back to article Red Hat criticizes 'lousy' open source participation

Red Hat has joined a growing call to stop vendor domination of community software projects, saying the industry is doing a lousy job involving enterprise users in the development of open source software. Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's chief executive recently recruited from Delta Airlines, called on open source vendors and project …


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Bunch of nutcases. How in the world can you "stop" vendor domination of a project when the vendor is the one investing 99% of the labor? If the vendor initiated the project, then basically its theirs. If the "community" wants to fork off, fine, let the community fork off and get a life.

"Changing the way software is developed - that's how we can become a defining software company, and that's working on the 90 per cent of software that's not for resale."

Load of crap. You want to define technology? Create something new! Make something neat and popular! It makes no sense whining that nobody is opening up their custom in-house software to others. Hello, its custom in-house software! The custom software in Nabisco probably has nothing in common with the custom software at Ben & Jerry's.

What these guys are talking about is not really "community" participation, but company-contributed resources for a common project. That's quite a bit different than Mozilla or Apache. Why should someone, in their off hours, want to contribute to a custom project for a few companies? So of course its the companies involved who would contribute to the project. Now, is the project something that would probably reveal too much about its trade secrets? Maybe, and maybe that's why the companies are spending their money to keep the in-house project in their house.


what did he expect?

I am a programmer with 30+ years writing code professionally. Many times I have contributed code to various projects. 100% of the time I have been rebuffed or scolded. Fine. Go fix it yourself.

One cannot expect corporate interests to act altruistically, it makes no business sense. So no bitching from the corporate side of OSS. This is the world that redhat / linux / sendmail / mandriva / Washington Univ / mysql /apache and all the rest wanted. Wah. go cry somewhere else.

So although I still write and publish corrections, patches, add-ons, utilities, and improvements to many OSS programs, I no longer expect the owners of those projects to accept my code. I distribute them on my own site and on sourceforge.

And if RedHat doesn't know about the piles of good code that authors would be willing to donate, so what. It's what they wanted. they can't import my code because I released it under free licence (BSD). Too bad. This is the world they made for themselves.

Gates Halo


"Whitehurst’s intent is to grow Red Hat’s business by getting users involved in the software development cycle, using the Red Hat platform."

I hate to use the 80's capitalist slogan, but what's in it for me?

I or my company contribute our time and skils for free, so Red Hat can get richer and Mr Whitehurst get's a big bonus.

My guess is that he's not on the minimum wage and just doing the job of Chief-Executive for love of the open-source community.

Bill because at least he admits to taking your money.

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Losing to Sun

This all comes down to the fact that the centre of the commercial "Open Source" world is no longer Red Hat, it's Sun. Red Hat don't have, and can't afford, a developer base like Sun's.

For people who don't like hitching their wagon to big vendor free software, there *are* community based alternatives. But for a major company to move its business towards the model proposed by RMS in the 1980s (software itself it free/libre, people pay you for service, not royalties) is an extraordinary development. Red Hat were used to being the big kid on the block, and don't know how to react - hence this attack of petulance.



They seriously expect companies to open up their bespoke software? Do they not understand that this is offen what gives many companies their competitive advantage? Why would a company pump hundreds of thousands of pounds into an application to, for example, unify all of their back end systems via a middleware layer so that you only need to speak to one person who can do everything, from anywhere, then give it away? (In case you didn't guess a real life example of award winning software.)

This really indicates a low understanding of the priorities of commercial bespoke software development.

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Who do Red Hat think they're kidding here? Red Hat and open just don't belong in the same sentence.

With Microsoft, if I want to keep my skills current and up-to-date when new products ship, I fill out some forms and get shiny media in the post. It's dead easy.

Ever tried to get a copy of RHN Satellite to eval? Good luck with that! Even as an RHCE I've not found a way. I had one unofficial offer from someone in the states to help out, but beyond that, nothing. And this is despite a long period of involvement with the product that led to improvements and fixes!

Maybe they should open their own development, especially to the people they rely on to in-sell their products into companies before criticizing others.

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Don't feed the trolls

Based on the summary in this article, the entire presentation sounds like a presentation-length equivalent of a forum troll ranting about nothing.

Three reasons nobody cares about the overall average level of enterprise involvement in FLOSS pro or con 1) there's nothing you can do about it, 2) the level of involvement *must* vary on a per-project basis, because involvement in a project is mostly driven by the developer's needs, and 3) Free Software does not exist solely for the purpose of creating a new world exactly as RedHat envisions it.

"I'm not in the business of seeing whatever pleases you." --Master Shake

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