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Red Hat Exchange Is Dead 88

darthcamaro writes "In 2007, Red Hat launched the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) — an appstore, if you will, of open source partner applications sold from a Red Hat website. Sounds like a good idea, right? While an appstore works well for Apple, turns out that an appstore for open source (from a Linux vendor) isn't such a good idea. 'When we came out with RHX we were hoping for more ambitious adoption but we've learned that selling third-party applications via a marketplace is challenging,' Mike Evans, Red Hat's vice president of corporate development said. 'When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace.'"
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Red Hat Exchange Is Dead

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  • Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StrategicIrony ( 1183007 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:21AM (#31043728)

    Maybed if they loaded it up with DRM, put restrictive policies in place to block certain apps and prevented open source publication of published apps, they would have been more successful.

    Then again, maybe not.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:30AM (#31043764) Journal
    I think it works better for a phone than a computer. We're use to our computers being open, just finding software ourselves online or browsing computer software aisles and reading the backs of boxes.

    Phones, for the most part, have always been closed boxes, so when Apple offered a closed box with an "apple approved" app store, people were impressed. No one has ever offered a store on phones before, and if they did they didn't do a very good job.
  • Au contraire... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:42AM (#31043808)

    'When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace.'

    Actually, it sounds like the market worked with almost textbook efficiency.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:50AM (#31043834)

    So let me get this straight. Even with the LARGEST Linux company putting its full weight behind the effort, and even with every opportunity to copy all the best features of the app store model from Apple, you guys still couldn't keep the lights on? This would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. Will Linux forever be mired in 80's Unix technology? Looks like it.

    Think Different. Think Better. Think Apple.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tiger4 ( 840741 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:52AM (#31043842)

    If the App store offered some kind of seal of approval it might have done better. Say what you will about DRM at Apple, the app store at least gives the impression that all the apps there will work seamlessly together.

    OSS may be the greatest development model, bug fixes better and faster, blah blah blah, but really what people want to know is that it is going to work. If a knowledgeable, trusted, third party says it will, people value ($$$) that highly. No one likes to waste time on crappy apps, hoping a fix will come along RSN.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kitkoan ( 1719118 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:54AM (#31043846)

    Yeah, I think it really has to do with expectations.

    I think that it has everything to do with expectations too. With an app store on a phone it is considered to many as the only way to get apps/games for that phone (I know its not the only way, but for many people I think they only know of that route). As for an OS's programs, everyone I know will google first before even considering what to get, sometimes to see if they can find a free one, other times to see a review of different programs since all OS's are much older then smartphone OS's like the iPhone and in turn have a much large amount of programs to choose from.

  • by ipX ( 197591 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:08AM (#31043888)
    The summary left out the important bit of the quote...

    "When you've got marketplaces that offer buyers the choice of buying in the marketplace or directly from the vendor themselves, which is what our marketplace was, there isn't a real efficient marketplace."

    I think part of the problem here is not so much the App store itself, but the fact that there is no FLOSS captive market to force $1.99 apps upon. Another factor may be that Red Hat is great since they support and tailor their product for a very specific purpose, but I'm not sure they really have the pull to make an App store with enough sales volume.

  • by Xeleema ( 453073 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:32AM (#31043966) Homepage Journal
    "Hey guys! This is Mike over here at Linspire! Listen, I'm calling from 2002 so I have to make this short; We have this great idea called 'Click-N-Run', where people will be able to use a client-side application to buy Linux software from commercial 3rd party vendors. We're gonna be huge!"
  • Re:Au contraire... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @03:54AM (#31044012)

    It really mystifies me how a corporation can understand the concept of open source, but can't understand that in such a market distributors have 0 value. Open source software can't be sold as a product unto itself. It must be sold as a larger value add. Simply listing a bunch of software and saying, "Search through this for what you need" is not valuable because it doesn't provide anything substantially more than what people get on the internet for free. However, if you have a good sales force and are able to provide some upfront analysis of a customer's problem, I suppose you might be able to make some money. A large corporation might ask, "this is the problem we have, who would be best to solve it?" Finding the appropriate people to do the work (including supplying software, support and training) could be valuable. The thing is, I rather suspect that this will never happen. Having talked to Novel sales people before, and reading this article where Redhat talk about "partnering in various sales channels" I get the impression that they still think they are selling software. Nowhere do I see them understanding the idea of matching *people* with problems to *people* with solutions.

    I guess we'll see.

  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:43AM (#31044126)

    RHX was intended to be a marketplace. Software and support contracts were to be sold there. Here [] is an article covering its release; it's one of the wikipedia references.

    Synaptic and Software Center are tools, like PackageKit and up2date are in Fedora and RHEL. RHX wasn't an tool.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @04:47AM (#31044136) Homepage
    Maybe you are used to having phones that were closed box, but back in the day I went from having a phone that couldn't run any apps to having a phone that could install and run .jar and .jad J2ME applications and I had to go and look for them on the interwebs.

    Unfortunately as time went on a lot of crapware J2ME got released that were basically just front-ends for commercial web services and a lot of the J2ME app sites got greedy, put all their sponsored crapware at the top and charged programmers to have their apps (even freeware) listed.

    Even so, going from installing .jar/.jad and later .sis/.sisx seems to a limited 'app store' seems like a huge step backwards to me.
  • Maybe it's cuz (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @07:15AM (#31044632) Homepage
    yer tryin to sell shit to people who think everything is free. Duh.
  • Re:Maybe... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @11:18AM (#31045628)

    Maybe linux users are cheapskates who refuse to pay for other peoples hard work. But they hide this by saying they are all about "freedom".

  • Re:Au contraire... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @12:53PM (#31046232) Homepage Journal

    I don't think distributor necessarily have zero value. They just can't demand a cut without *adding* value.

  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @06:24PM (#31048360) Homepage Journal

    ...were not created to sell existing apps.

    They were created to encourage small developers to write large numbers of new apps for their new platforms. "Hey look, if you write an app for our device, we'll make it easy for users to find you!"

    As someone else remarked, the FOSS hobbyist + large corporation types that tend to write for 'Linux' don't find that compelling. But what if we want to attract the small biz types that Apple and Google have?

    Well, consider this: both iPhone and Android have their respective SDKs to help get started and provide a solid sense for what each platform contains/does. RedHat's platform has no well-defined SDK and I'd even say it is no platform at all, unless you assume that servers are the target system in which case LAMP is the platform. But was RedHat trying to attract server apps with RHX? And isn't the target audience in that case sysadmis and web developers, people who are far too sophisticated to need an app store?

    At some point, Google will release Chromium and try to duplicate the Android experience on the desktop/laptop. It will have an SDK and there will be a clear idea of what's included and what isn't (what a dev has to supply in his apps). An app store for such a thing, a real platform, has a far better chance of succeeding.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission