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Red Hat Gives up on Fedora Foundation 295

phaedo00 writes "Ars Technica writes up Red Hat's giving up on the Fedora Foundation: 'In an open letter distributed to the Fedora community earlier this week, Red Hat employee and Fedora project leader Max Spevack states that Red Hat is no longer interested in establishing an autonomous, nonprofit foundation to manage the Fedora project. Instead, Red Hat will revive the Fedora Project Board, which will include five Red Hat representatives, four members of the Fedora community, and a chairman appointed by Red Hat who will possess veto power.'"
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Red Hat Gives up on Fedora Foundation

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  • Re:Red Hat... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:53PM (#15077414) Homepage Journal
    To quote from the LWN thread:
    Just some of the things that Red Hat spends a ton of money to create or enhance:
    - gcc
    - glibc
    - SELinux
    - udev
    - Xen
    - GNOME
    - Many other parts of the kernel
    - Fedora Directory Server (bought for millions, open sourced, development continues)
    - NetworkManager
    - Dogtail
    - Open Source Java (gcj and Classpath)
    - Internationalization (Input Methods, Translation, Localization, etc.)
    Goddamn Red Hat, and their secret plans to under mine Open Source by throwing money at it :)
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpno-co.oLISPrg minus language> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:59PM (#15077473) Homepage
    I'm willing to bet, were there a way to accurately gauge, we'd find that RH and it's derivites have the largest install base of all the distros.

    So yes, they are relevant. Software is written with RH in mind. It might work on other systems, but the target system is RH.
  • by youknowmewell ( 754551 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:03PM (#15077510)
    Here is the link to the email Redhat sent out. st/2006-April/msg00016.html []

    To say that the article writer has a bias against Redhat would be an understatement. Even when Redhat is transparent they are still lambasted. People want to hate Redhat, but without Redhat we would be much worse off in the Linux world. It's time people admit it.
  • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:11PM (#15077611)
    It seems you didn't even finish reading the headline. Red Hat is giving up on the Fedora Foundation, which would have been "an autonomous, nonprofit foundation to manage the Fedora project."
  • by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:26PM (#15077753) Homepage

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with Fedora Core the distribution, this is about the Fedora Foundation, a non-profit corporation Red Hat setup for various reasons. It proved unwieldy and not worth the hassle so they shut it down.

    This does not affect Fedora Core, you and other Fedora Core users have not been abandoned.

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:29PM (#15077767)
    ... and for the servers that own redhat enterprise is going to be removed and loaded with umbuntu.

    You must not know many people who actually work in corporate environments then. Most third party apps, such as Oracle, are only certified to run on RHEL or SUSE Enterprise. No other distrobution is certified. I can tell you first hand that if you're running Oracle on an unsupported platform, you will get ZERO support from them.


    Try and sell that to your management.

  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:34PM (#15077827)
    So true. RedHat is probably the best mix available of "hackable open source" mixed with "corporate oversight." There *has* to be a company with investors who have something to lose for most corporate boards to trust a piece of software. This means that the community loses control. There have to be viable support options that will be there 5 or 10 years from now and companies just don't get those assurances with community-based efforts.

    It really is all about the support. RedHat is not that evil really, they contribute a lot of code to various open source projects. I think most peoples' beef with them is that they don't distribute a binary version of RHEL for free (source RPMs are of course available,) but you know what, the GPL says they don't have to. Get CentOS if you just want the OS, or get RedHat if you want the support. Or, if you just don't like RedHat as a distro, don't use it. Just don't expect a lot of proprietary stuff to support your distro (again with the support!)
  • by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:36PM (#15077845) Journal
    I DID RTFA. That's exactly my point. If you read the slashdot headline, "Red Hat Gives up on Fedora Foundation," it makes it sounds like they're just giving up on the Fedora Foundation. When, in actuality, they're actually adding more internal structure and making it a bit closer to their own organization, so that they have more control over the project.
  • by muszek ( 882567 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:37PM (#15077855) Homepage
    Ubuntu is the distro of the week

    Man, that's got to be the longest week ever. I remember reading the same thing 50 weeks ago, when I was making the switch from Fedora to Ubuntu.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:49PM (#15077970) Journal
    First of all, I just wanted to say that considering what Red Hat has done for the community for over 10 years now I think people give them way too much shit. 99% of the comments knocking Red Hat are rants by idiots who have no idea how much Red Hat does. But in this case I have to ask what the hell they were thinking?

    "Incorporating as a non-profit foundation creates immense accounting challenges, and a truly independent Fedora Foundation would be forced to track the cost of bandwidth for distributing Fedora and every single hour of Red Hat developer time used to improve Fedora as well as the legal and administrative expenses associated with perpetuating the project and running the Foundation."

    They are just realizing this now?

    "In order to maintain non-profit status, a third of the Fedora Foundation's money would have to come directly from public sources. At present, Spevack argues, this just isn't feasible."

    They are just realizing this now?

    "Giving up" control of Fedora and then taking it back for the reasons listed just smacks of poor planning. Many people have argued "why should I help out Fedora why Red Hat just "takes" those changes and sells them in RHEL". I've always thought that was a retarded baseless argument. But on the other hand plenty of people seem to make that complaint. I don't think Red Hat is going to make many friends in the community by pulling Fedora even closer. I hope they are prepared to deal with the fallout and possible defection of contributors.
  • Seriously. Ubuntu is pretty much a support-it-yourself distribution. Not only is there virtually no (at least that I've seen) enterprise software that's certified to run on it, but you can't purchase as a product with support like you can with RedHat or Suse. I suppose you can get support options [] from Canonical separately, but I think that's going to be a tough sell to management, since they don't seem to be bundled very well. It's just not a very "corporate friendly" distro.

    RedHat, on the other hand, has two different server products, each of which are spelled out for the types of workloads they're designed for. They have a "top of the line" one that they tout is good for CRM/datacenter/ERP/database stuff, and a cheaper one that aims for mail/file/print/web servers. Each one has three different levels of support. You could easily argue that the variations in product lineup (ES versus AS) is mostly marketingspeak, and I might agree with you, but it's the kind of marketingspeak that sells.

    If you're looking for a distro to set up as your new print server, RedHat has matrices that basically tell you exactly what to get. If you go to Ubuntu's site ... well, I can just imagine some of my bosses staring at "Linux for human beings" and wondering what the hell that's supposed to mean.

    I'm not trying to bash Ubuntu here, it's a good distro (I run Kubuntu on my Linux machine at home), but I think comparing it to RHEL as the GP is doing, is just trying to force it into a market that its not aimed at.
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:06PM (#15078120) Homepage Journal
    Actually, it's interesting but IBM just certified DB2 UDB to run on Ubuntu: []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:40PM (#15078467)
    '"Giving up" control of Fedora and then taking it back for the reasons listed just smacks of poor planning.'

    Just from reading their letter, that's not what happened:

    "When we announced the Foundation, it was with a very specific purpose : [...] to act as a repository for patents that would protect the interests of the open source community."

    The two things you mention that were looked at afterwards weren't in the original plan. It's just that after the one planned reason went away, they considered a bunch of other things before deciding to scrap the original plan - to make sure they didn't scrap it only to find out it would be have been good for something else. Seems like reasonable planning to me...
  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:48PM (#15078523)
    No, it wouldn't. The Fedora Foundation would have been an entity that held patents created by Free Software companies, to defend Free Software against patent infringement suit. The foundation was no longer necessary after the founding of the "Open Invention Network".

    This was clearly stated in the open letter, despite Ars' flawed description.
  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:52PM (#15078567)
    The Fedora Foundation was never meant to be "an autonomous, nonprofit foundation to manage the Fedora project". It was meant to be an independent patent holding entity which would defend Free Software from patent infringement suits. The article has it all wrong, even though it's very clearly stated in the open letter to which they link.
  • by spevack ( 210449 ) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:11PM (#15078780) Homepage
    For the sake of completeness, here is a link to the *full text* of the email that was sent to the fedora-lists with the Foundation announcement. pril/msg01022.html []
  • Re:Red Hat... (Score:3, Informative)

    by frodo from middle ea ( 602941 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:49PM (#15079121) Homepage
    What is this rpm-hell you speak of ?

    The last time I went through rpm hell was in the days of Redhat 7 or 8. apt-4-rpm and yum have completely eliminated rpm hell for years now.

  • by LnxAddct ( 679316 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:02PM (#15079231)
    Umm... Red Hat is worth about 60% more than Novell so there is no chance of Novell buying them (but Red Hat buying them has been rumore once or twice). Red Hat also isn't screwing the community, read the damn email rather than the sensationalist headline. The original intention of the Fedora Foundation was to be a patent repository, giving unlimited access to any open source project, and using them defensivley against businesses if linux, or open source in general, was threatened. Red Hat, in the e-mail, said that they realized the Open Invention Network [] had already made significant head way with this, and that OIN would be "the 800-lb gorilla" in this area of open source. Rather than compete and divide resources with OIN, they decided that they'd rather join forces. That right there knocked out the main and initial reason for the foundation.

    One of the other motivations behind the Fedora Foundation was for legal standing. Just like the FSF makes contributors sign over their rights so that there is one entity in control of all the copyrights, the Fedora Foundation was going to serve that purpose for Fedora. The problem being that the Fedora Documentation is released under a very liberal license, no sense on signing over there, the Core and Extra repositories are collections of projects coded by other entities (such as Red Hat, Novell, or individual contributors), so standing doesn't make sense there, and for specific Fedora projects like the Fedora Directory Server, Red Hat bought and open sourced all of that source code so Red Hat has the standing for the time being. There is no purpose for starting the Fedora Foundation to cover legal issues like "standing" because it is a non-issue for Fedora right now. Fedora has access to all of Red Hat's lawyers, but as a separate foundation, they'd need to fund their own lawyers and track many other expenses. Just because its non-profit doesn't mean those problems go away.

    And this one was the real killer, a non-profit needs to have 33% of its revenue come from public donations (thats how you prove you're benfitting the public). Red Hat dumps a ton of money into Fedora, but here is an excerpt of things they'd have to track from the email:

    * The cost of bandwidth for distributing Fedora to the world;

    * Every hour that Red Hat engineers spend working on Fedora, whether that is the actual writing of code, release engineering, testing, etc.;

    * Legal expenses of running a Foundation;

    * Administrative expenses of running a Foundation.

    As an intellectual exercise, let's ignore all of those numbers for now except for bandwidth. Back in the day, when Red Hat would release a distro, we would regularly get angry calls from network admins at big datacenters, complaining that we were eating all of their bandwidth. If you ever meet any of our IT guys over a beer, be sure to ask them about the time we melted a switch at UUNet.

    The demand for Fedora is every bit as high, and the March 20 release of Fedora Core 5 was no exception. So let's take a conservative guess and say that the bandwidth cost for distributing Fedora comes to $1.5 million a year. Yes, even though we have BitTorrent trackers and Fedora mirror sites worldwide.

    That means that a public Fedora Foundation would have to raise $750k in public funds -- remember the one-third public support test -- every single year, just to pay for *bandwidth*, assuming no growth and no other expenses.

    So what would happen, under such a scenario, if Red Hat were to decide to spend more money on Fedora? Because that's exactly what Red Hat wants to do.

    To sum it up, Red Hat wants to keep dumping more money into Fedora to make it even better, but if the Fedora Foundation was created then every dollar Red Hat put into Fedora would be another 30 cents that needs to be raised through charitable donations. Essentially, putting more money into t

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@beau . o rg> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:04PM (#15081439)
    > ...their package manager (too much dependency hell)....

    You are either basing that on five year old experiences (which were horrible, I was there too) or not using the right tool for the job. These days only real propeller spinners need to manually invoke rpm. Up2Date and Yum take all the dependecy hell out of package manangement. Using rpm manually in this day would make about as much sense as a Debian user using dpkg manually instead of apt-get.

    And no, apt-get isn't the answer despite people continuing to attempt to hammer it into RH based distros. As long as you stick to i386 it sorta works but it doesn't deal with bi-arch at all so if you load up an x86_64 machine you will soon have to abandon apt. Yum and Up2Date work though.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.