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Red Hat's Max Spevack On Defending Linux Freedom

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the swords-may-or-may-not-be-involved dept.

91

TRNick writes "How can developers who are working for free protect themselves and avoid getting exploited by business users of Linux? TechRadar has an interview with former Fedora project leader Max Spevack to find out how his new role as manager of the community architecture team is designed to help. Quoting: 'About two-thirds of the Fedora packages are maintained by community people, and if we didn't have that community, that chunk of work would either not get done, which would significantly harm Red Hat's entire value, or would have to made up by more [paid] engineers. The challenge on the flip side of that is to make sure that everyone in the Fedora community feels valued, that everyone who contributes can be proud of the way that Red Hat uses their code.'"

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Defenders of the faith! Eat my shorts! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864353)

Defenders of the faith! Eat my shorts!

MS... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864387)

Look! Max Spevack's initials are MS! He obviously secretly works for Microsoft! Spy! Spy!

Spy over here! (-1, Troll)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864481)

SPAH SAPPEN MAH DISTRIBUTION!

Re:Spy over here! (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865379)

Meh. We need a "-1 Not Funny" so when one of my jokes goes over like a lead balloon my karma doesn't get blammed.

Re:Spy over here! (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867901)

Or you could post jokes that don't suck.

OH NO! KARMA GOES WRONG WAY!

Re:Spy over here! (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869875)

I found it amusing. But then I enjoy TF2's humor and style.

everybody in open source is to some extent used (3, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864429)

After all, in the past you'd get paid top dollar for the kind of stuff that you can now download for free and businesses use that in order to gain a competitive edge

Case in point: google. They use open source software to drive their whole business, are valued in the tens of billions and give back a pittance of that to the open source community (ok, they do a good PR job so it looks like it is a lot more but it really is but a small fraction of their take).

It has come to the point where if you are 16 or 17 and wondering what career to follow computational biology looks like a *much* better path than IT, and besides it has less risk of being outsourced.

The Cathedral had its shortcomings, but so does the bazaar.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864473)

Your point sounds right, but has a fatal flaw: The contributions by the community, although used by the business, are still free to be used by the community.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (2, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864511)

Yes, but that won't get you any bread on the table now, will it ?

There is absolutely no renumeration for the people that code up all that really neat stuff and the businesses that take that hard work and profit of it (and profit of it in ways that would have been considered impossible until not that long ago) are under no obligation whatsoever to share the profits.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864561)

True but selling software is an inherently flawed business model anyway, that requires extensive propping up by the law and heavy investment in anti-copying technology. It is an industry held together by tape and bubble gum, which is why most software companies have been moving toward other business models, like selling support or selling indemnification against patent lawsuits (or just becoming patent trolls, in the case of smaller companies).

One way of solving the issue is to integrate open source development with another line of work. For example, a paid researcher at a university might fix a bug in Octave, which would help his work, and then send that patch upstream (barring, of course, the university's management telling him that he cannot, which is unfortunately the case in some institutions).

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864799)

selling software != coding software

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864823)

The question is though, does that paid researcher have to know-how or motivation to devote to the drudgery to build something like matlab from scratch. As long as the answer is 'no', and I think you'd agree with me that in many cases it is (i.e. insufficient technical knowledge, or would rather spend time doing actual research instead of designing a tool to let him research), there will be a market for proprietary software. Its the classic case of specialization. A research specializes in his problem domain, while others specialize in their problem domain (writing mathematical software). As long as this is the case, there is a need for proprietary software to build the tools that people find useful.
I think a case on the far end of the spectrum would be Blender. While I applaud the work of their development team (I use Blender whenever I'm in an artistic mood and feel like tinkering), the development was started based on an established code base that was bought from a company. 9.99997/10 graphic artists would lack the necessary ability to sit down and write their own 3-d modelling tool today, and that is largely why the the professional graphics industry is dominated by proprietary solutions (though fortunately there are lots of linux render farms).

