Ubuntu Response from RedHat CEO

“GTPeach” from our chat room asked me if I wanted to ask a question of the RedHat CEO. I asked how he felt about Ubuntu. She told me this:

He went off for quite some time with this question. The summary of points is this: He has a lot of issues with Ubuntu regarding integrity. He says they are similar to Fedora but make too many compromises. They have “different levels of commitment to the Open Source community”. As an example, he says Fedora uses only the Open Source drivers while Ubuntu uses any. He also brought up the proprietary rights to things like CDs; saying that Ubuntu will allow you to lie about the country you are from in order to easily download codecs required to run CDs which “facilitates illegality” and Fedora merely takes you to a place you can buy the necessary codecs. He says the biggest issue he has with Ubuntu is the way that they treat the community. He says they “propagate the viewpoint that Open Source both violates intellectual property rights and is nothing more than a community of piracy.” He believes RedHat does not compromise their community, but instead builds it up, and refuses to make the same compromises regardless of the ease of use.

Yeah, but isn’t the nature of the Linux community to circumvent certain kinds legalities just to get something done? :)

23 thoughts on “Ubuntu Response from RedHat CEO”

  1. Canonical does not condone “illegalities.” Not to mention, you can download both proprietary and non-free codecs and drivers via the YUM repositories Red Hat provides. This is nothing but foolishness and FUD.

    Red Hat thinks their a separate identity from the rest of the Linux community? Think again. Red Hat was derived from Slackware Linux, as so many distributions are as well. Red Hat obviously developed the “Red Hat Package Manager,” aka RPM, which is the worthless piece of dependency hell of a package manager that ever existed.

    Microsoft? Don’t get me started. After all, Microsoft did in fact develop XENIX, which is in fact, a distribution of UNIX. So let me get lay this out for you. Microsoft developed a distribution of UNIX, then sold the rights to SCO, however acquiring 25% of the SCO corporation. SCO turns around and sues Novell for copyright infringement of UNIX copyrights. Wait wait, didn’t Microsoft try SUING Linux vendors, among others, for copyright infringement? Wait wait, who really owns these copyrights? Oh yes, the judge rules Novell.

    DRM? What a joke. I won’t even go there.

    The Linux community is NOT all about “circumventing legalities.” Do NOT call me a criminal. I have not one bit of software on this machine I do not own a license to. That includes non-free and restricted drivers. I do not watch movies on my computer, that’s what a DVD player and a 60 inch Plasma TV is for.

    I USE FOSS

    How much pirated content do you have on your Windows computer, huh Micro$oft fan-boy?

  2. [email protected] says:

    well redhat if you were to have only one iso and fit your OS onto one CD maybe we’ll reconsider

  3. “Yeah, but isn’t the nature of the Linux community to circumvent certain kinds legalities just to get something done? :)”

    No, it isnt. And prejudices like this have held back the open source community for years. open source is the singe most important factor regarding software that will influence the world in the next years.

    i remomment this talk for anyone who wants to truely have an idea of what he’s talking about when it comes to ubuntu: http://youtube.com/watch?v=mrLFFGWKqG8

    stefano

  4. I’ll happily give you restricted codecs argument here in the States, as there is no denying that it is not really a green light area with the legal situation (again, in the US only). However I ought to point out that the issue of legalities stops there.

    As for myself, I use free formats for my music, then Dirac (good) or Theora (meh) to convert my self-created video content to Flash for easier web viewing. It’s less difficult than most people think it is to kick the “Redmond habit”, as you have discovered to some extent with OS X. ;)

  5. doh! he’s so naive , of course part of fedora community are people who felt its their personal task to suggest third party repos to get these codecs

    ouch.. touch me not, for I am clean :p

  6. I just don’t get the whole idea behind distros promoting complete open source models. Users just want their stuff to work. They want Flash to work, their graphics to have 3D acceleration, etc..

    Red Hat was once the darling of open source, and now has become the Microsoft of open source. Now that their dominance is in question, they’re lobbing bombs at other open source players. Can we focus on the real goal here? Let’s all go after the proprietary software and OS vendors, not each other!

