-By Grant Gross -
The founder of the high-profile Xbox Linux Project has left the group over concerns about the direction of the project and disagreements with the anonymous donor who's contributed $200,000 to port Linux to the Microsoft gaming device.
Enrico Kern, whose development team H Zero Seven founded the project in August 2001, says he disagrees with some of the decisions made by current project leader Michael Steil. Kern says Steil made decisions without consulting the rest of the group and discounted Kern's work to publicize the project.
Kern also says he has concerns about the anonymous donor's record in the Open Source community, including license missteps and source publication delays, issues several companies entering the Open Source market have struggled with. Kern says he can't say more without giving away the identify of the donor.
The influx of money has taken away the "fun and art" of the project, Kern adds. "I founded the Xbox-Linux project after I read a article from a Microsoft
employee about using the upcoming Xbox as a Web server," he says.
"I thought it would be funny [to port it to Linux]. Fun and skill enhancement stands for me in the foreground. After the press release that we had a donor willing donate $200,000 USD, many, many people were coming to the project, some very good developers and some guys only willed to work for the money. I would rather die than publish my free code in mind for the profit of big commercial companies."
Kern says the project will go on just fine without him. He says Steil and other core members of the project are "great developers" and the project is in the right hands with Steil as its leader. He hopes he can sit down and share a beer with the group at Linux events in Europe.
Steil says Kern won't be missed. "He was not important. This sounds hard and mean, but it's just the truth." Steil says Kern registered the original .org domain for the project in 2001, but many developers did more work on the project than Kern did.
" I hope you don't understand this all as a war between the Xbox Linux maintainers," Steil says. "Imagine, we had just clicked the 'admin' checkbox on Sourceforge once too often by mistake? If we take the checked box away, it doesn't mean there is a problem with the person!"
Kern answers that he did a lot of non-programming work for the project, including publicity, writing documentation, and finding sponsors to donate bandwidth.
Kern says he hasn't left the Open Source community. He's currently working on the installation GUI of the InceptionOS Linux distribution.