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Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source 191

Posted by kdawson
from the falling-tide-lifts-some-boats dept.
arashtamere writes "Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst predicts the enterprise open source software business will emerge from the economic crisis stronger than the proprietary market. 'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs." And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ... I think we'll know in about six to nine months but there is no question that open source will come out of this in relatively better shape than our proprietary competitors,' he told Computerworld."
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Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:27AM (#25451901) Homepage

    I feel as if thousands of MCSE's cried out in pain and were silenced.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:31AM (#25451939)

      Were they using the Billy Mays awesome auger to run cat5 near gas lines?

    • And you just hit the nail on the head as to why it will be hard for MSFT shops to switch. MCSEs are cheap and plentiful,whereas Linux gurus are the opposite. So while they can run a free Linux server edition and save upfront costs the first time they have a serious breakdown it is going to cost them. And the support contracts for distros like Red Hat(last time I checked,its been a few years) will eat any savings that they had from switching. Hopefully as cheap Nettops and Netbooks get more popular more when learn Linux and go into the field,but ATM Linux Server admins certainly ain't cheap nor plentiful.

      Not trying to flame here,just stating what I've run into in the field. While there are some old Windows guys out there like me that love to learn new Operating Systems and all the little ins and outs,I have run into way too many MCSEs that if you took away WinServer would be as helpless as any non technical home user.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Wait, so there's no like... LCSE? Why the Hell not, considering Linux is used on so many servers and is the backbone of a LOT of important hardware. Like servers for Steam games. (Okay, important to ME. d:)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by illumin8 (148082)

        And the support contracts for distros like Red Hat(last time I checked,its been a few years) will eat any savings that they had from switching.

        You're doing it wrong. The next time you need an HP Proliant server, ask your HP rep to bundle a 3-year Red Hat subscription/license with it. It will only add a few hundred dollars onto the cost of the server, far less than a Windows Server 2003/2008 license, and you'll get real support (1st and 2nd tier at HP, 3rd tier at Red Hat). Most servers are decommissioned

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by David Gerard (12369)
        Nah, they just hire Linux weenies. Kids are cheap. And it's not like there aren't a zillion of them.
  • by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:30AM (#25451937) Homepage Journal

    as an engineer, with 10+ yrs in the industry, it still boggles the mind that closed source, proprietary software has such a stranglehold on the way businesses percieve 'value'.

    all too often, you see a business with a couple of it 'support' staff, maybe developers too, and someone has a day at the golf course and comes back with 'great news, we've managed to secure a long term contract with IBM...'

    i still loath cognos reportnet some 4 years after that guy came back from the golf course... whats that ? ibm bought cognos? greeeeeaaat!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:42AM (#25452633)

      As a manager, with 20+ years in the industry, I have solved the mystery.

      "Golfware" is a term I invented to describe any combination of hardware and/or software that is purchased after a golf outing. Golf is powerful stuff; it enables non-technical people to make far-reaching technical decisions without spending the time to learn the details. You don't see open source on the golf course, and you have to understand open source to effectively utilize it.

      There are people who actually CREATE solutions and those who merely SHOP for them. The "creators" can only rise so high in the org chart. Inevitably, somebody with a non-CS background becomes the "creator's" boss. Such people are inevitably "shoppers".

      • ha!

        worst part is.. i play golf a couple times a week, and _never_ do i get in on these deals!

    • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @10:56AM (#25453687) Homepage

      as an engineer, with 10+ yrs in the industry, it still boggles the mind that closed source, proprietary software has such a stranglehold on the way businesses percieve 'value'.

      Depends on the business. I got the top tech spot where I am precisely because of my background in both Windows and open source. Moving away from Windows as a host and development platform resulted in significant cash savings. We've even replaced a lot of our commodity workstations with Ubuntu and our productivity apps with a mix of GoogleDocs and OpenOffice.

      Not only have we saved a lot of cash in licensing costs, but discovered that all the hype about increased training costs is just FUD. We haven't had any massive staff training costs, not even many calls to the help desk. The only ongoing annoyance is so many vendors want to use GoToMyPC and it doesn't support Linux. So we have to go scare up a Windows client.

      Higher maintenance costs...FUD.

      The line about paying more for qualified open source techs and developers is also FUD. We didn't have any problems replacing Windows only staff at competitive local rates. And our operating environment is so much calmer and more productive. You don't realize how much time you spend serving the Windows platform until you move away from it.

      It's a pity it takes an economic crisis to get companies to look into a better way of doing business. You'll never make any progress taking advice from people invested in the MS platform, even if they're on your staff. The .NET developers said it would take us months to duplicate some of the systems they built, we did it in weeks. In one case days. We're down to converting the last couple core systems and the mood among the remaining .NET developers is grim. This is a bad time to be out looking for a job but I gave them a chance to get on board with the new order. We're shutting them down in the next couple months. Even the outsource vendors. I gave them the right answers the first day we met. Months later they're still trying to push .NET solutions.

      • It's a pity it takes an economic crisis to get companies to look into a better way of doing business.

        The problem is that the rest of the time, the government is fixing the interest rate too low and putting a disincentive on any sort of real savings/investment. So people are made to only care about the short term (because they're penalized for trying to plan long-term), and they just can't be bothered to look around at what might be a bit scary but better in the long run.

  • Yes, but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russlar (1122455) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:33AM (#25451961)
    Has anybody checked the price of a Red Hat subscription lately? It ain't cheap. In fact, it's cheaper to get M$ bundled with a server than it is to get a one year Red Hat subscription, given that you need to renew (read= pay more $$$) each year, and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

    So yes, open-source as a "whole" (Articles of Confederation-type whole) will do well in tough economic times. If Red Hat wants in on this, they'll need to either lower their prices, or perhaps rethink they're "software as a service" model.
    • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:40AM (#25452037) Homepage Journal

      www.centos.org

      ( or - son of redhat )

      presuming you havent built really crappy apps, one linux guy to install and configure, then let it just run in the background. java webapp? tomcat ! database backend? postgres ! ldap? etc...

      of course, if your business demands up to the minute support, patches, etc, redhat can provide a reasonable service for a reasonable price, and will be pretty well binary compatible with your initial centos outlay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The subscription gets you any new release while you're subscribed. For Windows, you need to buy the new OS. You can also seamlessly migrate to centos or migrate from centos if you want to try if it fits your needs.
      • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by schon (31600) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:13AM (#25452289)

        The subscription gets you any new release while you're subscribed. For Windows, you need to buy the new OS.

        Also, does a Windows subscription cover applications, or do you need to buy them (and support for them) separately?

        OB car analogy:

        It's like complaining that Red Hat's car costs more money than our MS's bare chassis. By the time you buy the MS Engine, MS Body, MS Wheels, MS Dashboard, MS Steering Wheel, etc, you end up paying more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by marcosdumay (620877)

      A Red Hat subscription was a similar price to a Windows 2008 (basic - I mean, Standard - edition) yearly payment with Software Assurance. The difference being that Red Hat does way more.

      Or you were comparing that with Vista? Red Hat is a server system.

      • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:36AM (#25452563)
        No doubt. Red Hat is the only company that I know of that will support other vendors apps to the point of fixing it themselves, or even having one of their kernel devs patch Linux. If fact, Red Hat is the only company that I know of that can really claim that they can get fixes for customers directly in to both the mainline Linux kernel and Samba. My understanding is they'll also support any of the products created by the thousands of vendors that are part of the Red Hat Exchange. Microsoft just can't offer that, even if they wanted to.
        • by MightyYar (622222)

          I guess it makes sense... I mean, their product is support so it had better be pretty good. MS's product is more of the traditional model of software, with support added on so that they can sell more software.

          • Actually, if you think about it, support is just a money sink for Microsoft... it costs them lots of money and generates no extra business (if you're calling for support, they've already got your money, most likely).
            • MS sells support contracts just like everyone else. It is not a money sink, else they would not sell them.

    • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@noSpAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:38AM (#25452593) Journal

      and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

      True, but you need fewer of them. The rule of thumb I've always seen used is 1:25 admins to servers with Windows, but 1:50 (or 1:100 if the guy's good) with Linux (on desktops, that ratios on both are around 1:50 or more, but then desktops aren't usually pushed as hard as servers). This may not be as true as it once was, I understand Windows Server 2008 has made some impressive leaps, including a full command line shell and SSH server. But that's the historical reason for Linux (UNIX guys in general, really) commanding more dough: better rate of return on each dollar spent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff Hornby (211519)

        From what I've seen of Windows v. Linux shops, most shops that use Linux are still made up mostly of techies while Windows shops tend to be more of a mixed bag. When I've been in Windows shops where the majority of people are technical, the ratio of techs to users seem to be much higher: in fact, in the same ranges that you have quoted for Linux.

        What I'd like to see is a study comparing similar situations: average number of techs for businesses that are mostly technial or average number of techs for busine

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sheldon (2322)

          I think this idea of trying to measure admins to servers ratio is nearly impossible without addressing what the servers actually do. Database servers may require more work than web servers, etc.

          Regardless, interesting anecdotal evidence...

          The company I worked for merged with a sister company. We were a Windows shop and they were Unix. Their IT staff was amazed to find out that our Windows admin staff was three times more efficient then their Unix admin staff. Primarily because our staff had automated vi

      • by ajs (35943)

        1:50 or 1:100 works for servers if you have a plan when you start. I've seen shops that need 1:20 because they started rolling out servers without a plan, and kept doing reactionary admin. Of course, that's true for both Windows and Linux, but I think Windows is ever so slightly more resilient in the face of half-starts, in that you have a fixed platform from which it's harder to stray. Once you have a Linux shop with 5 different software update strategies on 3 distributions with no centralized upgrade plan

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by corbettw (214229)

          To be fair, the same thing can happen in Windows shops. I've seen places with a mishmash of 95, 98, NT4, 2000, and XP machines, all trying to work together.

          But you are right that some shops think being "Linux friendly" means letting multiple distros through the door. Screw that, pick one and go with that. At the very least, pick one package management system (apt, rpm/yum, whatever) and make it standard across the servers and desktops. Otherwise, nothing will ever get updated properly.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Corrado (64013)

            Puppet [reductivelabs.com] could be the answer to the multiple system thing. It can handle different systems running different packaging systems quite well and update them all according to generic directions. For instance you could have it install a HTTP server on all Linux machines and on RHES it uses Apache and on SLES it installs Lighttpd. Puppet is completely configurable and (fairly) easy to use.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ed Avis (5917)

      Does the cost of Microsoft Windows included with a server include a support subscription comparable to Red Hat's? If not, you are not comparing like with like.

      The fair comparison is: Windows licence plus support contract versus RHEL subscription,

      or: Windows licence with no support versus CentOS with no support.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      With RedHat's subscription you get support for quite a few applications besides the base OS.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Has anybody checked the price of a Red Hat subscription lately? It ain't cheap. In fact, it's cheaper to get M$ bundled with a server than it is to get a one year Red Hat subscription, given that you need to renew (read= pay more $$$) each year, and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

      I have no idea what the service level is so this is a serious question: Is the lowest support option, the one bundled with the Windows server license any good? Or is it more of a place you can open a ticket and maybe get an solution sooner or later or not at all? Where if your local support with the help of google can't find a solution, the ones you report it to are equally out of depth? Because I imagine there's quite a few that are really only interested in the license and would buy it no matter how poor

    • RHEL is also substantially more reliable than Windows, and requires fewer personnel to support (per server). For most businesses, a RHEL/JBOSS subscription will cost less in a given year than what it would cost to maintain a Windows Server/.NET IIS stack. In terms of other proprietary systems like AIX/Websphere, a RHEL/JBOSS subscription is substantially less expensive, in plain dollar amounts. Also, because of the staff that Red Hat can provide, some businesses actually switch from a community supported
    • by johannesg (664142)

      There's a significant misunderstanding here, which is the following: price does not just say something about, well, price, it also says something about _value_.

      If Linux is cheaper, it must be because it is not as good and therefore has to compete on price. If Linux is more expensive, it must be because it is really quite good and can afford to ask a higher pricetag.

      Learn this lesson well: asking for more money means you are being more professional, and have a higher value product. It means you will be talki

    • by sorak (246725)

      Has anybody checked the price of a Red Hat subscription lately? It ain't cheap. In fact, it's cheaper to get M$ bundled with a server than it is to get a one year Red Hat subscription, given that you need to renew (read= pay more $$$) each year, and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

      So yes, open-source as a "whole" (Articles of Confederation-type whole) will do well in tough economic times. If Red Hat wants in on this, they'll need to either lower their prices, or perhaps rethink they're "software as a service" model.

      They didn't say they would survive...Just open source. Good luck with your slackware everybody.

  • by rhsanborn (773855) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:34AM (#25451973)
    Why is it that every story evaluating open source as a replacement for proprietary software starts with, "We want something cheaper." It's encouraging that people are comfortable with the reliability and features of OSS that they are comfortable putting businesses on it. But I would be concerned as an employee at these shops that management had fully evaluated the the needs of the company with respect to these packages. I've seen it a few times already at places where I've worked where a manager says, "This is cheaper, lets get this." and then doesn't realize that he needed someone who actually knew how to configure and manage things like the Linux box it was going to go on, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doktorjayd (469473)

      "This is cheaper, lets get this." and then doesn't realize that he needed someone who actually knew how to configure and manage things like the Linux box it was going to go on, etc.

      clearly you've never been somewhere that thought oracle was a good idea either...

      • "It is cheap, so let's buy it!" or "It's expensive, so let's buy it (it must be good)!". Signs of great managers.

    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:53AM (#25452131) Journal

      Cheap is a valid metric for evaluation. The employees will use what the company gives them to do the job the company asks them to do. These aren't personal gaming machines at your house.

      I have found that combining Windows XP with FOSS is a good thing. You give people an OS they are know, along with software that doesn't cost you anything but the time it took to create the gold image.

      My company saves money by buying our PCs used. We buy off-lease Dells for a pittance, and they already have the XP Pro sticker on them. Microsoft Tax? Not in this company. And we aren't talking about slacker machines, either. P4 with 2Gb RAM for a tad over $200 each.

      Cheap PC + Windows XP sticker + FOSS = IT being able to buy more toys.

      • by rhsanborn (773855)
        That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.
        • by Ngarrang (1023425)

          That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.

          I am blessed to be working at a company with slightly smarter managers. I am the one with the weak linux knowledge. Half our servers are already linux.

        • That works if you have the staff that understands the app and the systems it runs on/needs to run. Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.

          And why wouldn't they think that? To me, there is still a whole lot of confusion revolving around "free software" and "open source". To me, they have always been synonymous. If I can go download it and use it legally for free, then it's free. You call call it open source, o

        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

          ``Unfortunately, a lot of managers see "free" software and dive on that not understanding that they need people to maintain/support that.''

          That's probably because they have people on staff who are supposed to maintain/support the software the company uses. Of course these people won't magically be able to support whatever others decide to throw at them, but that is the case regardless of whether the software is open-source or not. And the solution is the same as always: either get your people to learn the n

      • by j-pimp (177072)

        My company saves money by buying our PCs used. We buy off-lease Dells for a pittance, and they already have the XP Pro sticker on them. Microsoft Tax? Not in this company. And we aren't talking about slacker machines, either. P4 with 2Gb RAM for a tad over $200 each.

        Cheap PC + Windows XP sticker + FOSS = IT being able to buy more toys.

        So where does one get off lease dells? Besides ebay of course.

        • by leamanc (961376)

          So where does one get off lease dells? Besides ebay of course.

          Go to dell.com and find the link near the top for "Dell Outlet." You'll find all kinds of really good deals on used desktops, laptops and servers.

    • Maybe because FOSS supporters have done such a good job with the "it's free" argument.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Where I work they buy recycled toner cartridges at half the price of new ones. The trouble is, you only get 1/10th as many pages before they peter out, and usually spill toner all over the inside of the printer, necessitating repairs.

      I've found that managers aren't very smart.

      There is argument about the cost of server software here, and seeing as how it's Red Hat speaking, that makes sense (I have no idea whether RH or MS server software is cheaper to run), but I don't understand why businesses are using Mi

      • by Trelane (16124)

        Is Star's spreadsheet really that bad?

        I've used it exclusively since 2002. I think it works just fine.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *
          I has to be better than Quattro or Lotus. I imagine it would be good, I prefer Star's WP to MS's.
  • Hi Peter, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:34AM (#25451975) Homepage

    If you could just go ahead and convert all of those windows servers containing all of our business value into linux, that'd be great, mmmmk?

    Wouldn't it be cheaper for them to just stop upgrading to the latest and greatest and stick with what they've already got?

    (I am a linux fan and don't even run windows, it just seems like it'd be more money and less cost effective to start switching over just leaving things alone).

    • Re:Hi Peter, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:17AM (#25452329) Homepage

      It would be cheaper to stay with what they already have, if only it were that easy...

      What happens when the current software reaches end of life? No patches, gaping security holes, nothing you can do about it... Have to upgrade, and possibly upgrade the hardware at the same time.

      What happens when you need to buy new or replacement hardware, the old software may not run on it, or its license may forbid it, meaning you now have some new and some old. Will you be able to run old alongside new, or will you start having compatibility problems that will force you to upgrade everything?

      If you move to open source, then future upgrades are a lot less painful, and its easier to retain older versions if you need to.

    • by Gazzonyx (982402)
      Yeah, so long as you're not looking down the barrel of a critical app that is about to hit end-of-life without an upgrade path. For instance, anyone who had a critical in house application using COM/OLE when Microsoft switch to .NET. You've gotta' switch before you've got no safety net, so why not use it as an opportunity to switch platforms?

      OTOH, to switch platforms solely for cost reasons, while said platform is treating you well, is fairly irresponsible and probably more costly than riding out your
  • Hell yeah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by cosmocain (1060326) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:37AM (#25452001)
    The year of the Linux desktop is finally to come.

    ...again.
  • 8 years ago.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:40AM (#25452039) Homepage
    I had a customer who needed to start from scratch with a new business. They could allocate about $5k for the whole database server. I priced out an NT+SQL Server (what they requested), and then priced out a Redhat ($50 at the time) box where we spent the same $ on hardware that we would have spent on software... so they got a kick butt system with $4950 worth of hardware versus a piece of crap machine with $3000 worth of software. That company is now worth something in the 8 digits range. (Wish I had an equity stake now!) That server also served their needs for 5 of the 8 years until a hardware failure, and all we did was move Mysql/Apache and the source to an externally hosted platform.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Large companies will gladly pay for an expensive system that comes with guarantee for support. Microsoft + Intel is a good example. If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others). Same with MS.

      If you cobble something cheap/free together you'll likely have a hard time finding a support solution that will take your problem as their own and find a resolution for you no matter how long it takes.
      • by JohnFluxx (413620)

        You can buy support from Redhat as well

      • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:18AM (#25452351) Homepage Journal

        If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel

        so the admin guys with MCSE's you employ to babysit your system guess its a hardware problem...and so the call intel.

        whereby intel will direct you to the software vendor, who is clearly responsible for the ${fault} you have described. .. and such and such.

        _or_ you could employ a couple of guys who know their way around f/oss, use commodity hardware and when a part fails, just replace it. if its under warranty, great, maybe get a fresh replacement part for the next one that blows. if not - meh.

        all the support in the world isnt going to help if your raid array fries and the mcse's didnt back up the data....

        my point is that if you have to have local support ( sysadmins, whatever ), then they should be able to handle 99 % of any problem likely to arise, the other 1% should be cheaper to just replace parts with - so what does ' vendor support' really get you?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

          ``what does ' vendor support' really get you?''

          Apparently, extra costs during normal operation, and extra costs in the event of failure, where you have to sit and wait for the support provider to diagnose the problem. And then maybe a free fix, if the provider decides that this is covered under their contract with you.

          By contrast, without the vendor support, you have no extra cost during normal operation, and some of the people who would, in the vendor support scenario, be twiddling thumbs during downtime w

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          CYA, somebody to blame, not my problem, etc.

      • by EvilRyry (1025309)

        He priced out _Redhat_. If there's a problem with any of the software that comes with Redhat, you call Redhat and they will solve your problem.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        MS will often blame the hardware vendor, Intel will often blame the software...

        What you really need is a system where the entire stack of both hardware and software is supported by a single vendor. Try looking at Sun, Apple or IBM. HP have some offerings too based on HP-UX and Linux, and SGI have supported linux offerings i believe.

        MS don't offer hardware, and i'm not sure if Intel offer any kind of software support with their hardware (although they could easily support a version of linux running on their

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by guruevi (827432)

        Have you ever called Microsoft for any support? Get your credit card ready because just OPENING a support request will cost you ~$150 unless you have an Enterprise Agreement and even then, getting the information together they need before opening a support request made one of my previous employers break out his Visa card and bill it as a company expense. And I didn't know Intel made full machines that they support. Unless you buy an expensive machine from a vendor like HP or IBM, you won't get any level of

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by corbettw (214229)

        If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others).

        Seriously? So if your RAID controller burns out, you can call Intel and they'll say something other than "Sorry, can't help, call your vendor"?

        You buy a hardware support contract from the vendor who assembled the hardware, not from one of the component manufacturers. And the purpose of a hardware support contract is to replace faulty hardware after the initial warranty, not to debug the problem in the first place.

      • 1) Red Hat does support entire OSS stacks. Other people do as well. You can also switch more easily if the support is not satisfactory. 2) MS will not fix every single bug you find as soon as possible - it could be a disaster for you and low priority for them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by neurovish (315867)

      What if the Red Hat license was the $350 - $1300 / year of use that it costs now? Would that company still have chosen it?

  • Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source

    No! Really? I'm shocked!!! Who would have thunkit????

  • I would like to believe that Linux would be positively promoted due to the economy. However, re-tooling an enterprise or SMB from MS and proprietary software to Open Source is costly and time consuming. There is an up front cost to be considered. The selling points of Linux and OSS are not necessarily bound with cost (although it helps) but with flexibility, stability and security. These three items, if working properly, should be transparent to the end user (and upper management). Thus the argument would b
    • As an employee for a non-profit, OSS has been a lifesaver but it will be difficult to find a replacement who will be familiar with the OSS applications and Linux.

      suggest walk into any small business office and see how visual basic for applications has completely anchored the business processes in that company, and will be there till the business dies.

      in that regard, crappy custom apps are always going to be harder to 'pick up', as at least with OSS apps there is a much wider pool of resources available to help.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      not necessarily ease of use, but familiarity. Is Windows actually that much easier then Linux? I doubt it, its just that more people are familiar with windows so it gives the appearance that its easier then Linux
    • by genner (694963)

      As an employee for a non-profit, OSS has been a lifesaver but it will be difficult to find a replacement who will be familiar with the OSS applications and Linux.

      As an empolyee of a non-profit I call that job security.

  • A lot of businesses may become increasingly unwilling to take risks, such as radically switching their technology.

    It's easy to take risks when business is good and there is plenty of cash sloshing around, but changing mission critical systems during bad economic periods will be seen as a bit too radical for many businesses.

    Having said that, I think smart businesses will be willing to make the change in many cases, especially when there is an OSS drop-in replacement, or where they are implementing a greenfield system.

    Paul

  • ...It's still a not-so-great idea for home desktop machines.

    Since servers tend to require a lot less in terms of end-user experience, you can get by with a lot more command-line operations to get the server to work correctly in the first place. That's why you see IBM being perhaps the world's largest distributor of "big iron" minis and mainframes that run modified versions of various commercial Linux distributions, since it wasn't that hard to port Linux to them.

    But a home user desktop machine is a complete

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rohan972 (880586)
      My experience was quite different. My first computer was a second hand box with 95 on it. I was a tinkerer, didn't know anything about anything (malware etc) but you can bet I learned how to reinstall windows 95. When I first installed linux I would dual boot because I couldn't get everything working. After time I got my linux partition doing everything I needed but I was still messing up my windows install. I just stopped reinstalling it. My tinkering just never seemed to render my linux installs unusable.
  • by paniq (833972) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:32AM (#25452525) Homepage
    First we were afraid
    we were petrified
    Kept thinking we could never live
    with Windows on our drives
    But then we spent so many nights
    hacking Linux all night long
    And it grew strong
    And we learned to carry on
    but now you're back
    your battle lost
    I just logged on to read about you
    urged by your bosses to save costs
    we should have told Novell to wait
    We should have raised our service fees
    If we had known for just one second
    you'd be begging on your knees
  • by viridari (1138635) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:47AM (#25452699)

    On paper, RHEL is a tough sell against Windows. The pricing just isn't aggressive enough.

    For CIO's with more foresight, migrating from Windows to Linux makes future migrations much easier. Since Linux is a very UNIX-y environment, it's relatively painless to move from one Linux flavor to another, or from Linux to another UNIX-y OS.

    Migrating to or from Windows is the major point of pain. Once you can get away from Windows, it actually doesn't make a lot of sense to ever go back to it (again, because migrating the other way is so hard).

    Linux, on the other hand, will run on every machine at the company. Everything from your cell phones to your desktops, x86 servers, midrange boxen, and mainframes. Your IT department can become far more efficient (read: less head count) managing UNIX and Linux across the enterprise instead of Windows on the desktops & low-end servers, something else on your bigger servers, something else on your phones, etc.

    • by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:59AM (#25452875) Homepage Journal

      almost.

      what they need to do is stop investing in vendor lockin.

      dont write that new app in dot net, do it in java with open source libs.

      dont use oracle/sql server, use postgres.

      with that first step tidied up, moving to an open source app server running on linux is very simple.

      or even moving to a closed source app server on linux. or aix. or solaris - your apps, if well written, will not need to change one bit.

    • by Tsagadai (922574)
      Because on paper you failed maths. If you have ever called Microsoft for support you would know the difference between a support contract and a software license. It's not a hard sell at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by viridari (1138635)

        In fact, I have called Microsoft support in the past. And I found the experience to be one of the few gratifying aspects of being a Microsoft customer. Once you get past the costs, Microsoft support is (or was) truly top notch. Certainly much more effective than Red Hat's.

        Then again, I haven't had to deal with Microsoft products in 3 or 4 years, and I haven't called Red Hat for support in about as long.

  • The Red Hat CEO also reported that the latest sun spots are a good reason to switch to Linux...
  • Or switch for free (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Flagg0204 (552841) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @10:40AM (#25453395)

    'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs."

    This makes Jim sound like a complete tool. People who want to save money by switching to open source solutions typically don't go to Redhat. You really want to save money? Switch to CentOS or Debian/Ubuntu. Those are free. In my experience companies usually use free solutions for the majority of their server fleet. For systems that require commercial support (Oracle, Weblogic, etc) they will use RHEL.

    And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ...

    On a personal note.....DONT DO IT! JBoss blows chunks compared to Weblogic 10. If you want a cheaper J2EE solution, look at Glassfish its getting a lot of attention and having used the last stable version it is actually pretty good.

  • He's the CEO of a company with a somewhat untried venture trying to influence migration during an economic crisis! These people depend on investors not to jump off the train.

    I believe an economic crisis will cause much more conservatism in the way companies run their IT. That may mean more sticking to Solaris or AIX for their servers and Microsoft Windows for their workstations, probably just not upgrading. Chances are they will cost cut by getting rid of jobs and not licensing NEW products instead of migra

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