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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business

Red Hat To Drop Boxed Retail Distribution 386

Posted by timothy
from the treasured-collectables dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux, is abandoning the retail channel, the company is expected to announce Monday, says this story in Linux and Main. Non-Red Hat developers will be given a greater role in deciding what's in upcoming Red Hat distributions, too."
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Red Hat To Drop Boxed Retail Distribution

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  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The J Kid (266953) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:08PM (#6479634) Homepage Journal
    Wonder why this is?
    Has it anything to do with the KDE Klash? (Not likely though)

    Or is it just that this way they don't loose as much money?

    The latter, in my opinion (humble as it is) is the most likely. Of course, it could be something completely different.
  • by UndercoverBrotha (623615) <codemonkey2600@yah o o .com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:09PM (#6479645)
    When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:18PM (#6479729)
      Ya really think so? I can't think of a better way to annoy a customer than to sell them something that they later find they could have downloaded or legally copied for free. Of course this assumes you realize that the "value proposition" of included support is worthless when anyone can ask any number of helpful people in any number of Linux forums.

      Red Hat clearly aren't making money in the retail channel and it makes no sense for them to be there.
      • by UndercoverBrotha (623615) <codemonkey2600@yah o o .com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:28PM (#6479835)
        "Red Hat clearly aren't making money in the retail channel and it makes no sense for them to be there"

        You "may" be right, perhaps instead of being stocked at CompUSA, they need to go the Suse [walmart.com] route.

        "ask any number of helpful people in any number of Linux forums"

        I have never used direct support from Red Hat, but when I was new to Linux, some of my most basic question were met with impatience and arrogance, or haven't you tried "this" yet, when I had no idea how to do, "this". It was only after tinkering a bit on my own and asking an somewhat intelligent question were the board or irc channels helpful, paid tech support on the other hand, will hold your, er.. hand, for the most basic questions
      • I can't think of a better way to annoy a customer than to sell them something that they later find they could have downloaded or legally copied for free.

        Are you kidding? I'm in Mexico right now and there aren't any "on the shelf" copies of RedHat anywhere near here, so I'm downloading RedHat9 as I write this via my 256k DSL. It's going to take about 7 hours per CD. I would definitely pay $50 (or whatever) if I could walk down to the local store and pick up a boxed set even if I know I can download it

    • by RestiffBard (110729) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:19PM (#6479742) Homepage
      a few comments.

      1. anyone that doesn't have access to a distro of linux is entirely unlikely to buy one off the shelf. More likely they know an über-geek already that got them into Linux or they bought it at Barnes and Noble with a huge book with 5 different flavors, what have you.

      2. This strikes me as being a genius idea. Putting those boxes on the shelves is in no way cheap. Do you ever see Red Hat flying off the shelves? Only when its time to replace the box with the next version.

      3. Red Hat makes their money in providing service and support contracts to big companies. Not the little guy.

      This is a money thing. removing the shelf space issue is good business sense. It might tick you off but it will make investors happy.
      • by gidds (56397) <.slashdot. .at. .gidds.me.uk.> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:15PM (#6480170) Homepage
        Your points are valid, but assume that Linux won't really grow; in particular, that it won't grow beyond those techies who already know about it, and their immediate family and (trusting) friends.

        So far, that's probably not too far from the truth; but many folks expect or want it to spread farther. Shelf space is valuable advertising space, at the least; if people buying M$ products &c can see that Linux is a 'real product', with a large shiny box and everything, and that XYZ Computer Store is stocking it, then that gives it a certain cachet and respectability that may help it grow beyond the spotty-geeks-and-illegal-downloads that some are trying to tarnish it with...

        It also makes it much easier for those who aren't on broadband, which includes a sizeable number of techies, as well as a much larger number of non-techies.

      • by phalse phace (454635) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:33PM (#6480301)
        Putting those boxes on the shelves is in no way cheap. Do you ever see Red Hat flying off the shelves? Only when its time to replace the box with the next version.

        Agreed. At the officesupply "superstore" where I work, no retail boxed version of Red Hat (prior to version 9) has ever sold very well. At the most, we'd sell maybe 2-4 copies. Then they'd just sit on the shelf for months until the next version came out. Then rinse, repeat. Same with Mandrake, until we stopped carrying them.

        But oddly, ever sinice version 9 came out we've sold about 10 copies, if not more. But if you compare that to the number of MS Windows we've sold, it's something like 10-1.

    • If somebody wants an alternative to Windows, Mandrake is a much better choice. It's designed for Linux newbies, and Mandrake 9.1 has worked well for the installs I've done.

      (In all fairness, I haven't tried RH 8 or 9. For home use, I'm using Gentoo now.)
      • Once again, the point is missed: no computer neophyte installs *any* operating system. They bought a machine that had Windows pre-installed on it. They upgrade through Windows Update (if they can). They NEVER install an OS of any stripe.

        To even begin considering installing an operating system takes them out of the league of the complete newbie and puts them in the realm of the half-clued. Even people with half a clue can click "OK" or make a choice from a menu of options.

        I've run Red Hat 7.1 and now 9.
    • I m sure you will be able to purchases the CDs of the ISOs from other channels as well. For example some LUG sell downloaded ISO images on CDs for merely the cost of the media ($2-$5) and shipping.
    • by MrResistor (120588) <peterahoff@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:35PM (#6479892) Homepage
      When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS.

      I agree with you, but there are other distros that cover this marketspace. Mandrake is probably the most popular newbie distro, though my personal preference is SuSE (and yes, I do mean for newbies). There are numerous others with retail presence as well, like Lindows, TurboLinux, etc.

      I don't pay that close attention to the others, but I very much doubt that SuSE will be giving up on the retail market any time soon. Their free online distro is not the same as their boxed distro, and that differentiation probably helps their sales. Truth be told though, everyone I know who uses SuSE buys the box for the kickass manuals. I don't know anything about the quality of Red Hat's printed documentation, but I suspect that's the main thing that would be missed.

      In my experience, anyone who is ready to try an alternative to Windows is going to be more turned off by the price of a boxed set than the amount of time it takes to download ISOs.

      • by UndercoverBrotha (623615) <codemonkey2600@yah o o .com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:45PM (#6479965)
        "In my experience, anyone who is ready to try an alternative to Windows is going to be more turned off by the price of a boxed set than the amount of time it takes to download ISOs."

        I didn't realize Windows XP [pricegrabber.com]....was only $89(Oem)...this makes it even harder for the boxed product of Red Hat [pricegrabber.com] to sell...Joe Consumer would probably opt for a more known name anyway and its advertised ease of use, but when he wants to write a simple document is when he pays the piper! [pricegrabber.com]..after reading some of the comments and checking the price of both Boxed products, perhaps it does indeed make sense for RH to leave the shelves....
      • All of the documentation (and then some) that comes printed with the boxed version of RH is available for free online. Granted, it's not the same as a paper manual but since you mentioned quality, they're really excellent.

        http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/

        Disclaimer: I work for RedHat, but the first thing that turned me on to RH as a distribution was the documentation.

    • "When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS."

      It's not so easy when money becomes a factor. If one knows they can burn the ISOs at home, the web method is much more attractive.

      Personally, I think ya'all should push Knoppix more. It boots straight off the CD and doesn't make any changes to your machine. Not only that, but its hardware detection was surprisin
    • " When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS."

      Well, there are online stores that will burn stuff like this and send it to you through the mail for a couple of quid. It seems that would be the answer for people on dial-up, interested in giving Linux a try (also cheaper.)

      When I first saw Red Hat on store shelves, however, in PC World (UK) I was quite surprised.

    • Seriously, I have 8 licenses and have never bought a retail copy. Plus I have an MSDN subscription (Universal) and can install each authenticated OS & piece of software 10 times.

      I have never had the need to buy a copy of windows in a store.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:09PM (#6479646)
    Perhaps this may be a boon for MandrakeSoft? The novice home user who only wants to casually look at Linux or who lacks broadband might feel more comfortable going to the store to get Linux CDs.
    • Yes, they run you as root by default and they've got other problems, but Lindows actually seems to want to be on Compusa shelves, and is more likely to be useful to Compusa's customers.

      Redhat was just there because they thought they had to be, not because it was making them any money. Linux won't die from the Compusa shelves if Mr. Robertson moves fast.

