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Education Software Linux

Red Hat, SUSE Announce Educational Discounts 242

geoff313 writes "Good news week for Linux users in the education field, as both Red Hat and SUSE have announced that they will provide academic discounts in an effort to attract "students and educational institutions." According to this article published on CNET, while both companies have decided to offer discounts, they are each going about it a different way. SUSE has begun to offer "schools, students, universities and nonprofit customers a discount of more than 40 percent through two sales partners, CCV Software and Ricis." Red Hat, on the other hand, plans to offer two new versions of its distributions, based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) line. The first, aimed at students and named Red Hat Academic Desktop, will sell for $25 and is based on RHEL WS. The second, to be sold to schools and named Red Hat Academic Server, will sell for $50 and is based off RHEL ES. Both products will include online updates (presumably through its Red Hat Network) but will not include telephone support. Bulk pricing is also available, and administrative licenses will be available soon."
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Red Hat, SUSE Announce Educational Discounts

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  • Not really clear. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:01PM (#7482726)
    I understand what Red Hat is offering, as they no longer have a free version of their software. But, SuSE still offers a free FTP install. What does SuSE's academic version offer that the free FTP install does not?

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:01PM (#7482730)
    Now, I haven't been part of a university for several years, but don't universities these days have fairly fast Internet connections for the most part?

    If you don't get telephone support with these products, which I thought was the main reason to actually spend money on a distribution anyway, why not just download them for free?
  • Technical support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix Dreamscape ( 205064 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:05PM (#7482750) Homepage
    "And Red Hat will offer more expensive but still discounted options for schools that want Red Hat technical support."

    So you can buy it discounted with no support, or expensive with support. Why would anybody take the first option? There are plenty of free distributions with updates and no support...
    • Re:Technical support (Score:2, Informative)

      by Geekbot ( 641878 )
      Actually, this is a great deal. Geeks at academic institutions don't necessarily need phone support, or at least it's not cost effective in many cases. However, academics absolutely need the more stable Enterprise version of RH, not the new Fedora. Also, the updates and computer based support is essential for the professionals at the college to get their computers running as only they know how, but with the information they need and the updates to keep it stable.
      As for students, this is a solid benefit. CS
      • [...] CS majors will want a linux distro that offers support.

        Which is why Red Hat's sustained new attitude of "servers are for the elite" continues to puzzle me.

        Some respectable fraction of these CS Majors need/want to work on servers (i.e. the RHEL ES version). They need what it offers, they want to be able to put it on their resume (e.g. "provided 'this useful campus service' using RHEL ES"), etc. etc.

        At my school, companies fell over themselves to try to put their products in front of students, w

        • (We'll ignore for the duration of this discussion the horrific raw odds of any tech merger working (i.e. Novell buying SUSE).)

          Why? Novell buying SuSE can be a good thing for this - my college uses a Novell/Win2K/NT4(on a few servers)/Mac hybrid network. That CAN become NoSE Server/Win2K/NT4(why them, though?)/Mac/NoSE Linux network, which is good for Linux (2000 more converts, anyone?).
    • "And Red Hat will offer more expensive but still discounted options for schools that want Red Hat technical support."

      Debian countered the Red Hat and SuSE announcements with a press release of their own saying that Debian will continue to offer a completely free Linux distribution to academic users so they can avoid the "pompous greedy sods" at those other two companies.

  • What a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:05PM (#7482754)
    It seems surreal that something that was born and raised in academia is now offered for a "discount". What a shame.

    Maybe RMS had a point.
    • To be fair (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Raul654 ( 453029 )
      You're not paying for the software itself which, as you said, came from Acadamia. You are paying the tech peoples' salaries and for the servers to host the updates on.
    • It seems surreal that something that was born and raised in academia is now offered for a "discount". What a shame.

      Maybe RMS had a point.

      Maybe you should have another read of what RMS wrote. Remember free as in speech, not as in beer?
    • Re:What a shame (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moranar ( 632206 )
      ...Maybe RMS had a point.

      A point like "you can sell free software as you like, as long as you distribute sources too?"

