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Alan Cox to Leave if RH AOL Buyout Happens?

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the now-that-would-be-something dept.

Red Hat Software 722

According to MartinG, Alan has posted to the LKML and said "Im insulted that anyone believes I would continue working for RH if aol/time warner owned them. " This of course refers to the Red Hat/AOL Buyout Rumors that we have been talking about all weekend.

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Whooptie fucking doo (-1, Troll)

MentalPunisher2001 (320024) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876737)

Why is everybody making such a big deal about this??

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876765)

Because if a major corporation buys a distro like Red Hat, or any other for that matter, it will reduce the elitist factor of Linux users.

Heaven forbid that a company with the clout to get Linux out to the masses get involved. Then Linux might not be just for the computer savvy anymore.

The ongoing hypocricy astounds me. Most Linux users don't seem to really want Linux to succeed. Having used Linux since long before it was 'fashionable' to do so, I for one hope that if this purchase comes to pass, it helps get Linux out to the unwashed masses of computer users out there.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (3, Insightful)

flacco (324089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876777)

The ongoing hypocricy astounds me. Most Linux users don't seem to really want Linux to succeed.

Sure they do. They just want the core personnel to be independent of consumer-oriented behemoths like AOL.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (2)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876802)


If this purchase goes through, you better stick to the distribution you used before Linux became 'fashionable'--unless you want to be forced to install AOL Instant Messenger everytime you run rpm.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876821)

Did I say I use Red Hat? I prefer Slackware.

I do have a Red Hat box, but it's a Sparc.

I also use Win2K, WinXP, OS/2, and BeOS. I'm agnostic. Operating Systems are not the stuff that religions are built on.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876843)

Yeah because RPM would be retroactively closed sourced and you wouldn't be able to change anything...oh, wait, it's GPL...never mind.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (2)

ChazeFroy (51595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876835)

I agree. Additionally, I can't believe Alan Cox said he would quit if AOL buys RedHat. It will increase his job security and he'll probably get paid better. It would be a win-win situation for himself and for RedHat users.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (2, Interesting)

MentalPunisher2001 (320024) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876910)

That's precisely what I'M thinking.
AOL CANNOT BUY LINUX, they can only buy Linux COMPANIES, and DISTRIBUTIONS.
Let's see them try to coax Debian into going closed source...
No big deal guys, it will mean either more funding for cool shit or one less player in the Linux distro market.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (1)

PlaysWithMatches (531546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876853)

I don't particularly want this purchase to succeed, for one simple reason - I don't like AOL/TW or its money. Some people seem to forget the games AOL played with its AIM protocol to screw over the open source clients, or the fact that Time Warner is part of the MPAA, which likes to screw over consumers with such wonderful technologies as digital rights denial^H^H^H^H^Hmanagement.

Sorry, but I'd rather Linux continue as it has so far, than become "mainstream" through a company like AOL. I don't like where that money comes from, and I can't blame Alan Cox for wanting no part of it (if that's why he's saying all this - I'm just guessing). Linux has served me well for the last 5 years without AOL. You call it hypocricy, but I call it integrity.

Perhaps you don't realize... (4, Informative)

emil (695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876858)

...that AOL/TW is a member of the RIAA and MPAA, which are organizations that are funding head-on assaults on our constitutional protections?

Alan Cox no longer feels physically safe in traveling to the United States. Should he willingly work for one of the forces that made this so?

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (3, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876863)

it will reduce the elitist factor of Linux users

I don't know which elitist linux users you are talking about, but if the're like the ones I've seen then they sure as hell don't use Redhat.

Most Linux users don't seem to really want Linux to succeed

Let me guess. By "succeed" I bet you mean one or more of:

1) "Become more popular"
2) "Make more money for it's owner"
3) "Get easier to use"

In my mind linux is already a tremendous success and no one company (including either or both or RH and AOL/TW) can change that.

I just happen to want to see Redhat continue to succeed.

And in case you're wondering what I mean by "succeed" I mean:

1) continue to create products based on what their users want not based on the interests of some other division of the corporation
2) continue to allow the employees the free creativity they require to achieve that (and other) goals.

Judging on past experience I have no reason to believe for a second that (1) will happen, and judging by Alan Cox's comment, he perhaps would agree with me that (2) would be more difficult after any AOL buyout.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876785)

Cause RH is the darling of the OSS comunity. They point at it and say: "See, we can do ok." If AOL/TW gets tham, they will have to admit that RH is just another company doing what all companies do: Try to make $$$.

Re:Whooptie fucking doo (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876855)

The Linux zealots fear that the population may think 'dumber' of them-a favorite distro now has 'AOL' in its title!!! As if...

1st Goatse.cx post!!! (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876746)

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The Turd Report 01/21/2002 (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876750)

I did not feel like going out to eat yesterday, so I ordered a PapaJohn's Pizza. I got a small mushroom and cheese pizza and some Sprite. It was very good. This morning I had a very loose turd. It was hard to push out and I thought it was going to be like a rock. But it came out after some hard pushing. It smelled pretty bad, I think this is due to my fish oil tablets I take everyday. The turd was a generic brown in color. It had no form. It was just a pile. A pyramid of poo. It stuck to the bowl when flushed. I rate this turd a 5.

Re:The Turd Report 01/21/2002 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876764)

How'd it taste?

Re:The Turd Report 01/21/2002 (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876828)

What? The pizza or the turd? The pizza tasted pretty good, IMHO. But I am sure the turd tasted like shit. I can't say I know that as a fact, because I did not taste it. But, I think it is safe to assume that it tasted like shit.

Re:The Turd Report 01/21/2002 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876850)

I am sure the turd tasted like shit. I can't say I know that as a fact, because I did not taste it.

How the hell can you give us a turd report if you don't even taste it? What the hell is the point?

I want a complete Turd Report, mister.

Now get off your ass -- er, get on your ass and do it right.

Re:The Turd Report 01/21/2002 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876881)

when i was in school, we used to get papa john's all the time. better than all that domino's and pizza hut crap. i always thought the breadsticks were the best part. it was plain, but the bread was excellent and the dipping sauces superb.

Doesn't mean he'd stop kernel programming.. (1, Offtopic)

popeydotcom (114724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876751)

..surely.

He'd have to get a haircut for a start.

Re:Doesn't mean he'd stop kernel programming.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876767)

hahaha!!

Gee. I cant stop laughing! That really is the funniest thing I have read for the last 4 nanoseconds!!

moron.

Who really cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876755)

Why should we really give a flying fark what this guy thinks? He's not one of the principles involved, and recently seems to spend more of his time whining about this or that instead of writing code.

Who died and made him important?

Re:Who really cares? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876860)

Exactly, what does this guy think he special becuase he works on the kernel of a unix clone?

The people working on the solaris kernel don't feel like they are mighty political figures or anything...it's just a fricken job, get over yourself.

Just becuase your program is open source doens't mean you're suddenly martin luther king or something, get real...

Ever hear someone who develops the HP-UX or AIX kernel blast of a bunch of half baked political rants? i don't think so...

Re:Who really cares? (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876882)

Hi. Don't say FARKING [fark.com] unless you're at FARK. [fark.com]

Good for him (2, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876758)

It's good to see that *someone* on the Internet isn't so willing to sell out. It certainly won't prevent him from working on kernel stuff, and AOL can buy their credibility somewhere else.

What a cry baby... (-1, Troll)

christurkel (520220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876761)

Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! Red Hat was bought by big nasty AOL TW!! Waaaaaaaaaahhh!

Re:What a cry baby... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876836)

It hasn't been bought yet.

And AOHell/Time Wanker knows they will loose 'people', but that won't matter because of the GPL. As long as Alan Cox keeps working on GPLed code, nothing stops AOHell/Time Wanker from exploiting their effort for profit.

Its a great deal for AOHell....They get Alan's work and don't have to pay him! If Alan wants to 'stop' AOHell from using his work, he'll have to stop using the GPL.

Can we send CmdrTaco to Assganistan? (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876762)

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If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (5, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876763)

Linux out in the open, with big company backing?

Or, are we going to start up with the "elitest want Linux to stay small"?

Linux (even the RedHat distro) has the GPL protecting it. Even AOL/TW's big lawyers can't break it. Why is it such a bad thing??

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876838)

What does the GPL really protect? There have been no court cases which give it any (much?) legal standing, so perhaps AOL/TW will only respect the GPL as long as it is convenient...say until linux's licensing value gets high enough.

Am I wrong here? Is there a court precedent which establishes the legality/enforceability of the GPL? Or is it just a bunch of people yelling "I CALL that you can't do this, this or this."

Heck..."I CALL that you can't read this post!" Now I'm going to sue everybody for breaking my license...

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (2, Insightful)

gabeman-o (325552) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876848)

Isn't IBM a big company? Just because AOL/TW might buy RedHat doesn't mean that they want to enter the desktop OS market.

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (5, Interesting)

sporty (27564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876849)

Its evil and good apparently. Let's take a look at the facts.

AOL
* provides free IM
* provides API (though not the nicer one) for writting your own client
* provides us with everything for OSS of Mozilla + opensourcing netscape

Evil
* overzealous marketing
* won't open up oscar
* "you've got mail" - the movie and the sound
* they are a big company, not like MS but not running around buying ISP's

I think people are taking the evil way out of hand.

Perhaps Alan wants to stay a home-spun, I don't need to wear a suit type of guy. That's good for him and all. Just wish people wouldn't assume that we all know what's in his head.

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (4, Insightful)

Multiple Sanchez (16336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876857)

To an outsider like me, it seems like RedHat has created a major role for itself as the most "mainstream" Linux distribution, the "big one", the vanilla flavor that corporations migrating from NT can trust. If they're bought by AOL, suddenly their role may diminish to being simply a weapon in AOL's armory, a tool to chip away at MS'/Windows' dominance in the industry. On the other end of the spectrum, they'll likely lose the trust and allegiance of lots of die-hard, anti-corporate Linux users. Non?

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (5, Interesting)

__past__ (542467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876859)

Linux (even the RedHat distro) has the GPL protecting it. Even AOL/TW's big lawyers can't break it. Why is it such a bad thing??

Maybe because you're wrong.

First, nobody knows if lawyers (or judges, they still exists, you know) could "break" the GPL. Right now, we only know nobody tried it yet.

Furthermore, the important part of Red Hat are not protected by the GPL. Neither their name and credibility, nor their customer base is GPLed. (In fact, I don't even know if all their software is - AFAIK SuSEs Yast is closed source, e.g.)

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876872)

You don't have to look so far too see that AOL/TW has done a poor job when it comes to acquisitions. Netscape, GNN, ICQ, and many others have gone way downhill since AOL, TW, or AOL/TW acquired them. What evidence is there to persuade people that the same thing won't happen with RedHat?

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (1)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876893)

Linux (even the RedHat distro) has the GPL protecting it. Even AOL/TW's big lawyers can't break it.

Are you a betting man?

Re:If RedHat was bought, wouldn't that be good? (5, Insightful)

Karma Star (549944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876896)

I really don't know why people are complaining. To me, this seems like a good thing.

First of all, this isn't AOL/Time/Warner buying out Linux, this is AOL/Time/Warner buying out Red Hat. Linux will be alive and well, and Red Hat will become whatever AOL wants it to become.

Second, AOL can provide the $$ to make RH a contender against Microsoft. Right now, Microsoft is (for all intents and purposes) the only operating system out there aimed for middle-income home users. AOL can help break that monopoly into a duopoly by introducing a user-friendly version of RH. Sure, far from ideal, but certainly better than having Microsoft still control the home market.

As long as there's Slackware/Caldera/Debian/* Linux distros, Linux will survive w/o Red Hat.

Could be worse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876768)

It could be worse... it could be Microsoft that is buying RedHat. We all know what would happen then.

I wish RedHat well, but I've moved on to FreeBSD.

Re:Could be worse.. (2, Funny)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876842)

more likely they would buy the guys behind one of the BSD versions. After all, they use BSD already on their servers (and they want everyone else using IIS...or maybe MSBSD;).

Quick heads up, Alan (0, Troll)

MSBob (307239) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876769)

It's okay to stand your ground Alan, but in this economy [nasdaq.com] even a kernel God may find alternative employment hard to come by. Something to think about before handing that resignation letter.

Hope this helps,

MSBob

Re:Quick heads up, Alan (4, Insightful)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876831)

Nobody ever said that sticking to your principles was painless.

Re:Quick heads up, Alan (3, Insightful)

rlowe69 (74867) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876833)

It's okay to stand your ground Alan, but in this economy [nasdaq.com] even a kernel God may find alternative employment hard to come by.

I hardly feel as though I have to defend Alan Cox, but he's not one-dimensional. He knows much more than just the Linux kernel and as far as I can remember he didn't even work in the operating systems business before he started working for RedHat (was it telecom? I don't know for sure).

But how this post gets modded up is beyond me (and that's why I'm picking on it). It's obvious Alan is a very very good software developer. Who cares how bad the economy is, good developers can get a job anywhere.

It's the bad developers that need to worry when the economy goes sour.

Re:Quick heads up, Alan (1)

ferat (971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876852)

Of course, Alan is in the UK. Maybe you feel the US has troubles, but is the UK in the same shape? Is it hard to find jobs there?

Re:Quick heads up, Alan (2)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876909)

Well, if you think Alan Cox would find it difficult to find another job, God help the rest of us!

