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Author Topic: Mint: Temper, temper Mr. Clement Lefebvre  (Read 4935 times)


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Mint: Temper, temper Mr. Clement Lefebvre
« on: January 29, 2014, 12:04 PM »
It seems the powers that be over at Linux Mint have yanked a very useful Mint-specific remastering tool from their repositories - and then went on to delete all references to it on their website. The tool in question is called mintconstructor.

Remastering is the process of taking a well-supported version of an OS and customizing it to your own specifications. Similar to 'slipstreaming' in the Windows world, Linux remastering is far more flexible and extensive.

The Wikipedia definition
Software remastering is the process of customizing a software or operating system distribution for personal or "off-label" usage. It is particularly associated with some Linux distributions, since most Linux distributions started as a remastered version of another distribution, notably Slackware from SLS Linux; Yellow Dog Linux, Mandriva, and TurboLinux from Red Hat Linux and Linux Mint from Ubuntu, which itself is a remaster of Debian. Microsoft Windows has also been modified and remastered, and various utility applications exist that combine Windows updates and device drivers with the original Windows CD/DVD installation media, a process known as slipstreaming. Many video games have also been modified (or modded) and upgraded, with additional content, levels, or game features. Notably Counter-Strike, has been created in this manner and went on to be marketed as a commercial product.

The term remastering is taken from the audio production process, and was popularized by Klaus Knopper, creator of the Knoppix live distro, which has traditionally encouraged its users to hack the distribution in this manner to suit their needs; appropriately, Knoppix itself is a remaster of Debian.

Many major Linux distros have a remastering tool. And so did Mint. Or at least did until this week...  :o

The official story is that mintconstructor was removed from Mint's repositories in response to some people doing new Linux distros based on Mint (i.e. StudioEdition and Dewdrop) that used Mint's trademark and branding without permission. Mint founder Clement Lefebvre had this to say when asked:

Monsta Says:
November 14th, 2013 at 6:06 am

And not a single word about why mintConstructor has been silently removed from the repositories and github (and its tutorial deleted from the community website).

Edit by Clem: Hi Monsta. I might write about it on Segfault after the stable release and if you catch me on IRC in the meantime I’ll be happy to explain what happened. To give you a quick answer: The reason we no longer distribute it is because it’s hurting our project much more than it’s helping a few people in our community remaster Mint for their personal needs. The reason it happened overnight was because, apparently, we released two editions we never worked on (Studio Edition and Dewdrop). Some people used our name, logos and identity to promote their own products, and in some cases to our own community. Branding issues and policies are sensitive topics on which we need a discussion. We’ve seen great remasters over the years and we know people also use the tool for personal use. That’s something we need to think about long term. What had to be done quickly though was to contact the so-called “Linux Mint” maintainers and to politely ask them to stop using our identity (hopefully they replied by now and I’ll read their email post Mint 16), and to discontinue the tool they were using which made it all possible for them to do so in the first place.

This is an example of what Clem allegedly got his knickers all in a twist about:


Zapping the tool from the repository with no warning might have been surprising enough. But then Clement went on to have the mintconstructor tutorial removed from the Mint community website as well. (Can you say: WTF?) :huh:

Clem's answer plus the scorched earth response that followed over at Mint seems to be more than a little extreme to me and smacks more of a snit than a measured response to an out-of-control problem. Ken Starks (Blog of Helios/Reglue) weighed in on all of this with an essay posted on FossForce that fairly looks at both sides of the equation. And he ends up shaking his head much like I did over what happened along with the reasons given for it.

(Read what Ken has to say here.)

Seriously people...when it comes to things Linux, sometimes we're our own worst enemies. :-\

« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 02:32 PM by 40hz »


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Re: Mint: Temper, temper Mr. Clement Lefebvre
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 06:45 AM »