A Fork in The Linux Community

We’ll see Linux stick with the GPLv2, leaving GPLv3 loitering awkwardly on the fringes of open-source.

We’ll see the crack between free software idealist and commercial open-source pragmatists grow into a true gap.

Steven J. has a few interesting speculations on the future of Linux. He believes that “there are growing signs that the Linux community itself is forking.”

I feel uneasy about the growing number of heated, sometimes offensive, discussions about non-sense. Yes, there’s an ongoing separation between groups, and I’m not understanding it. Firefox vs. IceWeasel, Debian vs. Ubuntu, FSF vs. Linus, Novell/Microsoft vs. The World; that’s not going to do us any good.

But believe it or not, I’m pretty sure that both Linux and GNU will survive and do just fine. Market pressure doesn’t work on independent developers. It never has, if you put unemployment aside.

The majority of “prophecy” articles I find about Linux only touch on commercial Linux distributions. They usually mean RedHat, SuSE and now Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux. But let’s not forget that Linux was driven by a need, rather than by profitable businesses. A need for a stable, very cheap, and (ironically) well-supported UNIX.

Do you think community competition could hurt Linux’s growth or adoption?

2 Responses (Add Your Comment)

  1. In my opinion, not only GNU/Linux will survive, all F/OSS will do.

    I think that talks about forking in hte community are oversimplifiations of an otherwise complex social phenomena. The community grew much larger than any single commercial company, even larger to almost all socities in the world. Social scientists have a better term for what is called “forking”, they call it “diversity!”.

    Afterall, who said that there is only one way of doing things? There are not even any “best” ways, and any good way will survive! Darwinism!

  2. Hi Rami,
    As a member of the Debian community, I can add my 2 yen. And
    as for the other issues, I would say that they all were
    impossible to avoid and were necessary. This is the first time
    these things have happened, there was no blueprint. The issue
    with Mozilla and Debian was one of pragmatic, technical, and
    philosophical differences. Debian needs to be able to
    redistribute its product whereas most others simply make their
    distrabutions as ‘end user products’. Mozilla also wanted vet
    ever change and put conditions on what could be called
    ‘firefox’. This is a few of the issues. As for Ubuntu, Mark
    made a proper decision in basing upon Debian. Debian could not
    meet his needs. There are other deeper issues that caused
    friction between the two. But there is work being done to heal
    that rift. Growing pains of two communities. The Novell thing
    is someone who knows nothing about the FLOSS community
    making a bussiness decision. It will have some negative
    and many positive outcomes–for the FLOSS community.

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