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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-06-03 Print this article Print

He said that while all the details have not yet been worked out, he expects the election of the board to be an open process initially. The Foundation will pull in key people in the open-source community "who we think will approach the task with a degree of fairness and seriousness that we hope the Foundation will continue to have," he said. Webbink also admitted that there had been some dissatisfaction about Red Hats control of the project and said the move might make the company feel more confident that its contributions would be better used and become more widely available.
But the formation of the Fedora Foundation was not a token gesture, he stressed. While Red Hat is a publicly traded company and can not just respond to whatever the open-source community wants it to do, he said, "we are not negating our roots and this takes us back to that community. We dont take this lightly. Community is a fundamental part of our DNA and they are vitally important to us."
Asked if there was any Fedora technology or patented technology that would not be available to the community, Webbink said there was not at this point, but "as we go forward, non-technology-related things like business method patents we register will not be available to the community." The Fedora Directory server also has an exception under the GPL that allows proprietary plug-ins, he said. But not everyone is convinced. A developer at the Summit, who asked not to be named, told eWEEK he was concerned that the Fedora Foundation could end up like Suns Java Community Process, with Red Hat remaining firmly in control. Some members of the open-source community say the Sun-led JCP actually stifles competition in some ways. Click here to read more. Stacey Quandt, an analyst for the Robert Frances Group who was also attending the Summit, said that community participation in Fedora was still evolving. She also questioned whether the move was a genuine attempt by Red Hat to try to convince more developers to get involved in the Fedora community, or if it was a ruse to grow the market for Red Hat Linux. But Red Hat CEO Matt Szulik told eWEEK that the move strengthened Red Hats commitment to Fedora. "Every single engineer in the company works on Fedora," he said. He added that this would "absolutely continue going forward. Its the DNA of the company." Szulik said there were some structural reasons to hand Fedora over to the Foundation, but "we have always placed our intellectual property out to the public under the GPL license. "This move brings a sense of orderliness and highlights the strategic importance of our relationship with the open-source community. It also brings global coherence and we want to make sure that we dispel, by better association, the notion that Fedora isnt strategic or that Red Hat is not committed to it," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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