Been a while since I blogged, so let me catch up on the news updates.
Fedora and Free software
When a advisory group for Fedora of Red Hat and community members was setup originally when we were planning out the Fedora Foundation, I suggested that we increase our commitment to Free software in Fedora by aligning ourselves better with FSF. That idea didnt gather much attention at that point and I was still lingering on to it because for me, that is one of the unique strengths of Fedora as a mainstream distribution.
A few months back Micheal Tiemann (who is also the president of OSI) brought up some the same idea after seeing FSF making a point against Ubuntu for including non-free software and after the initial discussion died down, we didnt make any actual progress on this. A few months later, I talked with the Fedora Board and got Tom Callaway involved in a licensing audit of Fedora. We decided to tackle Fedora Core first and after a relatively long process with many revisions, we made some changes. I have been following up spot to continue the licensing audit through all of the Fedora Extras packages too even though they individually have gone through package reviews before. You can track about the progress on this here. I have talked to FSF and RMS in particular to understand better their stand on firmware and other forms of content like fonts, images etc and it’s been more clear what we need to do now.
Some of the Ubuntu folks are currently advocating that we need to compromise and install proprietary drivers because we need the fancy desktop effects. Fortunately though even if these were really the critical feature, we already have a better desktop and our strong commitment to Free software is visible to folks both to people who understand the value and to those who miss out the point.
FUDCon Boston 2007
I got through the visa process and have booked my flight tickets for the great Fedora conference
Mark Shuttleworth is repeatedly misrepresenting the nature of Free distributions like Fedora. “… their “really free” editions are not certified, carry no support and receive no systematic security patching. In other words – they’re beta or test versions”. Ubuntu is derived from Debian and along with hundreds of other distributions falls under the same description of having no commerical support of certifications. Not only does Fedora gets fast security updates, the amusing thing is that Fedora happens to include more security features by default than any other mainstream operating system out there. Yes, you read that right. Quality is admittedly something that Fedora needs to improve. We have a full time QA guy, planning out automated test suites, bug triaging days and regular QA meetings on #fedora-qa etc but as the recent Xorg breakage in Ubuntu showed us, this is more of a global issue. There is something to be said about not throwing stones from a glass house. Greg Dek has other arguments. Paid binaries and full public source code is not proprietary unlike say proprietary kernel modules.