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Suck on Linux Evolution

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the but-i-really-love-the-cartoons dept.

Linux 359

Jonny Royale writes "Today's Suck has an interesting perspective on the Red Hat IPO, and the future of Linux in general. Warning in advance: It's not pretty. " Ouch-I think there's a lot of honesty in this article, particularly the attention to human nature. What do you folks think?

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Ouch. (0)

DanJose52 (55815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1734971)

Whatever planet you're from, that's gotta hurt!

Looks not so great, but we know how the media isn't always the most correct group, eh?


I'm impressed at Suck's knowledge (1)

georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1734974)

They usually know what they're talking about.

I'm optimistic that Open Source and the GPL will hold out against the worst aspects of greed, though.



272 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1734977)

272 0 . Huh?

first post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1734980)

first post?

Suck - so cliched it hurts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1734983)

I can't believe anyone actually reads Suck anymore.

After about the 1000th consecutive article in which they complain, bitch, or deride something, I just had to hang it up.

It went from funny to annoying very quickly.

Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1734986)

The people who were here before are still here. Money is the least motivating factor at the bazaar. It's just another factor. I could see the prospect of money to be made drawing some of the "others" into the Linux circle but otherwise I don't see the culture changing at all.

Suck's presentation blows. They need to fix it. Who the hell do they think they are, Wired?

Re:Ouch. (1)

georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1734988)

There's nothing to be correct about now, Linux is still free for the download, people are still developing it for free.

See what Linux looks like in a year, see who's right, RMS or suck.

They did get a little nasty, I'll agree, but it's probably sour grapes at their worthless WiReD options.



um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1734990)

Well, I haven't read it yet, but if it says something bad about Linux, it must be bad, right?

The only way that Linux is going to gain marketshare and respectability is if there's only good news put forth about it. Whomever published the article therefore must not like Linux and hence is on the Microsoft payroll in some way shape or form.

What we need these days is more objective news covering the linux phenomenon. If it degrades linux, obviously they don't see the full picture, and therefore is not objective and they're being paid-off by Bill Gates.

This is slashdot.

Now I'm gonna go read it! :)

Suck - Name says it all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1734992)

BTW: 3rd

Picture book story about an IPO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735086)

What's up with their format? It seems like I'm reading mother goose over there!


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735087)

But not the developer. Bob Young; worth $650M as a result of YOU coding. Bob wouldnt recognize a line of code if it hit him in the head. This is BANG ON and the moderators will mark this down as anti-Linux. Long Live The Linux Thought Police. OSS just got raped. Deal with it.

hrm. (1)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735092)

While I don't doubt that things will change, the article does seem to downplay the fact that linux!=redhat (although they are clearly aware of it). But they ignore the existence of such projects as Debian entirely, which is odd for an apparently well-informed article.

in my experience, Suck exists to shit on everything (have you ever seen a positive piece by them? I haven't); they like to play up the negatives to fire up the readership. Take away the apocalyptic tone, and what they say is probably correct; but the rest seems to be a variant on the "linux is fragmenting" theme.

Painful, but true. (2)

flamingdog (16938) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735095)

All those trendy magazines and news channels that keep saying linux is the next big thing, they're wrong. They're not thinking in terms of geeks and end-users. All the geeks that want linux already have it, it's very popular among the hackers, wannabee hackers, nerds, and techies. But that is the farthest its goin to go without a 1BRI (1 Brain Cell Required Interface).
Its near its peek since all us geeks already have linux and all the companies that want to switch are about to do it. But thats it. Linux is not an end user product. Like it or not, MS is easy to use, and the users don't really mind rebooting every five minutes. They want to be able to turn on their computer, fire up MS Office, type up some fancy documents and reboot a couple of times. No more, no less. And thats what theyre getting, so they're happy. They don't want linux or the flexibility and stability it has to offer. And damn it, that's how its gonna stay wether we like it or not.


Sounds wrong (1)

dwlemon (11672) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735098)

I like to follow a few Free Software projects, and I don't think that someday the people contributing to them will start writing code for image or money. Maybe people who work for RedHat will, but I'm sure they already do. It's their job. I don't think Suck is taking in concideration anything outside of the LinuxConglomoCorps that are in the spotlight these days.

I don't know exactly what this RedHat IPO is, and I don't really care. So maybe I'm wrong about everything here.

Re:Suck - so cliched it hurts (1)

qmahoney (48881) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735102)

You know, I think the point of Suck is that it is designed to complain, bitch, or deride everything. Though, you are right, after a while I just got too tired to read it and it was quite annoying.

Damn, they realy bitched in that one, didn't they?


georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735105)

Actually, I did no coding, and got no letter.

Anyhow, the Linux IPO's were coming, you could no more stop them than stop the tide.

The more interesting question is to see how well GPL + OSS hold up against the flow of money and greed, if they cause the paradigm shift in software that rms is trying to achieve. We won't know that for a while yet.


Some has the guts to say how it is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735111)

Someone just had the guts to say how it is. They will get flamed, this post will be moderated down, but the reality is that people like Bob Young, Larry Augustin and Co. will make HUGE amounts of *PERSONAL* money from yelling "Linux is for Everyone" and letting you fools code for FREE. OSS == Freedom == MONEY FOR THEM AND NOT YOU. Open your eyes and see the brave new world YOU created. The vast majority of OSS developers will NEVER make anything like the money that will be made by a very small number of people. Its about the OS, stupid! No, Its about the Applications, stupid! No, ITS ABOUT THE MONEY. And we are all stupid to get caught like this. But then waddya expect from highschool kids and students?

Something to Ponder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735113)

I particularly like the concept of losing desire to put hard work into (unsexy) code when suddenly someone else is making money off of it. At least in pre_RHAT, that wasn't the case.

Optimism? (1)

Aliaser (76221) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735116)

I wish I could share you optimism, but it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. One coder is going to start thinking "Well, damn, I might as well make some money off of this" and he'll go do it. Then all his coder buddies see it and follow suit. Soon, the people who try to "hold out" against the commercialization of the whole deal are a minority.

It's called selling out, and with the money at stake ranking in the billions, I doubt that anyone would, when it comes down to it, say they'd rather do what they do for the love of it, if they can also make enough money to put little Suzy through college.

This is merely history repeating itself. Don't worry, the happy little unknown will come back some day. (Just look at music... first albums rock, the second always sucks) Look on the bright side, at least it wasn't a one-hit wonder.

Suck sucks. (1)

J. FoxGlov (2910) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735126)

Allegedly started by a bunch of disenfranchised louts employed by Wired, then conveniently their side project gets bought by Hotwired so they can get paid for their awful defeatist babble.

Is there anything here that hasn't been thought of before? /. has survived so many of these round-and-round debates about GNU/Linux, KDE vs. GNOME, Bob Young as the Bill Gates of Linux, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad astra, forever, that I doubt anyone who reads this site regularly hasn't considered every one of these half-thought harbingers of doom.

Does anyone really think that Red Hat is all good and benevolent? I sure hope not. Comments from people like Raster and conventional wisdom about corporate America should act as a check against that attitude. We surely don't need Suck to tell us that.

