Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat hosted its annual analyst day in New York today, and as Wall Street continues to hemorrhage, the company couldn't have picked a gloomier time for the occasion. But harsh economic conditions tend to accelerate technology shifts, so the top brass at Red Hat were a pretty chipper bunch as they …
Why bother - I have OpenSolaris
The problem with Red Hat is that the "cheaper" message no longer works. I have OpenSolaris when I want it, on HP, Dell and Sun. And at least Sun is innovating with technologies like ZFS - whereas Red Hat seems to be focusing on cost reducing Java, which is also free with Glassfish. I just don't know what Red Hat stands for anymore... nor do I understand why I need them.
Maybe there are aspects of RHEL they're not getting revenue from and maybe they'll find a way to close CentOS down (although I hope not), but Fedora? How could they realistically get revenue from Fedora? For a start, the quality and stability of the distro would have to improve dramatically - but that goes against Fedora's philosophy - even RH describes Fedora as "bleeding edge".
There's no way I'd pay money for a Fedora distro. Luckily, I know enough not to need to pay for support.
@AC -- Fedora Revenue
The issue here is not charging money for Fedora, but converting people from Fedora into fee-paying RHEL users. How much are they prepared to pay for support and stability? Is $750 per annum too steep? Is $5 in perpetuity less than it costs to provide the service? Converting CentOS users to RHEL is harder -- they already have stability so you're left with providing support (which they don't need) and access to patches quicker (which they mostly don't need).
There's no way I'd pay for Fedora either, but I might be prepared to spend a small amount to get RHEL and its updates and I'll skip the support thank you.
Of course, where Red Hat can and do differentiate themselves from the free hoi polloi is in support, especially when it comes to complex things like HA clusters, but that's not where the mass-market money is. And that's the challenge.
RHEL renewals and accounting practices.
Just a bone to pick on Red Hat's "missing revenue":
Talking about Unpaid RHEL, one should take a moment to enquire with users of the 3-Year susbscription to the RHEL linux ES 4 who were bilked by support not "knowing" the 3-year subscription (which is written on the Licence Agreement documentation hardcopy) after less than 1 year in some cases, which forced this issue.
I'm not sure who the data migration specialist, but whoever it was, failed to comprehend, let alone understand: That there is a significant difference between a 36-month contract, and a 12-month contract. (Or maybe its the difference beween 52 and 156 weeks??)
Out of that fiasco, integrators decided to take on the burden of development and snapshot of using CentOS, or Fedora as an operating system they could support, and rolling out those versions, rather than using RHEL services and an accounting systems that didn't.
Just a personal Freetard issue but...
CentOS is also the only freely available linux platform that can be run for free, on the S/390 mainframe platform either in hardware, or in Software Emulation (Hercules on x86) or in a z/VM partition, without paying exorbinant fees. It also is the only current distribution that is updatable to track RHEL updates and changes.
But then again, there might be someone who will call CentOS to request they take the software that is used, off immeadiately... Now! I tell you! Or there will be lawyers.