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Red Hat CEO: Bring On the Clones 182

Posted by timothy
from the canonical-source-of-red-hat dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Best Buy and Barnes and Noble have a problem with showrooming — shoppers checking out the merchandise in their stores and then proceeding to order the goods at a discounted prices online. And Red Hat might have a similar problem with people (not just college kids and software professionals boning up on their skills at home, either) using the free-as-in-beer CentOS rather than licensing Red Hat Enterprise Linux and paying support fees. But according to CEO Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's competitive position may actually be helped by CentOS in the same way that counterfeit Windows products sold on the streets in the Far East may have helped Microsoft — by cementing their position as the technology standard, in a marketplace that also includes entrants from SuSE, Debian, Oracle, and Ubuntu, just among Linux-based entrants. Who does Whitehurst consider to be Red Hat's most direct threat? VMWare."
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Red Hat CEO: Bring On the Clones

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  • Pirating Windows? (Score:5, Informative)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @03:24PM (#44577193)
    Downloading CentOS isn't at all like pirating a copy of Windows--Red Hat consists almost entirely of open source code. People pay for Red Hat for the support. I've actually worked on a cluster where we paid for one copy of Red Hat for the head node, then loaded 15 copies of CentOS onto the remaining nodes. Nothing wrong with that at all.
    • THIS!!
      The company I worked for a few years ago had a compute cluster for engineering/modeling with over 100 nodes. They were originally running RHEL3, which of course was coming up to EOL in a few months. The suits wanted to buy licenses for RHEL to upgrade the nodes, the IT staff wanted to use CentOS. Research was done on pricing for over 100 RHEL licenses, and after a while, the suits decided to go with IT's choice of CentOS for the compute nodes and use *one* RHEL install for the master node. I wasn't in

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        The suits wanted to buy licenses for RHEL to upgrade the nodes, the IT staff wanted to use CentOS

        so the IT staff didn't want to use RHEL, they wanted something identical to RHEL instead.... stupid.

        If it was just down to some anti-corporate kind of dumb thinking, then surely said IT staff should be handing back their salaries.. or do you think that by not paying RedHat did anything other than give your CEO a bigger bonus?

        (but sure, RH should offer some bulk discounts, idiot salespeople)

        • The suits wanted to buy licenses for RHEL to upgrade the nodes, the IT staff wanted to use CentOS

          so the IT staff didn't want to use RHEL, they wanted something identical to RHEL instead.... stupid.

          If it was just down to some anti-corporate kind of dumb thinking, then surely said IT staff should be handing back their salaries..

          Or.... It could be that the IT budget was fixed, so they had to make a choice between spending on line-of-business issues vs. (what is in effect) an expensive support contract so the FEA guy can run his simulations faster. Frankly, we just don't know all the facts to second guess their decision.

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            as he said - "the suits wanted to buy", and the suits generally have the budget, which looks true when he also says they engaged with redhat salesmen who didn't have a flexible licencing for bulk purchases.

            Ultimately its a story of redhat business models being less than perfect, but it still confuses me why someone would make the distinction between RHEL and CentOS in any way other than price, which is what he was suggesting - that IT staff somehow value the free version over the paid version for no more th

      • Re:Pirating Windows? (Score:5, Informative)

        by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:35PM (#44577833) Journal

        Why wouldn't you buy their unlimited guests license at $2k/yr, for your nodes?

        http://www.redhat.com/resourcelibrary/articles/articles-red-hat-enterprise-linux-purchasing-guide [redhat.com]

        • by Builder (103701)

          Because they'd need a license for each physical computer ? My understanding here is that they had a cluster of many computers. So they bought RHEL for the head node (1 computer) and used CentOS on all of the others.

    • by DF5JT (589002)

      That is actually incorrect. The CentOS part of your installation invalidates your support contract/subscription for the RHEL part of the cluster.

      Red Hat does not offer you the option of a mixed anvironment. It's either all Red Hat, supported, or mixed and completely unsupported.

      I am with Red Hat on this one, actually.

  • Other than blu rays, most things seem to be the same price at best buy and amazon or newegg

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Wow, even little stuff like cables and toner? Last time I bought a cable at a store the price was shocking.
      • by jelizondo (183861) *

        Entirely your fault, you should always disconnect cables before handling them; otherwise there is a risk of shock...

