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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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  • funny, (Score:4, Funny)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:36PM (#15077232) Journal
    When I first clicked on this it said "nothing for you to see here, please move along"... I felt a bit like one of the completely marginalised Fedora people now they have a lovely minority and no veto power
    • One more reason why Kubuntu is Fedora/SUSE as the major community-led Linux distribution that aims to be easy to use.
      • I have to points ..... one agrees with you... the other does not. As someone who works in the coprorate IT industry .... no corporation would dream of using hardware/software that is not supported (as in I pay you to give me a solution ASAP). If you are operating in a critcal environment.. you dont give a damn if **put your favourite hippie distro here** is totally open source or totally free. Be it Microsoft, HP, Sun, RedHat or Novell etc etc ... you pay you expect a result. It happens that RHEL in indus
  • by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:42PM (#15077301) Journal
    I wouldn't say that they're necessarily giving up on Fedora. It sounds to me like they see the value in Fedora and don't want to give up control of 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 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.
      • There's a lot of that going around. It seems people get through "Fedora" and assume they know what the next word is going to be.

        People who don't read the article? Standard for Slashdot.

        People who don't read the summary? Rare, but I can see it happening.

        But people who don't read the headline? That seems silly, even for this place.
    • Fedora != Fedora Foundation. RTFA. :-)
      • 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 bout ( 128020 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:25PM (#15078310)
      > It sounds to me like they see the value in Fedora
      > and don't want to give up control of it,... ;-)

      (Copying from a blog post I made about this)

      At first I was surprised that Red Hat finds it necessary to reserve ultimate control (veto power) over the Fedora project

      Veto power? The OpenSolaris Charter certainly does not grant Sun veto power. But then as I read the message more carefully and thought about it, something hit me like a bolt.

      First, some background: It's important to understand what exactly OpenSolaris is (and isn't). Unlike Fedora, OpenSolaris is purely a co-development project built around a code base. In other words, we do not conflate the OpenSolaris project/code with any of the distros derived from it. By contrast, Fedora is all three conflated into one: a) the Fedora co-development process b.) the Fedora code-base and c.) the Fedora distro.

      How does this relate to community self-governance?

      With OpenSolaris, one set of policies and procedures (the recently ratified OpenSolaris Charter) applies specifically to the co-development project and, by association, the code-base. This charter is community-driven. A separate set of policies and procedures applies to Solaris Express -- Sun's bi-weekly OpenSolaris based distro. This distro is Sun-driven and of course nobody objects to Sun controlling it because anyone can create their own OpenSolaris-based distro. (And as everybody knows, SchilliX, BeleniX, and Nexenta, have done exactly that.)

      Maybe RedHat should adopt this concept? It certainly stands to reason that the Fedora community developers would like it better...

      Eric Boutilier [sun.com]
      Sun Microsystems
  • > How corporate involvement affects real open source projects

    I dunno. PMD has certainly benefitted greatly from corporate involvement; the reason that the most recent release included support for checking JSP/JSF code [blogs.com] was that a corporate-sponsored developer put together a nice JavaCC grammar and did all the integration work.

    As the project lead, I'm happy that PMD has new functionality and a larger audience, not least of all because that may lead to more book sales [pmdapplied.com]! One can but hope, anyhow.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fedora will never be a fully functional production OS, for it's in the conflict with Red Hat's ability to sell its "enterprise" products.

    For people who need a stable, secure, easy to maintain OS to run their production systems I would recommend Debian.

    • It's all about target audience. Red Hat Enterpise Linux is all about being a stable production OS. Fedora Core is all about being on the bleeding edge of Linux technology.

      Stability comes at the cost of lots of testing and debugging time. That's why a production-class OS like Debian or RHEL is always a bit behind in the software it includes.

      If you like having the latest and greatest, and are willing to accept the risks that go along with that (there's a reason "cutting edge" became "bleeding edge," after
    • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:42PM (#15080182)
      $YOUR_DISTRO sucks and no one should use it. $MY_DISTRO is much superior in every regard.
  • by fak3r ( 917687 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:52PM (#15077413) Homepage
    What's going on here? With MS releasing Linux drivers for virtualization, Apple releasing code to run XP on Macs, and now Red Hat dropping the community they created it's like April fools all week!

    My head hurts, time to go back to work and ignore all of this (right! [fak3r.com])
  • by youknowmewell ( 754551 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:03PM (#15077510)
    Here is the link to the email Redhat sent out. https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-announce-li st/2006-April/msg00016.html [redhat.com]

    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.
    • While RedHat is not an evil company by any means, they are similar to Microsoft in one way. Many Linux users hate them.

      I for one, dont see any reason to. They have supported a lot of projects and put a lot of effort into Fedora which is a great distro IMO.
    • 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!)
    • We just hate corporations, not RedHat in particular, until of course we go to work for some startup and get granted some valuable stock options. Then we loooove corporations, at least until our options vest and we can start flaming corporations again.

      What are you, a man or a mouse? It's Redhat's trademark, they can do whatever the hell thay want. It's a free country, get off your ass and start your own distro, eveybody else has.
  • Reading the letter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by augustz ( 18082 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:04PM (#15077526) Homepage
    It appears to make very good sense. Redhat supports a community distribution almost as well as many other players. I didn't like how little community involvement there was initially (especially without extras to start) but it's coming along, albeit a bit slowly.

    And bottom line, redhat has so far played well with the community.
    • There is much that is provided as standard in the software supplied by Red Hat that is not as available as one would like. You STILL cannot install to any filesystem type other than Ext2 or Ext3, even though it is pretty obvious that Reiserfs, XFS or JFS would provide superior performance. You've no obvious way of picking with display manager you want to boot with.

      Other niggles: There is no support for the Pentium 2, 3 or 4 architectures. RPM is configured to reject anything with an arch above i686, you hav

  • by Doug Dante ( 22218 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:12PM (#15077619)
    IMHO, the problem is that RedHat wanted to see some significant outside sponsorship for Fedora, say from IBM, or perhaps Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu), but they didn't get it.

    If they aren't getting the benefit of that sponsorship by giving up control, then why give up that control? It's useful to keep Fedora in sync with their commercial product.

    Besides, don't kid yourself, if I need a piece of software, more likely than not, it's been tested on Fedora, if not already packaged and included, and it was probably originally written on or ported to Fedora, so that's what makes it a great distro. I've used them all, and I like Fedora Core 5, and it's not terribly broken as others have claimed. (although I've seen one bug in the login screen).

    There's nothing wrong with this. For efficiency, we're going to see more code shared between distributions, and possibly testing, etc. However, it looks like RedHat's hopes of becoming the absolutely dominant distribution by embracing and extending Ubuntu (which is part of Debian), or by aligning itself with IBM, have been put on hold for now.

    However, the major distributions are more like one another than they ever have been (compare SuSE and RedHat now with SuSE 6.0 and RedHat 7.0), and they will continue to share more and more code, but it looks like the market for Linux based OSes is large enough that there is enough room to that total consolidation will not happen.

  • Moralistic Dogma (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rtobyr ( 846578 ) <toby@ricBOHRhards.net minus physicist> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:18PM (#15077671) Homepage
    I think that a lot of people assume that Red Hat Linux is this big ticket open source project, and therefore, Red Hat the company is bound to some subjective and abstruse ethical code. The GPL is not a manual of moral guidelines for running a business. Frankly a applaud Red Hat and all the other vendors of open source software that have implemented a successful business model around something that is free. For Linux to survive and grow, money has to come from somewhere. So when people in the know have to make the tough decisions, we shouldn't be so quick to criticize them for it.
  • by agristin ( 750854 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:29PM (#15077773) Journal
    This is a good thing, for Redhat and what is good for Redhat is generally good for linux. Redhat pays many kernel developers and contributes huge amounts of opensource code- enterprise class opensource code.

    Since Fedora Core is basically RHEL testing or unstable ( to try to fit the Debian nomenclature, I guess rawhide is unstable, FC is testing, RHEL is stable ), Redhat needs to be able to control where Fedora Core is going and what goes in. Partly to maintain quality control, partly to make sure Fedora goals incorporate the Redhat goals, partly for their legal department to not freak out.

