this doesn't make sense

Story: Red Hat: 'Yes, we undercut Oracle with hidden Linux patches'Total Replies: 6
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Mar 05, 2011
2:01 PM EDT
It just makes a few trivial hoops to jump through for Oracle and Novell, and it's akin to the proprietary software model of protecting the revenue stream by hiding source code. It looks desperate. I've always been bothered by the dominant 'free as in freeloader' model that makes it nearly impossible to sell free/open source software. Why shouldn't people pay for it? When people don't pay for things they don't value them. The commercial FOSS world is the embodiment of the RIAA/MPAA nightmare of a world where digital copying and distribution are so easy nobody ever buys anything.

First person to say 'give away foo, sell services!' gets a twap. That may be an option born of necessity, but it doesn't address the problem of code having real value, and we're spoiled by getting it for free.

Mar 05, 2011
2:25 PM EDT
Desperate? Maybe, but I don't think so. Rather it's a PR ploy. It's a way to tell the suits Red Hat has to sell to that Oracle and Novell can't support their software nearly as well as the proverbial "real McCoy". I really don't think CentOS or Scientific Linux are the targets here and I do take Red Hat at their word on this one. The recent release of Scientific Linux 6.0 makes it clear that the free clones won't be hurt.

Some of us, way back in the dim and distant past of the last century, bought Red Hat Linux or Mandrake or even Slackware at retail stores. We didn't mind paying for it since bandwidth was scarce and precious. We knew it was theoretically free and I do remember doing some downloads of a full OS as early as 1998 or so. Then I still bought the boxed set merely to support the company. Many Linux enthusiasts still do the same. Look at how much Linux Mint raises in donations for a very good example. Some people do appreciate a quality free product and are willing to contribute to development.

Your twap would be inappropriate. Whether you like to admit it or not Red Hat has become a billion dollar company selling support and services. That model can and does work. The whole latest Ubuntu tempest in a teapot is about Canonical doing the same and limiting how much revenue they give away when something is downloaded with Banshee. I don't see why software has to be proprietary, which is essentially what you are arguing for. When software is highly specialized and complex, yes, it's the only way to pay for development. When something has wider appeal the services model is fine.

Are we spoiled in Western society? Yep, but free software is the hardly the biggest culprit.

Are you finally admitting that the RIAA has a point?

Mar 05, 2011
2:40 PM EDT
Caitlyn, the twap is entirely appropriate for the reasons I already stated. Can you name any FOSS company that does what Red Hat does? I can't think of one. Other FOSS vendors do dual-licensing, they have free "community" editions and paid editions with more features, and now the big trend is hosted subscription services (with liberal applications of the 'cloud' buzzword to make it sound new and cool). They don't do what Red Hat does.

The tip jar model seems to be the only alternative, since actually selling free/open source software doesn't work. I am not arguing for proprietary, I am not denying that Red Hat is successful, and I wish just once you could resist putting stupid words in other people's mouths, and actually read what other people say. Just once, try it, it doesn't hurt at all.

Quoting: Are you finally admitting that the RIAA has a point?

I never said they didn't, it's their methods that are loathesome. I'm not talking about anything but not being able to sell free/open source software-- period. I already gave my reasons for that viewpoint. Why do you always have to storm into discussions all combative and pissy? Great jumpin' jeebus.

Mar 05, 2011
2:50 PM EDT
> When people don't pay for things they don't value them.

While that may be true as a generality, it's not true in many specific cases. I'd say most of the regulars here value Free Software very much, and are in fact quite willing to pay for it when finances permit. Now, do they value it at Photoshop or Autocad levels? Probably not, but then how many people actually pay list price for Photoshop or Autocad themselves?

Mar 05, 2011
4:26 PM EDT
Actually Novell is doing precisely what Red Hat is doing nowadays, and their Linux business is their only profitable venture. Granted $37.8 million in revenue is a far cry from the $1 billion that Red Hat bosts but I would argue that if Novell moved to the Red Hat model sooner they would be doing a lot better today.

I never said that code doesn't have real value nor did I argue that you aren't getting it for free. I just don't see that as the huge issue you do so, no, the twap is not appropriate IMNSHO, sorry. I do get to have a differing opinion without it being "pissy" or "combative". I disagreed with your characterization of Red Hat's action is all, and added some responses to the logical extensions of what you said.

As far as the tip jar model being the only alternative, you have pointed out another yourself, which is add-on subscription services such as Canonical is doing. Will that work and become profitable? IMHO it is way too early to tell.

Dual licensing is an attempt to straddle both the FOSS and proprietary software worlds and, IMHO, it's a losing proposition. We all know how well Mandriva has done going that route.

"Cloud" is just the latest marketing term for client-server computing or the old mainframe model. Marketoids always try to make things sound cool when they are nothing new or special. No news there, of course.

I agree with you about RIAA. Too many in the "community" (whatever that is) seem to think any intellectual property is evil, a view I don't share and clearly you don't either.

Sorry, but I see your comment as the only combative one and you're attributing feelings to me that I'm just not feeling.

Mar 05, 2011
7:05 PM EDT
There are always going to be companies who think they can go with CentOS (or "other"), and do without the Red Hat support. And there will always be companies that have a lot of revenue and want what Red Hat is selling - actual support and training, access to the repositories (and getting tested updates in a timely matter) and a direct link to the developers should they need it.

Red Hat needs to make the case for why you should buy support and services from them and not just grab a free distribution and roll your own.

To the extent that they can make that case in the enterprise, they will be successful.

If they start throwing up hurdles and fences to the code and killing the ecosystem they've either cultivated or let grow around their product, it will only hurt them.

They should be asking, are they offering the right kinds of products for their customers, current and potential? How is their pricing. How is their service (are customers happy)?

Enterprise customers can get a taste of RHEL with CentOS, and if it works for them, they might decided to go RHEL for at least part of their operation. If what RHEL offers aside from bits has little value, either real or perceived, there's a problem.

Mar 07, 2011
5:55 PM EDT
> If what RHEL offers aside from bits has little value, either real or perceived, there's a problem.

And indeed, there's the rub.

Does RedHat offer to provide support for products that are not RedHat? That might be a way to worm in, selling Enterprise-wide Support rather than just support for RedHat installs.

Just musing here.

> Too many in the "community" (whatever that is) seem to think any intellectual property is evil

Intellectual Property LAWS are what are evil.

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