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Red Hat Software Businesses

Ask Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik 666

Red Hat has made several changes in how they run their business, notably concentrating more (perhaps one might say "entirely") on enterprise-level Linux users. Some of Red Hat's moves have upset long-time users, and many people seem to have trouble understanding exactly where Fedora fits into all this. Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik has offered to answer your questions and clear things up, so ask away. Please don't ask questions he's answered in recent interviews and statements, and try -- hard though this may be for some -- to ask only one question per post. We'll forward 10 or 12 of the highest-moderated questions to Szulik tomorrow, and run his answers when he gets them back to us.
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Ask Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik

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  • Why (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pingular ( 670773 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:04PM (#7465127)
    did you decide to stop producing the Red Hat 'standard' distro, when it was the leading desktop distro?
  • by rastakid ( 648791 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465132) Homepage Journal
    Dear Mr. Szulik, where do you see Linux on the desktop for end-users going now, since RedHat decided to focus (almost) entirely on Enterprise-level? I thought we were doing quite fine, don't you think this is a step back in becoming the number one desktop OS for end-users?
  • Question... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465138)
    Mr. Szulik, I have often recommended Red Hat software to people just beginning to learn Linux. Why have you discontinued the Red Hat Linux Desktop line, and what Linux distribution should I recommend to people wanting to learn Linux? Please note, Mr. Szulik, I know very well your comments on how people should use Windows on the desktop, but I'm thinking of people who want to learn Linux.
  • up2date (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aldousd666 ( 640240 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465139) Journal
    Is the up2date service going to continue to work for us end users who still use RH9, or are we going to have to go Fedora treating our existing installations as defunct? I've spent quite a lot of hours configuring my systems, and I think you're going to make a lot of angry users if things change too drastically. I know a number of people who are already shunning the name RedHat in favor of the other flavors.
  • linux's enemy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by musikit ( 716987 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465140)
    Some people (not neccessarily me) don't consider Windows to be Linux's enemy. They are in fact targeting to different markets. However given the fact that you are now focusing on the enterprise level Linux environment, What other products do you feel is Linux/RedHat's enemy? Another way of saying it is, What products do you feel Linux/RedHat is competing against?
  • Timing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jester42 ( 623276 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465141)
    With United Linux on the way, don't you think it was badly timed to have everybody using RedHat Linux ponder about which distribution to go for next?
  • by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#7465147) Homepage
    Matthew - If you were looking for an opportunity to start a small business (size at peak $25 Million revenue, perhaps 250 employees) in the Linux world, where would you go?
  • Red Hat and Fedora (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mahdi13 ( 660205 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:06PM (#7465151) Journal
    There has been lots of talk that Fedora is just a testing ground for the software that goes into RHEL. Leaving the packages that go into Fedora is a state of 'beta-test-limbo' and once the bugs are hammered out, only then will they be moved into RHEL. How true is this?
  • What's next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) * <mister.sketch@gm ... om minus painter> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:06PM (#7465152)
    For the average person, RedHat _is_ Linux. Who do you believe will replace you as being the defacto Linux distribution for the average person?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:06PM (#7465156)
    Mr Szulik, you are no doubt aware that there's a gap in your product lineup -- you have a good range of enterprise products, and a hobbyist distro, but there's something missing in the middle. A solid, tested and supported desktop for home users and small businesses, which doesn't carry the price tag of RHEL WS.

    I (and thousands upon thousands of others) felt comfortable with RH's excellent QA and support. Now that this is only available in RHEL, how would you react to the community creating a freely-distributale RHEL variant? In other words, strip out the copyrighted bits, use the errata SRPMs to produce updates, and offer users with a robust, cheap and long-term supported distro.

    This may cause problems with your core business, and I respect greatly the work RH does on GCC, GNOME, glibc, XFree86 etc., but I can see a group getting just enough dissatisfied to create such a distro.


  • by j0keralpha ( 713423 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#7465162)
    Your diversion to a business oriented model makes a lot of sense, although you dont need me to tell you that. However, RH has long placed a lot of emphasis on helping (and defending) the general Linux community. Will we still be able to depend on RH for their help with both linux development (possibly through Fedora, possibly not) and their commitment to Linux? Or is this a signal of departure to a more closed model?
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#7465163) Homepage Journal

    One of the (many) factors leading to Microsoft dominance was that they had, from the user's perspective, essentially the same operating system on the desktop and the server, in that they ran the same software; And recently, Microsoft has provided literally the same software on desktop and server. RedHat began with a general-purpose product, and then moved to an artificial separation between desktop and server as Microsoft now has, and has since moved to providing only the Server. Do you feel that this is a necessary product of the differences between open and closed source models, or is it simply the right position for RedHat to take, and not the rest of the Open Source Unix community?

  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#7465169) Homepage Journal
    Your company has been in black for a few quarters and generally has shown good growth tendencies [] for analysts to give your stock good ratings and Buy recommendations.

    Your exit from the desktop Linux market was an attempt to focus the company on enterprise editions, which bring in more contracts and revenues.

    How big of a business was desktop Linux for you in the first place and what was your revenue structure in that market? How much do you expect to add to bottom line by concentrating on enterprise market?
  • by DragonMagic ( 170846 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#7465174) Homepage
    With the SCO lawsuit, FUD from different companies and investment firms, and the need for businesses to have reliable and cost-effective solutions, will RedHat stick with GNU/Linux as its core operating system, or is there any thought to building more than one kernel-based enterprise suite? FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc.?
  • by jbeamon ( 208826 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:09PM (#7465196)
    Please differentiate for us the differences between Fedora Core and its periodic scheduled releases, Rawhide (which used to be a bleeding-edge, "unstable/testing" compilation), and the Fedora Legacy project. I've only heard of Legacy once in an online discussion, and there was a link back to another discussion. This knowledge would be invaluable to those of us who are willing to use a more recent compilation like Fedora, but are uncomfortable going completely without an established system for fishing through updated packages from hundreds of willing volunteers and setting up an install-compatible repository. The Legacy project especially interests me as a gesture toward the low-price entry point for small business servers that Red Hat is abandoning with the death of RHL9.
  • by Alan Hicks ( 660661 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:09PM (#7465202) Homepage
    Given that your company is backing out of the low-end "consumer" market for linux distributions, RedHat obviously feels that profit margins aren't strong enough there to justify continuing that business model. Why do you feel this is so? Services like up2date seemed to me to be a wonderful method of turning a profit. It seems to me that a linux distriution that offers something like that would be able to make plenty of profit. Could overhead be too high at RedHat to make this possible, particularly given RedHat's history of instability and insecurity compared to other linux distributions (notable Debian and Slackware, and to a lesser extent SuSE)? If that is the case, why do you feel that Enterprise Linux will turn a higher profit margin?
  • by Vilim ( 615798 ) <ryan@j[ ] ['abb' in gap]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:09PM (#7465208) Homepage
    Although I am not a user of Redhat Linux I am a Linux user who got my first start on Redhat. When I think of your descision to focus on the enterprise I can't help but think that you have done the Linux Desktop user base a great disservice. If it had not been for Redhat selling copies of its operating system in stores I would not have tried Linux at all. Linus himself even stresses that the future of Linux is in the deskop. How do you think you have aided the Linux community by removing the most accessable competitor to Windows from store shelves?
  • Do you see... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pingular ( 670773 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:09PM (#7465214)
    Fedora as the continuance of Red Hat Linux, or as something completley different? Or something inbetween?
  • by psychoid ( 568115 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465216)
    What are your thoughts on the Novell purchase of SuSE and the threat that they will pose to your enterprise business?
  • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465218) Journal

