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Red Hat Software Businesses Linux Business Open Source

Why Should Red Hat Support Competitors' Software? 111

Posted by timothy
from the just-for-fun-vs-bottom-line-reality dept.
colinneagle (2544914) writes "The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, based on documents it reviewed, Red Hat "has chosen not to provide support to its commercial Linux customers if they use rival versions of OpenStack." But the big question is: Why would customers have expected that in the first place? Gartner analyst Lydia Leong told Network World that Red Hat isn't really doing anything wrong here. Customers shouldn't have an expectation that Red Hat would support competitors' software. "The norm would be to expect that non-Red Hat software is treated like any other third-party software," Leong says. If Red Hat has done anything wrong, it's that it has not clearly articulated its positioning and support for non-Red Hat OpenStack distros. Red Hat did not immediately respond to a question asking for a clarification on its support policy. The complication in all this comes from the fact that OpenStack is an open source project and there are misconceived notions that all OpenStack clouds are interoperable with one another. But Leong says just because OpenStack is open source doesn't change the expectations around vendors supporting competitors' products."
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Why Should Red Hat Support Competitors' Software?

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @11:53AM (#47009561)

    Why should the Wall Street Journal assume that any company would support anything, of any sort, provided by a competitor? How is any company expected to know the details about someone else's product, and why should should they have any responsibility, at all, to help people fix problems with some one else's product?

    I think the problem, here, is with the Wall Street Journal. Not Red Hat.

    • by Arker (91948)
      In this case, because OpenStack is something RedHat is pushing hard and encouraging multiple companies to jump in on. That does not in and of itself mean they will support other companies implementations, of course, but it might be a reasonable expectation that they would at least be somewhat less than totally rigid about it.

      When you put up a line for your support staff and say 'support x but not y' you open up a situation where if it's not CLEAR that X is really the problem, they dont want to do anything b
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        What about just supporting basic old Red Hat Linux? The article isn't clear here, are the refusing to support the basic kernel and distribution merely because some competing cloud service is used, or just refusing to support one particular service?

      • Arker: "In this case, because OpenStack is something RedHat is pushing hard .. it might be a reasonable expectation that they would at least be somewhat less than totally rigid about it."

        Since when has any Open Source outfit offered 'free' support. The license specifically state that the software is distributed free of charge, not free of support charges ..

        Apache License, Version 2.0 [apache.org]

        "If you are looking for enterprise-level support [redhat.com], or information on partner certification, Red Hat also offers Red
        • by Arker (91948)
          And again, it's perfectly fair at one level, but (depending on how rigidly they enforce it) it could also be a disaster where customers wind up with HP and RH pointing fingers at each other. Only time will tell.
    • I agree I mean if your running Novell (god help you) and you ask Novell to help you with a Red Hat issue. They won't why because they own suse. Same situation why would they support a product that they do not design. Someone at the Wall Street Journal needed something to write about on a slow news day.
  • by Jiro (131519)

    Are they refusing to support the third party application itself, or are they refusing to support Red Hat Linux when it is used to run a third party application?

    The article is badly written, but it sounds like #2, which is indeed bad. It's just the flip side of the manufacturer who won't fix a hardware fault because you ran Linux on your computer. Or with a car analogy, if you install a radio, the car manufacturer isn't responsible if the radio goes bad, but they are if the rest of the car does.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:10PM (#47009695)

      Are they refusing to support the third party application itself, or are they refusing to support Red Hat Linux when it is used to run a third party application?

      The article is badly written, but it sounds like #2, which is indeed bad.

      The article does not seem that badly written to me, and it says quite clearly that it is #1. They quote Red Hat's spokesman: "Users are free to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux with any OpenStack offering, and there is no requirement to use our OpenStack technologies to get a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription." So if you buy support for RHEL, they will support it, but they will NOT support third party OpenStacks. Which seems reasonable to me, as long as the terms of the deal are clear.

