep snaps and flatpacks outside. Debian is a good base. No problem with sharing source code ... The same goes with Arch.
18 • Study choice (by Prospective student on 2023-07-03 08:30:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
For a while I was seriously considering getting a Red Hat certification. With this sort of behaviour I'll look elsewhere. I wonder how many others are going to stop contributing, studying or recommending red hat?
19 • Kumander Linux revue (by Morton on 2023-07-03 09:19:40 GMT from Poland)
Thank you for another nice review.
"What I found noteworthy about this is a lot of the extra, mostly pointless steps from Debian's installer have been removed. We don't get asked to pick mirrors, set up a web proxy, set our domain name, or pick which services we want to install."
I would like to add to this statement that in current Debian installer there is an option "Automated install" accessible from "Expert install" menu. It is quick and asking only necessarily questions.
20 • We are leaving IBM, a company with no morals turning red hat in to a cess pit (by Commander on 2023-07-03 09:23:20 GMT from Switzerland)
Little mention of the fact that ibm red hat used the commotion to quietly sack
a large number of persons without an echo.
Very soon all machines will be off red hat for good.
Moving to Debian. And will be figuring out how
much of the licence savings will go to that project.
Sorry our organisation can not be named. It is medium sized.
21 • Suse Linux is the best option (by Frank on 2023-07-03 10:26:37 GMT from United States)
Suse Linux is the best Option after the Nasty behavior of IBM :
Great response from Suse Linux!
22 • @15 They could've made it so much better (by Jan on 2023-07-03 10:56:35 GMT from Poland)
Indeed, well said. They could behave like professionals, instead, they have shown themselves as people who know nothing about software deployment and lifecycle maintenance planning. Or did they?
But let us not forget the big picture here. Commercial companies, and especial big corporations are there for the money, and some of their employees are really greedy.
What do you think they will charge for systemd when year 2025 arrives?
Isn't it about time people who make the Debian community sober up and prepare to disengage themselves from big corporations who do everything they can to embrace and extinguish the free software?
23 • Debian (by Tim on 2023-07-03 11:49:15 GMT from United States)
The well informed comments on this topic have been enlightening, thanks to everyone.
I'm continually amazed that we have Debian in the context of what happens in the software world, and I hope I never take it for granted.
24 • Red Hat (by dragonmouth on 2023-07-03 12:21:33 GMT from United States)
Red Hat is not the only fish in the sea. It's not like it's Windows with only a single point of origin. There are many other distribution available to use in its place.
25 • Re: SpaceFun (by Lioh Möller on 2023-07-03 12:27:20 GMT from Switzerland)
@mnrv-ovrf-year-c I am the developer of the Distribution and I don't understand your complaint? It sounds very attacking without even having really looked at the project. I would appreciate a more welcoming tone, as I have put great effort and love into the project.
Concerning your points:
On the Homepage you find huge buttons which Links you directly to the downloads of the different editions.
The main Edition is based on LXDE, not as Jesse has quoted on IceWM. Only IceFun (for children) and Moonlight are utilizing IceWM.
The idea of IceFun is to provide a good learning and playing environment for kids, instead of putting them in front of a tablet and letting them play on their own for hours.
In the Store you find Shirts for all sizes. There are some shirts for children only (actually 2 currently). Browse all the store items, not just the recent additions.
The forum is currently in German, but there is an international section available.
26 • another useless linux distro review (by GrumpyGrampa on 2023-07-03 12:28:28 GMT from Australia)
Another useless linux distro pet project "Kumander"
What does it do different or add/improve upon than Debian KDE other than having a different name? Nothing apparently.
Why are you reviewing it when it brings absolutely nothing new?
A differently themed spin of Debian worthy of our attention.
There are plenty of interesting Linux distros trying to do something different in the waiting list. 169. Most are useless and have done the same as kumander, just slap a new name and logo on it. But a few actually try to do something unique and add value to the distro space.
Please stop wasting everyones time with useless distro reviews.
27 • Re 3: Commies? (by Dak on 2023-07-03 12:33:16 GMT from United States)
Commies, really? Were that true there would be one linux OS (RedHat) and it would be distributed to everyone. That's communism, Comrade.
It's RedHat, who cares what they do! Plenty of other distributions that can step into its place, such as already mentioned Suse.
28 • Red Hat (by RetiredIT on 2023-07-03 12:58:29 GMT from United States)
What do you expect? Red Hat caved in to IBM’s acquisition in July 2019. And if you know IBM, they want to control the world, just like Microsoft does. The Linux world is in great flux and may never be the same after this idiotic move by Red Hat!
29 • Red Hat (by Jason on 2023-07-03 13:56:35 GMT from Italy)
All Linux distributions that are owned by for-profit entities should be abandoned. Debian is stable enough even at the enterprise level. OpenSUSE doesn't convince me: they propose themselves as an alternative to Red Hat, while they are eliminating the Leap version and are only going to leave the Tumbleweed version alive (rolling and not suitable for enterprises and universities). If we all focused on Debian, we would have an even better and opensource operating system.
30 • SpaceFun & Kumander &, of course, Red Hat (by Friar Tux on 2023-07-03 14:39:59 GMT from Canada)
SpaceFun... @8 & @25 I tried it, the LMDE version. It's actually quite good. It's a great way to install Debian without actually having to use the actual Debian installer - ugh. And it recognized everything on my laptop. Debian got kind of complicated trying to find my WIFI. SpaceFun found it as easily as my Linux Mint did.
Kumander... @26 (GrumpyGrandpa) I haven't tried it yet, BUT, if it makes Debian easier to install than actual Debian (like SpaceFun, above), then I'm all for it. ANY distro, based on Debian, that makes Debian easier to install than actual Debian, I'm for it.
And, finally, Red Hat. I agree with @16 (Linuxseekers) "the only thing I like about RED HAT is the hat." However, I think we're forgetting something; the final say in what RH does with RH"s product belongs to RH. They can do with their property what-so-ever they want - it IS their product after all. We can simply move on to something more to our liking.
31 • Re: SpaceFun & Kumander (by Lioh Möller on 2023-07-03 15:43:23 GMT from Switzerland)
@Friar Tux Thanks for sharing your experience. I am happy, that SpaceFun works for you.
Lioh (developer of SpaceFun)
32 • IBM RHEL, IBM Lotus (by Fernando on 2023-07-03 16:31:42 GMT from Brazil)
Do you remember Lotus?
And Lotus Products? Lotus Notes, Lotus Suite..., most sophisticated tools for workgroup tasks?
The end started the same way, by cutting the sinergy with comunities.
Remember Lotus if you're dreaming a long life for RHEL.
33 • SpaceFun (reply to @25) (by mnrv-ovrf-year-c on 2023-07-03 16:38:51 GMT from Puerto Rico)
Were those funny-looking buttons supposed to hold download links? Well it didn't work on my computer. I'm using Firefox AppImage, the latest one offered from Github which has source code updated for 19-June-2023. It might be part of the security settings for the browser.
I did not "attack" the distro. How could I write a "welcoming" comment if I cannot download the ISO and check it out? A developer has to be able to accept even the slightest criticism. I would have made the attempt to join the forum if I were fluent in German, which I'm not. In fact I belong to another forum and started a topic there about this distro, to try to draw more interest into it.
I should have said it was a good concept, even though more kids today than in decade-2000 prefer to take everything with them, even to play MMORPG and virtual reality and that sort of thing.
34 • @GrumpyGrampa, go back to your cave, troll (by Kingneutron on 2023-07-03 17:02:43 GMT from United States)
Know how I know you didn't read the review? It specifically said that the desktop is unusually fast and responsive, even in a VM. That alone is of interest to me and others.
35 • The wrong decision of Red Hat (by Mauricio Larios on 2023-07-03 17:25:58 GMT from Guatemala)
What Philip Wyett wrote is very enlightening.Hopefully other Fedora developers realize the risk they are running as the Philip Wyett problem.There is nothing that prevents Red Hat from doing the same in the future with Fedora.The decision was legal, but it is delivered to the limits of "dumping."Red Hat has obtained benefits from free software and does not want to contribute more with the free community.This is the time when SUSE must demonstrate that the company SUSE can and should occupy the place that corresponds to it in the world of free software.
36 • Re: SpaceFun (by Lioh Möller on 2023-07-03 17:32:35 GMT from Switzerland)
Dear mnrv-ovrf-year-c, thanks for pointing that out. Now I understand you better. I think it could have something to do with your security settings. The buttons should lead you to an ownCloud instance, where you could download the version, you have chosen. Please note that the mouse cursor does not change by hovering the buttons, but this is somehow intentional ;)
I know that an international Forum would be a great addition, right now, I don't really have the resources to manage another one. At the bottom of the page is also a Telegram link, but the group is mainly in German as well. English is of course welcome, though.
I agree with your point that kids today might have forgotten what a computer really means. That it's an ultimate machine which helps you to build whatever you want, not just a device for consumption. The included programs hopefully bring back the interest in the treasures of open source programs the community has to offer.
Eventually, you will find a way through the Download issue and give it a spin.
SpaceFun might also bring joy. It is our Flagship Edition, which is based on LXDE. It contains a lot of software and is a distribution 'how it used to be'. Also, when it offers new technology like Flatpak (if you really want it), it is made to tinker. Remember the time when we have spent hours and hours tweaking our desktops until they were perfect, just to start all over again?
37 • RH/Lotus (by Otis on 2023-07-03 17:51:02 GMT from United States)
@32 Fernando... yes, I remember Lotus. But perhaps you're forwarding a not so valid analogy as I'd think that the entire Lotus project/"suite" had nothing of the inertia and ecosystem of RedHat (around which they seem to of late constructing a moat and drawbridge).
38 • "What a computer really means" (by Cum-an-Linux on 2023-07-03 19:06:33 GMT from United States)
It comes preinstalled, and it just works. All applications. Games inclusive. And if there is a power shortage and your PC shuts down all of a sudden, it is supposed to continue exactly at the point where it abruptly shut down.
Windows 10 and 11 do that.
Linux is absolutely great—as a server or if one can't afford 600 bucks every 15–20 years and still has to use a 256 MB 32-bit machine.
As for RHEL, I wonder not if they don't want to help parasites make clones anymore, but why they ever tolerated it at all.
You get someone like Facebook or Oracle cloning your OS and redistributing it—and making money with support!
39 • Kumander Linux (by A on 2023-07-03 19:09:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
I agree with @26 on the Kumander review. The Kumander Linux dev is good at publicity, I'll give him that, he's gone straight from waiting list to full Distrowatch entry to review in a matter of a few weeks. But the distro itself is just Debian with a few minor changes. It doesn't even look a great deal like Windows (presumably 7 is the version he's going for).
If someone wants to use Windows, why would they use a Linux distro designed to look like Windows? Just use Windows, there's nothing wrong with making that choice if it's what works best for you. A Linux distro pulling stunts like changing the local prompt to C:\> is just asking for user confusion and trouble. Linux isn't Windows, it doesn't work like Windows, and obfuscating the basics of Linux is counterproductive.
Kumander has managed to put together an ugly desktop distro that doesn't work like Windows, doesn't look like Windows and doesn't work well as a Linux. What's the point?
40 • Kumander Linux (by A on 2023-07-03 19:15:13 GMT from United Kingdom)
I thought I'd take a look at the Kumander (that name, it's awful) website.
The first thing I see is a mention of "regular apps and Flatpaks". I'm an experienced Windows user, but I'm new to Linux. What's a Flatpak? Isn't that something you buy in IKEA? Why should I care?
The site then goes on to describe how I can "run it as a virtual machine". A what-now? And apparently, "live boot is built into the ISO". What does that mean, to a normal Windows user? It's the worst kind of Linux distro geek jargon.
Kumander's download page says "good luck!". The user will need it.
41 • The Horror... The Horror... (by Trihexagonal on 2023-07-04 02:16:48 GMT from United States)
And not one word said by anyone when the FreeBSD Project committed Copyright Infringement...
42 • Spacefun not so much (by GrumpyGranpa on 2023-07-04 03:02:52 GMT from Australia)
Sigh..... I mean really....sigh...
How exactly is anything other than Gnome and perhaps a heavily themed KDE going to be fun for kids to use as their desktop environment?
I guess the devs think that a 6yr old is going to go and edit config files to enable what not to get it working properly. Even LXDE requires some settings changed to make it visually appealing from a base install.
Icewin....oh joy, so much fun for young kids........about as much fun as poking needles into my eyes.
Specific educational distros for children already exist. Edubuntu running Gnome is packed full of software for kids and is easy to use compared to icewin or lxde.
