Found a link to an article in LinuxWorld about Bruce Perens’ newest brainchild, UserLinux. In his white paper, Bruce makes a pretty convicing case for a new structure in the Linux business world being built almost entirely around the service model. In short, his plan would call for a central non-profit center funded by a consortium of “companies that are in the buiness of providing service and engineering for the UserLinux distribution”. His proposal also includes basing this new distro on Debian because of it’s already immense (12884) number of official packages, the apt package management system and it’s rapidly maturing enterprise features.
This seems to be one of the better ideas I’ve seen in a while for the continued evolution of Linux and OSS in general, tho I do see a potentially large pothole. What happens when one of the big commercial partners decides to take their ball and go home for whatever reason, and what mechanism would be in place to insure equality in the services provided by the non-profit to it’s contributing members? For instance, if a Novell (contributing say $200,000) per year decides it wants to take UnitedLinux in a particular direction and threatens to reduce or even remove it’s financial support.
On the other hand, the resulting central yet open framework for development could provide some of the best advances in software (features, stability and security) seen to date. I think with some very careful planning in it’s infancy, this concept has a lot of great potential and is quite revolutionary in it’s view.