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LinuxPlanet: gnotebook: Bugs, Press Releases, and Molasses: The GNOME 1.4 Launch Considered

Apr 07, 2001, 00:30 (49 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

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"...Armchair software analysts were in action almost immediately, as is their wont, demanding to know what the point of Medusa was in the first place. There are already tools present on most Linux machines that handle the sort of thing Medusa appears to have been designed for on the most superficial level, such as locate, which the more cynical among us might point out already does a very good job of confusing newbies who are still awake at two or three in the morning when it goes to work thrashing the hard drive to update its database of file locations."

"There's a certain lack of charitability present in complaints and interrogations like this, because they almost always imply that the engineers who are building tools like Medusa are still wet around the ears and out to reinvent wheels. The conspiracy-minded usually also take a few seconds to imply there's some sort of covert attempt at a proprietary lock-in present in the whole scheme by introducing a heretofore unknown piece of software into the mix. That's reflective of some effective scare-mongering on the part of many misguided enthusiasts who assume that if a thing's function isn't readily apparent to them, it's probably closed and proprietary. If you're in doubt that this goes on, consider the tired old meme that RPM is a "proprietary format," which always disregards two interesting facts: RPM itself is GPL'd, and RPM's themselves can be cracked open fairly easily with cpio. If Debian's willing to include rpm and librpm in its distro (which it does), I'm inclined to think that settles most of the argument. That doesn't ever seem to stop people, though, whenever Red Hat makes any other mistake and a new pile-on is underway."

"Chalk it up, I suppose, to an ongoing bit of schizophrenia in the Linux world where the issue of how to treat people out to make money with Linux is concerned. Most of us are at least reconciled to the idea. A few still struggle with it."

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