Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@×××.net>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Re: Portage QOS
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2014 01:29:13
Message-Id: pan$dfaed$3aaa650a$5e5a9ad4$
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: Portage QOS by
1 heroxbd posted on Sat, 11 Jan 2014 07:36:57 +0900 as excerpted:
3 > Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@×××.net> writes:
4 >
5 >> Meanwhile, you might try googling Zynot. That was one early, perhaps
6 >> the first, Gentoo fork.
7 >>
8 >> I remember back in early 2004
9 >
10 > Wow... What a history! I am educated. Thanks for sharing.
11 >
12 > I've always been interested in my distro's history. The information
13 > scatters here and there. It'll be nice if some senior/retired developers
14 > write up a Gentoo history on wiki.g.o :)
16 FWIW, I did my research and ended up on gentoo after the split was
17 basically done, tho zynot was still around at the time. As such, I don't
18 have a lot of personal experience with it, but it was still close enough
19 that most of the gentoo devs of the time did have personal experience.
21 What I do know is that it was a very bitter experience for many, and most
22 that lived thru it, like many survivors of a lot of particularly man-made
23 tragedies, considered the experience something that they and gentoo had
24 survived, and were /extremely/ glad it was over, but weren't much for
25 talking about it.
27 At a safe historic distance of a decade in the past, perhaps some might
28 talk about it now, but I'd guess for many, it's just not worth reliving,
29 except, $deity forbid, should there be a danger of something similar
30 occurring again. Too many bitter recriminations. Too many previous
31 friends lost to the split...
33 But I was close enough time-wise to appreciate the seriousness and
34 tragedy of the event, while not being part of it myself, so I don't have
35 those old wounds to rip back open by talking about it. Apologies to the
36 long-time devs still here for whom I'm doing just that, but it /is/
37 history now, and as the saying goes, those who don't know history are
38 bound to repeat it, something I'm absolutely sure NOBODY involved would
39 want, so...
41 From what I understand, this guy /had/ been effectively drobbins' right-
42 hand-man for a time. He had business connections and had been
43 instrumental in parlaying some of them into gentoo sponsorships at a time
44 when it was much younger and needed them, and he was a good PR guy. The
45 gentoo dev community was smaller and closer knit at the time, and many
46 had considered this guy and the devs that ultimately left with him
47 personal friends. That made the hurt /much/ worse. =:^(
49 What I've always wondered is what the devs who went with him thought; how
50 he persuaded them, /their/ side of the story. I knew /his/ side of the
51 story from reading his essays attacking gentoo and drobbins, and I knew
52 at least enough about the gentoo side to be convinced that the gentoo
53 side was where I should be, but coming in shortly after as I did, I never
54 had any contact with or read anything from any of the devs that left with
55 him, and I obviously didn't know them previously, so their side of the
56 story, why he convinced them to go zynot (other than the obvious, that
57 any persuasive argument must have /some/ element of truth), I'll never
58 know. Meanwhile, I'm /quite/ aware that my own view and recounting of
59 the history I know is quite colored by my own position, and definitely
60 /must/ suffer to some degree from the "victor rewriting history"
61 phenomenon. I'm sure if I had a better view of the picture as the devs
62 who left for zynot saw it, that "people who left" view would be rather
63 different, and regardless of whether I agreed with it or not, it would
64 certainly color my own view and thus recounting of the facts as I am
65 aware of them. Worth keeping in mind...
67 Meanwhile, that /some/ bit of truth, AFAIK, revolved around the fact that
68 while gentoo had settled on the GPLv2 for code and similarly free general
69 documentation licenses, drobbins was apparently asking for copyright
70 rights, with a policy of copyright everything gentoo, which drobbins held
71 the rights to, with the ownership rights becoming the core of the fight.
