January 30, 2003

An open letter to Michael Robertson and the Lindows Corporation

Jeff Gerhardt writes "With the continued onslaught of almost daily news of some participant of the Desktop Linux Summit (http://www.desktoplinuxsummit.org/main/) dropping out of the event, I feel obligated to ask Lindows CEO to make a gesture at making peace with the rest of the Linux community."As advocates for the greater Linux Community we formally request that the name of your event be changed to the "Lindows Partner Summit" or some other name that conveys the true nature of the event. Doing so would be putting a salve on a very sore wound. We formally asking you to make peace, and play nice.

No one objects to Lindows being a successful company and making a profit. What community members object to is Lindows lack of follow through on assurances of egalitarian control of the event and changes to the conference schedule of the event, including the addition of keynote speaker Bruce Perens.

With the vendors on an apparent dead run to bail from your event, you have to take ownership of the fact that you have offended a great number of people in this community. Sadly, based upon the experiences I have had with your firm, this seems to be a historical behavior endemic across Lindows.

We understand your desire to run a successful event that benefits your company. But, when you say one thing and do another, you are taking the role of competitor and not a community member. So, please do not tell us that you are NOT competing with other Linux vendors and only compete against Microsoft. That is just not true. Your actions have cast your company into the role of a competitor, and based upon your behavior associated with this event, you are attempting to do so on an unfair and un-level playing field rigged in the favor of Lindows.

Just like a few years ago when the community was unhappy with Red Hat when they strayed a tad and created a "Red Hat is not Linux" backlash; you too are now suffering from your lack of understanding of how we in the Linux community observe the spirit of the GPL, not just the letter of the law. Being in this community implies that you understand how we behave toward one another. You do not seem to understand this. You learned everything you need to participate in this community by the time you were 5 or 6 years old, you need to behave in a SIMPLE HONEST manner. It ain't rocket science.

There is NO FAULT and NO OBJECTION to Lindows running events that caste 99% of the spotlight on Lindows, as long as you tell the truth about the event. It should be called a Lindows event from the start. Virtually every Linux and Open Source development company has conferences that are specific to their own little community/partners and focus. SCO has "GeoForum", Jabber has "JabberCon", Sun has "IForce" events, Red hat and Oracle do their "IDevelop" thing, SuSE has been doing the "United Linux" conferences in conjunction with other events, and so on........

What your company did in conjunction with this event was less than truthful. Our friends in the UK would say that you sold the other vendors "a ex-parrot." It is time for you to make peace.

Jeff Gerhardt
The Linux Show"


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