[GLLUG] Redhat Discontinuation of Red Hat Linux Line?

C. Ulrich dincht at securenym.net
Mon Nov 3 21:52:41 EST 2003

On Mon, 2003-11-03 at 15:57, Scott Harrison wrote: 
> I'm just wondering
> if there is someone with similar tastes to my own who has made
> a "solid life-enhancing transition" from RedHat.  Feel free
> to respond off-list since I'm being a little indefinite in
> characterizing my situation.  I am just hugely interested
> in how RedHat's decision plays out over the next year.
> I appreciate whatever morsels of wisdom you send my way.
> If there is someone out there who wants to take an any-level
> of-detail-stand for a given distro (or point me to a great
> essay that they have liked), I'm all ears.
> Regards,
> Scott

As I've pointed out briefly before, I was once a huge Mandrake fan. It
really was a nice OS. I think I identified with it early on since they
made an effort to be a different sort of Linux company that worked
harder to interact with their customers. While Red Hat branched off into
many different areas, Mandrake stuck with making a good distribution
into a great one. They also kept as much Red Hat OS compatbility as they
could, which made life much easier when it came to installing software
and third-party drivers.

But it wore off. As Mandrake got older, they started becoming more like
Red Hat and so did their distribution. I was a great fan of the Mandrake
6.x and 7.x series, but was seriously starting to grow weary of RPM
dependency hell, pretty GUI config wizards that totally failed to work,
and having to gut out large portions of the OS. (By "gut out" I mean
removing things like splash graphics that cover up useful boot messages,
uninstalling useless and annoying yet "required" RPMs, and commenting
out truly stupid aliases in the global bash profile scripts.) When 8.0
came out, I immediately decided to buy it for two reasons. 1) I wanted
to show my appreciation to Mandrake for having a mostly-good product and
2) I thought that an upgrade would relieve a lot of the problems that I
was having with 7.2.

$80 that sucker cost and I couldn't get it to work with either of my
computers. Worst money I ever spent. I was disillusioned to say the
least and set out to find an OS that did only what *I* asked it to. By
sheer coincedence, Slackware 8.0 was released that same week. I
downloaded it, installed it, and never looked back. In particular, I
liked that rather than spending a week stripping down the OS, I spent
only a day or two adding a couple packages that weren't included with
the distro. I've always been extremely happy with Slackware, and would
have stuck with it if there were a better way to upgrade software than
by rebuilding it by hand. Because of this, I now use FreeBSD on my
workstation which makes upgrading and installing third-party software
extremely simple. (There are other advantages as well, but this is the
biggie for me.)

Dang. That ended up a lot longer than I meant it to be.

Now, about the Red Hat/Fedora issue. I agree with Chris's opinion that
this is similar to the Netscape/Mozilla issue, but with one or two big
differences. Netscape's whole strategy was to take Mozilla, slap a brand
name on it, and push it out the door. Those who were using Mozilla
weren't interested in the Netscape version because they saw it as
inferior to Mozilla (which it was on a couple of levels). Red Hat won't
be delivering any product that will compete directly with Fedora. Also,
with Fedora, you're going to see the whole Red Hat community (the
biggest Linux desktop market) jump onto the Fedora ship. The Mozilla
project was really accessible only to developers until the later
milestones, but an OS is a whole different kettle of fish. And just to
throw in my two cents, I think Fedora will be a better Red Hat than Red
Hat was because it will be community-supported, i.e., no corporate
agenda means they are free to do whatever they want with it to make it a
better OS.

I doubt like heck whether I'll install Fedora on any system other than
my laptop, but I do like to see quality community-supported open-source
projects flourish.

Charles Ulrich

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