I'm sure he would have companies lining up to employ him. (IBM, SUSE, Mandrake...)

alan will stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876770)

once steve case and parson visit alan and give him a few millions to stay, he will stay.

But if Alan decides to leave AOL has the resources to replace him with someone equally brilliant.

Alan Cox already works for AOL/Time Warner (3, Funny)

LordOfYourPants (145342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876774)

Alan Cox develops a kernel for an OS which is exchanged on the Internet. The Internet was invented by Al Gore. Al Gore uses AOL. Who's your daddy?

Change of Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876778)

Shouldn't this be from the cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face Department?

Just wondering...

Anonymous Kev
Proudly posting as AC since 1997

Wouldn't that kill the deal? (2, Insightful)

Desmoden (221564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876780)


I wouldn't think AOL would move unless they had secured Alan for. So I would think this means it's a rumor. Who would by RH without Alan signing on at least for a while?

You can't *buy* employees... (2, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876781)

RedHat has no value other than the employees working for them. Employees are not something that you can guarantee to purchase in a corporate buyout. It's just like any other consulting firm. After the buyout, if the employees don't feel like they were treated well they'll walk... Soon AOL will be held holding an empty bag.

This is the stupidest move AOL has made since the Netscape acquisition and seeing how they ran that one, a RH buyout is guaranteed to fail.

But then since I don't particularly like RedHat, I am 100% supportive of this decision! Go for it AOL! :)

Re:You can't *buy* employees... (1)

BCoates (512464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876798)

Employees are not something that you can guarantee to purchase in a corporate buyout.

Unless they're being paid mostly in stock, in which case you have them by the options, so to speak...

--
Benjamin Coates

Re:You can't *buy* employees... (3, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876873)

"RedHat has no value other than the employees working for them."

*cough* name recognition *cough*...

"Soon AOL will be held holding an empty bag."

An empty bag with the name "Red Hat" on it, for them to fill as they please.

Re:You can't *buy* employees... (1)

notsoanonymouscoward (102492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876883)

oh yeah cause the name "redhat" doesn't have incredible market penetration, esp with new users.

Oh yes you can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876907)

If Red Hat suddenly becomes part of the AOL empire, you simply make a provision in the purchase that the exchange is for stock. You also "conveniently" include that Red Hat employees can't sell their stock for 6 months or 9 months at the increased price. That's what my company did.

Good for you Alan (2, Interesting)

CDWert (450988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876782)

I wondered, begining with the first rumors, how many key RH employees would stick around. Key develpers like this arent the 7 dollar an hour lackeys that would keep a job with anyone just because they cant afford to move.

It has seemed for quite some time the RedHat team has a certain chemistry not found elsewhere. As a RedHat user since 2.0 I can say it is by far my favorite distro, it has its shortcoming but they are they least where it matters to me most.

I can see it now, AOL buys RedHat the whole crew jumps ship and starts over again, AOL is left with a rotting hulk that smells, like......NETSCAPE

Charachter is something seldom seen in business anymore. Regadless if you like or dislike someone, it takes charachter to make a stand, This wouldnt be the first time Alan has done it.

Re:Good for you Alan (2, Interesting)

the gnat (153162) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876878)

RedHat seems to be doing better than ever, even to the point of making a profit. On the other hand, by the time AOL bought Netscape, that company was already pretty much dead in the water. Therefore, such comparisons aren't especially apt. What makes Alan and the Slashbots so sure that AOL will fuck this up?

I agree, that column on O'Reilly made a lot of sense. But it didn't sound like Alan was citing creative differences as a reason for leaving, because he certainly can't know what the fuck AOL plans for RedHat. Does he think AOL execs will tell him which parts of the kernel to patch? No, it sounds like Alan is being a big crybaby, again. Stallmanesque hysteria serves no one- WTF is Slashdot posting this guy's drivel, anyway?

I haven't given this much thought- I'm a technical user, not an open-source/free software fanboy, and as long as I can avoid running Microsoft's excrement on my computers I'm happy. I tend to agree that AOL will find a way to fuck RedHat up in some fashion- maybe making Linux popular at last while producing a distro that's unusable for my purposes. But Alan's claim of feeling "insulted" is just dumb- thank god Linus is the "voice of Linux", not Alan.

Alan Cox (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876788)

AC is a shithead. He's lucky he has a job at all. No one in their right mind would actually hire that goatbearded freak to work in a normal environment.

nice words words Alan, (5, Interesting)

sluggie (85265) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876791)

but you forgot to give a reason.

AOL bought ICQ, AOL bought Winamp.
Did anyone notice that one of those products did really change to the worse (besides the ads in ICQ, which is ok I guess because they are not that annoying)?

No, no one noticed, because they didn't.

But what changed is that the coders of ICQ and Winamp got nice paychecks.

So, Alan where is your problem?
Don't like opensource OS coders who dare to make money?

Re:nice words words Alan, (5, Informative)

BCoates (512464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876862)

So, Alan where is your problem?
Don't like opensource OS coders who dare to make money?


Not to put words into his mouth, but maybe he doesn't want to work for AOL/TW because they're pushing for all the laws/technical solutions to not allow people to do what they want with their data and equipment (DMCA, SSSCA, SDMI, etc...)

That and the fact that AOL is nothing but dorks. I mean, ya gotta have some self respect.

--
Benjamin Coates

Re:nice words words Alan, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876871)

I got the distinct feeling from the time aol bought ICQ that it would be 'A Bad Thing'. I've noticed the usful features:useless crap ratio go up as icq became IM. the ads are obnoxious, true, but the base install of icq makes it look as ugly as the original icq webpage.

as for winamp, as soon as aol took it over, there was an immediate decrease in stability and increase in stupidass features. the install went from a couple hundred k to a few megs(or maybe I'm thinking of ICQ on that point.)

I think redhat has to worry about stability loss and code bloat of useless features if this goes through.

Don't like ICQ ads? Use Trillian instead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876887)

Why don't you just use Trillian [trillian.cc] instead of ICQ? It does pretty much everything ICQ does with no advertisements. The newest version even does file transfer.

Note: I have no official affiliation with Trillian.

You've Got FUD (1)

Multiple Sanchez (16336) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876792)

Is AC proposing defection because RedHat's role in the Linux community would be reduced to that of a pawn in the AOL/MS war? Is anyone privy to the politics going on here? What are AOL's motives?

I wonder if Alan has planets orbiting around him. (3, Interesting)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876793)

Cuz the guy must be a star!

Seriously, I salute the man for standing up for his
principles, but I don't think his "pre-judgement"
should receive such an attention.

He already works for a corporation, if the new
parent company promises to continue supporting the
spirit of the old company, and remains commited to
open source, then ACs comments are unjustified.
Atleast in my humble opinion.

Can RH prevent this? (1)

kimodo (522567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876795)

I know almost nothing about this sort of thing, but is it possible that RH can just say no? Every story i've read makes it sound like RH has no choice in the matter. Anyway, please keep those email's voicing your opposition flowing. Public opinion can be a strong weapon. Like RH or not, they have taken gnu/linux to a whole new level.

Re:Can RH prevent this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876885)

In going public you lose a certain autonomy. RedHat answers to its shareholders. Stock is at $8.41 down from ~180 or so (if memory serves). I don't think any shareholder would object to a buyout.

Re:Can RH prevent this? (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876889)

"is it possible that RH can just say no?"

That depends on whether or not RH still owns 51% of itself.

My Stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876800)

Oh well, his rumored departure hasn't affected my stock's abysmal performance at all.

Not just Alan, the user base (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876801)

Not only will Alan Cox probably leave Red Hat, but much of the userbase will leave. While Red Hat is a for-profit company, it is generally respected within the open source community for being solidly supportive of the community. AOL/TW, however, despite its good works regarding Mozilla, has no such reputation. The TW side of AOL, in particular, is very much a part of the traditional copyright establishment; the same establishment that opposes open-source DVD players and is pushing for additional copyright protection measures that would exclude the possibility of open-source support.

So if Red Hat is bought by AOL, I expect much of their user base will move to Mandrake, Debian, and Suse.

Re:Not just Alan, the user base (0)

dynoman7 (188589) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876867)

All your AOL are belong to Alan.

Re:Not just Alan, the user base (1)

conan_albrecht (446296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876903)

I don't think so. The purists are already on Debian,
those in the middle are on Mandrake or Suse. Seems to
me that Red Hat has targetted the corporate market lately,
who generally could care less about open source, GPL,
etc. Most large businesses would love to see huge
backing (AOL) for Red Hat.

The history would repeat itself (5, Insightful)

felipeal (177452) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876805)

Jamie Zawinski left netscape, as shown here [jwz.org] and here [jwz.org] shortly after it was AOLized. Here are some highlights from those pages:

April 1st, 1999 will be my last day as an employee of the Netscape Communications division of America Online, and my last day working for mozilla.org.

I think AOL still has all the stigma that it always has, as far as image goes. My friends keep saying ``jwz@aol.com'' and then laughing uncontrollably...

AOL is about centralization and control of content. Everything that is good about the Internet, everything that differentiates it from television, is about empowerment of the individual.
I don't want to be a part of an effort that could result in the elimination of all that.

