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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
SYS-CON.TV
Red Hat Is "Growing Up"
Will loyal users be left looking elsewhere?

Today’s confirmation from the Red Hat Network that support for Red Hat 7.x and 8.0 is ending in December 2003 and that Red Hat 9.0 support will end in April, 2004, has all the trappings of a company that is growing up and growing out of its freely downloadable history. I sadly mark it as an end of an era - and yet another sign of the OSS movement moving toward the enterprise and maturing as it goes.

As a Red Hat user since 1995, I know there are simply too many people in my boat for us to go without great alternatives going forward. Perhaps these will come from within Red Hat, but if not, certainly outside Red Hat there will continue to be a lot to choose from as distribution vendors race to fill a void and provide migration plans. Having used Debian at home a lot, I know that picking any well-known Linux distro is going to be a safe bet for folks running basic Internet and database servers like myself.

Red Hat is pointing users interested in free downloads to the Fedora project - which Red Hat sponsors - but I can tell you I will not be using it. I used Red Hat all these years and even occasionally bought their boxed set (not because I needed it but because I owed it to them), because it was a viable and stable product. Fedora is a nice idea but Red Hat does not support it and makes no claim to it being stable or production-ready. Fedora is an experiment and, really, an answer from Red Hat of how to provide something like the old Red Hat Linux without cutting into their Enterprise business. So, down go support, stability, and production-quality values and in it’s place is experimentation – it’s a marketing move in the purest sense.

I run co-lo servers for various clients and I provide system administration to other servers that I do not have direct responsibility for. The focus for me now is to determine, for the first time since 1995, what my migration path is going to be during the coming year. I have always liked Debian’s apt system but their install process, particularly for configuring X, has not been a favorite. I’m interested in seeing how this affects Mandrake but that’s probably not a distro I would look at really closely. FreeBSD will get another close look and I will look at Gentoo to see if I should look more closely at it. I’ll also have my eyes and ears open, not for the ensuing distro wars but for good information on migration options in general. I know I won’t have problems.

As the Red Hats of the world continue to sharpen their organizations toward the enterprise target, perhaps the low-end of the market – the ISP and the independent –  will be left a little high and dry. That’s OK, we have other alternatives. . .but it’s looking less and less as if one of them will be Red Hat.

About Paul Nowak
Paul Nowak first used Linux in 1995 while migrating from Sun to Linux at the University of Michigan. He used Linux in subsequent IT projects including web, telecom, telemetry and embedded projects and is currently CIO of a small professional association based in Washington D.C.

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Unless there are corporate sponsors of open source that are bank rolling development (like IBM does a lot of stuff so as to do to Microsoft what Microsoft did to Netscape) there's just not much of a money making proposition to it. Red Hat just keeps retreating by moving the line back further and further as they see their various business scenarios just don't pan out.

When I buy software I don't really see it as a payment for expected support to come (I very very seldom need any). I see it as being a way to enable a software producer to fund the R&D it took to develop software, etc, and stay in business over the long term. In the case of Linux distributions, that usually means device drivers, installers, and QA of newly assimilated code.

But consumers will never voluntarily compensate companies for such service if they can otherwise come by the hard work of the company for free. And what they actually will pay for is certainly not enough to achieve reasonable profitability for long term business viability. Even when a product is being sold at a premium it can still saturate market potential. Software getting into the hands of consumers for free or at very minimal cost (because of every copy paid for there's a zillion free installs) will simply bring on market potential saturation that much more quickly. So due to this lack-of-profitability quagmire, most open source is fated to be developed more under the umbrella of a charity foundation propped up by a corporate sugar daddy, than as any kind of genuine commercial business operation.

For all the suckers out there that have poured their talents into creating open source, well, it's a hell of a lot better to get financially rewarded than it is to become popularly known amongst an international audience of tech groupies. In the mania leading up to 2000, some did get lucky with timing and made a few bucks with options at that height of the mania. But the bubble is long over. Now all that's left is the charitable foundation model of open source development. In open source there are a few stars that perhaps make a few bucks but most players that go down that path end up in bottom feeder status making crumbs.

Richard Stallman is the greatest delusional political fanatic that's ever blighted the software scene. What a Don Quixote that guy is! Guess he'll go down in history as the American version of Karl Marx (similarly espousing a pseudo intellectual theory of social-economics that is likewise fatally flawed). Or perhaps even more apt - he'll become known as the embodiement of the America version of the Pied Piper folk tale.

Business still business. Business can be success and failure. For my personel, I will not guest what RH will become success/failure. I think they can do better and everyone will happy but they haven't. Anyway the event is happened and become history. Such as someone say "life is fun and happy and no angry". What RH think? What RH really want to do? I will not pay attention to because it is RH's own business. If RH do good, RH will success. Otherwise, RH will face to fail. As a users, I hope RH can success. Just let the time to prove the result. Anyway, let it go. I just downlad fodera core version and playing now.

Red hat clearly was seen by most non-Linux users as the defacto standard. Red hats strength was not its product it was it’s market share. Lets face it computer users are herd animals “if my neighbor has it, it’s good enough for me”! They will clumsily follow the idiot in front of them purchasing or downloading the product that they have heard of instead of doing the research to find the best product. So, today’s windows users could have been tomorrows Red hat users. Today’s Free Red hat users would have been tomorrow’s enterprise users. Red hat has discounted this phenomenon and dumped the proverbial hook. If the heard starts to purchase SuSE now and becomes familiar with the company and the product what enterprise version do you think they will buy? Clearly they will stick with what they know, SuSE! Red hat has clearly cut their nose off to spite their face. It is such a short-term strategy based solely on the profit and loss statement that they clearly let the accounting department create their business plan.(big mistake). Hell if the desktop wasn’t making them any money stop giving it away and start charging $10.00 per download. That wouldn’t have slowed me down and I would still be a happy user, (following the rest of the herd). And before you say anything I wouldn’t give away support for that ten dollars just a down load service fee! Despite popular myth, they can charge for that service they just need to give you the source code after you pay for it. Red hats strength wasn’t that they were the best but that they were perceived as being the most popular (so clearly they must be good enough for me). Unless Red hat takes a step back and re-evaluates their position I believe they will slowly start to loose market share. Once they start to loose market share forget it, its all over they will never recover. No one wants to hop back onto a sinking ship.

Well, there are many users have difference expectation. Some want fast growth and some not. Some want update version and some want stable. Well, it is not easy to maintain.

But we have the choice to choose.

I have been using Redhat 7.3 and 7.2 for over 2 years. My computing experience for my company is more stable than ever.
I don,t need to upgrade beyond this for a while. Redhat has given so much to the open source, lets hope they thrive in the enterprize like they did with there box products.

There were many complaints that the RHL distros were "outdated" when compared to other Linux distros. Now as mentioned on other posts there is the "Fedora Project" to provide the "bleeding edge" technologies and there are still complaints. Could this move by RedHat have been avoided IF everyone or nearly everyone that used RHL in a production environment actually paid for the product and its support? Could it be that we as Linux community forced RedHat's hand by not financially supporting this distro? A good while back SuSE chose not to make their branded, marketed distro freely available via download. A company must make money to stay in business or close its doors. Look at what happened to Mandrake.

The RH line of evolution was traced and this “news” is more a consequence than a really news event. The 90’s GNU Open Source spirit times are now difficult to find in the GNU/Linux World apart of Debian (stubborn but faithful). I hope more BSD* users won’t take these 3 projects (Net, Open & Free) ending like SuSE, RH and the main base of Linux distributions …

Sincerely,
Joao

LordMorgul -- To say "...you simply have to move to RHEL now" is precicely the problem I have with the way RH is making this change. I can either loose support for a version that is tested and working fine -- support, incidentally that I have already paid for through July 2004 -- or I can scramble to make sure that all my apps will work on this new version before support is lost AND THEN pay almost 6 times the price for the same level of support.

I agree with your comments about Slackware and Debian (both of which I have used). Selling a move to either of those would be difficult at best when talking to the "suits."

RH is in business to make money. That's all well and good, and I do not have a problem with the decision they have made. I just don't like the way they have decided to implement that decision. It would be much more responsible of them to continue update and maintenance throughout the life of their existing support contracts, and sell no more of them for the "end of life products." It would take them an additional 6 months or so to implement their change-over, but would give their most loyal customers (those who have paid without being required to) the time to evaluate their alternatives, test replacements, and (most critically for me) identify budget sources. It is this unwillingness to honor their agreements (ie the update & support already purchased) that has made me decide to move away from RH.

Plenty of inaccuracies to read here. I suggest anyone who is interested in understanding the move RedHat made go and read about it from RedHat as opposed to this poorly (and quite biased review + comments by people who don't know what they are talking about).

Yes, that was intended to be pointed. The idea that Fedora will be any less "supported" than RedHat 9 without paid support is incorrect, and poorly argued. If you subscribed to supported RedHat 9 before you simply need to move to RHEL now. And you can upgrade from 9 just fine, you're reading into something too much.

RedHat 9 had no more support than Fedora for new bugfixes. Each release will be supported for 6 - 8 months of backported bugfixes, as clearly stated on the Fedora website (but may have longer community support through fedora.us, which currently plans to support RH9 similarly)

If you need longer support timeframes, then you should be moving to RHEL, or another distro. (this slackware / debian talk is hilarious.. you intend to find "production environment" support there? Good luck kernel hacker gurus, you'll be needing your skills to keep many production machines running on a pure linux like that.)

But I find some docs from Fedora in the bellowing :
"http://fedora.redhat.com/about/objectives.html"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Anyone is free at any time to fork this project, to go off and build their own distribution based on Fedora Core, just as many people have built distributions based on Red Hat Linux in the past. For Red Hat to participate in this project, Red Hat's own goals have to be met by the project. This doesn't mean that other goals cannot be met as well (except where they explicitly conflict with Red Hat's own critical goals), but the goals that Red Hat expresses define our "contract" with developers and users of Fedora Core.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Anyone is free at any time to fork this project, to go off and build their own distribution based on Fedora Core, just as many people have built distributions based on Red Hat Linux in the past. For Red Hat to participate in this project, Red Hat's own goals have to be met by the project. This doesn't mean that other goals cannot be met as well (except where they explicitly conflict with Red Hat's own critical goals), but the goals that Red Hat expresses define our "contract" with developers and users of Fedora Core.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Is something different? Are RH really want to own Linux without Kernel? Can they do that? Why "Fedora Core" will allow outside people to distribute "Fedora Core"? "Fedora Core" make something wrong????

What's happen? Can discuss?

Life is fun and Happy and no angry.

Cheers

"RedHat is trying to treat an Open Source OS as if they were the ones who created it and that they have been in control of the source code all along (i.e Microsoft, Solaris)"

But I find some docs from Fedora in the bellowing :
"http://fedora.redhat.com/about/objectives.html"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WOW! Am I glad I switched from decaf (RedHat) to regular (SuSE) when I did... Ever since RedHat announced that they were going public on Wall Street, I then realized that they were no longer about Open Source, but about PROFIT!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for making a profit, but the path that they are taking seems to be a path of self-destruction.

The one thing that seems to have been forgotten is why Linux was created in the fisrt place. Re-read the initial post that a guy by the name of Linus Torvalds made several years ago when he initially RELEASED Linux to the general public for FREE... You do remember Mr. Torvalds, don't you, or have you forgotten?

I originally started using Slackware when Linux was barely at Kernel 1.2; At that time I was completely amazed that I was able to purchase an entire UNIX-like OS with plenty of extras for under thirty bucks... and I'm still amazed that I can buy SuSE 9.0 professional with all of its extensive packages for 1/3 the price of Windows XP Professional... not to mention the fact that I don't need a license key to use it.

My point is that RedHat is trying to treat an Open Source OS as if they were the ones who created it and that they have been in control of the source code all along (i.e Microsoft, Solaris)

I could go on-and-on, but I think I said all I need to say. It is not my intention to offend anyone, all I am trying to do is provide my own opinion. Last time I checked, I still live in the FREE world. Let's keep it that way!

You know, in all the years I've been running RedHat, I've never had a significant "rpm dependency issue."

I have, however, had to re-write apps to work on the archaic versions of software used by the "woody" Debian distros. I assure you that took much more time than typing "up2date packagename" to solve a dependency issue.

However... I guess I didn't make my point very clearly. The problem I have is not that RedHat is changing the way they are doing business. Their choice, and I think it is a reasonable one. What I do have a problem with is them taking my money for 1 years worth of support, reniging on the contract and offering no compensation other than a "free upgrade" to a product that I cannot afford to maintain after the free period, and therefore will not be using.

That is the problem I have with RedHat -- the business practice, not the business model.


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Dilbert Dobbs wrote: Unless there are corporate sponsors of open source that are bank rolling development (like IBM does a lot of stuff so as to do to Microsoft what Microsoft did to Netscape) there's just not much of a money making proposition to it. Red Hat just keeps retreating by moving the line back further and further as they see their various business scenarios just don't pan out. When I buy software I don't really see it as a payment for expected support to come (I very very seldom need any). I see it as being a way to enable a software producer to fund the R&D it took to develop software, etc, and stay in business over the long term. In the case of Linux distributions, that usually means device drivers, installers, and QA of newly assimilated code. But consumers will never voluntarily compensate companies for such service if they can otherwise come by the hard work of the company for free. And...
Fun wrote: Business still business. Business can be success and failure. For my personel, I will not guest what RH will become success/failure. I think they can do better and everyone will happy but they haven't. Anyway the event is happened and become history. Such as someone say "life is fun and happy and no angry". What RH think? What RH really want to do? I will not pay attention to because it is RH's own business. If RH do good, RH will success. Otherwise, RH will face to fail. As a users, I hope RH can success. Just let the time to prove the result. Anyway, let it go. I just downlad fodera core version and playing now.
Pat wrote: Red hat clearly was seen by most non-Linux users as the defacto standard. Red hats strength was not its product it was it’s market share. Lets face it computer users are herd animals “if my neighbor has it, it’s good enough for me”! They will clumsily follow the idiot in front of them purchasing or downloading the product that they have heard of instead of doing the research to find the best product. So, today’s windows users could have been tomorrows Red hat users. Today’s Free Red hat users would have been tomorrow’s enterprise users. Red hat has discounted this phenomenon and dumped the proverbial hook. If the heard starts to purchase SuSE now and becomes familiar with the company and the product what enterprise version do you think they will buy? Clearly they will stick with what they know, SuSE! Red hat has clearly cut their nose off to spite their face. It is such a s...
Sea Dragon wrote: Well, there are many users have difference expectation. Some want fast growth and some not. Some want update version and some want stable. Well, it is not easy to maintain. But we have the choice to choose.
John wrote: I have been using Redhat 7.3 and 7.2 for over 2 years. My computing experience for my company is more stable than ever. I don,t need to upgrade beyond this for a while. Redhat has given so much to the open source, lets hope they thrive in the enterprize like they did with there box products.
1MidniteRider wrote: There were many complaints that the RHL distros were "outdated" when compared to other Linux distros. Now as mentioned on other posts there is the "Fedora Project" to provide the "bleeding edge" technologies and there are still complaints. Could this move by RedHat have been avoided IF everyone or nearly everyone that used RHL in a production environment actually paid for the product and its support? Could it be that we as Linux community forced RedHat's hand by not financially supporting this distro? A good while back SuSE chose not to make their branded, marketed distro freely available via download. A company must make money to stay in business or close its doors. Look at what happened to Mandrake.
joao wrote: The RH line of evolution was traced and this “news” is more a consequence than a really news event. The 90’s GNU Open Source spirit times are now difficult to find in the GNU/Linux World apart of Debian (stubborn but faithful). I hope more BSD* users won’t take these 3 projects (Net, Open & Free) ending like SuSE, RH and the main base of Linux distributions … Sincerely, Joao
bill wrote: LordMorgul -- To say "...you simply have to move to RHEL now" is precicely the problem I have with the way RH is making this change. I can either loose support for a version that is tested and working fine -- support, incidentally that I have already paid for through July 2004 -- or I can scramble to make sure that all my apps will work on this new version before support is lost AND THEN pay almost 6 times the price for the same level of support. I agree with your comments about Slackware and Debian (both of which I have used). Selling a move to either of those would be difficult at best when talking to the "suits." RH is in business to make money. That's all well and good, and I do not have a problem with the decision they have made. I just don't like the way they have decided to implement that decision. It would be much more responsible of them to continue update and mainten...
LordMorgul wrote: Plenty of inaccuracies to read here. I suggest anyone who is interested in understanding the move RedHat made go and read about it from RedHat as opposed to this poorly (and quite biased review + comments by people who don't know what they are talking about). Yes, that was intended to be pointed. The idea that Fedora will be any less "supported" than RedHat 9 without paid support is incorrect, and poorly argued. If you subscribed to supported RedHat 9 before you simply need to move to RHEL now. And you can upgrade from 9 just fine, you're reading into something too much. RedHat 9 had no more support than Fedora for new bugfixes. Each release will be supported for 6 - 8 months of backported bugfixes, as clearly stated on the Fedora website (but may have longer community support through fedora.us, which currently plans to support RH9 similarly) If you need longer support time...
Sea Dragon wrote: But I find some docs from Fedora in the bellowing : "http://fedora.redhat.com/about/objectives.html" +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Anyone is free at any time to fork this project, to go off and build their own distribution based on Fedora Core, just as many people have built distributions based on Red Hat Linux in the past. For Red Hat to participate in this project, Red Hat's own goals have to be met by the project. This doesn't mean that other goals cannot be met as well (except where they explicitly conflict with Red Hat's own critical goals), but the goals that Red Hat expresses define our "contract" with developers and users of Fedora Core. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sea Dragon wrote: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Anyone is free at any time to fork this project, to go off and build their own distribution based on Fedora Core, just as many people have built distributions based on Red Hat Linux in the past. For Red Hat to participate in this project, Red Hat's own goals have to be met by the project. This doesn't mean that other goals cannot be met as well (except where they explicitly conflict with Red Hat's own critical goals), but the goals that Red Hat expresses define our "contract" with developers and users of Fedora Core. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sea Dragon wrote: Is something different? Are RH really want to own Linux without Kernel? Can they do that? Why "Fedora Core" will allow outside people to distribute "Fedora Core"? "Fedora Core" make something wrong???? What's happen? Can discuss? Life is fun and Happy and no angry. Cheers
Sea Dragon wrote: "RedHat is trying to treat an Open Source OS as if they were the ones who created it and that they have been in control of the source code all along (i.e Microsoft, Solaris)" But I find some docs from Fedora in the bellowing : "http://fedora.redhat.com/about/objectives.html" +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Phil wrote: WOW! Am I glad I switched from decaf (RedHat) to regular (SuSE) when I did... Ever since RedHat announced that they were going public on Wall Street, I then realized that they were no longer about Open Source, but about PROFIT! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for making a profit, but the path that they are taking seems to be a path of self-destruction. The one thing that seems to have been forgotten is why Linux was created in the fisrt place. Re-read the initial post that a guy by the name of Linus Torvalds made several years ago when he initially RELEASED Linux to the general public for FREE... You do remember Mr. Torvalds, don't you, or have you forgotten? I originally started using Slackware when Linux was barely at Kernel 1.2; At that time I was completely amazed that I was able to purchase an entire UNIX-like OS with plenty of extras for under thirty bucks... and I'm still ama...
bill wrote: You know, in all the years I've been running RedHat, I've never had a significant "rpm dependency issue." I have, however, had to re-write apps to work on the archaic versions of software used by the "woody" Debian distros. I assure you that took much more time than typing "up2date packagename" to solve a dependency issue. However... I guess I didn't make my point very clearly. The problem I have is not that RedHat is changing the way they are doing business. Their choice, and I think it is a reasonable one. What I do have a problem with is them taking my money for 1 years worth of support, reniging on the contract and offering no compensation other than a "free upgrade" to a product that I cannot afford to maintain after the free period, and therefore will not be using. That is the problem I have with RedHat -- the business practice, not the business model.
Aron Trauring wrote: I don't really see what the fuss is about. We switched to Debian years ago for both desktop and server machines. If you want * easy maintainability, * the ability to choose your level of stability and risk aversion versus bleeding edge, * no rpm dependency issues, * multi-hardware platform consistency, * access to the widest range of FOSS apps, then Debian is the way to go. As for the licensing/support issue: How many of you who paid Red hat over the years actually called them up for tech support, how good was it and how often did you do that? Did you think your payments were getting the bug fixes done or did ever occur to you it was the community model? The idea that having a company behind it means it is commercial grade is just so much BS. Debian is not a corporation but a community and manages to support a far greater range of software options than Redhat while providi...
Paul Nowak wrote: Bill, my thoughts exactly. I am running RH 7.3 on most of my servers and it is a fine solution. No need to upgrade to 8.0 or 9 yet (I actually was probably going to skip to 10 had it come out) and with this Red Hat change of policy, I now need to replace that plan with a new one. It's not really a problem -- the evaluation process will be the same as it was before. The only difference is Red Hat is off the list of contenders. Paul
bill wrote: To maintain the same level of service I currently have with RedHat would require a 583% increase in spending. On top of that, they are not refunding the more than 6 months of service I've already paid for (on almost a dozen servers), but will not be receiving. As for fedora, if I cannot get support for it, I cannot justify it in a production environment. They've lost this customer -- not because they are changing the way they do business, but because of the way they are doing so -- cutting me off, leaving me out to dry. We'll be staying with 7.3 as long as it is practical for me to do so (which for the web and db servers will likely be quite a while). Now where did I put that phone number for SuSE....
Joe wrote: Oh Well: I wonder if Red Hat is commiting suicide as a company by forcing everyone to buy the product or go hang. Yeah, I know that I can go to other Linux distributions, but Red Hat had the easiest to implement if you had limited time and resources. Personally if I have to plunk down my cash, it isnt going to be with a company that so obviously hangs out an entire class of its user base to dry. It's SUSE for me. Bye Bye Red Hat....
ken blodget wrote: I read another media blurb on Red Hat's decision and they noted that Red Hat was now recommending Windows for desktop users. Why wasn't that mentioned in this article?
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