Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

23Apr/04Off

Not Exactly A Sucker Punch




For some stupid reason I thought this typo was pretty funny and telling of how Forbes usually reports on technology. Yeah, I know 'typo' which I am more than capable of outperforming most major outlets on many day of the week. In any case, here is a more substantial instance of sloppiness from the article that the above came from. Their version of Red Hat lineage doesn't exactly square up with the history that most of remember from being around when it happened:

When Szulik arrived at Red Hat in 1998 after stints at Interleaf and MapInfo, its revenue came from retail sales of a shrink-wrapped Linux OS and follow-on monthly fees for bug fixes. The code was free to download, but it was too unstable for customers wanting hassle-free systems. Users were devout techies, many of whom paid for one machine's support while copying the OS on hundreds of others. Red Hat engineers, mostly young diehards, were okay with the sloppy business model.

This is partially right but still a very shallow analysis. What I think killed the boxed Red Hat more than anything else is the escalation of the version numbering wars. I owned a copy of RH 6.0 and it was amazingly buggy and poorly put together. The 7.0 gcc snafu was even more damaging. Was it due to a lack of warnings about the state of gcc development? Not really. The push for new releases and blatant disregard for 'reference' versions:

"I want people to be prepared to ship new and innovative things," Cox wrote in the discussion, "If everyone complains about not shipping precise reference kernels, then all of a sudden for [kernel] 2.2 I become some anointed high power for approval for vendors--that is something I don't wish to be and which would be very, very bad for Linux. Do you really want a world where you cannot buy a distribution with 2.2 that has Reiserfs because Alan Cox refused to merge it with the mainstream?"

when they weren't sexy enough unless, of course, it was the LSB. I have a feeling that someone way more knowledgeable about this is going to knock me for a loop but that's my take on it. Don't ship a distribution with a broken version of gcc. Just don't. It just doesn't jibe with the Forbes version of the argument where everyone is all bummed at RH for making money. They fail to grasp that part of building things through a community of developers often results in people expressing opinions that aren't swiped from the Motley Fool and based on real life experience. Imagine that shit.

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