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Daniel Robbins Resigns As Chief Gentoo Architect 361

Posted by timothy
from the bjorn-borg dept.
bdowne01 writes "Gentoo Linux has experienced rapid growth in the past year--much to the credit of Daniel Robbins, the founder and Chief Architect of the project. Earlier today, he announced his resignation from his role on the gentoo-nfp mailing list." Tester adds "But before leaving, he has set up a non-profit foundation that will own all of the copyrights to Gentoo. The initial board of trustees will be appointed by Daniel, but next year they will be elected. The membership of the foundation will be open." Reader burnitall points out a note on the Gentoo homepage reading "... We are extremely sad to see Daniel Robbins depart, and we both wish him the best in his new endeavors and promise that the door will always be open for his return." Robbins' message also indicates he hopes to continue working on the release engineering aspect of Gentoo.
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Daniel Robbins Resigns As Chief Gentoo Architect

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:40PM (#8978104)
    ... it's still compiling.
  • It's A Shame.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by lindec (771045) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:41PM (#8978116) Homepage
    To see Daniel go, but at the very least, the copyrights have been entrusted to a nonprofit foundation, which gives me at least some peace of mind.
    • Re:It's A Shame.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:55PM (#8978229)
      the copyrights have been entrusted to a nonprofit foundation

      Non-profits can be abused. Many non-profit charities pay their CEO's millions in salary and bonuses. I seem to remember the CEO of United Way getting paid something $25 million a while back. Non-profits can pretty much do anything they want with their money. Large paychecks, bonuses, wasteful spending, whatever... Anyway, just being non-profit does not make it a bastion of integrity.
      • Non-profits can pretty much do anything they want with their money. Large paychecks, bonuses, wasteful spending, whatever

        They can do whatever they want? I thought it was more like they were obligated to? They're not supposed to make a profit, so they have to spend whatever income they get somehow, right?
      • Re:It's A Shame.. (Score:2, Interesting)

        by EvanTaylor (532101)
        some of the ceos pull in so much money through being REALLY good salesmen that those salaries are worth it for the betterment of the fund.

        Some senators need to make a 100k dollars a day to be able to stay in the senate, think about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:42PM (#8978124)
    I can say that Tony Robbins will be sorely missed for his inspirational Linux self-help books.
  • A free distro?

    What?

    A free distro?

    Oh right, yeah. But beside that, what has he given us?

    Technical support?

    Oh yeah, that goes without saying...

    Infrastructure?

    Yeah, oh yeah it was much worse before...

    Ok ok, beside a free distro, technical support and infrastructure what has he given us? That's right, nothing...

    The copyrights to the distro?

    Oh shut up you! ;-)
    • :)

      The best damned linux forums out there for non-techies, half-techies, and anyone who uses Gentoo, or Linux, for that matter. Let's hope that the new arrangement can keep those forums operating.

      That said, isn't what they are keeping is essentially the trademark to the name? Gentoo can still be forked, if necessary, right? ( I don't think it will be necessary, but given the recent XFree mess, one never knows) - however, the great loss would be the forums.

      Yes, I run Gentoo - all my boxes do, and wi
  • D Robbins (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chevybowtie (96127) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:43PM (#8978133)
    Daniel Robbins day to day contributions will be missed. He has created the simplest way to manage a source based ditro to date. I hope his spirit will continue to influence the direction of the project.

    I have learned more about how Linux works in the last year with Gentoo than I had in the previous 3 trying RH, Debian and Suse.

    • Re:D Robbins (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RoadkillBunny (662203) <roadkillbunny@msn.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:17PM (#8978375)
      I have learned more about how Linux works in the last year with Gentoo than I had in the previous 3 trying RH, Debian and Suse.
      You aren't the only one. I really like the documents on the site. The installation handbook made it a breeze and setuping other apps was easy too from the documentation on their site.

      Final words, thanks Daniel Robibs for providing us with a advanced distro that is easy to use.
  • by klieber (124032) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:49PM (#8978184) Homepage
    Daniel was an important, driving force behind Gentoo and his absence will undoubtedly be felt on the team. That said, he has laid the groundwork for a Not-for-Profit organization, lead by a Board of Trustees that will continue to ensure that Gentoo Linux remains a vibrant, capable distribution.

