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  Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor  

PNAELV - What is that?

  Well, a PNAELV is a Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor.

The CentOS rebuild project is a community of volunteers who assemble the Source RPMs from another PNAELV and remove all trademarks, etc., to avoid confusion.

The CentOS volunteers also add some functionality to use the yum package updater tool instead of one which that other PNAELV has NOT (nor are they obligated to) released a complete specification or source code implementation. That other PNAELV calls their product and service up2date and RHN, which they charge for on a time-interval and per-host subscription model. Pricey.

The CentOS volunteers then compile the SRPMS, and solve build issues, such as a proper and complete build environment. They add back in missing developmental libraries which that other PNAELV omitted. The CentOS volunteers validate their builds using comparison tools. They sign the binaries with a proper GPG key, to permit safe distribution though the insecure Internet. The CentOS volunteers run the largest of the rebuild project's global-wide mirror systems; they track security and feature enhancements and promptly issue appropriate updates and advisories. The CentOS volunteers maintain websites, mailing lists, a bugzilla issues tracker for themselves and another rebuild effort, and populate several IRC channels 24x7 for no charge level I ad hoc support. They participate in the FOSS community. Freely.

And some of the CentOS volunteers also make a business selling higher support and consulting services, too. Which is part of the point of FOSS, under the GPL, the BSD, or whatever license. See, e.g., Owl River Company (Columbus, OH), n + 1, Inc. (Louisville, KY), (UK).

That other PNAELV also drinks from the wellspring of FOSS (a large majority of the packages that other PNAELV ships were created, and are primarily maintained by others who receive no compensation from that PNAELV); that PNAELV contributes back when it suits their commercial interest and business model. But in the shift from early days to their new corporate model, and the responsibilities, some of the other PNAELV's 'soul' and sensitivity to appearances seem to have been ... lost.

Who in their right mind would assert that linking to a public website is a forbidden act? Who would permit their lawyer to say this?

[ Link Farm ]; Linked in slashdot news summary body - 2 March 2005
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