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Re: Enterprise/Consumer support debate

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On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 00:01:45 -0500, Gerald Henriksen wrote:

> >Most of the complaining that is taking place about the recent changes
> >in the Enterprise versus Consumer line pricing and support policies
> >seems to boil down to this:
> >
> >   "Y'know, before, it was great.  I could download Red Hat Linux for
> >    free and install it for free, and Red Hat would support it with
> >    bugfix and errata updates for free for years and years.  I
> >    convinced my bosses and/or customers that Linux was free and
> >    well-supported, and that we should abandon Windows for it.  But
> >    now, either I have to pay for Enterprise support, which is more
> >    expensive than Windows over the long term, or I have to upgrade
> >    all of my Consumer line machines every year.  This sucks."
> Almost every complaint regarding the changes is about the price jump
> from $40/$150 to whatever the appropriate Enterprise level system cost
> is.  No one is saying it should be free, but rather that all of a
> sudden Red Hat has abandoned all those customers who needed an
> affordable alternative and for whom the level of service offered by
> the Enterprise line is overkill, and as such cannot justify the price
> jumps.

All of a sudden, it has become an all-or-nothing game or at least
close to that. There are Red Hat Linux users (read: customers) who
would be willing to pay for updates if that extended the support for
at least one year. Such an option does not exist. Even commercial
RHN subscriptions are useless. End-of-life means exactly that: no
way to _purchase_ updates from Red Hat after the end of the errata
support period. The question that is raised is, how many users are
we talking of? I think we all agree that the "free" side of Red Hat
Linux has been tempting for a long time. And now this has found an
end. Obviously, the fundamental problem is that Red Hat could not
sell GNU GPL'ed update packages to paying customers when others
would get copies of those packages for free (even if it were just
src.rpms). So, that is where Red Hat needs to draw a line. And not a
thin one. Non-free RHEL products on one side, the completely free
RHL community product on the other side. It's a difficult move. I
can only call on all those Red Hat users and Red Hat Linux powered
businesses, who find the RHEL products too expensive, to talk to Red
Hat, even if that may not change anything soon.

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