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25867425)

"selling software is an inherently flawed business model anyway"....erm, last I checked some dude going by the name of Bill Gates was worth $50B and that's from selling software.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864599)

Which is one thing that has always bugged me about companies like RH. Now with Ubuntu it is different since they haven't tried selling it, but RH makes good money off of RHEL so my question is this: if the guys contributing all that code to Fedora are doing a good job and really helping to make RHEL a better product, then why the hell don't they give them something? A t-shirt,or even better a free copy of RHEL so they can see where their code is going. It just always struck me as kinda sucking that someone would put all that work in and not even get a lousy t-shirt. You can't tell me a company like RH don't have tons of swag with their logo on it. Give them a coffee mug or something.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (4, Informative)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864721)

Well first of all, Red Hat employs a lot of Fedora developers (like me), which is certainly worth a lot more than a lousy coffee cup.

Secondly your premise is wrong: Fedora developers - those not employed by Red Hat - keep working on Fedora despite not getting any rewards. Why is that? Well, some work for reputation instead of money. A large number work for other companies who benefit from the mutual sharing of code. The vast majority, however, don't work for / on Fedora at all. They work for Ubuntu, GNOME, Apache, and a thousand other upstream projects, and we in Fedora and Red Hat package up those projects. (Packaging, while an important activity, is only a tiny part of the process of writing free software).

Rich.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

soulfury (1229120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25870379)

If you have reputation, you can negotiate for higher pay when you apply for a job. Thus, reputation == money.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25872063)

I am going by TFA. Quoting: 'About two-thirds of the Fedora packages are maintained by community people, and if we didn't have that community, that chunk of work would either not get done, which would significantly harm Red Hat's entire value, or would have to made up by more [paid] engineers. The challenge on the flip side of that is to make sure that everyone in the Fedora community feels valued, that everyone who contributes can be proud of the way that Red Hat uses their code.'"

So his JOB is to make those that aren't getting paid feel valued. And what I am saying is this: a tiny bit of swag, especially swag that can ONLY be earned by those contributing, would fulfill this guys job description. And let us be honest here: buying in bulk a coffee mug or even a cheap shitty t-shirt costs next to nothing. So give them a fucking coffee mug already! If it would " significantly harm Red Hat's entire value" if these people went away then the .50 for a bulk coffee mug that said something like "The Red Hat team thanks you and considers you an MVP" would be an insignificant price to pay, especially for all the good will that such an act would generate in the community.

Plus let us not forget you make someone feel good about themselves they will look on you with much more favor. This in turn could equal more sales as they talk those around them into purchasing RH or even more code as they decide to put in even more hours on projects that benefit RH. It looks like a win/win situation to me, how about you?

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (3, Insightful)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867497)

even better a free copy of RHEL so they can see where their code is going.

Its called CentOS.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867945)

A long time ago some arrogant fucker decided that he would release a bunch of code under a license which valued his initial scratchings at "Everything ever based on this code". These poor guys have accepted that cost.

These "contributions" are payment for the code they are using. No tshirts for them.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868449)

[If] the guys contributing all that code to Fedora are doing a good job and really helping to make RHEL a better product, then why the hell don't they give them something?

How about source code under an OSI-compliant license?

Bread on the table (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864691)

Yes, but that won't get you any bread on the table now, will it ?

In it self : No. But...

A. in the long it leaves you more money to spend on bread as you won't have to spend it on opensource stuff. Programming used to be a job reserved to an elite which had access to the proper (and expensive) tools. Nowadays, hack together some mid-range machine for a couple of hundred bucks, slap your favorite Linux distribution for free, and voilà you have all the tools you need to code.

B. working on opensource projects both trains your skill (in coding, but also in other useful project managing skills) and increases your portfolio with examples of projects to show to potential future employers. As they are F/LOSS instead of NDA-covered, you can freely demo them and even show a quick tour around the code(*).

Thanks to F/LOSS development, during interview you're not anymore trying to persuade your future employer that you could be a good developer if you got hired, you're showing them your past projects to persuade them that you've been indeed good and that they need to hire you.

F/LOSS projects put an end in the eternal catch-22 problem of employers wanting people with lots of practical experience behind them and people have a hard to get a first employer in order to have the opportunity to gain experience.

And then with *that* portfolio maybe you'll get hired for a pay that will bring the bread on your table :

Either working for some company on proprietary NDA'd software (if that doesn't pose any major ethical problem to you)
Or working as a paid engineer to develop F/LOSS solutions for some company (hired at a Linux developers shop, at an industry which develops its own tools for its specific niche and have no real intention on making profit on the softwares itself, etc.)
Or even, maybe your project is so good that you start getting paid to continue your so-much appreciated GPL'd project.