      • by AdamWill (604569)

        Disclaimer: I work for RH, but I have nothing at all to do with any of this stuff (I work on Fedora).

        AFAICS, the WSJ alleges #2, but we are very clearly stating that WSJ is wrong and it's just #1 (we'll support your RHEL install no matter what you have running on top of it, just like we always have, we just won't support the OpenStack bit if it's not RH OpenStack, or whatever the hell we call it, I don't know.)

      • by jrumney (197329)

        The article does not seem that badly written to me, and it says quite clearly that it is #1.

        Then it is not news. "Company refuses to support software they didn't sell" shouldn't really be making headlines - even on Slashdot.

      • by cthulhu11 (842924)
        The way I've heard it, independent of this article, is that RH won't support RHEL running as a *guest* on non-RH Openstack. They will support multiple other hypervisors, though, including but not limited to RHOS, so this is in fact clearly aimed at non-RHOS OpenStack.
    • Say there was a bug in VMWare that caused Windows 8 to crash when running inside it (this actually happened). Do you expect Microsoft to provide support for this issue and fix this bug? No of course not - VMWare should fix it.

      I don't see why this is any different with OpenStack. RedHat has no idea what you have done to your custom home-grown OpenStack build, how can they possibly support you running their software inside it. If you can prove that the issue is in their software, then they will look at it - b

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:14PM (#47009735) Homepage

      or are they refusing to support Red Hat Linux when it is used to run a third party application?

      Well, it sounds like:

      that, based on documents it reviewed, Red Hat "has chosen not to provide support to its commercial Linux customers if they use rival versions of OpenStack."

      My guess would be "since you're not running our version of OpenStack, we can't support you if you have issues with that version of OpenStack.

      I suspect RH is still giving you support for core functionality they know about.

      This sounds more like you've bought a car, replaced the transmission with a 3rd party one, and are coming back to the car maker for warranty on your transmission.

      They can't deny you coverage on your engine (unless they can show your transmission broke it), but you're completely on your own with the transmission.

      In other words, Red Hat will support the pieces they gave you, but if you swap out pieces, you are entirely on your own for the care and feeding of those.

      And, really, that sounds entirely reasonable to me.

      We once had a piece of software which shipped as being tested against a specific set of Java/application server combinations. We made it clear there were some combinations we had never tried, tested, certified, or even seen and definitely would not support. The client spent several weeks jamming it into IBMs Websphere, against our advice and warnings we couldn't (and wouldn't) support it. They made all sorts of config changes, shoe horned in settings in the IBM stuff, and generally bashed it into place.

      When they had issues and we said "you need to reproduce this using the stuff we support", they started to get irate and threaten legal action. When our team of lawyers spelled out that they'd essentially Frankensteined together something which we told them we can't support, and that we had explicitly told them this before they started having problems someone higher up their food chain swatted down their own people.

      If you insist on changing some of the parts, don't expect your vendor to support the parts you have now taken ownership of. That is your damned problem.

      Why anybody would expect Red Hat to support components they didn't ship is beyond me.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I worked in Red Hat support for half a decade and I can say this for sure - we would strive to support whatever we ship and a lot of us even try and help out even when there is some easy to find and fix problem in bits we don't ship (provided we have the time of course), like a third party open source program or custom app. Of course, there are no support SLAs associated with the latter. For cases where it is unclear whether our bits are to blame or the third party bits, we usually take it upon ourselves to

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @11:57AM (#47009595) Homepage
    Because Redhat is a platinum level director of the OpenStack project and have a vested interest in its general success as an open source project.
    on an offtopic note: the WallStreet Journal has gone seriously downhill since Murdoch took it over.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Because Redhat is a platinum level director of the OpenStack project and have a vested interest in its general success as an open source project.

      Which in no way means they should be expending their resources to support whatever random bit of code you've chosen to install.

      They can 'support' the project, be in favor of its adoption, but when the the call comes in of "it is broken, make it go", they really have to draw the line and say "we can't help you resolve problems in the stuff we didn't write" -- other

  • Even after reading the article I can't tell what's going on here. Is Red Hat refusing to give any support for RHEL installations when used with non-RH OpenStack implementations? Or is Red Hat supporting RHEL but for problems involving non-RH OpenStack they're saying, "Hey, not our software, not our problem"? The former would be a dick move. The latter is perfectly reasonable.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      redhat supports the open stack in their distribution. If you *run* openstack and use that version you get support.
      If you run a different open stack version, on RHEL, they offer no support for that open stack version.
      If you run RHEL on *any* openstack deployment, you get RHEL support, but not support for *that* open stack deployment.

    • Red Hat is being very coy in all this, so even the reporter and analyst don't know exactly what's going on.
  • ... "open source" isn't "open source" isn't "open source?" My gosh, Windows is Windows. Apple is Apple.

    I'm so confused.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:10PM (#47009697)

    And why do I need to whitelist it to load full comments, reply to large comments, and to moderate? The only thing I can find is this shit: http://pureleads.com/ [pureleads.com], and it seems to me that beta still hasn't fully died.

    Dice and Dice Holdings: go fuck yourself.

    • by Arker (91948)
      Pureleads is adware/malware. Whitelisting it will just get you worse.

      I recommend blacklisting it, along with slashdot.org and fsdn as well. It wont let you metamoderate but the more people that complain about it the more chance someone might finally fix that bug, after more than a decade. The rest of the site is still functional, as long as you are a logged in user, disable all scripting and over-ride the fugly fonts at least.

      • It won't even let me post if I don't whitelist it. Then again, I do have slashdot whitelisted, soooo.... I might have to look into a custom set of script enablements for Slashdot now, because this is just ridiculous.

        • by Arker (91948)
          I dont see any references to pureleads on slashdot currently, so either 1) you are getting a different page than I am or 2) it's not on slashdot, it's a local infection of your machine.

          If you are on windows 2) is almost certainly correct.

          LMGTFY:
          http://malwaretips.com/blogs/pureleads-virus-removal/
          • Thanks - I didn't think it was actually malware since I didn't get any ads or anything similar, but turns out that I did install PureLeads. Looks like either Foxit, Handbrake or CDex had it bundled. Gah, and I thought I was pretty good at reading malware install prompts.

  • Support is Redhats only real product... (ok, they probably do development work to if you pay them to)

    I'm sure they would support competitors products if you put it in your support contract. This is more like them clarifying "Our cheapest support contracts doesn't cover 3rd party stuff" but I guarantee if you're a top tier customer they're going to bend over backwards to help you. It's not like their Oracle and you're stuck with them. Their competitors OS's are compatible and just as free as theirs.

  • So RedHat fully certifies a stack as something that they'll support... Yeah, I don't see the problem here. If you go doing things to it that RedHat hasn't tested, don't be surprise when they won't want to support it. Considering that RedHat only makes money off of support doing anything that takes them away from that core mission is money out the window. Now if you want a blanket support contract or a per diem situation where when you get stuck with your wack ass solution they'll drop engineers on the problem... I'm sure RH would be up for that... provided they're getting paid. Otherwise you'll just taking engineers away from supporting supported configurations and sending them down support rabbit holes.
  • Red Hat essentially provides all of their software offering for free. They make the money off the service contracts. Supporting a couple of additional third party applications is just one more thing they can charge for. I like free money.

  • by Junta (36770) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:40PM (#47011735)

    RH shouldn't be expected to provide commercial support for infrastructure management by non-RH Openstack, even if other RH components are 'nearby'.

    RH should provide support for RHEL instances run inside whatever virtualization solution (openstack or whatever)

    RH should provide os level support for RHEL servers running openstack components, but openstack components then become 'just another app that isn't RH' responsibility.

    This isn't that hard to understand.

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