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Paid Support Not Critical For Linux Adoption 199

ruphus13 writes "At the LinuxWorld expo, an analyst for the 451 Group pointed to a growing trend in enterprise — the increase in adoption of community-supported Linux distros. From the article, 'Companies are increasingly choosing free community-driven Linux distributions instead of commercial offerings with conventional support options. Several factors are driving this trend, particularly dissatisfaction with the cost of support services from the major distributors. Companies that use and deploy Linux internally increasingly have enough in-house expertise to handle all of their technical needs and no longer have to rely on Red Hat or Novell.'"
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Paid Support Not Critical For Linux Adoption

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  • Re:Support is Better (Score:3, Informative)

    by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @12:23AM (#24534999)
    For the average semi-tech-savy person yes, for those that don't know how to use a forum (I know quite a few), it is much easier to call someone (or even email them) and know that they are paid to help you. Company execs also prefer knowing that someone is ultimately responsible if something does not work.

    Now before you start in on the "Microsoft support is crap", "no support for OEM" and "Canonical does offer paid support", I just want to say that for most users that know a little (less than power user, more than word/email), forums are pretty much the ultimate support, but there are still people who require and/or need someone they can phone 24/7 and know that person's job is to help you.

    Note: I am a linux user, I use forums CONSTANTLY and the only time I use paid support is with ISP's, phone companies and Hardware failures.
  • by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @12:46AM (#24535127) Journal

    It is as stable as Debian but much more polished.
    (To the point that I switched to Debian when I realized my learning was hampered by Ubuntu's ease-of-use)

  • by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @12:50AM (#24535141)
    I don't know about everyone else, but the reason It was recommended to me (and why I recommend it to everyone else), is the amazing hardware detection and driver list that is automatically installed. When looking at other distros (slackware, fedora, etc.) I was looking up down and upside down finding sound drivers, wireless drivers, video drivers, and so on; but Ubuntu found and installed them, then ASKED if I wanted the binary ones as well!
  • Re:Support is Better (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @01:05AM (#24535213)

    It's called the ubuntu forums. Seriously.

    Not trolling. Really.

  • by AceofSpades19 ( 1107875 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @01:22AM (#24535273)
    Ubuntu isn't even close to being as stable as debian
  • Re:Support is Better (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @01:54AM (#24535393)

    Working in paid support I don't want to mention any names. But you've got a point. I'm pretty good but can't know it all. And sometimes get thrown onto supporting stuff I have little to no training in. The sad thing is a lot of people calling in know even less. So they're sometimes paying for me to search google, forums, internal knowledge bases, on their behalf.

    But as someone else pointed out, people pay for the 24x7 and to leverage the organization's knowledge. If I don't know, I can run over to someone who presumably will. Also good to be able to tell the boss someone owns the problem. But I can also see it's kind of hard for support organizations to hire ppl who know what they're doing into phone support. It has a stigma about it. Not sure how long I want to stick around doing it either for that reason.

  • by keeboo ( 724305 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @02:51AM (#24535575)
    Ubuntu isn't even close to being as stable as debian

    Please tell that to the Sun Enterprise 450 I've got at work.
    And we're talking about a SPARC-based server, it's not really that obscure.

    Now the irony is the fact that ~2 years ago I got a old HP (PA-RISC-based) server and the only Linux which installed without glitches was Ubuntu (5.10). After the reboot the X started and we had a graphic login (horribly slow, the machine is a dinossaur, but still).

    I like Debian, it's my preferred Linux for anything serious, we use that in several x86 servers. But no distro is perfect.
  • by wrook ( 134116 ) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @04:09AM (#24535767) Homepage

    Support is not where the money is for free software IMHO. And actually, although I'm not in the loop for these companies I don't think either of them make most of their money from "commercial" style support.

    The big money is either in custom distribution builds or in custom software development (or both). Usually you sell a "support contract" with it too, but it's more of an extended warranty than a real support contract.

    I once had an interesting talk with a salesman from Novell (who is a big free software fan). He told me that he doesn't try to sell support contracts for Linux. Instead he's more interested in providing upgrade paths for existing Netware customers. These products run on Linux and to compete against Microsoft's offerings they need a full package deal (office suite, email, etc, etc). In fact, from his description of what they were doing, I got the impression that the support side was still being run as a "loss center" rather than a "profit center".

    To make a long story shorter, successful free software companies will make money providing specific solutions to customers. Those that rely on "generic" (IMHO, useless) end user support will die an ugly death. However, I don't believe that any of Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, IBM, Sun, etc, etc are trying to base their business on end user support.

    So we can expect to see more of the same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09, 2008 @05:10AM (#24535913)

    (AC for obvious reasons)

    That's funny, because I work at Red Hat, in Raleigh, and sit right next to the L1 bullpen for RHEL support. I know Raleigh is in the South, but it's not Bangalore. So at least some of the time, you're talking to an actual American. Most of them are pretty cool and know their shit, and there isn't a script in sight. And, oddly, not a one of them is south asian. So YMMV by timezone. Welcome to the global economy...


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