Fun Friday: DSL Debacles, Celebrity Linux, and Ubuntu

Tom Foremski of Siliconvalleywatcher.com has picked up my little meditation on how telcom companies keep competitors from serving DSL even if they don’t want the business (see DSL Debacles and Competitor Cheats) with the headline “Lynne Jolitz tries to get DSL on a DSL line”. We’ve got a few comments on this one relating to dark fibre which some folks might find interesting.

On the celebrity front, I’ve been waiting for the ultimate celebrity distro, and finally it’s here – Paris Hilton Releases Tinkerbell Linux. Now, I know that ever since 386BSD everyone and his dog does Unix releases, but I’m gratified to see the dog finally get her due. And unlike my rather dry technical discussions of OS open source, Paris has added the touch of glamour to Linux that I’ve always wanted to see in BSD: “First,” she writes, “I think The Open Source Movement is, like, really hot. I’ve been dabbling with coding for ages, but it’s taken me some time to find the courage to release it. As you know, I’m a shy and modest person, and wasn’t sure if it was good enough for the strict standards of the coding community.” What’s next? – Brittney Linux, the kind you can dance to? 🙂

Finally, it probably comes as no surprise that there is a lot of source contributor turnover in open source kernel projects, what with the low user esteem, nonexistent pay, endless “such terrible food and such small portions” complaints, burnout and rampent piracy. But usually it’s the “control freak” kernel developer that’s blamed for everything. So it’s refreshing to see why major Linux contributor Matthew Garrett left Debian for Ubuntu: “”In his own blog, Garrett relates his gradual discovery that Debian’s free-for-all discussions were making him intensely irritable and unhappy with other members of the community.”

Why he likes Ubuntu? The “technical code of conduct” (which means talk distro and code, not politics) helps, but the key is to see an end to discussion and make a decision. “At the end of the day, having one person who can make arbitrary decisions and whose word is effectively law probably helps in many cases.”

I wish them well. 386BSD also enforced a code of conduct similar to Ubuntu’s today. But unless there is genuine respect for their developers, the poison of ridicule can erode even the best of intentions. I’ve watched Ubuntu take some of the best ideas we pioneered a decade ago with 386BSD Release 1.0. I hope they learn from history and don’t just imitate it.

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