Linux Developer Alan Cox Leaves Intel, Slams Fedora 18

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Open source legend takes a sabbatical for “family reasons”

Alan Cox, the legendary British programmer and one of the most important figures on the Linux scene, has announced he is leaving the developer community and his job at Intel, citing “family reasons”.

Cox informed the public of his resignation on Google+ on Wednesday. Several days earlier, he blasted Fedora 18, managed by his former employer Red Hat, calling it “the worst Red Hat distro” he had ever seen. Cox said he would use the Ubuntu distribution as his main system instead.

Old school

Cox has been involved with Linux for over 20 years. He formerly maintained the 2.2 branch of the kernel, and is considered by many to be the second most important Linux developer after Linus Torvalds. He worked with Red Hat from 1999 to 2009. In 2011, he joined Intel as an ‘Open Source Technologist’.

“I’m aware that “family reasons” is usually management speak for “I think the boss is an asshole” but I’d like to assure everyone that while I frequently think Linus is an asshole (and therefore very good as kernel dictator), I am departing quite genuinely for family reasons and not because I’ve fallen out with Linus or Intel or anyone else. Far from it, I’ve had great fun working there,” wrote Cox.

“I may be back at some point in the future – who knows. In the meantime, if you’d like my job (or indeed one of a range of others), we’re hiring,” he added. Cox also promised to finish all outstanding work and “not do a runner”.

On Tuesday, the programmer had already caused some controversy when he called Fedora 18, from his former employer Red Hat, the worst Linux distribution he had ever seen.

“The new installer is unusable, the updater is buggy,” wrote Cox. “When you get it running the default desktop has been eviscerated to the point of being slightly less useful than a chocolate teapot, and instead of fixing the bugs in it they’ve added more.”

The Linux expert said he would use Ubuntu, developed by Canonical, as his OS of choice. Other users have previously noted that Fedora 18 has problems with installation, especially on Windows 8 machines.

So what’s next for Cox? Perhaps he plans to concentrate on running Etched Pixels – his model train company which produces N gauge kits.

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