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @03:32PM (#44577281) Journal

    The only way I can get by using my IT mandated RedHat box is by installing CentOS packages on it. RedHat simply doesn't keep the packages I need up to date. If CentOS didn't exist, I wouldn't use RedHat at all, which would entail a huge fight with IT. Thanks CentOS!

  • CentOS, which is COMPLETELY legal and above board, has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with counterfeit Windows products.

    CentOS:
    1) Violates NO copyrights
    2) Is not passing itself off as something else
    3) Has never been treated by Redhat as anything but completely welcome.
    4) Is produced by completely building from (libre!) source, not disk copying the install media.
    5) Is careful to remove Redhat branding where trademarks are involved.

    Jim Whitehurst never uttered the silly parallel as far as I can see,

    • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @03:46PM (#44577425) Homepage

      You are focusing on the differences but ignoring the similarities which Whitehurst was concerned about.

      CentOS doesn't put money in Red Hat's pocket directly, but it helps cement Red Hat as a standard for enterprise Linux distributions.

    • CentOS, which is COMPLETELY legal and above board, has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with counterfeit Windows products.

      Exactly

      CentOS) Costs Nothing
      Counterfeit Windows) Costs Nothing.

      Exactly nothing in common.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      3) Has never been treated by Redhat as anything but completely welcome.

      Well, not really. Red Hat obviously cannot stop CentOs but it seems clear that Red Hat does guard their copyrighted material. They have made it clear that CentOS cannot refer to Red Hat in any part of their distribution that is not covered by GPL. CentOs *always* refers to the "up-line Linux vendor" (or some other vague reference) for a reason.

      No Cent OS is tolerated by Red Hat as long as they don't step on copyrights or trademarks. They are not welcomed with open arms, but there is nothing they can do

  • best buy high presser sales made it to showrooming place

  • by OneAhead (1495535) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @03:59PM (#44577549)

    I can't say I enjoy working with RHEL (or its derivatives); I'm known for making a sour face whenever RHEL or CentOS are even mentioned. I can see why it's so popular (extensively validated rock-stable code), but these very same attributes make it very poorly suited for our needs (scientific computing - often using bleeding-edge software features and needing to squeeze the last bit of power out of bleeding-edge hardware).

    But ask me about the company Red Hat? I'm a big fan of them. They have a relatively pure Open Source business model, and are showing the world that good money can be made out of it too. Not to mention their attitude. "Wanna clone our operating system? Be our guest, you'll only make us stronger."

    On a more serious note, they're probably right about CentOS cementing their position. See also this very insightful post [slashdot.org].

    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      Nothing says that you can't use RHEL as a stable core OS and install any additional software that you need outside of that. It's very simple to do nowdays with Software Collections.

      • by OneAhead (1495535)

        At some point, we got a ~20% speedup on one of our clusters by installing new compilers and recompiling key libraries and software. And another ~15% speedup by upgrading our kernel to a new version. (Before you start calling me a ricer, on the scale of a medium-size computing cluster, these speedups represent 10000s USD worth of hardware each.) While I'm sure all this can also be done under RHEL/CentOS, it's much easier on many levels to install a distro that keeps things more up-to-date in the first place.

        • by kthreadd (1558445)

          I'm no disagreeing. If you want newer and/or more optimized software then stock RHEL is not really for you. The key point with RHEL is that it provides a stable ABI, and that makes it more conservative on certain things.

    • by Ubi_NL (313657)

      What bullshit, its not a crappy product, its just aproduct not suited for your specific needs.

      • by OneAhead (1495535)
        Just exercising my journalism skills by putting an eye-catching headline on top of a moderate post to lure people into reading it. These days, everyone seems to do it (especially the Slashdot editors/submitters). It seemed to work, too. Though I was kinda wondering if someone would call me out on it ;)
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Scientific computing? Have you found a better alternative to RHEL based Scientific Linux?

  • What you want as a software vendor:

    1. Paying customer (gives you marketshare)
    2. Non-paying users (gives you mindshare)
    3. Users using competitor's products for free (loss of mindshare)
    4. Users paging for competitor's product (loss of marketshare)

    The above is only true in a market that has meaningful competition.

Forty two.

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