And he'd not be the only one to react this way ... (4, Interesting)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876807)

AOL/TW is up there with Microsoft in terms of average Linux community member, for even if most people don't outright hate them, they think of them as the haven for the spammers and the clueless.

As I said it's a matter of perception.

Now, while AOL/TW wouldn't care one bit about all the Linux users ceasing to use RedHat products (their goal in buying the company, after all, would be to use its knowledge to create a AOL-OS) it cerainly could help on RedHat's end, as they'd lose any and all goodwill that they have from the community.

And when a significant amount of work is saved for a Linux company by having the community on your side and contributing various things, this certainly would be nothing but a pain for them.

RedHat is no longer an OS. (5, Insightful)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876809)

It is now a brand. Like Coke, or Tommy Hilfiger.

Thank you, AOL, for pointing this out to us.

Re:RedHat is no longer an OS. (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876846)

"It is now a brand. Like Coke, or Tommy Hilfiger"
RedHat was NEVER an OS. Linux is the OS.

Re:RedHat is no longer an OS. (1)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876901)

Nope.

Red Hat = company
Linux = kernel
Red Hat Linux = OS

Re:RedHat is no longer an OS. (1)

Tazzy531 (456079) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876868)

Are we going to say this everytime a linux company becomes popular to the general masses? If so, why bother getting it to the general masses? Red Hat has done a lot of good for linux. It has put a legitimate "face" or brand to this grassroot development of linux. It has brought linux down to the common users (or at least attempted to)

Not that surprising (2, Interesting)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876810)

Sort of reminds me of Jamie Zawinski leaving Netscape a while after the AOL takeover... I'm not sure I disagree with Red hat being bought out, but it seems to me once a big time corporation takes over that they would probably lose focus. (On the other hand Winamp seems fine {unlike ICQ} so maybe things wouldn't be so bad).

This could be dumb. (5, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876812)

If he does leave, he loses his chance to put the resources of an enormous company like AOL/TW behind the development and acceptance of Linux. To me this doesn't seem like the smartest move he could make.

There's plenty of time for him to leave afterwards if it looks like AOL/TW is going to do a Bad Thing, but up to and until that time, I think it's in his best interests, and Linux's best interests, to take advantage of the possible benefits of being backed by one of the largest, richest companies on the planet.

AOL only RedHat? (2, Interesting)

estoll (443779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876814)

CNN was reporting this morning that AOL's intention is to possibly create an AOL-only OS. Is it possible for them to create a new branch of RedHat that supports only AOL Internet service? Possibly a home user desktop only distro?

Re:AOL only RedHat? (2, Insightful)

alecto (42429) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876874)

Sure, it possible. But to do it legally, they'd have to do one of the following:
1. Write it from scrtach, possibly using a cleanroom approach

or
2. Release the source when they send out the coasters with this new "AOL OS."
I think either of those is less likely than that they would develop a closed AOL client targeted to Red Hat's distribution. But then, that doesn't require them to buy Red Hat.

Re:AOL only RedHat? (1)

BCoates (512464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876908)

Maybe for set-top boxes, or appliance computers, where the hardware, software, OS, and access are one package deal. Wouldn't make much sense otherwise... who would use it? I would imagine most AOL users are happy with windows.

--
Benjamin Coates

Does OS brand loyalty exist? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876816)

/.
Given the philosophy expounded in "Under the Radar" and other Red Hat sources, it's very interesting that AOL wants them.
Remember, Red Hat is about establishing "brand loyalty" in a commodity market - the idea is that the name should inspire user trust, the users should believe they can count on the Red Hat label to mean a solid, dependable level of quality.
This is the opposite of the "BUY ME NOW I HAVE MORE FEATURES I'M REALLY COOL" marketing approach that has historically led to massive bloat without timely bug-fixes.
Now, if Red Hat has succeeded in this, AOL can pick them up and Joe Consumer will continue to buy the product until he has been thoroughly abused by the new owners, however long that takes.
If Red Hat has *not* built true brand loyalty, the legions of Red Hat consumers will immediately switch distros to whatever new company employs Marc Ewing, Alan Cox and the gang (call it "Blue Hat" or whatever).
Or, maybe linux users are beyond all that and the Red Hat marketing engine is just as out of touch as any other software company?
--Charlie

Question Is: Where would he go? (3, Insightful)

dbretton (242493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876817)

The fact that Alan Cox would leave RH if bought by AOL/TW is not a big deal. RH != Linux. That is, he wouldn't leave the kernel project altogether to pursue a life as a skydiver or the like.

A good question is: who would pick him up?

I could definitely see IBM bending over backwards to get Alan, but would he work IBM, given IBM's overwhelming Linux support?
Mandrake might be a good fit, seeing as their distro is similar to RH. Then again, the fact that they have centralized their development out of France might not be a good deal for him...

two opinions (1)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876819)

first, i wish someone would bring linux to the masses, this could speed up devolpment in some cases and xfree86 could use a redoo, or replacement. i wouldnt mind linux being offered on an OEM pc for a change.

also, the AOL/Time warner thing is BAD! AOL has historically bought and killed software and i dont see them changing. Is netscape the default browser for AOL?, no and it never will be. This could happen to RedHat, but we wont just lose a browser this time, we will loose one of a bigest and most influential linux companies around, and that could damage linux.

So ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876822)

I'm quite sure that Alan will find a new thrilling challenge _real_ quick. And i'm quite sure that Alan will continue to be involved in Linux.

And frankly, this is the only thing that matters to us.

Mr Cox has worked hard to get this kind of independence ...

I don't know why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876826)

I think Alan should be more cautious with this kind of comments. His thougts are very important to the linux community and there could be a great boost if this happens (I'm thinking about Netscape/AOL/Mozilla).
lekter AT hispacluster.org

http://www.hispacluster.org [hispacluster.org]

Gee, get named to the T100 and ya get all huffy ! (2)

beanerspace (443710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876827)

I'll just assume for the sake of argument, that the thread is genuine and that Alan Cox is torqued ... or at least appears to be torqued.

I mean after all, if I just bagged a nomination as the top young technology innovator by Technology Review, I too might make a fuss ... considering AOL's deep pockets, it seems to me risky, but effective means of negotiating a hike in one's salary. [redhat.com]

Stupid AOL (1, Interesting)

DJStealth (103231) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876830)

AOL can get RH for free, it's all GPL'ed.. why not do what Corel tried with Debian and just create their own distro based on RH..

They're not getting guys like Cox, so why pay out the cash for something they've got for free anyway?

Red Hat Stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876834)

Hmm.. But where can I buy Debian company stock? I do want to invest in a real industry...

Linux is popular. Get over it. (1, Interesting)

Mighty-Troll (549627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876837)

Before I start off here, I know many of you may be familiar with my comment history, journal entries, etc. But I please ask before you start your trigger happy -1, Troll mods, look at the following objectively.

Linux is very popular, and moving into the mainstream and we all need to get over it. I realized this the day it finally hit 1.0. The success of it was inevitable. No one complained back then. The Linux community is bringing it on themselves, the better we make it, the more popular it will be.

The more popular it will be, the more people there will be who will want to make money off of it. This was confirmed when Redhat went public. We all can't be elitists. With the success of any popular operating system, you will have large companies seeing this as an opportunity to make money. This is called Capitalism, and it works. This is why I can post comments such as these and not have to worry about getting a knock on my front door at 3am by a bunch of men in trench coats and sunglasses.

If you have a problem with this, then perhaps you should consider being either an anarchist or a socialist. Theres plenty of them in France.

for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876841)

Of course he would not, he'd be the AOL employee of the month ;)

what if (2, Insightful)

-ryan (115102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876851)

If slashdot could maintain "editorial independence" from VA Linux when they were bought, why couldn't Red Hat negotiate some kind of persistence of it's vision? If Red Hat kept it's vision and motivations, but had more money, why then wouldn't Alan want to stay?

Now I'm not naive enough to forget that with money comes advice but... let's say AOL wants to create version of Red Hat Linux more targeted for Windows lusers. So now Red Hat might have a product line like: Embedded, Standard, *Home*, Professional, Deluxe Professional, Data Center, etc.. How is this bad for the community and Red Hat in general? I know alot of people don't want to see Linux beginning to pander to Windows lusers, but does anyone in their right mind think that Linus & Co. would pander to Windows users or Red Hat for that matter? Is Lindows going to destroy our beautiful Linux and wonderful community? NO! Then why do people think that Red Hat will allow itself and it's goals to be destroyed by a lesser evil than Microsoft?

I believe the stability of Red Hat is important to the future of Linux becoming mainstream. One more thing.... necessity makes for strange bedfellows.

How many users will switch distros if AOL buys RH? (1)

DJStealth (103231) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876864)

I don't know what I'm going to do if AOL buys out RH.. I use it on all my Linux boxen right now, and once AOL buys it, I won't be able to upgrade RedHat anymore..

I'll have to switch to a different distro.

