Fedora: champions of community!

Fedora: champions of community!


Fedora 7 Test 4 was launched last week and I’m excited! Right now I’m downloading the ISO to try it out and, although I’m aware that there are plenty of new features for me to explore in the distribution itself, many of the elements that have me most excited are changes relating to their infrastructure: they are setting out to empower the community more than any other distribution has.

Chief among the changes to Fedora for the project’s seventh release is the merger of Core and Extras. The reason for this is that they intend to make all of the tools used to build the releases available to the wider community, with some functionality even being let loose from Red Hat’s internals. This, they hope, will help to encourage greater community involvement and also make it easier for individuals and organizations to spin their own versions and releases. The other benefit of this merger is that it will remove any perceived distinction between the quality of packages in the old repositories, which has long since disappeared.

Another related feature of Fedora 7 is the introduction of an official Live CD spin, featuring versions specific for GNOME and KDE. This, like the rolling out of the build system, has been done with the idea of enabling the community at its center. There is a new package being created called livecd-tools which, when pointed at a kickstart file and a repository URI (be it a remote location or a local disk), will generate a live CD. The best part about this is the use of the kickstart file: it contains all the information about what configuration and which packages should be included on the live CD in an incredibly user friendly manner. This allows community members to pick their own package manifests, default locales along with all the settings such as keyboard layout, and custom wallpapers (and presumably artwork in a more general sense).

The other feature that will be immediately obvious to end-users is the planned redesign of the project’s homepage, which is listed as a “must have” for the release. The introduction of a simple, clean front page to the massive (and inevitably intimidating) resource which is the Fedora wiki can only be a good thing: whether it’s making it easier for people to find out exactly what Fedora is, or if it’s making it easier for people find documentation, or if it’s making it easier for people to get involved with the project, can only be a good thing!

Infrastructure changes aside, there’s a lot to look forward to in Fedora 7: the default inclusion of Network Manager and better wifi chipset support is a massive plus point for any laptop user; integration of KVM with Fedora’s graphical virt-manager for a superb visualization experience; a beautiful default theme, which in my opinion includes an amazing looking login screen; fast-user switching; yum speedups; the latest Gnome and KDE releases along with all the other software updates.

OK, that was possibly the longest sentence ever but the message is clear: Fedora 7 is going to be a fantastic release! Let’s not forget, either, Fedora sticks to a fairly rigid policy regarding licenses: if it doesn’t qualify as Free or Open Source then it doesn’t get included in the distribution. I intend on experimenting with some of these new features over the next week, especially the livecd-tools and I’m will be writing a guide in my next post for anyone who wants to follow in my steps.

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Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

"default inclusion of Network Manager" - this was already the case for the last Fedora releases. Since NetworkManager is in a usable state, the NetworkManager is included and enabled by default in Fedora!

Thilo Pfennig's picture

Fedora is all but a champion of community. If any distribution could be called that it is Ubuntu. Fedora has especially failed on the community level. Many active users have left Fedora because of that. Fedora has tried to silence unofficial Fedora voices and has tried to mainstream some websites. many, like me, have left Fedora because it is not possible to be freely associated. The Ambassador system tries to bind users into the distribution. And its a fact that Red Hat still decides tha major issues. I have switched to Foresight Linux where no membership is required - and users find many more distributions that are organized more openly and friendly.

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Jonathan Roberts's picture

I consider myself a member of the Fedora community and don't find what you've said to be true (obviously or I wouldn't have written the piece!).

What do you mean by:

"Fedora has tried to silence unofficial Fedora voices and has tried to mainstream some websites"

and:

"The Ambassador system tries to bind users into the distribution"

Membership is required for contributors to some parts of Fedora, such as the Docs project, but this is to ensure the legal issues are taken care of, largely as a result of their connection to Red Hat - anybody is *welcome* to join.

Membership is not required for people who just want to get help or to help others. Join the IRC channel #fedora on freenode or visit Fedora Forum where there is a massive community of friendly people more than willing to help; or also the mailing lists where this is always active and friendly discussion.

I can see how in the past, before these were clearly linked to within the distribution, you may have found some of these hard to find; now, however, they're linked to from the default home page in Fedora and are a great starting place for new users!

No other distribution that I know of has gone through, such lengths as creating easy to use live CD tools, to allow their users to use and share the software in which ever way they see fit. Saying that, there are many great distros and you have to find the one that suits you best: I was just explaining some of the great new features in F7 that will empower the community. I don't want to start a flame war here!

Thilo Pfennig's picture

At Fedora you even need to sign a CLA if you just want to fix a small typo in a wiki. You say: "this is to ensure the legal issues are taken care of" - Which means giving Red Hat the copyright of any typo I fix. The bug question is why Fedora actually needs to do everything different, including choosing weird, outdated licenses that are incompatible with GFDL and CC licenses.

The IRC-Channel: I asked some months ago where I can fetch FC4 packages - unfriendly answer was FC4 is dead. I then got the answer from Foresight channel where to get it from kernel.org.

Another bad thing: If you do install a testing version of Fedora you will ALWAYS have to install from scratch. Nobody will be there to help you. At Foresight you can move forward and abckward from development to stable branch as often as you want without any headache.

About the Live CD-Tools: Ubuntu just DID it, Foresight has this from the start. That Fedora needs such a long time is absolutely no pro argument.

So I dont see Fedora either be positive on the community or the technical level. I have used it for years and finally di give up as I realised that its just nor possible to change anything where Red Hat said "no way". For me this is no community distribution. A real community distribution discusses and decides things openly. Fedora says it is a meritocracy - thats right. You have to be either a Red Hat employee or me constantly active in a way that Red Hat likes to have some influence. If you criticize its very hard to make any impact.

I have just made the opposit experience with Foresight - sure its a smaller distro - but still - the community is much more positive - and people who want to help are welcome - no matter what colors they wear. We even have a lot of Gentoo or Ubuntu guys who will propably not switch. But hey thats ok. On Fedora I often was told that I would need to be on Fedoras side to be heard at all.

Thilo

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Max Spevack's picture
Submitted by Max Spevack (not verified) on

-1, Troll

When has the Fedora Project tried to silence unofficial voices? There's plenty of unofficial Fedora sites out there, which the Fedora Project actively embraces and supports. For example, Fedora Unity and Fedora News and Fedora Forum. None of those are run by Red Hat people -- all by Fedora volunteers. As the leader of the Fedora Project, I can tell you that I have never tried to shut down any Fedora websites (even the ones that say bad things about us), and I have always said that it would be unacceptable for anyone else to do so either. The only time that Fedora has to ask people to change what they are doing is if they are violating our trademark. If you don't understand why that is important, I recommend that you read a bit about US trademark law.

How does the Ambassador system try to bind anyone to a distribution? All they do is show up at events, hand out DVDs, and talk about Fedora and Free Software.

Major issues are decided by the Fedora Board, which is comprised of 5 Red Hat Employees and 4 Community Members. Additionally, more and more responsibility for Fedora Engineering has been pushed to a committee of leaders within Fedora that is also a well-balanced collection of community and Red Hat leaders.

You are spreading FUD. Either give some examples of recent history, or admit that your complaints may have been valid a few years ago, but that recent history shows clear improvement.

Thilo Pfennig's picture

I have witnessed myself, as you know as Fedora project leader, to voice my opinion and got a lot of bad feedback - it was just not possible to discuss things openly, as they were already decided by some company or comitee. I have also followed in Germany how Ambassadors and websites got some pressure to follow a Fedora mainstream.

The Ambassadors: Yeah THEY show up on events - but this should the role of random users and there should not be the need of an "official" ambassador to hand out DVDs? Again: I dont know of any other distribution that has implemented a system of this kind.

It would have looked better if you would have admitted that you are the Fedora Community leader. uts not me spreading FUD - its you and other Fedora Ambassadors that are spreading FUD and fooling people.

On my blog you once said you would answer to my criticism (back then i was still a Fedora user) but you never did. Fedora seems to be very active at working on the public image that it gives while at the same time not trustung their own users. I am not talking about an outside view. I have contributed in the past - I was excluded from the wiki because I did not want to sign a CLA/give Red Hat the copyright of my work and I have still tried to change some decisions that were made including writing you in length what my criticism was. The reactions that can partly be read in mailing lists were all but encouraging and I have also heard a lot of people who abstained from contributing to Fedora. Fact is that Fedora is very red-hatian. it might not be official Red Hat but Red Hat has build a system that they control and its just a fact that other distributions, especially Ubuntu do A LOT better in the community sector than Fedora. Who does not see that is blind.

Thilo
--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Karsten Wade's picture

Naturally, I am not a lawyer, and I cannot give legal advice. This is just my studied opinion.

Thilo Pfennig wrote ...

