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The Closing of the Bazaar - page 4

Paying the Price of Success

  • September 8, 2003
  • By Brian Proffitt

This is something Murdock feels strongly about, for some obvious reasons. Progeny is a company Murdock has set up as a services portal--an alternative way for commercial users to gain access to Linux, without going through any one distribution company.

If a client needs to use Linux for a project, then Progeny will act as "an outsourcer. We're an alternative to hiring your own Linux distribution development team," Murdock explained. Progeny will use their own skills to match the tools to the customers' needs.

So you can see that Murdock has a clear investment in pointing out the flaws of the distribution model. But Progeny is also a continuation of an idea he had when he first founded Debian ten years ago: taking the best parts of Linux and creating a custom solution for every body. Now Progeny's goal is to create custom Linux solutions for any body.

The need for more ways for potential customers to get to Linux is a very compelling argument. Murdock does not want to knock distributions off the map, but he believes that there needs to be other outlets set up for clients to implement Linux--if only to be a check and balance for any distribution to get too strong.

When UnitedLinux was launched, Murdock thought that it was a good approach, because it was attempting to be a more unified, generic Linux platform, while at the same time giving Red Hat some much needed competition. He was disappointed when the actual implementation of UnitedLinux foundered and believes that something along UL lines is still needed in the Linux community.

Red Hat is not the villain in this unfolding drama; the consequences of its success would have happened if this were SuSE, Mandrake, or any other Linux distribution. But today Red Hat is playing the role of the leading distribution, so the problems they face and they are causing for Linux are theirs.

The best way for the community to respond is not to detract Red Hat. It is to build alternatives, like the portals exemplified by Progeny or some other idea to provide a real set of checks and balances for the community and the benefit of all its members.

The bazaar will always remain, but we must allow free access for its clientele to all sections of the market.

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