Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
What is sooo wrong with RedHat?

By kostya in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:34:37 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Recently, I have noticed a trend on sites like Slashdot where RedHat is taking an absolute beating. Granted the distribution maker has made some mistakes. But now, it appears that the company can do no right. Take the story on the RHNS daemon. The story itself isn't negative, but the comments are down right bizarre. Suddenly RedHat is a code-word for Satan.


Why do I consider these comments bizarre? Well, if we use the "Way Back Machine" and look in the Slashdot article archives, you find stories like RedHat Piranha Security Hole. Here, the majority are heralding the success of OpenSource and RedHat, as they found and fixed the bug quickly.

Note that the RHNS daemon was fixed in relatively the same amount of time. And it wasn't a security hole either. Not to downplay the seriousness of the bug, but did not RedHat respond just as quickly? Aren't the two situations relatively the same? But the response is entirely different.

As to why, I have the following theories, that stand alone and perhaps work off each other:

  1. Slashdot is a Debian house. Recently, the comments of "editors" who post the stories have started to become more and more negative towards RedHat (I'd link, but that would start getting crazy--look up the stories at RedHat). I believe that the majority of the Slashdot readers are being influenced by this. Large groups tend to enjoy being negative, and the slightest negative comment from the top tends to influence the rest.
  2. RedHat is now "big time". Linux was, until a few years ago, a rebel force of very few. You could say an "elite" group. Elite groups don't take to acceptance well. They crave it, since they are "superior", but when everyone starts "doing as they do", they start to get uncomfortable. I am convinced that along with Debian's many technical merits and achievements, some of its growing popularity has to do with people simply wanting to be "elite". Or different. Call it what you want. RedHat is bad because RedHat is popular. This is the same logic that villified Corel's distribution and others: some Linux users don't want normal people to use "their" system.

I don't believe this is just a "Slashdot phenomenon"--Slashdot just seems to be expressing it the clearest. All in all, the open source community seems to be regarding RedHat with suspicion or out-right hostility.

All in all, I believe RedHat is suffering because it has done so well. And since they are a corporation that *gasp* makes money from linux, this makes them even more "evil".

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Do you believe that RedHat is being unfairly treated?
o Yes 19%
o No 13%
o Maybe--they have been messing up a lot lately 29%
o Trolls and Zealots--what's new? 37%

Votes: 82
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Slashdot [2]
o RHNS daemon
o RedHat Piranha Security Hole
o RedHat
o Also by kostya


Display: Sort:
What is sooo wrong with RedHat? | 26 comments (21 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Fashion (3.16 / 6) (#3)
by Nickus on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:27:34 PM EST

It is fashionable to be anti-RedHat today. And it is so easy to go with the flow. IMHO slashdot.org nowadays resembles the stupid crowd that produces as intelligent comments as a gigantic amoeba.

Sure, Red Hat has made mistakes but one should remember what they have done for the community.



Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
Why people hat RedHat... (2.83 / 6) (#5)
by Innismir on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:29:42 PM EST

Here are my opinions on why people do not like RedHat:

They are becoming a 'corp - Its not that they are making money, it more along the lines of they are starting to become a corporation, they are starting to think less like geek and more likes suits. This is good for them, becasue they need to do this to stay competitive, but it ticks geeks off to no end

Dumbing Down Linux (Making it easier to run) - I think there is a eliteness to running Linux previous to about June '99, now it seems that everyone is doing it. This is great for Linux because it is being accepted, but now you see on the message boards "D00D! h0w d0 1 c0mp173 my k3rn37 w/R3dH@t?l?!?!?!?!@#$!?" hence luser=redhat, and its a stigma.

Stupidity - "We started the open source movement", 'Nuff said ;-)

I started out in RedHat, but I quickly outgrew it. I run slackware now, its a lot more fun and a lot less user friendly, this is UNIX :)
-Innismir

In God we trust, all others must have a valid PGP key....

Re: Why people hat RedHat... (none / 0) (#7)
by Innismir on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:38:05 PM EST

"hat redhat".... argh....

Never blitz through a comment whilst one the computers you're working on reboots.... *sigh* =)
~Innismir

In God we trust, all others must have a valid PGP key....
[ Parent ]

Obvious Target (3.00 / 6) (#6)
by delver on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:37:07 PM EST

Look at it this way. Linux has been the domain of the geek-horde for a long time now. The elite. Or at least better than any Winblows user out there. Now Red Hat, SuSE, and some others are trying to bring Linux to the not-so-technically minded. I'm not saying that they're dumbing linux down (although an arugment could be made there), but they're covering a lot of the complexity of linux up with a nice, pretty GUI. To a true geek, thats taking away useful power that linux users are used to. To a newbie its helpful and appreciated. The traditionalists amongst us will dislike Red Hat not only because of their somewhat frequent mistakes but also because they see them as allowing more and more not-so-techie people into linux. Good or bad, I think a lot of its a territory issue.

Red Hat has become the defacto representation of Linux to the non-geek world. Every time they screw up at all, it reflects on all the rest of linux. I can just see the gremlins up in Redmond giggling. "Hehehe. Can't even get an OS that last more than 3 weeks!" If RH can't be perfect they're going to continue getting this flack. Its the price you pay to be #1.

Idiots *hate* big companies. (2.40 / 5) (#8)
by bmetzler on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:00:19 PM EST

It is popular today to hate big companies. A lot of people have this hatred towrads any company that's big. I don't really understand it, I think it's part of the anarchist bent that a lot of people have who frequent sites like slashdot.

It's fine to hate a company that really does something wrong. If a company has unethical practices or damages the environment, then yes, boycott them, don't buy from them, get them to change their practices. But many people hate companies that have done nothing wrong: Red Hat, Sun, AOL, Corel and many others.

Furthermore, it is astounding to me how many people would say, sure, many the company has done something wrong, but that doesn't mean that we should punish them. After all, they are a successful company, even though they break the law. But then when a successful companies works to become even more successful in an ethical manner, all of a sudden they are evil and should be split up. When I saw that being promoted on slashdot, I was astounded. Why should we not break up a company that's been found guilty, but at the same time, break up a successful company that just wants to be more successful without doing anything wrong.

Please, someone tell me why.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (2.50 / 2) (#13)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:37:54 PM EST

But many people hate companies that have done nothing wrong: Red Hat, Sun, AOL, Corel and many others.

I hate AOL and Corel, and think I have reasonably good reasons. :)

In the case of AOL, it's that I disagree with what they have historically stood for: a walled-off community-within-a-community, a protected place that is both within the internet and not within the internet. I hate gated communities in real life, and my dislike of them online is much the same ---- except that I am afraid that if AOL grows larger, it's eventually going to effect what I can and cannot do with the net, forcing me, in essence, to be part of the gated-and-protected community which I despise.

In the case of Corel: the company I work for was going to merge with Corel. My team was outright lied to by Corel's development managers in meetings held after the merger was announced; the company as a whole was outright lied to by Corel's financial people. What's not to hate?



[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (2.00 / 2) (#21)
by bmetzler on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 09:44:33 AM EST

except that I am afraid that if AOL grows larger, it's eventually going to effect what I can and cannot do with the net,

Do you believe that AOL has broken the law? If not, then why would you support something that in effect breaks up a successful company. And in relation to that, do you support the punishment of Microsoft as a result of their crimes by breaking them up?

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 01:12:55 PM EST

Eh? I don't believe AOL has broken the law, nor do I believe the government has any right to break them up. However, there may be a legitimate reason to prevent the AOL-Time Warner merger; I haven't studied the case in depth. (Modern anti-trust law prohibits mergers which would create an undue concentration of one market or set of markets in one company; the merger itself is viewe as being anti-competitive and therefore illegal). In any event, I don't like AOL for the reasons described, so would be a bad judge of this case. :)

[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 01:12:56 PM EST

Eh? I don't believe AOL has broken the law, nor do I believe the government has any right to break them up. However, there may be a legitimate reason to prevent the AOL-Time Warner merger; I haven't studied the case in depth. (Modern anti-trust law prohibits mergers which would create an undue concentration of one market or set of markets in one company; the merger itself is viewe as being anti-competitive and therefore illegal). In any event, I don't like AOL for the reasons described, so would be a bad judge of this case. :)

[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by bmetzler on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 03:25:26 PM EST

However, there may be a legitimate reason to prevent the AOL-Time Warner merger

AOL and TW are successful companies who became successful by legal means. They believe that by merging they'd be even more successful. If the merger is blocked, they'd but 2 companies still. But they *would* have been one. So, in effect, a company has been split up that has never been found guilty of a similar crime in the past, and has not been found guilty of a crime now.

So in effect, in America, we have punished a company without a trial and finding of guilt. Is that what you want?

Meanwhile, a company that is found guilty of breaking the law has people saying that they *shouldn't* be broken up because even though they might have made some 'mistakes', they are still a successful company, and therefore should be left alone.

Isn't America great?

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 03:37:17 PM EST

So, in effect, a company has been split up that has never been found guilty of a similar crime in the past, and has not been found guilty of a crime now.

The way the antitrust laws are worded, the merger in and of itself may be illegal. I'm not an expert in antitrust law, though, so I really don't know if this particular merger would be.

Meanwhile, a company that is found guilty of breaking the law has people saying that they *shouldn't* be broken up because even though they might have made some 'mistakes', they are still a successful company, and therefore should be left alone.

People can say what they want; legally speaking, right now, they are going to be broken up.



[ Parent ]
Re: Idiots *hate* big companies. (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by bmetzler on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 03:43:02 PM EST

People can say what they want; legally speaking, right now, they are going to be broken up.

Thankfully, law still prevails over stupidity. However, I fear that one day these people who believe that if you are successful then your crimes should be overlooked, may actually get into power.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Sheep vs. "Nerds" (1.75 / 4) (#9)
by maketo on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:06:25 PM EST

When the community decides what they want to do with Linux then these wars will stop. For now many people want linux to be hacker's unfriendly but powerful choice when, on the other hand, many people get into linux expecting it to live up to the hype of being easy to use and "look ma, you _must_ try it too, it is not Windows". There is only so much you can do for the little user once your product is not driven by market interests.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
RedHat used to be good (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by djkimmel on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:09:52 PM EST

And RedHat used to solve the problem that Linux was too hard to install. I even looked at RedHat 5.2 and ran it for a bit. Sure, I'm a Debian person, but RedHat 5.2 was not all that bad. I enjoyed running it and it caused no major problems for me. It ran great as an NFS server for another RedHat 5.2 box, and it ran (on that other box) as a great workstation. Before RedHat 5.2, I ran some old version of Slackware. The switch to RedHat was brought on by the desire to try something new. Then I went to Debian, again to try something new, and it seemed like a middle ground between Slackware (mostly do-it-yourself) and RedHat (mostly done-for-you).

But now, I see the state of RedHat and I think that they've gone downhill from where they used to be.

This problem with the automatic updater flies in the face of everything that is good about Linux. "Linux is stable!", claim the zealots - but RedHat crashes after three weeks with the default installation.

Now, before everyone flames me and points out that RedHat isn't Linux, I'd like to point out that I know this. I would also like to point out that RedHat is one of the leading Linux distributions and is what most companies release their Linux-based products for first. Because of this, it is important that RedHat have a good distribution. As a market leader, RedHat is in a position to make free software in general look good and to get business to trust free software. As a consequence, RedHat is also in a position to make free software in general look bad and cause businesses to distrust free software. If I tell my manager "RedHat 7 is pretty nice, but I did need to make a few minor modifications to get it stable" what will he think?

This is a sad state of affairs, and I am glad that RedHat has responded quickly to the matter and issued a fix. But it does make me to wonder - if Linux is supposed to be a Unix-workalike, why is a long-running daemon doing this instead of a cron job?

-- Dave
-- Dave
Re: RedHat used to be good (3.33 / 3) (#12)
by bmetzler on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:16:16 PM EST

This problem with the automatic updater flies in the face of everything that is good about Linux. "Linux is stable!", claim the zealots - but RedHat crashes after three weeks with the default installation.

But it's patched now. This is a strong point for Redhat and Linux. No one tries to live in a dream world where things are always perfect. But RedHat has a patch and the bug was discovered within weeks of the release. The similiar problem in Windows had a totally different scenerio.

Software *will* have bugs. But when I'm working for a company that needs reliable software (ie, every company), and I have a choice between 2 OS's that can do the same thing, it's not bugs that's the deciding factor. It's how fast bugs are found, and fixed. And Redhat holds the gold trophy here.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Re: RedHat used to be good (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by wolfie on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:34:20 PM EST

Yes Software WILL have bugs.. no surprise there.
anyone who does not want to acknowledge this clearly is deluding themselves.

But come on.. did they even test their product for at least 3 weeks before releasing it? It seems they did not, else clearly this should have gone noticed and fixed BEFORE release.

Bugs like this... just make redhat look like a joke

[ Parent ]
Re: RedHat used to be good (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by bmetzler on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 09:41:19 AM EST

just make redhat look like a joke

And you don't think that it makes Microsoft look like a joke that they, a big money0-bulging company couldn't take the time to test their most important product for even 2 months?

I think I'd go for Redhat in this case. It's easy to see how a bug like that might take some time to diagnose. Actually, it didn't. We have the result within weeks of the product release.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Red Hat and other Distros (4.00 / 3) (#14)
by Matrix on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:47:05 PM EST

I voted up the article because I think it'll produce some interesting discussion, even though I don't agree with the author.

I don't like Red Hat. I've tried to use their distros a couple of times, and I found that a lot of what they built in to promote "ease of use" slowed me down and confused me. Most of the config files also seemed overly large, because of the requirements of LinuxConf and related programs. I don't know if that's changed in more recent Red Hat distros or not. Other than that, it seemed to be a good product, well-worth the cost of a boxed set.

I didn't have time to do much for about a year, but recently, I tried Linux again. This time, I decided to go with Debian. Everything seemed quite a bit smoother and easier to learn, even if the software wasn't the latest version. So far, I like Debian much better. Especially the package-management stuff.

Both have their place, though. I can see Red Hat being very well-suited for a corporate environment. Recent software, good support system, wide range of config tools. So what if the sysadmin needs to install a few upgrades and fixes to get things working? Wouldn't they have to install just as much, if not more, for an NT or W2K server?


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

maybe it was all that market value redhat lost (2.50 / 2) (#16)
by TuxNugget on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:03:06 PM EST

If you buy a stock for $50 and it falls to $12, this may influence your opinion just a tad.

Ok, most slashdotters are teens and starving college students. However, this might still explain the negativity of some of the adults.

Just a thought.

They didn't help by ignoring their own users. (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by itsbruce on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:13:51 PM EST

I used Red Hat for several years. I can't speak for others but I think my animosity towards RH is based on solid experience and not "elitism".

All the way through, on the Red Hat user lists, I saw new users becoming disillusioned when they discovered how non-existent was the "support" they had bought with their new boxed sets. The only actual support was that provided by the user community on the lists - and RH neglected the lists. The list archives broke and they eventually stopped even pretending they were ever going to fix them, the list admin started flaming newbies - finally the entire list system broke down and they didn't even notice. Took them weeks even to get round to hiring someone to sort out the mess.

That didn't bother me too much - I could look after myself and got involved in the user community - as long as they were offering a solid product. But I got more and more disillusioned with the distribution and I think my gripes were also linked to the fact that they don't listen much to ordinary users. Many of their config scripts are over complex and actually restrict flexibililty through clumsy implementation (I think it's probably more intimidating for a newbie to look under the hood of RH than for them to look under the hood of Stormix and see Debian). I tried to offer a solution sort out one particular mess - I got several regulars on the development list on my side, not to mention a lot of thankyou messages from users who'd read my webpage documenting the mess and some solutions to it - but was ignored and that particular mess has gotten worse.

I've moved on, to solutions that suit me better - but looking behind me at RH, I see them offering corporate lock-ins where there should be free solutions. They seem to be getting even further from their ordinary users. A lot of the flak they get is unfair but I think they only have themselves to blame for having so few defenders.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
Time for a recall (2.50 / 2) (#19)
by Perpetual Newbie on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:41:59 PM EST

From what I've heard, the problems with Redhat 7.0 are so bad that the product should be recalled. Installer bugs and a compiler that produces incompatible object files are bad enough, but a guaranteed system crash after three weeks?

Just saying "It's been patched" isn't enough. By having their product on store shelves, Redhat is saying that it is good to use as is, right now. They are making a claim of merchantability. Most people who buy Redhat won't know about these problems. What problems would there be, if this Linux thing is so stable and bugfree as those techies keep saying? It's ridiculous to expect to have to send a new car to the mechanic right after you purchase it, shouldn't new software meet similar expectations?

In all of this, I'm very surprised that the mainsteam media isn't screaming about how the latest version of Linux, Linux 7.0, is full of bugs that will make it crash. I would expect them to jump on something like this.

What is sooo wrong with RedHat? | 26 comments (21 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!