    • Most people I know who use Linux *did* start with CD's and many of them were CD's that I burned. So the real issue is that if someone wants to redistribute the RedHat disks, they can.

      The only thing that bothers me is that I think that RedHat needs to court small hobbyists as well as large enterprises. This is how they keep thir name recognition. I am wondering how long before they abandon their standard distributions all together. That IMO would be a very bad thing... I am NOT going to buy RedHat Ente
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As long as I can download the ISOs from Finland,
    I dont' really care. Redhat's disto is great;
    but their concentration on the server market
    will hurt their reputation amoung the home
    and desktop markets.
  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:13PM (#6479678)
    If it keeps them effective, cool. This part concerns me though:

    --
    The company hopes that the changes help to overcome the long lead time needed to produce boxed sets. With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.
    --

    Kinda valid, but sounds more like their boxed versions simply aren't selling that well. Not blasting them by the way. I always buy my Linux distros just to support the company, and this is the now only company I get my Linux distro from. I trust they won't go away...
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chicane-UK (455253) <chicane-uk@ntlworl3.14159d.com minus pi> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:42PM (#6479932) Homepage
      I can understand what they are trying to say. I've seen Red Hat for sale in places that perhaps it shouldn't be (like Virgin Megastores, propped alongside normal commercial software). The problem is that the versions they have sat on the shelves are always hugely out of date, and are not likely to work with a lot of more recent hardware out of the box. I believe they had RH 7.1 when I was there last, compared with the current version of 9.

      And if places like Virgin are trying to sell something like Linux to the general public (I can't imagine most regular Linux users would be buying out of date and overpriced box sets from a music & video games store), an 'old' version is going to have a Linux newbie bringing it back because it trashed their brand new Gateway PC.

      I think perhaps this is for the best.. I just download Red Hat ISO's through the 'Instant ISO' thing on the Red Hat Network anyway!
    • With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.

      Is this problem due more to time-to-shelf, or due to a the very short 6 month release cycle?

      As a home RH user, I'm a little peeved by the 6 month release cycle. I want a stable release with incremental updates.

      Upgrading from 8->9 was a bit of a pain, and I wonder if differences in the binaries really needed such a intensive update script.

      (Yes ye
  • There must have been a misunderstanding here. Surely they don't think that their cash flow won't be injured if they stop producing shrinkwrap software? Both companies and Joe Sixpack like cardboard boxes and plastic CD cases. ISO-download-only would literally destroy their company.
  • Bad move PR-wise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by k98sven (324383) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:15PM (#6479703) Journal
    I think Red Hat is making a mistake.
    There is enormous PR value in having a retail product available, even if it is not particularily profitable.

    Example: Ericsson is widely known as a "cell phone manufacturer". Actually, they make very little money off selling consumer products like cell phones. Ericsson has always made its money off the sales of system hardware. (switches and whatnot)
    But it's the consumer products that have given them brand-recognition, and that is worth a lot.

    I think Red Hat should take note of this.
    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:31PM (#6479864) Homepage
      Very few people buy the boxed sets. People are comfortable with cell phones, it's an entirely different market - there is plenty of competition and little lock in. People are aware of these facts.

      Operating systems are different. The vast, vast, vast majority of people use whatever comes with their computer. Those who wish to try something different, are by definition not mainstream. The problems with the boxed sets are many - they are expensive and complex to produce, and are rapidly obsoleted at a rate most people would not be happy about.

      Basically, with the increase in broadband penetration it becomes increasingly likely that if you want Linux, you either have, or know somebody that has a fast link, so you can download the ISOs.

      I expect you will still be able to buy CDs of the distro, just that you will have to get them from online shops.

      Anyway, IMHO this move makes sense. RHL is no longer a "product" as such, certainly not one that makes money. It would seem to make sense to make it more a community thing - after all, in terms of software freedom it's just as good as Debian.

      I'd be a bit worried that it might stagnate though - I hope Red Hat still take a lead in developing it. Would BlueCurve have happened in a community driven distro? Probably not. Yet I still like it.

  • Downsizing... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mark_space2001 (570644) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:15PM (#6479706)
    The changes will begin with development lists being made public, and will be followed by return of package maintanence to the developers themselves. Currently, packages are "handed over" to Red Hat developers, who then tune them for inclusion in a particular version. Under the new system, developers will maintain control of the packages.

    This sounds like they are downsizing some of their workforce to me. Yes, I know that the article said this move was to improve release cycle times but it sounds like they are just plain getting rid of the retail line and there will be some layoffs too as certain people are no longer needed.

    • If you are correct about them planning on reducing their workforce, you could take the announcement this way:

      If you think release cycles are long now, wait until we don't have any employees anymore. We're going to try to bring as much of the open source community in to help us on our product, so when we let all of our developers go, it won't affect schedule too much.
  • RedHat Trademark (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kc8ioy (640909)
    What will will do for businesses putting redhat on the desktop in regard to the RedHat trademark? Are they going to have to pay for it online, or will they drop all the trademark stuff for RedHat Linux?

    Maybe this will make RedHat make like Debian in regards to trademarking, etc. Maybe not since they should still be selling the support packages.

    • Red Hat is becoming rather harsh on anyone that copies their disks. Technically your not allowed to replicate a Red Hat disk unless you go into the code and remove all the trademarks. No logos, no use of the words "Red Hat" in the code. You can't print lables with RED HAT or the shaddowman logo on the disk.

      How this is supposed to be legal in face of the GPL is questionable. Any trademark onwer has a right to prevent you from replicating a trademark. For Example: I can't print up Coca-a-cola tee shirts
  • Makes sense.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by gloth (180149)
    ...given that RedHat made most money from their support contract. I've been using Linux for 10 years, have tried a lot of distros, but never shelled out money for a boxed set, and especially these days, with broadband internet access and CD burners everywhere, I'd assume most people just download the ISO images anyway. I don't think RedHat ever made money with the boxed sets, and most people won't be affected by this move either.
    Nothing to see here, move on.
    • Re:Makes sense.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrscorpio (265337) <twoheadedboy@ston e p o ol.com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:23PM (#6479781)
      Most people who use and enjoy Linux and want to keep it going do, in fact, "shell out money" for a box set. I put my money where my mouth is; I buy every x.1 Mandrake release and am a Mandrake club member. I also just purchased the definitive guide, even though I think it's a little overpriced, the shipping is too high, the discount for being a club member isn't very much, and the entire book is available to club members (like myself) as a .pdf.

      If you particularly like a certain distro and use it for day-to-day use, I suggest you do the same if you want it to survive. Or if it's something like Gentoo, give them the amount it would cost if they had a boxset once a year or so, which would be about $60.

      Chris
      • Re:Makes sense.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The Tyro (247333)
        Indeed.

        I also purchase boxed sets of linux, and have for several years. I may or may not use them for very long (latest iso's get downloaded, checked out, and often installed... I can't count how many linux CDs I have laying around), but I believe in supporting the distros.

        I use redhat primarily, but I'm also a MandrakeClub member, and I believe in supporting people who provide a valuable service. Now, college students living on Ramen noodles may not have the cash in their paypal account to do this, bu
  • oh yeah? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalsushi (137809) * <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:16PM (#6479719) Journal
    Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux


    Who's the leading distributor period?

  • Of course I haven't RTFA (being on /. and all that), but that's either a very smart decision on turning their focus entirely to the enterprise - follow the money - or they're in the process of pissing every last techie with a knack for Linux (and thus subverting it into the corporate world) off big time.

    The two options are not mutually exclusive.

    • What linux techies do you know that go to their local compusa and buy their distros there?
      I don't know anyone who has every purchased a boxed linux distro. Everyone just downloads the ISO's so the retail boxes are a complete waste of money.
      • Re:Betting the Farm? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by big tex (15917) <torsionality@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:34PM (#6479888)
        I buy the boxed sets, at least every other release. Yes, it's kind of silly, but I like having the "real" CD. It just looks sexier that way.

        Vote with your wallet and all of that. Remember, the busisness world counts sales, not people.

        Also, I don't program, so it's my way of giving a little back to the nice people at SuSE for sponsoring KDE developers and the like.
        I may not have a stall in the Bazar, but I can bring doughnuts to share. :)
        • heh, it's like showing off with a Linux box on your shelf and preaching to anyone curious enough to ask. Red Hat should start selling Linux posters - that would work just as well :D
      • Everyone just downloads the ISO's so the retail boxes are a complete waste of money.

        Not always. Sometimes purchasing a boxed set is cheaper then time spent downloading and burning the ISOs. Time is money.

        In the time it takes to download and burn the ISOs, I can walk/drive over to CompUSA, buy the boxed set, walk/drive back to the office and be finished with the install before the ISOs are done downloading.

        If I want to install now, the boxed set can be very valuable.
  • It's a Good Thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikewren420 (264173) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:17PM (#6479727) Homepage
    Red Hat was probably hemorrhaging cash in the consumer retail arena... so rather than continue to fight a loosing battle, they're regrouping and doing what works for them.

    It's a novel conect in the IT economy.... focus on what actually makes your company money, and dump what you loose money on. Red Hat isn't a Microsoft... they don't have the capital to piss away to maintain market share. They *need* to focus on what makes money.
    • I am firmly in the camp that Red Hat is doing the right thing.

      I remember many years ago during my college days when I first saw the Red Hat boxed version in a Best Buy. I was looking at the games and other software in the windows section, mainly to decide what warez to get later that evening. It used to be so hard browsing for titles on the net, and it was better to make decisions of what I needed or wanted and then go find it.

      Looking at the Red Hat box with the "free software" Linux in that Best Bu

    • They don't have the capital to piss away to maintain market share.

      Red Hat had the capital...but instead they just chose to spend $700 million of it on a compiler company and some questionable dot coms.

      Setting aside a fraction of that $700 million to continue to provide an easy way for consumers to get their distribution from retail channels would have been the strategically correct thing to do. But then again, that would be acting like a desktop software company (as opposed to the server software compan
  • by stonebeat.org (562495) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:21PM (#6479761) Homepage
    Red Hat is provider for Linux OS for the Enterprises. They want to concentrate more on the RH 2.1 Advance Server, and not waste too much time on the retailing the distribution.

    Moveover since the developers will be actually the one doing the packaging as well, Red Hat's job will become in including those packages in their ES/AS/WS distributions. Making the developer list open to all, will in-turn help them making their ES/AS/WS services better.
    They want to be a service oriented company, rather than a product oriented. And this is the only Open Source Model that will survive.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is #2.

    #1 was the one-year end-of-life policy:

    I'm perfectly willing to pay extra for ongoing support on old Red Hat versions. I'm perfectly willing to upgrade remotely every year a-la FreeBSD buildworld. I'm perfectly willing to pay extra for a "Small Biz Server" product.

    However, all Red HAt has to offer me is "hobbyist version" and an "advanced workstation".

    Luckily, Linux is not Windows, I switched all servers to FreeBSD except a few that belong to clients. When they end-of-life, you can guess wha
    • Red Hat is not Linux.
      There's still
      SuSE
      Mandrake
      Debian
      Slackware
      Knoppix
      etc......

      Wait for the real release on Monday, as Alan Cox said.

      Having said that I tried RH once (v.7) - got totally hacked off at the circular dependency hell (reminded me of dlls) and gave up. I re-formatted the HD and installed SuSE - I went back to that which I knew worked. The improved internet update for SuSE is a breeze too, the old one was a bit painful but they fixed it well. The support mailing lists are also excellent.

  • i don't think this will make a noticeable difference to Redhat's revenue. Isn't their biggest source of income their corporate customers? i.e. those buying things like Enterprise Edition with a support contract?
  • Granted, it's not like they were getting $100 a year out of me before - for every boxed set I would pick up (because I was in a time/place where downloading would be inconvenient or just because I wanted to support the company) I've probably downloaded three sets of ISOs off mirror sites... but that still works out to $20 or $30 a year of my money that Red Hat saw. Were the boxed sets really a losing proposition for them?
  • by ToasterTester (95180) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:29PM (#6479843)
    When took one of RH's training classes a few years ago the instructor was telling us that less then 10% of RH's income is from the distro and they would drop it if they could. It was only a marketing tool for them. That most of RH's income is from support, training, and custom development.

