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Red Hat Software Businesses

Dell Buys Equity in Red Hat 127

Lampropeltis Alterna wrote in to tell us that Dell has bought equity in Red Hat. Another hat has been thrown into the ring. I've always thought of Dell as completely in bed with Microsoft, it'll be interesting to see how they follow this up.
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Dell Buys Equity in Red Hat

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  • rder_code=PE2300LX&customer_id=04&keycod e=

    This gets you to a 2300 system that costs around $2300 =:)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Concerned? No.

    The suit wearing types that want nicely prepackaged, preinstalled, no-thinking-required Linux-lite _need_ a visible successful and corporate friendly Linux aware entity. RH is doing rather well at providing this warm fuzzy blanket for the corporate world.

    Does this affect the rest of us? If you still want to grab the latest and greatest via ftp and customise under the hood to your heart's content, you still can. You can even start with RedHat and then play with the guts till the cows come home.

    For Linux to be successful to the degree that most Linux fans wish, this corporate friendly distro thing has to happen, and it is happening. This is not a bad thing.

    If you don't like it and/or want to cash in on the phenom like another poster wants to, form your own little consulting gig with some other Linux hacks and prepackage or otherwise tune up another distro for the growing market. And if the _customer_ asks for Red Hat, don't argue, just install it. At least it's Linux.


  • Monitor autodetection is a matter of XFree86 adding it. VESA DDC detection is unfortunately card dependant.

    IIRC, RedHat used to have an (optional) X-based install. I'm not sure why they got rid of it except for maybe too much overhead. It was only available with the CD, NFS, or samba installs.
  • Once I used Linux as supporting evidence that there is something wrong with my parallel port under Win95 ( lost the tape backup drive ), they refused all support because my unit was modified. That is, not in original "as shipped configuration", but I was free to remove the second drive where Linux resides, by itself.

    Obviously, I no longer recommend Micron.
  • We (large accounts) have been able to get Linux boxes from Dell for a long time on their workstation and PowerEdge lines. I also believe that Dell was the first top-tier vendor to offer their servers w/o any OS.

    As for Dell saying that RH5.2 only supports single-processor systems, this is true. You have to re-build the kernel for SMP support, and SMP support in 5.2 is EXPERIMENTAL.

    I, for one, am quite pleased with Dell's Linux offerings. It could be worse - they could be endorsing only Caldera or something even more useless in helping get Linux into the enterprise.
  • I won't worry until they start releasing non-GPL software.

    Oh-no ... Here we go with the "RH is the next M$" crap again. RH is probably getting all of the corporate backing because RH has the largest marketshare of Linux AND is a real company. Who would Dell give money to for Debian? It's like when IBM was dealing with the Apache guys ... "It's hard to negotiate with a web site..."

    I personally use RedHat because that's what came with the box when I bought it (VAr ...) RH is simple to install, simple to use (since we're a UNIX house ...) and they're more aiming at the business market than most other distros. (Caldera is business-only oriented, but from what I've heard, it's an older RH (4.2?) with some pretty programs thrown on.)

    So ... Who cares if people are supporting RH and not Slackware, or Debian, or one of the other bunch of distros out there? RH is a company making money off of free software -- they give out what they produce as free software. Companies can't invest & support all of the different distros out there, so they pick the market leader in the business sense -- and that's RedHat.

    If you want to use a different Linux, go ahead. No one is stopping you.

  • I'm not sure about this...isn't the guy who gives the most the same as the person who has major say in the running of things? Heck, politics work like that...grants, loans, aids, etc...list goes on and on.
    I'm dreading the time when some bigshot dumps tons of cash on RH, or any other distributor for that matter, and expect to have major say in how that organization runs things.
  • In a similar way, they dumped on all the other application vendors with Win98. Win98 has built-in support for dynamic re-compilation, ish, whereby it can move around modules in an object file to let it load more efficiently (all this is IIRC). The application needs to 'register' itself as being able to be manipulated in this way, and, I assume, needs some kind of compilation options. MS Office *97* has support for this API.

    Office 97 came out well before Win98, but it supports a technology which means it will run more efficiently under Win98. This means that Win98 is the best platform on which to run Office, and that Office is (or was at Win98 release time) the best office suite to run under Win98.

  • Even Windows 98 does not have a true GUI install. The widgets look similar but they are clearly not a full blown Windows GUI. Most things are bitmaps with mouseover functionality but little else. It looks pretty(?), but it's window dressing.

    Windows 98 is a lousy install in other respects as well. Several reboots are necessary. The installer will not install on an unpartioned or partioned and unformatted drive, and does not even give a reasonable error message.

    That being said, Redhat should at least give a clear option to create user accounts in the install process and boot into X or at least a /etc/issue and /etc/motd that explains the process of logging in as root, adding a user account and starting X. A welcome to this computer bit of nonsense like Win98 (and IRIX for that matter) has wouldn't be a bad idea either as long as it could be turned off easily.
  • They probably have custom software to run the shop. That's the real benefit of Thompson/Ritchie/Kernighan/Gnu/Linux (just trying to be politcally correct...) to a large segment of middle rung companies who are big enough to write their own systems and don't need to follow Microsoft. They can do whatever they want, and if enough of these success stories happen you'll see a lot of small places willing to switch over. They just want results, and they don't want to be slave to an MS-inspired perennial upgrade. Also, they probably have profit sharing and the cost of all those MS client licenses comes out of that. :-)
  • If you call and ask, they'll tell you about Linux pre-load options.