      I've never heard Stallman denying the possibility of making a buck out of free software. Insightful... Sheesh!

    • Re:What a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      "It seems surreal that something that was born and raised in academia is now offered for a "discount"."

      This may be difficult for you to believe, but there is more to "academia" than the computer science program. The vast majority of college students and faculty don't know what the word "compile" means and would be interested in user support that goes beyond "RTFM, luser!" posts on USENET.
  • Free as in $25 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fux the Penguin ( 724045 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:06PM (#7482757) Journal
    I find this to be an interesting turn of events. At my university, they have site licenses for all of Microsoft's software, so you can get Windows XP for precisely $0 dollars. Now, my classmates will have the opportunity to purchase RedHat or SuSE for a mere $25!

    Oh, what a world, when Windows is cheaper for students than Linux.
    • Re:Free as in $25 (Score:2, Informative)

      At the College where I work, our CS department uses the MSDN-AA [] agreement. Basically, students can get any MS product that we teach, and a lot not taught, at no cost.

      The problem is the product keys. The student needs to get a different product key every time the OS, program, etc is re-installed. So, say they're working on a Server 2003 build, and screw it up totally when setting up an Active Directory. They need to re-log into Microsofts MSDN-AA site, request another Key, etc...

      All in all it's a grea
    • by SpaFF ( 18764 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:55PM (#7482987) Homepage
      Uhm, that's not how it works. Your University shelled out a ton of cash for students to be able to have those free copies of Windows.

      And if you read the article you would have seen that Redhat is also offering Universities a site licence deal: $2,500 for unlimited copies of WS. That's a hell of a lot cheaper than what your University paid for an MS site license.

    • You have paid for it mate. It was included in your tuition fee. Nothing in this world is free. There's always associated costs, yes, even with free software.
    • Re:Free as in $25 (Score:2, Informative)

      by pp ( 4753 )
      No. For the Microsoft campus licenses you still need to buy an OEM Windows license for every machine (around $100). This lets you install
      any version of Windows, Office and Visual Studio
      on the machine. If you don't have one, your "free" XP is as illegal as it is if you warezed it off the net.

      Of course, your university pays something in the range of hundreds of thousands to millions of
      dollars / year for the contract, but since that's
      not out of your pocket (apart from tuition or taxes), it's obviously a real
    • RTFA. For $2,500, any school can offer its students as many free versions of the Academic as they'd like, complete with security updates for the lifetime of the product.
    • Your copy of Windows isn't "free". In fact, where the money is coming from isn't at all mysterious: it comes out of what you pay to the university, because your university then turns around and pays millions of dollars for that site license.

      You probably end up paying several hundred dollars for Microsoft software through that channel and you don't even have a choice in the matter.
    • I find this to be an interesting turn of events. At my university, they have site licenses for all of Microsoft's software, so you can get Windows XP for precisely $0 dollars. Now, my classmates will have the opportunity to purchase RedHat or SuSE for a mere $25!

      The first one's always free, boyo. Guess what will happen when you graduate? Poof! Your license goes up in a puff of bits. You have two choices after that:

      1. Keep using the software, and basically have warez on your system, or:
      2. Buy an official cop
    • I was considering upgrading my ageing win98 OS to XP using the student licencing system through my university. (Free Microsoft licences for students, etc etc.)

      Then I read the agreement and discovered that I wasn't allowed to keep the CD, and that was the end of it. There's absolutely no way I'll install an operating system on my PC if I'm not allowed to keep the installation software. There was also the unease in locking myself into being forced to pay lots of money as soon as I'm no longer a student.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. When Microsoft does this it's "pandering"; when Red Hat and SuSE do it it's "good news".
    2. How the fuck do you give a discount on free software?
  • being perfectly happy with fedora, (yum and apt rock).

    All the things in Eugenia's rantings are already solvedand I have best distro up until now, at least as far as it concerns me.