    For those of you concerned about this change, I remind you that Gentoo is one of the few remaining community-based Linux distributions. We are as successful as our community makes us. Thus, the best thing you can do to ensure the future success of Gentoo is to participate in its development, whether it be through testing ebuilds, writing documentation, fixing bugs on bugzilla or any one of the thousands of myriad tasks that make up Gentoo Linux.

    I'm not sure what Daniel's plans are for the future, but I wish him the best in whatever he chooses to pursue.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:51PM (#8978203)
    "Gentoo Linux has experienced rapid growth in the past year--much to the credit of Daniel Robbins, the founder and Chief Architect of the project. Earlier today, he announced his resignation from his role on the gentoo-nfp mailing list.

    After 4 years of compilation and rapid disk usage growth, the build was 98% complete when the hard drive became full and the the build failed. Daniel Robbins was then struck by a wave of despair and tendered his resignation. Last we heard of him, he was in a house for the mentally disabled, installing, formatting then reinstalling Mandrake and Debian on a 486 box over and over again, banging his head on the wall, munbling incomprehensible things about "precompiled" this or that...
  • by Magickcat (768797) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:52PM (#8978208)
    Should one wear a "tux" to a Linux distro's funeral?
  • Gentoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by On Lawn (1073) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:54PM (#8978225) Journal

    Its well enough. It goes to show that talent is something you cannot fake, not even with a committee. When I saw Gentoo three things really stood out for me,

    1) It was a truely refreshing outlook on a distribution
    2) It is source based
    3) I was free from being unwitting pawn in the software binary release freedom debate

    When I ran and got to know Gentoo I saw genius was at work, the light nimble free-floating kind of genius unencumbered by committee. Much of that was DRobbins shining through (as shown by his technical writings of frontier Linux applications for IBM.)

    I will be sad to see him go, but to me it looked as if his inspiration was diluted by so many faces long ago. Don't get me wrong Gentoo is still my favorite and I run it exclusively at home. I think its gained much from Seemant and the others. But you just have to admire sometimes what individual talent can do on its own.
    • 1) It was a truely refreshing outlook on a distribution
      2) It is source based
      3) I was free from being unwitting pawn in the software binary release freedom debate


      Thank goodness FreeBSD began the ideas behind Portage. People have been using BSD's ports tree for years and years.

      I actually prefer Portage, though...would be nice if it was ported to BSD
  • by aeoo (568706) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:57PM (#8978235) Journal
    I think Daniel made a very wise decision. Gentoo is his child, and it looks like the child is reaching maturity and it's time for Gentoo to move out of the parents' house.
    • I think Daniel made a very wise decision. Gentoo is his child, and it looks like the child is reaching maturity and it's time for Gentoo to move out of the parents' house.

      Looks more like it's Daddy who's leaving the house in disgust. I guess Gentoo has entered its spotty teenager anarcho-punk years...
  • by craqboy (588418) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:58PM (#8978247)
    linucks root # emerge chief_architect
    Calculating dependencies
    emerge: there are no masked or unmasked ebuilds to satisfy "chief_architect".

    !!! Error calculating dependencies. Please correct.
    linucks root #

    • by green_crocadilian (717907) on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:38PM (#8978868)
      Hm...
      root# ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=~x86 USE="chief_architect" emerge 'sys-distro/gentoo'

      Here are the packages that I would emerge, in order:

      [ebuild R ] sys-distro/gentoo-linux-20040426 0 kB

      Total size of downloads: 0 kB

      root# ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=~x86 emerge -pl 'sys-distro/gentoo-linux'

      Here are the packages that I would emerge, in order:

      [ebuild R ] sys-distro/gentoo-linux-20040426

      *gentoo-linux-20040426

      26 Apr 2004; Daniel Robbins gentoo-linux-20040426.ebuild:
      dreadfully sorry
      chief_architect USE flag removed
      so long, suckers

      root#
  • Gentoo Copyrights (Score:5, Informative)

    by David Hume (200499) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:59PM (#8978250) Homepage

    From the article:
    But before leaving, he has set up a non-profit foundation that will own all of the copyrights to Gentoo.


    Copyright Assignment to Gentoo [gentoo.org]

    Gentoo Technologies Inc. Copyright Assignment Form [gentoo.org]

    Gentoo Documentation Issues [gentoo.org]

  • by bcore (705121)
    Out of curiosity, has drobbins given any explanation as to why he has made this decision? Too much work? Change in priorities? It's definitely sad to see him go... Gentoo forums [gentoo.org] don't seem to have an answer yet, and they're usually the first source of any gentoo news..