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address
  • We have a 32 node beowulf running on Dell 410 Workstations. They installed flawlessly and are keeping up with our 32 node IBM SP2. They are good machines and the dell people are real high on Linux.

  • I agree. It seems weird not only that Red Hat is receiving all of the Big Vendors' attention and money, but that Red Hat is looking for so much investment. Are they going to give away the whole boat? Do they have any equity left? And if they need so much money, how are the smaller Linux distributors faring?

    Barry de la Rosa,
    Reporter, PC Week (UK)
    Work: barry_delarosa[at],
    tel. +44 (0)171 316 9364
  • We bought a pile of nice fast Seagate Barracuda's to replace the rather full hd's in our set of Indys.

    So there we were, HD in one hand, massive pile of IRIX cd's in the other. And our Indys w/o cdrom drives.


    Never did get around that one.

    Put the drives in the webserver.
  • maybe gateway will be all gung-ho about unix soon.. just to keep up with the jones'

  • umm? hello? did I attack Redhat in any way in my post? no. Did I imply they are going to release non-GPL software? No. Did I say they weren't usable? No. Yes, I like Debian, but for a long time I was a Redhat user (heck, my homepage still says I'm a redhat user!). Read the note before you post. Geez.
  • Look at their server lines to find machines with Red Hat- as far as I can tell, that is all Dell is offering at the moment. And with vastly reduced options- no two processor boards yet. I won't by one from them until I can price out an NT box and a RedHat box side by side and have it proved to me that I am not paying an MS tax. This is unfortunate- Dell's support is unmatched, and they build their boxes with top-notch components. I won't buy VAResearch until they improve their warranty support, and I'm dubious about some of their specs. I guess that leaves me with my old P166 for a while :-)
  • I won't worry until they start releasing non-GPL software. Until then, I can put anything they release on my Debian box. As for all the closed-code vendors who are releasing product X only for RedHat, what do I care? The core system tools are what is important to most of us, and those remain under GPL, which means we get to keep them one way or the other.
  • Again- my point was that the system- all the installation tools and the like written by Redhat- are still GPL. Any closed-source types can run whatever apps they want on top of RedHat. Since nothing about the OS itself (unlike YAST!) is proprietary, I don't need to worry. I can borrow from RedHat anything I want or need to use those programs, without paying RedHat. When that changes, and I need to pay RedHat to use their code, then I'm concerned.
  • Completely and utterly impossible, and if they tried - which they won't - would be wholeheartedly rejected by the Linux developer community.

    *ting* - Next Please!

    PS - the correct spelling is "scenario".
  • Who cares if non-GPL software is being produced for Linux!!!

    The point is that the _(GNU/)Linux O/S_ will remain GPL'ed!

    It's your CHOICE if you decide to use this non-GPL software or not, and this is the point I wish most GPL "purists" would understand - non-GPL'd software cannot be a threat to Linux!
  • I'm definitely going to have to agree about improving things like Xconfigurator for the RedHat install, but for slightly different reasons: Monitor settings are easy enough to find, if you have the manual for your monitor, but trying to figure out how to manually set the Xconfig file so that you can get "oddball" resolutions, like 1152x864 or 1152x900 (like sun, i think) is next to impossible unless you're a genius. for a 17" monitor, 1024x768 is too big and 1280x1024 is almost too small.

    Anyone have suggestions for this particular problem?
  • I apologize for my apparent lack of foresight, but I fail to see the connection between Caldera selling out to MS and the end of the world. There's absolutely nothing that is stopping MS from legally distributing "MS Linux." Lots of political and marketing reasons, but absolutely no legal reason whatsoever. So please explain what would be so catastrophic if MS were to have the "rights" to Caldera OpenLinux?

    Anyone can take any GPL distribution and redistribute it just about any way they want, so long as they comply with the GPL.

    Sorry, I don't get the connection...


  • It may be non-controlling - which means they own x% of the company, but don't have any decision-making power.

    As to the installation, you should try it some time. My friend have been working on an X install for quite some time. The main problem is.. size! You're limited to CDROM install then. network won't do because of a chicken/egg problem - you need space to store those files.. but you need to have everything partitioned and formatted first.

  • I'm dying of curiousity - anyone know what Redhat's valuation is? A few publically traded companies have bought pieces of Redhat now; do they have to disclose information?
  • I'm sure that Dell's policy will change in the near future for single box purchases. They will need to figure out hardware compatability issues, obviously. Personally, I'd buy a server/workstation from VA Research, thus making my purchasing easier. ;)
  • I was just thinking, first of all these equity investments might not be money at all, those familiar with NYSE know that many investments are in fact EQUITY swaps, like AOL "purchased" Netscape, they merely swapped one bunch of worthless paper marked NSCP to another of AOL.

    So, Dell probably traded some of it shares too.
    The thing which worries me is that in any case there is no need to throw money only into RedHat as most vendors do, kernel is not done exclusively by RedHat you know. No one seems wants to invest in SuSE, Caldera etc, isn't that strange???