    Anyway still nice that RH is extending support for commercial desktop.
  • Skolelinux [] is a better option for most schools. Completely free.
  • Well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:17PM (#7482819)
    some people just can't imagine using software without spending some money. I guess this will appeal to them. It'd still make more sense to buy one of those 'Linux in 20 days' kinda books and use that though. That's how I got started with Redhat 6.2.
  • Not software libre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by etymxris ( 121288 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:22PM (#7482844)
    Red Hat does an end run around the GPL forcing customers to buy a support contract for every installation, and key components of SuSE have been proprietary since the beginning.

    Just use something else, don't reward these companies. If you're thinking of taking Red Hat or SuSE up on these offers, look elsewhere. Mandrake, Gentoo, Debian, Slackware, from scratch, whatever. You're a student--you're time is cheap. And if you actually want to learn something from using Linux, none of the commercial distros are the way to go.
    • > And if you actually want to learn something from using Linux, none of the commercial distros are the way to go.

      I thought the point of a student was to get skills for the _real world_ ? More businesses roll out RH linux then they do LFS or gentoo. So why is the oppisite the way to go? politics? Sorry, I don't buy that. Redhat has high class certifications available, is the largest deployed distro and that makes it more inviting to most of us students.

    • key components of SuSE have been proprietary since the beginning

      You're probably talking about YaST, which is NOT proprietary. It's open source. You just can't redistribute it -- for money -- and leave SuSE's name in place. It's the same thing for Red Hat's distro. It's freely redistributable; you just can't call it "Red Hat."

      And, while I'm at it, YaST is pretty cool. I've seen a lot of setup tools on Linux, and most just get in the way. YaST takes care of everything, and you don't have to clean up after

    • If you don't want to agree to the terms of Red Hat's contract, don't. I'm sure copies of RHEL are readily available from other sources. Nothing in the contract prevents you from copying and distributing the software once you have it. The contract limits your right to *use* the software, which is not protected by the GPL (to stay within the domain of copyright law). It may be a little sneaky, but it doesn't make free software unfree.

      In fact, Red Hat would be within their rights to provide the source on

    • Red Hat does an end run around the GPL forcing customers to buy a support contract

      What does "forcing" mean in your world?
  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:23PM (#7482850)
    As I read through this story I was thinking that it was quite predictable and boring until I noticed that Suse were including nonprofits! It is certainly a significant manouver if a nonprofit can now get (for example) OpenExchange w/50 CALs for $499 (the ccv academic price) and included in that is telephone support! In fact they can kit out a 50 user office with OpenExchange server ($499), Suse Desktop (5*$399) and Enterprise Server ($399) with one years support for a grand total of $2893 or $58.76/desktop. It's not as good as getting it all free, but support isn't free and that is going to be a hard price for anyone to beat (I think). Would you support a 50 seat setup like that for $3k/annum?
  • No thanks Redhat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) * <.asv. .at.> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:25PM (#7482862) Homepage Journal
    With Redhat changing their EOL, business model, and offerings every 6 months, I have no interest in purchasing redhat products. I have a long rant about Redhat on my journal []. I just setup a new server yesterday using a netinstall CD from debian and because Penn State has their own debian mirror, the install took less than 30 mins. The dual 3ghz xeon and debian's new beta installer helped speed things up too. If I need to get pay support for debian its available []. I use to avoid debian because of the elitist culture and the distro's political association with the whole GNU/ controversy but Redhat is no longer a viable option as an inexpensive server os.
    • Re:No thanks Redhat (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elflord ( 9269 )
      I think there are probably a lot of people who share your views. I'm a .edu user, and we're migrating our university machines to debian. Next distro on my home machine will also be debian. I started using RH about the same time as you (RH4.1 up to 7.3 ... never upgraded to 8.0) and avoided Debian for similar reasons. But moved to debian for similar reasons. It's not just about the money, it's about their new release management policies.

    • Re:No thanks Redhat (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @07:39PM (#7483473)
      I have to agree. I work as a technology consultant and over saw two companies that switched the bulk of their desktops from Windows to RH 9 Linux. Both had been using Linux on servers since 2000 and 2001 and therefore had the technical staff in place to handle the machines with in house support.

