The Objective Observer wrote an article entitled, "Penguin Suicide Bombers: The Terrorism of Open Source". The article is quite inflammatory although along the way the author tries to justify his handle. In any event, I thought it important to give the author the benefit of the doubt and to try my best to set the record straight... or my version of it anyway... in as positive a way as possible. What follows are the two, somewhat quick emails (please forgive any typos) I sent in response to the article... oh, and I'll be happy to include any responses I get back from him if any.
I recently attended a Linux Installfest and the primary distribution recommended by those heading up the event was Ubuntu. That's all well and good but during their Linux dog-and-pony-show a statement was made regarding Red Hat that struck me. I don't recall the exact wording that was used but it was something along the lines of... Red Hat used to be very popular but not anymore. I wasn't really offended by the statement nor do I completely disagree with it... but a lot remains to be said about the importance of Red Hat within the Linux community. Red Hat is certainly king in the "Enterprise" space with Novell a respectable second... but many still seem to be unaware just how much Red Hat contributes to the development of many projects and the rapid progress of Linux.
Whenever I see any articles about Red Hat on any of the Linux community sites (think Slashdot), the comments will invariably mention a few things that I consider to be myths about Red Hat. They include:
- Red Hat is the "Microsoft of Linux"
- Red Hat abandoned the desktop/home user market
- Red Hat costs a fortune
- Red Hat created "rpm hell" and rpm based distributions suck
I do not want to even attempt to address each individual myth but I do want to make a few points about Red Hat in an effort to educate people to the fact that Red Hat does a lot for the Linux community and is a major (if not THE major) contributor.
I noticed a blog posting by Daniel Veillard on Fedora People about initial support for OpenVZ being added to libvirt. If you aren't familiar with libvirt, it is an underlying library/API that can be used by higher level tools to create, manage, and monitor virtual machines. libvirt is trying to be technology agnostic by supporting several virtualization technologies. They started off with Xen and QEMU but have since added KVM. libvirt is used by the GUI tool Virtual Machine Manager which first appeared in Fedora Core (now Fedora) but became part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
Looking at some of the postings in the libvirt mailing list archive for this month, it is mentioned that adding OpenVZ support is a bit different than previous technologies because the OpenVZ tools are already GPLed, "simple and straight forward", and than OpenVZ additions to libvirt "ends up looking very close to the original". I don't know how far away complete support for OpenVZ is in libvirt nor when it will show up in Virtual Machine Manager but I definitely look forward to it... although I doubt it would completely replace vzctl and the other OpenVZ tools for me.