    You have mentioned that there would be a sort of quid pro quo between Fedora and your Enterprise line: in return for the community support for Fedora as a "testing ground" for Enterprise Linux, Fedora will get some engineering and management support from Red Hat. It's not that I doubt your honesty, but I'm worried that if I were to contribute to Fedora, those contributions might get sucked into an enterprise distribution I could never afford while Fedora support ends up falling by the wayside. How two-way will the street be, and are there any assurances that it will keep being two-way?

  • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465222) Homepage

    If you could go back in time with the knowledge you have to day, and live the dot-com years for a second time. What would you change in RedHat's business model ?

  • by divec ( 48748 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465224) Homepage

    One of the strengths of Red Hat has always been its emphasis on Free software. Unlike, say, SuSE, which contains significant pieces of SuSE-only infrastructure (such as YaST), Red Hat has always been more careful not to "Weld The Hood Shut". This is one reason we recommend Red Hat to customers at work.

    Will we continue to see this, or will Red Hat start trying to beat the competition with proprietary add-ons?

  • HP, Dell etc. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#7465228)

    It seems to me that the most important thing to gain widespread acceptance of Linux is for the big PC manufacturers to promote and factory install it.

    We used to hear that when companies such as Dell and HP were approached about this, they would be very hesitant about it, probably due to fear of what Microsoft might do in retaliation.

    Is this still the case? Do you think we are ever going to see Dell offering Linux as an option on their standard desktops, for example?

  • by capt.Hij ( 318203 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:11PM (#7465231) Homepage Journal
    One of the biggest issues for putting gnu/linux on the desktop is more support for hardware. I understand why Redhat is supporting Fedora and focusing more on industrial clients, but I am concerned about the long term implications. What will Redhat be doing to increase hardware compatibility and support? Without an official Redhat "civilian" distribution do you feel that you will have the ability to sway hardware manufacturers to support gnu/linux?
  • by mukund ( 163654 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:11PM (#7465235) Homepage
    Considering that the software in your distributions are made to a great extent (atleast over 50% of it) due to the efforts of the community, and the name "Red Hat" has achieved its recognition, not only due to its quality but also due to the testing and good-mouthing of members of the community, don't you think it is unethical of you to lock out the quality Linux distribution from Red Hat from that community? The GNU movement recommends charging for service. You could provide the ISOs and package updates to mirrors who'll gladly host it for the community. Think about it. You block out people from using their own hard work, and make it available to only some exclusive money-based segment which is out of the reach of many, you will eventually lose the community's support and popularity.
  • Mr. CEO Guy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RawCode ( 464152 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:11PM (#7465239)
    I see that you feel that Linux is not ready for the desktop. In that light, what key events need to take place in your mind for Linux to be considered to be 'ready' for the desktop. Key business alliences (a la Novell/SuSE)? Key settlements in a certain IP lawsuit (SCO)? Other milestones? Please give insite into WHY you feel its not ready for prime time.

    AND, if its NOT ready for the desktop, what will you run on YOUR desktop?
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:12PM (#7465247)
    Has Red Hat's shrinkwrapped consumer-level product stream ever made a proft? To your knowledge, has SUSE or anyone else over made a profit from consumer sales?
  • Standardization? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:12PM (#7465254) Homepage Journal
    I've noticed that different Linux distributions take radically different approaches to fairly menial things such as filesystem layout and package management. Lately, I've started using Gentoo, which seems to offer the best blend of configurability and power of the current crop of Linux distributions while remaining simple and fun to use, but still suffers from the pitfalls of compatibility with software designed for other distributions including Red Hat (and packaging such as RPM).

    I think it is inevitable that standardization will continue to occur -- things have gotten much better over the last few years -- but do you see Red Hat changing to fit Linux or Linux changing to fit Red Hat in the future?

  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:12PM (#7465256)
    I am considering dropping our support contracts over this. The problem is that contrary to popular to his statements about the desktop not being ready, we run a ton of thin client desktops. The client machines run the non enterprise version of the os and use remote X to connect to a clustered advanced server. Their recent moves drops any possibility of support for the client machines. I am highly considering a move to either Suse and or Mandrake on both the clients and the server. I liken their move to not support the client version to Microsofts new licensing stupidity. RedHats clustering is nothing more than Kimberlite and I can download that.

    I am not seeing a roadmap out of RedHat that I am comfortable with.On top of that I am spitting mad about his desktop comments a few days ago!

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:13PM (#7465271) Journal
    I've used several distributions (distribution families, really) over the past few years, and the biggest hassle in switching from one to another is not the data (CD-Rs worked for a while, and now external hard drives), not the baseline apps (most non-specialist distributions, including RH, come with a boatload of included apps), but rather package management.

    Since apt4rpm works very well, once installed, have you considered a greater use for apt vs. RPMs in Fedora / future versions of whatever products end up with the Red Hat label? Mandrake's URPMI does a great, similar job, too. I like the automatic dependency checking that this type of package manager brings, and Synaptic is one of the nicest package management front ends I've seen.

  • What about KDE? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:13PM (#7465274)
    What about RedHat policy with KDE? Do you plan to finally support it or you still want to remove credits from KDE applications and modify every release removing/hiding konqueror,kmail,etc..?
  • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:14PM (#7465283)
    With Redhat giving up the threat of market share on the desktop, doesn't that give Micrsoft a free hand to focus its efforts on the server market? Just as years of development of Redhat Linux on the desktop seemed to develop into a pleasantly usable state.

  • by novakane007 ( 154885 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:15PM (#7465294) Homepage Journal
    Some of the loudest complaints about Linux revolve around package managment and installation. Granted this field has improved lately with things like Red Carpet and Synapse, but application installation is still the most cubersome process in linux. With new initiatives by the Linux community to make a bigger dent in the desktop community, does Red Hat have any plans for some type of installation manager, like the wise installer? Some applications like Ximian and Open Office do a pretty good job of making the installation user friendly, but wouldn't it be valuable to the not so techy users to have a common and easy way to install new software?
  • Novell + Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nepheles ( 642829 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:16PM (#7465297) Homepage
    What do you think are the implications of the Novell purchase of SuSe (and Ximian, for that matter)?
  • RHAS licensing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:16PM (#7465306)
    Here's a not-very-hypothetical situation. My company just bought about decent number of RHAS licenses - well, not really, I suppose, but that's how everyone refers to it, and the salesmen seem to encourage this.

    I'd like to install Linux on a 'scratch' machine for some minor development and testing, and I now have a problem.

    1) I don't like to use RH9 with that on life-support.
    2) I can't install RHAS because the 'license' costs more than the ancient box it'll be on, and if I put an 'unlicensed' copy on our suppport contract is invalidated.
    3) If I put on some other Linux, it's not all that compatiable with the RHAS.

    So what the heck am I supposed to do? Do you really think this is good for Redhat? And isn't problem #2 really skirting the edges of what's allowed under the GPL?

    If I sell Foobar Linux for $1000 a copy, with a $900 rebate if you don't execise any GPL rights, I don't think that's ok with the GPL, but it seems equivalent to what's going on with the advanced server licenses.
  • public vs private (Score:4, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:16PM (#7465308) Journal
    Once upon a time, Red Hat was a private concern. Then .coms and linux became valid business models and Red Hat had a wildly popular IPO.

    Has being a public company altered your business decisions? Obviously, the infusion of cash allowed for greater growth, made it easy to buy other companies, and made unprofitability possible. But has meeting the streets demands adversly affected your business decisions?

  • by jasonbowen ( 683345 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:17PM (#7465312)
    What are the top issues you feel that need to be sorted out in order for Linux to really compete with Mac OS X and Windows?
  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:19PM (#7465335) Homepage
    Dear Mr. Szulik,

    I have been purchasing and promoting RedHat Linux as a desktop alternative and it appears from recent official statements that RedHat is abandoning the desktop effort. I know the RedHat has recently annouced Fedora as a replacement to the boxed RedHat distribution which is supposed to be community based.

    In my experience as an RHCE, Redhat has done very little to promote a sense of community among it's users or RHCE's. A year ago, RedHat started some online forumns to start the community building processes but, the forumns were very short lived (2 months). Based on all this, where should the users and believers in a desktop Linux solution go next and, what is Redhat doing to and build an effective user/developer community around Fedora? Also, can you comment on the response that Fedora has received so far?
  • Re:up2date (Score:2, Interesting)

    by supersmike ( 563905 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:20PM (#7465353)
    Will the yum repository keep track of my system profile? How will it know which updates I need? I like not having to think about this part... just run up2date and let it figure out what I need, solve the dependencies and installation, etc.

    Also, who maintains the repositories? Will they be as reliable as RHN was?

  • Red Hat 7.x support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:23PM (#7465393)
    Our company runs many critical servers on Red Hat 7.x. We have known for some time that 7.x support would be ending after 2003. What was recent news to me is that there is no upgrade path to Enterprise Linux, it requires a fresh install! Rebuilding all our production linux servers in the next two months is not something I had anticipated doing. I would like to migrate our servers to Enterprise Linux as it does offer some new features that are very useful to us, such as the new 3.7GB per process memory cap. So given the enormous amount of work involved in getting to Enterprise Linux is there any way to have a more sane timetable for migration? Either by offering an upgrade utility from 7.x (the most stable server version that I would guess most people are running) or by extending the EOL of 7.x. Alternatively are there any 3rd party companies offering support for 7.x after 2003? What I am most interested in, is to continue getting the errata and I would be happy to pay money for this service.
  • by Frater 219 ( 1455 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:25PM (#7465419) Journal
    I work for a world-renowned research institution. We have ~500 Red Hat Linux systems in labs and on desktops, mostly administered by scientists and technicians rather than central IT staff -- so keeping them up to date is a challenge.

    We have twice, over the past few years, attempted to contact Red Hat regarding site licensing or educational volume licensing for access to Red Hat Network. Both times the answer has been that -- unlike Sun, Microsoft, Apple, and our other OS suppliers -- Red Hat has no licensing programs for the education and science markets. For this reason, we have turned our Red Hat Linux users away from Red Hat Network and towards FreshRPMs APT [] as a source of regular software updates.

    With the discontinuation of the Red Hat Linux product line, we are now at an impasse. We do not expect FreshRPMs to conjure up security and bug-fix updates for a system that will no longer be supported upstream. My clients would prefer a more guaranteed solution than FreshRPMs. However, Red Hat still shows no signs of interest in the education and research market. Fedora is not an option, as we can't expect our science staff to accept major upgrades every 2-3 months -- they are science nerds, not Linux nerds.

    Is there any chance that your plans for Red Hat Enterprise Linux include site- and volume-licensing oriented at the educational and research community? For if not, my colleagues and I will have a hard row to hoe -- migrating existing Red Hat Linux users to supportable distributions such as SuSE or Mandrake.

  • by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:27PM (#7465444) Homepage

    What makes Enterprise ES more attractive than either WS or AS, or even Fedora? Your website only makes vague short descriptions of each of the variants, and I have yet to find any advantage that ES may hold over its two peers. Even partners like Oracle are reluctant/refusing to support ES.

    One thing that would make a huge difference to us involved in purchasing Linux would be more detailed technical descriptions on your website. Even just having a package listing would I think relieve much confusion.

  • Bitter People... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IA-Outdoors ( 715597 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:28PM (#7465453)
    What do you say to the bitter ex-RedHat desktop users now left in limbo by your decision to go with RHEL only? Fedora's first release is, IMHO, a bust and lacks what RedHat brought to the table...stability. Be frank, I think it is OK to say "Hey, your segment of the market wasn't generating enough profit" or something of the like. Also, take Fedora out of the RedHat's desktop marketing research, who did you see as the best player out there in the linux desktop? Be willing to give a name and don't dodge the question as I feel many are interested in your answer.
  • Changes to RHN (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:28PM (#7465454)
    I can understand wanting to move freeloaders over to Fedora from RHL. You recently froze existing RHN member's machine entitlement levels at their highest level. This was done without warning and is immediately and very inconvenient for current RHL users on RHN. Why not give us a grace period so that we could continue to change entitlement levels until you EOL'd RHL? Then we'd all be on Fedora and you wouldn't have pissed us off twice.
  • Academics... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PseudononymousCoward ( 592417 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:28PM (#7465455)
    Mr. Szulik,

    As a professor at a Big-10 University, I now find myself in the curious situation that RedHat, for either server or workstation usage, is more expensive than Windows, owing to the terms that MS offers academia and the new licensing of RH products. Most Universities can _purchase_ Win2k3 Server for the price of one year of RHEL WS support.

    Does academia constitute one more market segment that RH is no longer contesting?
  • licensing issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by painehope ( 580569 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:28PM (#7465460)
    when will RedHat have a more reasonable licensing scheme? Your licensing is excellent for corporate enterprise workstations, and I realize that you are moving away from home users, but what about clusters and universities?
    For example, I run Redhat across a rather large ( > 4000 CPUs ) cluster, and have never bothered doing more than buying a few boxed sets due to the fact that I have never been able to get a reasonable price from your sales team. Cluster support tends to be more like dealing w/ a single machine, since the hardware is generational ( if you add 512 CPUs to the system, their hardware is going to be exactly the same if you ordered it that way ). Why should I pay a license for each machine, when I can just get a license for one that is having the same problem as the others ( for example, a bizarre problem we had w/ the eepro100 driver + PVM - and yes, I know PVM is generally used for > 1 machine, but technically I probably could have addressed the support problem w/ 1 license ). I wouldn't have a problem buying cluster support if you had a decent sliding scale ( ex. : 512 nodes @ $50/node, 1024 nodes @ $35/node, etc. ). And of course, have a caching update server for the site.
    And for universities : if you want brand recognition, try offering site licenses or educational discounts. Don't count on all CS/EE students to be clued in enough to install Fedora on their laptop and then debug any problems that come up. Offer a site-wide license to all students for $50k, or a department for $10k, or something like that. That would probably give you a lot of name recognition in the future. You already offer site licenses for corporations, right?
    So when will RedHat come up w/ some decent licensing schemes for those environments?
  • by shadexiii ( 723888 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:29PM (#7465470)
    I respect your knowledge of the industry and the change in demand and all of the "business" aspects of selling RedHat. I appreciate your software. All of this aside, though, telling computer users they basically SHOULD be using windows? Everyone has their reasons for choosing the operating system they use. Not everyone uses a computer for e-mail, web browsing, and games. For those of us who DO like RedHat and DO think it is at a sufficient level for the desktop, could you at least ask us what we want or need before telling us?
  • by scons ( 633185 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:33PM (#7465499)
    One of the significant differentiators between RHEL and Fedora is that RHEL will continue to benefit from Red Hat's QA resources, while Fedora will now rely on "community testing" for QA.

    To what extent is Red Hat part of the "Fedora community" for QA purpose? If Red Hat QA finds bugs in the Fedora Core from which RHEL draws, will Red Hat contribute bug reports and/or patches back to Fedora, so that the community as a whole will benefit from that work? Since Red Hat is naturally interested in maintaining some sort of differentiation to give people incentive to purchase RHEL, what criteria will govern when Red Hat would or would not contribute bug reports and/or patches to Fedora?

  • by jmkaza ( 173878 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:33PM (#7465503)
    Customers of mine have been hesitant to try Linux. Many still see it as bleeding edge technology, and have developed a 'wait and see' attitude. With the free release of RedHat 9, I've been able to incorporate LAMP systems for small projects, at an incredible price. The stability, reliability, and security of those systems has helped to prove the overall impression of Linux, and in some cases lead to Enterprise Licensing for larger systems. With Fedora being primarily a testing release, without the stability we've come to expect from RedHat, how can I convince customers RedHat is a valid choice?
  • by floydman ( 179924 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:33PM (#7465509)
    Mr Szulik, ofcorse you realize that MS's dominance leverged from the fact that their OS not only runs in offices, but also runs on 99.9% of home computers. Dont you think that the effort/money spent on the regular, non-profitable RH Linux would achieve almost the same result to the same staus of your OS. I know that RH Linux was a very big burden and resource eater, but on the long run, it would have paid off big time, and RedHat would have benfited the most being the #1 Linux distributor in the world, and if RH Linux was to be there, it would have remained the #1 distributor.
  • by Sir_Kurt ( 92864 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:34PM (#7465512)
    Dear Mr. Szulik, We have run Rehat on our office servers since the 4.2 days. We have recently been replacing our desktops (mostly OS/2 machines)with Redhat nine. Now that your company will no longer provide an inexpensive supported desktop solution for those of us who do not need the (expensive) enterprise solution, what other linux distribution would you recommend we use in lieu of Redhat 9?

  • Migration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:36PM (#7465545) Homepage Journal
    In April, I must migrate from "Red Hat Linux 9" to "something else" if I want to continue with the benefit of a distribution that publishes security updates. My paid RHN subscription runs out in March, by the way. I've been willing to pay $120/year (2 systems), but I'm certainly not willing to pay much more.

    So what should "something else" be? Your remark about Windows is legendary by now, but Microsoft is not an option since I depend on the gnu environment and a lot of linux-based software.

    Why should I choose Fedora? Debian certainly looks like the best choice, offering much longer maintainance than the 4-6 month release cycle and 2-3 months of bug fixes the Fedora claims. And Debian is well established and has a strong user base. Even Suse and Mandrake look like better choices than Fedora's extreemly short maintainance cycle. Each of these distributions considers me (even if I download free ISOs) as their "customer", whereas Red Hat's attitude appears to be that I'm a "hobbist" or "enthusiast" if I use Fedora.

    So please answer with your best "sales pitch" for Fedora. This is your chance to sell it to me and thousands of other long-time Red Hat Linux users. Or if you (and Red Hat) really don't care if I switch/migrate to Debian instead of Fedora, please be honest and just say so.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:37PM (#7465551)
    I recently oversaw the coversion of two offices migrating from Windows to RH 9 Linux. I had three other companies sold on using Linux on the desktop up until this past week. The two offices I set up with RH9 were unquie as they had been using RH linux on servers for years and were able to offer internal support. The Annoucement last week hasn't phased their plans as their current hardware is expected to last another 2 - 3 years. However, now with the future of the other major commercial distro, I have been forced to advice the three clients looking into Linux to purchase new Windows machines and their IT staff decided to replace their Linux boxes with windows server 2003 for a totally intergrated solution.

    Before, it looked as though Linux was poised to make a major push onto corperate desktops within the next two years. Now without any firm support, many companies I have spoken with are ruling out Linux all together and going to other *iux vendors such as *BSD, Apple, and even Sun. With the sudden EOL for RH products, how are company's to trust RH's commitment to their products and services?

  • No More Redhat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spacecowboy420 ( 450426 ) <rcasteen@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:43PM (#7465610)
    What pisses me off is that I just spent money on the RHCT course/test and soon after began studying for my RHCE. The point being that I'd like to eventually have my users and my servers on the same OS. With the new Fedora BS, I have decided to change distributions. I had felt going with the market leader, I would have the best Linux had to offer. As soon as I convinced the pointy hairs that we need to make this migration, get the servers up on RH and some of the engineers up and running - RH lets us know - Don't count on us for desktop, use windows. I am sure you can imagine how much of an ass I look like now.

    See ya around RH, I just got my debian WS up and I am migrating my servers next. I appreciate you doing this early in my migration process, it makes the switch that much easier.
  • Debian/Fedora ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ploum ( 632141 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:44PM (#7465623) Homepage
    What do you think about an unified Linux architecture ?
    Imagine, for example, a fedora/debian distribution, easy to install (as redhat), easy to use (as redhat), easy to admin (as debian), with rpm/deb compatibility. it can be the ultimate desktop OS.
    Do you think it can be true ?
  • by shogarth ( 668598 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:48PM (#7465661)

    Dear Mr. Szulik,

    I am the IT manager of a large academic department at a California university. I have installed Red Hat linux as the distribution of choice since 1995. I trusted that Red Hat would rapidly make patches available and found Red Hat's default GUI layout to be intuitive when training others. However, I am now in a quandry. I don't want to switch distributions; I'm happy with what I have. However, as the campus negotiated pricing for RHEL, several critical questions went unanswered. Since I am limited to one question per post, I will ask the big one.

