03.09.10

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Response to Red Hat FUD from Canonical’s COO Matt Asay

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 9:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A dissection of unfounded suggestions that Red Hat will lose its independence because Novell is dying

IT is no secret that we distrust Matt Asay, who currently links to fluff from Microsoft's shill Eric Savitz. Based on this shill, he then assumes that Novell’s serious troubles as of late [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] are likely to spell doom for Red Hat as an independent company. But these are totally unrelated events; if anything, Novell dissipating would give more room for Red Hat to expand, not to be acquired. Asay is a very clever guy, so why does he spread such FUD about Red Hat? One possibility that crossed our minds is that such hasty/hopeful/awful predictions would work well for the company he helps manage now, namely Canonical. What’s with his recent headline that says (with a question mark, as usual), “When will Microsoft sue Google over Linux?” Such a headline is not helpful and it sometimes seems like he just wants traffic with headlines like these.

“Asay is a very clever guy, so why does he spread such FUD about Red Hat?”Our reader Brandon says that it sounds like Asay is “a conspiracy theorist now” (because of the speculative, provocative headlines). But anyway, the criticism in general ought to be tied to other things. Asay is also routinely citing lobbyists for software patents (maybe unknowingly) and sucking up to Gartner, which is corrupt and better off ignored. You needn’t play nice with crooks like Gartner, you should expose them instead.

We apologise for not being fans of Canonical’s current COO, but why lie or keep silent about it? In the forums we refer to him as “Mac Asay” because of his love for Apple, which is currently his competitor. Is this behaviour (from the news) the type of thing that GNU/Linux should be imitating?

Reader: Steve Jobs says no tethering between iPad and iPhone

Steve Jobs appears to have fired off a tersely worded email reply to a user in Sweden who asked whether the WiFi-only iPad could be tethered to the iPhone: “No.”

Apple retards its own products and does not listen to users, as usual.

Put together with Apple’s lawsuit against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], Apple should be abandoned, not taken as an example. Apple is a niche product for spree-happy people with more taste for GUIs, not technical merit that includes powerful file systems, centralised software management, and frequent updates. Bar marketing, Ubuntu beats Mac OS X in many areas. Making GNU/Linux “more like the Mac” (even with a new default theme that begs to suggest so) will give GNU/Linux the reputation of “cheap Windows/Mac” and that’s not a way to win the market’s respect.

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12 Comments

  1. Agent_Smith said,

    March 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Gravatar

    I follow Mr. Asay in tweeter. He tweeted yesterday: http://twitter.com/mjasay/status/10183846698

    Why Canonical Should Imitate Apple’s Early Playbook http://tinyurl.com/yg7ug7m <I'll take all the free advice I can get! :-)

    And, i responded to his tweet:

    http://twitter.com/agente_smithe/status/10191951734

    Please don't. Imitate Knoppix instead. When Ubuntu seemed like a better Knoppix, it was good… Not at the present time…

    I'm puzzled. He did not answer me. Why ??? (O.o)

  2. your_friend said,

    March 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Saying free software should be more like Mac is a real insult to software freedom and the beautiful, functional interfaces that have been built on it. People like to say, “look how beautiful and functional OSX is.” In reality, Apple has stale code covered with non free hardware support. Their interfaces borrow much from the free software world and mostly look better because Apple has accelerated graphics support and tight control over what people can do. A diversity of interfaces seem to “clash” in the free software world because different tasks call for different interfaces and everyone has their own taste and work style. Apple forces everyone to yield to the Apple way of doing things. Underneath the hood is a lot of borrowed free software. If the Apple way compares favorably to the Microsoft way, it is because Apple has been better at exploiting free software, but it is still ancient code next to GNU/Linux, which has replaced nearly 2/3rds of the Kernel in the last five years and seen dramatic version releases of every major GUI framework. Free software, with proper vendor support, would be a lot better than anything Apple or Microsoft can provide.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    You write a lot but there is a lot wrong here.

    First, code isn’t a loaf of bread. It doesn’t get stale. Plenty of programs are using old code either directly or through libraries. If it works and works well it doesn’t matter how old it is. That goes double for most computer users. They don’t care how “fresh” the code is. If it looks and works good that’s all that’s needed. I think it goes without saying that you are not most computer users. Maybe you feel the need to tell others you are using “new code” so they will think you are cool. I’ve got bad news for you…..

    Moving on, new code isn’t always good code. In fact, there is always the possibility of new bugs, performance regressions, and compatibility problems with new code.