But my opinion, like Suck's, is like an asshole. Everybody's got one.


So What? (1)

seppy (2431) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735128)

There wasn't a whole lot in that article except for really trite metaphors.

Does linux have to be the perpetual virgin at the prom every year? I mean this whole virginal innocence of not being beholden to professional interests is foolish. Linux is still GPL. Don't like the license or the software, don't use it. I excercise the same choice every day when I boot into linux instead of windows. Sure windows can do some cool stuff, but it just isn't the same.

I think this article is nothing more than holding linux to a higher standard than any other technical project. Not a whole lot to get worked up about.

Everyone wants to have a roll eventually... Think of the GPL as a condom, or dental dam, or well you get the picture.


The article's fatal flaw (1)

soren.harward (1153) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735132)

The fat guy down in MIS may love remote administration, but he'll end up suffering with Windows 2000 until StarOffice has that talking paper clip his users like so much.

Uh huh. Does anyone else hear the giant sucking sound of credibility going down the crapper?

Two Cents (1)

JJ (29711) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735134)

I think Suck is wrong on this one, for the most part. Most of the people who work on Linux will not be negatively affected by a little money. In fact it will allow many of them to contribute more time and effort.

Selling IPOs (or selling out) (1)

moitz (65511) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735137)

In most music circles, except for those such as the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and all that other corporate, booker-produced dreck, selling out is the worst thing that a band can do. Look at Sugar Ray. They're complete sell outs. They're also very popular. But, they also suck very much bad.

However, we're not talking about music here. We're talking software. You can still release quality software that meets the demands of the consumers after starting to sell IPOs. It is possible and there are companies who have done it. But those companies are few and far between.

So I suppose the turning point for RedHat, et al is going to be when they stop caring about the GNU public license and the Open Source movement and start caring about giving large returns to the stockholders, most of whom (and you can quote me) probably are going to use M$ until dealing with it gives them an aneurysm and they die. Based on other companies (erhm...M$...diebill), the shift from caring about the end user to caring about the stockholder won't take too long.

I think that I'm going to install S.u.S.E. or Debian...something that hasn't sold out. Because being around bands as much as I am, selling out sucks...sooner or later, it just plain sucks.

Homer not function beer well without!

Nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735143)

Not even close.

Ya know, I kinda liked it. (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735145)

The article style was far different than anything I'd ever read on /. before. I've never read Suck before but it sounds like these guys are there to piss others off.

I really don't care if others make profit at my expense. The coders don't seem to care either. They're not in it for the cash. They are in it because they love doing what they're doing and want to share the wealth of information. Those who make money off Linux without supporting the effort are the same people who will be paying $80/hr to get their stuff fixed. Or $120/hr to develop new stuff.

Think about it. Those who know, do. Those who don't try to make money off those who do. In the end who's happier? The guy who's feeding off those who know how to do things, or those who are doing what they love and getting paid for support?

No one likes the paperclip anyways... (1)

Skratch (39859) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735147)

That damn talking paperclip is the most anoying thing I've ever seen in any piece of software ever.

Re:Sounds wrong (1)

trog (6564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735150)

Actually, coders abandoning the community so they could write code for money sparked the formation of gnu and the fsf. Read the gnu manifesto for the details.

It's happened before, and will happen again, except this time, on a much larger scale.

(Sticking to Debian GNU/Linux)

ipo, linux, suck madness (1)

CrazySailor (20688) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735155)

What did you expect? You saw quite a bit of hunger for the almighty $ here on /. Who got the "letter", who got through to e-trade, who was judged "competent" to invest, who felt screwed by not being able to renew their "indication of interest" even after the price was changed. (Raises own hand here.)

HURD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735159)

As Linux moves more mainstream and its
development direction becomes directed by
those who will most profit by it (even prob.
Linus, Alan Cox, etc. - I'm sure they'll be
in on all the IPOs), I will move more towards
the Hurd. This redirection of Linux is
inevitable in a capitalism-oriented world.

Software that develops without people trying to
get rich will remain superior since the ideals
of technological advancement will remain on
top. The Hurd, despite its low state of development, is such an OS that in the future
will be a very interesting system to use.

Moderate this post down... (3)

Tim (686) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735162)

...because I'm going to defy the great penguin.

That article was not only honest, but it was accurate, given the amount of complaints that the RH IPO fiasco generated from the *altruistic* linux developers on this site.

In the last month /. has witnessed more posts from people who believe that it is their Deity-given right to be financially compensated for writing free software--something that these same developers were patting themselves on the back for doing without compensation just a month before. I didn't think it would happen, but the aura surrounding Linux has notably shifted from one of community to one of serious competition, and while not all of this is due to $$ (witness the KDE/GNOME wars), it certainly hasn't helped. The RedHat IPO, as far as I can tell, has made the situation worse. Perhaps it won't affect the quality and reputation of the kernel, but the kind of corporate squabbling coming down the pipe can't help Linux's overall public image.

Re:Ya know, I kinda liked it. (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735164)

Actually after reading what I just wrote I thought I'd better clarify.

Those who are hacking Linux aren't getting paid to do *that*. They're getting paid to do something else but get to hack Linux in their spare time.

*THAT* is where the $80/hr / $120/hr comes in that I was referring to. They still get to play and get name-recognition in the source, but make their cash through other means.

In any case, the business people try to make money off the people under them. I'd rather be the underling, because the guy up above relies on me. Therefore I call the shots and if I move because I feel I can do better elsewhere, *he* is up shit creek, not me.

Suck could learn a thing or two from Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735167)

After all, nothing sucks harder than Linux.

Only time will tell (1)

Skratch (39859) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735170)

You know, thats what the (Microsoft loving) guy in the cubicle next to me always says: "Once one of them smells the money, it's all downhill from there". And you know what? Even though I'd like to think it won't happen, I can't help but fear it will. I guess only time will tell...

Re:I'm impressed at Suck's knowledge (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735172)

The same forces that drive the development of commercial operating systems -- including (and especially) Windows -- will now drive the
development of Linux.

Gee, I'd bet you $10 greed gets its way. ;)

Still, I'm not worried. The only real potential problem is if some Linux distributor tries to rip out their own piece of the market with a code fork. But remember, Linux has gotten to this point not by stealing plays from Bill's book, but by playing a different game. The costs of such a code fork to the forker would strip the forking company of the talent of the thousands of developers who drive the engine. They'd be roadkill - forked for sure.

Will the same motives that drive commercially developed systemd (greed) drum the dollar dance? Definitely. Will it make the OS crappy or take free software away from the peepulz? Only when coders quit coding. I can't think of any area where open source code has diminished its share of the market or given way to inferior for-pay, unfree junk.

Forays into the Realm of Twisted Logic (2)

Doc Technical (16405) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735174)

Let's see:

1. Linux is a high quality operating system created by a group of talented people.

2. Linux is available for free.

3. Because of 1 and 2, most people consider Linux a Good Thing.

4. Red Hat sells a "value-added" product that includes Linux.

5. Red Hat is successful.

6. Red Hat issues an IPO, offering shares to some of the people involved in 1 (above). Some of those people accept the offer.

