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News flash: Sky NOT falling

June 8, 2012 9 comments

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this issue because it was really is not the huge, Chicken Little-esque matter some people — some people I once held in high esteem — are making it out to be. I’ve commented on this on social media outlets and in e-mail exchanges, and frankly I’m a little surprised at how this infinitessimally innocuous development has caused some in our happy little FOSS circle to become Harold Camping.

Actually, I’m going to let Brian Proffitt drive here, since he explains the whole Fedora/UEFI issue pretty well. In his blog, Brian points out that it is hardly an ideal situation, but it’s a trade-off. Not a very palatable one, but nonetheless a trade-off.

In fact, we can summarize Brian’s blog in a few words: The situation sucks. He’s absolutely right. But it is what it is, and it’s the most immediate of several upcoming ways around the UEFI lockdown for those who buy new machines and want to dual-boot (of course, the real solution here is not to buy UEFI-based hardware in the first place, opting for a Linux-based provider like ZaReason, but I digress).

Contrast that blog post with a hyperbolic rant on LXer.com, where the writer takes a corpo-babble press release from Red Hat writtin on behalf of Tim Burke and focuses in, laser-like, on probably the biggest non-sequitur wrapping up the missive.

Are you kidding me?

For the benefit of those who might need a team of proctologists to find their heads, let’s recap, shall we? No one does more for Linux and FOSS across the board — developing software and pushing it upstream, for starters — than Red Hat and Fedora. They do it pretty much thanklessly and while much of their efforts have made Red Hat a billion-dollar entity, they give back substantially to the FOSS community. Essentially calling Microsoft’s bluff on UEFI with this particular action is not capitulation, it’s just yet another thing Fedora and Red Hat are currently doing in order for people to be able to use UEFI-based hardware going forward.

[Which, of course, brings up a laughable e-mail exchange where someone wrote to me, in effect, "If Canonical did this, you'd be all over them." Actually, I wouldn't. First, if Canonical ever tore itself away from admiring itself in its own corporate mirror to do something to contribute back to Linux/FOSS in a substantial way, I'd probably die from the shock. Assuming I survive the shock, I'd give them credit for it once I regained consciousness.]

So while no one has said this yet, I will: Thank you, Fedora and additional thanks to Matthew Garrett, who has pretty much on top of this from the outset.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Categories: Brian Proffitt, Fedora, Red Hat
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