I have contributed in the past - I was excluded from the wiki because I did not want to sign a CLA/give Red Hat the copyright of my work.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal/Licenses/CLA

No where in that document does it give copyright to anyone.

If you re-read the document, or have a lawyer read it for you so you can get a legal interpretation of the document (as I have), you see that it grants Red Hat, Inc., on behalf of the Fedora Project, a copyright license. The language is in fact very similar to what you see in various terms of usage. It gives the Fedora Project (the entity on behalf of which Red Hat is requesting this grant of license) the rights to do stuff such as ... display your contribution on a webpage; store your contribution in CVS; move your contribution to a different SCM than CVS; put your contribution in a Fedora ISO; and so forth.

Even when you contribute to Wikipedia, it reminds you that your work is now licensed under the GFDL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights

The Fedora CLA makes it easier for the Fedora Project to make Fedora, distribute Fedora, and not get itself, Red Hat, or anyone else in legal trouble at the same time. If you don't like those ideas, you continue to be welcome to not sign it.

As for the Wiki, we are at least and at last close to providing a click-through only interface to accepting the CLA, so Wiki-only contributors can join without using a GPG key.

As for the choice of license, it is obvious why Fedora chose it -- it is simply the best license for the job. The reasoning is explained here:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/DocsProject/Licensing/FAQ

Fedora makes choices in the direction of maximum freedom. That includes choosing the best content license available. Other people's lawyers can offer them other solutions and licenses to choose from. Fedora's lawyers have their own opinion, and it's a well-respected one in all other matters.

http://www.google.com/search?q=mark+webbink

Thilo Pfennig's picture

1)
I said "I did not want to sign a CLA/give Red Hat the copyright of my work."
You said "No where in that document does it give copyright to anyone."
But also: "it grants Red Hat, Inc., on behalf of the Fedora Project, a copyright license."

So does Red Hat get a copyright of my work? Yes, it does.

You said "Even when you contribute to Wikipedia, it reminds you that your work is now licensed under the GFDL". Sure, GFDL, but I do not grant the Wikipedia Foundation my copyrights.I would not contribute then, too. You seem to mix up licenses and copyrights. I am very much for free licenses, but I do not trust Red Hat so far that I would like them to relicense my material, especially when people say that the CLA allows Fedora not to having to discuss relicensing in teh future again.

I also like to question why Red Hat should get any copy rights if in fact Fedora is a community project. Why then does a company need copyrights of contributions? I could imagine those rights be nice for a community organisation.

You said "As for the choice of license, it is obvious why Fedora chose it -- it is simply the best license for the job." -

Ok lets quote the FAQ:

"Why Not Use Another License, Such as a Creative Commons (CC) License, or the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) ?
The legal counsel for the Fedora Project carefully examined all of the well-known content licenses, and concluded that only the OPL met all of the criteria for an unambiguous and enforceable license that would guarantee the freedoms of contributors and users."

Ok, the reasoning is: We dont care what the community says - and we also do not care if the publishers of the OPL have recommended to the Creative Commons licenses, (Wikipedia: "The OPL is now largely defunct, and its creator suggests that new projects not use it.", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Publication_License) Fact is that this is a license prior to CC and the CC licenses were build after seeing what problem arose from this license (optional clause, etc.). I also like to cite the GNu organisations words about the OPL:
[QUOTE]
Open Publication License, Version 1.0

This license can be used as a free documentation license. It is a copyleft free documentation license provided the copyright holder does not exercise any of the “LICENSE OPTIONS” listed in Section VI of the license. But if either of the options is invoked, the license becomes non-free.

This creates a practical pitfall in using or recommending this license: if you recommend “Use the Open Publication License, Version 1.0 but don't enable the options”, it would be easy for the second half of that recommendation to get forgotten; someone might use the license with the options, making a manual non-free, and yet think he or she is following your advice.

Likewise, if you use this license without either of the options to make your manual free, someone else might decide to imitate you, then change his or her mind about the options thinking that that is just a detail; the result would be that his or her manual is non-free.

Thus, while manuals published under this license do qualify as free documentation if neither license option was used, it is better to use the GNU Free Documentation License and avoid the risk of leading someone else astray.

Please note that this license is not the same as the Open Content License. These two licenses are frequently confused, as the Open Content License is often referred to as the “OPL”. For clarity, it is better not to use the abbreviation “OPL” for either license. It is worth spelling their names in full to make sure
[/QUOTE]

Another fact is that this licenses is incmpatible with CC AND woith GFDL which are both more popular. Every free software project should rather choose a license that is compatible than a license in fact nobody uses. Ah right, not nobody, Red Hat did. What a coincidence?

So you really think that your lawyers are so much smarter than the ones of GNU and Creative Commons and so many other distributions? I think Fedora does work similar as the OpenOffice.org project here. Wow and they also have a license of their own! The thing is: If every project would use a license of its own one really could just remove the license and just have a CLA and a copyright, because nobody else would use the license.

Real live example: I wanted to copy some stuff from OO documentation to Wikipedia (there are some nice descriptions about layout terms). Fact is: I could not, because OOs documentation is PDL while the one of Wikipedia is GFDL. This in fact means that neither Abiword, Scribus nor Koffice could use this, too.
Or simply: If a user writes a great explanation in the Ubuntu wiki (which is licensed: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DocumentationTeam/License CC-BY-SA-2.5 which is pretty standard) - you could not copy this great explanation but your users or a Red Hat employee would have to write from scratch.

So alltogether I can neither agreee that those comitee decisions have been very smart, nor do I agree that Red Hat is not beeing granted copyrights over material of the users (well in fact not over my content,but only of those users who have signed the CLA). I hope you now have deleted my content because I was not allowed to remove mine - and in fact nobody asked me or any other wiki user what we think would be a smart solution.

I still thinK Fedora is technically interesting and also has some great people on board, but it is not THE community distribution. I won't either say its OpenSuse, but there are many other distros who lsiten much more to the users. A distribution should be happy about people who spread the word. I wanted to do this but could not, because only Ambassadors should, and as I did not want to become want and did not want to get sued by Red Hat because I did I had to switch the distro. This is NOT a good example how to build up a nice community. The opposit. If you say: Every user is welcome to spread the world and hand out CDs/DVDs or give tlaks about Fedora then I would see first signs in Fedoras policy which I would welcome because the Fedora users deserve to be respected as they are Linux users like we all are.

Thilo

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

deadbabylon's picture
Submitted by deadbabylon (not verified) on

> A distribution should be happy about people who spread the
> word. I wanted to do this but could not, because only
> Ambassadors should, and as I did not want to become want
> and did not want to get sued by Red Hat because I did I had
> to switch the distro. This is NOT a good example how to
> build up a nice community.

Wow. That's nonsense. And you know this. You've been part of the german community at fedoraforum.de for some time. And we weren't punished by Max, Red Hat or Fedora at all for doing our job.
You dislike the status of an ambassador. That's ok. But please, don't flame Fedora on every place you could find for this descision. Talk to them and discuss the step. And if you still disagree, well, that's a point that could happen. :)

jef's picture
Submitted by jef (not verified) on

"So does Red Hat get a copyright of my work? Yes, it does."

No. It gets a copyright license. If you don't understand the difference you are confused about copyright laws.

"Ok, the reasoning is: We dont care what the community says - and we also do not care if the publishers of the OPL have recommended to the Creative Commons licenses"

You say this but you don't have any proof validating it. Wikipedia is not a proof since anyone can edit it to say anything they want. One of the netbsd founders said that netbsd is irrelvant. Should we all stop using netbsd immediately? It is a copyright license and it can stand on its own regardless of anyone thinking in a different way about it including the founder.

"Every free software project should rather choose a license that is compatible than a license in fact nobody uses. Ah right, not nobody, Red Hat did. What a coincidence?"

This is NOT true. You were already corrected for this false claim in the mailing list and you repeat it again now. Open publication license is used by many organizations including orielly publications.

"I think Fedora does work similar as the OpenOffice.org project here. Wow and they also have a license of their own! "

False. Openoffice.org uses LGPL. They dropped the sun specific license long back. Again a claim corrected in the mailing lists already. Millions of users are happy using Fedora. Your repeated incorrect claims is not going to stop that. If you are happing using another distribution feel free. Noone is stopping you.

Thilo Pfennig's picture

I said: "So does Red Hat get a copyright of my work? Yes, it does."

Jef said: "No. It gets a copyright license. If you don't understand the difference you are confused about copyright laws."

No, you dont understand: A OPL or GFDL is a license. You are granting some rights and some freedoms to anybody. You do not need a CLA to use a free license. The CLA additional to the OPL defines that Red Hat is granted a full copyright without any limits. What the CLA does not anc can not do: It can not take away the copyright from me. At least in Germany that would be illegal anyway. In Germany a copyright always belongs to you and thats why there is no public domain in Germany like in the US.