7. The aptly-named suck.com considers this a Bad Thing.

From this I deduce that you can only remain Good so long as you are NOT an economic success.

Let's all work hard to ensure that suck.com remains a Good site. I'd hate for them to suffer the ignominious fate of Linux.

OH, Come ON!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735177)

Programmers have been hacking it out for years without the credit of glory or dollars while others have been profiting off of their work (i.e. red hat, suse, etc.). Why should it matter now that these companies are making even more money? As for software being driven by the bottom line, well there's always been a need to do this or that to linux to make it more appealing to a wider audience. Gnome and KDE are examples of that. This need is driven by the community, not some suit waiting for his company to go IPO.

Re:Some has the guts to say how it is (1)

janderbo (75437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735179)

Someone just had the guts to say how it is. They will get flamed, this post will be moderated down,

I hope not

There's some truth here. (1)

Nygard (3896) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735183)

While it is true that free software developers are motivated by other concerns that money, money does have certain practical applications.

I may not be motivated by money, but if I can get paid for doing the same thing (and paid very well), and others are being paid for it, shouldn't I make sure that I also get paid? And if I'm not... would I not resent those who do get paid for doing the same thing? Maybe not, I have a measure of respect for the hot coders that can get paid to develop Linux. What about the marketroids and pointy-hairs that get wealthy from selling that which I give away? (i.e., parasitizing my work.) Would I not resent them? Does that not then disincentivize me?

The point is that, as long as nobody was getting rich on free software, everyone had equal motivation and equal opportunity. Once profit intrudes, and people observe a huge disparity between those that contribute and those that only reap the rewards, they will start to question their motives. Not every developer will stop working for free software, but each and every one will run through the value equation--and you cannot deny that the equation has changed.


This is hilarious (1)

spacey (741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735185)

This has got to be the funniest suck piece I've read in the last year!

"The fat guy down in MIS may love remote administration, but he'll end up suffering with Windows 2000 until StarOffice has that talking paper clip his users like so much."

It oversimplifies a lot of the issues (like, a lot of talented programmers getting hired by linux companies for a good wage) that people are whining about, and ignores the fact that a lot of us got the job because we got really good at linux.


Yeah, but Suck Sucks (1)

Kagenin (19124) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735187)

Screw 'em! They're the furthest thing from what they were when Suck was started. Wired's changed it to it's own personal Masturbation Pit.

The cartoony pictures have always been drawn the same, except back in the beginning, they were more inspired. Now they're lame & flat.

Kagenin's Bottom Line is that Suck can't be taken seriously anymore. Not that they could ever be taken seriously.

Kagenin (who wonders where the Barrel, Fish, and Smoking Gun went to...)

nothing wrong with capitalism (1)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735189)

that was quite an atricle.. opinion peice. it was inevitable that linux become commercial, but linux has sustained being free and open-source for so long, and gained such a name for itself, without intervention from companies. now companies see it as a way to make money. that's what companies do.

the reality is that microsoft's products aren't great, but no one had a choice not to use them. actually there was no alternative, until linux came along. free, stable, and had a good story behind it. these companies can only make linux better. linux has such a community behind it that it will survive and improve.

Re:Painful, but true. (1)

dclydew (14163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735191)

End Users don't run servers. That's where linux will live. The desktop may have some linux variant or perhaps a MS OS, or maybe Be. I don't know. What I do know is that SERVERS DON"T NEED GUI's. when a CIO is shown the TCO of Linux vs. NT. Companies will switch. Admins, who don't like the interface will go the way of OS2 Admins, (Where ever that may be).

Re:hrm. (1)

coreman (8656) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735193)

I actually thought they had it pretty correct. The big, unstated problem they miss is what you just touched on, the splintering of the community into warring cost centers. Once Debian has it's own IPO and is going on it's way, don't you agree that there's going to be warring factions on why one distro's better than the other. Hell, it's all available for free, right...? The only thing left is the piracy debate and what's going on in the courts and then Linux will have made the bigtime!

so? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735194)

If someone can create BETTER versions, and that requires money, then let them go forth and obtain the money.

If the GNU/Linux 'people' (whomever they are) are SO damned worried, perhaps they should stop working on GNU/Linux and find something else to do. Something that worries them less.

Personally, I'm going to stick to my own knitting, scratch my own itches, and if others benifit from my BSD licenced code, great. I do it for *MYSELF* and not for the stroking of others.

The little cute penguins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735196)

Was I the only one who Scrolled through the whole thing to look at the cute little penguins? Awwwww... Soooo Cute!

True, but not true. (1)

GeneralTao (21677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735198)

I think the author's point about the tide of cash that is washing over the Linux community altering the community's dynamics is valid. I don't necessarily agree that it spells doom.

The big corporations may be paying us some lip service with all their Open Source posturing and grand philanthropic contributions to the under-dog movement, but I still don't think it spells doom.

All these changes will cause (Actually, ALREADY have caused) some changes. Like what? Well, the obvious one is a change in our userbase. We are used to dealing with newbies. We are not used to dealing with non-technical newbies. That's going to have to change.

But the idea that money will kill Linux, although plausible, is far from a certainty. The author implies that money kills quality and committment to creating the best product. That's hogwash. It may be true in the supermegahuge multinational corporation area of things, but there are many sucessful companies in the business of offering quality products.

Perhaps the Microsofts and AT&Ts and AOLs are more concerned with market-share, but that's a whole category of business the Linux community isn't even close to.

Take Sun, for example. Here we have a very successful, public company whose products do not suck.

Most of the commercial UNIX variants do not suck. So Linux becomes a commercial UNIX variant. Why should it, unlike all its cousins, start sucking? That doesn't make sense.

SCO sucks because they have lost touch with what else is out there, and have lost touch with their own userbase. Does the author REALLY think that Linux faces this danger?

The Linux stocks may very well eventually crash and burn into oblivion, but Linux will emerge from the fire and keep right on chugging so long as there are geeks.


So...have you been corrupted yet? (2)

Quikah (14419) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735200)

The little cartoons are pretty amusing, but I think that they miss the point (calling KDE and Gnome development pointless double effort is very clueless).

The people that are coding now have been doing it for months without any monetary reward, several have been doing it for years now. They do it because they like it. Suddenly they are paid for it. Perhaps some of the coders will fall victim to the evils of money, perhaps some new people will join up hoping to get rich. The folks who have been doing this out of love aren't going to care, they still love to fiddle with the code, in fact this may help them, maybe they will be able to quit there day job and fiddle full time now.

Personally I wonder how market forces are going to be able to influence Linux development. Most coders out there don't have a marketing team telling them "what the people want". Sure perhaps Redhat or Caldera or "insert favoprite Linux company here" sponsored development efforts will be market driven, but there is nothing barring any Joe Blow from going the opposite direction.

We shall see, I personally have more faith in my fellow man than Suck apparently does.

But it works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735203)

Sure some will make money off selling other peoples software, but to do that they must add value to the products (or who the hell is going to buy it?) RedHat has contributed many things to Linux, like RPM, GNOME, and a support line. They fund kernel developers like Alan Cox. Just because software is Open Source does not mean people won't buy it. Hell I would buy MORE software if it included the source code! In fact the model that id Software is taking (release source code a few years after its initial product launch) might be a first step for a lot of companies looking to do open source.

