Linux distributions tend to promote and support freedom in many ways. Freedom to use the software I like, freedom to change it as I like and even the freedom to sell it amongst many others.
And as one of the largest community driven projects around the globe it has a very long tradition being open minded and tolerant.
Now, after upgrading to Fedora 17 on one of our development boxes I was puzzled not to find ddate
. ddate is a shell utility displaying an alternative form of the current date, it refers to the so called “Discordian calendar” . Many other people on the planet refer to this calendar system and many of our own maintainance scripts refer to the ddate command when it comes to time calculations.
ddate has been in util-linux for a very very long time, the oldest version I found doing a quick search dates back to 1994, but I am quite sure, that it even older versions exist.
Unfortunately, the person who dropped it in Fedora obviously has commit rights for the original version hosted on kernel.org and thus the change has effects on almost all Linux based distributions.
Don’t build this crazy thing by default.
Well, a tool having existed in util-linux for more than a decade and being used by many around the globe is a “crazy thing”.
After releasing Fedora Core 17, users started to file bug reports about the missing ddate command and in one of them , the person responsible for removing ddate, Karel Zak explains his motives in detail:
Personally, I don't want to maintain any code that I don't understand
and which is completely unnecessary from my point of view. It's my time,
my project, my responsibility and my freedom to make decisions. If you
don't like this nature of the open source world, then install any
commercial Linux distributions and ask for help at paid support
So he does not understand the code and thus does not want to maintain it. And the code that he does not understand is unnecessary from his POV. It is his time, and even better, it is his project! Yes, util-linux is his very own project!
Thankfully, finally, many good reasons to drop one of the utilities out of a very core linux package …