    I am probably is a pro-conspiracy suspect guy, but I think these moves have far more meaning than just money NOW, we are talking here about attempts of various big companies to take control over leading Linux distributor. Maybe Dell has only 4-5%, but look, all other alien shareholders, which include mammoths like IBM, Intel got stakes too!!!

    AtW, []
  • I don't know about you, but if I was Bill Gates, and I saw everyone buying linux machines, I would be shitting myself, whether or not the buyers paid for windows licenses.
    The fact that linux appears to be doing well is enough to worry Microsoft even if it isn't clear that linux's success is at their expense.

    Another issue is this: maybe they can sell an NT workstation license with a linux box. How about an NT server license ? how about a back office license,
    or licenses for front page, MS Office , etc ?
    They don't make so much money on their OS. Their real cash cows are their applications and their server licenses ( oh, and those stupid MCSE certification schemes ... )

    While this isn't a resolution in itself, the playing field is levelled, and this is a darn good opportunity for the penguin to give the dancing paperclip a black eye or two ...

  • Monitor detection is not such a big deal and will not make installation substantially easier.
    You can write a decent mode for a monitor using just the vsync and resolution.

    The biggest problem with installation is unsupported hardware. The biggest problems newbiews have boil down to (a) unsupported video cards and (b) winmodems.
    That is why the equity investments from big hardware companies like Dell are important.

    As for partitioning -- Redhat's workstation install deals with this in the simplest way.
    For people who want multi boot, partition is an issue regardless of their choices of OS.
    I don't think that's something for the installers to deal with.

  • If you're looking for a really cool setup program, IRIX rocks. It has a VRML spiral staircase thingy where each level contains a button that launches a different setup script (like creating users, mounting stuff, etc). Alongside each is a video clip explaining why you should do whatever the script does.

    I'll admit it eats space, but for people installing off CD's, it makes installation a whole lot cooler.

  • Ok. In my reply above and I said that this was announced in October 98. Well, I lied. The first time I heard it about it (from old emails) was Feb 15, 1999. Only a few months off.

    Here's an excerpt from an article....that was posted on one of the major trade journals in Feb. (Probably Infoworld or

    Retailer commits to Linux in 250 stores

    Burlington Coat a big win for shareware OS; user sees better price/performance than NT

    By David Orenstein

    Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp.'s plan to run its stores on Linux may make users give real consideration to the shareware Unix operating system.

    But then again, maybe not. After all, the retailer's infrastructure and culture are particularly well-suited to take it where many other companies fear to tread.

    The $1 million-plus deployment at the $1.8 billion Burlington, N.J., discounter is the largest Linux retail installation announced by a U.S. company. "We're pumped," said CIO Mike Prince. "We finally made the business decision, and all the developers cheered."

    Over the next 12 to 18 months, Burlington will install Linux on 1,150 computers in its 250 stores, Prince said. "Linux has come along so strongly, and the price of Intel PCs has dropped so much . . . [that it] is attractive from both a price and performance standpoint. It's free, and it runs like the wind."

  • It's big news...I don't think it's new news. I believe Burlington made their announcement in October(?) of last year.
  • I hope Red Hat is able to do something wonderful with all this money... Like upgrade their FTP servers; is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that their FTP servers are ALWAYS saturated? Seems like I can **NEVER** get through. I am getting really sick of this situation myself. And I know the classic excuse always is, "mirrors, mirrors, mirrors... Mirrors everywhere." But the problem is, 1) the mirrors are not always current, and 2) it is really annoying having to search for a good mirror all the time just to download something from them... Not everyone has this kind of time to go sifting through mirrors all the time.

    They have the money--I want to see them upgrade their own FTP servers... Make it handle up to 3,600 users like Walnut Creek CDROM if needbe; this would also be a tribute to Linux's stability if it can scale up to that load, rather than the puny 100 user limit they have now. (Walnut Creek has a SINGLE FreeBSD machine, compared to MS's 40+ NT servers just to do anything close to Walnut Creek's traffic.) I am sick and tired of having Red Hat tell me that the mirrors are going to take up the slack for them all the time.
  • I have a hard time believing that you've ever read any SEC rules if you really think that the "general public" has an equal chance of grabbing the first shares offered for an IPO. If they want to, Intel can buy their shares well before you.

    What does splitting the stock have to do with anything? The percentage of the company that you own will be the same after the split.


  • by glh ( 14273 )
    I'm glad to hear Dell supporting Linux, even if it is Redhat. I've got an inspiron 3200 laptop running slakware very nicely, even with X. I haven't been disappointed, and after hearing about their support of linux my next system will not only be a dell but will come preloaded with it!

  • One problem.. if RedHat goes public, guess who will buy the most stock and have control?

  • Dell, Compaq, Gateway, and IBM are all taking a beating from the new crop of cheap (under $600) PCs. Plus there is no big push to upgrade (there's a limit to how much slower and bloated Microsoft can make Windows on any given release). As a result, they have having to cut their profit margins considerably. One obvious way to save money is to stop sending it to Redmond whenever possible.

    Another way to make money is in the server market, which all of the above are doing. They've also all made (or at least announced) some committment to Linux.