Re:The article's fatal flaw (1)

Jonny Royale (62364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735204)

Nope. I don't. In fact, that line is more poingnant than you may realize. I've got (and have had) users who would complain and moan about every upgrade/change/anything done to "their" precicious systems (side note: they didn't own the systems) becuase they had some customized icon/desktop/e-mail/SOMETHING that they just "had to have". And we're talking Win 3.11 and Win95 (the original), so you know they don't really need this stuff. Point is, most company brass, and in fact, most of the non-technical parts of any company, wouldn't know a transistor from a tater tot, and THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW. They want their hands held, the paperclip, the "You've Got mail!", all of it. And guess who's got to give it to them? The corporate IS departments, that's who. Cause the brass pays the bills, and we all follow the golden rule, as in: "He who haveth the gold, maketh the rules."

Re:Some has the guts to say how it is (1)

unAnonymous unCoward (63952) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735205)

people like Bob Young, Larry Augustin and Co. will make HUGE amounts of *PERSONAL* money from yelling "Linux is for Everyone" and letting you fools code for FREE. OSS == Freedom == MONEY FOR THEM AND NOT YOU.

And how is that different from the commercial world? A select few make all the bucks there too. At least with OSS the drudges have freedom of choice in what they will drudge in.

They're right, but they're wrong (2)

Analog (564) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735206)

First let me say that I've never read Suck before. Several people have said that they exist to be negative. I can believe that from the tone of the article. Doesn't change the fact that they're dead on the money.

It also doesn't mean that's the whole story. The one thing I've heard over and over since I started using Linux (about three years now) is that it's a fundamentally different beast. This was true then, it's true now. What that means in the current context is that while all that Suck said is true (and it is; don't delude yourself), Linux is in the unique situation of being able to maintain infinite alternate realities.

As an example - I go to LinuxWorld. I talk to many people. We discuss who uses what. Most people seem to run RedHat or Debian (I was in the Debian booth, so that may be skewed). On this, most run WindowMaker or E with KDE or GNOME (in order of popularity). These are the hot new things, many being driven by some of these new forces at play. Myself? I run a version of AfterStep 1.0 that I've done some hacking on (and I'm not even a programmer; I'm a hardware guy). Do these guys have functionality I don't? Not really. Themeing, but I don't consider that important, and I can get most of that functionality other ways. Some stuff like drag n' drop in KDE or GNOME, but I don't use that.

And there my friends, is the big difference. All these new things are available, becoming part of the system, and I don't have to use them. It's all optional. As long as the source remains available, there will be versions of Linux out there driven purely by the motives it has always been driven by. It's every bit as sure as the fact that versions and products will appear that are driven purely by greed. They're both human nature.

a wrong slant (1)

rivet (69296) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735207)

Interesting article, but I think they're going under some incorrect assumptions.
  • The article assumes that the Linux group intends to compete against Microsoft by Microsoft's terms. Simply put, we aren't. Our intent, by and large, is to make programs and tools that work, not just make it easy for John Q. Netscape-User to get on the Internet and play Solitaire. Granted, the above can be done, but we're not just stopping there. We're taking all of Microsoft's talk of "computers in use everywhere" and making it a reality -- NOW. The playing field is ours.
  • Yes, greed corrupts, but do the people in the trenches writing code write solely to make money? Maybe some of them do, but honestly, if money was the primary motivator, would the GPL be as lenient as it is?
  • Linux isn't the only player out there. It's the cutting-edge media darling these days, but there's FreeBSD (and OpenBSD, and NetBSD...). If it turns into a proprietary behemoth (unlikely), it's not the end of the world. We'll move on to greener pastures, that's all.

Re:Only time will tell (1)

asad (65703) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735208)

But you need more than one of them before it begins to go down hill, linux was produced by people all over the world and while it's true that some of the original hackers who made linux what it is today will become cynical and move to other projects there are more people willing to work on it and make a it a better product. And once you can create your own word documents and spreadsheets on linux as easily as you can on windows people will start to switch over to linux in hords.

that Damned Paper Clip (1)

Avenger (3293) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735209)

I dont know about you guys .... but I know NONE of my users like that DAMNED little paperclip!! Where does this guy work, A pre-school? Little kids are the only people I know that like that thing.

Except it's wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735210)

Suck, aside from the over-the-top negativeness that seems to be their only reason for existence, follows the same misguided path that so many Linux FUDmeisters seem to follow, and that is the fact that RedHat and/or all the other Linux-companies, IPO or not, are not Linux. They may contribute to the Linux development effort, but when it comes right down to it, Linus Torvalds is the only entity that has ultimate control over the direction that Linux-the-kernel will go.

Now, there is some small truth to the fact that a particular distribution may be forced to bow down to the collective pressure of the alighty dollar (to use a Suckish phrase) but we're already starting to see changes in the lineup of distributions. RedHat has been Johnny On Top for the last couple of years, but recently Caldera has been coming on strong and Mandrake has seemingly come from nowhere to wow the world. (although admittedly, Mandrake is based on RedHat, so without RedHat, Mandrake may not be anywhere. I suspect, however, that now that they are huge, they can concentrate on seperating themselves from being dependent on RedHat and focus on only being based on or derived from RedHat.) Even if these companies are forced to become "run of the mill" commercial operations, the only thing that can suffer is their particular distribution. And since so much of a Linux-the-OS system is based on free code, there is very little chance that any particular distribution could ever get proprietary enough to severely hurt the rest of the market. To do so would be to require that an entirely proprietary system like Solaris or AIX or HP/UX be built, tools and all, which is the one thing these Linux companies don't want to do.

In other words, the story is just so much crap intended to incite the villagers.

greed is human nature (1)

r-type (79613) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735212)

let's see how some other things styacked up against greed

Capitalism(not democracy) vs. Greed

no contest, they would help each tother and do. No arguements needed here. You could almost argue they are the same.

Socialism vs. Greed

I believe is most what leads to facism. greed has a way of turning a government that is trying to help it's people into an over powering ruling part.Most governments fall around socialism, some more communistic and some more democratic. In any case, I argue that greed leads socialism to fail.

Communism vs. Greed

We all know communism lost this one(even though after many hours of playing Civilization, I have concluded Communism is the best form of government...though that is something to be argued at another time). Communism might have survived if everyone was in it for the greater society and not themselves. We know this is a dream though and in the end, greed wins out. I would argue that the OS movement is most like communism, and unless steps are made to ensure that everyone remain good-hearted, we may suffer a similar fate. The GPL and others like it are our constitution that keep everyone good-natured. Even so, these documents are not binding and could be the undoing of the community.

One could also argue that the community is much like a democracy. I argue that in reality, we aren't. Our leaders aren't voted in. Our documents weren't ratified by us(though we do have representitives, sort of). We don't vote on how the OS movement should go. So I stick with my arguement that we are most like a Communist Society, all working for the better of everyone. But we had better watch out, for greed may lurk.