EndlessOS is even better designed for kids and visually mimics Android screen layout.
Why every dev feels it necessary has to reinvent the linux wheel? Ego?
Why not work together to make one or a few distros really great instead of fracturing the dev talent into smaller and smaller pools?
As for kumander supporters. As it was mentioned Debian already has the option of easy no brains install options. So again why is Kumander necessary? Because of windows icon theme and a prompt change?
Waste of time imo.
43 • @42; The nature of the beast, sadly. (by R. Cain on 2023-07-04 12:24:13 GMT from United States)
"...Why every dev feels it necessary has to reinvent the linux wheel? Ego?...
"...Why not work together to make one or a few distros really great instead of fracturing the dev talent into smaller and smaller pools?.."
You have just put your finger on the main reason(s) why there will never be a "Year Of Linux On The Desktop".
Solving / implementing #2 CANnot be done, and #1 is everyone's right.
44 • Red Hat - I fell out with it 20 years ago! (by DaveT on 2023-07-04 14:09:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
Introducing Linux into the organisation I worked for back then meant using paid for Red Hat EnterpriseLinux.
I made bug reports etc because we wanted bugs fixed - and they were.
But I never did like the rpm way of doing things.
And then with one bound I was free!
And onto debian.
And then oh god systemd shit meant a move to devuan when I had to have the full linux experience and OpenBSD when I didn't.
OpenBSD gets most use.
Devuan only gets fired up when I need heavy duty audio work doing.
I suppose now I am a retired old man I should start work on porting the audio software I need to OpenBSD.
Should keep me quiet for a year or two!
Or see me off...
45 • @9 Definitions matter (by Kazlu on 2023-07-04 15:32:49 GMT from France)
"The definitions for terms matters in contracts"
Indeed. The agreement reads "Red Hat branded software" not "Red Hat branding". I do not know where you get the impression removing the branding and distributing the software is not a breach of the agreement. If you remove the branding of the software, the software is still the same software as the one made available by Red Hat. Then, why are they saying "Red Hat branded software that is made available in a Red Hat Product" and not just "software that is made available in a Red Hat Product"? I assume it is to differenciate it with third party software also provided.
Moreover, as Gordon Messmer, Fedora developper, wrote in the link he provided himself here (https://firstname.lastname@example.org/in-favor-of-centos-stream-e5a8a43bdcf8): "Red Hat’s business agreement prohibits the use of the subscription for the purpose of redistributing the source."
46 • @7 CentOS Stream, old CentOS and RHEL (by Kazlu on 2023-07-04 15:37:15 GMT from France)
This is a very interesting read, thank you for that. There is one major caveat though: this deals with the benefits of CentOS Stream over the old CentOS, but the current backlash is not about CentOS disappearance (there was a backlash for that too, but not as big). The concern is that Red Hat does not publish RHEL source code anymore. What Red Hat did with *that* move is certainly not "enabling" anybody, it is removing a choice from the equation: building a distribution directly from Red Hat source code. Your claim, as far as I understand it, is that it is safer to use CentOS Stream as a base than old CentOS or even previously published RH source code. I am not qualified to judge that. I acknowledge that "Red Hat has historically published only a subset of packages, consisting only of the sources fo the packages in the newest minor release branch". But when you remove a choice users used to have, you are not enabling anybody. CentOS Stream may be a good thing but so was publishing the source code of RHEL. Should CentOS Stream have "competition" in other RHEL rebuilds, survival of the fittest would dictate which is more adapted for what use case.
47 • @38 Windows features (by Kazlu on 2023-07-04 15:39:00 GMT from France)
"And if there is a power shortage and your PC shuts down all of a sudden, it is supposed to continue exactly at the point where it abruptly shut down.
Windows 10 and 11 do that."
Hum, no, Windows 10 definitely does not do that. Regularly bites me in the ass precisely for that. You're generally able to recover documents you were editing for example, but that is a feature of the document software (MS Office, LibreOffice, etc.), not from the OS. After a power outage, you have to open every piece of software that was open before the outage. Windows or Linux. Except, of course, if the software open is the exact same as it was last time you *turned off / put to sleep* your computer. In which case, the state recovered is actually that one, not the one from before the outage. But then again, this feature is present both in Windows and in various Linux distributions, so...
48 • Red Hat change to Source Code distribution (by Bobbie Sellers on 2023-07-04 15:42:37 GMT from United States)
Once IBM bought Red Hat, this is the worst case scenario come to pass.
IBM is prone to such mistakes. Remember how they lost their personal computer
hardware business to Clones? OS2 to Windows? They were smart enough
to use Linux for their big computers and for super Computers, but then they
bought Red Hat and now like the greedy man killed the Goose that laid the
Golden Egg they are separating from the GNU/Linux Movement.
I doubt it will be good for their business
Happy 4th of July, 2023
Celebrating the American Colonies break with the British Empire
in the 18th Century it got a lot of other revolutions stimulated.
The Red Hat attempt to sequester the source code may provoke
a separation from the IBM/Red Hat Empire.
bliss -PCLinuxOS 2023 - Linux 6.3.11 - KDE Plasma 5.27.6 on my
Dell Latitude E7450
49 • RHEL lack of transparency can lead to unseen vulnerabilities (by Andy Prough on 2023-07-04 15:58:24 GMT from United States)
I don't personally care what RHEL does with its sources, as I'm not interested in using RHEL or any of its clones for any purpose.
The problem that I see is that once they removed the sources from public view, there will be a lot fewer eyeballs on their code. Eventually vulnerabilities are likely to creep in that do not exist in the openly developed distro sources. The pathway RHEL is on right now is one that ultimately could lead to significant problems with their binaries. Because of this closing up of the sources, I would advise avoiding any RedHat related distros in the future, including Fedora and CentOS Stream and RedHat's various container distros. Whatever unobserved problems are brewing in that RHEL code are eventually likely to creep out and effect their other projects. In fact, if I were running a large project such as LibreOffice or the kernel, I would have to seriously consider rejecting future contributions from RedHat, as their development model is now !
deeply flawed going forward.