    I'm sure there's a lot of internal e-mail floating around Microsoft right now that will greatly amuse us in 5-10 years.
  • I too find it worrying. But I take consolation in the fact that Linux was cool before RedHat and will still be cool after RedHat. :-)

    Has anyone noticed that Redhat's commercial support prices make Microsoft's support seem down right cheap?! It is almost $1000 for 3 issues that expires in 90 days!
  • 1. Redhat does charge for their OS. Although you can down load it for free, they do sale somewhere around 250,000 copies a year. (I have inside knowledge of this magic, if arbitrary sounding number.) Even at $10 a copy thats not bad.

    2. Microsoft pays many people to develope their OSes. While Redhat does contribute and pay for some Linux development, their cost is small compared to Microsoft's.

    In my case I am the MIS department, and I consider myself at least a budding "linux hacker." And I do tend to scroll through news groups (or ask on Slashdot) for answers. Infact I honestly believe support is mostly for those too lazy to read the manual. However my manager (company president) would feel much more confortable if we had a support contract for linux. Or atleast if there were a company that charged $300 an issue to help resolve problems Microsoft does this at $200 an issue, and their support is reasonably good, as long as its not about a real bug in their software. Then they just refund your $200 and say "Next." If there is such a company, let me know.

  • Funnily enough, I've made this exact same comment before.

    In case your thinking of going to worship at the Altar of Dell, may I suggest you read the fight I had with them over the EULA on laptops. and check the "Articles" section.

  • I bet that the "other" OEM's will start at least pretending to be jumping on the linux boat...just so the public doesn't think that they're lagging behind on the "newest and best". Or whatever.
  • SCO Finally got out of that deal, since it required that they continue being compatible with Xenix.

    -- Keith Moore
  • And this would be bad exactly how? I just can't seem to figure out why the increased monetary committment to Red Hat would be a bad thing. More momentum for Red Hat means more momentum for Linux in general.

    It occurs to me that when more money gets put into Red Hat (or Caldera, or Debian, etc.) it means that good things will happen. Like more people will be exposed to Linux, and more money will get put into development (like better PnP detection, additional drivers, etc.).

    So it's Red hat getting the money, big deal. Someone has to get it, and all the companies spending on Linux are simply buying insurance. I'm sure Dell researched the Linux distros carefully, and came up with Red Hat because they are the market leader. (Honestly... when's the last time you saw Debian for sale at Price Club? Dell is a very mainstream company, and to them, Red Hat must look like it knows what it's doing.)

    If the other distros want a piece of the CYA pie the "traditional" computer companies are dishing out, they had better get a little more mainstream. That sounds like a they have to sell out, but they don't. They and their business practices just have to appeal to a company Dell.

  • Anyone have suggestions for this particular problem?

    Not really - but the most intuitive tool I ever used for configuring monitor frequencies was the CyberGraphX V4 preferences on the Amiga - You could select an arbitrary pixel resolution, play with the sliders to adjust the dot clock, and hit "Test" - press Esc if it didn't work, and just generally play around until you'd made all the resolutions you wanted. It did all the hard hstart/hstop/vstart/vstop calculations, and generated the CGX equivalent of an XF86Config file. It even put up a nice little test card display for you to mess around with the parameters in real time.

    I used to have my CVPPC running an (extra-flickery) underclocked 1280x1024 resolution on my 1024x768 pnp monitor - Windows won't let me do that, and I've tried with linux, but neither kvideogen nor xvidtune allow me the same degree of flexibility. Calculating the required modeline values is a little beyond me. Maybe I'll get up off my ass and work out how to do exactly what I want, one day...

    There was a utility to strip modelines out of cgx monitor files, that was used to prep fbcon linux/m68k and linux/apus gfx cards.

    Obviously, the cgx tool catered for a relatively tiny set of amiga-specific gfx cards, but I'd still appreciate a greater degree of control over X vidmodes in a similar gui preferences tool to the cgx preferences tool.

    Can you tell XFree86 whole new modelines on the fly, or does the server need to be restarted ?
  • Micheal Dell is interested in making money that is the bottom line on this deal. I don't think he really cares what OS is shipping on his products as long as it sells PC's. Dell makes computers not OS's. Dell saw a huge demand for a product and now they are filling that. The only reason he was "in bed" with MS is that it was making him a very rich man.

    Personally, I like the Dell investment. I'm sure they won't cave in to pressures exerted from MS like Gateway and Micron did a couple of weeks back.
  • I'm all for alt OSes on Dell machines although I'd never personally buy one. I prefer building my own.(machines, not OSes) But all I want to know is: Where is the BeOS announcement? Mikey Dell has said that he was impressed by BeOS, so when is Dell gonna get with the program?

    But, uh.. go Redhat! More power to ya!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    I run BeOS. The rules don't apply.
  • I've got a slightly different spin/take on it.

    Companies like Dell weren't so much willingly in bed with Microsoft so much as Microsoft had their backs to the wall.

    (To further the "in bed" analaogy, Microsoft had made Dell (and Compaq and Gateway, et. al.) it's bitches!)

    Dell realises that Microsoft won't have the guts to punish them for Linux friendliness while in the midst of an anti-trust suit. And they're becoming Linux-friendly because it makes econimic sense for them to. Linux represents a serious market!

    Heaven help Dell, Compaq, Gateway and all the other big PC makers who have shown some Linux friendliness during the MS anti-trust suit if Microsoft wins the suit.

    If MS wins, they're gonna stomp on these PC makers but hard!

    But not to worry, they're gonna loose.
  • All of the equity is not going to "big corporate players". Through each round of funding the valuation increases and new shares are issued. Investors in previous rounds are typically protected by an "anti-dilution clause" but that comes at a price - they have to invest in the new round pro rata to maintain their share. If previous investors do not invest pro rata, the amount of investor ownership pre money can actually decrease. Of course, there is also the employee option pool and founders stock in addition to outside investors. When the company files their S1, they will carve out a chunk of equity to go to the public markets... and the reality of recent IPO's is that the "float" (stock in the public market) is actually pretty slim. Pre-IPO investors also have the option of selling their stake once the lockup period has expired, increasing the amount of publicly traded shares.
  • It's through the efforts of "the ABOVE average Joe" who took a chance and went to work for Red Hat, the management team that had a vision AND an ability to execute, and the investors who made it possible through financial support that Red Hat is where it is.

  • its not a matter of market share or power.. its a matter of choice.. the fact is someone is now given the choice of what they want to run, free or commercial or unix or windows.. let the companies pioneer and let the technology advance, but let us choose what we want... i only see this as another good reason to keep the everything moving forward.. just like the other announcements, *ANY* linux distro can work like redhat to gain market share, the market is so virgin and the competition is fair and there is no standard, so if someone wants to stand up and say what about me, well they should do something about it!
  • RedHat helps out other developers and such. By providing things like GNOME/KDE it gives more exposure to those products. If they make a buck off of it I call that good business.

    Even if they get powerful, the average user can finger his/her nose at them and use Debian/SUSE/Slackware. RedHat doesn't OWN linux they just make my distrobution
  • ...but then they started to notice a foul smelling discharge and began to itch.

  • i think we should all go to:
    click on "Send in a wish!" and just send microsoft a msg w/ the url for the story on it ... title the msg "Eminent Downfall of Microsoft" ... the url for the story is: ml?s=v/nm/19990406/tc/ ml
    ... just to show our support (insert evil laugh here)
  • Not that I'm anywhere near an expert on it, but...

    The Momentum that RH gains is all for Linux. Giving them to pour money into a good install and entry level everything is great for the entire community. They CAN'T leverage anything because of the nature of the product. Entry into the market being as ridiculously easy as it is. It gives them greater power to be a Linux portal, if you will, but won't lead to thoughts of global domination.

    (Installed RH5.2 for the first time today and loving it)
  • The laptop I got had the EULA outside of the package, so I completely knowingly and willingly submitted my soul to MS... I want to use the DVD drive...
  • I'm a little new to all this, I've only used linux a few months (some unix for a few years as a user), and I'm still getting caught up with all the related issues, but what I do know, that if anybody ever has any hopes of Linux bringing mainstream competition to Windows, it has to be a LOT more idiot proof.

    I work in a computer lab on campus, so I see the bottom of the barrel when it comes to computer illiterate people. (Someone today kept complaining that 1 page of a 3 page document wasn't was on the back of the first...). Hardly any of the people that come in there wouldn't have the first clue about where to start with linux. Hell, I know cpeg/cisc majors that wouldn't know where to start. If RedHat gets some major backing, computer illiterates have a big name to fall back on a la Microsoft, and the software is nearly idiot proof, all the better for the popularity of Linux. The mainstream isn't going to want to use something where there are so many choices and they don't know the differences between them, or that at the heart they're all basically the same. Something they here is for geeks and too much trouble to be worth it. They will want one proven choice, a shiny box, pretty gui, easy installation, etc.

    We that know what we're doing (at least for the most part), can use other distro's if we want more control, that's the beauty. So what if pre-installs only offer RedHat, isn't it more fun to do it yourself anyway? So what if the mainstream associates RedHat with Linux...better than not knowing/using it at all right? Our community will still use what we want to use and know the true story, what do we care what the masses think?

    This is just some un-planned rambling so it's probablly a little incoherent. It's also only my opinion, I'm always interested in others. Like I said I'm still familiarizing myself with everything, so if I'm way off base I would like to know :)

    - Kas

  • Caldera gets mad with all the "redhat" hype, sells out to microsoft just like with the "browser" wars.End of world bang!bang!
  • I don't see anything wrong with the installation? It has come a long way since 4.2.

    If a person does not know enough about their own system to install Linux, or can't pick a manual, then they shouldn't be installing Linux in the first place...even though I would like them too.
  • I just finished buying a big hefty server from
    Dell to run Linux on. They are willing to sell
    an OS-less box, but they won't preconfigure
    linux on a single-box order. Sigh.
  • Has Microsoft taken any action against those corporations who seem to be sleeping with the enemy? It seem like they are taking this type of thing fairly well.
  • Posted by tirebiter:

    Well, yeah you can, actually.

    Here's one of their URL's about it: m

    "My Opinions Are My Own"
  • I'm a Dell owner (Debian runs like a dream), and one of the things I like most about the company is the documentation they include: everything you'd want is in the box. If Dell is a) moving towards offering Linux as a main-line OS and b) investing in RedHat to ensure that they can deliver a quality product, then it doesn't seem unreasonable for Dell to at least partly implement RMS's concept of free software, and pay the FSF to provide some documentation for their contribution to Linux. At least that way, it doesn't feel as if a corporate behemoth is exploiting the work of those who develop free software.
  • What I really hope to see from RedHat, given the cash they've been receiving from industry leading hardware and software companies is for them to continue to do what they've done with great coders like Alan Cox.