Re:Optimism? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735213)

I think Linux is mostly immune to this because it is so free. There are more than one type of person and I'm sure we have some of each coding Linux. What this means I think is that we'll start to have some bells and whistles added while still maintaining a strong product. Prehaps Gnome/KDE prove this well. Both are good products technically, yet both are full of bells and whistles and are largely responsible for Linux begining to move into the desktop market which I'd suspect is where the real money is at.

Not bad. (1)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735214)

Not a bad article, unfortunately it looks like someone wrote it from the outside looking in - Linux will not take the same path that everyone else takes. Linux will grow and evolve because the leaders of the technological age (ie: geeks) say it will, regardless of what the general public thinks or knows - we already stick a Linux box do whatever menial task we can think about ... just think what will happen in a couple more years.

the times they are a changin' (1)

Hygelac (11040) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735215)

I don't see the logic behind his claims. "Linux" is the kernel, the core OS. I don't forsee any money-slingers talking Linus (or any other core kernel developers) into putting crappy code into the kernel. I get the feeling this guy is only thinking in terms of applications that run on Linux. And no matter how much people want to spend or charge for some bloated pile of crap application, there will always be an alternativec Open Source(TM) project to turn to. Linux is just now building up steam, and there are many promising projects underway, but they take time. I'm willing to wait, and I'll do everything I can to keep from using M$ Office. A revolution is coming--he just can't see it yet.

"Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow 'er."

Typical Suck Banter... but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735216)

But what do you do when you've got YEARS of history in this field that have shown corporations like Redhat. Hell, look at Microsoft, they were giving out stuff long before they incorporated, and now everyone hates them. I dont' wanna say that Redhat will be the next MS, but they're on the same path Microsoft was on. This Open Source stuff is kinda a red herring. It doesn't matter anymore. The end user that redhat is selling to often doesn't really give a damn. Their target doesn't give a damn about opensource. The stockholders who generally give a damn about tech stocks don't care about Open Source.. they care about their money. I know that's cold, but the way Linux has survived thus far is by being an untouchable entity.. an entity that is not reachable by money. Now that Redhat and everyone else is getting into the IPO game, the focus shifts from "What can I do for the code?" to "What can I do for the stockholders?" You see.. now Redhat owes the stockholders more than they owe the community, and whether or not the community has a piece of the pie is pointless. It's not nearly significant. Doom and gloom? Yes. Being Open Source is NOT enough to distinguish ourselves from the exact same path Microsoft took around 20 years ago, and the same path that IBM took so long ago, and the same path that every other major computer company that we hate is taking. We survived by not playing the major company's games. Now we're playing their games, and we're no different from them. Just another tech-stock. Magnwa

It all depends upon Linus... (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735217)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Linus Torvalds still decides what and when things are included into the Linux kernel, right?

If so, then it all depends upon him. People will keep sending him useful code for obscure but important pieces of the OS if he continues to respect their effort and prioritize well. But if Linus starts caving into pressure by stockholders (relayed to him by Red Hat et al), and making neat but useless bells and whistles his priority, then Suck is right and Linux as a whole will sell out.

The other option for Red Hat (and VA, etc) is to cut Linus out of the loop, and do their own development of useless bells and whistles. That leads to fragmentation. Personally I don't see fragmentation as a threat to Linux as long as a central, unspoiled version of it exists...which again, depends on Linus Torvalds.

They are forgeting something (1)

AshNazg (830) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735218)

This article is forgeting something: people get older, and as they do so, they must worry about earning a living and assuring their future.

We must not forget that Linux is young and developed by young people. There are no miracles: or those people earn their money with Linux or with something else.

For a long time now I wondered about this problem: could there be a way os paying all those volunteers, and try to keep them working for the good of the cause?

I believe that the answer hs been found by RedHat. The developers must be shareholders of as many Linux related companies as possible. Those companies need to keep them active in the development. And RedHat was just the first. I would be surprised if any upcoming IPO would not bring another "letter" to developers.

And I what about those idealists, capable of working solely for the pleasure of hacking? There always be more coming as new generations arrive. As long as the GPL is understood and respected Linux wil be home to idealists. What's wrong if the best of those get rewarded with some wealth?

I just would love to know how many shares did RH offer to Linus. They must! As they put it: "the company's propects would be adversely affected if Linux Torvalds ever decided to stop developing Linux."

Re:Selling IPOs (or selling out) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735220)

Um, Redhat is far less sold out than Suse. Redhat very clearly labels which things are free software and which aren't. With Suse you really have to hunt to find out that information about their packages. Debian's really nice though.

BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735221)

Much better than Hurd from a conceptual point of view, and it's even shipping.

So? (1)

Christopher Craig (1394) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735222)

I fail to see your point. Sure maybe those who hold out against commercialism will be a minority. Does that really make a difference? It wouldn't seem that it has in the past.

When I started using Linux in 1995 there was hardly anyone who was sold out that I knew of. But Linux wasn't that popular and hardly anyone had heard of it. I talked, even with people in the CS industry, about Linux and they said "What's that?" If everybody but a handful sells out tomorrow then we will still be better off than before.

Think about it: Say everyone sells out but a hundred people. When this thing started we had Stallman doing applications and Linus doing a kernel, so after that everyone sells out we have 50 times as many people and a huge codebase. Now what do you think the chances are that only a hundred people will resist the temptation?

Linux will change but not the way suck thinks (1)

Caballero (11938) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735223)

Suck is right that Linux will change with money and a larger audience. I think we all know that. For Linux companies to make money, it needs to spread to a larger audience. To spread to a larger audience it needs to be simpler. Suck is right about all that.

That's about where the truth stops. Just because we add simpler interfaces does not mean that the power (which requires complexity) goes away. Linux has done a great job so far layering simple interfaces over powerful features. That's the best of both worlds. You can get to the power if you want, and if you don't you'll use the easy interface.

Will companies write the talking paperclip and other idiot tools? Absolutely, and I say more power to them. They will sell a lot of them, just not to me or any of the other power users. That's just fine.

Will the power users stop developing powerful software? No, why should they? They do it now. They will continue to do so. They won't care about selling it to the masses. Someone else may write a fancy interface over the top and sell it. So what? If you wrote it originally without the interface why should you care? It serves the same purpose for you.

Finally, I'm going to get on my soapbox at this point. Companies like Cygnus and Precision Insight are the future of free software. We've got people funding us to write code that we give away. We get to do top notch technical work and pay top notch people to do it. We can provide support and a corporate backing for our open source work. This has all the benefits of open source with the stability commercial customers require. Companies based around this model will do very well in the future of open source.

- |Daryll

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735224)

The cited article is nothing more than subsidized flame-bait.

I, for example, have been contributing to open source *long* before
it was called open source. Yes, it would have been nice to get in
on the IPO offer. But I wasn't offered and I don't care. I did not
make my contributions in the hope of "getting rich" off them then,
I don't now, and I don't plan to in the future.

I do it because it amuses me.

I know that drives suits and people like those at Suck mad with
incomprehension. I call that a bonus :-).