72 There had been some talk of some sort of a gaming distro (I'm fuzzy on
73 the details), apparently drobbins' big idea, and as a base for embedded,
74 this guy's big idea and ultimately zynot's target for funding, etc. This
75 guy accused drobbins of intending to do the gaming thing then take
76 everything private. As I wasn't there and am not drobbins, I can't say
77 for sure what drobbins ultimate idea and motives were, but as I read this
78 guy's essays, I kept shouting at the monitor, "But if he intended to go
79 private and deprive other contributors of their just due, why GPLv2, not
80 MIT/BSD, which would make that so much easier?" Of course as we know
81 from the MySQL/Sun/Oracle events, with all rights a company can still go
82 private, using the GPL to maintain an unfair advantage over others who
83 can't take it private because they don't have the copyrights, only the GPL
84 version. But even so, again as the MySQL/Oracle/MariaDB events, and the
85 Sun/Oracle/OpenOffice/LibreOffice events as well demonstrate, if that's
86 against the wishes of an already active and developed community, that
87 community can and will take the free version it still has rights to use
88 and run with it!
90 Meanwhile, from all I could see then and to the extent that I know
91 anything of zynot to this day, that's EXACTLY what zynot tried to do,
92 take advantage of the free-licensed gentoo work and extend it with their
93 proprietary product. Clear as anything else I've ever seen, it was the
94 soot-covered pot looking in the mirror and believing it sees a kettle to
95 call black!
97 That's enough old wounds I'm sure I've torn open for some, sorry. But
98 knowing that history explains QUITE A BIT of gentoo's internal politics
99 to this day, so it's VERY worth knowing about for new devs who had no
100 idea that was in gentoo's history. Among other things, that definitely
101 plays a part in why people are now encouraged to mark their work
102 copyright gentoo if they have no strong feelings about it, but gentoo
103 doesn't DEMAND it. (Another factor is as greg-kh points out, due to
104 employment contracts a lot of gentoo devs wouldn't be able to contribute
105 and would have to resign, were a firm copyright rights assignment policy
106 established.
108 It plays and even *STRONGER* role in gentoo's governing structure, both
109 because drobbins took quite some care and personal legal expense to
110 ensure a separate gentoo foundation with the assets, but *NOT* technical
111 control, and in the very loose government structure, with little central
112 control and individual devs having lots of rights that are rather
113 difficult to strip, except by what ultimately amounts to overwhelming
114 (but not necessarily unanimous) agreement (which does and has occurred
115 when necessary, as some former devs who still follow this list can surely
116 attest), should a case be appealed all the way thru council, etc.
118 And even tho there has been enough turnover that I don't believe the
119 original devs have anything like enough power to directly maintain those
120 rules, the original themes were strong enough to have set in motion a
121 VERY strong culture of little central power and lots of individual dev
122 independence, such that succeeding generations have continued to inherit
123 that from their mentors and other devs that came before them. Those
124 original devs tended to attract others of like mind, and train them in
125 the way, and that generation in turn did the same, such that while few
126 newer devs really understand the history behind it, that comparatively
127 weak central power and strong individual dev rights continue to this day.
129 And of course that same theme is playing in this thread. Gentoo culture
130 has an extremely strong emphasis on individual rights, including the
131 right to choose one's own distribution, such that most gentoo devs (and
132 users) will find the very idea of somehow deliberately closing off
133 avenues of choice, restricting distro choice and the ability of users to
134 leave if they feel so inclined, EXTREMELY repulsive. Yes, to some extent
135 the majority of the FLOSS community has a similar culture, but self-
136 evidently the typical dev in a typical corporate-sponsored distro isn't
137 as likely to have the extreme, gut-level revulsion to centralized or
138 corporate control of the distro, or to dev and user choice, that your
139 typical gentooer dev is likely to have.
141 And actually, I'm glad this discussion has come up, since writing about
142 it has given me new insights into things as well. I obviously had all
143 the factoids and history available before, but this has forced me to
144 realize connections that I hadn't previously considered.
146 Wow! I had thought that was just the way gentoo's culture was. Now I
147 understand a bit more about how its history shapes that, and /why/
148 gentoo's culture is the way it is.
150 --
151 Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
152 "Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
153 and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman