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Red Hat Proposes Alternative Settlement To MSFT 532

cwsulliv writes "Red Hat, Inc. has proposed an alternative settlement to the Microsoft class-action lawsuit in Maryland. Microsoft originally proposed supplying a limited number of poorer school districts in the US with PC hardware and limited-license Microsoft software. The alternative proposal submitted by Red Hat would have Microsoft supply NO software but dramatically increase the number of school districts receiving hardware. Red Hat in turn would supply ALL the software (Open Source) and unlimited support via their Red hat Network. "
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Red Hat Proposes Alternative Settlement To MSFT

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  • And when Microsoft viciously declines, it will give more fuel to their anti-competetive practices.
    • Re:Touche (Score:3, Interesting)

      And when Microsoft viciously declines, it will give more fuel to their anti-competetive practices.

      They won't have to. The schools themselves will viciously decline. Why anyone thinks that schools are just begging for Linux is beyond my comprehension. Does it occur to anyone that if they wanted it, they can install it anytime they want?

      • Re:Touche (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jmv ( 93421 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @04:16PM (#2601303) Homepage
        The schools themselves will viciously decline.

        I'm not that sure. They'll have to choose between 20 PC's with MS software on them or 100 PC's with Free Software on them. Not to mention that with the MS deal, they end up in 5 years with 20 PC and NO software at all.
      • Re:Touche (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArsonSmith ( 13997 )
        Does it occur to anyone that if they wanted it, they can install it anytime they want?

        Yes and they do regularly. This would only give them free support that would have normally cost them around $50 per installation, or they would have to do without if they used the typical free install.

        I can only think back to the days of when I was in grade school and we had all Tandy trs80s in many classes. Linux is no more difficult to use than one of these machines, and it is much more powerfull. Even in Highschool we had all dos based 386s. yes 14 years old and useing a command line just like everyone else in our school. This was a regular public school as well, no high paid privite school teachers or special computer support staff. Just the underpaid public school teachers and the students to support everything.

      • Re:Touche (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @06:27PM (#2601741) Homepage
        Does it occur to anyone that if [schools] wanted [Linux], they can install it anytime they want?

        Eh? Been in a school lately? I have, and I can safely say that the number of people there with the technical knowledge and/or self-confidence necessary to install an OS on to a computer is vanishingly small. They literally cannot install Linux (or anything else) if they want to, or if they can, they aren't allowed to because management is too worried about "messing stuff up". That's why support would be the critical piece of Red Hat's proposal... they would need to send out people to help install/convert the computers. Hmm, I wonder if Red Hat could use volunteers for this? I'd do it...

      • Re:Touche (Score:3, Informative)

        by m0nkyman ( 7101 )

        Microsoft is a monopoly. Legally speaking they are not only a monopoly, they are abusing that status. Schools are funded by the government. Punishing Microsoft by extending their monopoly further is a bad idea.

        Pushing a government funded institution into helping break that monopoly is a good idea.

        As far as whether the schools would install it themselves if they wanted to, that option doesn't even show up on their radar 99.99% of the time. That is the power of a monopoly.

        I've also seen a lot of comments about how there isn't any educational software fo linux. To that I call bullshit. Given any subject there is something out there that some geek has whipped together, and it may not be produced by Mattel or Disney, but Linux is a much better tool for actually instilling the ability to learn than Windows.

        I think this is a great publicity stunt by RedHat, and it won't go anywhere, but I'd love to see Linux in more schools. Yes I said more. There are quite a few schools that are already using it. do a google search for 'Linux education schools'

        some useful(Karma Whoring) links: [] [] []

  • Not that I don't think this is a generous offer on Red Hat's part, but it'll be interesting to see if all the posters who ranted at Microsoft's arrogance yesterday say the same thing today about Redhat.
    • by TheABomb ( 180342 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:29PM (#2601098)
      Red Hat's not being arrogant (or at least self-serving). Microsoft's deal would bring them money in the long run (five years from now when they hold a gun to the schools' heads), but Red Hat stands to profit absolutely nothing. In fact, by offering free support, Red Hat is actually giving away what they could make money from.
      • by levik ( 52444 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:37PM (#2601139) Homepage
        Well, as far as being self serving, I doubt you would be seeing this move on the part of RedHat if the antagonist in question was a company not as prominent as Microsoft. Also I wonder if the fact that there is no chance in hell MS will go for the deal had any role in the offer.

        In any case, this is a briliant PR/Marketing move on the part of RedHat, that will result in great publicity reguardless of Microsoft's answer.

        Whoever came up witht this at RH is definitely earning their pay.

      • The do 'profit' is some way. The same way people were howling about in the MS offer. RedHat will get a nice tax write-off. Despite how nice everyone thinks RedHat is, they are still a company. They want to make money. RedHat isn't dong this for the children any more than MS is.
      • by dark_panda ( 177006 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:39PM (#2601149)
        They do stand to gain something out of the deal, though -- a generation of kids brought up using Red Hat Linux instead of Microsoft Windows would definitely help them out in the long run.

        The five-years from now is nothing. When we're talking long run, we should be looking over the next 30, 40, 50 years. Nobody's looking for any money in 5 years, they're all thinking, "how can we get these kids hooked on our products so that for the rest of their lives, they're buying from us?" It's what every advertising agency is trying to do when it advertises to kids and teens -- it tries to hook them on a product for the rest of their consuming days.

        Not much difference here, but at least Red Hat is an alternative to the beast.

        To think they stand to gain nothing in the long run is foolish.


      • ...but it wouldn't really be unprecedented.

        They might be planning to supply the schools with a free RedHat OS and free support. The RedHat package they get will include free, RedHat-made commercial software, too - stuff which you pay for on the open market. (Let us name one such example "RedHat Office Pro 20xx".) Kinda like a 100% discount version of the college student discounts you find on software in campus computer stores.

        There would be a catch - again, not without precedent: said discounted commercial software cannot be purchased or used by non students, and the student agrees to pay for a license upgrade once they graduate - or if they don't, then return it and uninstall it off their system.

        Since these kids were hooked on RedHat Office Pro 20xx since they were wee lil tots or whatever, and RedHat has usurped Microsoft as the sole maker of industry-used word processors, databases and spreadsheets, etc., there'll be MS Office and RedHat Office Pro standing as giants in the office world, just like Apple & the PC (before Microsoft killed Apple). He will gladly pay for a copy of RH-Office Pro so he can have this necessary tool for his adult, employed life. (Just as many people went and bought the next version of MS Office at full price after they had graduated.)

        RedHat could make RedHat Office 20xx a GPL'd thing at first, and then pull a VA Software, and fork it. And worse, they could cease doing any further development on the GPL'd RedHat Office. Everyone else would be free to take the source code and TRY and keep up with RH Office Pro via reverse engineering and what not. But it would be a road fraught with incompatibilities and missing features, to say the least. (See: MS Office vs Word Perfect 8 vs Star Office vs KOffice vs Abiword...)

        RedHat seems to be saying they would not do that to us now, but with all the kids hooked on their software at a young age, and with the chance that they could rip half the market out of MS' hands (by properly exploiting this Macintosh-esque opportunity), they would have you over a barrel.

        And of course when you graduate from college RedHat will make you pay for support.

        And being a company that is publicly traded and not privately owned, they creditors - aka share holders - to answer to. You cannot ultimately predict what your creditors/share holders will demand, and as different people come and go who own large slices of RedHat debt (er, um stock), who knows what their agendas will be? I am sure Bob Young does not own 51% of his own debt/stocks. If he doesn't, his stockholders could forcibly usurp him by calling in the debt (selling their shares). Even if he has 51%, jeez, if angry stockholders sold their, say, 30%, Bob would be screwed bad.

        My point is, RedHat COULD pull an Apple computer here, and make money off getting people hooked on them as kids, and while they are being altruistic now, RedHat has shareholders - and eventually the shareholders will not be so altruistic.
        • Methinks the minute ANYONE starts to infringe on the Office Monopoly, Microsoft releases their Linux version, and said ANYONE retreats back into anonymitity.

          If we've learned anything, it's that these guy don't fuck around, and they'd eat their son to save their daughter.
    • Absolutely. It's not like the first thought of Red Hat's execs were "what can we do to help the children".

      If the offer was sincere, they'd help the schools no matter what, now wouldn't they? It's not like Red Hat's a charity organization. They're trying to make money, and I don't think they'd object to being as rich as MS.
    • by Alpha State ( 89105 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @05:22PM (#2601548) Homepage

      On the other hand, shouldn't it tell the DOJ / attourneys etc. something if another company is willing to do the same thing as Microsoft's punishment for free? Like maybe it's not a punishment? Like maybe BillG and pals are cackling evilly and toasting each other as soon as they get out of the coutroom as they are "punished" by further extending their power while at the same time looking like goody 2-shoes?

      We should thank anyone who is willing to provide free stuff to schools (tobacco companies excluded), but MS was supposed to be being punished. It pisses people off to see them suggesting their own punishment and then refusing anything else. Its a double standard and displays the lack of integrity of the US justice system.

  • mwahaha (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:27PM (#2601089) Homepage
    At least Red Hat sees what's going on: Microsoft's "punishment" is hardly a punishment, instead it's just an expanded advertising campaign that can lay the groundwork for a MS-addiction of enormous proportions once this phase of the punishment runs out.

    What's too bad, though, is that MS had the foresight to see what a golden opportunity this sort of punishment was, and Red Hat is only seeing it now that MS has suggested it (and frantically scrambling to make sure it doesn't go through). I was livid when I heard about what a cop-out this whole thing turned out to be, but I was also a little peeved that none of the Linux vendors realized what a potentially important market this could be to invest in.

    Have to hand it to Microsoft. Satan himself runs the show, but Satan is no dummy.
  • I'm sure I'm not the only one who sniggered when I read this. I'm also probably not the only one who doubts it'll happen.
    The question is: why? When Microsoft get their way, this move is merely an investment for a few years down the road, when every donated OS will need to be upgraded at great expense. So how is the Justice Department going to justify not accepting Red Hat's offer?
    • I'm sure I'm not the only one who sniggered when I read this. I'm also probably not the only one who doubts it'll happen.

      I'm sure Red Hat knows it'll never happen, but the publicity is priceless. It reminds me of Taco Bell putting out that 40-foot-square target in the middle of the ocean and offering something to somebody if the space station plummeting to earth hit it: never happen, but it sure got them on a lot of news broadcasts.

    • So how is the Justice Department going to justify not accepting Red Hat's offer?

      Sheesh, perhaps because Linux is useless for classrooms, and the schools don't want it?

      Screw what the schools actually want, we'll just force Linux down their throat and make them like it, right?

  • by Scoria ( 264473 )
    Introduce the kids at an early age to Linux so that they'll demand it on their parents' machines! What a diabolical scheme! *calls the tabloids*

    I guess they learned from the best. (Microsoft)

  • Deja vu (Score:5, Informative)

    by FTL ( 112112 ) <slashdot AT neil DOT fraser DOT name> on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:28PM (#2601096) Homepage
    Sorry Hemos, Michael beat you to it in the update to this story [].
  • What will the kids run? What educational software is there for Linux? I mean REALLY? Sure, there is some, but it's not even close to what is available for Windows.

    Let's not forget, these are students and teachers. These aren't Unix geeks running this stuff. Do we really expect them to run and get around in Linux? Anyone else remember how well the computers were supported in school? Almost not at all. If it wasn't spelled out in a book word for word they couldn't do it.

    Also, The Red Hat Network is nice..but it's not what I'd call full support. Microsoft's support would go further than Windows Update, which is the equivelant of RHN.

    Nice marketing ploy though..doubt it'll see much press.
    • I didn't see anything in the proposal about Microsoft not being allowed to provide their software, only that they also allow a competitor to provide software.

      It's not a proposal for *only* Red Hat to provide the software, but for Red Hat to *also* provide software.

      If competitors are excluded from the action, then it can hardly be called restitution for anti-competitive behavior!
    • What will the kids run? What educational software is there for Linux? I mean REALLY? Sure, there is some, but it's not even close to what is available for Windows.
      Well, if I remember back to my high school days (which were only a few years ago)--and pondering the current predicament of my college days--the "educational software" for Windows consisted of Internet Explorer, Word, PowerPoint, QBasic, and Visual Studio. On top of an NT server, not only does this provide for absolute zero stability, but the exceptional bugginess gets absolutely zero education done. Give me StarOffice or KOffice, Konqueror, Perl, and gcc, and I'll get infinitely more accomplished, and infinitely more education.
    • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:38PM (#2601146)
      What will the kids run? What educational software is there for Linux? I mean REALLY? Sure, there is some, but it's not even close to what is available for Windows.

      Well, if you're learning about computers, EVERY program on a Linux box is educational!

    • one of the problems I have using Linux is that I grew up using Windowsy stuff. Linux is VERY different. You need to think about things differently because the OS operates in a very different way.

      If kids start with Linux they will A) have no problem learning it and B) be more sophisticated about how computers work. And, most people would agree, they'll have no problem working in Windows. On top of this, Linux offers a sophisticated development environment where kids can learn about programming. Without paying $500 per seat for Visual C++

      children learn new things very easily, regardless of how complex they are. Look at how quickly they pick up languages for an example.
      • Cmon little joey... surely you can optimize that algorithm better. What? GET YOUR VIRTUAL METHODS OUT OF SUZI'S HAIR!!
      • It all comes back to the major philosophy of the OS.

        Unix: Everything is a file or a process.
        Windows: We think you're dumb, so we'll try to do it for you.

        The Windows bit is a joke...does the Windows platform actually have a philosophy? Anyway, once people understand the Unix philosophy, everything else about the system becomes much clearer. The first thing ever taught to me about Unix was the philosophy, and I'm much better off for it.

    • by Jason W ( 65940 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @04:01PM (#2601244)
      What will the kids run? What educational software is there for Linux? I mean REALLY? Sure, there is some, but it's not even close to what is available for Windows.

      Hrm, could this have a *little something* to do with the fact that Microsoft has had a monopoly in the schools. With 980,000 or so potential Linux computers in schools, software development companies might consider making their educational software cross-platform, or maybe even some Linux-specific offerings. Until now there was been no motivation for them to create education software for Linux, so a major ramification of going with RedHat's proposed settlement would be to get the ball rolling in this area. That is, of course, a very good effect of a punitive monopoly settlement, giving the competition a jump start.

    • by big.ears ( 136789 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @04:39PM (#2601397) Homepage
      What will the kids run? What educational software is there for Linux? I mean REALLY? Sure, there is some, but it's not even close to what is available for Windows.

      I've been hearing this argument since the 80s, except then the status quo was the Apple II and the scary technical alternative was the PC. Then, 'everything' schools ran worked on their 10-year-old Apple 2s, and there was nothing running on Windows 3.1 or DOS that they were interested in. In reality, 'everything' was "The Oregon Trail", "Print Shop", and some crappy home-made software written in Basic. Now, the same attitude exists about Windows. What is all this 'educational' software, anyways? The crap book publishers "give" away to entice administrators to buy their book? The question isn't "what will the kids run if they have to use Linux", but "What are they running now that they need windows for?"
      • Fine. Prove it. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GCP ( 122438 )
        Go find out what the schools actually use. Then post links to the Linux version / equivalent of each.

        I don't think you can do it, but I'm not just being negative. Even if you don't succeed, the results of any such attempt should be publicized, because they could eventually lead to success.

        The two big problems schools face are funding and expertise. Schools don't have enough money to buy fancy commercial hardware and software and keep it up to date, and teachers are rarely above the level of the most naive consumer user, but they're on their own.

        The Linux suggestion does a great job at dealing with the funding problem. That just leaves the problem of making these free systems do what schools need to do and completely admin'able by a very naive consumer-level user.

        Making Linux systems easy enough for schoolteachers to use has never been any kind of priority for the Linux community.
    • by pere ( 23710 )
      What will the kids run?
      Wolfenstein! Thats what I was running during my computer classes 10 years ago, and now it runs under Linux as well...

      Seriously.. any computer in schools will mostly (My guess is at least 95 percent) be used for simple word processing and surfing. That you can do perfectly well under Linux.

      The trick with publicly accessible computers in schools (with no support personell), is to get them to work most of the time. The standard configuration you use on your personal computer isnt really such an good idea. Take a look at projects like Linux Terminal Server Project for Schools [].Its not perfect yet, but it is a much better aproach to the problem than simply installing WindowsXP on all the computers.

      If RedHat was allowed to put their software in such a number of computer (of course, nobody seriously believes they ever will), I think they could come up with something OK.
    • ...or just open up 2,000,000 insecure default Red Hat installs on the world. That would look just GREAT for everyone if they put 2 million Red Hat Linux boxes in schools and all of them were compromised within days. The pro-M$ crowd would stand up and say "See? This wouldn't have happened to a WINDOWS machine!"

      Red Hat had better be prepared for a LOT of seemingly mundane support issues to come flooding through their doors. It would also behoove them to actually get in touch with LUGs in the area to see how they can assist with the training/support/etc of these 2 mil. RH boxes.

      This is a very nice thing of them to offer, but it could also backfire in a huge way if not done correctly.
    • you don't get it (Score:3, Informative)

      by varkatope ( 308450 )
      Under Red Hat's plan, all of these schools would get a massive amount of hardware. Some of these schools may not even have computers in the first place or have decrepit 486s. Who cares what OS they're running? It's all about the hardware.

      - the schools might already have licenses to windows software, what's stopping them from installing windows on the newly donated hardware? Also, if they at some point in time scrounge up enough loot for the MS software, what's stopping them from installing it then? Hardware would just be one less thing to buy.

      -the schools might not have hardware in the first place (we're talking poorer areas here) and maybe, just maybe a hard to use by the layperson (but ultimately rewarding) computer is better than no computer at all. Am I right or am I right?

      There are a few things I can think of right off the bat that schools could use under linux.

      Star Office/Open Office, GIMP, the INTERNET for crying out loud, various programming languages (high school mostly). Shit, they could even get MAYA if they had the cash. I'm sure there's plenty more. The only thing lacking would be the kiddie "educational" and "edutainment" software.

      These would be very usable computers no matter what OS they end up running.

      I don't think this is going to happen but it would be really, really nice.
  • by 13013dobbs ( 113910 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:31PM (#2601109) Homepage
    How is this going to help the kids? People don't want MS to give the software cause it is a tax write-off and will force kids to learn Windows based OSes. It seems that RedHat wants the same thing: a tax break and to force kids to learn RedHat based OSes (Linux). Why not let the schools decide what would be best for their kids to learn? I think it will look bad for the OSS community to force schools to use OSS. Maybe a 50/50 split? This way kids can learn Windows (which is a valuable skill, despite what some people think of MS) and will learn Linux (which is an equaly valuable skill, despite what some people think of Linux).
    • Let's not forget (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:56PM (#2601227) Homepage
      This isn't about helping the kids. This is about punishing Microsoft for illegal acts of which they've been convicted. They're proposing their own slap-on-the-wrist punishment couched in "helping the kids" rhetoric, but really what they want to do is escape having to actually really pay for anything. Microsoft's allegedly 1.1 billion dollar plan actualy consists mostly of donated software, which in real terms costs them nothing. Red Hat is just calling them on this bluff -- if MS had to buy hardware, they'd actually have to spend real money. Of course, even then, 1.1 billion is nothing to a company with 36 billion in the bank.
      • RedHat is doing the same. They just want a tax write-off for all that support they are donating. You don't really thing RedHat is doing this for the kids and/or just to bash MS?
        • by dhogaza ( 64507 )
          No, RedHat is *not* doing the same thing. They're not trying to transform a major lawsuit against them into a tax writeoff and marketing opportunity (the sale of support/upgrade licenses in five years).

          RedHat's not the company being sued for using their monopoly on the desktop as a lever for overcharging their customers, nor is RedHat the company that's worried that they may be fined much more heavily if they don't settle.
          • Do you think RedHat is going to pass-up the chance to write all that off on their taxes? They would also have tens of thousands of kids that would be forced to use RedHat's OS. RedHat is a company, they are doing this for themselves, and no one else. Plus, what if the schools don't want Linux? Those boxes will be worthless.
            • RedHat is a company, they are doing this for themselves, and no one else.

              No doubt there is an element of self interest there. On the other hand, giving away a billion dollars of software *and support* for free is a generous offer, considering that Red Hat isn't on the receiving end of any lawsuits and could just as easily do nothing, like every other company.
              I personally don't think Red Hat has any expectation of being taken up on this offer, and that they only made it as a way of demonstrating to the public how self-serving MIcrosoft's "settlement" really is.

              Plus, what if the schools don't want Linux? Those boxes will be worthless.

              This is a potential problem. A solution would be this: Divide up the total money evenly between all the schools, and then for each school demonstrate both Windows and Red Hat systems to the school officials, so that the officials are well informed about the pros and cons of each. Then allow the officials to spend their allotment of money on either type of system (e.g. they can buy 50 Windows workstations or 100 Red Hat workstations with their money).

              Or hell, if Microsoft really wants to help the schools, why not make every PC a dual-boot system? Then the schools can decide what to run any time they boot the PC, instead of being forced to make the choice in advance.

        • by QuantumG ( 50515 )
          If Redhat wants to donate millions to charity, then will, they dont need a microsoft settlement to do it.
  • Wheew! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joebp ( 528430 )
    The money freed by removing Microsoft's software from the settlement equation is enough to buy one million PCs, instead of the 200,000 proposed by Microsoft, Red Hat says.

    Jesus, that is quite a few PCs.

    I for one hope this happens. I find it kinda amusing that Microsoft's proposed settlement includes extending their monopoly into schools, tying a generation or two to Microsoft products.

    Judge: For the unlawful shooting of a Police Officer, I sentance you to be thrown in jail for 3 years!
    Microsoft: I've got a better idea, why don't I kill 3 more? Then you can let me off!!1

    More at The Register []

  • I think this is a better proposal, particularly because it doesn't allow Microsoft to advertise itself as much. Think about it, Microsoft giving away its operating system (with a computer) for free to schools is basically advertising; they're paying the school (in-directly) to use their software, where the payment is a free computer and license for Windows. How is this supposed to be an acceptable settlement for those opposing Microsoft's illegal monopoly?

    If Microsoft gave something tangible away such as hardware with no strings attached to what operating system must be installed on them, then I think the settlement would be more fair to competition such as RedHat. Microsoft needs to prove that competition can viably exist, not the other way around, in order to achieve a settlement.

    Now, I'm not sure that RedHat should be the only company in on the agreement. This smells of opportunism. Like I said, whomever gets this deal is effectively advertising to the school children and teachers. What about making Microsoft pay for some iMacs too?

  • Does Red Hat think the schools just sit around and take whatever people give? In order for this Red Hat deal to mean anything, the schools have to WANT Linux. Why would they want it? What educational software that they use is going to be work on it?

    Once again, it has to be pointed out: People use applications, not operating systems.

    People can whine all they want about Microsoft, but it doesn't change the fact that Windows is the industry standard operating system. Schools are a lot better off having something useful, than some empty political gesture that will gather dust in the corner.

    • You can run some Windows applications on Linux, using various methods. Chances are that at least some of the educational software will run.

      Have you investigated what educational software does or does not run under the various solutions for running Windows apps on Linux?

      Microsoft doesn't care about providing a platform for educational software; they want the kids to be hooked on their proprietary operating system and applications. Mass indoctrination of future Microserfs is the key to their survival. So this action can hardly be called an act of restitution for anti-competitive behavior.
      • Have you investigated what educational software does or does not run under the various solutions for running Windows apps on Linux?

        That's totally irrelevent. Whatever the software is, it's going to run better on Windows.

        Microsoft doesn't care about providing a platform for educational software; they want the kids to be hooked on their proprietary operating system and applications.

        Well, duh. Microsoft cares about providing a product that people want. Red Hat cares about providing a product that people want. McDonalds cares about providing a product that people want. Ford cares about providing a product that people want. If you want to characterize "creating something that people want" as attempting to "hook" them on it, that's your choice, but it's ludicrous.

        So this action can hardly be called an act of restitution for anti-competitive behavior.

        Considering it costs them a huge amount of money and provides something useful to a large number of people, I would say it is an act of restitution. Yes, even software costs them money, because a great majority of these schools would have had to purchase Windows.

        The point is that the schools WANT Windows, and don't want Linux. God forbid that Microsoft supply them what they want, rather than what a bunch of zealots think they should have.

        • What evidence do you have that the software is going to run better on Windows? What does it mean to run better on Windows? Can you cite an example of an educational software package that does run on Windows and Linux, but runs ``better'' on Windows? What experience do you have with this? Or are you just guessing again?

          Secondly, you are backpedalling now. First you said that it's about the applications, such as educational applications.

          Now you are saying that ``schools WANT Windows and don't want Linux''.

          So which is it, educational applications? Or the operating systems?

          Regarding what people want: how *can* they want any alternatives, when those alternatives are shut out from the market by a monopoly? Of course Windows is what many people want. You can't want what you haven't seen. That's a consequence of the monopolistic practices which are supposed to be *punished* here, remember?
  • Yo Jeff --
    • This was already mentioned in Michael's followup [] to Jamie's article []
    • You posted an ssl (https) link to the front page of slashdot? Helping Red Hat beta-test their new crypto accelerator or something? ;-)

    • Happy holidays anyhow ;-)

  • Well played. (Score:3, Informative)

    by EndersGame ( 472825 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:35PM (#2601129)
    This is a styme on Microsoft as they are probably depending on accounting for the full cost of the licencing on the software that they will provide to come up with a huge number for the settlement.

    Each machine is probably around $1000, but they will get them for significantly cheaper, but they can install $1000 worth of software on those systems for almost free.

    I like RedHat's point. I'd really like to see the actual numbers on this, e.g. the percentage of the settlement that results from hardware versus software expenses. Also, the limited licences are a scam.
  • Explain how giving away a "limited" license for software that already monopolizes the desktop so that the schools can, presumably, buy a full featured license harms MS? Is giving Windows to schools really doing much of anything? It sounds like a pay off. I mean politicians can now say "we bullied MS into benefiting education." I must have missed this definition of justice.
  • by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:44PM (#2601168) Homepage
    $1 billion = 1 million PC's

    Red Hat is going to support 1 million PC's for free. How much would that cost? How many do they currently support? Do they realize the beating these machines take? Do they think that school teachers and librarians (who usually do the first line support) have any computer knowledge?

    Red hat is going to support 1 million installations of RED HAT LINUX for free.

    This is insane. It's just a PR stunt.
    • Depends on how you think of it. You are thinking, ok, 1million broken installations. But, you should really think of it on a per site basis. If a school has 1000 computers... identical computers, if something doesn't work, its more likely not to work across the entire batch than just one. Linux does have a good diverse driver set, but in this case, it has to support a single set (disk, video, sound, etc).

      Problems will more likely be either stupid tech support questions, i.e. "How do I add a user" or more complicated ones that involve 1 single server, and a single client. Once you know how to set up both, you can duplicate the product as many times as you want. Whether or not people will duplicate in an intelligent manner is a different kettle of fish, but its not hard even by doing fresh installs.

      I do agree, its a lot of sites to support. Just not as many as 1M (1m? heh)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Wow what better way a to kill off a competitor. Let Redhat take on their 'offer' - the support costs for redhat would kill them rather quickly. MS could then step back in with the 'free' MS software (on a larger number of PC's) and look like a saviour.

      How much is MS prepared to spend to kill a competitor ??
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @09:06PM (#2602154) Homepage
      Only an idiot would install RH on each machine.

      They set up terminal servers.

      Student blows up his/her machine? reset his account and reboot..

      Voila it's fixed... something the janitor can do.
      the server maintaince can be done part time by the CS teacher or by a maintaince firm .

      managing 100 redhat boxen in a terminal server arrangement can be done by someone with very little computer knowlege.... like a MCSE for example... (Sorry for the stab... but it was begging for it.)

  • Buy Apple hardware? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lwdupont ( 153781 )
    Why not make Microsoft purchase Apple hardware for schools? That way the 90% monopoly MS has outside of schools can start to get broken down starting inside the school system, by teaching kids Apple hardware and OS X is just as good as intel hardware and Unix.
  • Damn clever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScottMaxwell ( 108831 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:45PM (#2601178) Homepage
    This is a brilliant move by Red Hat to subvert this joke of a settlement offer. The existence of their counter-proposal helps show Microsoft's original proposal for the self-serving move it really is. It's nice to see Microsoft outmaneuvered here.

    And it's good PR for Red Hat. Nobody will take them up on the offer (though it would mean serious money for Red Hat in the long run if they did), and they get to look like they're even more strongly "for the children" than Microsoft. Nicely played!

  • Wow... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonfromspace ( 179394 ) <jonwilkins@gmCOF ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:46PM (#2601179)
    Fantastic Idea, but with the amount of Windows boxen out there... is it ok to be teaching kids to use Linux? I mean really... how many of them are going to run into that platform in the workplace...

    I am sure to be modded down for trolling, but I think this is a valid point.

    • Yeah, I'm sure after they know how to get around a Linux system, trying to learn the sugar candy of Windows XP will prove a monumental learning task for them.
  • by dstone ( 191334 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:48PM (#2601187) Homepage
    Teach the kids on Linux rather than Windows. It's a better OS, though the real world generally uses a crappier one.

    Teach the kids Esperanto rather than English. It's a better language, though the real world generally uses a crappier one.
  • by Xanderkryo ( 537846 ) <> on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:53PM (#2601214) Homepage
    I have no qualms with Microsoft or RedHat (or any Linux distributor for that matter), but putting Linux on 1 millions machines is not going to help the children. Windows-based products will still be on the majority of computers in businesses when these kids get out of school. Knowing Linux, but not knowing Microsoft products isn't going to help them one bit. Granted, I've never used Linux (Windows works just fine for my games, FTP server, etc. Don't screw with settings and you're fine. It is when you start tinkering with the settings and forget what originally was there is when you have problems. Why people can't understand this, I'll never know.). I doubt that any software suites for Linux are 100% like Microsoft's products. What we need for the schools is a universal system (and one where the kernel doesn't need recompiled daily.) that can be easily used.
    • Hah! Everyone who knows Linux should have NO problem learning Windows.

      BTW, isn't that the message in every single goddamn ad for Windows? Ie, "So easy to use, even if you're a freaking moron who fell asleep in the middle ages and just woke up, you'll be emailing movies to your grandson in no time."

      To that end, thats the argument Redhat should take to court. "If windows is so easy to use, whats the benifit of putting kids on them so early on?" At least that'd force MS to actually admit that using an operating system (tho I suppose they'd use the euphamism "computer") requires some learning and training.

      But like I said, knowing Linux forces you to know computers. And knowing computers, its pretty easy to pick up Windows at your own leisure. The reverse is not true, as one of the main purposes and selling points of windows is that it allows people who don't have a clue about hardware and software to email, surf the web, and use word processing.
  • Niether settlement is good in my books.

    First, Redhat is just piggybacking on it. I do not thinking giving redhat a big boost this way is 'fair' to others, OR to Microsoft.

    Second, Microsoft getting off the hook at all by simply donating some stuff does not address the issue.

    We simply need to ensure that microsoft can't stay on the top by bullying people with their size. If they want to stay on top with good software, let them.
  • by Vicegrip ( 82853 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @03:59PM (#2601236) Journal
    it's own software is so patently ridiculous... even more amazing is the limitless gall Microsoft has in presenting this "remedy".

    I'd be walking around with a paper bag over my face even if I was only remotely affiliated the the legal team persuing the settlement in this deal.

    I wonder if I could convince my bank to accept in-lieu of hard cash this handy little program:
    void main()
    printf("Look mom! A program!\n");
    Yes yes.. I know this doesn't do much, but you will concede the loop closely models the average behavior of some MS software that comes to mind... like MS Outlook; in particular: it doesn't do anything particularly useful and uses up insane processor resources... also, I will counter argue that since you have the source, you can take some time to make it useful.
  • Okay, I like RedHat, but that is completely self-serving. RH isn't even involved in this...

    I'm not saying that M$ came up with a good settlement offer - and we sure as hell know they aren't going to do more than laugh at the RH offer.

    That being said - cool idea...
  • Red Hat monopoly? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dhopton ( 252883 )
    Does this not equate to a RedHat mononopoly in much the same way as a microsoft monopoly? Surely schools should have a range of hetregenous systems - Max, Unix, Windows, etc
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @04:15PM (#2601296) Homepage Journal
    The subject of my email is an African proverb that refers to the fact that when largeer than life entities do battle (e.g. kings at war), it's typically the little people in the middle who suffer the most. Having spent time as a mentor at a poor school in inner city Atlanta I think both proposals are self-serving, misguided and will provide less benefit than is being touted.

    First of all about computers and software in schools. Studies have shown that the benefits of computers in school range from minor to non-existent especially when compared to tried and proven practices like increasing class sizes, upping teachers pay and engaging students in extracurricular activiteis like field trips. Secondly, in situations where computers proved to be beneficial it took an average of 3 years for the teacher to successfully integrate computers into the curricullum. Considering that the average lifespan of PC hardware is 3 - 5 years, this makes any push for computers in school a decision that should be weighed heavily before being taken.

    As for having the students use Linux instead of Windows, I can't see how this is a good idea in either case. On the one hand, you have poor schools that are faced with having to find cash to pay for MSFT products after a certain time period expires and they have become used to using them and on the other you have places where middle school students struggle with concepts like "multiplication" (many teenage students I mentored did multiplications on their fingers) and "quadrilaterals" (and this was after repeated prepping by teachers in preparation for one of many standardized tests that students had to take) who are expected to learn how to use Linux. I hardly see that as Win-Win but instead Lose-Win where the winner is either Red Hat or Microsoft
    • I really hope you meant decreased class size.

      Have you any research (not teachers union funded) that indicates that teacher pay correlates with student achievement?

      I think that the advantage of computers in schools is as a resource, not an element of the curriculum. IOW, allowing students to type papers, or use digital research materials (not the internet) is helpful. Plunking kids down in front of computers and expecting them to learn something is not.

  • Is RedHat really a good idea? Sure, it's easy to install, but if history is any guide, it's pretty easy to own, too. Why not a more secure linux distribution, or even (ducking) FreeBSD?

    Also, I don't think most parents would go for it, because their sprog won't be getting any computer (read: Microsoft) skills.

  • This would be good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LinuxOnHal ( 315199 )
    As a technical employee of a school district, I can say this would be a good thing, especially with the Unlimited support available to them. We have quite a bit of linux expertise, but if we were to ever have a staff turnover, and the higher-ups didn't hire Linux people, they would be in a world of hurt. This would increase Linux penetration, as well as help out significantly more schools.
  • apple put itself in schools and captured a market that is still loyal to them. microsoft then came in and captured a bigger market. this won't go through the same way for Red Hat. reason being that the business world uses microsoft more than linux. and schools are these days more concerned with sedning out good workers that know how to use the software that the business world uses. the schools will refuse the linux software on the basis that is doesn't properly prepare the students. and the teachers don't know how to use linux or teach it.
  • it's just a matter of being familiar with one system or the other. microsoft only wants to groom our children to be windows users, and this is the only reason they would come up with a deal like that.

    I do tech support for an isp, I get windows calls all day, and in one 8 hour shift, I spend more time waiting for customers windows OS to reboot than I do in a whole year on my home system. Win2k/XP may be a bit better in this respect, but Linux is still far ahead of what windows offeres as a usable environment. Who's going to pay to update virus software on all these 200,000 windows boxes?
  • I've rarely seen so splendid *GOTCHA* as this one from Redhat. It will really show Microsoft's double-faced behaviour.