Time will tell. (1)

settonull (79047) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735225)

Do I think all these happenings will effect Linux? Sure, but I develop FS/OSS stuff, and I personally am not in it for the money and plan on continuing as I am. Just like liars assume everyone else is lying, people obsessed with money assume everyone else is too.

Sure it would be nice to be a millionaire, but I didn't start coding for the money and don't see that changing anytime soon. I am not gonna get rich at my day job, but I am plenty comfortable and happy.

Rather than jumping up and down and calling each other names, lets see what the developers do, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot like me, but only time will show for sure.

'The Bazaar' replaces the 10 Commandments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735226)

The Bazaar is JUST a piece or writing. The author is not God (although he needs to be told) The 'Bazaar' is merely an opinion. The 'Bazaar' is how a few get rich and the majority stay poor. Also known as 'Market Forces' Get a grip!

Re:Painful, but true. (2)

codejnki (16214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735227)

Companies such as RedHat, Microsoft, Apple, etc..., they are concerened with the end users. The coders of the open source community are concerned with their own pet project and getting it to work.

I get the feeling that the /. community likes to dump on RedHat because they were sucessful, but more importantly I think it's because they were sucessful first. Isn't the whole point of open source the ability to take it the furthest you can take it? RedHat has done that, and they have done it well. But the Linux community has something the Windows community will never have, Caldera, Debian, Slackware (personal favorite), etc.... We've got options and choices. Granted we've got no dancing paperclips but if we were so inclined a group of us could program a dancing Penguin hooked up to all the man page entries...wait that's a pretty good idea...sorry mental drift, where was I?

Oh yeah, I say quit you whining about RedHat's sucess, most of it seems to be out of frustration over them getting thier first. They are buisnessmen and that's what buisness majors do. They creat companies to create IPO's. The rest of us are computer science, philosophy (me), humanities, etc... and 10, 15, 20 years ago when you sat down to the computer and wrote your first PONG clone, was it images of an IPO that ran through your head? No, it was call the guys, call mom and dad, it was the bragging rights to the people who matter most. And that's what sepparates us from the buisnessmen.

RedHat's here, Microsoft is here, Apple's here and none of them are going any where soon. Get used to it. But instead of whining and complaining about somebody else's sucess work on your own. Keep it free, make sure that even with their sucess RedHat doesn't call the shots, we do.

Nuf said.
"War doesn't determine who's right, just who's left"

Re:Some has the guts to say how it is (1)

janderbo (75437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735228)

I'm a spaz. Anyway, what I was trying to say: Someone just had the guts to say how it is. They will get flamed, this post will be moderated down, I hope not. Although your attitude is that of an annoying, whiny child who can't wait to point out that the empereror has no clothes, you do bring up some challenging and interesting points. but the reality is that people like Bob Young, Larry Augustin and Co. will make HUGE amounts of *PERSONAL* money from yelling "Linux is for Everyone" and letting you fools code for FREE. OSS == Freedom == MONEY FOR THEM AND NOT YOU. Right. This is a very good point, and there will probably be a sizable number of people who are going to be disillusioned by the fact that lots of people who didn't do much are going to be reaping such large rewards from Linux. Some might stop coding open source software. That's going to be too bad, but think about the corrolary to what you're saying: Open your eyes and see the brave new world YOU created. Hmmm...would this be the world where people who don't want to work for free now have access to a job market where they have highly marketable skills because they helped design the OS? A job market THEY created? The vast majority of OSS developers will NEVER make anything like the money that will be made by a very small number of people. Its about the OS, stupid! No, Its about the Applications, stupid! No, ITS ABOUT THE MONEY. And we are all stupid to get caught like this. Gasp! Are you saying that the people who work the hardest don't necessarily earn a fair share of the rewards? My God, clearly an unprecedented injustice like that cannot be allowed to stand! Have you totally discounted the possibility that for some people, it's actually not all about the money? Now all this being said, I actually think the article had its own good points. And to counter the consistent refrain I'm hearing: just because you've heard a criticism before doesn't mean it's invalid.

Same old same old (1)

ESR (3702) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735229)

Suck's whole shtick is cheap cynicism. This article is not a surprise. Nor is it very

Readable? (1)

Fishy (17624) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735231)

What do I think?

I think I cannot be bothered to read something that displays as 5 words per line.

Does this diplay normal to anyone?


Why we complained about E-Trade. (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735232)

OK, since Suck dissed my article [salon.com] as griping for my 30 pieces of silver, I guess I better respond.

As those inside know, it's not about money. It's about respect. We want the world-at-large to notice and adopt the *community values* that linux--and thus Red Hat--embodies. Thus, it was very important that the little guys not be shut out by E-Trade, because this movement is all about the little guys. This is a battle, and we can't stand to lose the ground.

Unfortunately, some of my rant was poorly-written and easily-misconstrued to be whining for my piece of the pie. I tried to be clearer in my follow-up piece [salon.com] ; maybe I was successful. But Suck's way off track, here. The Red Hat IPO rewarded *precisely* the developers who Suck claimed would get ignored: the little guys who hacked some obscure feature of a random network driver or some such. It included them *because* we fought for it, and indeed that is the whole reason I pressed Salon to publish an article on the E-Trade fiasco in the first place.

We're trying to preserve a community here. Sometimes we collide with the financial world, but ultimately it's the *community* that's important. Suck just doesn't get it.

Thought provoking, at least (1)

mackga (990) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735234)

Tho, I don't buy the overall conclusion of Suck's predictions for Linux and the community. I use Red Hat distros at home and work - get paid for using Linux and maintaining it, and I try to keep my admin skills up on Linux so's I can get paid more later to work on more better bigger Linux boxen. So, I've been making money - sort of - from Linux for the past two years. Unfortunately I can't code well enough to give back that way, but I try to in others.

Okay, so Bob and some folks at Red Hat are getting filthy rich 'cause they have a Linux-based company and went public; maybe VA and Linuxcare will follow the lead. So what? People will make money, all things being equal. Even RMS said making money from free software ain't a sin. So, what's the point Suck is trying to make here? I mean Linus is making good money because of Linux, in an indirect way, and he hasn't changed into a greedy capitalist running dog, now has he?

I think the fella that wrote the article sort of understands Linux and what it has become, but he sounds like he doesn't get it.

Hmph... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735236)


Re:Forays into the Realm of Twisted Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735243)

A. Red Hat sell an enterprise version of the product.
B. Geeks break compatibility of core library to fix it and/or make it better.
C. Enterprise customer neither has the time/inclination to rebuild client source, nor the source to fix commercial apps.
D. Red Hat provides old version of library to appease angry corporate client.

Repeat as necessary...

Re:Painful, but true. (1)

Wah (30840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735244)

I disagree totally. I see the money pouring in allowing companies to focus on building that ease of use to make their distro or their app sell. People can't compete with Microsoft so young hungry companies will go someplace else. The open source spirit (and free debugging) should help keep some projects open.

Oh, and my end users most definitely DO mind rebooting two-three times a day. They also mind all the weird behaviour that I blame (usually) on M$'s crap. The public opinion of M$ has plummeted recently and as more people see an alternative it will help drive the market. It will probably take another 10-15 years, but it's gonna happen.

