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Re: [Fedora-packaging] Re: supporting closed source operating systems?

On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 02:06:50AM +0300, Axel Thimm wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 09, 2008 at 11:51:51PM +0100, Richard Jones wrote:
> > On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 12:57:57AM +0300, Axel Thimm wrote:
> > > But we're beyond the age of this kind of symbiosis, Linux (or
> > > GNU/Linux ...) and Fedora in particular doesn't need this anymore.
> > 
> > The actual reality, real stuff in the real world, is that 90%+ of
> > users of desktop computer systems run Windows, another 5%+ are running
> > Mac OS X, and almost nobody (perhaps 10, 100 people in the whole
> > world?) are running a completely free operating system (inc.  BIOS
> > etc).
> No one denies that, but don't we want to keep the fruits of F/LOSS to
> encourage more F/LOSS usage? Hijacking F/LOSS solutions back to closed
> source will not change the percentages above, on the contrary, you
> remove some of the good reasons to go Linux.

On the contrary - we are providing a viable migration path to Linux which
does not currently exist, due to combined vendor lockin of VMWare & Windows.
You can't switch one without the other & that's not something that it 
viable for people to do.

Our motivation here is not to hijack or sabotage Fedora or F/LOSS, but
to promote its use and expand the userbase of Fedora.

Fedora provides an excellant platform for hosting virtual machines either
with Xen or KVM. The libvirt API provides a vendor-independant managment
API which helps users avoid vendor lockin to both the hypervisor, and
their management tools that you see when using VMWare & other commercial
virtalization projects.

Fedora has been leading the entire open source distro field in its
virtualization capabilities since Fedora Core 6, and feeds into many
other distros - RHEL or course, but also Ubuntu , SUSE and Solaris
are following our lead in management tools.

The main competition is obviously VMWare and they have been dominant
in all areas for years - every company which has a virtualization
management product/application supports VMWare. We've slowly been
trying to get these people to support libvirt, so that they can easily
manage virtual machines hosted on Fedora. The sad reality is that
most commercial management products use Windows as their base and
so unless we can provide libvirt for Windows they'll not use it and
thus not have any support for managing Fedora hosts, and just stick
with VMWare.

Having people ignore Fedora as a virtualization platform in favour
of VMWare is not what anyone wants. Hence we want to provide the
cross compiler toolchain in Fedora, so that we can build libvirt
client & client tools for Windows.

This will allow people with Windows desktops & management tools
to make use of Fedora virtualization. This will increase the userbase
of Fedora, and Linux based virtualization platforms. It will also
fully establish libvirt as the primary cross-platform, vendor neutral
management API for virtualzation. This is a huge step for F/LOSS over
the total dominence of VMWare in this area.

I can see further use cases where providing a MinGW toolchain will
benefit Fedora and F/LOSS. The FreeIPA project is providing state
of the art authentication & directory services based on F/LOSS in
Fedora, to rival the dominence of propriety ActiveDirectory services.
This is already a huge step forward in a homogeneous environment
of Linux servers and Linux desktops. Unless they can also support
Windows desktops as clients though, it will forever be a niche player
in the authentication/directory services arena. This is not good
for F/LOSS or Fedora. A MinGW toolchain will facilitate the support
of Windows clients and directly benefit the uptake of Fedora and
F/LOSS in this area.

The current situation where people have to use VMWare for virt if they
use Windows on the desktop does not provide an easy migration path to
Fedora, because they have to replace both their management infrastructure 
and their desktop infrastructure at the same time. By providing a libvirt
client enabled for Windows, we provide a viable migration path from a 
Windows world to a Fedora world. They can start off using Fedora for 
hosting their virtual machines, and as they discover the benefits of 
Fedora & F/LOSS they're more likely to also switch their desktop to Fedora.

So far from hijacking / sabotaging Fedora's principles, we're re-inforcing
the value of Fedora and what it stands for and introducing it to a group 
of user who have never had any option to use it in the past.

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