    Then look at RH's support model they are like Sun they don't want to deal with the lower tier customers, they only want to deal with the large corporations. Guess you could say Red Hat is turning into a traditional Unix company.
    • Then look at RH's support model they are like Sun they don't want to deal with the lower tier customers, they only want to deal with the large corporations.

      That is really too bad. I read a fascinating book, several years ago, called "Wall Street Money Mahcine" by Wade Cook. The guy has apparently made a boatload of money in the stock market (the book was written before '95). He got the idea for his theories on investing while he was working as a cabbie in NYC.

      Basically, he had a bunch of buddies wh


      • The moral of the story is that Red Hat should not underestimate the value of the consumers plunking down $100 for a Red Hat boxed OS with each new version. If they did it right, that initial purhcase would mean more to them than the recurring RHN subscriptions.

        If it hasn't worked so far, what's likely to change? It's pretty hard to sell low-end consumers on a product they can get for free.
        Businesses are a bit different. A lot of people are more willing to "donate" their employer's money to Red Hat than t


      • But what was the guy's secret to making money in the stock market? I really don't want to drive a cab around all day in a congested city.
  • by ElGuapoGolf (600734) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @03:33PM (#6479878) Homepage

    Let's face it, RH is *NOT* targeted at the types of users who are going to pick up software at Best Buy and CompUSA. Even people who want to try linux are going to be put off by RH.

    It's just not desktop/home friendly. No flash, no mp3 abilities, and GNOME, while much improved, isn't quite there yet. (File selection dialog, you know it)

    This means that the only distro you're going to find at BB and CompUSA is going to be SuSE, at least until or if Mandrake ever manages to find another retail distributor.

    RH is choosing to concentrate on the business space. Which is good, since their efforts there are somewhat lacking. (RHAS is dreadful, but with improvement it'd be decent)

  • Not sure about this move, I know a lot of people who like getting boxed sets of software with a good sized printed manual in it (SuSE for example includes two manuals in professional, totally over 1500 pages of stuff).

    Also, with the whole "Linux is good for use in poor areas, third world countries and countries like india / china", how easy is it to get the software when dialup or internet cafe is the only way to access the net ?
    • Just buy one of the many Linux books available - many of which come with Linux distros on cd's. Pay for the printed material, not the cd's :)

      Speaking of which, does red hat sell manuals? I'm pretty sure Mandrake does...
  • Will I still be able to buy Red Hat on CD from the company? Downloading big ISOs is annoying, and I don't want to buy from some 3rd party vendor that just ships some burnt CDs. I still want an actual product ... nice CDs, manuals, et al. Is Red Hat doing away with this too, or just the distribution of it in stores - will I still be able to buy it directly from then? If not, how in the world is Linux supposed to compete with Microsoft if you can't even BUY IT?! (I know I know, it's available to download
    • Yeah, I'm worried the plan is to effectively prevent people from getting ahold of any Redhat but the enterprise versions that you can only buy with support and a promise to buy support for every copy you use (!).

      Is anyone but SuSE real competition in the commercial space? I can't see Debian in corps...
    • Psst. Red Hat isn't the only company producing Linux distributions right now.

      If you want to shell out money for a commercial Linux distro, I'd recommend SuSE anyway -- some very powerful configuration tools, a damned nice installer, and some of the best-produced and most thorougly documented paper manuals I've ever seen.
  • Lets face it ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by omar.sahal (687649)
    I have never bought a boxed CD set. I never will it cost £40, if it cost $10 then I would, Linux is in demand at the moment, this demand will most likely grow companies should be working out how best to satisfy this demand not provide a product put some imaginary price on it then expect profits. Companies that satisfy a genuine need and give customers what they need thrive, others don't.
  • I don't get it. How can they have made all these moves to become a desktop distro (such as bluecurve and the ensuing controversies) and then they walk away from retail? Retail == desktops!

    This move sounds to me like a concession that SuSE and Mandrake have won that market.

  • I've never bought a boxed set of Red Hat because it always seemed that whatever was on the shelf was an old version. Unlike other commercial operating systems (which will remain unnamed) Red Hat and most Linux distros are constantly changing. It would be next to impossible to keep the latest versions freshly in retail, and the constant changes would probably confuse the average retail shopper. What I would like to see them do is to sell hardcopies of books and manuals.
  • Smart Move (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dalslad (648100)

    I have to acknowledge them for a good business move.

    They have obviouly looked at the retail market and made the same observation as the rest of the software world: Don't attempt to compete with Microsoft in the channel.

    Understand that Microsoft eats software companies for lunch by luring them into a den where the buyers for Office Depot, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc.don't know RedHat, Corel, Claris, etc. from the $1 CD's they sell from CD Specialists, Inc.

    Microsoft pulls software companies into the retail

  • I think that you have missed the point where redhat says that the developers of packages will maitain their own rpms for the distro. As a developer that had to create rpms, i see clearly that this move would influense the way developers produce - distribute their programs. If a developer maintains the rpms, he will probably tell people to use them in their install, this would mean that he would tell people to use RedHat to install the software on !

    RedHat is simply recognising, like Microsoft, that is has t
  • by techstar25 (556988) <.techstar25. .at. .cfl.rr.com.> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:00PM (#6480076) Homepage Journal
    The first thing I thought of, is "Why doesn't Microsoft distribute electronically?"
    For instance if someone buys a retail box of XP today, they get the original release without the most current bug fixes for the OS and IE. It seems it would be more convenient if they could just purchase a completely updated and fixed version of XP online and just download it. I'm sure they won't do it, because there are plenty of reasons not to, many of which have been mentioned by other posts here already, but nonetheless, it would be nice to have that option.
    Personally, I would never buy a retail box of Linux because I always the very latest, and I can get that in a downloaded iso(usually).
  • If I go into Staples or PC World in my town, I'll see boxes of Linux distros that are two or even three releases behind the current one (this applies to Red Hat, Mandrake or, before SCO pulled the plug, Caldera). This looks rather sad and doesn't inspire confidence in the user.

    Unlike Microsoft, who have a major OS release every year or two and release patches and SPs galore in the interim, Linux changes fast. It's been said before, but one of Linux's major problems from a user's POV is the short release c

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:03PM (#6480093) Homepage Journal
    I hope RedHat knows what they are doing, because they are going to make themselves invisible to many of the middle management who make buying decisions on software.

    And flame me all you want, but what is bad for RedHat in most ways is bad for Linux. They are the lead flagbearer, like it or not.
  • I've always purchased boxed sets of my favorite distros as a way of helping the revolution. But RH seems to be doing a smart thing. I get a lot better value from joining the redhat network than purchasing things I'll never use (installation manual, pretty box, etc). In fact, I usually just drop the ISOs onto a server so that I can loopback mount them or just copy all the RPMs to a directory. RedHat probably gets more from a subscription than an equivalent boxed set anyway. So almost everybody wins. The peo
  • The company's next major release, codenamed "Cambridge," will not be provided in boxed, retail form, according to company communications with employees and developers, which have been made available to Linux and Main.

    Next release, not permanently.

    At the moment, Red Hat doesn't control enough of the market to warrant a full-blown retail version. True, a boxed set at least implants the Red Hat name in the small brain of Joe Simian, but as none of his butt-scratching cohorts are using it, he'll opt for Win

    • small brain of Joe Simian

      And this ladies and gentlemen is why "Joe Simian" is so phsyched over dropping "Windoze" and jumping to "that Linux thing".

      You either want "Joe Simian" or you don't, dude. There's no middle ground. And until you and your friends get over things like these, you sure as hell ain't gettin' him.

  • by Ravenseye (146453) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @04:23PM (#6480236)
    Every time I buy a boxed set at CompUSA, I see people watching and I know they're wondering about using it. Certainly, they're seeing that people DO buy this "Linux thing" they've been hearing about. At work, people grab the box...or the manuals and comment on how neat it all looks. They claim to be surprised at how much you get in the package, thinking that only MS can do stuff like that. When vendors come in, I purposely leave the materials laying around and I always get a question or two about where our "commitment" is to Linux, usually followed by a resigned sigh as they realize that they'll have to adapt or lose. Red Hat is seriously underestimating the power of that box, and Linux will suffer because of this.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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