Red Hat: Go support yourselves, Fedora users
That's what development release means, people
One of the most frustrating aspects of open source but commercially supported software is that it takes many orders of magnitude of freebie customers to attain a base of core customers who will pay for a glorified product with commercial-grade installation and ongoing tech support. There is always a temptation to try to monetize the vast installed base of users who are making use of the so-called development or community editions of programs. But Red Hat isn't going for it.
In a recent conference call, when Red Hat reported its financial results for its second fiscal quarter 2009 ended in August - revenues up 29 per cent to $164.4m and profits up 16 per cent to $21.1m, and apparently ahead of expectations by a smidgen - Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's president and chief executive officer, was asked if the company would reconsider changing its business model and start offering support on Fedora, the company's development release for its variant of Linux.
Forget that idea.
"Fedora is our key open source development platform with the community and we have no plans to change that," Whitehouse said, explaining that Fedora's reason for existence was to create the foundation code that eventually makes its way into Enterprise Linux, the commercially supported product.
"It is not something that we look at directly monetizing nor is that something that we have considered."
It is not exactly a stupid idea, even if such support would probably not be a big money maker. Way back when, when SUSE was an independent Linux supplier, its development release, SUSE Linux Professional, offered 90-day support for a nominal fee.
Over the past few years the openSUSE project has taken over as Novell's SLES development effort, but Novell nonetheless sells a supported version of openSUSE 11, which will be the basis for SLES 11, for $60.
And Sun Microsystems - which is trying to blunt the attack of open source and commercial Linux by freely distributing its commercial Solaris 10 Unix variant and now offering support on OpenSolaris 2008.05, its first commercially supported open source Solaris release - is also keen on making the development release a supported product.
OpenSolaris basic support, which includes web support and the ability to get bugs fixed, costs $324 per machine per year on a machine with up to two processor sockets; a production-grade, 24x7 support contract costs $2,160 per year for a two-socket box. That basic support price is exactly the same as Sun is charging for its basic Solaris 10 commercial support, which is restricted to one-socket or two-socket machines at $324 per year.
Sun also offers standard support, which provides 9x5 business hour support with telephone contact in addition to the web, for $720 per year on a two-socket X64 box and $1,320 a year on larger x64 machines; support on Sparc boxes is more expensive as machines get more cores (which seems a bit unfair). Premium support (24x7 with all the bells and whistles) on a two-socket box costs $1,080 for the regular Solaris 10 commercial edition, so companies that want to put OpenSolaris 2008.05 into production have to budget carefully, since they are paying twice as much for support per machine.
Red Hat's contention has been - and continues to be - that if Fedora users want to have official support for their operating system, then they can buy a license to Enterprise Linux and be done with it. ®
Re: "loaded SuSE 10.3. EVERYTHING just worked!"
I am sorry but I find that hard to believe.
Novell forces us to run SuSE 10 to run any of their services on Linux. We (us Linux admins that is) hate it. Please Novell just give us RPMs and we will install it on Red Hat or CentOS.
To get back on topic, I agree that Fedora 9 is whacked, so whacked in fact that we deployed CentOS 5.2 for our latest desktop image.
Unfortunately I have to use Fedora (and not 8 or 9 either!) on prod boxes, as some alleged sys admin/architect in the US said that's what we're doing. He claims that we don't need "supported" software as we can rely on "in house expertese", ie him. Oh and it's free! All well and good apart from when we hit some sort of problem and he's about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
And then there's the small matter of any hardware based problems. We can't speak to Dell (his idea again, we'd prefer HP) as when they find out we're not running RH/SUSE/Windows they tell us to get lost.
However he's now figured out that using Fedora isn't a good idea as he can't get it to play nicely with storage and Dell keep telling him to get lost when he's trying to get some firmware updates. So the next step is to move to CentOS which is a step in the right direction...
"I don't want to be nasty, but in this case, it's probably you"
No hard feelings :-) but I did all steps when the updates-newkey thingie was released. What I was complaining about is that from some time "yum check-update" didn't return new releases. Some time ago it showed a new 220.127.116.11-1 kernel, but no fglrx so far, so booting that kernel is sort of pointless for me (I have the old kernel version so I can boot the computer to an usable state).
There are 52 new updates today, but no fglrx. The latest updates also broke kpdf (which refused to open PDF files, I had to recreate some file associations -- shouldn't be related to updates, but who knows?) and created some removable devices mounting annoyances.
I've refused to use Suse or Ubuntu in the past simply because of sheer laziness -- I am more used to Fedora, know something about the tools and where the configuration files are, couldn't bother even to run YAST, etc. Since I had those problems I had to spend some time working to solve things that weren't broken before, by changing I will at least learn something new. And I've read some nice things about opensolaris too...
So thanks for the comments, here is an peace angel icon for y'all.