--

(*): I have actually been contacted and received propositions from people who saw my work on GPL'd code on projects to which we were both contributing.
Ok, I don't have a typical CS background (I have graduated in Medicine and then in Bioinformatics). But nonetheless it illustrates that because having a nice portfolio to show is important when trying to get hired, working on opensource project is good because it makes more things that you can show.

Re:Bread on the table (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867975)

Just what commercial package isn't avaliable cheaply to learn on?

To get started as a .Net/win32 coder: OEM windows licence ($15) + Visual Studio Express (Free)

Fifteen bucks. Hardly an insurmoutable barrier.

Similar shit goes on with companies like Adobe / Autodesk / etc / etc. Theres always the "educational" version, which is cheap as hell/free.

Re:Bread on the table (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868757)

You aren't exactly allowed to sell your work if you use educational/demo software under their EULAs, and things were a lot more expensive in the recent past (100 dollars for the educational version, a lot of money to a high school student).

Re:Bread on the table (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869431)

VS Express can be used commercially. Doesnt integrate with TFS, but a hobbyist will probably be using SVN. Actually scratch that, a hobbyist will probably not be using change control - and will be asking online "How to recover source from binary?" ;)

I figure even a thousand bucks in software is pretty minimal compared to the amount spent on the rest of a proper education in your field of choice. Thinking back on how much I spent on textbooks while studying engineering (including the mandatory $250 epic written by the lecturer of the course....), I don't think the cost of software is at all relevant. Especially when something like an IDE is a much better learning tool than a book.

Re:Bread on the table (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869629)

Oh don't get them started on textbooks. One "insightful" freetard already claimed selling software is a flawed business model propped up by copyright laws, and the cost of distributing commercial software once it's written is exactly $0 (just like books, I'm sure)

I think you're right about cost of software being irrelevant though. When you consider all the other things we pay for in our lives, most of which are quite far from being "open", and what good software empowers us to do, I don't see what's wrong with selling software, closed or open. Who's to argue that monetary incentives don't lead to better software?

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865019)

THat's the point of GPL software. It levels the playing field for all companies and individuals.

Re:everybody in open source is to some extent used (3, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864581)

In terms of your life's work actually contributing tangible benefits to man kind, computational biology is going to outstrip "IT" anyway. I don't think that decreased financial incentive is really going to be the kicker there.

Plus, you know, more chicks in bio.

Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864431)

Thank you Max for reminding ever company to avoid GPL or other viral 'free' software style licensed projects as much as possible.

This is why there is such a push by the business sector to create projects with actual free/BSD style licenses for important software like Clang/LLVM.

You would be an idiot to have your business have a vital software component running on GPL software constantly at risk for the juvenile GNU freaks out there throwing public tantrums and causing trouble because your company is actually properly following the letter of the license and not the 'spirit' which, of course, means constantly and publicly kissing the asses of the GNU freaks who worked on it and put it out there for everyone to use.

Thanks Max! You're doing wonders for the promotion of BSD licensing use by the business world!

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864453)

This this this, a thousand times this.

I am actually prohibited from using GPL software at work for this very reason. Not because we might unknowingly violate someone's license, but because of the negative PR if we make "too much" money without giving "enough" back to the community. We're running a web-based service on a razor-thin margin, we can't afford the risk.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864565)

Same where I work.

Our managers quickly went from:

1. We're not touching crap that is just sitting out on the Net to download

2. Ok, other companies are using these packages, I guess we can too

3. Holy shit! Get this GPL crap out of our company after reading companies suffering under "Possible GPL violation at company XXX!!!" or diatribes about how such and such company isn't following the spirit of the GPL

Luckily there isn't much GPL only software that doesn't have non-viral and free BSD/Apache style licenses.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864579)

Are you saying your web-based service, assuming it is a for-profit organization, cannot afford to contribute USD100.00 per month to the project and/or developers that created the tools being used by your organization?

