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Re: Red Hat Linux 9 -- Get it Early - ???

On Sat, 29 Mar 2003, Ed Wilts wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 29, 2003 at 01:51:39AM -0500, Keith Mastin wrote:
> > What gets me is that redhat has depended on the opensource community for
> > so much of it's testing cycle and now they're putting these subtle little
> > pressures on that same community. I can almost see them doing what M$ does
> > for it's beta testing soon: making testers sign NDA's and giving them one
> > copy of the softwre to put on one machine. 
> That's just hogwash, and you should know it.  The licenses that the
> products are distributed under explicitely disallow that.  Once the beta
> is distributed, there is no legal way for Red Hat to prevent
> redistribution.  Other vendors have tried and all have failed.  

And if it releases the beta version of Anaconda under a "do not redistribute"

> > Let's just hope that their
> > software doesn't get as lousy as M$'es as a result, or if it does that
> > they take the linux name off it.
> More crap.  Red Hat doesn't develop the vast majority of what they ship.
> Red Hat tests, integrates, patches, and distributes.  For the software
> to be really bad, it means the development community is reall screwing
> up.  Red Hat also supports the open source community to a *very* large
> extent.  

If Red Hat falls down on its QA, the quality _will_ go downhill. There are limits to how much testing developers can do.

> > Given the recent little touches that redhat has put on their marketing
> > plan, do you trust them to continue to suply updates to their mirrors? I
> > don't.
> As long as Red Hat continues to provide open source binaries, they
> *have* to make the sources available.  Those sources will be mirrored to
> other sites.  If the sources are not available via ftp, then Red Hat
> will be forced to ship CDs.  In either case, somebody else will mirror
> them.

Red Hat can change the licences on new versions of its own software at any time.

> > >> Anyone running 7.3 want to share time maintaining 7.3 past RedHat
> > >> dropping support?  If there are enough people interested in support
> > >> for 7.3, we may be able to cover our costs.
> Sure, go right ahead.  And don't forget, we expect security fixes
> backported to your 7.3 release within 24 hours, even if the hole is
> discovered on Sunday morning at 1am.  Or if it's Christmas Day or if
> you're vacationing in the mountains without Internet access.  I don't
> care about your day job - I need that security fix and I need it NOW!

Red Hat doesn't do that. I have just read a CERT advisory wrt sendmail. Red Hat, SuSE, Debian, Mandrake and {Free,Open,Net}BSD don't have fixed versions yet.

> > >> Another option is to package our own Linux.
> And join the dozens of others who've packaged their own distribution and
> gone under.

There are many choices around already, current ones. Many are special-purpose, and that is certainly easier to do than to try to compete with Red Hat and the others who are killing themselves in their attempts to win the mass market.

> > Another option, of course, is for people to send a message to redhat and
> > let them know what you think of their mew policies.
> If Red Hat is to survive, they need revenue.  Support costs money.  As a
> businessman, you should realize that - you've got food to put on your
> table.  Do you give away all your services for free?

It also needs customers and friends. Many who've been friends to Red Hat for
years, who _have_ given services for free to Red Hat are feeling alienated by
recent changes.

> Red Hat will continue to offer a free distribution and provide free updates 
> for that for a minimum of 12 months.  Beyond that, they're charging a

One thing that may have escape me: If I buy RHL 9, and pay for support, does
that mean that RH will support it for longer?

> fee.  Perhaps you're the kind of person that wants everything for
> nothing, but Red Hat is not the company to give it to you.  Perhaps you
> should move from Toronto to Vancouver (Canadian joke - I'm from BC).

Okay, say you're a small businessman - say a Real Estate Agent, in BC as you
are. How would you feel about installing Red Hat Linux on your box if you
looked Red Hat up in the phone book and found their sole Canadian office was in
Nova Scotia?

I have just checked my phone book, and that is pretty much the position here. For those who don't understand the distances:

I live in Perth (a major city) in Western Australia. If I set out to drive from here to the local Red Hat office, here's the likely progress:
Night 1. Norseman, Western Australia
Night 2. Ceduna, South Australia
Night 3. Mildura, Vic.
Night 4. Armidale, NSW
Night 5. Brisbane, probably to knackered to go to the ofice.

I don't know about you, but _I_ would want expert assistance a little closer
than thay, maybe the same suburb. Can someone from Red Hat come and fix my
computer when it won't reboot.

If I'm going to pay someone local to install my software, update my
configuraton when I want it done, then why would I pay Red Hat too?

Alan Cox said the other day on another list (wrt the S/390 version)  that what
you're buying is not the software, it's the support. I can buy that, if I buy
RHAS I get a support contract. It's not so very attractive when the office
supporting me is staffed by faceless men and women on the other side of the
country, I want local support. If RH can't do that, then it needs an offering
attractive to my local Linux guru. If RHN makes my LLG's life easier, maybe as part of the support contract I _might_ sign with him, he will also manage a RHN subscription.

If it has such an offering, it needs to shout it from the rooftops. I don't
know about it.

Now, as the LLG, I see nothing in RHN that's especially attractive to me.



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