Eric S. Raymond’s big goodbye

Well, I wrote about a Bill Gates rant at this earlier post, so I guess it is time now to pick on Eric Raymond.

It seems that Eric has gotten pretty bitchy with Red Hat and decided to say “Goodbye, Fedora.” Please see the end of this post for an update.


After thirteen years as a loyal Red Hat and Fedora user, I reached my limit today, when an attempt to upgrade one (1) package pitched me into a four-hour marathon of dependency chasing, at the end of which an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system unusable.

So, you have been running Red Hat and Fedora for 13 years? Let me see… carry the one… divide by zero… that means you have been running Red Hat distributions since the first or second version..

So, after all of that, you found problems with upgrading one package in which you had a conflicting file, so you decided to force the RPM, rather than install from source?

What a noob!

The proximate causes of this failure were (1) incompetent repository maintenance, making any nontrivial upgrade certain to founder on a failed dependency, and (2) the fact that rpm is not statically linked — so it’s possible to inadvertently remove a shared library it depends on and be unrecoverably screwed. But the underlying problems run much deeper.

Let me see, the translation would be: the cause of my system’s failure was that (1) the repository was not setup the way that I say it should, and since I was too incompetent to use it, I will blame the repository, and (2) RPM is only an underlying system, and they assume I will use something like yum, or any of the rpm management tools you can find off of freshmeat.net.

Oh yeah, even though RPM isn’t “statically linked” it still won’t let you remove a package which is a dependency for other packages. I guess if you uninstall or upgrade using the force option, you can make it do what you want. But let’s face it, if you are using force with RPM, you better fucking know what you are doing, you farking noob!

Over the last five years, I’ve watched Red Hat/Fedora throw away what was at one time a near-unassailable lead in technical prowess, market share and community prestige. The blunders have been legion on both technical and political levels. They have included, but were not limited to:

Translation: I want to make it sound I know what the fark I’m saying, so here are some made up bullshat reasons that I will use to support my decision.

* Chronic governance problems.

Translation: They won’t do what I say!

* Persistent failure to maintain key repositories in a sane, consistent state from which upgrades might actually be possible.

Translation: Their definition of sane is to not include updates that would break the system, therefore I will declare that it is not sane.

* A murky, poorly-documented, over-complex submission process.

Translation: They won’t take my kernel patches for cml2!

* Allowing RPM development to drift and stagnate — then adding another layer of complexity, bugs, and wretched performance with yum.

So, Red Hat decides to not break RPM functionality by cramming more crap in it. Instead, they go with yum for Fedora to handle the automated fetching of packages for installing. Hell, you can even add non-Red Hat/Fedora repositories to get even more packages.

So, if you hate yum so much, then why not try another package manager? Farking noob!

* Effectively abandoning the struggle for desktop market share.

On one side, Microsoft, and on the other Apple OS X… yeah, let’s go up against these boys on the desktop. I remember that the last company that followed your advice was Netscape, and they are just kicking Microsoft’s ass right now, aren’t they?

* Failure to address the problem of proprietary multimedia formats with any attitude other than blank denial.

Let’s see, Red Hat has decided to not break the law by including codecs for proprietary multimedia formats?

Hey Raymond, are you running these arguements by someone else? If so, they should have told you that you are full of shat before you posted this.

In retrospect, I should probably have cut my losses years ago. But I had so much history with Red-Hat/Fedora, and had invested so much effort in trying to fix the problems, that it was hard to even imagine breaking away.

Translation: I have no idea how to really install GNU/Linux, and have only been coasting with Red Hat/Fedora because it’s hurts my wittle head too much to try something else.

If I thought the state of Fedora were actually improving, I might hang in there. But it isn’t. I’ve been on the fedora-devel list for years, and the trend is clear. The culture of the project’s core group has become steadily more unhealthy, more inward-looking, more insistent on narrow “free software” ideological purity, and more disconnected from the technical and evangelical challenges that must be met to make Linux a world-changing success that liberates a majority of computer users.

Translation: Damn Fedora developers! Following the GNU idealogy and not mine! By the gods, they should be pimping themselves to big business, not chasing ideals such as free software.

I have watched Ubuntu rise to these challenges as Fedora fell away from them. Canonical’s recent deal with Linspire, which will give Linux users legal access to WMF and other key proprietary codecs, is precisely the sort of thing Red-Hat/Fedora could and should have taken the lead in. Not having done so bespeaks a failure of vision which I now believe will condemn Fedora to a shrinking niche in the future.

Translation: Ubuntu and Linspire don’t give two shats about user freedom, just the shiny object of being #1. In the end, being #1 always brings in the money. And remember, Netscape followed my advice and they are so kicking Microsoft’s ass today!

This afternoon, I installed Edgy Eft on my main development machine — from one CD, not five. In less than three hours’ work I was able to recreate the key features of my day-to-day toolkit. The after-installation mass upgrade to current packages, always a frightening prospect under Fedora, went off without a hitch.

Hmmm… `yum update`… wait for the downloads… done. If that is a frightening prospect, then put the ‘puter away and get a farking etch-a-scetch!

I’m not expecting Ubuntu to be perfect, but I am now certain it will be enough better to compensate me for the fact that I need to learn a new set of administration tools.

Translation: since I don’t know shit about configuration files, or how Linux actually works, I will be a little farked for a while, but I am sure Ubuntu has some nice admin wizards to hold me by the hands like a farking baby!

Fedora, you had every advantage, and you had my loyalty, and you blew it. And that is a damn, dirty shame.

Oh no! Fedora, you lost the loyalty of ESR! Oh no! What’s next, will you loose the confidence of President Bush?


Eric S. Raymond

I think it time for some more fun at Raymond’s expense!

Well, there is an update to the problem that Eric was having with dependency issues. Here is the post that mentions it.

The important bit is:

…and I think I deleted it when removing e2fsprogs-libs to get around a file conflict.

Jesus tapdancing Christ! You removed e2fsprogs-lib from a running system! Here is a short dependancy tree I have created on a FC5 system, and this is surely not all-inclusive:

e2fsprogs-libs

    e2fsprogs

      initscripts-8.31.6-1

        kernel-2.6.15-1.2054_FC5
        kbd-1.12-13.2
        glibc-kernheaders-3.0-5.2
        dhcpv6_client-0.10-16.1
        ipsec-tools-0.6.4-1.1
        rp-pppoe-3.5-31
        bluez-utils-2.25-4
        portmap-4.0-65.2.2
        system-config-network-tui-1.3.30-2.1
        policycoreutils-1.30.10-2.fc5
        hal-0.5.7.1-2.fc5
        vte-0.12.2-1.fc5.1
        mkinitrd-5.0.32-2
        kernel-2.6.18-1.2257.fc5
        dhclient-3.0.3-28
        openssh-4.3p2-4.11.fc5
        foomatic-3.0.2-33.3
        system-config-printer-0.6.151.8-1
        isdn4k-utils-3.2-41.1.fc5
        rhgb-0.16.3-1.fc5.1
        samba-3.0.23c-1.fc5
        quota-3.13-1.2.2
        xorg-x11-xfs-1.0.1-4.FC5.0

      mkinitrd-5.0.32-2

        kernel-2.6.15-1.2054_FC5
        kernel-2.6.18-1.2257.fc5
        mkbootdisk-1.5.2-7

See! Shat doesn’t work when you take out e2fsprogs! You have been running GNU/Linux systems for how long and didn’t know this?

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3 Responses

  1. Good site!!!

  2. So what exactly have you contributed to open source… Let me think, jack fucking shit. So before calling people who have a lot more old school respect than yourself a noob, analyze.

    Just for historical reference Red Hat has always been shit, it is a noob distro and there is nothing wrong with that since everyone has to start somewhere. Red Hat has always given anyone trying to do anything slightly more advanced than simple userland operations problems.

    Kids these days, no respect and no brains.

    Fuck off and die please.

  3. You’re quite the asshole.

    Nothing has a chance if it sniffs the anus of Richard Stallman, it’s such an extremist view that there is no way it can play nicely, catch on, and actually be successful. Instead it alienates itself from that which is already successful, the very thing it hates and wishes to eradicate…

    Eric S. Raymond is a much more reasonable person when it comes to non-proprietary-ism, his business model, as proven by Mozilla, actually has a chance, and has made him an overnight millionaire.

    So, rather than twisting everything to suit your own dislikes (cherry picking), see “The Big Picture” and understand Eric isn’t just in this for himself…

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