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864647)

We can and would do that, but the problem is, in the eyes of certain highly published members of the community, that is Not Enough, and they will write diatribes about our perceived failures to adhere to the "spirit" of the Open Source Movement. We intend to take GPL software and modify it to run our businesses, and we can make donations to the projects and/or authors involved. But we cannot afford to make the whole of our modifications and give them to the community. We aren't planning to distribute any of our work - Any of our modifications would be purely relevant to our business. Anything anyone else could use we would contribute back. What we are doing is taking an expensive government dataset and storing said dataset in a searchable database so it can be accessed in a more sane manner. Our modifications are related to the updating and maintenance of this reformatted dataset. We intend to update it more frequently than the government does. (Quarterly vs. whenever-we-get-around-to-it) If we made our method and tools public, someone else would just take them overseas where the labor is cheaper (India, etc.) and set up an operation doing the same thing we do but with a price set below ours. I will have just worked myself out of a job. Unfortunately for me, this is the SPIRIT of the Open Source Movement: All code should be free for use and modification, no matter how damaging that is to whoever wrote it. No amount of donations will cover the fact that we aren't doing that, and so those members of the community will never be satisfied with us.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25865143)

You don't have to release the code for everything you write with the GPL. Only if you distribute it outside of your company.

The GPL stipulates that if you release a binary, you must also release the source.

So long as you don't distribute the binary (or the source in your case) you're okay.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865319)

I don't recall anyone ever getting flack for not publishing internal improvements to OSS. Hell, why would it be anybody's business what changes you make for your own use? Would you have to advertise on your homepage?

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864713)

Can you give me any examples of that actually happening? Has anyone actually got significant PR for using (as opposed to distributing) GPL software and not giving enough back?

As for the GP, I can think of lots of GPL violations that have been reported on Slashdot and various news sites, but all of them have been actual violations of the license, not of its spirit.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867997)

People always suffer major licensor regret asspain. The Castle folks had a commericial company repackage their core libraries with a fancy mapping GUI for a couple of hundred bucks.

Course in this case, the GUI was totally worth it and I bought a copy, but they did have a bit of a cry how it wasn't in the spirit of the license. (Even though it totally was).

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (4, Insightful)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865541)

I am actually prohibited from using GPL software at work for this very reason.

Right, but you can afford to pay for proprietary licenses for all your software.

Re:Thank You Max For Reminding Everyone (1)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865757)

I am actually prohibited from using GPL software at work

Considering the proliferation of GPLed software in everything from Televisions [sony.com] to Routers and Switches [linksys.com] I'd say your employer should just close up shop now because they will not be able to avoid the "risk" and still do business.

We're running a web-based service on a razor-thin margin

And thankfully there are a multitude of open source licensed packages on which you can base your business, however as an end user and not a software distributor there is no reason to avoid GPL licensed software. Stop believing the FUD as you are greatly limiting the pool of software at your disposal.

Some translations (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864439)

The challenge on the flip side of that is to make sure that everyone in the Fedora community feels valued, that everyone who contributes can be proud of the way that Red Hat uses their code.

Between the lines:

My job is to keep the community motivated without having to pay them. Wall Street wet themselves during our IPO when they found out that much of our development staff was working for free. If we loose that, our stock price will tank further and those of us who made it really big by exploiting the free labor ourselves stand to lose out big.

Go ahead, mod it Troll. I just wanted to let your folks know what the real score is.

Re:Some translations (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864571)

The Redhat IPO had nothing to do with Wall Street finding out that development staff worked for free and everything to do with an irrational market bubble.

Re:Some translations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864845)

that's not a troll.

Re:Some translations (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868015)

Pity Redhat posts a below average ROI for the industry. Guess you should be fired for not motivating the community enough :P

Six Month Cycles (4, Insightful)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864469)

Even though a six month cycle seems brutal (Max's own words)it does permit a developer to finish and even polish his/her code because the next release in 6 months is just not that long of time span to wait.

I shudder at the code I have seen in other distros that was not quite ready but had to be included because the next release would not be for a another year or longer so we have to go with what we got now... regardless!

Fedora and its community members should be congratulated for their work in the Linux arena.
   

Red Hat (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864475)

RedHat has to walk a fine line. They spend a lot of money developing a solid distro and want to make money supporting it for business use. Centos takes their work and gives it away for free. Obviously legal under the GPL but doesn't seem very fair to me.

Re:Red Hat (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864591)

It's entirely fair. They new the score when the started doing it however many years ago and figured they could make it work.

Re:Red Hat (2, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864623)

you've been doing way too much oop programming lately ;)

Re:Red Hat (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864747)

Unfortunately, no, I can't use that excuse.

Re:Red Hat (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864597)

It is perfectly fair. Red Hat does not make its money selling software, it makes money selling support for that software, as you stated. CentOS gives it away for free, yes, but guess what? You can get RHEL for free also, the sources are on Red Hat's FTP servers, assuming you have the skill to compile the distro (which is not as hard as some might think it is). Red Hat is not even obligated to do that under the GPL (they must only make the sources available upon request from the people they distribute RHEL to, but they are not required to make those sources available to everyone).

Re:Red Hat (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865543)

And redhat has paid for the development of exactly how much of what it puts into RHEL?

Don't get me wrong, redhat are a fantastic driver of FOSS software and do put a lot in, but your point about CentOS isn't really valid. Redhat build on a whole heap of stuff they get for free (Linux Kernel, GNU tools etc) and then make money selling them and their support services.

Re:Red Hat (3, Insightful)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865963)

Good point. However, it's possible that we underestimate just how much Red Hat, Novell and IBM contribute to the kernel. To the 2.6.20 kernel, for instance, these three contributed nearly a fourth of all changes. [lwn.net]

Re:Red Hat (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866299)

IIRC, Red Hat doesn't actually mind people making and distributing RHEL rebuilds. People that are unwilling to pay for a support contract are not customers that Red Hat is interested in, so they don't mind them going to CentOS instead. It is also better than having them go to Ubuntu, because with a CentOS deployment, if they change their minds later on, migrating them to RHEL would be a piece of cake.

Re:Red Hat (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25870257)

IIRC, Red Hat doesn't actually mind people making and distributing RHEL rebuilds. People that are unwilling to pay for a support contract are not customers that Red Hat is interested in, so they don't mind them going to CentOS instead. It is also better than having them go to Ubuntu, because with a CentOS deployment, if they change their minds later on, migrating them to RHEL would be a piece of cake.

Spot on. That's the primary reason that we started using CentOS over some other distros for our new Linux servers. Down the road, we have the option to move up to a RHEL version if we decide that we absolutely need support for key servers.

It's also a lot easier to call up a local support contractor and get support for CentOS/RHEL rather then some odd-ball distro. Or to find books about RHEL that (mostly) apply to CentOS servers.

Red Hat makes a very good, production level, stable distro. Good for server work where things need to be reliable and where the repository folks care about it. (Unlike some other distros that are much too bleeding edge and cavalier about what makes it into their package systems.)

umm (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864517)

Ever since the libertarian/OSI contingent tried hijacking OSS, the constant cry from the Linux community has been "exploit me!"

Free software is nice but... (1, Interesting)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864547)

...free standards are what's going to make it work. Free standards make machines talk to each other. Free software allows us to see what they're saying. There seems to be a lot of debate about the source of the code. But the source of the code isn't going to matter much if the standards are abused. Why isn't anyone talking much about this? Flash made a huge landgrab with their proprietary software - look, I tried Gnash on YouTube and that site whines about it - yet few are willing to take youtube to task for not being compatible with gnash. And that is just one example. So companies can say that they're contributing to open source projects. Great. But what about the standards they use?

We have to get Gootube behind Gnash ! (2, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864733)

Flash made a huge landgrab with their proprietary software - look, I tried Gnash on YouTube and that site whines about it - yet few are willing to take youtube to task for not being compatible with gnash.

Specially given that now Youtube is part of the Google familly, that Google has always immensely gained from opensource and that they have often been ready to spend some coins helping opensource projects (FireFox comes to mind), we have to persuade Google to start supporting the gnash developer's effort.

And this should make sense as it would give them more support for their own web product (the same way supporting Firefox for their web product made sens).
Gnash could open more easily a market of cheap Asian no-name device that have the ability to browse youtube, without relying on complex re-implementation (like the flash-less player on the iPhone).

Re:We have to get Gootube behind Gnash ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864891)

Why Gnash and not an open media codec?

Afterall they are already encoding some of their videos to h.264...

Gnash/swfdec will still have problems decoding the videos if the correct codec is not installed.

Re:We have to get Gootube behind Gnash ! (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865005)

What about HTML 5? Isn't that a viable choice?

HTML5 for the future, Gnash for the past (3, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865661)

What about HTML 5? Isn't that a viable choice?

That's the best ever choice for *future* websites.
The problem is that right now, the top most popular video websites don't use HTML 5's video tag (nor HTML's Object tag with a widespread video codec as content type).
To gain popularity you have to support them now. And now means supporting flash.