    Until another linux company becomes as central to linux in business as Redhat, what is good for Redhat is good for linux.

    I think this will have limited impact for people who use Fedora Core as a home desktop (or even business). Probably none they will notice.

    For those that use other distributions, this will have almost no impact, because the things they use in their distributions that Redhat contributes will still be high quality and GPL.
  • No problems here! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scarolan ( 644274 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:43PM (#15077914) Homepage
    We use Fedora extensively in my workplace, and I'm frankly glad that Red Hat is keeping the Fedora project under it's wing rather than spinning it off as a separate non-profit.

    Having worked with several non-profits over the years, I can say from experience that a for-profit company will probably be more accountable and responsible, and better at "getting the job done".

    We like being the "testing" arm of Red Hat. We get a free, open-source operating system, and Red Hat gets our bug fix submissions and feedback. It's a nice relationship. We also like that some of Red Hat's profits pay for developers to maintain different parts of our operating system. The end result is a very slick, easy to use, and easy to configure, multi-purpose operating system.

    I am not so sure that a separate Fedora foundation would do as good a job as Red Hat is doing. Free software zealots will probably disagree, but guess what folks - it takes money and manpower to get things done. There's nothing wrong with a company making a healthy profit, and using some of that profit to give back to the community.
  • 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.
    • I dislike RedHat - a lot, but I appreciate what RedHat has contributed - especially the rpm. It may not be a perfect management system but it's fairly good. Likewise, I abhor Caldora (now SCO, of course) and yet they have made very worthwhile contributions to Linux and open source in general. I don't think that should ever be forgotten even in the face of scummy moves some of these organizations pull.

      Although I agree with the poor planning bit, I think an even worse move for RedHat was killing off their des
  • Corporates always take decisions keeping an eye on profits. They don't have the luxury to take decisions with philosopies in mind. That is because they are to a certain extent answerable to their share holders.

    This is where a project like Debian gains significance. Since it is not funded or controlled by any corporation, it lives up to the philosophy guiding it and will not be swayed by market dynamics.
  • Suits: 1
    Dirty Hippies: 0
  • 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.
  • 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.

    https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2006-A pril/msg01022.html [redhat.com]
  • by RichiP ( 18379 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:44PM (#15079073) Homepage
    Slashdot: New for nerds, stuff that matters.

    Sometimes I wonder how low the standards for nerdom has gone. Most top-level comments here are the same old "I don't like Fedora (I like so-and-so)" comments disguised to sound like there was a lot of wisdom in it. Heck, some don't even go to the trouble of making their comments look smart. Many of the RedHat/Fedora detractors either a) don't reference the actual article, or b) spout utter nonsense not even backed by passable facts (or both).

    For goodness sake, could the nerds be smarter and make comments that are more constructive. Where's the intelligence? People just sound like whiners.
    • For having such a low ID number, I'm surprised that you find that even worth mentioning. I always associate 'nerd' with inept, and 'geek' with trivial knowlegde ... or something to that effect.

      Past 4 years of reading slashdot comments has really sucked. But what I disagree with is the notion that you think (or imply) that any given 'nerd' will be able to contribute anything at all to this discussion. Maybe just some open-minded critical users of RH/FC? As a RH/FC user for 7 years, I don't really have much
      • I'm reminded of that quote from Bambi: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, -_^. In this case, "constructive" should replace nice. I hate having to wait several hours till moderators have had enough time to moderate terrible posts to below my set threshhold.
  • fedora = red hat enterprise beta ..don't do their beta testing for them for free!!!!
  • Amazing how many reactionaries come out of the woodwork when they hear words like "RedHat is dropping Fedora". Never mind the fine print, noooooooo that doesn't matter at all. The headlines will do them just fine. Fedora will be dead by the end of the week, end of story.

    Of course, for those who bothered to read RedHat's open letter, they will know that Fedora will continue to live on, "business as usual" as far as the average user is concerned. All that's changed is the organisational/support structur

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell