Re: off topic Trevor Pott
First off, where did I say anything about Windows "having something" over Linux? I don't recall ever writing such things on The Register.
Oh, I could do a lovely conference on design choices in various operating systems that compare and contrast them, and I do count different distributions of Linux, BSD and Windows as separate operating systems. But a discussion about the technical, practical and economic implications of various choices probably would not result in my calling any one a universal "winner". Different distributions are better for different tasks, and some were never given the chance to do their best due to marketing failures more so than technical ones.
It's a very interesting area of debate that I thoroughly enjoy, but not one I look forward to typing out. I prefer to have those discussions as part of a round table debate format. I find speaking faster than typing, and I find that having other experts around offers multiple points of view on the economic and practical aspects of the discussion. Not all businesses or individuals have the same needs.
Nowhere in this article, or any other, have I said Windows is superior to Linux. I have said in many places that Microsoft has a more proven strategy than any Linux distribution maker, which is simple objective truth. That has nothing to do with technical superiority.
As for Red Hat: fuck Red Hat. In the face. With an acid-covered tractor. Those bastards have ruined Linux. They have done this not just in their own distribution, but through their control over critical elements of the Linux ecosystem, they have managed to force many very horrible changes on almost every other distribution out there.
Ironically, while I loathe what Red Hat has done it has made them economically and practically far more successful. They are consolidating control over the entire Linux ecosystem, creating lock-in, and reshaping the very fundamentals of core components of Linux distributions to push people towards paid alternatives to open source packages.
This is all, by the way, strategy they've picked up from the Microsoft executives they've hired on. It's reinforced by some massively egotistical (some might say megalomaniacal) personalities within Red Hat who have been given absolute control over key components which ultimately are determining the fate of the Linux ecosystem as a whole.
Unfortunately for Red Hat, their strategy for global domination is simply too little, too late. Linux is absolutely a critical component of any rational analysis of the future of computing, however, it is a component, not the core feature.
Put simply: nobody (beyond some edge cases on a moral crusade) gives a fuck about the operating system. Businesses and even individuals care about outcomes of computing. They don't even care about the applications. The applications are a means to an end. The operating systems, hypervisors, management tools and even infrastructure that it all runs on are completely irrelevant.
Price matters. Usability matters. Standards adherence, APIs and so forth matter (so that applications/OSes/hypervisors/tools/infrastructure/etc can be manipulated and made to work with other applications/OSes/hypervisors/tools/infrastructure/etc). Lock-in matters (as a function of price and regulatory adherence). Privacy matters to some people. Security to even fewer.
Analyzing a market has nothing at all to do with the superiority - real, imagined, or moral - of a technology, group of technologies, company, individuals or so forth.
Analyzing a market is about examining past behaviour, looking at future plans, looking at the state of current technology, the requests and requirements of customers and analyzing both corporate and human behaviour regarding adoption, retention and reuse of technologies to determine how companies, technologies, standards and industry practices will evolve with time.
No moral or ethical judgement is relevant here. Technical superiority is a very small factor in a very large equation. A factor that history has repeatedly demonstrated matters only in exceptional circumstances, or where the technical delta is extreme.
I wrote an article series about the major players in the IT industry. Those whose strategies have changed significantly in the past couple of years and those that will affect and change the course of technology over the next year.
There is an argument to be made that Google or Facebook should be discussed in this context. They are massive and their R&D budgets are focused on primary research: something that matters in the long run, as they are developing today the technologies that will matter 10 years from now to the rest of the industry. That said, they are not currently focused on anything that will push major market changes in 2016, so I chose to leave them out.
Compared to the influence that the companies I discuss in this series can, do and will have on the market in 2016, Red Hat is simply not relevant. They exert a vice-like grip on the Linux ecosystem, but that ecosystem ultimately creates a component of the future of IT. It does not affect dramatically the outcome.
Red Hat is functionally irrelevant to cloud computing. HP and IBM's contributions to Openstack are more noteworthy!
Red Hat has already consolidated its hold over the Linux operating system as a whole, and it did that years ago. The damage is done, 2015 only say the repercussions of those choices play out as other distributions were forced to fall in line with Red Hat's plans. Nobody has the resources the fork elements (like systemd, gnome, etc) and keep Linux on its original path.
There is an interesting battle coming over who controls the future of Linux - Red Hat or Docker - but I don't expect that to play out in 2016. If anything, the negotiations for Red Hat to buy Docker will stretch out into 2017, with the result likely to be that Docker becomes to rich for Red Hat to afford. My money is actually on IBM or HP to snap it up. Whether they manage to parlay control over Docker to sideline Red Hat and wrest control over the whole of the Linux ecosystem will be an interesting thing to watch in 2017.
Red hat is the most successful Linux business to date. That said, Red Hat is small. They are okay at a number of areas, but are not the leading supplier of anything. Not operating systems, not middleware, not administrative or management interfaces.
Technical superiority - or lack thereof - is simply irrelevant in the context of market analysis. Red Hat has expended almost all of its political capital wresting control of as much of the Linux ecosystem away from the community as possible. In doing so it has alienated many of its core supporters, even as those supporters are currently dependent upon it. (Very Redmondian, actually.) The end result, however, it that it doesn't have the economic, political or community capital to effectively alter the course of the IT industry. Its resources are expended and for all its efforts it bought nothing of value.
So there you go. There's your analysis of Red Hat and of Linux. (But not of Open Source, which is separate from either and more important than both.)
For all intents and purposes Linux is Red Hat. They've spent a decade making sure of this. Unfortunately, Red Hat's vision of what Linux is to be is neither true to the fundamentals of what made Linux great in the first place nor ambitious enough to command the future of technology.
In the face of their rivals Red Hat are today and look for the foreseeable future to be nothing more than an also ran. And in getting themselves to the point that they can profit from "could been a contender" they've ruined something great, along with any real chance that the community ever had to command the future of the technologies upon which all our societies rest.
Happy Holidays. I hope you get the chance to chill out. You need it.