50 • @40 Kumander Linux and geek jargon (by Kazlu on 2023-07-04 16:06:03 GMT from France)
If you are new to Linux, I recommend you aim for an older project, that has had time to mature and be polished. As to *which* one you should try, every Linux user might give you a different answer... I recommend you ask someone you know and uses Linux for advice, because they are the ones who can tell you the most about why their choice is good and eventually help you with issues you might face. Short of that, my personnal recommendation would be Linux Mint: does not look *exactly* like Windows but still has a traditional interface, very widely used, very polished, good documentation from within the system but also very active forums that can help you with any issue, and one of the Linux distributions that has the best chances of getting what you want to work. If you absolutely want a pure Debian base, you may try Spiral Linux. And if those still look too alien to you, you may try Zorin OS.
As for your other question: Flatpak is a way of getting software that differs from the traditional way in Linux. Think of it as adding an Amazon app store next to your existing Google Play store on Android. Great if you cannot find the software you want with the traditional way. Technically, long story short, software obtained via Flatpak takes more room on your hard drive, may be slower to launch, may use more RAM, may look less consistent with the rest of your system but also reduces the risk of a bug impacting the rest of the OS.
51 • mx-19 redmondesque respin (by Jilly on 2023-07-04 17:38:23 GMT from United States)
There was a Win7-like Linux a few years ago called "mx-19 redmondesque respin" based on MX Linux. I downloaded the ISO when it came out and installed it as a VM. It ran great and was easy to use. Unfortunately, I Googled for it just now and it appears to have been scrubbed off the Internet.
52 • Fedora (by John on 2023-07-04 18:03:29 GMT from Canada)
>Let us face it, our efforts with the Fedora project are not valued
Interesting quote. Between that and the Libra Office change, looks like IBM/RHEL is giving up on its workstation business.
When I worked at IBM, IBM allowed a developer to choose RHEL, MAC or Windows workstation. When I was leaving they told people that RHEL v9 will not be allowed and you will need to move to Fedora or Ubuntu when v8 is EOL.
I have been away for a while, but will see if I can find out if Fedora is still a viable solution for people at IBM.
53 • Re: mx-19 redmondesque respin (by Friar Tux on 2023-07-04 19:10:40 GMT from Canada)
@51 (Jilly) Try going over too "archiveos.org". It may be there (I haven't checked, myself). You'll find a ton of old OSes over there. Most still work just fine.
54 • Windows 7 look, @51 and others (by Norbert on 2023-07-05 07:02:05 GMT from Japan)
It escapes me why anyone, newbie or not, would want to make their distro look like Windows 7, but I find it even farther out of reach that one would need a specialized distro to do it.
Linux Mint (or other) Cinnamon, download WIndows 7 theme, icons and wallpaper. Place in proper folders. Adjust settings. Bingo!
55 • Red Hat (by Simon on 2023-07-05 10:37:58 GMT from New Zealand)
Even though some administrators running free clones will respond to this by paying for Red Hat subscriptions, rather than migrating to Debian/Ubuntu/whatever as anyone with any sense would do in these circumstances, Red Hat still aren't going to make much money overall, as thousands of new Linux users who'd be learning and training on free Red Hat clones (some of who would go on to become paid Red Hat customers) will now be learning and training on the Debian family, feeding the competition's ecosystem. Canonical must be delighted with this. Given that it's also really terrible PR (Red Hat are already unpopular for poisoning Linux with systemd and other Windows-like garbage), it's pretty stupid.
56 • @54 why the Windows look? (by Kazlu on 2023-07-05 10:43:07 GMT from France)
I assume the Windows look is appealing to users used to Windows and trying Linux for the first time. For this kind of audience, it makes sense that the looks are familiar *from the beginning*, instead of having to do some customization from the get go on an OS they don't know.
57 • @57: (by dragonmouth on 2023-07-05 11:50:06 GMT from United States)
The "Windows look" is for the dilettantes that want to feel l33t by running Linux but who are afraid of not being able to understand the "Linux look".
The "Windows look" is for those that want Linux to look,feel and work just like Windows but not come from Redmond.
Ever wonder why there is no strident calls for OS/X to have a "Windows look"?
58 • @56, windows look (by Fred on 2023-07-05 12:05:27 GMT from Australia)
Cinnamon, most XFCE distros, KDE, all provide a desktop layout that's much like Windows.Look at the Kumander desktop and comp;are to Cinnamon. Other than theming, what is the difference? All that these boutique distros are changing is themes and looks. The usability of a DE does not improve because the color is blue and it has different title bars and icons.
59 • @9 RHEL double speak (by Maverick on 2023-07-05 12:50:50 GMT from United States)
Yes, you are correct - there is no limitation placed on your right to remove trademarks and redistribute the source. They’ve made it clear though that if you choose to exercise that right they will likewise choose to terminate your account, according to their right.
60 • The look of Windows desktop and that of Linux (by Otis on 2023-07-05 15:58:10 GMT from United States)
Well, I doubt very much if I am the only (old) Linux user who at the beginning of my Linux journey sought not only more reliability than Windows but also sought to make my desktop as familiar as I could, which meant more Windows-like at first.
Also, the very notion of a taskbar with a menu or start button and most other attributes of the Windows schema/experience, are quite common from distro to distro, and with no thought by the devs that they are just tweaking a Windows look. The whole idea of windows.. applets, menus, etc, that is now just computing, but at first it was ... Microsoft Windows. Yes in the history of the desktop there were other things earlier on, but the notion of a "desktop" itself is... Microsoft Windows.
61 • RHEL (by Cheker on 2023-07-05 15:59:24 GMT from Portugal)
IANAL but terminating a customer's account if they redistribute the source sounds very much like...you know, restricting redistribution? Therefore, a GPL violation.
I'm assuming IBM's lawyers aren't stupid enough to create a situation where they can be sued, but stranger things have happened and with suits you can't really expect much to begin with.
62 • SpacFun / Kumander Linux / Debian (by fresh red strawberries on 2023-07-05 16:23:41 GMT from Germany)
Thank you for this very good project. My nephew fell in love with it. He doesn't want to use anything else from now on.
Next time you can check your browser settings first before making unsustainable claims. ;)
The focus is to use a Linux distro that looks like Windows7 right from the start, without the user having to configure this look first.
I can't understand why some users find debian-installer complicated. Especially with the latest version, it is even more uncomplicated than ever before - firmware will be
installed if necessary, Intel microcode will also be installed if required - everything is automated. From my point of view the debian-installer is one of the best ever, based
on the net-installler ISO.
