IgnorantGuru's Blog

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You’re fired, Red Hat

Nice to see the energy for this udev fork building – will be interesting to see the method that Red Hat uses to try to kill it and maintain unilateral control. Where do these mysterious political influences in Linux come from anyway? Have they drugged and kidnapped Linus and switched him with a (characteristically poorly developed) Red Hat robot imposter? (If he starts crashing and refusing to grant access to his own brain, we’ll know it’s Red Hat devs at work again.)
gmane discussion thread
slashdot coverage

And if you want to see complete debian stupidity in action…
debian mailing list discussion

They don’t have the sense to support this – they’d rather argue about how debian is better than gentoo. So once again another choice by debian to use broken tools for political reasons. See cdrtools vs cdrkit for another example of mindless debian inertia and witless maintainers making unilateral choices for their users. And lest you think that’s old news, a debian packager recently contacted Jorg on his mailing list with ideas of packaging cdrtools, but someone in the upper echelons (lowest muck) of debian killed it again for no given reason.

Anyway, in every way you can let Linus and distros know that it’s time to bring some quality back to udev by supporting this fork. This is a small window in which to make a significant change.

I think they should simply steal the name ‘udev’ just like Red Hat does. As in You’re fired!

November 20, 2012 - Posted by | News


  1. I find it weird that Debian doesn’t want to adapt a fork, they seem to have a knack for forks. libva instead of ffmpeg, eglibc instead of glibc, and so on. Also, they are riding on the same boat as Gentoo, because they also didn’t make systemd their default init.

    Comment by Kaszak | November 20, 2012

  2. Reminds me that someone recently discovered that a Lenovo workstation using UEFI would only boot things that was labeled (yep, the UEFI checked the actual label written to the firmware) Windows or RHEL.

    In essence, RH is THE Linux in the enterprise world. I really do wonder what the long term effects will be for the larger community if RH go and do their own thing in terms of user space.

    I really found myself wondering what kind of harm RH did to the desktop linux efforts when they dropped their desktop distro and left it in the hands of Fedora. This because the name change meant there was no longer a mental connect between the desktop distro (Fedora) and RHEL offered for workstations and servers.

    This in particular because i keep having the old Gates quote about piracy at the back of my head. The one where he states that he would rather see people pirate Windows than give competing choices a try. The unstated message here is that MS can then sell Windows for the enterprise on the total cost of ownership speech, because there is a mental connection between Windows on the home desktop and Windows on the enterprise workstation and servers (tho not on the really big clusters and old big irons, as those will forever be *nix).

    It’s a kinda complicated issue tho, as it deals as much with marketing and public perception as it does technical prowess.

    Comment by digi_owl | November 20, 2012

  3. I don’t see Canonical doing something about udev (since they use upstart).

    Comment by Σταύρος Δαλιακόπουλος | November 20, 2012

  4. Greg Kroah’s response seems to be very negative, I wonder if linus shares his views.

    Also, in the article “gname discussion thread” should be “gmane”

    Comment by anonymous_penguin | November 20, 2012

  5. Great stuff, IgnorantGuru. I’ve been following the recent udev forking as well, though at the moment my system runs the default udev that Gentoo ships, which seems to be plucked from systemd’s sources. This is a good sign of things to come. With a small gathering of forks, this shows us that systemd is not welcome (as a de facto standard, anyway) among the serious and competent distributions. I wish I knew more about hardware and C so I could help in this initiative. I’ll be subscribing to Gentoo’s mailing lists today so I can stay up-to-date on things.

    Comment by sporkbox | November 21, 2012

    • Although the problem of udev now being part of systemd is part of this, udev has its own problems. It is ill-maintained, and when it is maintained, they make changes that Linus describes as “crazy” and not based on any logic he can discern.

      This is especially problematic in light of Red Hat’s history. Specifically, they erratically change interfaces and other aspects of what they maintain, which tends to (deliberately?) break non-RH, non-Gnome systems. Great to have them in charge of udev, huh? They also tend to maintain something well only initially, then it falls into abandonment as they become obsessed with their latest greatest toy. This too can be seen in udev maintenance.

      If something isn’t done to address this pattern, Linux will become (is becoming) bug-ridden and prone to erratic failures at the device level, the init level, etc. This is already happening, and why Linus is wording things so strongly. Me, I see what you may as well call a conspiracy in this – it is just a little too widespread and “oops”, accidental.

      Red Hat is not the company it was. If I were to investigate it, I would look into why it’s “merging with” (being bought by?) the energy industry (Duke Energy, “the largest electric power holding company in the United States; with assets also in Canada and Latin America”, maker of nuclear energy plants). Let’s just say that anything connected with energy corporations is usually corrupt beyond belief, with all the usual players in corruption involved and pursuing agendas via the money and power involved.

      “[In] 2009, Red Hat replaced CIT Group in Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index, a diversified index of 500 leading companies of the U.S. economy.”

      “Red Hat became the first one-billion dollar open source company in its fiscal year 2012, reaching $1.13 billion in annual revenue.”

