And then there were three

June 20, 2007

In any mental matrix that one has when mentally comparing distros, you can rattle off the expected variables: BSD/Linux, version of X, gnome or KDE, package management system, and on and on. So what’s this new column materializing? “Deal with Microsoft? Yes/No.”

Mandriva has just posted some official looking blog statement announcing their stance against a Microsoft deal of any sort, joining Ubuntu and Red Hat. So the count seems to be 3 and 3 now? What will be interesting is how distros step forward in the coming months. Will Debian sign a deal next? I keeeeed I keeeeed. Will completely unaffected smaller distros make announcements, not out of solidarity, but to get some cheap press and new users?

Wade Olson, head of the unheralded and unrecognized FreeBuntutoo distro (the only distro to use portage to download source code which when compiled and run writes out tarballs of .deb packages) announces: “No way in hell we’ll sign with Microsoft! Now don’t forget to visit our donations page!”

When reading all of these announcements, don’t forget to think of motivation. What is the stance, why the announcement and why at that point in time? How is the distro doing, how does it interact with Microsoft, who’s the archetype user base?

As far as Microsoft is concerned, you know the drill: Stop declaring the desire for interoperability while in practice actively sabotaging every aspect of it (standards adherence, ODF participation, Samba team interaction, etc).


3 Responses to “And then there were three”

  1. Lance D. Says:

    I have a criteria that can give you an Idea of who will submit to MS. Any distro provider that uses their own developed bits of proprietary code to add value to the distro, they are most likely lacking in understanding about what OSS is or they just don’t care and are in it to benefit themselves and
    coud care less about the greater community. just look at the 3×3 split we have so far. Red Hat, Ubuntu and Mandriva 3 different types of distros but ALL rooted in the
    community RH and MDE are long time players and know what it means to be good community members, Ubuntu, not as long a player but obviously understand the concept of OSS
    by their actions the past years you can see what they would do, I cannot believe all the people out there who thought that MDE would make a deal, without the community of loyal users as well as the OSS community in general, they wouldn’t exist today.
    as for red hat, they know what MS thinks of them and they are an old school player in the Linux community, they are also smart and have alot of hardcore OSS people working for them, what a way to kill a company, all that great talent would leave. look what happened when Novel tripped in that mudhole of a deal with MS .
    as for Linspire and Xandros, it is as I said in the first place both of them have proprietary in house developed software that they use to add value to their product. Instead of doing somthing innovative, they rely on this closed code to leverage against competitors. not very OSS friendly if you ask me. and after all because of not understanding or not truly caring about the community they find making a deal easy.

    I think that you should be looking at all those distro’s that have this criteria and you will see who will be next.

  2. John Orford Says:

    i reckon this hooha is a good thing.

    the spirit of the gpl has to be upheld, and hopefully in the shakedown, even ppl out to make a quick buck will come to understand that.

  3. Michael Scherer Says:

    I do not know for rh and ubuntu, but the announce of Mandriva was mainly to clarify and dispell some fud seen on a blog that caused some discussions on the developpement mailling list, see

    It is quite weird to see how people react when it comes to Microsoft, and how they only retain partial information ( ie, the deal with Novell was not only about potential patent infringement, yet people seems to only retain this, even if a FAQ states otherwise, and even when novell continue to fund kernel developpers among others ).

    RH only restated what they said before, and Canonical also simply answered to questions of their users, like Mandriva.

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