    Sadly, of course Microsoft will not accept it, and the court will accept Microsoft's proposal. This kind of settlement would be just too adventurous for the justice system, I'm afraid.

    And the public will not care a bit, but all children of America will praise Microsoft's generosity and kind-heartness. That's the saddest thing. TANJ.

    I also don't quite believe Redhat's proposal. I doubt they would be delivering 1 million Redhat boxed packages with printed manuals and everything. Perhaps one for each school, or maybe just a CD set, or just "here's the URL."
    This is one aspect which might make the proposal less appealing.
  • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @08:06PM (#2601978) Homepage
    Why haven't we heard from Apple regarding this? One of the main reason that you can't use inmates as cheap labor is that it will unfairly distort the economy. Why does this not apply to this "Remedy" They are the dominant supplier of platforms incl. OS to the educational sector. This proposal will severely hurt Apples business forcing them to counter act with price reduction. How can this Remedy be acceptable to them?
    • One of the main reason that you can't use inmates as cheap labor is that it will unfairly distort the economy.

      You've never worked for a state government, have you? Here in Colorado, state agencies are bound by law to buy furniture through the Juniper Valley Corrections Facility. See, the prison put in the cheapest bid when the state was writing up contracts; as a result, state agencies may not buy any furniture from anyplace else, even though it can be had for as little as half as much, unless there are special circumstances (e.g., the furniture has to be built to exact specs that Juniper Valley can't handle).

      Slave labor is here to stay.


  • show em like it is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by staeci ( 85394 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @09:45PM (#2602239) Homepage Journal
    give them a mix of linux, windows and mac. Just like it is in the real world. Have a mix of applications on each. Have them learn the strenghts and weaknesses of each. This is what the real world is like.

    Have a mix of them in the library for internet use and accessing the library catalog(often via web-interface these days). Show them that it doesn't really matter so long as standards are adhered to.

    Seriously I doubt that any kid would have a problem sitting down at a KDE desktop for the first time. They'll just click on things till it breaks or works. And lets face it kids will often use the one which looks the coolest. Even a default KDE desktop looks pretty sweet (just change win-deco to laptop).

    And after the license free period is over I imagine all the windows boxes will dissappear. Either that or MS will chase em down and eat them alive.
  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @10:45PM (#2602405)
    Why should the court specify what the schools are going to get? If this is a penalty, it should be a blank check donation that schools can spend on anything they want, as long as it's non-Microsoft. It's not a penalty unless some of Microsoft's money and market share goes to their competitors. If a school already has a Linux setup, they'll want more stuff to go with that; if they already have Apple stuff with PowerSchool and carts of iBooks, then they will want more of that. If they have all Microsoft stuff, in part because of Microsoft's illegal actions, then they will have an opportunity to see what they've been missing with some other stuff.

    Also, it would be a good penalty to have Microsoft pay for a UNIX/Mac training course that's offered free to MSCE's that want it. In other words, you paid to become an MSCE before Microsoft's actions were brought to light, and now you have a free way to upgrade your skills to other tech and round out your knowledge and maybe stop pushing MS kit because it's all you know.

    Another penalty would be free Windows 3.11 for any machine that can run it. These machines are out there, and often they are junk only because of software licensing. They ALL had DOS because of Microsoft's illegal licensing (pay for DOS whether you want it or not), so it's not like Microsoft didn't already get a cut of the cost of these machines originally. Apple has offered System 7.5.5 for free for years, and that is much higher functionality than Windows 3.11. That's why there are so many old Macs still doing functional work, and even being sold around on eBay to do functional work. The equivalent PC's (late 486's and early Pentiums) are going to the dump, or sitting in the basements of office buildings. Microsoft recently hassled a charity for collecting these and putting Windows 3.11 on them for kids. That's not right. If their software weren't so much more fragile than the hardware, these machines would still be functional (in other words, you'd turn them on and they'd be as good as the day they first went into service).
  • 800,000 keyboards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sly Mongoose ( 15286 ) on Thursday November 22, 2001 @11:26PM (#2602508) Homepage
    First, if Red Hat's offer does nothing else, it points out the duplicitous nature of Microsoft's offer.

    Second, if the point is to introduce the students to the principles of computer science, then Linux is perfectly adequate to the task. We aren't out to create a generation of Word-using stenographers, we are out to expand the minds of the students.

    Third, there is no reason for any school to keep Linux on their machines if they choose not to. They can install any OS they like. True, they may have to pay for it. The cost-free option remains theirs, but they can go and install BeOS if they choose.

    Fourth, the benefit of this proposal is not that Microsoft gets punnished for their evil deeds. It is not that they get their monopolistic plans thwarted. It is not that Red Hat gets to capture the hearts and minds of the students. The real benefit is that 800,000 more kids get to sit in front of 800,000 more monitors and tap away on 800,000 more keyboards than the original proposal. Five times as many kids get access to five times as many computers, running a capable, highly reliable, highly efficient operating system that can be utilized at no extra cost, or replaced with the OS of their choice (should they decide to do so) for far less than the cost of acquiring the equivilent systems themselves.

    What a pity it won't happen!

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