Subject: Re: The merger: a user's perspective
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 14:32:42 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rn" == Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com> writes:

    rn> Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
    >> Nonetheless, I'm sorry to see Cygnus, a standard-bearer in the
    >> free software community despite its detractors, lose its
    >> independence.  Despite my personal political-economic leanings,
    >> I do see the free software community as a core constituent of
    >> the open source movement, and as a source of great energy.  I
    >> wonder if the merger will have some effect to diffuse that
    >> energy.  I hope not.

    rn> One non-issue will be remote workers.  Both Cygnus and Redhat
    rn> have employees who work full-time off-site, e.g. Mark Eichin,
    rn> DJ Delorie, and Alan Cox.

Sure.

I wasn't primarily thinking of the effect on Cygnus and Red Hat
employees, though.  Although DJ at least has already spent a few
minutes on posting to this group, a distraction directly attributable
to the merger.  But that will be temporary if the merger goes well.
Employees with a strong dedication to free software will maintain
that, and I believe that they will retain strong support from the
subcommunities whose core projects they maintain.

What I had more in mind (to return to my glibc hypothetical example)
was that if the merged firm merely screws up the _announcement_ of a
unification of glibc teams from the two organizations, there could be
a development fork.  "Outside" developers might decide there needs to
be a "free glibc" (as silly as that sounds).

I hasten to add that I don't foresee such a thing.  But some of the
decisions motivated by business rationalization will surely be
suspected by outsiders, especially those in the Charity Software
Movement (that is what CSM stands for, isn't it, Russ?).  And I can't
imagine that other distributions and projects will be happy that Red
Hat, which is known for modifying (g)libc for its own purposes, will
now effectively be the maintainer of that package---no matter how good
the quality control.

In sum, there _is_ an issue.  I think some people will consider it
very important.  There will be others like it.  I hope that the
community finds ways to deal with these issues in ways that are
community-enhancing, and that lead to development of better mechanisms
for developing free software in cooperation with large financial
entities like Red Hat---and IBM.

-- 
University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."