Also Flash seems to be still popular for casual-/mini-games too. (Javascript+DOM+SVG or +Canvas doesn't seem to catch up that much).
A portable game console with support for flash and access to endless casual entertainment on sites like newsground would be a killer application for Gnash (for example on the Pandora).

Re:Free software is nice but... (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868395)

I have actually gotten youtube to work with swfdec. At the moment youtube is not working, again, which might be becuase of the latest flash update, but hopefully the swfdec team will catch back up.

Re:Free software is nice but... (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869579)

Hmmm. Thanks for the tip. BTW, has anyone been following the java 7 thing? I hear that Java 7 will provide support for the 64 bit Linux. I want to use it on Hulu. Let me know.

touchy feely felt fedoras (0, Troll)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864549)

"The challenge on the flip side of that is to make sure that everyone in the Fedora community feels valued"

FAIL

Re:touchy feely felt fedoras (0, Troll)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25870725)

Yeah, I could have told the crazy story of early cox/torvalds talent retention as played out by my own role in the years-long tulip driver debacle, highlighting the interplay of politics and innovation using specific examples which also (poetically) draw clean comparison between this interplay both on the developer and on the user side, possibly even successfully explaining a bit about, for example, why Redhat is allowed to call their kernel "linux" despite a decade of mucking about with the headers so much that software of any complexity has to be built specifically for it.

But one sentence seemed just a bit more efficient with all of that.

Ohh Fedora...have you improved? (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864569)

'...About two-thirds of the Fedora packages are maintained by community people, and if we didn't have that community, that chunk of work would either not get done, which would significantly harm Red Hat's entire value, or would have to made up by more [paid] engineers...'

I wonder what the community has been up to to-date after having abandoned Red Hat years ago because of RPM hell.

I understand RPM and the tools that manage it are a lot better than what they used to be in the years gone by.

Question: Does Red Hat now ship code that just works of am I out of luck when I visit flash rich sites like http://youtube.com/ [youtube.com] and java rich sites like http://games.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] .

Re:Ohh Fedora...have you improved? (3, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864627)

"Question: Does Red Hat now ship code that just works of am I out of luck when I visit flash rich sites like http://youtube.com/ [youtube.com] and java rich sites like http://games.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] ."

You should give Fedora 9 a try, it has out of the box swfdec (which is 95% there in terms of flash, should not be long before it is 100%) and OpenJDK (which is 100% there in terms of Java support; the only issue I ever had was an applet that actually tried making direct sound system calls to the Windows sound system, no joke, which one can hardly blame OpenJDK for). I was skeptical at first, as these were not too solid in Fedora 8, but after 6 months of using them, I am thoroughly impressed. Also, assuming you are not on an unsupported configuration, you can always add the yum repo. for Adobe's proprietary flash, which is a pretty basic RPM install that integrates with the automated updates.

Re:Ohh Fedora...have you improved? (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25869273)

Scratch that, Fedora 10 is due in 3 days, dude.

Re:Ohh Fedora...have you improved? (0, Flamebait)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864633)

OMG - you might have to download adobe, flash, quicktime or java plugins. Poor you. Your life really sucks as a result of wasting those 20 minutes. Maybe vendors should pay Fedora the same amount they have to pay MS to be "trusted apps" included with the OS.

Re:Ohh Fedora...have you improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25865225)

I just watched a youtube video on this fedora box running firefox with latest flash installed.

The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864573)

"How can developers who are working for free protect themselves and avoid getting exploited by business users of Linux?

.
The better question for Red Hat might be "How many developers can continue to work for free in the present economic climate?"

Expecting volunteers to carry 2/3 of the load for Fedora seems a bit much.

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

pROCKrammer (1246962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864603)

"How can developers who are working for free protect themselves and avoid getting exploited by business users of Linux?

. The better question for Red Hat might be "How many developers can continue to work for free in the present economic climate?"

Expecting volunteers to carry 2/3 of the load for Fedora seems a bit much.

I think for Geeks Economic Climate is not important factor!

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864839)

Expecting volunteers to carry 2/3 of the load for Fedora seems a bit much.

Ummm... How much of Firefox was coded by volunteers? Apache? Linux itself? I'm sure if you look at most OSS projects 1/3 being employed to work on it is a large amount compared to most.

