Feeds

Hey, Red Hat - Open-source help still lousy?

"Zealots" wanted

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

OSBC It's been exactly a year since former Delta Airlines vice president turned Red Hat chief executive Jim Whitehurst criticized open-source vendors for doing a lousy job of getting customers involved in the community and projects.

Twelve months on, how are things looking?

Little has changed, judging by the general level of hand-wringing at this year's Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), but Whitehurst has kick started an effort inside Red Hat to find ways of getting customers to participate more actively in his own company's Linux and middleware projects.

Whitehurst told The Reg he's given one of Red Hat's former heads of learning services and global support the task of recruiting a team of "zealots" and building a program of customer engagement around its Linux and middleware.

The thinking is for a set of informal channels for ordinary system administrators in major customers such as Bank of America to contact the company and engage without needing to pick up the phone as, say, Bank of America's chief information officer (CIO) might.

It's a work in progress Whitehurst said, and - as yet - there's no date for delivery.

"It's how do we scale an engagement model that's not 'call somebody on the phone,' so when somebody wants to get involved there's a way to get involved," he said.

Meanwhile, Whitehurst said, there's a growing level of participation in Spacewalk, Red Hat's Linux systems management project.

"The majority of customers aren't engaged," Whitehurst had told the OSBC moments before speaking to The Reg. "Having a less programmatic way to engaging customers is something we are working on."

Whitehurst is taking a "softly softly" approach to engagement. He doesn't necessarily want a rash of code committers, rather cultivate feedback and contributions at different levels on a range of areas, such as that least loved of all subjects - writing documentation for code.

"I want to encourage people to get a little bit involved: give feedback, understand what's going on, help influence. Areas where you get code commits can come well down the path," he said.

Whitehurst reckoned that following last year's comments he'd "got a lot" of phone calls from people working on code who wanted help in building a community around it.

Such projects require a huge effort, but can happen.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: Why bother?

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.