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Red Hat Exchange Is Dead 88

Posted by timothy
from the milk-for-free dept.
darthcamaro writes "In 2007, Red Hat launched the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) — an appstore, if you will, of open source partner applications sold from a Red Hat website. Sounds like a good idea, right? While an appstore works well for Apple, turns out that an appstore for open source (from a Linux vendor) isn't such a good idea. 'When we came out with RHX we were hoping for more ambitious adoption but we've learned that selling third-party applications via a marketplace is challenging,' Mike Evans, Red Hat's vice president of corporate development said. 'When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace.'"
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Red Hat Exchange Is Dead

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  • Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StrategicIrony (1183007) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @01:21AM (#31043728)

    Maybed if they loaded it up with DRM, put restrictive policies in place to block certain apps and prevented open source publication of published apps, they would have been more successful.

    Then again, maybe not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      I think it works better for a phone than a computer. We're use to our computers being open, just finding software ourselves online or browsing computer software aisles and reading the backs of boxes.

      Phones, for the most part, have always been closed boxes, so when Apple offered a closed box with an "apple approved" app store, people were impressed. No one has ever offered a store on phones before, and if they did they didn't do a very good job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        No one has ever offered a store on phones before,

        Or, more generally, even just a teeny-tiny bit of opening up a platform that has been nearly universally 'closed' proved to be very popular.

        Just think how much more popular it would be with users if it was fully opened up.

        • by RCL (891376)
          I'm not sure that would be more popular. Among developers, certainly, but mere users might not like turning their phones into "sort of" PCs with spyware, adware, low quality games and etc. It would turn phone's software ecosystem from an asphalted city into tropic jungle. Sure, lifeforms are much more diverse in jungles than they are in a city, but I personally prefer living in sterile rooms and not being afraid of parasites.
          • Wow, seriously?

            First of all, it is possible to secure an OS. Secondly, It seems that people are more than eager to fill their phones up with crap. How many of those "Text ABC to 123 for free ringtonz!!!1" and other such ads do we see? You think they're 100% legit?

            And then there's the "low-quality" games people hate so much. Like Bejeweled, Solitaire, etc. Maybe people are just holding out for Crysis or DNF so they can have a quality gaming experience while they're waiting in line...
            • by RCL (891376)
              By "low quality games" I was referring to games that crash, that look like shit, that contain malicious code etc - everything that would be below publisher's threshold.

              Secondly, I'm not sure that it is possible to secure an open platform (i.e. one that you can freely develop for) - I can't think of any example at least. Every OS I used has been successfully exploited.

              I agree that a lot of people (especially non-technical) like filling their phones/computers/etc with crap. But most people also run anti-v
            • by drsmithy (35869)

              First of all, it is possible to secure an OS.

              How do you secure an OS upon which any end user can run arbitrary code ?

      • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @01:48AM (#31043828)

        Yeah, I think it really has to do with expectations. I have a friend who sells an app in the Android app store, and also provides it for free on his website--- both source and binary versions. Plenty of people still buy it from the app store, because that's what they're used to doing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Kitkoan (1719118)

          Yeah, I think it really has to do with expectations.

          I think that it has everything to do with expectations too. With an app store on a phone it is considered to many as the only way to get apps/games for that phone (I know its not the only way, but for many people I think they only know of that route). As for an OS's programs, everyone I know will google first before even considering what to get, sometimes to see if they can find a free one, other times to see a review of different programs since all OS's are much older then smartphone OS's like the iPhone a

      • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:47AM (#31044136) Homepage
        Maybe you are used to having phones that were closed box, but back in the day I went from having a phone that couldn't run any apps to having a phone that could install and run .jar and .jad J2ME applications and I had to go and look for them on the interwebs.

        Unfortunately as time went on a lot of crapware J2ME got released that were basically just front-ends for commercial web services and a lot of the J2ME app sites got greedy, put all their sponsored crapware at the top and charged programmers to have their apps (even freeware) listed.

        Even so, going from installing .jar/.jad and later .sis/.sisx seems to a limited 'app store' seems like a huge step backwards to me.
      • by jgrahn (181062)

        I think it works better for a phone than a computer. We're use to our computers being open, just finding software ourselves online or browsing computer software aisles and reading the backs of boxes. Phones, for the most part, have always been closed boxes, [...]

        Exactly. That's why I refuse to use a phone for anything but making calls -- I'm not used to being locked up and kept in the dark. The computers I've used have always been hackable and programmable.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          Exactly. That's why I refuse to use a phone for anything but making calls

          In any case, one can't count on your contact having a phone (or telco plan) capable of doing anything more than calls or SMS. Lots of people have basic phones, but possibly even more have comparatively "smart" devices that are (a) connected to a plan that doesn't offer more than a typically flaky GPRS conection or (b) connected to an owner that doesn't know what to to with anything other than a phone call.
        • by iamhassi (659463)
          "Exactly. That's why I refuse to use a phone for anything but making calls"

          Sure that's fine... for now, but in time you'll be looked on as the wierdo that doesn't have a smartphone, in the same manner that people think it's strange for someone not to own a cellphone now, or as I'm sure 60+ years ago it became strange to not have a phone in your house.

          As technology advances you're pretty much forced by society to either adapt or be shunned. Phones that were $400 with contract and very basic internet a
          • by mikechant (729173)

            or as I'm sure 60+ years ago it became strange to not have a phone in your house.

            Don't know about the US, but in the UK it was more like 30-40 years ago (1970's-->1980's) when it became strange not to have a landline.

      • It works better for licenses that don't let you take all the work that someone takes their time and thus money (since they can't earn a living if they are spending their time developing something on their own) to build and give it away for free just by 'forking' the code. There is no incentive to build quality programs for sale on a store with the GPL model. Small apps are just that, small. It is highly unlikely that you will be paid to support one. How many applications out there for your PC do you pay for

    • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tiger4 (840741) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @01:52AM (#31043842)

      If the App store offered some kind of seal of approval it might have done better. Say what you will about DRM at Apple, the app store at least gives the impression that all the apps there will work seamlessly together.

      OSS may be the greatest development model, bug fixes better and faster, blah blah blah, but really what people want to know is that it is going to work. If a knowledgeable, trusted, third party says it will, people value ($$$) that highly. No one likes to waste time on crappy apps, hoping a fix will come along RSN.

      • I am running Fedora 11 and did a normal update. Now I can't get into X. I had to rip out all the ATI drives I'm getting from rpmfusion because they did an update but neglected to provide the proprietary ATI drivers. This is an ongoing problem with them being stupid gits. Yes I've turned them off and I'll run 2D until I can scam a college license for windows 7

        Tell me what good is open source if it doesn't work? If audio stutters and dies? If I cannot depend that long term features will not be ripped out in a

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by turbidostato (878842)

          "I am running Fedora 11 and did a normal update. Now I can't get into X."

          Your problem. Fedora is and always has been Red Hat's test bed. When you use a testing system for anything you depend on, whatever happens is your own fault.

          "I had to rip out all the ATI drives I'm getting from rpmfusion"

          So you were not only using a test OS but you even merged it with third party providers and you still are surprised because things breaks.

          "Tell me what good is open source if it doesn't work?"

          Tell me what good is usin

          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by jgrahn (181062)

            "I had to rip out all the ATI drives I'm getting from rpmfusion" So you were not only using a test OS but you even merged it with third party providers and you still are surprised because things breaks. [etc]

            And also, *his* problem that he's buying hardware with no free driver support, rewarding hardware vendors who try to make life hard for their users.

            (Apart from that, I don't see "running in 2D" as a big enough problem to make me cash out $$$ for Windows 7. Isn't it simpler and cheaper to buy a non-br

          • Fedora is and always has been Red Hat's test bed.

            You're either very young or you have a short memory. Redhat was always Redhat from 1994 until about 2003 when the non-enterprise version of the distro got funneled off into Fedora.
            • by tftp (111690)

              Your problem. Fedora is and always has been Red Hat's test bed

              You're either very young or you have a short memory.

              No, turbidostato is correct. Fedora for the entire length of its existence was a testbed. Here is what they say today [fedoraproject.org]:

              The Fedora Project is sponsored by Red Hat, which invests in our infrastructure and resources to encourage collaboration and incubate innovative new technologies. Some of these technologies may later be integrated into Red Hat products.

              The fact that RH did not have a testbed

            • "You're either very young or you have a short memory."

              Maybe you are right. Tell me when, in its whole history, Fedora was not Red Hat's technology preview, then.

        • Ive used Nvidia cards with my desktops and laptops with ubuntu(and Linux Mint which is based on ubuntu) couple years now.
          I had one problem in 2 years and all that I had to do was rollback to the previous nvidia driver in the package manager.

          What you have is not a linux problem its a Fedora and ATI problem. The Fedora logo should be a Fedora hat on guinea pig :-/

        • by westyvw (653833)

          With the open ATI drivers working very well, why would you use the proprietary ones? You sure you just arent doing this right?

      • by Waccoon (1186667)

        OSS...
        ...know that it is going to work.

        If there's one thing I've always known since my Amiga days, it's that design always trumps technology. Always.

      • That Apple "seal of approval" doesn't mean much as far as bugs go. The reaction of an iPhone app to a bug seems to be just crashing without giving feedback to the user, so it's tough to pinpoint problems.

        At any rate, I think app stores are a hug step backwards from package management and repositories. There was some buzz about Canonical going the app store route with Ubuntu, I hope Red Hat's experience turns them away from that direction.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe linux users are cheapskates who refuse to pay for other peoples hard work. But they hide this by saying they are all about "freedom".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would that work?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You'd probably have to cook it first.
  • by eparker05 (1738842) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @01:33AM (#31043780)
    Most Linux projects are either made by FOSS hobbyists, or by big-name corporations, neither of those groups want to be tied into a distribution system owned by Red Hat.
    • by mec08 (1734462)
      Agree!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by selven (1556643)

      The Debian repositories are an app store, and I don't see FOSS people avoiding those.

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      Apple app store is for consumers (i.e. mom and grand dad). RHX is selling enterprise solutions via an app store. I think that was the problem here. The business model failed.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Ironically, the same is true for the Apple AppStore, minus the FOSS part. Apps are either Hobbyist (sometimes turned professional thanks to AppStore sales) or big-name corporations.

      Yet seems its doing fine.

      Perhaps the App Store is only part of the equation? Perhaps target audience, actual value of the store to that audience, and value of the items on the store have a little bit to do with it as well?

      Perhaps the fact that this is the first time I've ever heard of it has something to do with it, I heard abo

  • Best Guess (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Pricing on enterprise software is somewhat variable depending on purchase quantities. Red Hat probably had everything at list price or maybe slightly below. In addition to not being a good deal for most of their customers, they probably also ticked off the sales guys that were earring fat commissions on the software sales. So basically they pissed off their customers and their partners. Which, my business skilled friends tell me, is not a good way to make money.
    • Very true.

      Somebody had forgotten to take into account the difference between average RH customer and average Apple customer.

      P.S. In past I have seen (actually helped implementing) a B2B "solution" for a company with lots of partners. Think of a board like Tweeter, but for bids and offers. Most striking part to me was that the company was actually taking 100% passive approach to the B2B portal: goal wasn't to consolidate their market place or monitor the partners but rather create a place for the part

    • Another thing is, that the mediating should have different price for cheap (targeted to end-users) and enterprisy software.

  • Au contraire... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @01:42AM (#31043808)

    'When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace.'

    Actually, it sounds like the market worked with almost textbook efficiency.

    • Re:Au contraire... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:54AM (#31044012)

      It really mystifies me how a corporation can understand the concept of open source, but can't understand that in such a market distributors have 0 value. Open source software can't be sold as a product unto itself. It must be sold as a larger value add. Simply listing a bunch of software and saying, "Search through this for what you need" is not valuable because it doesn't provide anything substantially more than what people get on the internet for free. However, if you have a good sales force and are able to provide some upfront analysis of a customer's problem, I suppose you might be able to make some money. A large corporation might ask, "this is the problem we have, who would be best to solve it?" Finding the appropriate people to do the work (including supplying software, support and training) could be valuable. The thing is, I rather suspect that this will never happen. Having talked to Novel sales people before, and reading this article where Redhat talk about "partnering in various sales channels" I get the impression that they still think they are selling software. Nowhere do I see them understanding the idea of matching *people* with problems to *people* with solutions.

      I guess we'll see.

      • I would have done one of the following in place of Redhat:
        1, Get money for listing the software (Hey, I'm advertising you!)
        2, Force the producer via contract to not underbid the price in the appstore in different places. (And get appropriate percentage of the sale.)

        Or any kind of linear combination of the two.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by turbidostato (878842)

        "It really mystifies me how a corporation can understand the concept of open source, but can't understand that in such a market distributors have 0 value."

        True. But integrators can rise a high value (Red Hat should know this: they basically make a living out of being integrators).

        "Open source software can't be sold as a product unto itself."

        False. Open source software *licenses* can't be sold. But software? Of course software can be sold as a product by itself. In fact, it is in the closed source camp

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014)

        I don't think distributor necessarily have zero value. They just can't demand a cut without *adding* value.

  • As compared with? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve@ s t evefoerster.com> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:05AM (#31043882) Homepage

    I never used RHX, so this is a serious question: What did this give people that, for example, Synaptic Package Manager or even the Ubuntu Software Center doesn't?

    • by MSG (12810) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:43AM (#31044126)

      RHX was intended to be a marketplace. Software and support contracts were to be sold there. Here [businessweek.com] is an article covering its release; it's one of the wikipedia references.

      Synaptic and Software Center are tools, like PackageKit and up2date are in Fedora and RHEL. RHX wasn't an tool.

      • ...were not created to sell existing apps.

        They were created to encourage small developers to write large numbers of new apps for their new platforms. "Hey look, if you write an app for our device, we'll make it easy for users to find you!"

        As someone else remarked, the FOSS hobbyist + large corporation types that tend to write for 'Linux' don't find that compelling. But what if we want to attract the small biz types that Apple and Google have?

        Well, consider this: both iPhone and Android have their respective

  • by ipX (197591) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:08AM (#31043888)
    The summary left out the important bit of the quote...

    "When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace."

    I think part of the problem here is not so much the App store itself, but the fact that there is no FLOSS captive market to force $1.99 apps upon. Another factor may be that Red Hat is great since they support and tailor their product for a very specific purpose, but I'm not sure they really have the pull to make an App store with enough sales volume.

  • Netcraft (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But has Netcraft confirmed it?
  • by Xeleema (453073) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:32AM (#31043966) Homepage Journal
    "Hey guys! This is Mike over here at Linspire! Listen, I'm calling from 2002 so I have to make this short; We have this great idea called 'Click-N-Run', where people will be able to use a client-side application to buy Linux software from commercial 3rd party vendors. We're gonna be huge!"
  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:49AM (#31044308) Homepage
    I'm releasing a twitter for dogs. I know it'll be popular because twitter is. I shall name it Woofer.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      With 100% noise, the signal-to-noise ratio of Woofer would be 0.
      Which is a lot better than Twitter's negative signal-to-noise ratio.

      • by obarel (670863)
        When the SNR is negative, is that because the signal is negative, or because the noise is negative?
  • Maybe it's cuz (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lena_10326 (1100441) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:15AM (#31044632) Homepage
    yer tryin to sell shit to people who think everything is free. Duh.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Except that Red Hat Linux is not free... Except the beta tester version.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There is the CentOS rebuild of RHEL. Sadly, the CentOS is actually better than RHEL: it includes OpenOffice by default, it doesn't split its repositories up into weird "Cluster" and "Virtualization" repositories but keeps it all together, and the "centosplus" repository has kernels that activate NTFS access and the "extras" repository has good GeoIP and other tools. I'm willing to buy RHEL licenses to pay for their kernel and packaging work, but I prefer to run CentOS.

        • RHEL has moved away from positioning itself as a distro for both desktops and servers, and is now focused primarily on enterprise-level servers. It is not intended for laptops, desktops, or similar user-centric machines.

          Let me say that again -- RHEL is designed to be used primarily for enterprise-level servers. OpenOffice, an end-user application, is by definition not something that would belong on an enterprise server unless it's a terminal server. If you want a terminal server then you just add the packa
  • Not to be confused with 'free as in freedom'.

  • 'When you've got marklar that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marklar or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marklar was, there isn't a real efficient marklar.'

    Heh?

  • When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace.

    It depends on the product, I guess. Palmgear [palmgear.com] seems to be staying in business even though there's always been the option of going direct to the vendor. When I've bought handheld software I've sometimes bought it from an "app store" like Palmgear, and sometimes from the vendor. Once or twice I've even found it

  • Sorry, but this is the first I heard of an App store from Red Hat. What kind of software can you get there?

    • by mini me (132455)

      You and me both. Maybe I would have been interested in using and/or developing for it had I known about it. One thing about the Apple App Store is for sure: virtually everyone knows about it.

  • If you will, a package repository can be viewed as some kind of appstore, in the sense that it's a centralized repository for applications. Perhaps a contributing factor to RHX's demise is that there already exists a plethora of package management systems, and that Red Hat users felt that it was a confusing addition to the mix. Freedom of choice is a good thing, but too many options are more likely to confuse consumers, making no solution stand out.
  • I have been to their site probably hundreds of times over the past 15 years. We have onsite dudes as well. Not one single time do I remember one word about it. Make it easy guys, advertise it, at least say something.

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