    Why does the only level of support available for 4-CPU systems cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per year? Operationally, there is no difference between my 1, 2, and 4 CPU boxes. I get OS patches from Red Hat and support from the Open Source Community. However, the lowest level of support for my 4-CPU box would cost about as much as the whole campus's software support contact with Sun. Why is this a good deal and how can I possibly justify it at the political layer?

    Thank you.

  • by paranerd ( 672669 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:48PM (#7465662)
    Everyone whom I've heard express an opinion, from freeloaders through customers to industry critics, have said that your recent marketing machinations are poorly thought out. Would you be willing to rethink your business strategy and reverse your current direction?
  • by mapnjd ( 92353 ) * <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:49PM (#7465674) Homepage Journal

    A lot of people here don't seem to have noticed that Red Hat still have a desktop product (RHEL WS 3 []) and if they did would find the pricing intimidating. Sure $179 of x86 isn't much, but it's a lot more than $0! Moreover $792 for AMD64 is out of the reach of non-corporate purchasers. (If my next home box in a year or so is an AMD64 will I be forced to use a different distro for the first time ever?)

    So onto the question:

    Could there be room for a level between Fedora (free, good, etc.) and the RHEL WS 3 pricing: ie. the RHEL WS 3 product, but with updates only via 3rd-party yum mirrors or some such?

  • by winchester ( 265873 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:51PM (#7465708)
    My current employer will not allow any Linux on the network unless it is evaluated under the common criteria. The minimum EAL is EAL 3+.

    SUSE and IBM got Linux EAL 2+ evaluated, and are currently working on receiving a higher level. However, when this evaluation will be undertaken is currently unknown.

    Is RedHat currently planning to have their Enterprise Linux undergo common criteria evaluation, and if not, please explain your motivation.
  • Cost / EOL issues? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @01:54PM (#7465752) Journal
    Dear Mr. Szulik,

    I believe that the popularity of Red Hat with business users early on was the promise of a workstation/server that was much cheaper than Windows, combined with decent support not available for the other Linuxes and BSDs. Now, I see [] that the 'basic edition' of Enterprise Linux Workstation is $179 and for Enterprise Server is $349. All that for a distro without even web-based support, or a printed manual? While I still believe that RH is a superior OS distro to Windows, I think the price increases and limited support are hampering adoption by businesses, and some that embraced RH earlier might be feeling a bit betrayed. Do you care to comment on this?
  • Re:Fedora (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trolling4Dollars ( 627073 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:09PM (#7465914) Journal
    Not a question, but a reply to the parent.

    I think the real issue is whether or not he meant "home desktop" vs. "corporate desktop". The corporate desktop is one where the admins have very tight controls over how the desktop works and there is a good deal of consistency across different boxes. The home desktop is a totally different beast. You have home users who want to do silly things like plug in USB cameras, scanners and play the latest games and media content. For those users, sadly, *RedHat* Linux isn't ready yet. There are other distros that are closer to being ready for the home desktop (SuSE Personal Edition, Lycoris and even Lindows), but they are geared towards a customer base that doesn't even realize an option exists.

    Of course there's also the philosophy issues that surround the different distros. More technically inclined folk scoff at Lindows and other more "user friendly" systems because they allow the default user to be 'root'. While it's terribly insecure, it's incredibly convenient. And THAT IS a problem.

    Windows XP is in the same boat. I forced all of my friends running XP to never run as administrator and had to show them how to use Runas or login as the administrator. I also forced them to use complex passwords, disable file sharing and rename the administrator account to something more cryptic. While it's a little more secure than a default Windows install, they ALL hated it and eventually howled at me to set their regular user account to being Admin accounts. I complied with the warning that if their box gets hosed or rooted, I'm just doing a clean install from the ground up and they better back up their data even more religiously. Of course... the average user can't comprehend this. That's why this is a problem for ANY OS that is internet connected.

    Until a user can plug in a computer like they can an old style analog TV and just start using it for whatever they want it to do, these things are all going to be problems for the home desktop. None of this is going to change until computers can respond to natural language voice commands, anticipate a user's desires and parse the illogical and, often stupid, human thought process.
  • by bahamat ( 187909 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:15PM (#7465965) Homepage
    Mr. Szulik

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I am (among other things) the SysAdmin for a small ISP. We know that Linux is our best choice for server systems. It's fast, secure, cost effictive and reliable. When making our choice for the next distribution to use on our servers will I be able to obtain a copy of RedHat Enterprise Linux to see if it has features we would like to impliment like I can with other Linux distros? I'm specifically interested in what makes RHEL "reliable, secure, high-performance" (quoted from and Fedora or Debian not those things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:17PM (#7465983)
    I would like to consider myself a RedHat advocate. It was largely based on my recommendation that 50 RHN Entitlements for updating non-enterprise version of RedHat GNU/Linux. My boss has since been rubbed the wrong way when RHN failed to "work as advertized" on August 29th. The best explaintion that I have gotten from RedHat is that it is "the nature of SSL" that forced manual upgrades of up2date & up2date-gnome for each system. In October, RedHat charged a renew fee on the 50 RHN Entitlements for another year of service. So, now that my boss has gotten the bill, he is asking what type of return on investment he should expect from May 2004 to October 2004. To make a long story short, the question is, are we being charged a full year for only 7 months of updates? If non-enterprise contracts aren't fully honored as advertized (automated updates require manual updates after Aug 28th and a full year charge only provide 7 months of updates) then how does RedHat expect advocates of RedHat to successfully encourage the companies that have gotten burned to pay out even more for enterprise contracts?
  • Gaming and Linux (Score:1, Interesting)

    by MURD3R3R ( 691512 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:23PM (#7466048)
    How do you think setbacks such as no Linux ports for games such as Counter-Strike or Star Wars Galaxies (winex support is broken) affect distribution of Linux on the desktop? Is there anybody from Red Hat working with top developers such as Sony or Vivendi or Valve to try and get Linux users mainstream games?
  • by joestar ( 225875 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:29PM (#7466109) Homepage
    Despite financial problems earlier this year, Mandrake Linux has gained big popularity with their latest Linux distributions, and it seems to go quicker now (see distro ranking at distrowatch []). They also have been pionneers of "what Red Hat should have done earlier" (release of ISO images, Cooker community...) and are inventing new interesting business models that seem work now (Mandrake Club []).

    Compared to Red Hat, MandrakeSoft has very small financial capabilities, very low press coverage, but is still growing and attracting a large user and contributor community. Additionally, they now have a full range of products, from the pure desktop product to the clustering solution. They generally have excellent new technologies (URPMI/RPMDrake/dynamic desktop...), excellent support policy (see []) and again with very low ressources. Why? Maybe MandrakeSoft understood something about the Linux community, a way to listen to it carefully (maybe too much sometimes).

    Why wouldn't Red Hat trust Mandrake and let them deal with that? Red Hat could certainly buy MandrakeSoft easily, and the "Mandrake" brandname could become the community Red Hat brandname, by merging with Fedora. The "Mandrake" brandname is already very well known and this would be better for Red Hat than trying to impose the new "Fedora" brandname (this could take years).

    Mandrake has always been a kind of little brother of Red Hat. They know how to do things Red Hat don't know how to deal with or don't want to do - and now they are profitable with this model. It could turn into a great thing for Red Hat and would help to catch a new big part of Linux users, in particular newcomers, individuals and small corporates, from the Windows world. At the same time this would avoid to frustrate millions of Red Hat users that are now considering a switch to another Linux distribution.

    So why wouldn't Red Hat trust Mandrake for the community side of Linux?
  • by shaw7 ( 321754 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:46PM (#7466288)
    Sir, We have for the past 6 years, been using RedHat on our web servers with great sucess. One of the big benefits was the low cost install base using the free RedHat line.

    Even without the current change in your business plan, we had been seeing the benefit of the longer release cycle, etc of the Enterprise product. However our understanding is that we would now have to purchase a licence for *each* server we would like to install the Enterprise product on. Adding up these costs, it quickly becomes ridiculous and a non-option for us.

    This strikes me as a strange approach. Why has RedHat not offered a more palatable migration path for companies like ours using your OSS? For instance, you could limit the tech support levels and charge a nominal fee for up2date on additional machines, but still keep this under single unit pricing. If there is not a good "middle ground", the jump in costs for us is too great to consider.
  • by perf_monkey ( 719198 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:47PM (#7466301)

    Dear Mr Szulik,

    With the recent purchase of SUSE by Novell and Red Hat's focus on the Enterprise, it is clear that Linux stands to make even more money. I think most of us believe that this increased profit for Linux-based companies will only enhance the pool of excellent software that is already available. The governing license for all (or most) of this software is the GPL, and it comes with certain inherent values. One of those values is that code can and will be swapped within a public sphere of developers, for the purposes of review and reuse. What we, the open source developer community, want to know, is how have you guaranteed the integration of these ethics into your business plan? How will Red Hat, the company, ensure that it continues to participate meaningfully to this community?

  • by jedonnelley ( 699266 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:48PM (#7466307)
    I'm a system administrator running numerous server systems for a national laboratory. We have observed over recent years that if we want to run open source software (e.g. developed at other laboratories, universities, by the open source community, etc.) then it has typically been developed and tested on Redhat Linux. This and the no cost nature of Redhat Linux until recently has made the choice of server OS an easy one.

    Now with the licensing fees being charged by Redhat for your only effectively supported OS, your Enterprise line, I wonder where this "sweet spot" will shift or whether it will disappear altogether. Certainly most of the academic development will not be done on the Redhat Enterprise line. It's too early to say about development done in the open source community, but I would expect that to shift off of Redhat also. We can afford the license fees for now, but if the software development shifts we will have to also.

    I realize Redhat was in a difficult spot financially. However, isn't there a danger that shifting and/or destroying that "sweet spot" will have an adverse effect on the Linux community and on Redhat?

    When you rose to speak at the recent Linuxworld in San Francisco, I expected you to say something to the effect that "Times are tough and this is what we had to do to stay in business. We're sorry about the possible negative impact on the community." Instead you gave this rousing: Isn't open source wonderful?, We're all in this together, etc. presentation. That seemed a bit hypocrital to me. How did you justify such a presentation given the upcomming end of life for your consumer OS line?
  • by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:48PM (#7466309) Journal
    What needs to be done to make Linux ready for home desktops in your opinion?
  • by tstoneman ( 589372 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @02:57PM (#7466403)
    I understand the business reasons why you would discontinue Red Hat Linux... namely because it doesn't pay. But don't you think you will lose a lot of grassroots support for Red Hat because regular people like me won't be able to "play before you buy"? You will only lose more and more mindshare in the up-and-coming Linux market as time goes on if Red Hat becomes a business-only OS.

    I was solely responsible for pushing and implementing the port of our company's product to Linux. I specifically chose Red Hat because of brand-name recognition, and because it was a distro I could play around with before I actually committed to porting our software to it.

    Now that RH is going completely in the Advanced Server route, I no longer have the ability to play with the OS before I do my development. My company balked at the prices AS was being sold at, as well as our customers, and we are now re-evaluating our push into Linux, at least using Red Hat. The whole point was that Linux was supposed to be CHEAP. Once they start going up in price, why wouldn't I go with a more established vendor with a more mature product like Solaris X86?

    And please don't say that Fedora is the same as Red Hat. It isn't. It will have a different look and feel, different marketing, and different demographics especially as time goes on. People will not pick up Fedora and say, "Oh this is really just Red Hat Advanced Server".

    I know it's not something that pays, but having Red Hat's name out there as one of the premier distros with exceptional quality was one of the things that kept Red Hat's name in the spotlight.
    It's the same reason why Microsoft is pushing for the education market... they want to have the kids already have experience with their products. If you stop the up-and-coming kids who are interested in computers not able to use your distro, you have already lost mindshare.

    Getting rid of the publically accessible distro will relegate Red Hat to the same status and mindset of SCO (before the lawsuit crap), where it was a business version of UNIX but regular people didn't play around with it. It won't be the first thing people will think of when it comes to Linux.

    Please reconsider this disasterous decision because I actually do like Red Hat a lot.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:07PM (#7466498)
    Why red? Why not blue or green? Was there a market study done that indicated this was the best color?
  • question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by treat ( 84622 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:19PM (#7466605)
    I'm a Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer, with several AS and a dozen ES subscriptions. We chose to purchase support to allay the fears of those in our organization concerned about using unsupported software. All of the factors that made us choose Red Hat for this are caused by the large installed base. (Familiarity within the organzation, community support, stability, approved by certain software vendors such as Sybase, and ability to run a very similar distribution on important servers, desktops, and home machines). The quality, accuracy, and response time of Redhat's support generally pales in comparison to the quality of web searches and "community" support. Clearly Redhat made a business decision to hire cheaper rather than more knowledgable support staff. As the installed base of Redhat decreases due to recent changes, I worry that the quality of support I am able to receive on my Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems will similarly decrease. I'm also concerned that I will no longer be able to run a similar distribution on both important servers and desktops / test servers / my machines at home. I'm now seriously investigating other Linux distributions due to these issues.

    My feelings are the same as those of every Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer I've talked to. What will Red Hat do to retain the benefits that were caused by its market dominance when it has clearly indicated that it no longer wants to maintain such market dominance?
  • by RevMike ( 632002 ) <> on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:20PM (#7466606) Journal

    Currently there are at least 5 really significant players in the linux industry: RH, Novell-SuSE, United Linux, Debian, and Gentoo. Gentoo fills an important niche, but will never likely play a broader role.

    By terminating your retail products while simultaneously throwing your weight behind Fedora, you seem to want to create a two headed distribution - a fully free community based distribution that maps extremely closely with a fully supported commercial distribution. Essentially your trying to appeal to both the enterprise customer and the Debian user.

    Do you expect that either SuSE or UL will try to align themselves closely with Debian in order to create the same synergy?

    Do you expect that in a few years the landscape will have only two big players - RH+Fedora alliance and another commercial+community alliance?

  • Dear RedHat CEO: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:21PM (#7466618) Homepage Journal
    I would like to ask why have you not offered any sort of solution for the small scale business owner. Even as your least expensive RedHat solution is $350 per year, per computer, this adds almost 40% to the cost of a dedicated server which can be provided to a customer for about $100/month. In an industry where profit margins are razor thin, are you looking only to cater to companies which have lots of money or extremely high end hardware, in favor of the small guys?

    William Dunn

  • by BobaFett ( 93158 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:23PM (#7466628) Homepage
    Up until now, Linux in general, including Redhat, was mostly "smuggled in" into businesses at first: it entered through the "back door", typically in the form of unauthorised installs done by programmers, IT workers, and engineers. Then, when management hears about "that Linux thing", someone responds "we already done it!", and Linux gets the official blessing (that's the good scenario, anyway).

    Now the programmers etc won't be installing RedHat for their own use at work (it would cost them too much of their own money, and it looks like quite a few of them are pissed at RedHat). You will have to enter the buisiness through the front door. The first person you have to convince is now the suit, not the geek.

    This raises some problems:
    1) Is Linux established enough in the buisness that the managers will be interested on their own, without their geeks prodding them?
    2) At the front door, you'll meet the guy from Microsoft and the guy from Sun and the guy from HP, all elbowing each other. Can you go toe to toe with them, without the inside support of the "fifth column" of geeks rooting for you?
    3) While you are fighting the Sun guy and the Microsoft guy at the front door, the geeks inside are still installing Linux on their boxes, only now it won't be RedHat. Aren't you afraid that when the management finally says "let's do Linux" the geeks will agains answer "Done already" but will point to their Debian or Gentoo boxes? The same force which was proven to be so effective at getting Redhat and other Linuxes into business can now turn against you.
  • by dolpho37 ( 627283 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:26PM (#7466649)
    Dear Mr. Szulik,

    Since it is impossible to please everyone all the time, how would you rank the following groups in terms of importance? When I say 'importance' I mean expending effort to understand the needs of and attempting satisify.

    (a) Your customers
    (b) Your shareholders
    (c) Your employees
    (d) Open source community

    Thank you.
  • Re:SOHO Support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by enjo13 ( 444114 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:27PM (#7466659) Homepage
    Why should I trust Redhat to continue providing Enterprise support when another hot new niche becomes available to them?

    I feel like a peoplesoft customer, who are facing the loss of huge investments in time and money if Oracle succeeds in buying them out.
  • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:28PM (#7466671) Homepage
    I manage the IT department of a roughly 100 person startup transitioning out of startup mode. The vast majority of our nearly 250 (many of these are old and slow, but paid for) compute servers and desktops run RedHat. We run a little behind (we have been on RH8 for about 9 months now). We do this because uptime, reliability and stability are key. So it would seem we might be one of your target markets.

    But the pricing model is unacceptable. It's right up there with Microsoft. Now while I agree that RedHat Linux 8 is a better OS than anything MS has ever produced, that's still an awful lot of money. It gets even worse, because your salespeople can't seem to quantify for me what differentiates a server from a desktop. If I can get away with using WS on everything except the ones I consider enterprise servers, it will only cost me about $40,000 - $60,000, depending on what discount rate we end up getting. If I have to consider the compute servers as servers, then pricing moves into the area of the utterly absurd.

    So, we need a stable platform. We don't need much hand-holding. We don't need (or want) a continuous stream of updates that have to be applied to every system. My group has the only people who would ever call for support, and between us, we know an awful lot. Any calls we make would almost certainly represent at the very least a real hole in your documentation, and quite likely a real problem with the software. I can see us calling with 2 or 3 oddball configuration questions a year if we had something like AS support. That's about it. That's not worth what we've been told the licensing would be.

    We could buy one copy of WS and one copy of AS, read through the EULAs, and (I'm 99.99% sure) legally copy everything we need to the other systems. We could just buy a copy of WS and build everything else we need from source around the web. Both of those are less than ideal options. But they still sound better to me than $40K - $60K (nevermind the upper limit). How do they sound to RedHat?

    We're not alone. There are lots of companies in this boat.

    We're poised for growth.

    Are you even interested in our business?
  • Re:Why (Score:1, Interesting)

    by silversky ( 703284 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:40PM (#7466846)
    Because it was loosing money. Next.
    Not next but before that, RH made their NAME and ENTIRE BUSINESS with this "loOsing money" distro. RH went from loss to profit with it and will now fail just like Caldera with their drive towards expensive distros.
  • thought police? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by orange ( 12033 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:53PM (#7466995) Homepage
    One of the nice things about free-software is the fact that I don't have to worry about big brother pounding at the door. The RHEL Subscription agreement contains the following worrysome provision:
    4. REPORTING AND AUDIT. Which gives you the right to come knocking on my door with 10 days notice, and if I've accidently messed up, to knock whenever you want to.
    Further more, it commits me to keeping absolute track of installed systems, and matching that precisely (or making sure I have more licences) to installed systems. This means that my developers can't experiment with non-production machines or try things out at home on their weekends (they're a bit fanatical that way).
    Personally, for me, and the organisations I run, this is a deal breaker. It means we're going to be moving (and all our current mission critical production systems are on the RHN).
    Which brings me to my question: Are you going to say goodbye, or are you going to rethink this one clause? We were looking at moving to RHEL (once it had caught up), but not with clauses like that.
  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @04:09PM (#7467158) Homepage Journal
    What do you think will be Redhats main revenue stream(s) next year? In 5 years? In 10 years?
  • by Denagoth ( 582705 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @04:11PM (#7467193) Homepage
    The most important question to me is the future role of the Fedora distribution. Does RedHat and the steering committee intend to continue community development of a Linux distro derived from and encouraged by RedHat for the forseeable future? What assistance and limitations are being provided or imposed by RedHat in this endeavor? Can we (the users) count on Fedora being with us for years to come? I'm looking to gauge the level of committment and stability in the Fedora project so that 2-4 years from now my systems are not orphaned again when my distro of choice ceases to exist. Respectfully, and with many thanks for your team's hard work, Denagoth
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @04:58PM (#7467910)
    I (and thousands upon thousands of others) felt comfortable with RH's excellent QA and support.

    I'm interested in how you have come to the conclusion that Red Hat has excellent QA and support. Have you personally dealt with Red Hat support? If so, what was the nature of the problem? An RTFM problem where you only had to be pointed to the right doc / given a procedure? A defect in the distribution?

    My company has been using Advanced Server 2.1 (with several paid-up copies) and over a period of approximately 6 months have only been blown off when requesting support. For a kernel issue (fixed in 2.4.10 and higher -- but AS2.1 is pegged at 2.4.9), "it didn't scale for Red Hat to support this", and for a buggy driver "You are downrevved, upgrade" -- on a product where the point is to have a 3 year lifecycle. We have never called with RTFM issues, as we have those capabilities in-house.

    I agree, Red Hat support *sounds* good from the marketing materials, but when it comes time to deliver, they scramble for excuses not to provide it.

  • by LibrePensador ( 668335 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @05:31PM (#7468350) Journal
    If Red Hat wanted to encourage a sense of ownership in Fedora and also see whether the open source community could build a better Red Hat than Red Hat, one which Red Hat could no doubt use in the future, why not base Fedora on Debian, thereby uniting two of the largest open source communities on the planet? Not onlyw would this make software installation in the Linux world a moot point, but wouldn't this also provide a great test case for open source development? Thanks
  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @06:16PM (#7468881) Homepage Journal
    How much does it cost RedHat to support the Up2Date channel for RedHat Linux 9? How do these costs break down? I realize it's non-trivial, to say the least, that at a minimum you have to:
    • Sift through all the bug reports to look for real issues
    • Research the problems found
    • Find or build patchs
    • Testing on patches
    • Publish results to the RedHat channel
    • Send out notices to email subscribers, etc.

    While it's tempting to break out the incremental cost of adding one additional subscriber to the RedHat network, I am interested in knowing what the whole thing actually costs, in real dollars? Also, how big a team does it take?

    Perhaps if we knew the real size and scope required to keep RedHat going, we'd feel the need to be more supportive, instead of feeling betrayed.


  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @07:16PM (#7469533) Journal
    What should customers that run small business networks using your standard product and Up2date service but do not need or cannot justify full enterprise products do now? What distribution would you recommend we switch to if neither of your offerings will suit their needs in the near future?

    Should a 20 year old, rapidly growing business that can project needing enterprise grade services in 2 or 3 years, and currently pays hundreds per year for RedHat services that are about to be discontinuted, and paid retail for RedHat since 5.x days, ever consider using RedHat again?

    --- my editorial behind these questions

    Believe it or not, these are quite serious questions to me. My first RH distro was pre 5.0 and I have always bought the box set just because it felt like the right thing to do, and paid for up2date service since it was offered a little over a year ago. I have been as loyal a customer as they could hope for, but I can't help but to feel betrayed with the "new policies". Either I will have to suck it up and pay much more for service I do not need, or change distros. It would be cheaper to just pay RedHat, but I had the same feeling everytime Microsoft releases a new OS, with a higher price. Its cheaper to just pay the much higher price, but it still leaves a very bad taste in your mouth.

    When you feel that your loyalty has just been rewarded with a slap in the face, you have no choice but to consider changing loyalties. Go google it, and you will see I have always been pro-Redhat, almost fanatically...until now.
  • What about RHCE? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 8086 ( 705094 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @07:56PM (#7469858) Homepage
    Mr.Szulik, what do you plan to do about RHCE certification? Will the non-enterprise certifications still hold any significance? or are you coming up with certification for Fedora?
  • White Hat Linux (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:09PM (#7470342)
    If I purchase a RedHat Enterprise WS CD set and recompile it from scratch to not include and RedHat logos nor anaconda, do you or your lawyers have a problem with that?
  • Re:Academics... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slank ( 184873 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @09:22PM (#7470448) Homepage
    I know this comment won't even get read, but I just have to add another ME TOO in hopes that this will be one of the questions answered. I've discussed with my RH sales rep the fact that Windows Server is cheaper after edu discounts, and the desktop Windows (Windows XP, for now) is included in the Campus Agreement. He offered a discount on 11 or more copies of RHEL, but only off of the "Standard" version.

    I'm sure many sysadmins don't find themselves calling for support (even good tech support is a hassle) - what we really need is updates and stability.

    What I would love:
    1. Deep EDU discounts on RHEL ES and WS
    2. Perhaps a site-license style agreement for these OSs if we run our own Up2Date server (thus consuming less RH resources)
    3. Pay per-incident support or an affordable service-level agreement
    4. A program that offers discounted or expedited support when the school funnels support requests through an on-staff RHCE (Dell offers something like this for hardware support)
  • by internet-redstar ( 552612 ) * on Thursday November 13, 2003 @10:02PM (#7470654) Homepage
    Caldera OpenLinux was an highly priced 'enterprise version' of Linux, packed with lots of non-free applications. It utterly failed because the added value above free Linux distributions (such as Red Hat) was next to nothing.

    It was also because of the free-strategy and GNU policy for added distribution packaging software that I recommended Red Hat Linux to hunderds of system administrators and IT managers in Belgium and across Europe (as CEO of LIFE and European Manager of VA Linux Systems).

    I assume this is a good move on the short term, with an instant increase of Red Hat Enterprise licensees. But all the enterprise users we spoke to, said they were looking "were everybody was going to". A lot of them are looking at Debian. We suggested them to take a look at the zero-configuration CDdistro KNOPPIX to have a sneak preview of the capabilities of Debian, on the server and the Desktop.

    Also, saying that Linux isn't ready for the desktop is an insult to all sysadmins who demonstrate Linux's capabilities to their management and user base.

    So the question is: What is the difference in strategy and product between Red Hat Advanced Server and Caldera OpenLinux when other as capable (or even technologically better according to some) distributions are freely available?

    Sub-question (just for the karma): Will Red Hat degrade further on the Caldera road and become the next SCO?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2003 @11:27PM (#7471129)
    It seems that over the last few months, management and top investors are selling a LOT
    of stock. Is this just for tax purposes & diversification? Or are you guys thinking you
    want to cash in before SuSE eats your lunch?
  • Linux in Schools (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 14, 2003 @02:17AM (#7472046)
    Linux may not be the best desktop OS available today, but it may very well be the best development environment available today. C/C++, Perl, Python, Java, Fortran--you name it; they are all available at no cost on Linux. It seems to me that makes Linux a no-brainer for middle schools and high schools trying to teach computer science.

    If a big name like RedHat or Novell were to put together a "Computer Lab" solution that tied in tightly to a linux-powered enterprise and allowed you to network boot various specialized images... you know, something really focused on the 6-12 education arena... Wouldn't that increase the adoption of Linux in education, and buy future mind-share? Wouldn't it seed a whole generation who can spend the next 20-40 years building the future?

    I'm not talking about targeting desktop users in school. I'm talking about targeting tomorrow's developers--the ones who will build the desktops of the future.