      Hmm, this is not a small open source project. It’s a billion dollar corporation with significant resources and ties to other corporations. I find that significant, especially in light of what they’ve been doing to Linux lately.

      While a large subject, it really makes me question whether commercial Linux has any real value in Linux – it’s just parasitic. Aside from better support from hardware manufacturers, which was incidental, I can’t see that it has contributed anything of value. On the software side, I think community-developed projects offered much more robust and imaginative options. Personally, I wish these corporate whores would just go away, or at least be ignored rather than put in charge of Linux’s future.

      At the very least, there needs to be some kind of effective boundary between Linux the free/community-developed and Linux the corporate. At present, the corporate agendas are controlling low level components and creating a very different kind of Linux, one which strongly resembles a Microsoft product (and all that that implies).

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | November 21, 2012

      • I agree. I may take it a step further and say corporate interests and free, open-source software simply don’t mix. They are at odds with each other and incompatible. The reason for this is that a corporation will always have a vested interest in breaking other things and pushing their project(s). There’s something in it for them to either gobble up other projects (as systemd has done with udev and dbus) or break things so that their platform is the only “convenient” one. The profit motive is corrupt from the outset, so no profit-seeking business can merge with the FOSS community and expect to be valued, respected, or trusted. At least, not by people who have their heads screwed on properly.

        Red Hat is definitely parasitic, as is Google. They ride on FOSS software and don’t give us quality things (or respect) in return.

        Perhaps a legal change is needed in the form of licensing future software. I already add clauses to my artwork and writing that prohibits commercial gain. Perhaps I (and others) could do it for software, too. That gives the community leverage against corporations that actually matters (that is, it’ll cost them), and the EFF is an organization that will seek litigation on license issues. That doesn’t solve the political issues, however. I don’t believe there’s any clear-cut way to solve that problem. These attempts at digging their claws into critical system components need to stop, or GNU/Linux (as we know it now, anyway) will die. I’m glad that Linus and other kernel devs are pissed over what’s going on. They have every right to be. These leeches (Poettering, Sievers, et al) are putting on a pretty public face while trying to take over userland on all the major distributions. Worse, they accuse the kernel devs of not being willing to work with them in impossible ways (the module+firmware thing being a prime example).

        They should really just start their own distribution. That’s what this sort of politics ends up becoming, and it doesn’t hurt anyone because choice is paramount. Instead, they’re pushing their ideals on the rest of the free software community. That’s not welcome, and I hope they’re ostracized from the community after these shenanigans are over.

        Re: creating a boundary, I have no ideas. In what way can we check if someone has ulterior motives, or ties to a corporation? Trust isn’t something we can automate or measure easily…

        Comment by sporkbox | November 21, 2012

        • I used to develop Windows freeware, and you had to be aggressive to survive. If your free software did something better than a for-pay variety, you were seen as a competitor, and they would try to disrupt your work in every way possible (just ask Mozilla about Microsoft). Linux is starting to remind me of that environment. Just to offer a useful, free tool, you have to continuously fight against the OS and dev environment. That is why software dev is so dead and uninteresting, and unevolving.

          I think Linux is best viewed as a community resource, like a highway or a national park. You want everyone to be able to use it and contribute to it’s health, but you don’t want any one person or faction to lay exclusive claim to it, control its availability or direction of change, or be permitted to damage it such that others can’t use it.

          The commercial model wants to make a product that is exclusive. This motive is inconsistent with making it non-exclusive.

          I don’t think licenses will stop the power of money manipulating people’s actions. There are always people deciding things in Linux, and those people can be intimidated, bribed, swayed, replaced, etc. And larger groups of people (mass users) can be swayed with costly advertising, misinformation, etc. The non-commercial Linux will never be able to compete with that, or afford to combat it effectively in (increasingly corrupt) courts.

          I think it’s more a matter of groups of people with non-commercial interests creating their own Linux branch(es), tools, and other software (and hardware), and focusing on maintaining its non-exclusivity and availability. Such groups already exist in various forms. But as it stands, some of the core components they’re using are now being overtaken, so some further commitment is now required.

          It seems to be a recipe lately to steal something’s name, then conduct business using that name, but with a new agenda. I believe this is affecting the names “Red Hat”, “Google”, “Gnome”, and “Linux”, to name a few. Yet you can recognize junk corporate software and its associated engineered limitations and breakage.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | November 21, 2012

        • “Red Hat is definitely parasitic, as is Google. They ride on FOSS software and don’t give us quality things (or respect) in return.”

          Red Hat and Google are parasitic of what – the great amount of code written for upstream by Arch / Debian / Gentoo / Mint / Slackware / Ubuntu “developers”?

          Comment by Anonymous | November 24, 2012

          • They use existing FOSS software to create other software that may be open-sourced, but either locks users into one way of doing things (systemd) or snoops their information at every opportunity (chrome). In effect, they are diluting the value of FOSS with their agendas.

            Comment by sporkbox | November 24, 2012

    • Another question worth asking, is Red Hat throwing the game?

      A billion dollar company doesn’t enter things carelessly, and gnome 3 is a colossal failure by most accounts. Has Red Hat been effectively bought, and is it now being used to merely undermine and sabotage Linux? Who could afford to use a billion dollar company as a disposable plaything? Well, Google certainly. As well as an energy corporation, or both in some kind of combination (isn’t Google in the energy business too?) These methods are routine in the corporate world – buy something and drive it into the ground. Oil (energy) companies are rather well known for burying ideas and innovation. Is Linux now a target of such machinations?

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | November 21, 2012

      • That’s another worthy question. Does anyone follow Android development? If we see systemd on Android devices, it may be a sign…

        Comment by sporkbox | November 21, 2012

  6. Thanks for the update.

    Re: “complete debian stupidity in action”
    Are you losing confidence in Debian (and if yes, thus indirectly in Aptosid etc?) in a way vaguely analogous to how you lost confidence in Arch?

    Do you think Debian will end up adopting systemd?

    Comment by Russ | November 21, 2012

    • They’ll probably end up supporting it on their Linux version. From what I could tell on the mailing list, it’s a case of a few developers that’ve drank the systemd kool-aid and berate anyone who doesn’t agree with them. They’ll likely abuse their influence, in typical Poettering manner, to implant systemd in Debian. This will cause some massive backlash, however, as Debian is a massive distribution. It won’t go down easily.

      Comment by sporkbox | November 21, 2012

    • I have always had a luke-cool relationship with debian. It’s very convenient, but also very political and controlled from without. There are many technologies used and effectively prohibited from use in debian, not based on their merits, but on whims and prejudices. Yet at the same time there are a lot of people who put quality work into making debian happen. As a result, it’s well done in many areas and convenient.

      I would like to explore some alternatives again when I make some time for it – debian never feels quite right for me. It’s more of a fallback because it works and I’m familiar with it.

      > Do you think Debian will end up adopting systemd?

      I do. Not because of its merits, but because debian usually tows the line on things like this and joins the corporate-controlled bandwagon.

      They will pay for it too. People are so excited about systemd, but are failing to notice who is providing it and what the implications of that are in terms of mission creep, maintenance issues, etc. They’re buying into a monolithic stack of system tools.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | November 21, 2012

  7. Comment by gnome | November 21, 2012

  8. Comment by gnome | November 25, 2012

  9. Ubuntu: Some things which worked well and automatically in the past don’t work seamlessly anymore–say, a USB flash mem reader–I find out about udisk2, now. It seems that no one in development cares, either. Gnome, once a very fine GUI, now shepherds everyone into something which many of us hate immediately (Unity).

    I agree with Sporkbox–who indicated that Redhat and Google haven’t created anything that benefits the community–they have their demands, though. Something like Google needs loads of software to achieve their ends (really, to take on Apple and MS)–well, they must come up with it–that is, they must make some efforts on their own. Isn’t it in the license that people may modify the software to achieve their own (private) ends? Leave us out of that, though.

    Google and Redhat must do some of the heavy lifting themselves–why valuable dev people cater to their needs–seemingly often exclusively and gratis, at that, is beyond me. It seems that the people involved and praising this desire to hide under a large corporate umbrella–or, the Grand Canyon. Their language appears to be calm and reassuring–aren’t Dell’s and Gateway’s support teams calm and reassuring, too? (I know that to such corporations, tech knowledge and expertise is secondary or even tertiary to a seemingly good-natured phone-demeanor. Really, isn’t it better that such people curse at us–given that their answers are far more constructive and valuable? Of course, this concept is foreign to the country of “I don’t know!”)

    I think that Redhat was far better when the distro was gratis–that was ages ago. I haven’t used Fedora in a long time–it’s likely still a poorly-organized mess, though–again, no one cares. As for Ubuntu–it seemed to me that the high-water-mark was 8.10: Later and mysteriously, the distro started not to work as well. I thought always that legacy hardware would be supported and compatible–I’m enlightened now that that’s not always the case. I do remember reading, though, that such compatibility was an original aim for open source. We must use a current distro, though. Legacy isn’t secure–that’s where Windows gets us, too. I’m afraid that this reverse-patenting thing, so beneficial at first (but often not supported with drivers) is going to fall apart. As corporations take over, I suppose that driver developers will cooperate far better. We’ll lose a great deal of software integrity at that point. We’ll gain a great deal of bloatware, though.

    As for more people trying out Linux, the words and urgings of users from the past finally have taken root. The LCD (least-common-denominator) user of Linux is the same as those who purchase Dell, Gateway, or laptops–or lug their desktop PCs to Best Buy’s “Geek Squad.” They don’t understand these issues–and, perhaps they never will. Simply put, they always want software to work–in a “turnkey” manner–a TV, stereo comonent, or gun works that way–why can’t a PC and its software? (This is why driver teams likley will spare more time to aid open source, soon.) The users who don’t understand that PCs are far more vesatile than other devices won’t accept the fact that more capability and flexibility add inherently more complexity–these will “eat the sand.” The average Windows user has for decades….

    Comment by Geoffrey Morrison | January 6, 2013

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