      However, RH's move has made my business lose a lot of crediablity because RH had started to build a brand for Linux in the business market. The SMB's I work with are always looking for anything that help their bottom line. One bussiness would have saved an estimated $10,000 over the next three years in licing fees for OS's and Office Software. They are still going to use OpenOffice, only for Windows now.

      I have to give kudos to M$ about one thing, they support products for 5 years and give 6 months notice its going away. People expect that after 5 years in the tech world, programs wouldn't be supported.

      First off, it seemed like to me that 7.2 was around a while then 7.3, 8, and then 9 suddenly came out almost back to back. The about a year after 9 is released we get the, "This product will not be supported". The idea that Linux would have a longer support life for older versions longer than that of Windows was a selling point, and one that has turned into a myth. Ever try to find working RPM's for the latest PHP release for RH 7.3? After 3 hours of searching, I gave up and installed FreeBSD 4.8.

      As a consultant, I was seeing Linux having a huge push onto corperate desktops by 2006. Especially in Europe and SE Asia. RH's choice to end the biggest brand in NA Linux was a major blow for the Linux adoptation in the US. Now with SuSE in the hands of a North American Company I wonder how much that will impeed their sucess. Part of SuSE's appeal in Europe, I studied in Germany for a year in a college that had 2 SuSE labs, and 1 Windows lab, I noticed how students were learning how to use Linux. Also, as the EU emerges as an economic giant, there was emerging this, "Use EU products" ideal going on and SuSE provided that ablity. It was a German product made in the EU that could give the Europeans a major leg up in providing leading edge software and technology to the rest of the world as the Anti-AMerican back-lash continues to grow.

      Now I am not sure what direction things will go. Most people, including myself, are taking a wait and see additude with Novell. Its not clear if Novell is aiming for the Enterprise level, where they are already experts at delivering great enterprise software like eDirectory, or if they will continue the Desktop line. I am still waiting for Novell to make their Linux strategy clear. If they decide to push Linux into corperate desktops, then I beleive that will help to increase the adoptation of Linux in the business market. If not, it will set back Linux on the desktop at least another three to five years.

      I had three potential clients looking at switching their desktops to Linux. These had 20 - 40 employees using computers. With one it was time to replace their AS/400 server and Desktops. Linux looked to be the way to go, but with the Linux limbo, we are looking again. They love IBM products and were going to go IBM eServers with RH Linux. However, this move has made them unwilling to trust RH. They see it has RH is either having business, ie cash flow, problems or "Well they did this, what is to keep them from being like M$ and say that six month later we'll have to use something else?". The other client decided to ditch Linux completely and all their Linux boxes will be replaced with 2k3 servers by Jan and all new Dell desktops.

      I know that I can not professionally recommend Red Hat Linux because I no longer trust them and the reputation blow I have taken has caused some personal Angst. In fact, this was the final blow for me and Linux for most applications. Those needing a kiosk solution I will recommend the linux-based FirecaseOS and needing a flexiable embedded OS will get the nod to look at Linux, but I am now recommending FreeBSD for Servers and Apple Macintosh OS X for Unix desktops.

      • "Those needing a kiosk solution I will recommend the linux-based FirecaseOS"

        I've had several people ask me if I knew of any good Linux solutions for Kiosks, and I've had to tell them I don't, so this sounded like something to look into. However, I can't find anything about FirecaseOS with a cursory few searches online. Does FirecaseOS have a homepage, another name, anything I'm missing about it?
  • "What's half of nothing?"

    (for those that don't know, a Martain gave a human the deed to half of Mars. That quote is what the human said after the Martain left)
  • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @05:31PM (#7482896)
    I'm a university student. I don't mind supporting the open source community in any way I can. For example, I've purchased the official Slackware CDs occassionally.

    I don't see how/why its beneficial to sell Linux educational discounts for their desktop distro when I can get it for free from the 'Net or for that matter get a different distro for free.

    OTOH, I'm using Windows XP Pro right now. I purchased it through my university's bookstore for about 50% off (it was $120 Can if I recall). Its was a great deal and I took advantage of it.
  • The average Linux consumer would happily bone up 25 dollars to get RH workstation I'm sure. But at 179 per desktop that still makes Windows just as attractive.
  • Although, I don't see how this will work. Almost all of the students I know use something free as in free, like Debian, Slack, Gentoo, or downloaded Mandrake. I'm the odd one out using SuSE, have done the best part of half a decade. The computing service's Linux cluster runs Debian. Anyone who wants to try out a Linux OS can get it for free already, so being able to get it for cheap from someone else isn't going to turn any heads.
  • by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @06:03PM (#7483021) Journal
    I keep seeing people say that 'Redhat Linux' is not free. That is not entirely true.

    Basically, what Redhat has done is forked their distribution, providing what they call 'Redhat Enterprise' as a 'stable' fully supported (and thus with a dollar cost associated with it) distribution targeted at businesses, and 'Fedora' [], a 'development' platform for use by open source contributors and linux enthusiasts (a free downloadable distribution). Items that Redhat sees as valuable for the 'Enterprise' will be rolled from Fedora into the Redhat Enterprise product.

    Redhat is pushing their 'Enterprise' product as being gold-plated and stable for businesses, and by definition, conversely that 'Fedora' is a toy. That is probably not very accurate an assumption - and serves to put more money in Red Hat's bank account more than anything else. Of course, the money will be coming from businesses - so who cares?

    Currently I am running Redhat 8.1 and Slackware on my machines. I am seriously considering going 100% Slackware if Fedora turns into a seriously uncompatable fork - compared to other stable distributions. On the other hand, Fedora might free developers to build some really neat things into the distribution for desktop home users - such as industrial strength WineX out of the box for Gamers etc... It might just be the shot in the arm that linux on the desktop needs to gain momentum. I guess what I am saying is 'we shall see'.
    • > I am seriously considering going 100% Slackware if Fedora turns into a seriously uncompatable fork - compared to other stable distributions.

      I am running Fedora and wanted XFCE4. But because It's so new there were only Redhat 9 RPM's available. so I downloaded all 24 rpm's into a directory and did 'rpm -Uvh *'. They all worked without a hitch, I've been running it for a week or so. It appears that it will be the same as a new point release. Some stuff breaks, most of it still works.
  • Calm down, people. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @06:13PM (#7483062)
    It's about the books, the docs and the support. In SuSE that is, at least. That's what distros are about.
    SuSE is the best n00b distro I know. They've got dead tree docs included that make up for almost an entire Linux library, their support is fair, square and actually has a clue and their YaST install procedure rocks. You get a stack of CDs and a DVD (with all the stuff on that again, so you can easyly hand out a copy and keep another).
    And, for a distro-look customized appearance, their desktop is way cool too.
    THAT's what distros are all about. And THATs precisely what you get a discount on if you're a poor student looking into the OSS world. If that's still to much, fair enough. Go download the distro, copy it from a friend (legal that is, of course) or switch to debian, gentoo or whatever. But then you won't have that stack of books and no hotline keycode either. Of course.
  • RTFA!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by univgeek ( 442857 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @06:20PM (#7483107)
    Most people seem to think this is going to be very expensive for schools. However, RedHat is offering a full site license for $2500 p.a. This is nothing for a univ. The univ can also setup a local RHN update mirror, further cutting down on bandwidth costs.

    Our univ. is on RH 9.0 now, and they use the free Pink Tie CD's. After the reports of Fedora's instability, the SysAdmins have kind of 'rebelled' and are asking for RH WS for the systems they admin. This agreement for $2,500 makes perfect sense in this scenario. The Uni already has substantial support people, and are going to require RH resources very very infrequently.

    So RTFA before you assume the RH solution is going to be more expensive...
  • Great timing ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frater 219 ( 1455 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @06:24PM (#7483122) Journal
    Check this out. []

    A couple of days ago, Slashdot announces an interview with the CEO of Red Hat. I ask, more or less, "Why the hell don't you have educational discounts?" The question goes to +5, which presumably means it gets forwarded to CEO Szulik. Other posters from educational institutions follow-up my post, to the effect that they are already planning to abandon Red Hat rather than eat the steep price hike to Red Hat Enterprise.

    And now, Red Hat has educational discounts.

  • and it usually does a better job finding the user's hardware.

    Kind of makes you want to become a member [].
  • don't bother (Score:3, Insightful)

    by penguin7of9 ( 697383 ) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @07:01PM (#7483298)
    If you pay for a RedHat or SuSE subscription, you end up helping create an infrastructure in which you will not have a choice but to pay them in the future. And for the measly amount of bandwidth and support you get from them, even $25 is too much.

    Rather than financing RedHat and SuSE through purchase of their software, help with a true community effort: Debian. Take over management of a package, host a mirror site, write some documentation, etc. That way, Linux will remain free not just in theory but in practice.
    • Rather than financing RedHat and SuSE through purchase of their software, help with a true community effort: Debian. Take over management of a package, host a mirror site, write some documentation, etc.

      "Don't pay for Linux services, get your Linux for free and give up your own time and effort." It should almost go without saying that that isn't going to work for everyone.
    • If you pay for a RedHat or SuSE subscription, you end up helping create an infrastructure in which you will not have a choice but to pay them in the future.

      Sounds like bollocks to me. Please support this assertion. Why would paying Red Hat for support lock you in to them in future?

  • It's about time! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stealth.c ( 724419 )

    The Linux bigwigs really ought to be paying attention to schools. I'm glad RH and SuSE are finally making an effort.

    It's been said before (and I'll say it again) that OSS is a perfect fit for schools. No licensing worries/overhead, ability to learn about and solve one's own problems, and freedom galore.

    What's been holding Linux back in schools, however, is mainstream educational software. I'm studying to be a high school teacher and, somehow, learning HyperStudio is a "must". HyperStudio is designed for

  • Stop Whining. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g ... minus city> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @07:20PM (#7483381) Homepage Journal
    All i see a is a bunch of uninformed kids complaining about RH not being free and it turns my belly inside out. Ofcourse you don get it for free if you want support and managed upgrades!

    What did you expect, Redhat paying you to use their dist?

    Also it IS still free, you can D/L and use it but you have to do it yourself. The only thing missing is the ready made isos. You be lazy?

    I for one think it make perfect sense to pay for packaging and support. Pay someone to do it or do it yourself.

    If this is such a hard thing to accept then by all means leech on someone like debian, mandrake, whatever and tuck your common sense away in some dusty closet until they goes tits up out of funds.

    If we want linux to be around kicking we need to give something back. Whining and leeching and not doing anything is just heartaking to watch. Pay back either by code or anything and stop this piggybacking. Stop asking what linux/RMS/RedHat does for linux and ask yourself: "what the fuck have i done for linux?".

    If RH sucks you can build your own dist out of their rpms even, just stop this whining.

    Damn, its like a kindergarten here sometimes.
  • Why not use College Linux []?
  • 10 years ago, who would ever have thought this would even be a topic...
  • by Erwos ( 553607 )
    I can see using this for my laptop. My desktop box is powerful, and I don't mind a bit of instability with Fedora, but my P166MMX laptop is primarily for note-taking, and I wouldn't mind something stable and long-lasting for it.

  • Why isn't Red Hat actively marketing their Professional Workstation Product? [] Apparently, this is a newly-released offering that hasn't been receiving much attention. It's odd, because it's not even displayed prominently on their site [].

    However, a Google cache of the page [] shows the relationship of Professional Workstation to the rest of the RHEL line.

    The Red Hat Professional Workstation isn't available online, or through Red Hat, but through a few selected retail channels. has it for $82.57 [], which

  • I work for a University. We've been contemplating moving some of our servers to Linux, but RH's recent decision to drop RHL and SuSE's acquisition by Novell coupled with my employer's unease with moving to a platform without commercial backing, (Debian) I've been left wondering how best to proceed. This sounds like a very fair, much welcomed move.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.