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Red Hat CEO: Bring On the Clones 182

An anonymous reader writes "Best Buy and Barnes and Noble have a problem with showrooming — shoppers checking out the merchandise in their stores and then proceeding to order the goods at a discounted prices online. And Red Hat might have a similar problem with people (not just college kids and software professionals boning up on their skills at home, either) using the free-as-in-beer CentOS rather than licensing Red Hat Enterprise Linux and paying support fees. But according to CEO Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's competitive position may actually be helped by CentOS in the same way that counterfeit Windows products sold on the streets in the Far East may have helped Microsoft — by cementing their position as the technology standard, in a marketplace that also includes entrants from SuSE, Debian, Oracle, and Ubuntu, just among Linux-based entrants. Who does Whitehurst consider to be Red Hat's most direct threat? VMWare."
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Red Hat CEO: Bring On the Clones

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  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:24PM (#44577195)

    Admins never needed vendor support, managers do. That means that CentOS trains the admins on Red Hat and then managers pay for the supported thingie.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:33PM (#44577293)

    When you have servers labeled production, that generate revenue and downtime means lost revenue, then you pay for support since its cheaper than losing revenue and customers

  • Re:Why pay Red Hat (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:36PM (#44577321)

    It's hard to go wrong with RedHat. From a management perspective, it's a lower risk to just shell out for RHEL vice even thinking about something like CentOS. It's the "no one ever got fired for..." thing at work.

    And as far as a company to give money too, you could do a lot worse than RedHat. They contribute a lot of stuff we don't think about.

    Also support is one of those things that's undervalued by the technically minded. Yes, there is a great community around linux, and yes, a technical guy can probably find enough resources for free to solve just about any problem.. but there is something to be said about having a phone number you can call and someone is literally being paid to give you an answer.

  • by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:42PM (#44577383) Homepage Journal

    Also, if people (not managers, but hobbyists, students, and bored IT folks on their own time) learn RHEL-like distros, then that means there are more people who are familiar with the environment. That in turn means more software targeting that environment, a bigger talent pool for companies to hire from, and greater mindshare.

    Better for RedHat to 50% of enterprise Linux and 40% of those users paying than 100% of the users of a distro with only 10% of the enterprise Linux market. More marketshare is pretty much always good.

    One can easily imagine a scenario where some startup hires a bunch of guys who "know RedHat" and set up servers using Cent. As they grow and start needing additional support and enterprise-targeted features, though, who are they going to turn to? Switching to RHEL is going to be less disruptive than pretty much any other option at that point, right?

  • by geoffrobinson ( 109879 ) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:46PM (#44577425) Homepage

    You are focusing on the differences but ignoring the similarities which Whitehurst was concerned about.

    CentOS doesn't put money in Red Hat's pocket directly, but it helps cement Red Hat as a standard for enterprise Linux distributions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:50AM (#44583003)

    I've been a paying Red Hat Support customer since before the Halloween Documents were published.

    Access to their high-end people is generally being monopolized by the biggest customers at any given moment. If you have a problem, and IBM has a problem, and Dell has a problem... you're at the end of the line for access to Alan Cox. You'll probably have to settle for Nalin Dahyabhai, who has even more rudimentary social skills than Alan does.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.