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Zynot Foundation Forks Gentoo

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the awaiting-gentoo-sporking-eagerly dept.

Linux 455

deque_alpha writes "The Gentoo Linux distribution has been forked by a group of Gentoo developers and community members. This fork is being placed under the control of the non-profit Zynot Foundation, which will "hold the source code, trademarks, and any other intellectual property developed by and for its community." The goals of the fork include improving stability and cross-platform reliability to bring the Gentoo-developed technology to the enterprise and embedded arenas." Another reader points out Zack Welch's long article at Zynot.org on reasons for forking the Gentoo distribution.

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300459)

FP

Well (3, Funny)

Silvertre (472395) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300463)

its better to be forked than knifed...

Re:Well (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300471)

...there is no spoon.

Re:Well (1)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300483)

...or ARROWED!

Re:Well (2, Funny)

retto (668183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300496)

... or sporked.

Re:Well (-1, Offtopic)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300634)

I remember sporks.
They gave them to us with lunch (and Tang) when they were doing the Gemini space walks. They were transparent blue with a NASA logo on them and we thought they were cool as hell.
Well, they were, to a 6 year old... Back then...

Re:Well (3, Funny)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300503)

So Gentoo is now GenTree?

Sorry, somebody had to say it :P

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300508)

or Gentoo++.

Re:Well (1, Funny)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300524)

Nah, it's Genstead.

Re:Well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300530)

i'll fork you right in the arse hole!

Official Slashdot AIM Chatroom! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300570)

Join chat room "Slashdot" on AIM or click this link:

Join AIM Chat [nero-online.org]

Re:Official Slashdot AIM Chatroom! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300670)

Nice one! Might want to change the favicon, as I could see it while it loaded in a background tab. Better luck next time, mate.

Re:Well (-1, Offtopic)

aruil (543066) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300639)

Actually, there does seem to have been some knifing going on.

Re:Well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300664)

SWORDED!!

Re:Well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300666)

I see you've played knifey-forky before

Hardneded Gentoo (-1, Redundant)

floamy (608691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300464)

I remembering hearing something about a branch of gentoo aimed for stability, did it end up being a fork? Yes, I should and will go read the artical now.

Re:Hardneded Gentoo (5, Interesting)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300481)

floam, the hardened-gentoo project is still alive and has its own channel on freenode, #gentoo-hardened. It mainly consists of a kernel with only stable patches, IPSec, grsecurity or selinux (not both) and (if using IPSec) a profile to go with it. It's not a fork, just an enhancement upon Gentoo itself, hence the added profile and kernel sources. I've been using it on my router and it seems to be doing great, even with Gentoo's default SELinux policy.

Also, try their demo machine here [gentoo.org] . It's been mentioned as an article here before. It lets you log in as root and do almost nothing, which is pretty cool.

Re:Hardneded Gentoo (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300551)

Heh, yep that's pretty cool, alright.

I know that when I need to log into my servers as root, I definitely want to be able to 'do almost nothing'.

Setting your shell to nologin must be a real treat for you!

WOWEE! :P

Re:Hardneded Gentoo (5, Informative)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300657)

You miss the point, though. The true admin of the server can still do whatever he wants, by authenticating with the SELinux policy system. Even if the server gets rooted, it's all for naught without being able to authenticate with SELinux. If you understand anything about security, you know how valuable that can be for a system that needs hardcore security.

grow the fuck up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300465)

yet more proof that open source people are in general on the emotional level of a 5 year old.

get a grip ok? successfull technology is built by people who can work with others. not people who are the best c coder or have the unix api memorized

Is it just me.. (0)

djhertz (322457) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300466)

or did anybody else have to read that paragraph 3 times to get it? Maybe it's the beer but... oh wait.. yep, it's the beer.

Could be a great thing (5, Insightful)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300469)

As a user of Gentoo on both a server and my home desktop, I understand that this could mean great things for the distribution, if executed properly. Hopefully the forkers will be able to keep up with the dynamic nature of the Gentoo community.

Re:Could be a great thing (5, Funny)

VistaBoy (570995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300488)

I do not think it is in the best interest of the developers to be referred to as "forkers"

Those forkers!

Re:Could be a great thing (2, Funny)

Hacker Cracker (204131) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300579)

Overheard in the halls of the Gentoo foundation, to the developers of Zynot:

"Fork you!"

-- Shamus

Bleah!

Re:Could be a great thing (1)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300494)

Having worked as a sysadmin in a couple of environments, I have constantly said to myself, "I wish I could run my preferred distro here." When Linux has even been mentioned, the discussion has never gotten any further than Redhat.

This group hopes, and has my blessing, to challange Redhat in the business arena with Gentoo. Go Zynot!

Re:Could be a great thing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300497)

"I understand that this could mean great things for the distribution, if executed properly."

To be executed properly, it would need to be knifed, not forked.

So much for the greatness of Gentoo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300589)

I hate vague, goofy phrases like "dynamic nature of the Gentoo community."

We see non-stop raving lunatics praising and mentioning Gentoo as though it is the appearance of Jesus himself. In every distro article, some bozo posts *something* about Gentoo. Yet as it turns out, Gentoo looks to be managed by incompetents who corrupt their own portage tree and maintain mailing list cabals to keep people in the dark.

So much for your perfect Gentoo. And, yet, I don't see distributions like Slackware having these problems.

Immature distributions, immature user community, and immature managers--that's all Gentoo is and will ever be.

Re:So much for the greatness of Gentoo (5, Insightful)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300648)

I never mentioned anything about the way the community acts as a whole. It was more in reference to the way it has grown and probably will continue to grow, as well as how it responds to certain events in conjunction with Gentoo innovation, such as this.

I posted a Gentoo comment here because the article is about Gentoo! I agree that Gentoo and its community both have shortcomings. And I also believe that Slackware, Debian, RedHat, Mandrake, etc. all have similar shortcomings, both in community and in software. Linux is like that right now, and will be until it stabilizes. No matter what distribution you're a fan of, you can never claim that your favorite is better than the other ones. That won't accomplish a thing.

LINUX IS FOR TERRORISTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300472)

hgfdrhlkrgfjlkoerikghknglkjfnihgyisiuymrieghfgm riengjrionhgd

P.S. First Post!

sco again? (-1, Troll)

craqboy (588418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300479)

does this mean sco is taking over gentoo....damn...time to find another distro.

Just what we fucking need. (-1, Troll)

Pay The Fuck Up! (563397) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300484)

Another damn Linux distribution!

Benefit of Windows #000001: No need to worry about this. Windows is Windows, and it works. Fork over the bucks, and use it.

forking up linux (0, Troll)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300581)

Gentoo is just another bunch of hackers wanting to make money. Just like Bill Gates and co was at one time. As to windows working, it only works because its best code was bought or cloned from real programmers, who for the most part learned to code UNIX or something else first just like Gates did. Microsoft cannot even claim the copyright to the use of the word Windows to refer to its own os.

As long as there is a Darwinian natural selection aspect to software,
ie; vapour ware is the norm, then the best will survive. Look to the rapid adoption of Linux outside the USA. The only conclusion is that the more distros of an os the better. For that matter the more operating systems likewise.

The hardware driver monopoly of MS is slowly coming to an end. As it does the truth about how shitty win XP really is will finally come out in public. If Gentoo survives to grab a piece of the action then it will make reasonable money.

The get rich quick days of writing crappy leaky spaghetti code ware and hole ridden firmware for Microsoft, then making millions selling it to braindead users are over. Thanks to GNU, Linux, and BSD.

Gentoo for embedded systems (5, Insightful)

NTmatter (589153) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300489)

So...how am I going to emerge the latest updates on my Gentoo handheld?

To me, it seems that the most useful part of Gentoo is their portage system. How can it be modified to support the embedded area without losing the features that make Gentoo Gentoo?

Well, I guess that's why they forked, isn't it?

Mirror of Zach Welch's comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300492)

Introduction

These words were written in an attempt to explain the reasons that factored into my decision to fork the Gentoo project and to provide a history lesson to all those that may come after me. I hope that, by sharing my recent experiences as an open source user, developer, and business owner, others will benefit from my insights if they someday find themselves embroiled in similar political throes. I will also attempt to explain what steps I then took to ensure that the technology was preserved for the community, and the technical problems we intend to solve by forming a new culture around an existing and explosively popular technology.

I have tried hard to make the following narrative as impersonal as possible and to convey the facts as objectively as possible; however, I must admit to the simple fact that my own intimate involvement with these events will have skewed my perception of them. As such, my attorneys and business advisors have also reviewed these words to ensure that my personal feelings neither cloud nor obviate the point that this story ultimately tries to make:

A major fork of the Gentoo Linux distribution was both necessary and inevitable.

I also attempt to help make some sense of the inherent conflicts that derive from the fundamental needs of users, developers, and businesses. Like the old notion that a company must balance its offerings between "better, faster, or cheaper", an open source project must similarly balance the needs of those funding the project, those working on the project, and of those individuals that the project ultimately serves - its users.

My Personal Story

I founded Superlucidity Services, LLC in August 2001 after quiting my job as System Software Architect for Tripod Data System. Before leaving, I was nearly entirely responsibly for the Windows CE software image for the Ranger handheld computer; I had a secure salary, nice benefits, and corporate resources galore that I gave up in order to instead start a company focused on developing and providing Linux solutions. I had heard "what else are you going to do?" in response to why developers used Microsoft products one too many times -- the answer was quite simple: "you quit your job and go work on what you believe might someday offer the world a better choice."

Over the course of a year, from June 2002 to June 2003, I invested my time, capital resources, and equipment in the following fashions:

Help advance the Gentoo Linux project's development goals by leading the Embedded Gentoo project
To establish a support contract that helped fund the project leadership through critical times
strengthen its IT infrastructure, and overall ensure the project's success
Despite (or perhaps even because of) these efforts, I was still left facing the inescapable conclusion that Gentoo could not continue to serve my needs as a user, developer, or business owner. This conclusion came from several inescapable facts:

A week after divulging my intent and plans to form a "Gentoo Devices" to Daniel Robbins (founder and majority owner of Gentoo Technologies, Inc.), he attempted to characterize my recent and substantial contributions as volunteer work instead of as a sweat equity investment.
Between these two phone conversations, the "gentooembedded.{org,net,com}" domain names were registered by Daniel, yet he subsequently informed my company that Gentoo had no immediate interest in pursuing the embedded market.
Gentoo Technologies, Inc. choose to form Gentoo Games (another for-profit), instead of forming a Gentoo Linux non-profit as had been discussed by the community. The formation of Gentoo Games was made in secret, without even consulting the developers that would be making it happen.
These are indicative of larger issues within the project, which affect the technologies ability to scale into the embedded and enterprise markets.
If these points have piqued your interest, my story, and how I chose to respond, follows in my typically extemporaneous style of phenomenally verbose prose. Parental discretion is advised - young children may need to have explained the ethical implications of this sordid tale.

Sit right back and hear my tale

Once long ago (June of 2002) in a land far away (my living room), I started playing around with Gentoo on my Titanium Powerbook, having installed it successfully after a failed attempt with Yellow Dog. Even while still being overwhelmed and impressed at how developer-friendly the distribution package management system could be, I simultaneously and immediately was caught up with the on-line culture. Gentoo is largely driven by participation in IRC discussions, and many of the day to day command decisions are made through informal (and sometimes apparently random) connections between individuals in one-on-one or public channels.

Within a month after having joining in on those discussions, I was approached by Seemant Kulleen, long-time Gentoo development coordinator, to help with the cross-compiling and embedded work. Like most developers can attest, the process of getting drafted in the Gentoo development team (at that time) simply involved expressing your knowledge and experience on any subject for which an existing developer already had an interest. In fact, it was around this time that I was finally introduced to 'kibosh' himself, which was Daniel Robbins' IRC nickname at the time. The founder and chief architect of Gentoo himself also expressed interest in developing cross-compiling and embedded solutions, and they gave me official developer status to help make it happen.

As I had become involved with developing drivers and utilities for a USB motion capture device during this time, I was spending most of my time developing that package; as a developer, I was able to familiarize myself with the system on a level beyond what the average user would have. In very short order, I gained proficiency in the nuances of Gentoo Linux, adding basic init script support for apcupsd and other odd jobs. During these first few months, my involvement with the project is probably representative of the majority of developers' experience. Developing with Gentoo can be fun and addictive.

It was also during this time I began to see opportunities for combining my strengths with Gentoo for the greater glory of both, and my past experience working on the Ranger handheld computer made me feel that the Portage technology could someday provide innovations for embedded and handheld computing that were worth pursuing in my business. While it would take some for these ideas to eventually play themselves out, there is no question that I was beginning to look at services or products based on Gentoo as a source of revenue very early on in my involvement.

From that, I feel it important to be clear that I never disguised my interests with Gentoo. I have ten years of experience designing, implementing, maintaining, and supporting various systems of significant complexity, and I have fairly good management and writing skills to boot. Just like many other individuals, I have a mortgage payment to make each month, groceries to buy, and a life to live. So while I may yearn to produce free software, I cannot yet afford to quench that thirst without being able to collect on the occasional invoice to refill my bottle. From the very beginning, I have been clear with everyone involved that I am a professional software architect and am not just "doing this for fun."

Free code, yes; free labor, no.

Joining forces only to be kicked out

At some point in the Fall, the announcement for LinuxWorld Expo made its way through -core, asking if anyone would be interested in doing something to demo there. I approached Daniel about the possibility of demoing the motion capture device in conjunction with Gentoo Linux, and he seemed interested in the idea. Since it seemed like a mutually beneficial idea, I aimed at getting the product ready to demonstrate at that event.

Somewhere in this time frame, I happened to meet an individual from Oregon State University who was willing and able to allocate bandwidth to host a mirror for Gentoo technologies; that relationship grew to include co-locating numerous servers in their facilities, at no cost to the project. All users probably have some idea that there is a relationship between OSU and Gentoo, but I would wager that very few ever knew that it was my ongoing personal interaction that both originally opened the door and continued to help foster the relationship necessary to receive such consideration.

It was around this time that I also began to find myself slipping further into the development culture, looking for ways to help the project in broader contexts. One of the facts that also came to light was that I had maintained a Bugzilla server for a former employer, and Daniel personally asked me to help with Gentoo Bugzilla. This was also the first opportunity that I offered to loan a server to the project. In my eyes, that manifest directive to assist with the technology also included helping improve the policies surrounding that service.

Developers can still see the smoldering remains of my first (and last) attempt to publicly challenge the status quo in Gentoo, forever memorialized in a flurry of posts still available in the archives of (the quasi-secret) gentoo-core mailing list. At the time, I was completely unaware that it would have so greatly undesired consequences. In essence, I posted a pair of documents that outlined complementary user and developer policies for bug reporting and handling, respectively. These included fairly "militant" procedures such as ensuring that at least one developer is responsible for each package in the Portage tree. To supplement these proposals, I also posted a thread discussing an alternative for multiple "micro-Portage tree" support, another topic that had received extensive disapproval in the past.

While all of these ideas were aimed in serving the best interests of Gentoo, they were not well received by the community and both Daniel and Seemant were both personally displeased with my posts. Glossing over many important details, Daniel basically felt that my being put in charge of Bugzilla did not at all imply control over its policies, and Seemant seemed plainly outraged over the point in my final post stating that I had "business interests" that motived my development actions and the policies I had suggested. In hindsight, this was a very interesting and enlightening experience -- it was the first time ever I had found myself personally embroiled with the politics of satisfying my own conflicting needs as an open source user, developer, and businessman.

The final outcome was my summary dismissal from the Gentoo Project as a developer. I wept that night.

The road to recovery and LinuxWorld

Despite this unfortunate sequence of events, I had a demo unit shipped to Daniel for testing and integration, and though the tracking code was rough, we began working through some of the issues. During this time period, he and I worked behind the scenes to re-establish some personal trust between us. As the expo grew closer, it came up at some point that he was strapped for funds; in fact, there was doubt as to whether or not he would be able to afford to make it to the show.

It was at this time that I decided to really throw my resources behind Gentoo. I suggested that my company, Superlucidity Services, LLC, would pay for "reasonable support and services" from Gentoo Technologies, Inc., assisting my pursuing development of Gentoo on the ARM architecture. In short order, we structured and formed a one-page contract that also included a loan to be payed later, which would in turn helped him pay for some of the expenses for his upcoming trip to Fosdem in Brussels.

Daniel later expressed to me in person at LWE that, had it not been for my capital investment at that time, he would not have been able to afford to attend LWE/NY. I was also given the impression that he might have had to scale back on his plans to attend the Fosdem conference in Brussels. In fact, I felt there was a clear verbal understanding that the contract's purpose was ultimately for me to help fund Gentoo's attendance at those events in exchange for goodwill and consideration with future endeavors.

The actual terms of the contract were secondary to this verbal understanding.

Free to roam about the cabin

Despite significant efforts, the motion capture code was not able to reach the required level of performance to provide a compelling demo with Unreal Tournament 2002, which was to be the cornerstone of the demo at the conference. Despite its absence, the opportunity to meet Daniel, Seemant, Mark Guertin, Jack Morgan, Kurt Lieber, and many other developers in person helped cinch my involvement with Gentoo. The environment of the show provided an exciting atmosphere in which we could revel in the success that the technology was having, and we marveled at the opportunities that seemed looming around almost every corner.

I had the opportunity to speak with numerous corporate representatives attending the show about my plans for porting the distribution to ARM, and I even went so far as to speculate that the project would be able to demonstrate an iPaq running Gentoo at the LinuxWorld Expo, San Francisco in August 2003. Perhaps it was the conviction of my own evangelism being reflected back at me, but talking with these experienced individuals led me to believe that there exists tremendous interest in the technology and what it may have to offer embedded developers.

Drifting too far from the shore

After returning from LinuxWorld Expo afresh with energy and enthusiasm, I set to work on the ARM port and within 45 days had an installable image for the ARM NetWinder. While experimenting with cross-compilers, I became the distcc maintainer for its use in heterogeneous compilation environments, and several improvements found their way into the gcc-config source base as well. These efforts have been thoroughly documented elsewhere, and they were meant to be a precursor to the larger goal of putting Gentoo onto handheld computers like the Compaq iPaq and Sharp Zaurus. The next steps that I needed to take would be in that direction.

After getting the ARM port complete, there were potentially two choices: I could solve cross-compiling and embedded affairs for the ARM architecture, or I could try to take a step back and try to solve the same problems more generally for all architectures. Again, I spent a lot of effort documenting the project elsewhere, and will not bore you now with its details.

For now, it is enough to know that I gradually became recognized throughout the Gentoo developer community as the architect for the embedded and cross-compiling projects, dozens of individuals were expressing interest (from users to prospective clients), and I had finally produced a download for testing the project's new "one-step" cross-compiling installations. Developers familiar with these accomplishments have not yet challenged these somewhat strong claims.

While these things were not in my original charter, they could not be argued to be unsanctioned or unofficial projects; I had the support of the community, requiring the cooperation of numerous developers. This cooperation was not coerced or mandated as part of fulfilling the support contract; I was helping lead developers to solve the problems that they were interested in, as providing these individual with paths to their own goals would solve many of the same problems along the way. I simply served to catalyze and coordinate development, providing a road-map grown gradually as others' paths began to wind together.

Remembering those days gone by

Needless to say, quite a few things were starting to get piled on my plate, yet I had never quite forgotten about the problems I was trying to solve before my untimely termination in December. As the ARM and Embedded projects grew, I found myself frustrated by the difficulties involved with coordinating the management of such an enormous project and with so few coordinated resources. Talking with others, I found I was definitely not alone and that something was needed.

Collecting the diverse ideas from several project managers like Seemant and Daniel, I architected what was and is currently know as "Project Udder", which again is documented at length elsewhere (which breaths new life into the term "vaporware", reader beware). Ironically, Dan Armak began to float ideas for "herds" and out of that discussion fell many of the core ideas and policies that were originally at the core of my, then inappropriate, proposals. The idea of herds is now but one drop in the bucket that is Udder.

Udder is an infrastructure project, and one meant to help alleviate the problems faced by a distribution suffering unreal growing pains. The user base grew from approximately 20,000 in June 2002 (drawing from memory) to an unbelievable estimated 150,000 users at this writing in June 2003. Many of the pains experienced by Gentoo are unavoidable, and the automated systems and services proposed in the Udder project would truly serve to open the distribution to the community in ways that could revolutionize the average Gentoo user's experience.

All tooting of my own horn aside, I recognized that building a solid infrastructure was an important part to building a distribution, and I have deployed five (5) of my own machines in the infrastructure: cvs.gentoo.org, www.gentoo.org, bugs.gentoo.org, wiki.dev.gentoo.org are all hosted on machines I have loaned to Gentoo and which OSU has generously donated co-location space and generous bandwidth. The fifth machine was to have been a new LDAP server to that would have provided "single-sign on" services with the help of the Udder project.

At the time of the fork, I was the largest individual provider of infrastructure for the Gentoo Linux project.

Watching the storm clouds roll in

First, let me point out the simple fact that Gentoo Technologies, Inc. is in fact a for-profit corporation; there has been widespread talk of either re-incorporation or the formation of a new non-profit entity. In the meantime, Daniel's original business continues to market itself with the gentoo.org domain name, a top-level domain that has distinct connotations to the Internet community. While the domain name may continue exist in perpetuity, I would guess the "Make a Donation" button will have been removed by the time you read this.

Instead of forming a true non-profit entity, Gentoo Games was announced at the e3 gaming convention in Los Angeles. What many people probably do not know is that this entity was formed and created in secret, by a group selected by Daniel Robbins. During one of my many on-line conversations (all of which I log), I accidentally discovered the existence of the 'gentoo-biz' mailing list. This group of individuals, presumably hand selected by Daniel Robbins, seems to have been instrumental in the formation of this new entity, though I must fairly admit to not knowing what kind of role they play - having been excluded from those discussions at every stage in the process.

I mention this cabal's existence for several important reasons. First, this is a community project and I simply think people need to know; I came by this information fairly and unintentionally, but neither did my company ever enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Gentoo Technologies, Inc. (a minor blessing in hindsight). Second, the bursts of muted outrage expressed by individuals or small minorities in the community (whether about Gentoo Games or any other topic) have been repeated and masterfully portrayed as the voices of deluded, inconsequential, or paranoid minds. Finally, there is the matter of choice - leadership decided the direction for the community's distribution without consulting it.

I firmly believe that the community should have known both of that mailing list's existence and its subscriber list, as that knowledge has significantly changed the way I myself view their replies to political or business related mail. I think that this revelation will have that effect on others. Even though I have been able to ascertain a number of the members of this list, I would rather see them step forward and identify themselves to the community rather than take away that opportunity by revealing their names here.

Forming a corporation is not free. Some of the seed capital might have come from Gentoo Linux; there certainly is no public accounting of how the funds received from the Gentoo Linux "Make a Donation" page or from sales of merchandising in the Gentoo Store actually reach the community. As the Gentoo brand and operating system were built to their current levels of recognition and success by the community itself, isn't it then entitled to this kind of disclosure and discussion?

Seeing the ship begin to sink

On May 29th, 2003, I approached Daniel with ideas for "Gentoo Devices" for-profit spin off, and during the phone conversation on that date, I expressed interest in pursuing consulting services based around the non-profit Embedded Gentoo project for all architectures and markets. At that time, I characterized the discussion as positive and promising; going on the general positive feeling; based on the tenor of that conversation, I hired Jack Morgan, the Gentoo/Sparc co-lead, to begin to assist my company Superlucidity Services, LLC, to transition my business affairs into this new level of involvement.

One week later (Jun 5th, 2003, to be clear), I made another call to Daniel Robbins in order to begin the process of getting something in writing, inform him that I had hired Jack, and I wanted to clarify a few points so that Jack and I could begin to draw up a contract. During this phone call, a number of increasingly distressing things became apparent.

The hairs on the back of my neck first started tingling when I realized that he was now much more hesitant to give me any assurances that anything would happen at all; everything suddenly seemed to be couched in layers of ambiguity. Daniel disclosed that he had spoken with an experienced friend in the embedded industry. That individual apparently painted a picture that the embedded marketplace was something like a vast untapped oil reserve, which I believe played a large part in what I could now only begin to see as a sudden change of heart.

As our conversation continued, I tried to come to understand why he felt that a for-profit under my direction should only be limited to a portion of the embedded space. Having catalyzed and architected the Embedded Gentoo project from nothing, I expressed the feeling that I "deserved" to capitalize from my significant sweat equity contributions to the project - he expressed resentment at my use of the word "deserve". Thinking that things were already looking bad, I then received what was by far my most disturbing revelation of the night....

Nothing More Than Flotsam

In struggling to explain why I considered my sweat equity to be an investment in Gentoo, I referenced our previous contract for ARM services and pointed out that its purpose was largely aimed at paving the way for the future. I expressed that I felt he was now using the very sweat equity I had contributed while pursuing that contract against me in those very "future" negotiations.

At this point in the conversation, I was floored by his indirect response to my outright accusation: his position seemed to be that many people contribute things to the Gentoo project as volunteers. Based on the words I heard on the phone that night, he tried to make a case for characterizing all of the work that I had performed that outside of the scope of the ARM architecture as a donation to the project. It may not have been a very convincing case, but the very suggestion planted a seed in my mind that proceeded to grow into the single greatest threat perceived to my business interests.

After that point, things started to spiral into a mutually emotional attempt to clarify or reconcile our positions with one another, and I can not rightly try to recall the details of this conversation. A few days later, Jack and I discovered that the gentooembedded.{org,net,com} domain names had been reserved by none other than Daniel Robbins himself - one day prior to our last phone conversation. At no point did this come up in our phone conversation, though with all of the other things unraveling, I can believe that may have simply been an oversight on Daniel's part.

This registration of the gentooembedded domain names took place without my knowledge or consent, which perhaps was not strictly required of him. On the other hand, I would have considered it courtesy to be privy to such significant action involving a project that I had been leading for my business. The timing of the registration - after the first conversation where I disclosed my business vision yet before the next conversation where he began to back away from me - raised significant questions since Jack Morgan was told that Gentoo had no real interest in pursuing the embedded market.

At this point, I personally felt I could no longer trust Daniel - I felt he was being unethical and believe he plans to capitalize off of my company's intellectual momentum, even if that belief is substantiated only by my personal interactions with and impressions of him.

Here We Go Again

Looking back, I know that I should not have assumed anything without having first established something in writing. Further, I feel very sad to have experienced one of the many reasons that citizens of this modern era can no longer generally conduct any kind of serious business on their word and a handshake. Despite feelings of having been taken advantage of, I felt that I must demonstrate what it takes to be "the better man," and it is from that perspective that I ultimately tried to chart the following course.

Aside from clear and imminent danger that I now perceived to my business interests, the overarching implications these practices would eventually have on the developer and user communities left my psyche alternating between panic and terror. I found myself facing the same reality that had once brought me to start my own company - it was time once again to quit my cushy "job" with Gentoo and go once more unto the breach.

After having given and given, I finally decided that enough was enough. Most people I had talked with would probably not have taken as much before bowing (or blowing) out. Despite the setbacks implicit with abandoning the Gentoo name and all of the effort I have contributed to improve the distribution, there were simply too many reasons for me to start down a new path.

Charting a new course

In order to consider a fork, there need to be clear opportunities to achieve an order of magnitude of improvement in some perceptible area. In the case of Gentoo, I believe there are several areas in which such improvement can eventually be found: problems with leadership, development and user culture, and the technology itself provide abundant opportunities to catalyze a new distribution starting with the same technology (licensed under the GNU General Public License), but serving very different user needs.

At this point, I think I should take a moment and share the insight that coming to this conclusion was very difficult for me. The threat or promise of a fork rarely results in benefits for the overall open source community or culture. As an exercise, I took a high level look at the general direction that Gentoo is heading: economically, technically, and culturally.

Business Reasons

More importantly, the current situation that appears to place the Gentoo Linux distribution and brand arguably in the sole possession of Gentoo Technologies, Inc., and any sane business that contributes to the project should be very careful about balancing their expectations with the possibilities that such a monopoly entails. Speaking for myself, I will henceforth only do business with a distribution whose interests controlled by an entity that has developed non-discriminatory and reasonable policies through which negotiations can be conducted.

While my fundamental problems with Gentoo are personal, this story also accounts for a large portion of my own business reasoning. As a small business owner, I have ultimate authority to decide with which companies to purchase or deliver my services, and I will not do business with a company that I perceive is controlled by individuals that I perceive to be operating in an unfair manner.

Sure, it could be argued that nothing has occurred that is illegal; however, I personally believe that their actions were unfair. I personally will not allow my company to conduct business in such a manner, and I similarly refuse to involve myself with businesses that I believe have such people controlling them. I would rather be poor than compromise certain ideals, but the world works because of business and commerce. Business happens between individuals, and individual interaction is a personal phenomenon.

Next, businesses require a firm release schedule. With regard to planning for releases, there are important lessons to be learned from Gentoo:

1) no clear road-map: only the architect holds the vision for the future
2) feature creep: due largely to the lack of a clear road-map
3) follow-through: when a release date is selected, only small delays are acceptable

The first problem is being addressed initially by this document and the vision presented herein. The next problem should be solved by sticking to a timely release schedule. Following through with any release schedule takes strong leadership as well as the commitment and determination of all of the developers. With a clear set of common goals and a reasonable path for reaching them, the right people can naturally make such happen - even in an open source project.

I believe that the initial development team I have put together for this project will eventually attract a strong community following. With their guidance, I have attempted to plot a course to insure that alongside the community a healthy culture will be nurtured, and my attempts to improve these aspects of the project will likely not directly benefit my own financial success. Instead, I hope that my company will eventually be rewarded by being recognized for its integrity and strength of character, attracting other businesses that believe in the technology and are looking for someone they can trust to implement it for them.

That brings me to my final point: this strategic move has become necessary to protect the intellectual momentum that I have built behind the Gentoo embedded, cross-compiling, and ARM projects. These are projects that will soon be able to provide revenue, and I must feel confident that the foundation I am building with my time and energy will provide a fair and equitable return on that investment.

Gentoo Devices would have provided a strong brand with which to enter the embedded marketplace; while Daniel suggested I could pursue the same markets without that name, he understood that would allow him the opportunity to step in and capitalize with his own company leveraging my ideas and technology - a brand based strategy that would likely succeed in some part, despite our having established and developed the foundation on which it might be built. The non-profit would work to ensure that such unfriendly competition is avoided - more cooperation will be required for open source to succeed, not more forks.

Every contribution made to Gentoo builds the brand of the distribution, value that is not being fairly shared with those members of the commnity that have helped build it.

Technical Reasons

The consumers of embedded and enterprise software development services are usually companies building widgets. It doesn't matter particularly what those widgets do or whether or not they people building them have even decided to use a particular flavor of software solution. The actual technical features those customers will want from any solution are fairly predictable: good tools, multiple architecture support, scalability, reliability, and security. These attributes must be met to vary degrees for handheld computers and mainframe computers alike, and Gentoo technology provides an ideal starting point to support the required technology solutions.

Cross-compiling has been difficult integrating with Gentoo (largely due to non-technical issues), and completing the functionality may still prove too difficult to achieve given the existing implementation and development culture. There are numerous outstanding issues with Portage that have been documented as part of the embedded project, and even Nick Jones, the Portage architect, has been considering the possibility of a rewrite for quite some time.

Further, the current implementation language (Python) is not well-suited for many embedded systems; a rewrite in a lower level language (e.g. C/C++) will eventually be required to reach all targeted platforms. There are documented cultural and political biases against this solution, see the footnotes for Geert Bevin's account of his departure from Gentoo over this very issue. This particular issue alone can likely not be resolved to the embedded project's satisfaction in Gentoo.

Like cross-compilation of ebuilds, the Portage tree will not support scaling down without everyone's cooperation; new idioms will need to be developed and documented. Packages will need more attention to detail in order to upgrade them while retaining all of their functionality, and these details are neither really desired nor appreciated by the vast majority of the current user-base. Nevertheless, they can neither be avoided nor implemented half-heartedly; responsible, patient, and diligent developers will be required.

Entwined within the notion of reliability are the fraternal twins, quality assurance and validation. Validation implies that qualified programmers must be reviewing all of the changes to the source code that will run on users' machines. Quality assurance ensures that these changes, improvements or fixes, do not themselves introduce further problems. One of the biggest improvements that could be made to address these problems will be distributing the portage tree and relying on support for numerous tree overlays, something that many other developers have also expressed would be beneficial to quality and reliability.

Security includes not only integrity and authentication of deliverables, but plays into the entire development process. The existing culture has shown extreme reluctance to adapt to the only slightly more rigorous requirements for digesting the contents of the portage tree, and there is more turmoil lurking on the horizon for when the day that ideas of GPG key signing. These are essential features for ensuring that the open source development model remains respected and intact for many years to come, yet their implementation is stifled by politics rather than clear technical limitations.

Cultural Reasons

The near absence of clear delegation of authority may be the largest problem with the current development culture. Ideas for change are submitted up the tree of command for approval. Without permission from top management (i.e. Daniel or Seemant), there is literally no hope for even medium sized changes to be accepted, and small projects rarely ever see the light of day. While the current culture may have been acceptable for small handfuls of developers and packages, it is far from practical for a group of the size presently required to maintain today's portage tree.

In addition to this, there exists an invisible line regarding how large of a change you attempt to make that, once crossed, causes levels of persecution that are simply unjustified (previously illustrated by the Bugzilla policy incident). The leader of any project cannot make decisions in a vacuum, which is probably the biggest problem with Gentoo.

Lack of communication (or, rather, the perceived ability to communicate without repercussions) means that management is operating without all the facts in front of them. The very people that I have brought on board should help reinforce the fact that I want strong opinions from strong willed people; there will be no fear of the status quo or risk of marginalization because of technical argument, conflict, or disagreement.

Where there is communication, the organization does not have any structured means of capturing the information and presenting it. The culture is one of mostly verbal heritage; developers and users can only learn so much from reading the mailing lists. The IRC channels provide a multitude of useful processes, idioms, and esoterica that are captured no where else, and there are nearly as many permutations of "right ways" to do something as there are developers. These deficiencies result in fragmented and incomplete accounting of how things should be done, misuse of common idioms, duplication of information throughout the tree, and generally poor engineering overall.

This lack of documentation is both surprising and saddening, as it goes all the way to the top. The project itself lacks a clear road-map, making the future of the distribution uncertain at best. While there are several individuals that may have a clear idea about their own sphere of influence, there would be few who could argue that the only clear future vision of the future for Gentoo lies in the head of its lead architect - Daniel Robbins.

Current Events

Nothing speaks to an audience like examples drawn from the most current of events, and here I present a pair of sparkling examples that speak to the problems representative of what I believe will continue to be faced by the project:

As if to play directly into this paper, Daniel himself demonstrated the need for better engineering and management skills on the weekend of June 22, 2003. His mistaken commit that was meant to bring support for the emerging 64-bit AMD port instead resulted in tree-wide keyword changes for other architectures as well. These changes were neither intentional nor were they correct.

The ensuing mess proceed to be mishandled at almost every stage of the process: the tree was not locked down immediately and commits continued to occur to the tree, the cleanup was delegated but without confirmation and that initial request was then missed due to sickness, throughout the process the wider community was kept in the dark about both the cause and implications of the problems, yet no public apology or explanation was immediately forthcoming from the originating individual.

The net results included the dispersal of a severely corrupted tree to all of the mirrors, the frustration of nearly the entire user and developer base, loss of significant energy and time as numerous developers stopped what they were doing to clean up the mess, and the underlying tacit implication of what behavior will be acceptable in the future. The last perhaps is the most frightening - were it any other developer, would the results have been the same?

Reflecting On Reorganization

Stemming in part from this fiasco, Daniel Robbins posted a message to -core announcing a radical plan for reorganizing the project. This includes posting of a top management team (all but one of them on the -biz list) and a very reasonable set of policies for setting up both better means for delegation and a path for creating a non-profit. In fact, you will find that some of the following suggestions may sound similar in some ways; I personally do not find that in the least bit surprising.

While writing this paper, I allowed a few people to know both what was going to happen and to review the paper for errors, omissions, and general quality control. I approached one of the individuals on the -biz list and allowed him to view a pre-release version of this document (after making him sign a non-disclosure agreement).

That individual proceeded to request permission to prompt Daniel indirectly about the issues that I was raising here. Apparently having learned little about the fragility of trust, I agreed to his request with the understanding that nothing could be disclosed and our announcement could not be spoiled. In the end, this individual proceeded to actively assist with the preparation of this restructuring announcement.

Up until Daniel's annoucement appointed the board of directors, Joshua Brindle had been fully supporting our efforts, assisting us with preperations for the fork. Suddenly and without warning he was offered a seat on the board of directors for Gentoo; Daniel personally talked with Josh after the annoucement and made assurances about future business ventures very similar to those promised to me. Despite my caution about getting something in writing, he ulitmately decide to stay with the project.

When taken together, these facts strongly suggest to me that this restructuring proposal was likely reactive rather than proactive. Daniel's announcement preempted our own by less than twenty four hours, and it conspicuously excluded any mention of the ARM architecture, the Embedded Gentoo project, or any of the cross-compiling work already produced. His follow up to a direct question about these efforts then proceeded to continue to avoid any mention of them, and the recruitment of Josh came in part from the knowledge of his involvement with this newly forming project.

Ultimately, my personal problems with Daniel and Gentoo in general can not be solved by this restructuring; the organization will still place a single person with final authority about the distribution. I would not trust any single person to lead a distribution of this size, and Daniel himself has demonstrated a long clear pattern of being incapable or unwilling to stick with a plan like the one he has just proposed. Certainly, I can no longer trust my business to be led around by someone that wants to try to implement a new management structure in less than a week.

Since the "reorganization" does little more than officially legitimize his private business cabal as the official management team, I believe the proposed reorganization will have very little impact on the way things operate or in the way that decions will be made. The same people will be in control, so the changes would be titular and symbolic in nature. Daniel still plans to be hacking on Portage, which seems to be at odds with his position as "Chief Architect".

Conclusions

These problems might have been solved in a culture more adaptive to the needs of the many, rather than the demonstrated pattern established that seems to cater to the needs of a few. Unfortunately, Daniel Robbins and I seem to react much like vinegar and baking soda, and that certainly seems to have been the cause of our failed business ventures together. Sure, there were these clear and definite personal reasons for my forking Gentoo, but I put those all aside and considered the multitude of other factors. In the end, I simply can not afford the risk to my business, my servers, and my mental health by continuing to work with Gentoo; in the end, a fork is my best and safest bet.

This paper has tried to communicate the process that I went through in order to help prevent others from having to walk this same path. There will be little benefit from fragmentation in the open source marketplace, I feel I have no other viable option other than to create this new distribution in an attempt to bring that superior cultural, technical, and business goals to address my own needs as a user, developer, and businessman.

In the end, circumstances left some very simple, but incredibly challenging, facts for me to face:

A fork of some kind could not be avoided.
A new entity would need to be established to manage the distribution: its core source code, its name, its brand.
The community will need to approve how authoritative decisions are to be made in this organization, as well as selecting those that should be trusted to make those decisions.
A development culture needs to be created that will result in software ready to be deployed in mission critical and enterprise environments by the "average" system administrator.
This new distribution will not use the name Gentoo.

My response and reaction to that may also set an example for those to come, though only time will tell whether the net effect of these efforts will be worthy of a page in the history books or simply relegated to a footnote. Eventually, the choices of our users will decide this new distribution's fate, and the sweat of the many that contribute to it will be the ink that ultimately tells its tale.

And that, dear reader, is what brought you this far: the idea of a choice. We are prepared to offer the business community a new choice. The details of what we will offer are presented in another paper, "The Future Of Zynot"

What will you choose?

Contributors and Co-Conspirators

The following individuals have generously contributed their time and efforts to see that this new non-profit gets on the ground and begins heading in this new direction. I can not thank them all enough for their patience and

Graham Forest - help with editing and overall improvements
Mark Guertin - multiple-tree ideas, portage enhancement ideas
Amir Guindehi - several readability and grammer suggestions
Quentin Hartman - general advice and comments
Scott Kveton - table of contents and other suggestions
Jack Morgan - general advice and editing
Jon Nall - thorough review and corrections

Footnotes

Geert Bevin previously left the team after telling a similar story:
http://uwyn.com/resources/gentoo_departure.html

Forking? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300493)

And in other news...
I'm FORKING your mom!

SERIOUS QUESTION (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300498)

This is a serious question.

I want you to think about how much time has been spent and money and effort invested over the past (let's say) six years on the various Linux distributions. There are, what, half a dozen major ones, and maybe a dozen more niche or fringe ones?

Now think about how much further along Linux would have been if that time, money, and effort had not been squandered on dead ends.

Now think about how much time, money, and effort was spent on Gnome or KDE. Now think about how much further along Gnome or KDE could have been if nobody had wasted their time on the other one.

Now think about Gecko. Gecko, as a browser technology, is essentially dead. KHTML, thanks to Apple, rules the day. How much further along would KHTML be if nobody had wasted their time on Gecko? Or, if you prefer, how much more viable and advanced would Gecko be if nobody had wasted their time on KHTML?

Here we see what, to me, seems to be the ultimate failure of this thing you guys call "open source." What I'm referring to here is the development of large software projects by loose, unorganized confederations of hobbyists, students, and individuals; this is the phenomenon that has come to be known on Slashdot and in a few other places as "open source."

The ultimate failure of "open source" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

As a software engineering protocol, "open source" appears to be remarkably ineffective.

How can this be?

Opinions?

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300519)

Well, all things considered, Linux as a whole probably would have caught up to Microsoft in market share and functionality by now, if people worked together as you describe.

Your point is a massive troll but well taken. I'm sure that 600,000 users are now going to tear you apart and say it isn't so, but the matter of fact is that 100 hobbyists split between 2 competing open source projects can't compete with 100 paid employees working on one closed source project.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (0)

m1chael (636773) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300540)

its a fair question, but thats why closed-source is for.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (1, Insightful)

xtrat (549214) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300590)

I think you are missing the real point of open source development. The factions are what make the software better. The option to choose different features/solutions make the software better. The competition between project drive the project to improve.

Talk about trolling... Ok, what about 1000 "hobbyiest" split between 2 open source project v. 100 paid employees -- as if being paid somehow endows the person/project with talent and/or success.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (5, Insightful)

dsavitsk (178019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300547)

It seems that the jist of your comment is a distrust of competition to weed out weakness and support strength. For better of for worse, it seems that most systems more of less work this way. MS is where they are because they beat out lots of dead ends. Same goes for GE, GM, Sony, etc. It's even true for governments, and for species (neanderthal?).

There is some truth that competition is not always the best way to get things done. Further, winning should not be confused with being the best. Many mistakes are made, but before anyone is going to believe that competition and free markets are not the practical best way to progress, you will need to show how someone at the top could know in advance the best option. Gecko may be dead as to KHTML as you say, but one could not have guessed this when Mozilla started.

MOD UP PARENT (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300564)

Gecko vs KHTML is an excellent example !

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300594)

There are variations on X? I wanna see them!

Watch out! the sun is about to rise!

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (3, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300602)

So what? Choose to use Debian ot Gentoo, choose to contribute to either. Who cares if there is duplicated effort? Opensource is what it is. It doesn't have to 'compete'. I fail to understand how open source has 'failed'. By what measure? I'm useing it, others use it. If I want to spend the next year of my life working on a useless duplication of effort, that's my problem, stop making it yours.

Multiple options are the STRENGTH of Open Source (4, Insightful)

SoulDrift (638565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300613)

I totally disagree, I think that every one of these cases you've specified has *benefitted* from the very competition that you're saying has harmed them.

Every Linux distribution was designed to fill a niche, every single one of them has a different take on how things are done. And every single one of them has the opportunity to learn from all the others. In terms of what to do, and what not to do.

I think the best example of this *is* Gnome and KDE. Both of these systems have a very different approach to solving the same problem. Both of them also have learned from and borrowed ideas off of the other one.

I love open source software for one simple reason: The choices I am able make in my computers look, feel, and behaviour. If I don't like KDE, I switch to GNOME. If GNOME is pissing me off, I'll play with Fluxbox.

Without the multiple competing options in the form of all these software projects/distributions, what would we have? We'd end up with ONE option that we'd have to use, whether we liked it or not, and no alternative to go to. Does that sound familiar? It's the situation I was in before I discovered there were other options to Windows.

I'm not going back to those dark days, not if I can help it.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (3, Insightful)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300620)

I don't really see what's wrong with this approach. Using desktop managers as an example, some people simply want a full-featured (Or bloated, if you prefer) window manager like KDE so they have similar functionality to commercial OSes. Others may want a smaller one like WindowMaker. Either project would concievably be further along if the developers from one abandon their own projects and joined with the other.

That's assuming there wasn't a lot of internal bickering going on as to how things should be done, however. I think internal strife is far more dangerous and inhibiting than forking a project. The only way to make dozens, hundreds, or thousands of developers set their attitudes and egos aside for the sake of reaching a common goal is to offer them loads of cash.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300622)

Nah.