Think of the administrative cost to reconfigure people's custom apps for a different distro in thousands of companies who won't use AOL based on principle.. or because it just sucks..

This is a Good Thing(tm) (5, Interesting)

dbretton (242493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876875)

If RH is acquired, then you better believe that AOL/TW would drive RH to become a company that supported the AOL/TW initiative (i.e. world domination by AOL/TW).

AOL/TW is an 800lb gorilla.
MS is an 800lb gorilla.

The RH acquisition would be like giving one of them a dart-gun: while it may hurt, it would stil only be a little weapon.

As a consequence, RH's gameplan would change from Red Hat Domination via Linux to AOL/TW world domination. Linux is dropped from the big picture, and only becomes a little piece of the puzzle.

Having Alan leave for a company that would support the World Domination thru Linux initiative (like Mandrake or SuSe, or Debian) would be a good thing for Linux.

What a martyr! (4, Flamebait)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876876)

Way to go, Alan. Rather than make sure that Red Hat REMAINS what you've strived to make it, you'd pack up your bags before you know what AOL's plans are. You'd rather leave than be associated with the company. You'd help contribute to RedHat FAILING under AOL rather than make it what it SHOULD be.

Standing up for your ideals is one thing, but by leaving, you're tossing those exact same ideals out the door.

I'd much rather suck up my pride and tell people that I was employed by AOL, but trying to make it better, then tell people I gave up rather than try.

Re:What a martyr! (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876904)

I cannot believe you people are discussing the future of some fool named Cocks while bin Laden is running free.

blah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876884)

What does this guy think he special becuase he works on the kernel of a unix clone?

The people working on the solaris kernel don't feel like they are mighty political figures or anything...it's just a fricken job, get over yourself.

Just becuase your program is open source doens't mean you're suddenly martin luther king or something, get real...

Ever hear someone who develops the HP-UX or AIX kernel blast of a bunch of half baked political rants? i don't think so...

Shocked -- well, no not really (1, Troll)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876886)

It seems that the Linux fanatics want to have their cake and eat it to.

They want their OS to remain free, yet they want more companies to back it. Everybody wants a paycheck for themselves but God forbid that anyone make a dime from Linux. Everyone works for someone, yet companies are evil things that ought not to intrude on Linux. They want everyone to acknowledge the superiority of Linux yet are unwilling to make entry into the Linux world any easier than it currently is.

This is what's commonly known as a pipe dream.

WinAMP and ICQ were bought by AOL/TW and prosper today. Sure, Netscape has tanked, but the argument could be made that they were damaged goods to begin with.

Do I like AOL/TW? Of course not. I think they're a bunch of left-leaning liberal hand wringers who would sell you out in a second if it made them money. That's why I don't they'd be stupid enough to buy RH and then fuck with it. They know everyone would leave in droves. AOL/TW would just love to put more pressure on Microsoft. This is a political move, if you ask me.

After all, consider that something good MIGHT come out of this, would you? RH could use more money to attract more talent, do more marketing, and improve their product. That would lead to better, more widespread uses of Linux. Isn't that what we all want? Or do we want Linux to remain the purview of server room necromancers who bathe every other week if they think about it?

AOL buying RH may not be that bad.... (2, Insightful)

Orangedog_on_crack (544931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876888)

IF this happens I hope that they don't fade away like Netscape did. Now that I got that out of the way, AOL buying RH might work out. If Linux is going to have a chance in the desktop war with M$, then the leader in the industry has to do just that...LEAD! If Linux is going to fight for market share against M$, they will need resources. AOL has plenty of cash for research and product development and Steve Case has no love for Bill Gates.

SCANDALOUS! (-1)

K0R$ h4x0r ru1z (533828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2876891)



GASP!

The Scandal!

The Dish!

The Horrible Acrimony!

. . .Who cares?

Enough dissing AOL (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2876906)

This is not a troll, just something I wanted to get off my chest. I don't work for AOL (heh, or Red Hat) or use AOL.

I'll post anonymously, and nobody will see this unless it gets moderated up. Moderators, this post is at your mercy.

AOL has done a lot for the net by getting a lot of people online in places that would not otherwise have had access. Sure, many of these people are lamers who ask stupid questions. But they learn. And then they can come to contribute. Diversity is a GOOD thing, but in order to have diversity, we do have to put up with a bit of noise. That's life. The real problem with AOL is not the users, but the fact that AOL builds a kind of fake internet that tries to contain its users inside a mall full of commercials. But give them a break. Noone else has as many dialups for the little towns out in the boondocs. In that respect they are doing a great thing. Even if they are making money at it.
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