Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A parting gift

I have become increasingly unreliable concerning my activities within the Gentoo developer community during the last year. Now I finally arrived at the point where I consider the only reasonable solution to leave the Gentoo team. The final drop has been the fact that I promised Sebastian the next layman release. But week after week I did not find the time to work on the next version thus failing the promise.

With my commercial endeavours within the Kolab and Horde communities thriving I have to be realistic: The workload won't suddenly fade during the next year(s?). I would have liked to include Gentoo into the portfolio I get paid for but I was unable to achieve that. Chances are that I would be even less responsive concerning Gentoo in the future.

This is no easy decision for me as I do like Gentoo and feel strongly for some of the stuff I did for Gentoo. It is not easy to drop these projects. I would have made the choice earlier in order to clarify the situation if I would not care that much about Gentoo. But I left people with an unresponsive maintainer this way and I'm sorry for that.

There is one final thing I'd like to leave as a parting gift to the Gentoo community.

As some of you may know I wrote a german book about Gentoo. When I initially started the project I asked the publisher if there would be any possibility to produce a free version of that book, too. Writing about free software feels strange to me if the things I write are not free. But books are not software and I had to accept the commercial realities of the project at that time.

But I mentioned above that things for my little one-man-company are going well and so I did buy the rights to my book back. It has now been published under a free license and is available for download here. The latex source for the book is here.

Time to say goodbye. Sigh...


  1. Christian Becker12/02/2009 9:36 AM

    Well, it's sad you're leaving. Nevertheless good luck for the future and thanks for the book!

  2. Thanks Gunnar! Good luck with your endeavours.

  3. Thank you for you Gentoo work, and good luck!

  4. Dear Gunnar,

    thank you for the great work you did for Gentoo.
    It's a grand gesture that you made your excellent book freely available - even using Gentoo for more than five years now I could still learn a lot from it.


  5. Gunnar all the best for the future. I quick looked into your book, well work.


  6. Christian Becker12/03/2009 12:43 PM

    Is your book available in English.
    If it isn't, would you mind if I translated it?

  7. @christian:

    The book is not available in English. And of course I would not mind at all if you'd translate it. Such things are the main reasons why I did publish the sources.

    Should be no problem to fork the repository on github and start hacking away :)

  8. Thank you for your contributions...layman is one of the most powerful apps in the Gentoo toolkit. You made it very easy to unlock the power of overlays and I think that has made Gentoo much more versatile. Best of luck...and I hope you consider coming back if time and interest allows.

    BTW, has anybody come forward to maintain layman yet? It's such an essential tool, I certainly hope somebody adopts it and keeps it current.

  9. @rc: Sebastian Pipping took over maintainership and released 1.2.4 already.

  10. "...and so I did buy the rights to my book back." I have heard of people asking their publishers to allow an electronics version of their work to be made available after some period of time as part of their negotiation but have never heard of someone buying their rights back. Can you provide any details? Is it something you think other like-minded authors could do who also did not make arrangements to copyleft their work beforehand.

  11. @kevix: Producing a book costs a good deal of money and so I had to accept that there would be no free electronic version initially. I signed a standard book contract with the publisher that transferred many rights to them (e.g. film rights, rights for translated versions).

    All we did now was to cancel that specific contract with me paying a certain sum in return for the rights I originally transferred to the publisher.

    I would say there is nothing special about this. As much as I was able to transfer rights in the initial contract I am able to get them back now. Just depends on both parties being willing. And that largely depends on the perceived value of the rights being transferred.

  12. THX! that's a nice gift. (i got my employer to buy the book anyway.)
    nice to hear your comp is doing well.
    good luck and best wishes for the future!

  13. Thx for the book.

  14. thx for the great work :-)

  15. Thanks Gunnar, hope we will still see you around as a Gentoo user! Your work has not gone unappreciated.

  16. Thank you for all your hard work on Gentoo and thanks for the book :D
    Well good luck with your (one-man)-company, and hope to see you around in #gentoo :D

  17. Thanks for having maintained Gentoo and this great book! Looking forward to see it in English or Russian. Thanks!

  18. Thank you very much for the book! I'm new to Gentoo and never really used anything beyond Windows, so this is much appreciated. Especially since I refuse to use such an overhyped OS like Ubuntu! ;)

    Good luck with your company and future projects!

  19. i´m a little bit late...
    thanks to you that you write this great book...

    ach mist... deutsch weiter...

    gunnar, ich danke dir von ganzem herzen, daß es dieses buch gibt. ich habe es mir übrigens auch gekauft, also nutze nicht nur die pdf-ausgabe.
    mir als anfänger, in sachen gentoo, hat es sehr geholfen mein erstes wirklich laufendes gentoo-system aufzusetzen, welches auch wirklich funktionierte. (erstkontakt mit gentoo in der version 1.4 im jahre 2003)
    ich persönlich finde es schade, aber ich wünsche dir für deine zukunft alles liebe...

    beste grüße heiko aus pasewalk