    Finally, not everyone would agree that Free Software provides the “beautiful, functional interfaces” you speak of. I certainly feel that way about the file request dialogs in Linux. Even though I prefer Windows, even I think OSX looks good.

    your_friend Reply:

    Oh please, stop. Code reuse is great. Stale code is the kind of junk you get when a company like Microsoft buys a bunch of other people’s work and barely stitches it together and then leaves it alone for ten years. The company does not have the resources to fix all of the problems created by their acquisition techniques. Free software, on the other hand, is able to both reuse and improve code so that users get good quality code that constantly evolves to meet new demands, aka fresh code. The difference is not measured in metrics only seen in studies of repositories, it’s seen in code that performs better and has a greater feature set. The beauty of free software runs from top to bottom.

  3. mjasay said,

    March 10, 2010 at 11:57 am

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    Roy, I guess I completely missed how you jumped from my post to the conclusion that I was spreading FUD about Red Hat. Do you actually read what I write, or do you try to read so much into it that you miss the plain meaning of what I write?

    Since I took the job at Canonical, I have mentioned Red Hat several times, and every single time it has been in a positive light, including in this post you reference above. Every single time. My respect for Red Hat has not been changed by my employment. Not one bit.

    You apparently are unaware of the moves that have been made for Red Hat repeatedly over the years. That’s fine. It’s not in any way a slam (or FUD) on Red Hat to understand that its value is in play, and particularly if Novell gets bought. You may not remember this but Red Hat is a publicly traded company, which means its shareholders ultimately decide the company’s fate. Those shareholders may elect to sell if the value premium is high enough. That’s all I said. It’s actually very uncontroversial once you strip it of a misreading through the lens of ideology.

    I was careful not to talk about what a Novell buy means for Canonical. Red Hat getting bought by one of the companies I mention would *not* be good for us. I was actually arguing against my self-interest, which you might have seen had you read my post with anything approaching objectivity. But, as you said, you distrust me, don’t particularly like me (despite never having met me), and take *any* criticism of free software as a personal affront.

    I’ve got a suggestion for you, therefore, that would make your life more pleasurable: stop reading my posts. It only makes you angry, and it’s clear you’re not interested in any different viewpoints. By your own admission, you’d be missing nothing. So start missing it.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Matt,

    I did read your post. Twice even.

    It is difficult to ignore something that affects you (including blog posts that are syndicated as “news”); for the same reason, you do not ignore Microsoft, for instance.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    I ask myself the same question when I follow the links Roy uses in his articles. Does Roy actually read them? You have to wonder because most of the time when you read the entire link and look at the full context presented, you will end up with a different impression than the one Roy provides. Reality is simply what we observe and Roy is seeing something quite different than the rest of us.

    Roy does have a good point though. Anything you do or say that is in any way related to FOSS or Proprietary software affects him. Roy lives in a FOSS world and the work he’s doing here is his legacy.

    your_friend Reply:

    I’m afraid that Roy is right here, Matt, and you should be ashamed of slandering him over it. Your position with Canonical creates a clear conflict of interest and you might want to avoid writing about competitors like Red Hat. People working in a field should not pretend to be journalists able to report impartially. Yes, “Home > News > The Open Road” is a label for news, not a personal blog or even an editorial page where people know that the participants may have a personal interest in things. Please quit pretending to be the impartial reporter that Roy actually is and put a lid on the personal stuff, it’s embarrassing.

    There is nothing positive in this article, for example, and Roy’s summary is entirely correct. You accuse Red Hat of extremism, “only Red Hat seems to care about companies that wear open source on their sleeves,” of being passe, and of unclear value. Though you claim to want to paint Red Hat, “a positive light” you repeat these baseless accusations above and then get personal with Roy instead of saying anything really positive.

    There is also a lot of baseless fear mongering in this article. Your carefully “balanced” look at Microsoft’s patent extortion gives Microsoft more credit than they deserve as does your view that the failing company will be here in thirty years. Microsoft’s continued patent extortion is criminal and should be met with a DOJ investigation. Instead of talking about how Microsoft can make trouble for Google, why don’t you report the facts of Microsoft’s extortions? You know, the what, who, where, how and why Roy writes about. What was the Amazon deal? Who made it? Why? It’s more interesting than your wanna be a Microsoft CEO advice that can be paraphrased as, “Sue Google, they have so much to lose!”

    You should also check your reading comprehension skills. Roy was advising you to avoid Gartner, which is a dishonest company, not telling people to avoid your writing. It is sad that you would take that as a personal insult rather than good advice and then turn viciously and personally on the person giving it to you. The hypocrisy of saying, “[Roy, you] take *any* criticism of free software as a personal affront,” after accusing him of being driven by personal and irrational dislikes of yourself is as self evident as your bad mouthing of Red Hat. Who do you think you are fooling here?

    At this point, I’ll be sure to avoid your blog. CNet has obnoxious java script that does not work well with the browsers available in Lenny and there was little bringing me there in the first place. I had to go to the extra effort of loading a newer version of a browser from another host to get around CNet garbage so that I could judge for myself what you said. That won’t happen often. When I first read the above reply, I wanted to dismiss it as the work of a crank pretending to be Assay, but there’s enough hypocrisy in the original articles to dissmiss that wishful thinking. Roy got your number, Matt, and your advice to avoid your writing works for me.

    Roy can’t avoid reading you because of the prominent position you have and because free software is his beat. As part of CNET and Canonical, you have a position to influence a lot of people and you are using that to your own advantage, despite your protests to the contrary. Roy does a good job of watching people in positions like yours and pointing out problems, good things and other things that might just be entertaining. That’s what journalists are supposed to do.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Matt,

    Here is an article that I found last night, fueled by what I consider to be “FUD” from you (notice the link to your blog as the only source:

    Microsoft needs Novell

    “But there are fears that if Novell goes, that could be the first domino which damages the commercial outfits based on Linux.

    “The next target might be Red Hat. Some think that if Novell’s SUSE Linux business finds its way into Oracle’s or VMware’s or IBM’s paws, it will be hard for Red Hat to remain viable as a stand alone company.”

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/feature/1595603/microsoft-novell

    This is not true, but it is only based on CNET, which they think is a reliable news site. I personally don’t. The Inquirer says “Some think”, but it only links to the opinion of one person. This is how bad news gets generated and disseminated. I typically just expect this from Egbert, who has been doing this for years.

    By the way, you hopefully noticed that in CNET you get trolled in the comments by paid Microsoft shills (outside the jurisdiction of US law). “Mr Dee” is this guy:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/01/andre-da-costa-schwag/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/08/04/mr-dee-cnet-andre-da-costa-microsoft-pocket/

    verofakto Reply:

    Speaking of shills Herr Doktor, were you planning on disclosing to Matt who “your_friend” is? In the interest of disclosure of course, considering his recent run-in with Jono Bacon. Looks like he’s 0 for 2 at this point.

  4. stan.rbt said,

    March 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Gravatar

    For roughly 3 years I have been managing a linux project at a company. When I took it the project was in a very bad shape, no one believed it could be saved. What was the issue ? Controversy & lack of focus. Today it is a money machine.

    What the guys here point out is the big controversy – Ubuntu is being seized by people fascinated by the sexiness of Apple. Yes – you read correctly – Apple is just sexy, nothing more. This is a big controversy for an “IT firm” and this is their doom – delivering just sexiness and no other value added. This is the reason Apple will never be able to get much beyond the 10% mkt share of a hype crowd because the majority of people are pragmatic. We do not need to spend $1-2.000 on a piece of rapidly aging HW just to feel sexy – this sexiness is too expensive for me, I need a cheap and robust computer to get my work done, that’s all. I enjoy sexiness somewhere else and pretty cheaply.

    The other major controversy with Ubuntu is Mono-based apps included by default. The Ubuntu guys made sure to piss off quite a lot of linux opinion leaders by doing that. We hate Mono, we fear it and it does not bring any value added. No value added – so why all the stress connected to it? This is the reason I am moving away from Ubuntu with all those I am “leading” – I prefer clean, simple and robust things without any unnecessary “luggage” and after so many years in front of the PC I am really tired to even type an unnecessary command line to purge the mono shit. Why should I if there are so many distros which do not force me to lose that 1 minute ?

    And by the way – no one will ever dare to think about acquiring Red Hat – Oracle will never allow such a thing to happen, ever. Their future plans (replacing Microsoft at the business IT throne) can never succeed without Red Hat being an independent company and I think we can all agree no one in the industry has the guts or the means to challenge Oracle in any way nowadays. Not even IBM or Microsoft. These two old ladies have too much trouble inside of them to even think of challenging Oracle in any other way than by discounting some solutions but discounts are no real threat at the moment. Neither IBM nor Microsoft has such low “production costs” as Oracle, thanks to Red Hat and open source. It is no secret that neither IBM nor Microsoft can release GPL software – this one twist ensures their production costs will always be higher than Oracle’s. This strange symbiosis works perfectly for Red Hat too – it seems quite odd at moments but it makes both companies successful and rich.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Egbert has been floating rumours about Red Hat getting acquired for 3-4 years now. She’s the boy who cried “Wolf!” and she is almost always the source of this type of damaging rumours (she used to say Oracle, now she says IBM).

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