I have an even better idea, how about nobody waste any time on anything, instead everyone uses M$ Windows and IE? I mean, wheather Microsoft sucks or not is just an opinion, not a science, right?

By the way, Mozilla has considerably less chance rendering a page wrong, compared to KHTML. If any thing is a waste of time, KHTML is. But of course, Apple chose to use it, so it must be a better thing.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (5, Interesting)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300624)


A good question, or several, actually. The problem with OpenSource, from a business point of view, is that it is almost impossible to make a big bet with it and gain from the insight that inspired the bet in the first place. Jobs and Wozniak bet on a friendly looking computer and a whimsical company image. Once established, no one could catch up to it for a long time. Gates bet on stripping out the windowing functions of OS/2, leaving the superiority of OS/2 behind in favor of lower cost. Similar big bets were made by Dell, Ellison and others. Now imagine an environment were their ideas were instantly distributed to everyone else, especially before they were completely evolved. I bet none of them would have market gained traction.

As I have mentioned in other posts, there only three promising Linux markets: high end, which Red Hat will likely win, ultra low end, where Lindows is well positioned, and embedded (TiVo). Successful technology strategies have few peers...

An answer to the serious question (5, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300650)

You might be a troll, but you serve much better as a devil's advocate.
I don't think you're looking at this quite right.

The "failure" of open source is that everybody wants it their own way, perhaps, but you should look more seriously at what that means. They want any piece of software they want to work with whatever hardware they've got as well as possible. There really isn't anything wrong with that. Shouldn't this be the case?
This has been a HUGE problem in the past.

There was no way to make any piece of software work well without hurting some other piece. You want easy installation? Then you won't be able to optimize. You want to optimize? Then configuration will not be easy.

The problem is not choice, it's flexibility. Autoconfig did a lot to ensure that flexibility, and this "fork" is another step in that direction. I put fork in quotation marks because it is quite likely that a lot of the material in the fork will go back to the original. At least, I really, really hope so. Otherwise, there are certainly going to be people switching back and forth between the two distros. Gentoo is designed with flexibility in mind, and it is becoming more flexible as time goes on, so this is quite feasible. Haven't you heard how much Gentoo steals from other distros?

Here's a better question than yours.

How much farther along would your distro be if all open source software was easily accessable to it? How much farther would it be if someone could create packages for your distro that come from a different distro, processor, or even kernel?

That seemed to be ZWelch's concerns when I talked to him on #gentoo-embedded last.

One final note: in case you're thinking that something like this is just another development thing, note that Zachary Welch was the lead embedded group developer. This is going to be a distro with advanced cross-compilation capabilities, an area which is rather undeveloped (anywhere in the open source world) at the moment.

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (5, Insightful)

Calgary (85460) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300656)

It's simple to say that if all the man power poured into all projects solving a certian problem were instead put into just one really good project, then the best possible solution would result. There Mack Truck sized flaw here is that you are assuming that humans are not involved.

As the article notes, it's primarialy a personallity problem which lead to this fork. Misunderstanding happen, people's feelings get hurt, and some people just want different things. These all lead to conflicts which can ultimatly harm a project. Face the facts about human nature: some people just can't work together.

Aside from personality conflicts, there's also the people of organizing a lot of people. Organization necessarially leads to buracracy. Lot's of people hate buracracy, and lots of people like to root for the underdog. In a large organization, which would be necessary to combine all the little projects, people coming on to the project would find the structure so unwieldly and confusing that they would just prefer to start over with a new organization.

Competition among open source projects lets users choose (where user may denote an end user like your Mom, or a corporate user like Apple) which is right for them. In this way, OpenSource is like capitalism. People get to choose the product which best fullfils their needs. The only difference (generally speaking) is that direct monetary cost for the product is removed from the equation (support, hardware, etc would still have to be considered).

One other point is that a lot of new coders who don't have enough skill to contribute directly to an established project will often release things they did to teach themselves as OpenSource. This doesn't really dilute the marketplace, since often such projects get abandonded quickly as their creators move on to bigger and better things, or are obviously lacking. So while it may sound reasonable to have one really good IRC client instead of a million half finished ones (and a few finished ones), the argument assumes that everyone is capable of contributing the high quality code as soon as the start to learn to program.

...mch...

SERIOUS ANSWER (4, Insightful)

jaaron (551839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300663)

The ultimate failure of "open source" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently, we have ten individuals or groups working on their own variations on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

I'm almost ready to call troll on this one, but I figure I can answer this question yet once again and perhap it will stave off other similar comments.

First off: What is this "open source" you speak of? There is NO centralized, organized open source movement, despite what ESR might claim. There are may individuals and groups creating and producing open source software, yes. But they are widely varied in goals, scope, and success. Many (most?) produce open source software on their own time and on their own terms. That's certainly the case for me. It's a hobby. It's a fun thing to do. And no one is going to tell me I have to cooperate with so and so just to make sure open source software succeeds. I'm doing this for fun, remember? So if I want to create my own Yet Another Linux Distribution (YALD?) or whatever, then it's my choice, particularly since I'm doing this on my own free time!

"Open source" describes a software licensing model and, I suppose, a development model as well (not really) but certainly not a "software engineering protocol." Extreme Programming is a development model. Open source is a licensing model. It is not a grand movement. It is not a single entity bent on taking over software development. Sure there are some open source developers and free software developers with these ideas, but they do not necessarily represent the whole of the "community."

In other words, look at your comment this way:

The ultimate failure of "human society" is this: everybody wants to have it his own way. Consequently we have ten individuals or groups working on their own various on X, instead of cooperating on X itself.

Okay, yeah, so it was a troll, but it's a common misunderstanding too. Hopefully a few /.'ers will learn something from this (other than not to feed the trolls).

Re:SERIOUS QUESTION (2, Insightful)

(insert nick here) (14693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300669)

This is because the open source community isn't one huge project to develop thingie X, as specified from the customer. It's about an enourmous amount of independent developers viewing the entire open source codebase, and evaluating "Is there anything in here I think sucks, that I could make better?", and then they do an attempt at doing that. Works basically in the same way as evolution.

One of the reasons why this is the best approach is that all developers have different visions of how things should be and what are the real problems with a project. The commercial way of solving that is discussing it, and then let some project leaders pick a compromise that most developers would silently disagree with, but, with slightly lowered motivation, work on anyway. The open source way is that people do what they want, and then afterwards the world can see who was right.

The result of this process is not the maximum code lines possibly produced by millions of developers. It is the most stable and at a certain level "perfect" software possible. This is best illustrated by a Djikstra quote that I don't remember the exact wording of, but it goes something like "The project isn't finnished when it has all the code lines required. It is finnished when it has nothing but the code lines requires". That is quality != quantity.

If open source has one problem, however, it is that the continous enhancement process works like the hillclimbing algorithm. It enhances itself, but revolutions that imply changing lots of projects concurrently to make long term quantum leaps without implying short term enhancements are just not going to happen.

Sean Connery says: "Just like a Mick (3, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300504)

to bring a fork to a gnu-fight."

Oh god. That's really bad.

Re:Sean Connery says: "Just like a Mick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300512)

Oh god. That's really bad.

This Is GOD. Yes, You Are Right.

Flamebait (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300507)

1. make fork
2. ...
3. Profit, 5 days later.

Slashdot Chat Room on AIM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300509)

Yes! Slashdot now has a room on AOL Instant Messenger.

Join chat room "Slashdot" or use this AIM hyperlink: Click Here [nero-online.org] .

Wow (4, Insightful)

mcspock (252093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300514)

I read this guy's post in disbelief. At one point he says he has been contributing for a while because he believes in linux and gentoo, and at another he says that he expected his contributions to be treated as building some sort of long term path that would be financially beneficial to him. How can you write code, contribute it to a major GPL project, then not realize that your contribution is one of thousands, and that there is no major plan to reward individual contributors?

Hear, hear! (3, Insightful)

Akardam (186995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300545)

This guy's so full of himself it's making my head spin. He seems to think that everybody should owe him dues for everything that is Gentoo. His documents are full of "my servers...", "me" this and "I" that. It honestly looks like he had a hissy fit and took his toys home because he wanted one of Gentoo's major focuses to be embedded systems, and the other developers said, "that's all nice and dandy, but we aren't really concerned too much about that for the moment...".

Sheesh. Some people...

Re:Hear, hear! (4, Interesting)

gladbach (527602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300633)

I'm pretty dubious both ways... for one thing, we've only heard his side of it, but on another thing, it sounds pretty shady for him to have contributed all that, then having DR cut him out of the loop, seemingly wanting to keep the future money prospects to himself.

(why they couldnt have worked together, I have no idea. Could have been a nice contractual partnership)

I love gentoo. I haven't installed another linux distro since the early betas. But when it comes to linux and politics, nothign would suprise me anymore. Certainly not when it comes to finding a buisness model to supporta GPL project.

Re:Wow (4, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300549)

How can you write code, contribute it to a major GPL project, then not realize that your contribution is one of thousands, and that there is no major plan to reward individual contributors?