Flexibility and stability are great, I do think that there is currently too much emphasis on flexibility for a mass market approach. This was readily apparent in Mandrake's answer to this question. While some people (not geeks) like the flexibility, most want a useful out-of-the-box experience, a good default, something that he (mandrake) is totally missing out on. And something that some other company will pick up on, they sell a $20 gui on top of Linux and make a living at it. Competition (which has been totally stagnant in that part of the market, from an OS to OS standpoint) will help make things better as some coders go for the gold.

Another big question is how the GPL will hold up with the rapid lawyers just waiting to take on new territory. Big companies with lot's of 'em will walk around it, will the community hold, or will it, like many small enitities, not hold up under the pressures of mass expansion.

(sorry this should have been two or three posts, but me fingers just kept movin'. I also submitted this article under the heading "Linux SUCKs" no wonder it didn't make it...)

Harsh but true (1)

dbrown (29388) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735245)

The issue that Suck.com talks about is valid. Before RH went public, people worked on Linux for the pure joy of contributing something for the greater good. But now, people are going to start thinking about why they should do anything that directly benefits the big corporations.

This is why Netscape/Mozilla is having such a hard time attracting outside help. Nobody wants to work on something that they get nothing for but somebody else gets rich off of. In the early times of Linux, nobody was making money, but now people are (big $$), and that's going directly against the idea if OSS.

Suck mentions the war between KDE and Gnome. Both parties are going after the "unified desktop", but their ultimate goals are trying to create a business out of it. (The interview with Migel from Gnome [linuxworld.com] states that they have started a support business)

Hopefully, the different distibutions will keep people interested in developing the software instead of feeling like they are doing work for the big corp for free. If help from the opensource community dies off and RH, Caldara, etc. are the only ones left developing, Linux is dead.

The RH IPO brought out the greediness in a lot of people. I hope this rotten apple doesn't ruin the whole bunch.

Oh, here we go again... (1)

Howard Roark (13208) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735246)

First it was "Linux is not ready for business."

Then, "Linux is not ready for the enterprise."

Next, "Linux is not ready for the desktop."

Then, "Linux is going to fragment."

And finally "Linux will be destroyed by Wall Street."


While I am the proud owner of some Redhat stock, the money has very little to do with Linux. There is more to economic reward than just money. What about the reward of not having your computers held hostage by the bandits in Redmond? What about the reward of uptime? What about the reward of your freedom?

Wars are fought over economic freedom. Freedom like you get from free software. As Eric Raymond points out, programmers write code not just because they can sell it (and how many actually get to sell it?) but also because there is a problem that annoys them and they want to fix it.

I don't care if somebody makes a pile of money off of Linux. Bob Young deserves his money, he earned it. Hell, Bill Gates deserves his money. He earned his by, amazingly, convincing the world that they should pay lots of money for crap.

What they do makes no difference. We just want our freedom.

My computer, my way. Linux.

Howard Roark, Architect

Coders hold the power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735247)

The important thing to keep in mind is that ultimately, the people that create software (whether it is open or closed source) have tremendous power over it. The only question is whether they realize it and if they choose to exercise it.

Also, that power is a collective power. Sure, if Linus got pissed off and refused to work on Linux, that would cause a lot off problems for a lot of companies, but most Linux developers are more easily replaced. The key is that together, we have tremendous power. If RedHat pissed off Linux developers as a whole, and we got together to deal with the problem, we could force RedHat to do what we wanted, wealthy investors or no.

And that's how it should be. It may be true that a bunch of lazy rich people will necessarily get richer off of our hard work, but ultimately we hold the power -- if we choose to recognize that fact.

Re:No one likes the paperclip anyways... (1)

Skratch (39859) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735248)

Thanks for warning me... but I'd rather not :) I hate the fact that I have to use windows here, because everyone on the network uses Exchange for email. I try to use the Linux box behind me as much as I can, but then I have to work on Access databases, so my life sucks :(

That's a very poor site (1)

tialaramex (61643) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735249)

I know it's intentional, but it's still all style over content.
As other posters have said, it's fun to be bitter and jaded once in a while but SUCK gets tired very quickly. Although they do their research, and you won't catch any glaring technical errors, you can't trust their opinions.

It's odd that so many journalists seem to think that mass-market acceptance will kill Free Software. Especially when we've already seen that even USERS, who proprietary developers consider worse than scum, are contributing to Free Software by reporting bugs, suggesting ideas, testing pre-releases and contributing documentation.

MONEY can only change Free Software for the better. Today there are fewer projects which are proceeding slowly or not at all because of lack of funds. Companies like Red Hat can afford to buy standards documents, join industry groups and get at information which would otherwise be inaccessible to Free Software.

The worst problem Free Software faces from mass-market popularity is the splitting of some non-GPL projects when some members decide that there's profit in taking the code closed-source. Fortunately I think most really big projects (XFree, *BSD, Apache) have too much momentum to be badly hurt if/ when this happens.


Re:Ouch. (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735252)

Still, what has happened has happened. The suits are now in on Linux, and they're only going to infiltrate more. I think that most of us with actual development jobs know how business-types affect software - they add a whole other element of business and deadlines and bullshit to the process.

How many times have you bought hardware only to find that it was released when the market was right - not when the drivers were ready?

Is it for spirit or money? Two completely different things, and now we'll see which drives innovation, and which drives software releases timed for market pressures. Just wait 'til the board meetings(!) start happening. Linux existed for a reason, and now that reason has been changed to the almighty bottom line. Keep it in the black boys, keep it in the black.

Points which need thinking about. (1)

MrEd (60684) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735253)

So far, so good, right?

This article brings up many points which need thinking about. I'm having trouble sorting them out in my mind, so I'll just put them in a list and hope that someone more eloquent than I can express them.

  • Many people like to bash Red Hat for succeeding in the distribution business, saying "XYZ is better". Question: Given that businesses exist for the purpose of making money, can -any- commercial distribution maintian it's 'integrity' once the business behind it grows beyond its founding members?
  • As Suck points out, there are a few individuals who are getting rich off the sale of software they had little/no role in creating. Not everyone can handle fame and fortune as well as our humble Linus. Will the 'chosen few' use their wealth in a constructive manner, or will they build a monster home in Seattle?
  • Suck played up the Red Hat stock offering quite a bit. I admit, that making $30,000 US (my calculation based on 500 shares) is nothing to sneeze at, but it's not the difference between "sackcloth and ashes and a lifetime supply of fatted calves".
  • "Shouldn't the programmers get a dip in the money bath like anyone else?" ... Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the point of the RHAT offering to repay the programmers? I realize that they couldn't get everyone, but they did pick up the kernel developers list, amongst other things, right?
  • Suck has a point about there being a buck for the first one to pander to the morons out there who want to feel 'cool' running Linux but don't want to think for themselves. When commercial Linux distributions were small, the community as a whole could say 'RTFM' and be done with it. But now, with Corel and SGI jumping on the bandwagon, how are we to guard against the paperclip? Use slackware?

In conclusion, I was scared by this article. I can picture a future where the community is so angry at one distro that people begin saying, "I don't want my program to be included in their package." Once that starts, what's next???