Again the quote: "Contributor Grant of License. You hereby grant to Red Hat, Inc., on behalf of the Project, and to recipients of software distributed by the Project:
* (a) a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, fully paid-up, royalty free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute your Contribution and such derivative works; ..."

This means that Red Hat can do what ever they want with my content and the sense of this license is to

a) Give Red Hat the possibility to protect my content from misuse outside the project and
b) To allow Red Hat to print my contributions like for use in RHEL and I give them the full copy rights. I can not revoce the license or later come and demand money from Red Hat if a HOWTO I make and they sell earns them a lot of money.

But this CLA is indeed more than just a simple license like the OPL or any other license would be that gives ANYBODY similar rights. So they decided that the OPL just gives Red Hat not enough rights. So they do it different as the Wikimedia Foundation who just accepts anonymous and contributions by name without forcing users to sign any further agreements or giving the Foundation any additional rights. In fact Red Hat would have the right to take my content, put it in a book, sell it and protect it by their own rights and by that loosing the original OPL. The only theing they may not do is to tell ME that i may not publish my own content any more. It also gives Red hat the right to decide tomorrow that all documentation contenmt will be GFDL or CC licensed, no matter under what license the contributors published their content. So in fact the CLA is a way to circumvent the OPL as it gives Red Hat similar rights as I have - copy rights - call it "copy right license" or "copy rights" anyway the right to copy without having to follow the OPL - why else should they have added a CLA if the OPL would have been enough for them?

I am not claiming that Red Hat is planning something evil, rather I think that lawyers like recommending their company to be always on the save side. But this includes in this case that they recommended that additionally to the free content license the contributor must give Red Hat more rights, so they can protect themselves better or easier.

I said: "I think Fedora does work similar as the OpenOffice.org project here. Wow and they also have a license of their own! "

Jef said: "False. Openoffice.org uses LGPL. They dropped the sun specific license long back. Again a claim corrected in the mailing lists already. Millions of users are happy using Fedora. Your repeated incorrect claims is not going to stop that. If you are happing using another distribution feel free. Noone is stopping you."

OpenOffice.org quote: "The document license is the Public Document License (PDL)." (source:http://www.openoffice.org/license.html)

You seem to have no idea at all about licenses

I have now contacted the authors of the licenses and urged them to clarify the position about the OPL on the blog at http://www.opencontent.org/blog/ . I hope they do. I have read their statements on the old pages which they seemed to have taken offline now. As far as Iknow the problem with the OPL always was the optional clause and in fact the OCO also had criticized the CC for doing some similar "mistakes" with too many options (commercial/non-commercial,etc.) - althought these options are much more standardized as they are in the OPL.

Thilo
--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

jef's picture
Submitted by jef (not verified) on

"But this CLA is indeed more than just a simple license like the OPL"

Regardless of this it is a copyright license and it does not give your copyright to someone else. You still hold your copyrights and Red Hat gets a license. Same for FSF with any GNU software, Apache, Sun with Openoffice.org or opensolaris etc. Red Hat is doing nothing very different here

"I can not revoce the license or later come and demand money from Red Hat if a HOWTO I make and they sell earns them a lot of money."

That's the case with any Free software license.

"I have - copy rights - call it "copy right license" or "copy rights" anyway the right to copy without having to follow the OPL"

Again copyright and copyright license is not one and the same. Learn some basic legal theory.

"why else should they have added a CLA if the OPL would have been enough for them?"

It has already been explained to you several times and is in the fp.org wiki. OPL does not cover the entire range of software in the distribution but only some formal documentation. If a contributor had patent rights none of the copyright licenses would cover that. The CLA would.

"OpenOffice.org quote: "The document license is the Public Document License (PDL)." (source:http://www.openoffice.org/license.html)

You seem to have no idea at all about licenses"

No. YOU don't. I already said OPL is used by many many vendors including Oreilly. So stop propogating this lie.

"I have now contacted the authors of the licenses and urged them to clarify the position about the OPL on the blog at http://www.opencontent.org/blog/ . I hope they do"

Until they do you can stop claiming this since it cannot be verified.

jef's picture
Submitted by jef (not verified) on

"The Ambassadors: Yeah THEY show up on events - but this should the role of random users and there should not be the need of an "official" ambassador to hand out DVDs? Again: I dont know of any other distribution that has implemented a system of this kind."