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865147)

An even better question is why that effort is even necessary. There are no other operating systems outside of Linux in which software distribution requires armies of volunteers to constantly reduplicate each others work.

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (2, Informative)

spevack (210449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865673)

Expecting volunteers to carry 2/3 of the load for Fedora seems a bit much.

We don't *expect* volunteers to maintain 2/3 of Fedora's packages. That is just what the numbers ended up being, and they flux often as different people either adopt or orphan packages depending on their circumstances.

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (2, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865675)

The better question for Red Hat might be "How many developers can continue to work for free in the present economic climate?

A better question would start with some research to understand who the Fedora developers are and who pays them if they are paid. Basing a question on the same tired falsehood that open source developers are unpaid geeks living in their parent's basements is rather tired and dated.

If the linux kernel contributions are any clue only 15% of contributors are unpaid. And I'm sure they have their reasons for contributing which go beyond simply making a buck.
linuxkerneldevelopment [linuxfoundation.org]

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865917)

A better question would start with some research to understand who the Fedora developers are and who pays them if they are paid. Basing a question on the same tired falsehood that open source developers are unpaid geeks living in their parent's basements is rather tired and dated.

.
It was disappointing to announce that Wayne Industries will cutting back support for community projects like Fedora. But times are hard and the developer who isn't fully engaged in-house has regrettably become expendable. ---Lucius

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866121)

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866355)

How many developers can continue to work for free in the present economic climate?

You sound like Andrew Keen. This has already been discussed to death [slashdot.org] in a previous thread.

Re:The hearty handshake (apologies to W C Fields) (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25868427)

Hopefully, any developers dropping out due to having devote time to commercial projects will be offset by contributions by bored newly un-employed programmers.

It depends on how you define exploited (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864881)

How can developers who are working for free protect themselves and avoid getting exploited by business users of Linux?

Lets see probably 85%+ of all hosting companies around the world that use Linux as hosting packages to make money off probably don't give back to the community in any way other than using their warez.

Now question; how do you or the develoeprs working on these projects define exploited?

Re:It depends on how you define exploited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25870421)

Now question; how do you or the develoeprs working on these projects define exploited?

When someone's gets root? Through a vulnerability?

a bit of context (4, Informative)

spevack (210449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865359)

I was thinking "I'll just check Slashdot and see what's new today" and all of a sudden I saw my name on the front page. I thought "what on earth am I doing on the front page of Slashdot? I haven't given an interview in quite a long time."

I realized that the interview was from Linux Format UK (at the end of the article), and checking my records, I can see that it a summary of an interview I gave at LUG Radio Live back in July.

Re:a bit of context (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865401)

This is like coming in to your office on a Monday and finding a CNN news crew waiting in your lobby.

It's Free Software FUD Day (1)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865549)

With your host, Soulskill.

Seriously, two stories stacked together on the front page today - one going on about the hardships of free software developer/vendors and the dollar value of their products "racing to zero". Then, the other story which skipped over an entire interview with Max Spevack about all sorts of interesting things related to Fedora and RedHat - and cherry-picked one comment about how RedHat would die without the community as the point of focus.

I need breakfast now because this is making me cranky.

Re:It's Free Software FUD Day (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867101)

Cherry-picking is the point of news sites though. They felt that those points were news worthy, and you disagree and that's fine. I have to say though, there's certainly truth behind the value of OSS racing to zero. The only thing you can do really is make money on paid programming or support, and on trying to squeeze the freedom in some way from your customers so that you are seen as being a necessity. But, the reality that the software is free and that users want freedom, so they don't want to have to rely upon you, keeps setting in, forcing you to develop more and give more perks and hope that, well, freedom doesn't catch up with you, because then you're not needed. Fortunately, there's hopefully no end to the amount of features you can pile into a program, and there will always be some work to be found for paid programming/support.

Don't get me wrong, I like community-driven software and it will only get more and more common and I think the future could be driven by it 100% basically, once creating software is as easy as drawing a picture and anyone can slap it together (check out the Blender game engine, it rocks! Here's some links [youtube.com] .). But, until then, and until computers can read your mind to create for you what you want, there will be a gap that paid programming can take advantage of. That, and advertising will continue to be a revenue stream.

