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Re: Price change

Hi Michael

> At least you make valid points. And they're well argued. While I don't agree
> with all of them, I thank you for taking this seriously.

And I thank you for the tone of your reply. It's nice to know that there are
still those who can conduct a civil discussion, without taking it personaly, and
starting a flame war. :)

> When Red Hat sprung up from the Linux business, it understood that the GPL
> would keep it from making any significant monies on the distribution itself.
> The basic Linux business model assumes most revenues come from service and
> support.

In this case, I don't believe that Redhat "is" really making money directly off
of Linux. Linux is defined as the kernel. If you were to just go get the kernel
from kernel.org, you would have pretty much the same starting point that Redhat,
and other distributions have. All the rest of it, is added by Redhat. Much they
get from GNU, some they create themselves. They also put a very large (and
financially substantial) amount of research into the various components that go
into their respective distribution, and the testing & QA, and the marketing, and
hosting lists such as these, and .... The list goes on.
The revenue that they make is not from "Linux" itself, but rather the balance of
the distribution, and the support (both the support you pay for, and the support
you get for free via these mailing lists.
> My premise is that the boxed sets don't make up any serious part of Red
> Hat's revenues. I don't know what the actual numbers are in Red Hat's
> current or projected revenue streams. (Does anyone have a link to a current
> RH stockholder annual report?)

> While your points about consumer fears (and the way we treat them on the
> boards) are valid, I think the answer is still the same - maximize exposure
> by making it easy for consumers to get and try Linux.

This is already being done to extent that it's deemed practical. Check at the
book store for "Redhat Linux Unleashed" for one. Many publishers are including
the CD's in their books.

> FTP isn't easy for consumers. Heck, I think only 5% of Internet users in the
> USA have sufficiently high-speed access. AOL distribution techniques would
> go a long way to spread the word. The appeal of a free operating system
> would encourage people to try it.

HUGE difference in the business model between AOL, and Redhat (not to mention a
large difference in finances available for advertising costs. When AOL sends out
those CDs, they're hoping to snag people that will pay a monthly fee to sign up.
For Redhat, they would distribute CDs only to introduce people to Linux, with no
immediate return to them (once you have the CD, why go spend money to get
another one like it?). Also, as you pointed out, the boxed sets only represent a
small portion of Redhats  overall revenue. So the expense of a mass mailing of
CDs would not bring back enough of a return to make a business case for doing it
(share holders hate loosing money!).

A while back, a well known publication, included a Linux CD as an "extra" one
month (I have a Turbo LInux CD that I got this way). A computer (windows)
columnist got ahold of a copy of it, and decided to install it on his PC, hoping
to possibly get some material for a column from the experience, and have the
chance to write a "Linux" column.
Well, he installed Linux, and was totally aghast that it had wiped out all of
the data on his PC. Seems he didn't know that Linux wasn't an application that
you just install on your PC, and "play with".
He wrote his column all right, and it was nothing but flame & fodder directed at
the magazine that included this "virus" CD that wiped out all the data on his
PC. (several here may remember this from a couple years ago)
Such is what happens when the unknowledgeable get ahold of a Linux CD.
Linux is getting enough press in the right places now.
> As for applications, the Linux alternatives that are even less well
> publicized. The answer is the same. Wide distribution would encourage people
> to pick up free copies of GnuCash, office suites, simpler browsers, etc.
Yeah, but again, the "average" computer user at home wants to see the same
applications he uses at work, and want's to go the computer store on Saturday,
and get a new shoot-em-up. Can't do that with Linux. Until you can, you won't
get that market.
Until I can tell my boss that I can read my exchange mail (with exchange, or
Outlook), and that I can access the company scheduler (again, an M$ product),
and run M$ Office (the company standard), then I'm stuck in Windows at work (and
I'm a Unix Systems Admin!).

> I'm not saying that $40 is the downfall of Linux. I am saying that it makes
> it much more difficult for Linux to penetrate the general marketplace.

And again. The distribution methods are not what's stopping it from getting
there. It's making in-roads. But much needs to happen before it will get the
kind of market acceptance you're looking for.


> > Michael Jang wrote:
> > >
> > > And Mr rpjday,
> > >
> > > How many people in this capitalistic world are willing to share rooms,
> cars,
> > > and computers?
> > >
> > > I do not see how the sharing of an operating system invalidates any of
> my
> > > points.
> > >
> > > I am a supporter of GNU and Linux. As I said in my previous note, I get
> my
> > > distros from CheapBytes.
> > >
> > > I am just suggesting that we should have a little sympathy for the rest
> of
> > > the world. Without it, GNU and Linux is going nowhere in the consumer
> world.
> >
> > No, lets face it, $40 is not going to cause the demise of Linux. Many
> folks out
> > there shell out serious bucks for Win2k just to have the impression of
> running a
> > more stable "windows".
> > Of the folks that I know, the ones that don't want to convert to Linux
> don't
> > even consider the $40 as a reason.
> > What they do consider is:
> >
> > They don't understand Unix. (learning curve they don't care to undertake).
> > Software:
> >  - They can't walk into CompUSA, and buy the latest & greatest shoot-em-up
> for
> > Linux, But there's tons of games for Windows.
> >  - Windows is considered a "Comercial Product", and Linux is considered a
> > "Hackers Operating System". It's large, it's complex, and they don't trust
> it.
> >  - Doing the "Simple Things" on Linux are harder. Once again, getting back
> to
> > the software issue. They can go to their favorite computer store, and buy
> a Fax
> > package for Windows. Take it home, and within a few minutes of opening the
> box,
> > have a fully functional fax system, that accepts incoming faxes (and
> notifies
> > the recipient), will display the received fax, and do many varients on the
> > "demand fax" system. Setting that up in Linux would require a much larger
> amount
> > of expertise. (and this is true of a great many pieces of software).
> >  - The great proliferation of "0.x" "beta" software. They want real
> software,
> > backed by a real company. They don't want to see their favorite
> application go
> > away because "Johnny graduated, and doesn't have time anymore now that he
> has a
> > real job".
> >  - The (usually) hostile atmosphere in the Linux / Unix groups towards any
> > comments / questions made by newbies! Indeed, being tagged a newbie along
> is
> > enough to put off the average Windows users.
> >
> > Winning over the true blue Windows users has nothing at all to do with the
> $40.
> > That itself is a small price to pay for an OS of this type (anyone priced
> HP-UX,
> > or AIX lately?).
> > Redhat is doing an exceptional job of putting out a great distribution
> (which
> > I've been using for several years). I don't like paying the $40 either.
> But all
> > in fairness, the guys at Redhat need to eat too! The books (hard, or soft
> > copies) take time & effort to write. All the development that goes on to
> put out
> > a great distribution takes time & effort.
> > How many of you that are complaining about the $40 would go to work, and
> tell
> > your boss that "what ever I put out, should be free"? How many would be
> willing
> > to work for free, just cuz things are too expensive these days, and you
> want to
> > help folks enjoy life a little more?
> >
> > Don't want to path the $40 for the OS on your server? Go buy Win2k
> Server..
> > It'll cost you a lot more than $40!
> >
> > But stop blaming Redhat for the demise of Linux because they charge $40
> for a
> > boxed set! The minimal cost has nothing to do with cunsumer opinion of the
> > product.
> >
> > </rant>
> >
> > Ric
> >
> > They'll go with the easier ground.
> > >

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