    RedHat would be doing themselves and the community a great service if they used all this money to hire programers, programers already involved in open source projects, and pay them to do what they do best.

    If RedHat could bring in more coders, working on GPL'd software, they could speed up development that is currently slowed by said programer's need to eat and have a place to live, and thus being able to afford less time spent working on their projects because they have a Real Job(tm) doing unrelated stuff.

    I'm happy with the job they've done thus far in keeping their distribution OSS because we all bennifit from work done at RedHat.
  • Is anyone else concerned about the momentum behind Red Hat? I mean, doesn't it seem like they're getting all of the money, and most of the media attention?
    I hate to say it, but all of that money is buying a lot of influence in Linux. Influence=power. Power corrupts.

  • Are there not a few reasons as to why Red Hat is getting so much attention?...

    a) They appear to be the most visible Linux distribution producer of the lot. (Pacific HiTech appear to be the most visible Linux distribution producer in Japan - I also hear that Linux has taken off in a Big Way in Japan, due in part to the economic conditions there (i.e. bad) - Japanese business appears to have caught on to the fact that not only is Linux BETTER than NT, but an order of magnitude CHEAPER).

    Being the most visible producer of a Linux distro, means that the PHB of Dell etc have a clear target to focus on.

    b) Red Hat is a _Business_, and it currently appears to be in the business of - from Dell's etc. perspective - an "up and coming" alternative to the proprietary world of MS, and if Dell or whoever wants to have a stake in Red Hat, so what?

    c) I simply think that Red Hat is being a shrewd player in the OS market. What better way to introduce Linux to the corporate world than to have Big Names invest luverly _cash_ in them? And then (hopefully) use that cash to produce a better distribution. Remember folks, RH is a business. Research and Development in a business costs Real Money - IF that's what RH is doing with the cash.

    To sum up - I don't think this should be _worrying_ at all. Linux by mere definition of the GPL simply cannot be kidnapped by any one company or individual. Certainly, they can maybe produce their own proprietary stuff to be run under Linux, but surely it's up to _us_ - the customer/Linux community as a whole - that determines what can be done to Linux?
  • Hey! Wasn't dell the one to put those "by opening this package you agree to the terms of the EULA listed inside" stickies all over their laptops?


  • I'd say Dell and MS have a symbiotic relationship, only MS doesn't depend heavily on Dell. If you think about it, what really sets Dell apart from the rest of the OEMs? A name brand, sure. But how about prices? None of these OEMs really have propietary technology of their own, none of them have any particular magic that can't be done by the rest of the pack. While Dell is high volume, it doesn't make THAT big of a difference in terms of hardware. I suspect Dell and MS have a mutual understanding of sorts. Dell promotes MS, and MS gives them price reductions, software deals, and what not. If Dell angers MS, MS can screw them. It is a stick and carrot approach, and a very effective one at that. Dell needs every break it can get or they'll be swallowed. It wouldn't do Dell any good to squeal to the Feds because this would permanently ruin the relationship. An injunction against MS may free them of the stick, but they can't do without that carrot. Dell's latest linux moves are just P.R., I wouldn't be suprised if MS gave them the nod.

  • Did you ever consider that perhaps Dell can't live, or thrive, without MS. I covered this in the above thread, but basically. What really sets Dell apart from the rest of the OEMs is deals and 'understandings' with the likes of MS. What it boils to is essentially a symbiotic relationship. The name brand recognition is overplayed, only in the short run would this work and allow them to retain the same profit margins.

    The argument that the destruction of the MS monopoly would be in the interest of Dell is weak. Any price reductions in software would immediatly be matched by their competition, they wouldn't enjoy significantly higher margins. The only thing that allows Dell to keep its market share in the long term is the existence of MS. If RedHat became the de facto OS, it would most likely be a pretty flat price for all OEMs. It would marginalize Dell relative to competition. They would lose their market share, and hence their profits would shrink.
  • Am I the only one who is getting REALLY annoyed by the fact that companies that could give a damn about Linux are going to be able to invest and cash in on RH and Linux's success, while the programmers -- the average Joe -- cannot buy stock/equity in RH?

    If RH was publicly traded, that would be one thing, but as it stands now the people who made the movement happen, the ones who put RH where they are, cannot similarly invest and buy stock in RH.

    Why is that?
  • Did you catch the note about Burlington Coat Factory ordering 1,250 Linux desktop machines?
    To me thats the big news, not Dell's investment.

    Read it here 9/9904/6a.htm

    Dell press release. []
  • I don't find it worrying. I think it's great that RedHat have extra investment to pump back into their product!

    I used Debian myself, and I don't really understand all this 'RedHat are the next Microsoft' rubbish. Debian is maintained by individuals and will always provide a 100% free and open alternative to RedHat.

    Apt-get :)
  • Dell's equity investment in Redhat is being trumpetted by a success for Linux, but it really hasn't accomplished anything.

    Microsoft is still untouchable.

    Try this: go to Dell's website. Configure yourself a Linux workstation. Now confingure an NT workstation with the exact same hardware, software and support.

    You'll quickly see that Microsoft still rules the day. These computers don't have Linux instead of NT, they have Linux in addition to an NT liscence that you pay for, but never get.

    I hope I'm wrong on this, I didn't check every combination, but it is a worrying revelation. In time, maybe Microsoft won't be able to do this, but that time is still years away, if ever.
  • by Aaron M. Renn ( 539 ) <> on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @01:20PM (#1947154) Homepage
    The reason to "go public" is to raise funds for expansion. Secondary reasons are so you can cash out your venture capitalists. I don't know if Red Hat was backed by venture capital or just by the founders, so this may or may not be a concern. A third reason is so the founders can sell off some of their personal holdings in order to get cash. I should mention that you can "go public" by selling bonds as well. These often require registration statements and quarterly reports to be filed with the SEC. This is a great way to find out about private companies that don't have their stock traded yet.

    Going public has its downsides. First is that you are required to file reports with the SEC, which exposes your financial structure and your financial reports to the outside world. The next is that it can be difficult to justify to stockholders long term investment that may or may not pan out. How does Red Hat justify to a mutual fund manager hiring Gnome developers then putting the resulting code under the GPL? It might be the best decision from a business as well as ethical standpoint, but it is non-traditional and would probably require some explaning.

    Red Hat seems to be able to find funds via private placements, so has been able to avoid going public. Remember, the longer you hold off going public, the better for the initial stockholders who will generally see less dilution.
  • There are two ways to "buy equity" in a company. One is for you to acquire an existing share of stock from someone who owns one. The other way it to buy shares issued by the company. The first is more common, as that is what people do on the New York Stock Exchange every day. In the case of a private company, they are usually issuing new shares to investors because then then money goes into the company's coffers to fund expansion. However, doing this dilutes the ownership of the existing stockholders.

    Typically there is no real limit on how many shares a company can issue. Corporate charters generally contain a maximum number of authorized shares, but this can be increased by a vote of the shareholders. The real problem is the dilution, which tends to anger existing shareholders if it is excessive. Publicly traded companies often lose 5-10% of their stock price when announcing secondary offerings. Issue to much stock and you'll drive your stock price down to zero!

    Of course the Red Hat founders are probably stock rich and money poor. They might be selling off some of their personal shares in order to get cash to spend on houses or whatever. But it is pure speculation to think of such things.
  • by Aaron M. Renn ( 539 ) <> on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @02:30PM (#1947156) Homepage
    In fact, investment banks routinely make IPO stock available first to their preferred customers. This may or may not include Intel, but it probably does not. However, the odds of you being able to purchase IPO stock at the IPO price are zilch, unless you have some sort of in with investment banks you might not have told us about.

    One of the more outrageous practices of the investment banks was to hold back a portion of the IPO stock until the price had already shot up on the first day of trading. They then sold the stock to favored clients at the IPO prices for an instant arbitrage profit. I don't know of the SEC has cracked down on this or not, but they certainly should have.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @11:39AM (#1947157)
    Posted by Mike@ABC:

    I have to disagree with this "Microsoft Is Master Of All" view in the above posts. If it went to Dell and told them that they needed to quash (or support!) Linux, Michael Dell would certainly be within his rights not only to tell Microsoft to go to hell, but he'd probably also offer to testify against Microsoft at the trial.

    Microsoft really has to watch its step when it comes to its OEM partnerships. It's already put revamped OEM contracts on the table in its DOJ settlement talks, and the company is already trying to play nice in order to convince the DOJ to lay off.

    In other words, Microsoft has to act like every other software vendor out there, at least until the appeals are exhausted -- some time in 2001. By then, Linux (or BeOS, FreeBSD, MacOS, or whatever your poison) should have a good shot at ending the monopoly.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @11:45AM (#1947158)
    Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Well, yeah. With a free OS, of course they're going to charge big bucks for support. But when you consider the high price of licenses for a Windows NT system, most bean counters will still look at Red Hat as a huge bargain. And most MIS administrators worth their title will probably either a) have a Linux hacker on staff, or b) just scroll through the newsgroups until he finds the solution to his problem.

  • by TedC ( 967 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:21PM (#1947159)
    There a a few good reasons not to go public, the biggest one being accountability to shareholders.

    There are a lot of people who don't know anything about Linux (other than what they've read on ZDNET) who would buy Red Hat stock based on media hype, and I don't think many people at Red Hat would want these folks voting in a share holders meeting.


  • by TedC ( 967 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @05:40PM (#1947160)
    Does anyone know if there's any equity left in RedHat that belongs to RedHat?

    I don't know that any of the companies that have invested in Red Hat have really invested that much; it's always an undisclosed amount.

    I think they're doing for the image more than anything. Linux is riding the media wave that Java did two years ago, and a small investment in Red Hat is nothing to IBM, Intel, or Dell -- it's cheap, positive media attention.

    Either that, or they're giving MS the digital finger...


  • by brassrat77 ( 9533 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @11:00AM (#1947161)
    Saw the announcements on the business wires. Checked Dell's web site - a search for Linux turned up nothing newer than mid March.

    And where are they selling systems with Linux? All I could find on the web site were systems with different Windows/MS apps options. I'm sure this will all get fixed eventually.

