Kubuntu's Riddell Out for Not Playing Nice with Others

by Ostatic Staff - May. 29, 2015

Seems a feud has been brewing behinds the scenes of two of the most popular distributions today. That feud, over Canonical's intellectual property policy, ended with the ouster of Kubuntu project leader Jonathan Riddell. There has been enough noise to prompt Canonical into posting a statement saying Riddell was removed for being disrespectful, becoming increasingly difficult to deal with, and for not assuming the best intentions from Canonical.

In May 2013 Canonical posted their intellectual policy basically saying that anything included in their distribution was theirs and couldn't be redistributed despite the underlying Open Source license. That ruffled a lot of feathers at the time and several developers never forgot. Some have been trying to get a clarification from Canonical before threatening legal or other action, but some feel Canonical is stalling. No one more than Jonathan Riddell felt the frustration from the glacial pace of Canonical's legal answer. He continued to question the Canonical Council on IP and is now no longer recognized by Canonical. The Kubuntu community who chose Riddell continues to back him and recently reaffirmed their decision. Shuttleworth wrote that Riddell's refusal to step down nor the community re-vote has any bearing on the decision.

#ISupportJonathan Banner as posted on KFN

Canonical spokesman José Antonio Rey posted some of the offending communications from (and to) Riddell. They characterized his communications as causing "offense and were potentially harmful to the community due to his making worst case assumptions." In addition, "Jonathan was insensitive to the requests that he be more respectful and that he was making the situation more difficult." Rey quoted Riddell saying the following in March:

* "czajkowski: best stop giving in to their stalling and just make a statement”
* "mhall119: make a public statement saying it is untrue and irrelevent”
* "pleia2: so make a public statement that it is untrue”
* "czajkowski: so time to give up on the canonical legal dept, they have been stalling for a year, enough already”
* "I’m astonished that the CC doesn’t understand the basics of free software or how it can be harmed by claims that our software is not Free”

It appears to be an old-fashioned standoff. Canonical has asked for Riddell's resignation and no longer recognizes him as the Kubuntu lead. Riddell refuses to step down and the Kubuntu community refuses to make him.

In other news:

* BusinessInsider.com is reporting that employee lawsuits are what finally sunk the SS. Mandriva. They quoted former CEO Jean-Manuel Croset as saying, "The company was finally at the tipping point of profitability when employee lawsuits forced it into bankruptcy."

* Christine Hall offers her Five reasons to use Linux.

* Debian 8.1 point release due June 6.