Oh, and yes, I know you can still make money off of art even and the creation of content regardless of how difficult it was to create, but even that I think is something that becomes more and more difficult as the free sharing pool increases and continues applying a constant pressure, making your work have to become even better and better in order to get any money from it. Obviously making something easier to do decreases it's value and cost.

Yeah, that was pretty off-topic, I know, but still interesting to think about. ^^

And if packaging standards existed... (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866237)

...instead of releasing RPMs and having to support a single distro, software programmers would be free to release one type that was supported by all distros. That cross-distro format may actually be RPMs, but until at least one format is made compatible with all the major package managers, life will continue to be hell for Linux users. The number of websites offering Linux source code only, or straight-up boring binaries so that there are no automatic updates with the user's system updates, is very high because of this, and Linux adoption will continue to creep until this feature among others is added. Yes, believe it or not, you could have one format that has enough metadata to satisfy the requirements of being successfully installed on any system, leaving the package managers to do whatever they wants with the package.

With Linux users loving to talk about document, web, graphics, and other standards, it's a real shame that doing something as important as allowing developers to target a single Linux packaging format, and making it easy for users to enjoy their software freedom, isn't a higher priority.

Re:And if packaging standards existed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25871441)

but until at least one format is made compatible with all the major package managers, life will continue to be hell for Linux users.

Or maybe "will continue to be hell for the 5% of Linux users who install significant numbers of packages from outside their distro's repositories."
The other 95% are doing just fine.

Re:And if packaging standards existed... (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25876669)

No, it'd be a very nice feature, but if you don't care about it then go elsewhere. I'd like my repository to be all of Sourceforge and for more game companies as well as everyone else to be able to target Linux by using packaging standards. I know first hand how annoying it is for Linux users to try to install something that only comes as a source package because of the Linux packaging mess. So, don't tell me it's not a problem. All Linux users would play outside their walled gardens now and then if it was actually easy to share programs.

Where is the payback ? (0, Troll)

mritunjai (518932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866345)

So a lot of fine people give a lot of their very valuable time to get Fedora going - for FREE!, so that RedHat doesn't have to spend a pretty penny hiring people to do that.

So far so good!

But then RH has got RHEL, which they won't as much let anybody use for free or make available as free download... Where is the download link for RHEL, Max ? The same RHEL that benefits from community contributions. Instead community is left to only use Fedora!

And no, don't say CentOS! That's somebody else's effort developed with their time & money! Something that they won't have to do if RH had provided free download of RHEL!

Again, Where is the download link of RHEL ?

Re:Where is the payback ? (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866945)

Red Hat is simply Fedora stable of course with some extra non-free software thrown in. It would be nice if Red Hat released their own stable version instead of letting CentOS do that, but I guess they just don't care to. Where's the problem though? Just download CentOS? Yes, it's silly that it's on a separate website, but, I don't see why that's such a huge deal to you.

Re:Where is the payback ? (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25870283)

But then RH has got RHEL, which they won't as much let anybody use for free or make available as free download... Where is the download link for RHEL, Max ? The same RHEL that benefits from community contributions. Instead community is left to only use Fedora!

RHEL is a for-pay product. It gives you the right to use Red Hat servers to get your packages from. I think it also gets you a bit of support. But mostly, RHEL is about getting packages from RH's servers.

Seriously, if you don't want to pay. Go visit CentOS, which is binary compatible, provides servers for free, but comes with zero support (although you can purchase support separately).

Reservations about commercial software... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25874565)

...and their apparent total lack of consumer support, I have plenty of. What introduced me to the idea of free/low-cost/open-source software in the first place was the fact that there was little or zero fiscal outlay initially. I could start using the software /immediately/, and on as many machines as I wanted. If I needed support i could pay for it via a premium rate phone call, which I'm fine with as long as the help is relevant and swift (which most of the time, it is). What I do object to, is forking out stupid amounts of money for a license to use a bitstream embedded on a plastic disc, having to validate the install /on a single machine/ not once (UID key), not twice (activation), but /three times/ (WGA), to find out later that I'd have to go through the same crap every single time something changed. After all of which, the only support I can expect is from the vendor who a: didn't even write the software in the first place and b: probably doesn't even use it so wouldn't know arse from elbow about what the hell I'm carping about.
With FLOSS, the options are there to get help from the community or to go with a support contract with the distributor who probably knows more about the package set than the authors of the individual packages do.

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