[KLUG Advocacy] Re: [KLUG Members] Is UserLinux an alternative to Red Hat/Novell Enterprise Linux?

awilliam at whitemice.org awilliam at whitemice.org
Tue Aug 10 11:54:30 EDT 2004

> I recently came across Open Source Initiative cofounder Bruce Perens’
> proposal for a Debian based business-oriented distro to be called UserLinux,
> http://www.userlinux.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl. In a white paper on that site
> Bruce presents a pretty compelling case that the relationship between Red
> Hat and Fedora developers is pretty one-sided. Bruce gives an example of how

(A) Fedora is *NOT* a business oriented distribution, so this is sort of 
apples-and-oranges.  Fedora replaces RedHat Linux, which was a 
hobbyist/home focused distribution - despite what anyone actually used it 

> it cost a major Red Hat supporter/developer big money just to use their own
> contributed code in their own product! Bruce goes on to argue that the Red
> Hat/Fedora and Novel/Suse economic models are not good models for an open
> source business oriented distro, hence he proposes UserLinux.

This isn't Bruce's first foray into this topic.  I'm curious how his 
"model" creates hordes of support and implementation personel?  IMHO, 
Novell and SuSe have this 'in the bag';  they have the network to respond 
to businesses in the way business are comfortable bieng responded too.

"Enterprise RedHat" has always been a niche thing, I've never met a 
medium-sized company that had an "Enterprise RedHat" server or RedHat 
support or used RedHat consultants .... Novell on the other hand...

> I don’t know if UserLinux will garner the support that Bruce envisions,

Nah.  It is too late (again, IMHO) for another distribution - the players 
in this fight are already in the ring: RedHat, Novel/SuSe/Ximian/IBM, 
Microsoft, and Sun.  With Debian and Mandrake launching spit-balls from 
the corners.  Apple is out in the hall looking for the soda machine,  but 
looking good wearing an Armani suit and a shiny Rolex.

> on paper UserLinux sounds like a great idea. On a more practical note, I
> believe that in response to a posting asking for distro recommendations
> other than Red Hat, Adam posted a rather disparaging comment about Debian. I

I wouldn't call it "disparaging".  What they deam as "stable" is what I'd 
call 'fossilized'.  I'm certain Debian is a fantastic distribution - I 
know lots of VERY intelligent and productive people who use it.   The the 
Debian approach to things and how they handle release cycles are just not 
compatible with how corporate types think about these things.  They want a 
chronological cycle - like GNOME uses (and why GNOME does it that way) - 
and point numbered releases - and not the work "unstable" plastered all 
over.  In this case politics and culture just trumps technology.

> believed he mentioned slow patch releases in response to security problems.

No, the packages deemed "stable" are just ancient - patched or not, secure 
or not.

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