  7. Wow, Ryan needs to get off his high horse. Linux is a cobled together system that has never had that much consistency. Don’t think you can get any of these big cats to agree on anything.
    FreeBSD is a much more secure robust system. Mac OSX is based on it with the Mach 3.0 kernal. I have used Ubuntu and Redhat and they are both fine. The new Kubuntu is also interesting with the KDE 4 desktop. Has very Mac like features and user friendliness. The only problem is the applications…
    Until you get Adobe applications or Final Cut and Multimedia applications it will never gain enough users.
    I will not that Mark Shuttleworth from Ubuntu’s blog the other day about world economics and taking to task the rate cut was not what I expect from CEO’s of a Linux software company. I tried to comment on his blog and it did not get posted. Guess you have to agree with him.
    Love the bantar

  8. I’m a user of Ubuntu, but I had wanted to give Federa 8 a try. I quickly went back to Ubuntu. Federa 8 is far from being as intuitive as Ubuntu is. I couldn’t even get my 22″ flat panel to operate at the proper resolution under F8 at all. Ubuntu is far more ready for primetime than Federa 8 is….

  9. The problem isn’t so much the users as it is with companies who are ONLY interested in curtailing people’s ability to do things. If I don’t want to pay for Windows or OSX and want to use Linux AND watch DVD’s, what choice do the companies leave me? They refuse to release drivers for peripherals and codecs so they leave me with no choice but to find ways to work around things.

    Yes… I can afford to pay, but many people cannot or are in countries that for some reason vendors don’t choose to support. What are they supposed to do? Pay one years salary for a computer and/ or operating system so they can listen to Apple’s music files or watch a DVD? Not everyone can afford a 60″ plasma and a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player. I can’t. I watch my DVD’s on my computer because I chose to buy a 26″ LCD for my computer rather than a fancy television.

    Must my $.02

  10. I never thought that Canonical treated it’s users badly. I had used Ubuntu exclusively for a while, and while I switched back to Windows, the community was still awesome! I don’t know how the CEO of Redhat thinks about it. But maybe he needs to expand a little about this. I would like to hear another point-of view… Everyone’s opinion is welcome. That is freedom…

  11. While I agree that having a fully FOSS system would be nice, the issue that certain fanatical elements of the Open Source community don’t understand is that you cannot just abandon all closed source applications and get things done. The transition isn’t as easy as it should be. In my experience from working on AltimatOS and interacting with RH engineers, there has been a tendency from the RedHat camp to encourage an environment of arrogance which has fuelled an impression of NIH syndrome when it comes to their outlook on other distributions. These two issues have driven RH to where they at times foster and hinder the FOSS movement.

  12. I don’t care for Ubuntu or Fedora, I like Debian Etch, and yes, I add repositories which permit me to download software which will play multimedia files but I don’t create, or download any sort of media files; if I did, I’d stick to legal formats. Sure, I want stuff to just work, but more than that, I want alternatives and Linux gives me just that. It makes more sense than buying into the bloatware and hassles of MS. I’ve been cleaning out an old Win95 laptop for a friend and it occurred to me that Windows hasn’t changed all that dramatically since I started using it. There are more dramatic (and user friendly) differences between Debian Sarge, which I started using not quite two years ago, and Debian Etch than there are between Windows 95 and my XP machine. That impresses me a lot. I can’t wait to see how much better Linux will be two years from now. The bottom line: Linux makes sense regardless of your preferred distro.

  13. Whats the big deal ?

    The stated goal of Fedora is to build a completely open distribution. It seeks to follow the free software goals and practices. The goal of Ubuntu is to hack Debian into something anyone can use – it follows those goals and practices.

    The underlying difference is that Ubuntu makes compromises for you, Fedora lets you make your own compromises (eg by adding non-free repositories). Its a small (and IMHO important) philosophical difference. Fedora follows the Red Hat basis as it started there and of course that approach is exactly what made it a hugely successful business while the competition founded and did deals with Microsoft.