    On another note, is Gentoo ever gonna get it's own icon on /.? The time is now!
    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:39PM (#8978523)
      No details yet - but this [gmane.org]
      looks like it may well be part of the reason;
      specifically, he cannnot (and should not) have to shoulder the financial risk necessary to shift gentoo to its full Not For Profit status.

      Given that he has a young family to support, I for one can sympathise with his position.

      There's going to be an official announcement once the dust settles slightly, but this [gentoo.org]appears to be the live gentoo forum thread.

      Go easy on it, the forums are pretty heavily loaded at the best of times, and the last thing the place needs is a full blown slashdotting!
  • Purely Personal (Score:5, Informative)

    by metallikop (649953) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:22PM (#8978414)
    It seems like Daniel's reasons [gmane.org] for leaving were purely personal/family related. Not that I can blame him

    Here's a snippit:

    "OK. The purpose of this is to allow me to continue to support my family by doing things like pay for a house, pay for food, and potentially pay off some of the $20,000 in debt I accumulated during my tenure as Chief Architect of Gentoo, etc."
    • What about donations? Heck, the BitTorrent creator made some good money on donations alone. Why wouldn't the same thing work with Gentoo?
    • Didn't this guy set up a donation system such as a paypal account?

      I would imagine that many happy Gentoo users globally would put in the effort to pay off that debt in a few days.

  • 123 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    1) Open non-prophit distro 2) Compile 3) Compile 4) Compile 5) ??? 6) Compile
  • by ChaserPnk (183094) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:39PM (#8978520)
    This is from the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter:

    "While Daniel Robbins is busy converting Gentoo into a not-for-profit
    organisation on his side of the Atlantic, the German Gentoo developers
    have finalised all the necessary steps for registering an almost identical
    legal entity, called "eingetragener Verein" (registered association) under
    the German law. It'll take the commercial courts another four to six weeks
    to acknowledge the setup, but the association[11] is already operational,
    has opened a bank account, and started raking in bushels of money via
    their new online shop[12], whose main advantage over the Gentoo store[13]
    in the US lies in its comparatively low-cost deliveries to customers in
    Germany."
  • by Uggy (99326) on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:34PM (#8978846) Homepage
    I empathize. I started a Linux based company in late 1999. We got VC, hired people, tried to get the business going, expand it, realized that Linux was not going to peak any time soon in our geographical area, had to lay off people, went almost entirely broke... well, you know the deal. It's been over 4 years now, but we're still hanging in there, and now the Linux landscape is starting to look better, things are picking up, and who knows?

    I understand the dilemma of a new family and a lot of debt. Been there, done that. But I think we're just on the cusp of something grand. I hope Daniel doesn't get so far out that he can't come back and reap some of the rewards when this thing pays off. I know it will! Gentoo and Linux are just too great to write off. And I hope that once a lot of the bottom feeders (myself included) making a living off X free distro, start taking responsibility, and budget R&D funds, maybe then we'll see some joy. We at least are looking ahead to make it part of our budget, a percentage of each sale.

    Good luck, Daniel, hang in there.
  • by wintermute42 (710554) on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:35PM (#8978848) Homepage

    The story of Daniel Robbins and Gentoo Linux seems to me to be an example of software as art and Daniel as a starving artist. And yes, I realize that many other people were involved in the Gentoo project. But one of the leading forces behind Gentoo seems to be leaving because he can't afford to take part in the project anymore.

    The world does not owe artists, writers or software engineers working on open source/ Free Software a living. But what is interesting to me is that if, for the sake of argument, some commercial entity, like Red Hat, were to come along and start selling Gentoo at some point in the future, Daniel Robbins and the rest of the Gentoo developers would get as much as the Linux developers got from Red Hat going public (e.g., very little).

    If software engineering jobs were not moving overseas and our income was not under constant downward pressure this might not be such a big deal. There is a lot to be said for doing something you love. For many people money can't replace this. But when it gets to the point where you can't pay your bills or are unemplyed, survival becomes the important issue.

    Speaking for myself, the current state of our industry throws into question any open source project that can be picked up by slick marketeers and resold to end users. Since I'm not independently wealthy, why should I work for free? I have to wonder if Daniel Robbins is not asking himself similar questions as he looks at the state of his finances.

    For more on this see my essay Freedom Can be Slavery [bearcave.com]

  • by Stonent1 (594886)
    emerge sync && emerge --unmerge drobbins
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:39PM (#8978875)


    You can take your personal criticisms of Dan and politely ram them up your ass.

