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back to article Red Hat aims open-source at IT discomfort zone

Red Hat has told open-source vendors they shouldn't hesitate when selling against proprietary rivals during the current economic downturn. The company's chief executive, Jim Whitehurst, has said that open-source faces a limited window of opportunity, before IT budgets recover inline with a general economic improvement. Once …

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Err...

Yeah, because the first thing that you want to do in a downturn is change your core OSes. The training budget would need to be increased, stability and serviceability would decrease, until all the support/dev staff had reached the competence level that they were at with the old systems. etc. etc. etc.

Not to mention RHEL's support costs. It ain't free you know.

Great idea.

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Gates Halo

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources

"Whitehurst said Red Hat got its foot in the door of many customers as a result of the IT budget cuts that resulted from the dot.com recession in the early 2000s."

I've heard that Linux (and Red Hat in particular) got a big boost at about this time from Microsoft (because MS couldn't deliver what they promised).

Many businesses performed forklift upgrades in the late 90s to solve the y2k problem. Microsoft convinced a lot of IT managers that they could replace their old minicomputers with "modern PCs running Windows NT", and save money in the process. Once the new hardware had been bought/installed, customers realized that the servers were unreliable. It became obvious that MS wasn't fixing those problems. The folks that were getting up in the middle of the night to reboot servers needed a cheap, reliable OS which ran on PC hardware. At the time, Red Hat was still producing the "dot releases", i.e., RH 6.2 and etc. which could be downloaded for free (as in beer). So the low-level techs downloaded and installed RH without telling management. Once Linux had demonstrated its usefulness, stability, etc., they admitted how they'd solved the reliability problems.

In other words, it wasn't the budget cuts that happened after the bubble burst, it was the fact that businesses had new hardware supplied with unsatisfactory software. The new hardware couldn't run their old reliable software, but could run Linux. At the time, Red Hat was available for the cost of a download.

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