63 • @61 RHEL GPL violation? (by Kazlu on 2023-07-05 16:39:46 GMT from France)
"terminating a customer's account if they redistribute the source sounds very much like...you know, restricting redistribution?"
Well, no. Terminating the agreement does not prevent the user to redistribute the sources they obtained. As long as Red Hat provides the sources to this customer, they have fulfilled their legal obligation.
64 • Debian Installer (by Friar Tux on 2023-07-05 18:57:20 GMT from Canada)
@62 (Strawberries) "I can't understand why some users find debian-installer complicated."
That would be me. And yes, I have always struggled with the Debian installer in the past. If they have changed/improved it for the better, perfect. I haven't tried pure Debian in a while BECAUSE of that installer. (I might try it again.) I've been using Debian derivatives that make installing Debian quick and easy. And I don't use netinstall ISOs. I prefer to have the actual OS on a USB stick to be able to install offline. I'm really liking the Linux Mint Debian version.
65 • Microsoft like... (by Xis on 2023-07-05 19:17:52 GMT from Mexico)
It's funny; this week's issue should be titled “How to do things Microsoft like”.
It starts on how Kumander tries to look like ol' Windows, building from something that works.
Then it twists the plot to how ReactOS has been working behind the scenes to make their OS behave like Windows on the insides (I know they've been in this for decades!).
For the punchline, it ends on how IBM's RedHat is selling RHEL in a very Microsoft like way, hiding behind the EULA something that to my noob eyes looks like double licensing with GPL incompatible clauses.
I'll stay close for the next chapter on this, mostly interested in ReactOS, but hoping that RedHat listens their extended community and not just the business.
Note: Am I the only one that felt @3 as sarcasm...?
66 • Debian Installer / Linux Mint Debian Edition (by fresh red strawberries on 2023-07-05 20:45:30 GMT from Germany)
@64 (Friar Tux)
Yes, I think your consideration of starting a Debian installation again is good and I wish you the best of luck. :)
I also know Linux Mint (Debian Edition) and like it as well. Ok, you can install it offline, but you also have to invest some time
afterwards while the updates are downloaded and then installed.
But I've also had the experience that a linux ISO (not a net installer ISO) contains all the files for an offline installation,
but still requires an active internet connection for the installation process.
67 • @62 (by GrumpyGranpa on 2023-07-05 23:16:56 GMT from Australia)
The focus is to use a Linux distro that looks like Windows7 right from the start, without the user having to configure this look first.
What is the point of that? Does that necessitate an entire respin of Debian? No, not it doesn't.
Kali Linux provides a built in theme to make the desktop look like Windows7 for covert reasons albeit.
It's just so useless to make an entire distro, just for a themed look.
My real point though is not the uselessness of it, but the fact that there are actually interesting projects in the waiting list for review which are more thant just a rethemed respin of distroxyz, projects which actually try to do something novel or unique and which deserve to be reviewed more than Kumander.
Examples of interesting projects which are non-themed distros in waiting:
We all know what the desktops look like. The distros being reviewed should be more than just that.
Granpa over and out.
68 • It's nice to be calm (by Relax on 2023-07-06 04:49:54 GMT from Sweden)
> We all know what the desktops look like. The distros being reviewed should be more than just that.
So make your own blog for reviews. It's free in several locations on the web.
> Granpa over and out.
69 • Microsoft Like (by Klaus Schilling on 2023-07-06 06:16:03 GMT from Germany)
No self-respecting linux installation would look
anywherer near like anything windowsish.
70 • Fedora Centos Stream RHEL (by John on 2023-07-06 11:40:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
For small businesses or those want to use RHEL, various subscriptions for everyone. If you want to pay for subscription the cheapest at $175/year and if not, all you have to do is register for NO COST RHEL developer edition absolutely FREE. This was not possible many years ago. I think RHEL has gone above and beyond. Alternatively Fedora is more usable nowadays and Centos is as almost stable as RHEL. I think Enterprise Linux community should now focus Centos Stream. Thanks guys
71 • Fedora/CentOS/RedHat's (by Nono (France) on 2023-07-06 23:31:53 GMT from France)
@7, @14, @70
CentOS is mostly just an internal RedHat developpers community. It's fully RedHat-controlled. That's even why the so-called CentOS "community" obediently shifted from stabilised software to upstream software for RedHat as soon as the RedHat company issued this decision.
So now, not only RHEL-modified code cannot be used by other distros, but also CentOS code cannot be used as a dependable source. Recent history teaches us it may be be restricted the same way at RedHat's whim.
Besides, Enterprise Linux community will NOT focus on CentOS Stream: why using a distro that misses RedHat's latest code changes, latest patches pecularly.
Let us not be distracted by Messmer words ("CentOS Stream is [...] is the release branch for the corresponding RHEL major release. Everything in Stream has already passed testing and QA."). Would it be true, the new RHEL distribution restricting conditions would be pointless and thus would not have even been writen. If RedHat has published them, then they add code to the public CentOS code or they alter it AFTER the said CentOS testing a QA.
As for Fedora, not only it is considered experimental by RedHat, but its 'independence' may also be relative: which companies contribute the most to Fedora? IBM or RedHat, mind you? Those two companies have indeed fitted Fedora to a role: have external guys do the biggest part of curating the part of their code they maintain public for the sake of apparent benevolence.
My long reluctance to use Fedora, RedHat or derivative for technical considerations (bad experience with RPM package "dependencies' hell") has now reach the point of aversion.
72 • RHEL and source code access (by Rick Moen on 2023-07-07 04:04:05 GMT from United States)
While I appreciate Jesse Smith's lucid Q&A about "Red Hat changing its approach to sharing source code", his key statement, "The GPL does not require organizations to provide public access to their source code, it only requires that companies offer to provide their source code to people to whom they distribute binary copies of their software", strikes me as factually incorrect:
GPLv2's clause 3b and GPLv3's (corresponding) clause 6b require furnishing matching source to "any third party" (GPLv2), and "anyone who possesses the object code" (GPLv3).
As someone with some experience with these problems in Linux companies, I've made some further comments about this and similar controversies, here: http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/conspire/2023-July/012378.html
-- Rick Moen
73 • Digging your own grave (by far2fish on 2023-07-07 12:14:13 GMT from Denmark)
- For corporations tha are already running RHEL there is zero impact on the short term. Perhaps additonal license cost on the long run when the gratis alternatives goes away.
