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Red Hat hates money, which makes it better than Sun

Reg shill disgusts free software fans

Letters The reaction to our story on the failings of Red Hat's Michael Tiemann's blog attack against Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz was as to be expected. In one corner, Linux zealots called us out for being Sun shills and the evil oppressors of all that is good - namely Richard Stallman. Across the ring, a new flock of Red Hat skeptics charged that Tiemann is foolishly assuming to speak for the open source community at large when he is actuallyl but a lone voice.

First from the man in question.


Thanks for reading my blog. What you seem to not understand, or what I have not sufficiently articulated, is that I'm calling Sun on a particular claim: that they support open source with all their heart and all their energy. You won't see me tilting at windmills that are blown only by purely proprietary breezes. If Sun had said "to heck with open source, we're doing it our way!" the most I'd say was "knock yourself out!". (And I'd likely say nothing at all--as long as they don't interfere with my rights, I don't really care what they do with theirs.) I'm just saying that /if/ they are serious about the claims they are making, if it really is all their heart and all their energy, then open sourcing Java is a good test. Any less and they are just pretenders.

Michael Tiemann VP Open Source Affairs Red Hat, Inc.

Michael and I ended up having a lengthy exchange on all of this - we'll spare you the details. Thanks for reading The Register though, Mike.

Couldn't agree more with your article.

There's an interesting debate between Eric Schrock (of Solaris kernel team) and Greg K-H (of Linux kernel) through their blogs. It's more technical but nonetheless interesting and I see some interesting parallels between Schwartz and Tiemann's.


It's getting more and more interesting...


That's a good Sun employee.

I don't defend big corporations, and despise them for all sorts of deplorable things. But, I will say that Dell has contributed to the kernel community in a positive way.

They have a team that has implemented and supported a few features in the kernel: EDD - Extended Device Data for disks, some PCI Hotplug extensions and fixes, and some SCSI driver fixes. Probably some others, but that's what I get from a few minutes of looking through changelogs. What's more is that they have been good people to work with, and have always been cooperative with the rest of the kernel community.

This is not uncommon - while the executives of a company make rash decisions, sometimes at our expense as developers and users, the engineers align themselves with the rest of the community and do real work of a high standard. Suffice to say, they probably get a lot of flack internally and have to wage fierce political battles with the always-unknowing middle-managers and executives. I can safely say that about the people I know and work with from Dell, Redhat, IBM, Oracle, HP, and even Sun.

It's true that Dell has not donated much, if any, code to the Open Source Community. But, that's a good thing. Donated code is usually only a publicity stunt to assert a place on the Buzzword Bandwagon.

Name supplied

it is obvious you are a SUN patron. it is also obvious that you actually believe your rants actually constitute news. but i must ask: how do you live with the fact that 9 out of 10 readers think your rants are nothing more than cute rhetoric devoid of merit? seriously, you gotta try harder man. your opinionated "obviously british" approach is is too arrogant to make it past fringe wit. go have a slurpy.


Interesting take, Robert. Your statistics, however, are inaccurate. Only 2 out of 10 readers think my rants are nothing more than cute rhetoric devoid of merit. We've got the data to prove it. Also, I'm not a Brit. Can't stand them. When not claiming to be an Aussie, I claim to be a Texan.

What a load of crap - I thought the reg was a bit better than this and leave RMS out of this open source bollocks.

A McKinnon

An interesting take on the Redhat response. In fact the entire column seems to glance over the reality of what the bloggers actually said.

I don't understand the villification of RedHat in this instance, except for the fact that the Register has a giant SUN advertisement on the top of their web page. Other than that, your column makes no sense in regards to the POV.

RedHat was accurate in it's statements. He doesn't need to take med's. You do.

Either you are ignoring simple things like SUN funding SCO and getting a 1.2 Billion dollar Microsoft enima, or you are ignoring the past years waffling of Sun from aggressor to protector of OSS. I don't understand your column at all. Your take is novel though, I'll give you that. Statiscally, you can chalk this particular piece up to a statiscical term called an outlier.


John Heidingsfelder

Sorry, but you're WAY off base on this story.

You claim Tiemann somehow "loses" this blog war and is being "petty", but, if you really understood Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), you'd know that his points are spot on.

Sun can proclaim all they want about what they've already done, and they have released quite a bit of code, but, so long as they hold onto the proprietary model for things like Java, when the open model would plainly work better, they will continue to gain the ire of the community. The place where Tiemann is actually wrong is where he says it's "what you have done". In reality, it's more "who you are" -- and RH displays a true commitment to FOSS, while Sun does not, as evidenced by their decisions vis-a-vis Java, and so RH will ALWAYS retain more cred with the FOSS community as long as this is true.

You say that Sun will win because their officers are clever or because they make a lot more money than Red Hat. I'll type this slowly, so you can read it the same way and try to understand, since the message is apparently not sinking in with you:


Joe Fish

You're right! It's hard to imagine how Red Hat's CEO Matt Szulik will get by on just a couple hundred million.

Well done, very funny. You may even have redeemed yourself from those excruciating multiple-choice opinion polls with this one-- congratulations.

Chuck Swiger

Beautiful writing. One of the things I love best about el reg is it's writers ability to turn the most mundane material into a humorous read. Keep it up!

Robert Bolender

Er, thanks, I think.

Richard Stallman actively has nothing to do with Open Source, you insensitive clod. He's a Free (as in freedom) Software guy. And you call yourself a tech reporter... ***shakes head mounfully***

Alex L

This is a very poorly written article. Especially bad given the prominent Sun logo in the upper right hand corner of the page. It's bad starting with the slanted headline. It is also clear that you do not have any idea who michael tiemann is. Go do a little research before you write meaningless, obviously biased material like this.

you should be ashamed of yourself.

And go read the other articles on this topic by the real technology news outlets, who handled the story in a much more professional way. Perhaps you too could write like this one day.

Tough guy didn't give his name or a real e-mail address. Grrr.

Great article, up to the usual Register standard. Thanks, I learned a few things, which is why I read the Register. I enjoy the vigourous and opinionated style, soundly based in cited and checkable facts.

So why spoil it with a cheap dig at Stallman? Maybe I'm missing something, but could you kindly cite where Mr Stallman has "(made) claims that don't stand up"?

As far as I know (not *that* much, admittedly) Stallman has a habit of turning out to be right (that, and being derogatory about folks who are not so swift on the uptake). Take his collection of essays "Free Software, Free Society", for example. Care to point out where in that RMS makes the unsustainable claims that you claim?

I think we should be told!

All the best,

John Tucker

I just have to say I utterly disagree with you. I've been following Schwartz's blog and I have to say I lose respect for SUN with every word. While I don't support some of Red Hat's decisions or business practices, I think RH and Tiemann's position are more credible than Schwartz or SUN's.

A majority of the FOSS community thinks SUN is playing both sides of the fence. We believe SUN isn't serious about joining the community, but rather trying to craft devious ways of benefitting without giving back. Like not opening Java and not supporting OO.o from patent protection, nor backing the community in spirit and trying to bring the corporate BS to the party such as Schwartz's blog.

SUN is wrong. We don't like the commercial mudslinging that businesses are so use to slinging at each other. We see it for what it is, and Sun looks like they have mud on their faces.



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