Is opensource.com built on open source? | Opensource.com

Is opensource.com built on open source?

Posted 21 Jan 2010 by 

Jason Hibbets (Red Hat)
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You bet it is. As we began our quest to build this community site, our first requirement was that it should be a as open source as possible. We went beyond "as possible" and built a site that is completely open source, from the operating system to the social publishing system.

As you'll see from our colophon, opensource.com is hosted in the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2). From there, the stack includes the Red Hat© Enterprise Linux© operating system, an Apache web server, and a MySQL database.

The social publishing system, or some might call it a content management system (CMS), is Acquia Drupal. Word on the street is that Acquia is to Drupal what Red Hat is to Linux.

Now you know. Enough about site being open source. It should be apparent that this site is about the future of open source and how it impacts our day to day lives. It's about more than the technology. It's about the open source way and how that empowers people to accomplish things beyond their imaginations. In fact, some of you might be doing these things already, but you might not call it open source. No worries.

What do you want opensource.com to be? We want you to help drive the future of the site. If you're an expert in Drupal, maybe you suggest some modules to encourage more participation. Maybe you're an expert in education or law? Write an article for the site. Tell your open source story.

The possibilites are here. On opensource.com. Where open source multiplies and amplifies it's effects on the world.

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10 Comments

Alexandre Oliva

Last I looked, Red Hat Enterprise [GNU/]Linux was neither Free Software nor Open Source Software. The most obvious reason is that its kernel, Linux, is not Free Software (or Open Source Software), because a number of pieces of it don't comply with the Free Software Definition, or with the Open Source Definition. The pieces that don't, called blobs, are not FLOSS no matter how you twist the definitions; you might as well respect the principles you try to promote on this site, rather than spread lies from those who only pretend to abide by them. If you want to claim it runs completely on Open Source software, you might as well use an Open Source kernel, and host it on a service provider that won't prevent you from using it. And you'd be telling people to follow you on identi.ca, rather than on the non-Free and Closed-Source Twitter.

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suehle
Open Sourcerer

You can find the link to Identi.ca at the bottom of the page with the other social networking sites. But we'd be remiss to completely neglect the massive open source discussion happening on Twitter.

http://identi.ca/opensourceway

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martinboz
Newbie

As someone who switched to Identi.ca and uses a third-party open source platform for my microblogging, I think it should be placed as prominently as Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network you want to communicate on. The best way to live up to the values you espouse (besides putting them into practice) is promoting them whenever possible.

With that said, the more people you can get to make the switch from Twitter to Identi.ca (or other alternatives), the better, so if that means engaging them on more mainstream platforms, go for it. As I told Bradley Kuhn last year, if everyone who switches to Identi.ca or other platforms doesn't talk back to the people who stay on non-free platforms, the OS movement will never grow and thrive.

Awesome site, by the way. I'm exploring it in depth.

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tcolindodd
Open Source Champion

Could you elaborate on blobs, with links for readers who are not familiar with what you are talking about?

And we are definitely asking people to follow us on identi.ca.

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tcolindodd
Open Source Champion

Referring to the post above, from Wikipedia:

"In open source culture, binary blob is a pejorative term for an object file loaded into the kernel of a free or open source operating system without publicly available source code. The term is not usually applied to code running outside the kernel, for example BIOS code, firmware images, or userland programs."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_blob

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Alexandre Oliva

@Colin Dodd
In http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/ I wrote:
Linux, the kernel developed and distributed by Linus Torvalds et al, contains non-Free Software, i.e., software that does not respect your essential freedoms, and it induces you to install additional non-Free Software that it doesn't contain.

Linux-libre is a project to maintain and publish 100% Free distributions of Linux, suitable for use in Free System Distributions, removing software that is included without source code, with obfuscated or obscured source code, under non-Free Software licenses, that do not permit you to change the software so that it does what you wish, and that induces or requires you to install additional pieces of non-Free Software.

Now, I should probably restate (or clarify, if it wasn't clear) that my qualm is not so much with the fact that opensource.com doesn't run on 100% Free (or Open Source as it would have it) Software, but rather with the false claim that it does. The posting says “runs Red Hat Enterprise [GNU/]Linux”, and “we went beyond “as possible”, and build a site that is completely open source, from the operating system to the social publishing system”. Well, as much as Red Hat would like to ship an Open Source operating system, it won't for at least as long as it ships a kernel that isn't. For those who don't believe me, just look for the source code of any of the blobs that are wiped out by Linux-libre, and the look at the second bullet of the Open Source Definition and see whether there's any exception for blobs in the kernel there. Also look at their licenses, while at that, and see whether they pemit derived works (#3 in the definition). Heck, there is at least one license that doesn't even comply with #1, prohibiting the distribution along with another blob *also* included in Linux. And none of this even touches the issue of whether such combinations amount to violation of the GNU GPLv2 under which Linux is allegedly distributed, because the issue is not the legality, it's the false claim in this post. Going beyond “as possible” would presumably amount to running a deblobbed kernel.

@Ruth Suehle
The issue is not ignoring the discussion that happens on twitter, it's the active and strong promotion thereof, with a significant portion of the screen real state devoted to “opensource.com on twitter”, whereas the promotion of a Free (and Open Source) equivalent service is limited to a small icon at the bottom of the page, where twitter is *again* promoted. It's a matter of attitude. A self-consistent attitude about freedom and opensourceness would amount to inviting people to follow you *from* twitter *to* identi.ca. Instead, the site promotes twitter first and foremost, so as to bring even more victims to this non-Free and Closed-Source service.

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Risar

What exactly is "Linux-libre", and is it "open source" using the same definition that is being thrown around in the above posts.

Open Source Definition (OSI):
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

Linux-libre references blag, which states:
"works to overthrow corporate control of information and technology ..."

Sounds discriminatory to me. At least in the wishy-washy "vendor firmware makes everything non-free" sense of things. The reality is that Red Hat has done more to help Opensource than any group or company to date. Period. The only people who could even attempt to claim the mantle otherwise are Stallman and Linus.

Stamping your feet and acting like a loon going off and kicking people (and companies) unjustly only serves the purpose of making the enemy look good. (Unless of course your posting things just as damning on Microsoft, VMware and Oracle's sites ?) Rather than ragging on some minor BS like this how about you realize that most people live in reality not utopia and because of that compromise is required.

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RuiSeabra

It seems, to me, that «In Red Hat We Trust» but then we see a claim for which there is plenty documented evidence that it is false.

Now, I professionally (and personally too) place a whole lot of trust in Red Hat. In fact, apart from 100% Free Software GNU/Linux distributions, Red Hat's probably the best non-100%, meaning that it is by far the closest you can get without being 100%.

But it is also true that the statement is extremely bold. "Beyond" could mean something like 101% (think 1% for BIOS, for instance). In this regard, it is a false claim.

I would very gladly aplaud Red Hat to go the extra mile on this, it probably doesn't even need the blobs from Linux to run on this system.

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tcolindodd
Open Source Champion

This is helpful for less technical members of our community.

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

A case study from our partners at Palantir and Acquia on the functionality of the site can be found on George DeMet's blogs.

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Jason Hibbets is a project manager in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is the lead administrator, content curator, and community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of, The foundation for an open source city. Prior roles include senior marketing specialist, Red Hat Knowledgebase maintainer, and support engineer. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets

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