Ignorance is bliss. Ambassadors are merely marketing point of contacts when people need to do more organized events. Openoffice.org does this. In fact this idea was suggested originally by Colin Charles who is a non Red Hat guy involved with Openoffice.org marketing and now is the community manager of MySQL. MySQL of course follows a similar system now.

"I have contributed in the past - I was excluded from the wiki because I did not want to sign a CLA/give Red Hat the copyright of my work"

The CLA does not give your copyright to Red Hat. It gives a copyright license to Red Hat on the behalf of the Fedora Project as they are the legal entity. Major difference there which was already pointed out to you when you brought this up on the mailing lists. Do you know that many major projects do this too? Openoffice.org, MySQL, Apache etc.

"it might not be official Red Hat but Red Hat has build a system that they control"

Wrong. The build system for Fedora Extras has always been open and Fedora 7 has a unified external and open build system for the entire repository.

You are the guy who made a bad fuss over simple misunderstanding and left Fedora followed by GNOME marketing recently.

Jef's picture
Submitted by Jef (not verified) on

"I think you are not aware of ubuntu."

The distribution which installs proprietary and illegal kernel drivers by default? Yes, we are aware of it.

Jonathan Smith's picture
Submitted by Jonathan Smith (not verified) on

"No other distribution that I know of has gone through, such lengths as creating easy to use live CD tools"

Thats simply not true. You just need to broaden your horizons a bit more :). Foresight's use of rBuilder Online allows you to create not only LiveCDs, but VMware images, domUs, QEMU/Parallels images, even MS VHD images. Can you say that for your livecd-tools? What's even better is that the rBuilder servers do it for you - no need to run a kickstart on a local development box.

Linux Geek's picture
Submitted by Linux Geek (not verified) on

I'm sorry you have not liked Fedora in the past. It sounds like you wont like it in the future no matter what happens.

-- Welcome to Linux! --

An inherit joy to Linux is you get to do whatever you want with it and use whatever collection of packages (call it a distro if you want) you find fit. The Fedora 7 release *is* a positive thing. Stop trying to smear forward progress.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I don't know, it seems like most distributions have their share of dirty laundry when it comes to community.

Ubuntu planet has quite a few posts about censorship recently. Seems like Canonical may have been upset about the "Ubuntu on Dell" announcment leaking out a little bit early. Novell certainly got it's fair share of community criticism in recent months and Debian at times seems to be (IMO) run by 3rd graders.

"So I dont see Fedora either be positive on the community or the technical level. I have used it for years and finally di give up as I realised that its just nor possible to change anything where Red Hat said "no way"."

This hardly seems fair. I believe Redhat has more active kernel developers than any other distribution. Also, I think Network Manager was created by Redhat developers. Hardly "not being positive on the technical side".

Lots of leaders in the Linux and BSD world have left projects due to disagreement. Theo de Raadt, Matt Dillon, Gael Duval, Daniel Robbins, etc. Lots of other leaders make unpopular decisions (I remember some being upset when Patrick Volderking of Slackware stopped packaging Gnome in Slackware).

I don't think this has to a bad thing. Without strong leadership, there are too many voices to satisfy and things seem to just stagnate (again, right or wrong, I'll pick on Debian). Finding a distribution that listens to your voice more closely doesn't mean the rest are bad...it just means the one that listens to you more closely is best for you.

Finally, I've found using words like ALWAYS and NOBODY usually get me in trouble.

Thilo Pfennig's picture

>I don't think this has to a bad thing. Without strong leadership, there are too many voices to satisfy >and things seem to just stagnate (again, right or wrong, I'll pick on Debian). Finding a distribution >that listens to your voice more closely doesn't mean the rest are bad...it just means the one that >listens to you more closely is best for you.

One can not agree on all points, true. But a "community distribution" has to base on the community and not on comitees or lawyers. And although I do not use Debian I have very high respect for their community and what they try to do, even if they sometimes seem to overdo it. In fact criticizing Fedora is a kind thing to do. Its much better as to keep the criticism for oneself.

But I admit that I am not a believer in meritocrazy as a model for a distribution. I rather prefer either a hardcore community model or the benevolent dictatorship where often more is possible, because the project leader needs other people that simply will go away if he does not listen to them.

Thilo

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Jonathan Roberts's picture

Please, all, I didn't intend to start a flame war with the article!

Thilo, it seems like you've had a bad experience with Fedora/Red Hat in the past, but the point of the article was simply to show the amazing things that are going on in Fedora 7 that are really going to benefit the community.

To Max and Karsten etc, I can understand wanting to set the record straight and put forward your point of view but let's not help carry this on longer than is needed...

As for people who like Foresight Linux, Ubuntu etc - that's awesome too! Clearly they meet your needs and please tell us about them but in a context that doesn't carry a derogatory tone. There are loads of distributions all doing great work and all contributing back up stream where possible and this benefits us all.

Jon

Thilo Pfennig's picture

The reason is simply that you presented as the beste community Linux wone could imagine - and thats neither my experience and there are also some facts that thell something different. Don't worry - i did not mean this personally - I just wanted to add my experience. And in fact the points that were mentioned should have been discussed on the community more openly. Fact is, that I left Fedora only because of the community, which I think is generally a bad thing and indicates that soemthing is wrong. I am not a distro hopper, although I have had some of them since 1997. Right now I use Foresight - the primary reason is, that although this is not a community distribution as Fedora defines itself, I and the community can decide and discuss much more core things (even the Logo).

So the question is maybe "What is a community distribution?" Or "hat is a good community distribution?" A distribution can also choose to work in different styles like a) Everything that is done must be decided democratically or b) Those who do things or are more affected decide when a decision has to be made (anarchistic) or c) Those who have gained support from a company or through essential contributions decide in comitees (meritocracy).

From my view a distribution can not be meritocratic and community based at the same time. This is a community more like an infantry but not as part of the distribution.

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Thilo Pfennig's picture

Thankfully David, the writer of the OPL has answered to my request to clear this finally in a blog post:
http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/329

Quote: "Anyone interested in a license like this is far better off using a Creative Commons license."

I think this should clarify some doubts but underline the point i was trying to make and that were reflected in the open content discussion for many years. I just could not find a link to a good comprehensive text that discussed that or made the status of the OPL more clear. I hope you will now see that my criticism relating the OPL was also not just FUD as some claimed here but indeed based on facts. It maybe be that some lawyers still like the OPL more, but it just does not reflect the status of the open content debate any morem where as one CC license (CC-BY 2.5 or newer) even allow one-way compatibility to GFDL.

One should not see licenses as "does the job best for distribution X", but rather choose licenses who are modern and widely accepted and also more compatible so that content exchange gets easier.

--
Thilo Pfennig
Blog: http://flinux.wordpress.com/

Gary Allum's picture

Who needs M$ to try and tear down open source. Your example here to someone that may never have used Linux or OSS, is perfectly clear. Instead of people all banding together to make things better in the open source community, there always has to be people tearing it down. People have different outlooks and opinions on communities, because they have different expectations. Maybe rather than all of these comments complaining about what Fedora may have done in the past, why not just look hopefully towards the future, and not allow that kind of thing to happen at your favorite distribution. Don't lose sight of the fact that every distribution is only part of the larger open source community, and isn't that what it's really all about?

devn3t's picture

This is an excellent post about the OPL. Very thought provoking and really clarifies the point you were trying to make.

I can understand your position much better now...when I originally started reading this thread I was thinking "man, this guy is a nutter". Funny how clarifications change things :D

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Very good points Thilo. For those of you who seem to casually disregard this user by opening first defense or some of you who are saying the likes of "Look towards the future, don't worry everything will be fine, blah blah blah" I think you should back track and re-read. This user is making good points about the context of creeping privilege for licensing in the FOSS community. It's a shame that ordinary user's are having to take on the responsibilities of law perspective. Unfortunately these are the days where ownership and licensing is increasingly becoming a cut-throat business, even under our own scared umbrella of protection.

We are the community. If we don't watch what they're doing then who will? Don't support companies who slowly disregard the principles that our communities were founded on. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous visitor's picture

could one of you please help me out with some information. Is GFDL not a copyleft vs copyright provision? If it is copyleft then the fuss is about nada. If something else I stand corrected and uninformed. I would like to inform our own community at vectorlinux.com of this issue.
thxs for your time to respond !
Regards
Darrell
Quote:
GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation.

Author information

Jonathan Roberts's picture

Biography

Currently a gap year student! I have a huge interest in Free Software which seems to keep growing. I run the Questions Please... podcast which can be found at questionsplease.org. On an unrelated note I'm reading theology at Exeter next year.