(FreeBSD users are laughing their asses off at this article's truth right now, before resuming their superior glow.) ;)

Its partially true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735255)

Has anyone seen all the media coverage devoted to KDE2 and Gnome2 lately? They are talking about all of these new features when what we have now isn't even working correctly. Now why would they be working on things like 'embedding applications' and such when the damned menu editor doesnt even work and it takes me half a day to setup application bindings? Seems to me they are putting new features ahead of getting the current ones working. This is bad. The motivitation? The media coverage, the money, the competition, whatever.. it sucks. Well when KDE2 and Gnome2 comes out ill upgrade in hopes that they fixed the bugs and improved the interface, all the while adding tons of features that I will never use. Hrmm.. Upgrading in hopes of getting bugfixes and being spoonfed features that I don't want. Where have I seen this before.... Anyways I realize KDE and Gnome are not linux, but those are just two examples, what else is going to go that way?

Suck lives up to its name. (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735263)

Anyone who get into Linux for the money, raise your hand.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will keep doing what we've been doing since 91.

Bowie J. Poag

Of Money, Linux, and the Media (1)

sec (20916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735264)

I like money. It comes in enormously handy; you can exchange it for food, shelter, fun toys to play with, or anything else you may need to make your stay here a little more tolerable.

Certainly, there are people out there who become so obsessed with money that they can no longer see beyond the confines of a balance sheet. This is a tremendously unhealthy situation, and those who suffer from it should be pitied, not scorned.

I like Linux, too.

Why, then, is it considered some kind of taint if I combine these two interests?

You can certainly get obsessed with Linux, too, which is just as unhealthy as being obsessed with money. But, as long as you keep a sense of balance, and not let any one thing rule your destiny, what's the problem?

Of course, this is the media we're dealing with here. Balance is not a concept they understand. If something isn't white, it must be black. If something isn't totally free of the corrupting influence of money, it must be evil. The media only understands extremes.

This mentality is certainly easy -- you don't have to think about anything. It's also totally bogus.

Anyways, most successful Open Source developers seem, at least as far as I can see, to have developed some kind of balance in their lives. This, I suspect, will be proof enough against "corruption" through becoming totally obsessed with money.

Money is evil, apparently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735265)

I haven't read Suck much. It seems easy to confuse the ability to diss folk's motivations with insight. This article seems clearly to demonstrate more of the former than the latter.

There are greedy people in the world. Duh. Some people are likely to let their desire for money get in the way of doing something worthwhile. Duh.

Linux proponents are godlike Edenists who are falling from grace? That's just plain silly. There are lots of people with lots of motivations in the community. Many of us continue to believe that free software is an inherently good and worthwhile thing, and keep looking for opportunities to advance it. Maybe Red Hat will be there with us, maybe not. If not, they're likely to lose a lot of developer support....

Same old song and dance (1)

Sturm (914) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735266)

You know, we hear this same type of FUD almost everday now. "Oh no! Redhat has IPOd! Oh no! VA might IPO! Oh no! Oh no! Linux has sold out to the man! Somebody is making money off Linux! Linus has sold his soul to Redmond! OH no!". Am I the only one sick of hearing this crap? You can't compare Linux to other types of software, especially other operating systems. You can't tell me that bugs in a NIC driver aren't going to get fixed because it isn't a profitable or highly visible or "sexy" piece of coding. I see hundreds of bugs get fixed with each kernel revision. I see more and more software appearing on Freshmeat And you know what? The vast majority of that software is still free (as in beer AND speech) and is better (or will be better) than it's commercial equivalent. And not all of it is "cool" or "fun" software. I'm continually amazed at the number of utilities and productivity tools (like billing systems, spreadsheets, etc...) that pop up on Freshmeat every day.
I know that people are basically greedy. And I know that given the opportunity, a greedy group of individuals could drive even the most stalwart company or concept into the ground. But please stop feeding me these FUD-bars for breakfast. Redhat is not Linux. VA Research is not Linux. Caldera is not Linux. And even Linus will tell you that he isn't Linux. No single company or group of companies is going to dictate the general course that Linux takes. Linux's future will be dictated by it's user base and by the 1000s of individual developers who dontate their time to Linux because they love Linux and they do believe that Open Source software is a good thing.

Re:Suck - so cliched it hurts (1)

TheSnakeMan (59408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735267)

You know, I think the point of Suck is that it is designed to complain, bitch, or deride everything. Though, you are right, after a while I just got too tired to read it and it was quite annoying.

I agree with you on the being too tired thing...how many pages do you have to scroll down to read the whole article? I think they make some interesting observations in the article, but the format makes me not want to read it, that's for sure.

If this is off-topic, don't post Suck articles.

I don't understand what's so unfair (1)

Christopher Craig (1394) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735268)

Maybe you can enlighten me, but I just don't understand. I've been using Linux for about 5 years and have had a lot of fun contributing to various projects and writing some software of my own. As a cool side benefit I now have a really nice desktop OS that, unlike Windows, is a real joy to use. I love Linux to death and have copies of Windows NT server and Solaris for Intel sitting in my room, uninstalled, because I don't like them as much.

When most of the people who have written code for Linux sat down and started coding, they did it because they enjoyed it. They, like me, enjoyed writing the code, enjoyed seeing their work used by others, and saw something that they wanted done, so they did it. Most Linux contributors never even considered that Linux might become so popular and that there might be a lot of money to be made. They saw a need, and liked coding so they did it. Now there are a bunch of people whining because others are getting rich. As far as I can see, the whiners aren't even the contributors.

I'm by no means RMS, or Linus, or Donald Becker, or Mandrake, or any of the other big time contributors, I've spent a piddly couple hundred hours on bug fixes and a couple small programs, and I've loved every second of it. I have what I consider to be the best OS in existance sitting on my personal machine and I have a really fun hobby. What do I care that Bob Young got rich and I didn't? No, I didn't get "the letter" and I haven't made a dime off of Linux. If I had, that would make me even happier, but as it is I'm already elated with what I've gotten back from Linux.

I see all this bad mouthing of RedHat here because they made money off of Linux. I say "Good for them!" They have made some valuble contributions to Linux. They have a great package managment tool that has made maintaining my system much easier. They have poured lots of funding into the development of Gnome, which I think is great (though it still needs a lot of work). And they have convinced a lot of other companies to support Linux. That makes my life that much better, why would I complain?

Re:Painful, but true. (1)

windshield (67359) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735270)

But that is the farthest its goin to go without a 1BRI (1 Brain Cell Required Interface).

What a disgusting attitude! If an interface is easy to use, why does that make the end-user stupid?? I'd rather see it as praise to the interface designer.

Actually, NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1735272)

A while back someone grepped out all the email addresses from all the source on a redhat dist (5.0 AFAIR) and cut out all obvious non-programmers (doc writers) and sent them a poll.. They average Linux developers age is something like 35.. And about 22% of them have PHDs.

new license? (1)

agtofchaos (56094) | more than 14 years ago | (#1735274)

perhaps the next version of the Linux kernel needs to be released under a more restricting license that doesn't allow for people to distribute modifications without the development team's consent.
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