United We Stand

Wow. I can't believe it's September already. Well, actually, it's July as I write this, but by the time it gets printed it will be September -- And I still won't be able to believe it :-).

Pub Statement 01 (Sept99)
Hamming it Up With a Guru: (L-R) Editor Robert McMillan, Alan Cox, and Publisher Adam Goodman cut loose at Linux Expo.

Wow. I can’t believe it’s September already. Well, actually, it’s July as I write this, but by the time it gets printed it will be September — And I still won’t be able to believe it :-).

There has been a lot of speculation lately relating to the effect that money will have on the Linux Community. With the Red Hat IPO only weeks away, it’s understandable that so many people are voicing concerns.

I believe that the Red Hat IPO represents a sea change for Open Source Software. However, I don’t think that it will have a negative effect on the companies or individuals who have built their businesses and their lives around the principles of Open Source.

Let’s face it; No one originally got into Linux for the money. People got into it and built companies around it because it was something that they loved and believed in. And people don’t stop loving and believing in something just because they suddenly come into money.

I don’t think that there is a single one of us who wants to see the Open Source principles that got us here get damaged by the new money that is going to be pouring into the Linux community. In fact, I think that we all want to see that money get used to drive Linux forward: Improve the kernel and GUI systems, create more applications and increase Linux’s market share.

When I first met Bob Young, I quickly became aware that this was not a man driven by money. Bob is a person who fervently believes in the ideals of Free Software and Open Source. I believe that he has imbued all of Red Hat with that culture. Every line of code that Red Hat releases is put out under the GPL. And they have some of the best kernel hackers in the world working for them, with the sole aim of improving Linux.

In fact, we were lucky enough to get one of them, Alan Cox, to sit down with us for an interview at Linux Expo in May. You can read what he thinks about all of this, beginning on page 38. Suffice it to say that he believes that any effort to fork the Linux kernel for commercial reasons will quickly “curl up and die.”

So I think that people who are worried that money will cause fundamental rifts in the community, or divide Linux into a community of haves and have-nots, are fundamentally missing the point. The Linux community has always had more than its share of squabbles, but the ties that bind us together have always been much stronger than that.

I think the whole Linux community knows one thing; Money or no, united we stand, divided we fall. And I don’t think anyone is going to forget that.

Adam Signature

Adam M. Goodman

Editor & Publisher

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