When your 'contributions' include managing the entire ARM and Embedded projects, loaning 5 machines to the infrastructure, then practically thrown out of the loop once the founder figures out there could be good money involved.

Re:Wow (1)

brad-x (566807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300612)

Misrepresentation.

He was thrown out of nothing, he attempted to make arrangements that may or may not have agreed with the founder's intentions for his project.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300550)

Gentoo Linux is for-profit. He expected they would spin off a company to do embedded systems, and that he would be "in on it". Turns out that wasn't the case, so he forked the project (it's all GPL, after all) and he's going to do his own thing. Kudos to him, so long as this doesn't turn into a FUD war.

As a Gentoo user... (5, Insightful)

dafoomie (521507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300518)

As a Gentoo user, this makes me feel much less enthusiastic about where this project is headed. Especially the shady practices of the guy in charge (particularly, trying to pass themselves off as a non-profit). I will probably go with the fork as soon as possible.

Re:As a Gentoo user... (4, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300566)

Personally, I'm going to wait before there's something fundamentally wrong with Gentoo before I switch. This guy seems to have a lot of sour grapes, although when money is involved you can kindof see why. If you're concerned about for-profit, etc, you might want to use Debian GNU/Linux [debian.org] .

Debian (3, Insightful)

mackstann (586043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300631)

Agreed. I am no debian zealot, but I strongly believe that volunteer-driven OS's are a better idea. Motives aren't under question (well, at least to a lesser extent), and the bottom line doesn't interfere with things.

Re:As a Gentoo user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300611)

I have never been under the impression that Gentoo was a non-profit organization. "Gentoo Technologies, Inc." doesn't sound non-profit to me.

Re:As a Gentoo user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300618)

I've been a Gentoo user for over a year now. I've had some doubts about the way the project is managed before. This is not the first time, or even the second, in which former developers have had major public disputes with Daniel Robbin's egotism. Granted I think they guy who wrote this rant is at fault in many ways for this situation, but Daniel Robbins is the core of the problem. The only thing that keeps me using Gentoo in spite of the very real negative aspects of the behind-the-scenes management of the project is the pure benefits that their current technology offers. If something better comes along, I'll switch very quickly, because I have no emotional/ideological attachment to the way Gentoo is being run. It's just that something better that is well maintained and actively developed hasn't come along yet.

I really like Gentoo; I hope that these problems get sorted out really soon. If they don't I will have to consider using the fork.

Major issues:
1. Daniel Robbins' overarching control of the project. For the future of Gentoo, drobbins absolutely needs to relinquish control to others, including for executive level decisions. Though I believe he is brilliant at times, he has proven he isn't the benevolent dictator Linus is. I remain skeptical as to whether the "reorganization" will be respected by Mr. Robbins.

2. Non-profit status. Gentoo should have a non-profit foundation with a real democratic leadership to guide the open source project. drobbins can go into whatever commercial ventures he wants with seperate for-profit companies, but he shouldn't be in control of the non-profit side if he has conflicting business interests. This is especially important considering the fact that nowhere on the gentoo.org website is the for-profit status clarified.

3. The secrecy must end. This is an offshoot and consequence of the commercial interests of some of the leaders of the project including drobbins. All developer communications should take place on open mailing lists, not with multiple layers of secret, closed lists.

Inconcievable (-1, Offtopic)

101percent (589072) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300520)

What is this monstrosity!?

It's only tyranny when someone else is in charge (5, Insightful)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300521)

Ok, in Mr Welsh's article, he give this as the primary reason for the fork:

Ultimately, my personal problems with Daniel and Gentoo in general can not be solved by this restructuring; the organization will still place a single person with final authority about the distribution. I would not trust any single person to lead a distribution of this size

Then, on the very next page, he says this:

Who will be in charge?

At first, I will be the ultimate arbiter and policy maker with regard to the direction, culture, and policies. I am the one that has decide to gamble career and reputation by forking this project; I am the one organizing, leading, and capitalizing it. This paper presents the vision that I have crafted for it, and while one that has been subject to significant scrutiny and feedback, it still largely reflects the vision of one single person.

Whaaaa?

Re:It's only tyranny when someone else is in charg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300539)

could be hypocritical. OTOH, getting a new distrib/fork off the ground I think requires a firm hand at first. After the first 6 months, though, participation should certainly open up...or else this is just sad and self-serving (which is fine, except some of the article tries to paint a little more altruistic picture)

Re:It's only tyranny when someone else is in charg (4, Informative)

rainwalker (174354) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300546)

If you read a bit further,

...I would expect to no longer need to exercise dictatorial control after the bylaws have been initially established...new directors will be elected by the community...

and so on. This document implies that he himself could be removed from the board of directors once it is run completely by the community, although I doubt that would happen.

Re:It's only tyranny when someone else is in charg (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300552)

I'm sure most dictators say the same thing when they take office.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Re:It's only tyranny when someone else is in charg (1)

eatdave13 (528393) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300619)

AOL

Well, this is just great... (4, Insightful)

Akardam (186995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300527)

The day that I think to myself, "Hey, you know, this Gentoo thing looks pretty cool... Linux + FreeBSD style ports? What a sweet deal! Let's give it a whack...", this happens.

At the risk of generalizing the situation, I'll say that more often than not egos get in the way of something really freaking cool, and ain't that a pisser...

*sigh*

Re:Well, this is just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300585)

Look at the other sourcebased distros as well, ie Sourcemage [sourcemage.org] . I'm too tired to post links, but tehre is also Lunar, the origional Sorcerer, and at least one other... Distrowatch has a list and package comparision.

Re:Well, this is just great... (1)

wheezl (63394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300653)

Yep, gentoo was the first distro that showed me Linux wasn't a complete pile of crap. ( I of course did not try all of them, so I am sure there are many nice ones out there) Both the portage system and the "here's your wrench, get to work" style of installation really appealed to me as a BSD user. Hopefully this will all work out for the best (or at least not the worst) as I have been using gentoo on my thinkpad for 2 weeks now and think it's the bee's knees.

-1, Flamebait (5, Interesting)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300531)

It's nice to see my intuition confirmed. Gentoo is the only community-run project of which I am aware that mostly ignores the community. Go read the posts at forums.gentoo.org...you'll see most of the developers (Especially Kurt Lieber) are arrogant and talk down to the users. You'll see many ignored ideas that make sense; it took about 6 months for anyone to pay attention to the scores of users who wanted updates from the developers, of this supposed "community" distribution and it took another couple of months before the Gentoo Newsletter was implemented...and it STILL doesn't really give people what they want, telling people the number of bugs found and squashed, rather than good info on what the bugs actually ARE.

Did I mention how arrogant the developers are? People who don't want to install 1.4 until it is final are looked down upon and told "it's just the installer, it's good enough." Well then, why not call 1.4 RCx "1.4 final" then, if it is "good enough?" People who suggest that new features shouldn't be added to a release candidate build are ignored. And this is not the first developer that has cried foul of Daniel Robbins. I don't know him personally so I can't say with authority, but I smell a rat.

The sad thing is, despite the horrendous developer beauracracy, it's still the best source-based distro out there. Hopefully this Zynot project will overtake it eventually. If there is more to it than spite towards DR, I think it will succeed.

Chris

Re:-1, Flamebait (2, Interesting)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300576)

You're right, some of the developers are very, very arrogant. Unfortunately, those few devs give a terrible reputation to the rest of the group, who are really a bunch of very nice people. If you frequented the IRC channel on freenode, you would know that. I've never seen someone like drobbins be so humble to his community. Development manager Seemant Kulleen is also very nice, and got the ball rolling on a revolutionary XFree ebuild with all kinds of patches included, even attempting to get GATOS in there for the countless ATI users. klieber and some others may not be as nice, but even those few guys are nowhere near as bad as the friendliest developers of other distributions.

About the "installers", those versions are primarily intended for the LiveCD's, not actual installation procedures themselves. 1.4RCx, for instance, has many more features than the older 1.4RCy, including autodetection and setup of network devices and numerous other hardware, or whatever. That's what the version refers to, not the results of those CD's. The installation procedure has not changed since (before?) the 1.0 CD was released.

Re:-1, Flamebait (-1, Flamebait)

akedia (665196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300638)

I totally agree with this post. I'm glad someone had the cojones to post it as parent. What kept me away from Gentoo was the politics involved and the arrogance of the userbase.

Gentoo just burst onto the scene and was all like LOOK WE'RE BIG AND FAT AND IN YOUR DUMB FACE and they just flat-out said "Hey we're just better than you are." Forum posts are ignored, questions go unanswered, and they basically made themselves look like the immature 12-year-old warez-d00d kiddie distribution.

Now we've got the Gentoo fanboy crew who refuse to accept the opinions of others and think they are the hottest thing on the block. These verbal ejaculations from these ignorant preteens about how great or l33t or super-awesome-gay their Linux is are the worst. SHUT UP, IT'S JUST A GOD DAMN OPERATING SYSTEM. Gentoo users are like the Jehoviah's Witnesses of the Linux community. Ask them, "Why did you choose Gentoo?" and they'll answer, "Oh, because it's better than RedHat/Debian/Slackware/Butterfinger McFlurry!" This is akin to the Jehoviah's at my front door telling me their God is better than my God and not being able to back it up. JESUS WILL SMITE YOUR ASSES TO HELL FOR BEING SUCH HOMOSEXUALS.

The point is, I don't believe Gentoo is a Real Linux. They don't have the "tried-and-true" feel of Slackware, nor do they have the dedicated userbase of Debian. I bet you dollars to doughnuts every "f1r5t p0s7" troll is some god damn hippy prepubescent script kiddie with his limp dick in one hand and a Gentoo CD in the other. Until Gentoo can learn to FUCKING GROW UP they will not get any respect from the Linux community.

Rant over. Karma to burn. Flame on.

Re:-1, Flamebait (2, Funny)

pigeon (909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300659)

Hey, not only has gentoo the ports collection like freebsd, it has also the sometimes less than friendly developers like openbsd... cool!

(Disclaimer: this is a joke. I like openbsd)

SLASHDOT CHAT ROOM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300536)

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Join chat room "Slashdot" or use this AIM hyperlink: Click Here [nero-online.org] .

Worst Headline Ever! (0, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300538)

It took me about 5 seconds to parse that headline and the first 3 images that went through my mind should not be mentioned in a PG rated forum...

Re:Worst Headline Ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300559)

You must be new here. /. is certainly not PG.

Official Slashdot AIM Chat Room! (-1)

Penile Troll (579571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300542)

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JOIN US NOW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300555)

Click Here! Visit the official AIM Slashdot Chat Room! http://nero-online.org/goatsemon/ [nero-online.org]

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I am unsure if you are aware of the problems that your "Incident with the bird" picture has caused on the popular technology website slashdot (http://slashdot.org).
Many users of this site's messageboards are posting links to http://smoke.rotten.com/bird/ [rotten.com] and making text based representations of a bird on a man's penis. Frankly, while I am pro-freedom, this type of photo sickens me. Could you please move the location of the bird page on your site to keep slashdot readers from seeing things that are completeley unrelated to computers and technology? I'm not asking you to remove the content, just to relocate it.
FYI the text representation of the bird is:
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goatsex fork (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300637)

A bird instead of a spread anus.

Sheez. Even the trolls are forking

Reasons for forking are personal. (5, Insightful)

bsdfish (518693) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300560)

Having read the reasons that the author provides for starting this fork of the project, it seems to me that this is just a result of personal disagreement. There is much bitterness involved in the arguments; indeed, the end(where he discusses the changes occuring in Gentoo) sounds like overconfidence in his importance. The author is convinced of his importance - everything that happens either happens because of him or to spite him. While I hope that the fork will allow him to focus on contributing to his project without constant worries about politics, I don't think highly of his reasons. There is far too many gaps in his story(why would he loose his developer status for a few suggestions? I'm sure there was major flaming involved) . . .

Sounds like a good deal (0)

nero-online.org (684715) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300574)

Embedded systems are a place where linux can really succeed. I think this project could give Linux the boost it really needs to shine in the embedded market that is currently dominated by closed source operating systems. So.. I only hope for the best and this can only mean more, not less for Linux

Zynot has forked ... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6300588)

Couple of days after Zynot forked from Gentoo
a group of disgrunted Zynot users decided to
fork Zynot to Yznge platform. The users welcomed
this fork as it closes us to the ultimate
Wholy Grail of the Linux movement known as
"Linux distribution for everybody" meaning that
each person will have his/her own Linux distro.
Linux made another important step on the way
to the total world domination :
"Ein Mann, Ein PC, Ein Linux distro" !!!

Re:Zynot has forked ... (0)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300626)

hehe!..mod parent up.

not a bad idea for a coward! (1)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300649)

The idea of a different distro for every user is not as far fetched as one might think. If the os install process could itself be forked! I personally use several different linux and bsd installs to do different things, on my Slack, I use gcc, make, etc, on Redhat I use office software. On BSD I use file manipulation with Vi, and take care of all my disks and do the dd nasties. Booting multiple stripped down operating systems is great, the speed for purpose advantage is considerable.

Here are my posts (3, Insightful)

IamLarryboy (176442) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300595)

I posted on both message boards. I thought slashdot might be interested in my posts.

On forums.gentoo.org
----
I have read most of Zach's rant and it disturbs me. Much of what Zach is complaining about seems to be dealt with by the Gentoo top-level management structure proposal. However, the most important part of his claims, the "business" part, are not. I of course will hear D. Robbins out as well.

Regardless, I think the Gentoo project needs to CLEARLY establish what is bussiness and what is not. This should, hopefully, prevent these claims frum being made in the future.

The way I see it this whole affair is nothing but bad news. I hope and pray it all works out.
----
and on forums.zynot.org
----
I have read most of Zach's rant and it disturbs me. Much of what Zach is complaining about seems to be dealt with by the Gentoo top-level management structure proposal. However, the most important part of his claims, the "business" part, are not. I of course will hear D. Robbins out as well.

Regardless, I think the Gentoo project needs to CLEARLY establish what is bussiness and what is not. This should, hopefully, prevent these claims frum being made in the future.

The way I see it this whole affair is nothing but bad news. I hope and pray it all works out.
----
I will not sleep well tonight.

Re:Here are my posts (0)

akpcep (659230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300636)

Controversial!

You've got a lot of nerve coming out with stuff like that.

Coming soon... (1)

jonathan_ingram (30440) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300604)

The Peoples' Liberation Front of Gentoo

All cry out: One Man! One Distro!

Zooo not (-1, Flamebait)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300607)

Zonot Foundation, right? What a grumpy guy.

Zynot fork?? (2, Funny)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300615)

Zy the hell not??

Shortened summary of this guy's complaints: (-1, Flamebait)

lord sibn (649162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300616)

I joined the project as a businessman, like Dave Cinege, hoping to make some money. Well, to my credit, I didn't expect somebody to come around with $100,000 for me, but nevertheless, I was deeply offended when people told me that I didn't have the authority to change policy on bug reports (among other things). I got involved in a flame war on the gentoo-core mailing list, and was summarily dismissed from my status as a gentoo developer.

After a night of crying alone, I decided to write a 17 point document justifying my forking of gentoo, to give them what-for. Just to meet the 17 point requirement, I added not less than FOUR sections talking about who I am, where I came from, and what upsets me. I know people like to hear lots of whining.

Long story short, I'm tired of not being in charge. I'm tired of being told that I can't do whatever I want on somebody else's baby. I hope the world sees that I want to take Gentoo in the "right" direction though, and completely disregard my above whining. Thanks for reading the short version. Now go waste some time and read the long version, too.

-- END --

For those of you with any doubts, I am NOT Zack. Another Linux distribution can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Mandrake's rallying cry isn't "wwwaaaaahhhh!!! Redhat is fucked up!" Lindows was based on Debian (as have many other distributions) but it didn't get started by some pissed-off debian maintainer who got fed up because he wasn't allowed to make decisions that weren't his.

There's plenty of space in the pool for another player, though; if there's nothing like gentoo available for all those obscure platforms, Zack is more than welcome to make something like it.

My personal opinion, however, is that he's yet another whiny, embittered open source developer.

All I can say is wow (3, Interesting)

JonnyRo88 (639703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300627)

As to the "sweat equity" arguments I can only say that he submitted his code as a volunteer. If he was concerned about getting certian business considerations as a result of his work he should have taken it in writing.

One thing I was not certian of; did he loan or donate those servers he mentioned. If he loaned them I could see it being the nice thing to do to return them if he no longer feels comfortable lending them out.

We'll see how this all turns out a year or two from now. I doubt any useful information will come out of either side for a good couple of months. The sanatized reports are all we will get for a while, until later on enough secondary evidence tricles out for people to make their own decisions.

Where is a fork going to get the bandwidth? (1)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300629)

Gentoo requires lots of donated hosting and bandwidth. The amount of resources used in rsync alone must be huge. Where is this guy going to get the backing to make this even feasible?

If the man's story is true (4, Insightful)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 11 years ago | (#6300672)

Then perhaps this is one of the unspoken victories of the GNU liscence. Rather than squabbling over whether the man's work was some form of unpaid volunteer labor, he is free to take his efforts and start his own camp. Neither side suffers from debilitating lawsuits, and hopefully the two can coexist peacefully.

In truth this is not particular to the merits of GNU. Any project run with a public source repository allowing use to the public benefits from this. What is truely interesting is the general lack of forks, and of those forks that do exist, the frequency that they "consolidate." I've said it before but observing OSS projects often seems like watching Communist Russia. The software is liberated, but control is wrest over the 'common' source code. This code repository was referred to by ESR as a form of cathedral, where design is king, but I see it as more of a beuocracy, where people are sent in recursive loops to submit patches for application. Marx suggested the idea of the proletariot dictatorship, but in practice Stalin felt that the proletariot required a Leader. Such is the role of the Maintainer. But Orson Wells probably did a better job with Animal farm than I can do with OSS. I do not mean to disparaige the GNU liscence by calling it Communistic, but simply that often large projects like Gentoo (and BSD) suffer from this wrest for control.

In conclusion I wish the Zynot group luck in this quirky fork, and hope that he can find a solid niche outside of x86 and PPC as he claims.
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