- For companies that are running RHEL clones, they need to decide if they want to start paying up, migrate to CentOS stream or ditch the RHEL familiy all together. I would go for option 3 I was a CTO.
- For enthusiasts like myself, I am stil on CentOS stream, but have started to consider Ubuntu LTS.
With possibly fewer nthusiasts and smaller companies using RHEL clones, I fear that Red Hat is digging their own grave.
74 • Source Code Access (by Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin on 2023-07-07 13:05:30 GMT from United States)
@72 Rick Moen
Section 3 of GPL v2 and section 6 of GPL v3 do describe ways in which to redistribute source code that comply with the overall license. GPL2 section 3 and GPL3 section 6 both head lists of ways in which compliance can be done. In v2, there are three different ways in which a publisher may comply, and in v3, there are five ways. Any one of the options provided is compliant.
However, GPLv3 section 5c says this: "You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it." So the license has to apply.
My best guess is that there will be a new version of the GPL with language aimed at just this sort of thing. I doubt very much that IBM has bothered yet to capture GNU or the Free Software Foundation, and are unlikely to do so.
In the meantime, I have to wonder what happens when Customer redistributes RH GPL object code, without first obtaining the source code -- what are Red Hat's obligations under the GPL at that point?
75 • "doublespeak" is becoming rampant (by R. Cain on 2023-07-07 13:05:56 GMT from United States)
"CentOS Stream" is NOT "CentOS".
But, then again, neither is CentOS, now.
76 • GPL (by Jesse on 2023-07-07 14:47:52 GMT from Canada)
@72: You may be right about the GPL requiring companies to offer source code to anyone who has copies of the binaries. There has been a great deal of debate over that - whether companies need to provide source code to anyone who gets their binary software, or just people who whom they provided the binaries. The latter seems to be true.
The reason being that any second party who redistributes the binary would be the party required to service the GPL (offer to provide source code), not the original (first-party) distributor.
It's an interesting debate and one which I don't think has been tested legally in the courts. However, it's a bit of a moot point since Red Hat's agreement in this case prevents the redistribution of their binaries, without paying for them, to third parties, so Red Hat should never be on the hook to share their source code with a third-party. Basically, if someone acquires Red Hat's binaries illegally, Red Hat probably isn't obligated to hold up their end of the license. That was the point I was trying to (more succinctly) convey in the above article.
77 • Source Code Access (by Rick Moen on 2023-07-07 15:29:35 GMT from United States)
Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin mentions correctly that GPLv2 and 3 list multiple ways to comply with source code access. I cited the subclauses easiest to satisfy; the point is that Red Hat's revised source regime complies with none. Shall we summarise all of them, then? OK:
Clause 3a: Provide matching source code along with the object code. Clause 3b: Accompany object code with a written offer of matching source code, good for 3 years, open to any third party, for a charge no greater than cost of distribution, on a medium customarily used for software interchange. Clause 3c: In case of non-commercial redistribution only, pass along upstream's clause 2b written offer.
Clause 6a: If object code is embedded in a physical product, provide corresponding source in a medium customarily used for software interchange. Clause 6b: If object code is embedded in a physical product, accompany it with a written offer open to anyone who possesses object code, for at least three years and the lifetime of spare parts or customer support for the product model, to give corresponding source for all GPLv3-covered software in the product, either on a durable physical mediums customarily used for software interchange, for no more than reasonable medium cost, or on a network server gratis. Clause 6c: In case of non-commercial and occasional redistribution only, pass along upstream's clause 6b offer. Clause 6d: If offering object code from a designate place, offer corresponding source to the recipients from the same place at no charge. If this designated place is a network server, the source location may be actually from a different server, as long as there are clear directions to it provided with the object code, and source remains available as long as object code does. Clause 6e: If object code is offered over peer-to-peer distribution, inform peers of the source and object locations of a clause 6d offer.
"Corresponding source" is a legal term of art defined in GPLv3, but means the obvious (and is defined with a bit more rigour than "matching source" in GPLv2).
All of the source-access methods other than GPLv2's clause 3b and GPLv3's clause 6b are inapplicable to Red Hat's situation and frankly to almost all GPL source-access discussions, and my point is that the estimable Jesse Smith appears to have missed the key phrasing "any third party" (GPLv2), and "anyone who possesses the object code" (GPLv3) -- and thus erred (Obviously, I paraphrased some licence wording for brevity, but think verbatim wording also supports my point.)
No, there is no obvious need for "a new version of the GPL with language aimed at just this sort of thing", since Red Hat's current violation is exactly refusal to offer matching/corresponding source to "any third party" (GPLv2), and "anyone who possesses the object code" (GPLv3). That is the very essence of the problem at hand, and IMO the substantive violation couldn't be clearer.
-- Rick Moen, email@example.com
78 • Source code access (by Rick Moen on 2023-07-07 15:37:20 GMT from United States)
Jesse, no, there is no "interesting debate". The phrasing "any third party" (GPLv2), and "anyone who possesses the object code" (GPLv3) do not offer Red Hat any "out" of "We refuse to comply because we claim you acquired the object code illegally" (for values of "ilegally" amounting to "one of our customers violated a contractual term such that we're very vexed and are likely to now terminate his/her service agreement").
Yes, you meant to imply that in the article, but no, that is a non-sequitur claim.
79 • GPL (by Jesse on 2023-07-07 16:09:43 GMT from Canada)
@78: I think the part you might be missing here is that the clause you mention which talks about "any third party" is just one of three options the distributor can follow to uphold their part of the license.
The 3b section you refer to is the second of the three options. Distributors only need to comply with one of the three options. As long as Red Hat complies with one of the other options, probably the first one, the "any third-party" section of the second clause doesn't need to be applied.
I'd suggest it's important quote the full section of the license to make that clear: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html
80 • Source code access (by Rick Moen on 2023-07-07 16:20:19 GMT from United States)
Jesse, yes, GPLv2 clause 3b is indeed the middle of three methods to satisfy source access. It's the only one relevant to Red Hat's situation, the easiest to satisfy, and the one it and practically everyone else relies on. As you read clause 3 in its entirety, you will see that Red Hat fails to comply with any of the three alternative methods, under its current policies.
As a side-matter, back at the beginning of the century, when I worked at VA Linux Systems, would you care to guess who harangued me about the "any third party" requirement on an issue concerning VA-modified binaries supplied in the RH-VALE distribution (Red Hat with VA Linux Extensions) handed out by our Technical Support Dept.? It was Richard M. Stallman (for my sins). Fortunately, we were in compliance.