    Regarding legality – Red Hat is a successful large US company, it cannot afford to be anything but squeaky clean.

    Ubuntu is a small company that seems to be operated out of the Isle of Man (a tax haven) and not worth suing even if they do something wrong – as well as being outside the USA so subject to less insane laws about patents on things like codecs.

  14. Yeah, but isn’t the nature of the Linux community to circumvent certain kinds legalities just to get something done? :)

    Umm No ….. No one who knows anything about Linux and the GLP would say that. The problem with any software of this type is the DMCA. It should be perfectly legal to listen, convert, playback media you own. It’s not.
    Ubuntu helps you find software that might be questionable, then looks the other way. You can’t fault the Fedora people for calling BS on that. If you want people to think Linux people are IP thiefs than Ubuntu is making that happen.

  15. Oke.. interesting read..
    but i’m having a hard time believing it.

    but let, for the sake of this argument, assume it’s true.. than let me show my ubuntu and fedora point of view.

    I’m a long time fedora user by now and i personally MISS the ability to simply install ,for example, codecs that are legal where i live (Europe) and illegal where fedora is made (USA) and thus they simply can’t be included. That negative point is the positive point of ubuntu because that’s being made somewhere in Europe. i wish Ubuntu and Fedora could be the same in this point. For the rest is ubuntu spending more time on the look and feel (positive) and fedora spends some less on that (though more all the time). For the rest ubuntu and fedora are about the same for me (assuming you install the livna repository in fedora).

    Furthermore Ubuntu and Fedora should not compete with one another. both distro’s strive the same goal and both are improving the open source world in general (as long as they don’t sign the patent deal with microfuck).

    Lets just UNITE the foss world more than try to break it with rumors like this.

  16. Ryan – January 24, 2008 @ 2:11 am said:
    Red Hat obviously developed the “Red Hat Package Manager,” aka RPM, which is the worthless piece of dependency hell of a package manager that ever existed.

    The TRUTH:
    Caldera was originally a Red Hat distributor, and financed some Red Hat development, such as the RPM install module, but parted ways over quality issues.
    http://www.aaxnet.com/news/B000722.html

    Ryan – January 24, 2008 @ 2:11 am said:
    Microsoft? Don’t get me started. After all, Microsoft did in fact develop XENIX, which is in fact, a distribution of UNIX. So let me get lay this out for you. Microsoft developed a distribution of UNIX, then sold the rights to SCO, however acquiring 25% of the SCO corporation. SCO turns around and sues Novell for copyright infringement of UNIX copyrights.

    The TRUTH:
    Xenix was a version of the Unix operating system, licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in the late 1970s. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually began distributing it as SCO UNIX.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix

  17. Ryan – January 24, 2008 @ 2:11 am said:
    Red Hat obviously developed the “Red Hat Package Manager,” aka RPM, which is the worthless piece of dependency hell of a package manager that ever existed.

    The TRUTH:
    Caldera was originally a Red Hat distributor, and financed some Red Hat development, such as the RPM install module, but parted ways over quality issues.
    http://www.aaxnet.com/news/B000722.html

    Ryan – January 24, 2008 @ 2:11 am said:
    Microsoft? Don’t get me started. After all, Microsoft did in fact develop XENIX, which is in fact, a distribution of UNIX. So let me get lay this out for you. Microsoft developed a distribution of UNIX, then sold the rights to SCO, however acquiring 25% of the SCO corporation. SCO turns around and sues Novell for copyright infringement of UNIX copyrights.

    The TRUTH:
    Xenix was a version of the Unix operating system, licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in the late 1970s. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually began distributing it as SCO UNIX.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix

  18. @RSmith

    If you want something that “JUST WORKS” with no regard to maintaining free standards, just use Windows.

    It is critical that we “CHANGE THE RULES” (either the law or the vendor, as applicable) regarding codecs and binary blobs, not facilitate either the breaking of the law or the promoting of things where we can not redistribute the source.

    Sure, users want something that “JUST WORKS” … so we need to do things that legally allow that.

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