water cooler :: A year with puppy article

I found this to be an interesting article: http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20070625#feature

Puppy Linux was one of the distros I looked at several years ago when I wanted something that would run on my 75mhz pentium machine.  I really don't remember why I picked DSL over Puppy but I did.  I know there are a lot of people who use Puppy and I hope they're not all having a bad experience.

Interesting, but it really comes across as sour grapes. I'm not a fan of Puppy (see other threads) for a lot of reasons, but I have  to come to their defense on one point.

The point about licensing is grossly inaccurate and quite unfair. Barry Kauler has trademarked the name of the distro and several other names under which it could be called. That's not "proprietary" in and of itself; I haven't checked the conditions Barry or anyone else working on Puppy has set on licensing their own code, but that's a separate issue from whether Puppy can be remastered (it can) or used as a basis for another distro (it can). You just can't make changes to his work and call it by the same name or a similar name -- there has to be significant differentiation if it's to be maintained as a separate project. To redistribute something that's either a minor (with respect to changes) remaster or markedly different from "Puppy" only requires Barry's terms of acknowledging him and linking to Puppy's main site. Those aren't onerous terms or even unique to Puppy.

This is no different from derivatives of other distros. Some are more tolerant of derivatives, like Klaus Knopper (Knoppix), some are putting feet down on how people use trademarked names in what are merely rebranded remasters. For example, Canonical (Ubuntu's corporate parent) recently clarified how their name can and can't be used in "remix" names.

It does read to me as a little odd.

It is possible for some people to become a little overinvolved emotionally in any forum, and the author more or less admitted to being sensitive to that.  It's best to limit one's emotional investment in any one forum.

My experience of the Puppy forums is relatively limited (I mean John Murga's forum). But  I'd have to say my evaluation of the health and attitude of the community there has been very positive indeed.

Barry did clarify in a post not that long ago that anyone was free to do whatever with Puppy and distribute it, provided they did not call it "Puppy".  Though  he was more vague about the copyright on his scripts, which presumably mean his permission is needed.  But as there are already a zillion Puppy derivatives being distributed, I think it would be hard for him to justify saying no.  His engagement with the communtiy seems to be very open and he encourages contributions, bug fixes etc.   If anything, Puppy variants seem to be encouraged, what with the Puppy Unleashed system and the various remaster scripts.  There's a kind of natural selection process and the best features of these sometimes end up getting incorporated into Puppy.  An example of this wasone of the popular variants (they call them Puplets), whose developer recently announced he wouldn't need to make any more since his key features had been incorporated into Puppy proper.

In other words, using the community in this way is quite a smart development model in some ways and leverages on different community member's desires to produce and test their own customizations. It's also lined up a number of people ready to take the reins from Barry when he winds down his involvement, at which point Puppy will become a comunity project.   The "CE" releases are already community driven and produced.

original here.