    Let me make something clear here. I don't know Dan. Never met him, never talked with him. What I do know, however, is that he fits a mold i've seen over and over again in the past 10 years. There's a certain spirit of selflessness and altruism that underpins pretty much everything "major" going on in the Linux community. People like Dan give hours upon hours of their time, building, creating, fixing, and helping people they can't even see, and know they will never meet. They do it because it's fun, and they do it because it makes them feel good to know they're helping someone else. That's all there is to it.

    Just incase you weren't in school the day they taught this, here's basically how it works: Criticizing the character or works of someone who shows charity, thoughtfulness, and selflessness makes you a royal fucking asshole. Infact, ANY form of criticism of people like Dan aught to be promptly rejected, returned, then rammed tightly up the ass of it's issuer.

    You, the beneficiary of the hard work of people like Daniel Robbins and the Gentoo development community, have absolutely no right to complain, question, or laugh at any decision he happens to make in regard to his own life. Looking back at the Linux community landscape over the past 5 years, we can see what happened to people who continually gave blindly, and asked for essentially nothing in return. Dan's decision to pull back from the front lines is one of the smartest moves he could possibly make at this point of the game. Criticisms about software are one thing. Commentary on someone's financial status are something entirely different, and something you have no fucking right to criticize..Especially from someone who did nothing but give you shit for free.

    And even if that weren't the case here....that he's turning the reins over for a totally different reason...WTF have you done that gives you the right to criticize him, or anyone who in his position?

    Cheers,
    Bowie J. Poag

  • $20,000 in debt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joeljkp (254783) <joeljkparker@LIONgmail.com minus cat> on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:41PM (#8978885)
    From this post [gmane.org], it looks like Daniel built up quite a hefty debt working on Gentoo.

    How 'bout some support? Visit the Gentoo homepage [gentoo.org] and click the donation button in the upper left corner.

    The man's got to feed his family after all.
    • Re:$20,000 in debt (Score:2, Informative)

      by MightyMike (625179)
      as stated in the gentoo forums, the money doesnt go directly to him...
    • Re:$20,000 in debt (Score:3, Informative)

      by sracer9 (126645)
      Actually, if you want to help Daniel, buy a T-Shirt, CD or something. It appears that the donations just go to the NFP. Not that that's bad mind you, just ineffective for Daniel.
    • How 'bout some support? Visit the Gentoo homepage and click the donation button in the upper left corner.

      Forget the $5 paypal thing... Given the opportunity, I'd give this man a job in a heartbeat. Considering the caliber of talent, I would have no qualms going all the way to the CEO to snag him. I suspect there are many more thinking the same thing!
  • Isn't Gentoo all GPL and or OSS with compatible liscences?
    • by VValdo (10446) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:53PM (#8979390)
      Stuff that is released under the GPL is still copyrighted. If it weren't, authors wouldn't be able to license it under the GPL or any other license. The whole point of the GPL is to say "you can license this copyrighted code, but under these conditions..." (where "these conditions" include an agreement to license any distributed contributions to the code under the GPL too)

      That said, other non-GPL'd stuff regarding Gentoo might also be copyrighted. Like original documentation or scripts, configuration program, help files, etc..

      W
  • I wish to thank Daniel Robbins for all his hard work and creativeness. Gentoo Linux is really a gem and I'm glad I tried it. I'm totally sold on this fine piece of work that makes my everyday maintenance tasks on my Linux box a breeze.

    I hope your next opportunity or idea is as well received.
    Thank you again!
  • I installed Gentoo for the first time this weekend. It has an issue with my hardware (NIC drops net connection sometimes) but other than that they were by far the most enjoyable hours that I spent using Linux since 1999 when I first gave Red Hat a try.

    I used to be a just-get-RPMs-that-work guy, and hadn't even compiled a kernel until 2 days ago. Now I enjoy every bit of each kernel compilation and emerge. I think I've learnt more about Linux in the past 2 days than I did the 4 years before.

    The communit
    • I WANTED to like linux since I started using it in 1998, with Debian. I always dual-booted with Windows though, no matter what distro I used because Debian, Redhat, and Mandrake would always be just short of what I wanted, they were either too bloaty or too cryptic.

