[clug-talk] Ok, I'm wrong... (combined replies...)

Kevin Anderson list-server at myrealbox.com
Wed Nov 17 16:25:18 PST 2004


>I'm confused. Are you talking about RHEL or Fedora? The way I understood
>it is that RHEL purchasers are entitled to free RHN subscription, while
>Fedora users are free to install updates from any number of mirrors. 

I've never used Fedora.  My last RH install was RH 8.  We were screwed 
(corporately) by the changes when RH turned into FC/RHEL, and I've never used 
it since.  Since it was the first time I ever managed to convince an entire 
company to switch to linux, I took it REALLY personally when support was more 
or less just dropped, and I was left to explain it to an office full of 
people who knew that their company had just been bet on a quickly abandoned 
product.  That's probably the root of my anger.  I would have been better off 
with Debian, because I'd have known where I stood.

>Incidentally Fedora comes with yum (RedHat hasn't ignored this
>improvement), similar to apt, which can be used to install rpms
>(automatically resolving dependencies) or pointed at a repository to
>fetch updates just like any number of distributions.

Apparently my experiences are out of date.  

If Yum works well, that's great.  We used up2date.  And it sucked.  Starting 
with their expired certificate and going from there.  Fedora isn't RH though.  
It's just "sort of RH", kinda.  

>As for what RHEL contains for easy updates I have no clue.

>I'm really not clear were they are sticking it to users. There is column
>A which wants to pay for support and buys RHEL, and there is column B
>which downloads and gets free updates from Fedora. There's even a column
>C of people who want RHEL without the support
>(http://whiteboxlinux.org/).

I don't think they're sticking it to users.  I think they're coasting when 
they should be leading.  Rather than pushing a desktop, they killed it as a 
viable base.  That's a hideously ugly message, as I've explained earlier in 
this thread.

> I'm not sure if your RH flaming is based on experience with certain
> versions, or more a philosophical beef with RH's technical approach, or
> just the fact that they are trying to run public for profit company
> standing on the shoulders of developers of free software. Or do you hate
> them because they have the largest market share so far, and thus every
> error they make is much amplified in the overall Linux story?
>

I'm not sure where I'd say it is.  I'll pick one example... I hate RPM, it's 
rarely successful for any really large packages.  Again and Again, KDE 
updates have Aaron explaining things for days here afterwards.  RPM as a 
package manager is stupid too.  Lets look at a REALLY simple example.  If I 
download squirrelmail's latest package from the internet, because YAST (or 
whatever) doesn't have it available yet.  It should have a dependance 
requiring => Apache2.  When I rpm -Uvh it though, RPM finds that I don't have 
apache on my desktop.  So rather than simply downloading it an installing it 
with YAST (or whatever), it pukes.  This shouldn't be the case.  It should 
say "Hey, I need this package.  Is it available to me?  And easily find it in 
the install media, or wherever.  But that doesn't happen.  This probably 
isn't Red Hat's fault, but the end result is that we have a half finished 
tool that's a requirement for LSB.  It's OK (at best) for managing packages 
after they've been installed, but it blows as an installer, and that will be 
more obvious as we move forward.

> RH9 and FC are freely downloadable and updatable with yum and other
> mechanisms from free repositories. Are you still  mad at RH, because it
> used to be different or your info is outdated? So at least your point
> about free updates seems unjustified from my experience.

Probably true.  I never installed 9, and I was using Gentoo before FC went 
gold.  There's just no looking back.

> Saying that RPM is bad may very well be justified but how come your
> anger isn't directed at all RPM based distro's, not just RH. Yes, I know
> RH invented RPM. If it is so evil, it does not excuse anyone else from
> using it. So again, I don't see why you are giving a different level of
> anger towards RH, than for example SuSE.