Red Hat is not. Thus my point.
Seriously, you want me to quote GPLv2 clause 3 verbatim in a comment forum? OK, only because you asked:
3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:
a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.
If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code.
-- Rick Moen, firstname.lastname@example.org
81 • Source code access (by Rick Moen on 2023-07-07 21:01:26 GMT from United States)
And, Jesse, at the risk of belabouring the point, if Red Hat were indeed complying using the GPLv2 clause 3a method concerning RHEL's GPLv2-covered codebases, then everywhere it furnished one of those RPMs, or any of the object/executable files from them, it would be accompanying that file with its corresponding machine-readable source code.
It is not doing so, for the same pragmatic reasons why this method is almost never used by anyone else. (And similarly with the smaller number of GPLv3-covered ones.)
Anyone with a Red Hat Customer Portal login can verify this by inspection.
As a reminder, although some of those packages are wholly originated by Red Hat, Inc. / IBM as sole copyright owner, the lion's share (intending no "Lion Food" joke reference, this time -- though VP Mike McGrath qualifies for that ancient jest) have third-party and often "upstream" copyright stakeholders who permit RH/IBM access to their reserved rights under copyright law (e.g., making derivative works, distribution...) only if RH/IBM complies with licensors' conditions. Failing to meet those conditions immediately results in the tort of copyright violation against those third-party / upstream copyright owners. And that is where RH/IBM is squarely placing itself -- exactly where all the Linux firms I've worked for carefully avoided landing.
-- Rick Moen, email@example.com
82 • Source code (by Jesse on 2023-07-08 10:01:30 GMT from Canada)
@81: "And, Jesse, at the risk of belabouring the point, if Red Hat were indeed complying using the GPLv2 clause 3a method concerning RHEL's GPLv2-covered codebases, then everywhere it furnished one of those RPMs, or any of the object/executable files from them, it would be accompanying that file with its corresponding machine-readable source code."
I think you're overlooking a few things here. One is that the GPL was written back before on-line distribution was common. Back then people tended to trade software on floppy disks.
These days software is almost always supplied via on-line repositories.
Arguably Red Hat is complying with the first clause (accompanying binary software with source code in the same media/method) because their binaries and source are both shared through the same servers/access methods.
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|• Issue 1046 (2023-11-20): Slackel 7.7 "Openbox", restricting CPU usage, Haiku improves font handling and software centre performance, Canonical launches MicroCloud|
|• Issue 1045 (2023-11-13): Fedora 39, how to trust software packages, ReactOS booting with UEFI, elementary OS plans to default to Wayland, Mir gaining ability to split work across video cards|
|• Issue 1044 (2023-11-06): Porteus 5.01, disabling IPv6, applications unique to a Linux distro, Linux merges bcachefs, OpenELA makes source packages available|
|• Issue 1043 (2023-10-30): Murena Two with privacy switches, where old files go when packages are updated, UBports on Volla phones, Mint testing Cinnamon on Wayland, Peppermint releases ARM build|
|• Issue 1042 (2023-10-23): Ubuntu Cinnamon compared with Linux Mint, extending battery life on Linux, Debian resumes /usr merge, Canonical publishes fixed install media|
|• Issue 1041 (2023-10-16): FydeOS 17.0, Dr.Parted 23.09, changing UIDs, Fedora partners with Slimbook, GNOME phasing out X11 sessions, Ubuntu revokes 23.10 install media|
|• Issue 1040 (2023-10-09): CROWZ 5.0, changing the location of default directories, Linux Mint updates its Edge edition, Murena crowdfunding new privacy phone, Debian publishes new install media|
|• Issue 1039 (2023-10-02): Zenwalk Current, finding the duration of media files, Peppermint OS tries out new edition, COSMIC gains new features, Canonical reports on security incident in Snap store|
|• Issue 1038 (2023-09-25): Mageia 9, trouble-shooting launchers, running desktop Linux in the cloud, New documentation for Nix, Linux phasing out ReiserFS, GNU celebrates 40 years|
|• Issue 1037 (2023-09-18): Bodhi Linux 7.0.0, finding specific distros and unified package managemnt, Zevenet replaced by two new forks, openSUSE introduces Slowroll branch, Fedora considering dropping Plasma X11 session|
|• Issue 1036 (2023-09-11): SDesk 2023.08.12, hiding command line passwords, openSUSE shares contributor survery results, Ubuntu plans seamless disk encryption, GNOME 45 to break extension compatibility|
|• Issue 1035 (2023-09-04): Debian GNU/Hurd 2023, PCLinuxOS 2023.07, do home users need a firewall, AlmaLinux introduces new repositories, Rocky Linux commits to RHEL compatibility, NetBSD machine runs unattended for nine years, Armbian runs wallpaper contest|
|• Issue 1034 (2023-08-28): Void 20230628, types of memory usage, FreeBSD receives port of Linux NVIDIA driver, Fedora plans improved theme handling for Qt applications, Canonical's plans for Ubuntu|
|• Issue 1033 (2023-08-21): MiniOS 20230606, system user accounts, how Red Hat clones are moving forward, Haiku improves WINE performance, Debian turns 30|
|• Issue 1032 (2023-08-14): MX Linux 23, positioning new windows on the desktop, Linux Containers adopts LXD fork, Oracle, SUSE, and CIQ form OpenELA|
|• Issue 1031 (2023-08-07): Peppermint OS 2023-07-01, preventing a file from being changed, Asahi Linux partners with Fedora, Linux Mint plans new releases|
|• Issue 1030 (2023-07-31): Solus 4.4, Linux Mint 21.2, Debian introduces RISC-V support, Ubuntu patches custom kernel bugs, FreeBSD imports OpenSSL 3|
|• Issue 1029 (2023-07-24): Running Murena on the Fairphone 4, Flatpak vs Snap sandboxing technologies, Redox OS plans to borrow Linux drivers to expand hardware support, Debian updates Bookworm media|
|• Issue 1028 (2023-07-17): KDE Connect; Oracle, SUSE, and AlmaLinux repsond to Red Hat's source code policy change, KaOS issues media fix, Slackware turns 30; security and immutable distributions|
|• Issue 1027 (2023-07-10): Crystal Linux 2023-03-16, StartOS (embassyOS 0.3.4.2), changing options on a mounted filesystem, Murena launches Fairphone 4 in North America, Fedora debates telemetry for desktop team|
|• Issue 1026 (2023-07-03): Kumander Linux 1.0, Red Hat changing its approach to sharing source code, TrueNAS offers SMB Multichannel, Zorin OS introduces upgrade utility|
|• Issue 1025 (2023-06-26): KaOS with Plasma 6, information which can leak from desktop environments, Red Hat closes door on sharing RHEL source code, SUSE introduces new security features|
|• Issue 1024 (2023-06-19): Debian 12, a safer way to use dd, Debian releases GNU/Hurd 2023, Ubuntu 22.10 nears its end of life, FreeBSD turns 30|
|• Issue 1023 (2023-06-12): openSUSE 15.5 Leap, the differences between independent distributions, openSUSE lengthens Leap life, Murena offers new phone for North America|
|• Issue 1022 (2023-06-05): GetFreeOS 2023.05.01, Slint 15.0-3, Liya N4Si, cleaning up crowded directories, Ubuntu plans Snap-based variant, Red Hat dropping LireOffice RPM packages|
|• Issue 1021 (2023-05-29): rlxos GNU/Linux, colours in command line output, an overview of Void's unique features, how to use awk, Microsoft publishes a Linux distro|
|• Issue 1020 (2023-05-22): UBports 20.04, finding another machine's IP address, finding distros with a specific kernel, Debian prepares for Bookworm|
|• Issue 1019 (2023-05-15): Rhino Linux (Beta), checking which applications reply on a package, NethServer reborn, System76 improving application responsiveness|
|• Issue 1018 (2023-05-08): Fedora 38, finding relevant manual pages, merging audio files, Fedora plans new immutable edition, Mint works to fix Secure Boot issues|
|• Issue 1017 (2023-05-01): Xubuntu 23.04, Debian elects Project Leaders and updates media, systemd to speed up restarts, Guix System offering ground-up source builds, where package managers install files|
|• Issue 1016 (2023-04-24): Qubes OS 4.1.2, tracking bandwidth usage, Solus resuming development, FreeBSD publishes status report, KaOS offers preview of Plasma 6|
|• Issue 1015 (2023-04-17): Manjaro Linux 22.0, Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0, Arch Linux powering PINE64 tablets, Ubuntu offering live patching on HWE kernels, gaining compression on ex4|
|• Issue 1014 (2023-04-10): Quick looks at carbonOS, LibreELEC, and Kodi, Mint polishes themes, Fedora rolls out more encryption plans, elementary OS improves sideloading experience|
|• Issue 1013 (2023-04-03): Alpine Linux 3.17.2, printing manual pages, Ubuntu Cinnamon becomes official flavour, Endeavour OS plans for new installer, HardenedBSD plans for outage|
|• Issue 1012 (2023-03-27): siduction 22.1.1, protecting privacy from proprietary applications, GNOME team shares new features, Canonical updates Ubuntu 20.04, politics and the Linux kernel|
|• Issue 1011 (2023-03-20): Serpent OS, Security Onion 2.3, Gentoo Live, replacing the scp utility, openSUSE sees surge in downloads, Debian runs elction with one candidate|
|• Issue 1010 (2023-03-13): blendOS 2023.01.26, keeping track of which files a package installs, improved network widget coming to elementary OS, Vanilla OS changes its base distro|
|• Issue 1009 (2023-03-06): Nemo Mobile and the PinePhone, matching the performance of one distro on another, Linux Mint adds performance boosts and security, custom Ubuntu and Debian builds through Cubic|
|• Issue 1008 (2023-02-27): elementary OS 7.0, the benefits of boot environments, Purism offers lapdock for Librem 5, Ubuntu community flavours directed to drop Flatpak support for Snap|
|• Issue 1007 (2023-02-20): helloSystem 0.8.0, underrated distributions, Solus team working to repair their website, SUSE testing Micro edition, Canonical publishes real-time edition of Ubuntu 22.04|
|• Issue 1006 (2023-02-13): Playing music with UBports on a PinePhone, quick command line and shell scripting questions, Fedora expands third-party software support, Vanilla OS adds Nix package support|
|• Issue 1005 (2023-02-06): NuTyX 22.12.0 running CDE, user identification numbers, Pop!_OS shares COSMIC progress, Mint makes keyboard and mouse options more accessible|
|• Issue 1004 (2023-01-30): OpenMandriva ROME, checking the health of a disk, Debian adopting OpenSnitch, FreeBSD publishes status report|
|• Issue 1003 (2023-01-23): risiOS 37, mixing package types, Fedora seeks installer feedback, Sparky offers easier persistence with USB writer|
|• Issue 1002 (2023-01-16): Vanilla OS 22.10, Nobara Project 37, verifying torrent downloads, Haiku improvements, HAMMER2 being ports to NetBSD|
|• Issue 1001 (2023-01-09): Arch Linux, Ubuntu tests new system installer, porting KDE software to OpenBSD, verifying files copied properly|
|• Issue 1000 (2023-01-02): Our favourite projects of all time, Fedora trying out unified kernel images and trying to speed up shutdowns, Slackware tests new kernel, detecting what is taking up disk space|
|• Issue 999 (2022-12-19): Favourite distributions of 2022, Fedora plans Budgie spin, UBports releasing security patches for 16.04, Haiku working on new ports|
|• Issue 998 (2022-12-12): OpenBSD 7.2, Asahi Linux enages video hardware acceleration on Apple ARM computers, Manjaro drops proprietary codecs from Mesa package|
|• Issue 997 (2022-12-05): CachyOS 221023 and AgarimOS, working with filenames which contain special characters, elementary OS team fixes delta updates, new features coming to Xfce|
|• Issue 996 (2022-11-28): Void 20221001, remotely shutting down a machine, complex aliases, Fedora tests new web-based installer, Refox OS running on real hardware|
|• Issue 995 (2022-11-21): Fedora 37, swap files vs swap partitions, Unity running on Arch, UBports seeks testers, Murena adds support for more devices|
|• Issue 994 (2022-11-14): Redcore Linux 2201, changing the terminal font size, Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE publishes on-line manual pages, disabling Snap auto-updates|
|• Issue 993 (2022-11-07): Static Linux, working with just a kernel, Mint streamlines Flatpak management, updates coming to elementary OS|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.