      The Gentoo install system taught me more about *NIX in the course of a few days than three years of other distros did. I fell in love instantly.
      It didn't hurt that I could FINALLY build binaries tuned for my CPU, while other distros were much mo
  • A different spin (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sangui5 (12317) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:42PM (#8979846)

    While he certainly was the driving force behind Gentoo, it wasn't all good.

    To put it bluntly, Mr. Robbins is an utter PITA to work with. Many of the same things that have been said about Theo de Raadt (true or not) could be said about drobbins. This has alread caused a fork [zynot.org] in Gentoo. My very limited exposure to dealing with Mr. Robbins left me with such a bad taste in my mouth I just decided to drop it rather than put up with it.

    Gentoo is a wonderful distribution, which I still use. But like several other open source projects (*cough*xfree86*cough*thebsds*cough*), those running the project were operating disconnected from their user/developer base. It isn't that central control is bad (Linus keeps control of final say) but that a central control that doesn't play nice with others is going to spell trouble.

    I hope that Gentoo will end up better for it.

    • by shadowbearer (554144) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:43AM (#8980297) Homepage Journal
      Those who are running the project are often "disconnected" because they get loaded down with so many responsibilities that are not directly connected with the users/developers that they cannot respond directly anymore.

      IMO, Theo's biggest failure is in NOT disconnecting himself with the day to day details. I don't know if it explains his attitude, but it certainly may contribute to it.

      IFO suspect that Daniel is leaving the project because it's become such a burden to him that he no longer can spend any time doing anything else. Now, if he'd quit during the early days, a couple years ago, yeah, I'd have a beef with that. But he stuck it out, and now he's turning it over to other people whom he trusts so he can go on to things that are just as important (or maybe more so) to him.

      Perhaps he's a PITA to deal with, for you, because you don't realize that he's overloaded. I'm not in his position, but I am in one that is similar (if perpendicular) and I can understand quite well why he's done this.

      No offense, but there's a limit to how much one can take before you want to say "fuck this, there's other things I want to do". I reached my limit in that respect several times in the last 18 years in various jobs. Can you say the same?

      I'm older than Daniel, I don't have a family, but I've been in that situation enough that I understand why he's doing this. The lesson that Theo hasn't learned is that when you start burning out you should walk away and hand the reins to people you trust, rather than sticking it out and pissing people off.

      Sorry for the rant, and maybe I'm wrong but ....it had to be said.

      SB

      • Re:A different spin (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Sangui5 (12317)

        First, I am not commenting on the Why of drobbins' departure. I saw many posts complementing Mr. Robbins on his work (complements which he does deserve), and making statements to the effect of "this will be bad for gentoo". I felt the need to respond to the second half of these posts.

        By disconnected, I don't mean unresponsive to day-to-day issues. Two examples of disconnect that come most readily to mind are the xfree86 license snafu and the legendary tightness by which core *BSD source trees are cont

    • This has alread caused a fork in Gentoo.
      ...(*cough*xfree86*cough*thebsds*cough*)

      Well, and what became of the zynot fork?

      Theo de Raadt could fork NetBSD, and more recently Keith Packard and friends could fork XFree86 and Matt Dillon could fork FreeBSD, because these people are developing the system itself and have really innovative ideas on how to do it. A linux distro is basically a collection of other people's software, and the scope for innovation is limited. Gentoo has some genuine innovation in it

      • by Sangui5 (12317)

        but I don't see what role zynot can fill in the linux landscape.

        If it does nothing else, it consumes resources that would have otherwise been used by Gentoo. Forks can be a good thing, but they can also be a bad thing. The OpenBSD fork ended up being a good thing--OpenBSD fills an entirely different role from NetBSD. The GCC/EGCS fork also ended up being good--the new totally replaced the old.

        In a way, I agree with you--the Zynot fork probably is hurting more than helping. There was a window of time

  • D Robbins (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dcstimm (556797) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:33AM (#8980977) Homepage
    Man I am going to miss him, I first learned about D Robbins when he was writing for IBM, and he really had some great ideas on how linux should function. He then surprised me by building one of the best distros I have ever used. He has even gone as far as helping me personally in the irc chat rooms, and I even helped him once with a DECSS issue he was having with xine and dvdnav. I truly think he was a great person, I have even donated to gentoo linux just because I wanted to help D Robbins idea grow and for him to find gentoo worthwhile. I am sad to see him go and he will be well missed, but Im sure we will see him in the #gentoo-dev forums when he is bored. :-) I love you drobbins!

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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