Because RH went forward with it.  They're the biggest distro, and with that 
SHOULD come some responsibility to say "this should be better"  Other distros 
generally use it because it's forced on them by LSB.  Which isn't 
neccessarily a bad thing, but it's a very limiting thing.  I could be the 
first to provide examples of Gentoo's flaws, but there are pieces there, such 
as use flags, that it's simply moronic to not have.  I suspect that as we 
move forward, RPM will seem more limited with every passing day because of 
the lack of these types of things.  (+LDAP as an example)

> I share your frustrations in the area of hardware drivers. However, I
> don't know why you are singling out RH in your anger. Is there anyone
> better? If yes, I would be delighted to find out, which distro would
> make the sound and the wireless G on my rather newish Toshiba laptop
> work. Again, why the singular anger towards RH?

Again, my money would be on Gentoo to provide this for you faster than anyone 
else.  Simply because their delivery style means that you'll have the latest 
kernel faster than anyone else can provide it.  Ian is a great example of 
that.  He posted to the list asking if he was going to be missing out because 
his gentoo install wasn't the most current version.  Lo and behold, it gave 
him everything completely up to date.  Far more up to date than when his 
install media was created.  Installing RH5 leaves me with a system that's 
ridiculously out of date, and sure, it can be updated, but it'll take 
forever, and isn't worth the effort.  That same RH5 media can install Gentoo 
2004.3 with no real need for updates after the install is completed.

This is true for most of the retail distros, but as the leader, shouldn't RH 
be stepping up to the plate to resolve this?

> And let's be honest, even Windows hardware driver stuff updating and
> finding is only a very partial success. For much of the hardware you
> have to go to the manufacturer's site, rather than getting it from a
> central windows update site. And of course, if you are running older
> windows versions, you are hooped, too.

But the point is, it tries.  Not having it today doesn't mean that it won't be 
there tomorrow.  Bleeding edge hardware is a pain for Windows or Linux.  No 
question.  Again, I've laughed that I need a floppy drive to install the 
latest version of XP because it won't look on a USB device, or a CDROM, or 
anything like that.  Sure they're screwing up.  And their install is like the 
RH/Suse/etc one, where if you install an old version, you can't easily bring 
it up to date.

> The hardware driver issue is a very difficult one, where "blame" can't
> be pinned simplistically. Macintosh and BSD users have long felt this
> issue, too. And users of older versions of windows can be as screwed for
> some newer hardware as anyone in Linux land. Whom should I blame when my
> favorite piece of hardware doesn't work with my favorite piece of
> software? I can blame everyone or no-one, but I don't think I can single
> out one distro.

Absolutely.  In my original mail, I was talking about installing software.  I 
used drivers for Windows as an example of finding software simply because 
they obviously won't let me just search for Office xp, and download it in one 
smooth operation.  With Linux, the licenses DO permit that, and it's 
something that we SHOULD take advantage of far more than we do.  The analogy 
was poor because drivers suck everywhere.  I merely meant that for things 
that MS considers "free" it happens semi-seamlessly.  ALL software should be 
like that for Linux.  If YUM makes it so, then I should just drop this 
argument, because I've been away from RH for too long.

> Why is it fundamentally evil that RH makes money? If you find making
> money on Linux evil, you'll have to start with Linus, and most certainly
> you'll have to include SuSE and in a less direct way many other Linux
> developers (companies and individuals).

It certainly isn't.  I make money on Free Software too.  Perhaps not as 
directly, but I still do.  Making money isn't bad.  Dropping a project onto 
the community because you don't feel like carrying it is bad.  And that's 
what FC is.  It's a lead-in for RHEL, where RH essentially gets marketed for 
free, on the developers backs.  If it works, RH rules.  If it's broken, or 
uses a stupid version of GCC, or whatever, then it isn't RH, and why did you 
use that instead of RH anyway, moron.  It's taking all the credit, and 
leaving only the blame.  

> Don't get me wrong, I'm no RH fanboy, but I honestly don't understand
> why you single them out for so much anger.

See my first paragraph.  And I'd be happy to make a bet with anyone on this...  
FC will be dead within 5 years.  Again, because RH will abandon it.  These 
changes are NOT positive for anyone selling RH into a corporate environment.  
Corporate environments need stability, and RH has been a failure at providing 
that.  The sooner Novell kills them off, the better for us all.

Kev.



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