    In the meanwhile, it increases Linux's credibility when a vendor of Dell's size and "presence" at least announces they will "offer" linux on there systems (even if MS/Win remains 95-99%+ of their sales).
  • Don't get me wrong, RedHat 5.2 installs like a dream, for the most part. I've rarely had any problems with it attributable to RedHat. On the other hand, their Xconfigurator is fairly primitive as far as Monitor Selection goes, and it could be legitimately improved. Not a great big deal, but it would be nice.

    What I'm talking about is largely more for reporters than anyone else. If RedHat made their install process more newbi-friendly, it wouldn't generate reports that make the lives of tech-people more difficult. :-)
  • Does anyone know if there's any equity left in RedHat that belongs to RedHat?

    Do they plan to spend any of this money that they're getting to improve the installation process, like a full pnp list of monitors for monitor-autodetection? Adding more "intelligent" installations options, that will automatically invoke fips and things like that? Maybe invoking X in lowest common denominator for their install (options: B&W Color Graphical, or something like that)? They sound like they should be able to beat down the installation difficulties of Linux with money, at this point.
  • by GnuGrendel ( 16068 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @12:26PM (#1947164)
    From the article, I'm betting the sequence of events went like this:

    1) Burlington is a customer of Dell
    2) Burlington, being a forward looking company, decides to switch to Linux for it's operations
    3) Burlington calls Dell, says "we need 1250 Linux workstations... Can you do it, or should we call Compaq?"
    4) Dell buys equity in RH to cement their position (probably cost less than they'll make on the Burlington deal alone)

    Therefore, I say Congradulations Burlington, you rock!
  • Symantec [] is quite a bit bigger than just tools; look at the left-side panel list of products.

    However, a better question is -- how good are the tools? Very good, as a matter of fact:

    1. The Symantec Visual Cafe Pro for Java was Info World's product of the year. I'd love to have VCP for Java in Linux.
    2. (If it is still available) I have got journeyman work out of their 7.2 C++ compiler for several years now.
    3. Symantec is one of the two major C++ compiler manufacturers for the Apple OS [the other being Metrowerks' CodeWarrior].
    4. A look at the board of directors reads like a who's who of top-notch technical programming talent. Whose tools and utilities have bailed thousands of us out of M$-induced hell.
    If Symantec, Metrowerks (who has already announced), and Inprise (Borland) all move to the Linux bandwagon, then a lot of top notch talent and money will be on the side of all of us professional (i.e. making a paycheck by writing code) programmers who want Linux to be the OS of choice for everyone.
  • by CodeShark ( 17400 ) <{ellsworthpc} {at} {}> on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @11:46AM (#1947166) Homepage
    Although most /. readers are technically literate enough to understand, I want to offer an example that goes to the essence of the M$ monopoly. BTW, I speak as someone who has a great deal of experience working with M$ competitors in the past.

    Microsoft waited to release Windows 95 and some of the associated API's until all of their major applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access) were complete and to a large extent, debugged. This means that anyone --Netscape, Lotus, WP, Novell, etc-- writing a competitive product was automatically several months behind in the ability to do compatibility testing and debugging of their own products. So (magazine advertising collusion aside) that M$ products would automatically get good reviews, sell more product, etc. until the other companies caught up, by which time a large percentage of the consumer and most of the corporate market has already bought and standardized on the so-called but only temporarily "superior" product.

    Contrast this with Linux, where a given release is thoroughly pretested, and all of the applicable code is available from the get-go. This means that we're talking not only a superior operating system, but an equal opportunity business market from the get go. No using the operating system monopoly to sell application software anymore.

    So I am 100% sure that M$is are NOT taking things very well. However, this time the Feds are finally watching the beast from Redmond with a magnifying glass. So M$ can't use their FUD and other monopolistic practices to keep Dell, Gateway, or any other major supplier "in line" without the DOJ slapping them silly (translation: levying heavy fines) for trying.

    Software aside, for the major PC hardware vendors, Linux makes better business sense in either the server OR consumer market.

    1. They no longer have to pay an increasingly high OS royalty to Microsoft, nor deal with or be associated with M$ software or tactics.
    2. Over a period of time, the corporate cost of tech support SHOULD decline as Linux gains ascendancy, because 99.99%of all of the problems and solutions in Linux are solved and documented by the technical user base, and quickly incorporated into the code base.
    3. If Dell, etc. installers are doing their jobs correctly (this requires PHB* support), a machine sold next month should have more stable code than the machine bought today. Which translates into higher user satisfaction.
    4. End users and corporations no longer have to pay for what is essentially an OS tax - "service packs" to correct problems which should have been fixedin the basic OS. Instead, they are expected to become literate enough to apply true upgrades via a free source -- the Internet. Within a corporation, the cost of support will similarly decline.
    All of these things will translate into higher repeat sales in the future -- good for business, wouldn't you say? My only question is, how long will it be before major players such as Lotus and Symantec wake up and shift gears into the Linux world?

    * PHB = Dilbert: Pointy Haired Boss

  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Tuesday April 06, 1999 @11:17AM (#1947167) Homepage
    I used to work in tech support at Gateway. One of their major accounts used Unix exclusively, and every box we shipped out the door to that client had Unix preloaded. Don't let the anti-MS hype fool you; it has always been possible to get ANY OS preloaded on ANY box from ANY OEM. They don't market that fact to Joe Blow, mainly because Joe Blow generally won't want to spend the additional cash it will cost.

The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.