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Red Hat hemorrhages customers; Dopey comment of the day

Otter (3800) writes | about 9 years ago

Red Hat Software 8

An interesting point buried in this story, if you get past the anti-M$ stuff: there's been a significant-looking shift among "software development managers" in their preference for "non-commercial" versus "commercial" Linux.An interesting point buried in this story, if you get past the anti-M$ stuff: there's been a significant-looking shift among "software development managers" in their preference for "non-commercial" versus "commercial" Linux.

There's some spin about how this is tied to improvement by the hobbyist distros, but -- c'mon. There's only one reason for such a big shift in such a small timeframe. Red Hat's new business model must have sent a huge chunk of their base looking for alternatives. And if "software development managers" are saying that...

This comment, btw, was the "I literally L'd OL!" of the day. I think he's not joking...

8 comments

dropped desktop support (1)

nizo (81281) | about 9 years ago | (#12250443)

I think dropping offical support for the desktop is going to bite them in the butt. Fedora looks good so far, but the pointy-haired bosses only hear, "RedHat no longer supports the desktop" and they usually make the decisions, such as on what platforms software gets developed for and so on. So far nearly every commercial package we have looked at supports "Redhat" (usually some old crappy outdated version) and they seem to be ignoring Fedora, which is not good.

Re:dropped desktop support (1)

ces (119879) | about 9 years ago | (#12256364)

Well from where I sit the RedHat Desktop was always quite flaky, mostly because they insited on being the first distro to include the latest kernel, glibc, gcc, etc. Often releasing it to the wild with little or no quality control.

While Fedora has improved (and has improved over RedHat releases) it still is far too buggy for my taste. Perhaps I'm weird in demanding Solaris, HPUX, or *BSD like reliablity and stablity, but I tend to like things to just work rather than having to run around trying to resolve all sorts of stupid problems.

For my money Debian is probably the best/most stable Linux distro out there. Unfortunately due to their naming conventions people seem to think that the latest Debian software (testing and unstable) have about the same or less quality than Mandrake Cooker or the old RedHat Rawhide. Personally I find even "unstable" to be more solid than an average RedHat release version. The other issue with Debian is it seldom supported by commercial package vendors. You can usually make most packages work, but it requires a level of knowledge and fiddling that most sysadmins don't want to bother with. Not to mention that the vendor probably will refuse to support your configuration (not something you want to hear with a mission-critical Oracle or SAP installation).

Oh the biggest plus to Debian for me is its package manager just plain works. I can upgrade or install a package and the dependancy issues are just taken care of. I can even upgrade across Debian releases without having to re-install.

No secret why this is happening (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 9 years ago | (#12250458)

When Red Hat charges as much as(or in some cases with services, more than)proprietary software companies, why buy Red Hat? One of the advantages of Linux is supposed to be it's El Cheapo cost. So why pay at least $800 per server for Red Hat when I can get MS 2003 for the same price, or better yet, Solaris for Nada? And even if I get a service contract with Sun, I'm still in better shape than with Red Hat. Even more, if I have a large install base, just make sure my staff knows Linux and use Debian.

Apparently, someone forgot to tell Red Hat that the Net Bubble burst 5 years ago, and you actually need good prices and compelling reasons to get customers to buy your product.

You watch, Novell's about to drive down this Loser's Road too.

When "commercial" is magically "non-comercial"? (1)

Nevyn (5505) | about 9 years ago | (#12256323)

There's some spin about how this is tied to improvement by the hobbyist distros, but -- c'mon. There's only one reason for such a big shift in such a small timeframe. Red Hat's new business model must have sent a huge chunk of their base looking for alternatives. And if "software development managers" are saying that...

Personally I'm skeptical, if you were getting RHL a couple of years ago and now use FC you've now magically moved from a commercial to a non-commercial choice ... even though it's basically the same thing produced by the same people.

If someone had some convincing stats. saying that people were moving from RHL, SuSE, etc. to Debian and Gentoo ... that would be interesting (or, more likely, just scary).

This seems as meaningless as the "stats" they had a few years ago about how they worked out "users" of RHL based on how many people "bought the CD" boxset in a shop (because, you know, it works for Microsoft-Windows).

And in many ways, this is a good thing for Red Hat (although generally I'm opposed to the "we don't ship binaries" idea). There is now a clear delineation between those people using Red Hat's engineering effort on their own, and those paying Red Hat for the same work and who can expect the service that goes with it.

Re:When "commercial" is magically "non-comercial"? (1)

ces (119879) | about 9 years ago | (#12256427)

Personally I'm skeptical, if you were getting RHL a couple of years ago and now use FC you've now magically moved from a commercial to a non-commercial choice ... even though it's basically the same thing produced by the same people.

While a lot of RedHat users simply moved to FC there are quite a few who, when RedHat dropped the base RH distro, took the opportunity to look at alternatives.

If someone had some convincing stats. saying that people were moving from RHL, SuSE, etc. to Debian and Gentoo ... that would be interesting (or, more likely, just scary).

Well I would agree the popularity of Gentoo, especially in production environments, is scary. I find nothing scary about Debian. If anything it is less scary than Fedora Core.

I do know that both Gentoo and Debian have seen a surge in popularity recently. However I don't know if this indicates an overal shift away from RHL and SuSE or if the users are coming from someplace else.

Re:When "commercial" is magically "non-comercial"? (1)

Nevyn (5505) | about 9 years ago | (#12259665)

Well I would agree the popularity of Gentoo, especially in production environments, is scary. I find nothing scary about Debian. If anything it is less scary than Fedora Core.

I'm not saying anyone shouldn't use debian, and I know a lot of very competant Linux people that have been doing so for years. My point was more that Debian isn't ready for everyone from RHL 8/9. Basically I'd be scared for two reasons: 1) Because Debian is very different from RHL, and 2) IMNSHO "Somewhat less forgiving of ignorance".

I have this image of people upgrading to testing or unstable because someone told them that's what they needed to do "to make NPTL work again". I guess, in my mind, this is similar to the old Unix guy telling the newbie "Oh, you need to write some text ... just type vee eye space filename". Sure vi can write text to files, but it's still not going to go well for the newbie.

I do know that both Gentoo and Debian have seen a surge in popularity recently. However I don't know if this indicates an overal shift away from RHL and SuSE or if the users are coming from someplace else.

I think it's mostly just a trickle down effect of more people using Linux (personally, I don't think many people go straight to Debian -- but that's just a personal hunch).

But, yeh, I wouldn't be surprised if a few people moved from anything Red Hat releated because of the RHL EOL joyness ... and I'd expect quite a few of them tried Debian.

Re:When "commercial" is magically "non-comercial"? (1)

Otter (3800) | about 9 years ago | (#12258603)

Personally I'm skeptical, if you were getting RHL a couple of years ago and now use FC you've now magically moved from a commercial to a non-commercial choice ... even though it's basically the same thing produced by the same people.

Assuming that's what's happening (and I'd guess it is but would have loved to see a more detailed followup question)...

The importance of a Red Hat -> Fedora / CentOS / White Box switch depends on your point of view. To a Gentoo or Ubuntu fanboy, it's all the same. To a software vendor trying to sell binary RPMs, it may not matter in practice but I bet it would worry them anyway. But from Red Hat's point of view -- what these people *think* they're using has gone from Red Hat to Not Red Hat. I've got to think that matters to Red Hat.

Re:When "commercial" is magically "non-comercial"? (1)

Nevyn (5505) | about 9 years ago | (#12259843)

The importance of a Red Hat -> Fedora / CentOS / White Box switch depends on your point of view ... But from Red Hat's point of view -- what these people *think* they're using has gone from Red Hat to Not Red Hat. I've got to think that matters to Red Hat.

Well I've seen that argued (and argued it) quite a bit inside Red Hat, and now 18 months after FC1 went GA it doesn't seem that bad. Most people seem to associate FC with RH, and it's much better understood that the name means they get to keep both pieces if there is a problem (although the odd CentOS using person will still ring up trying to get us to debug some problem they are having :).

Sure there are certainly problems, esp. hard IMO is the case of if you want to get guaranteed errata for a decent amount of time but don't want to pay (significantly) for "support"[1]. But my opinion probably comes from the fact that it affects me most :). But I think[2] that was the whole point of the exercise due to a significant part of the market saying they just want errata, and they want to pay for just that ... but would also like these X bug fixes and these Y feature requests implemented.

[1] It can be argued that you are still benefitting from the larger support picture, even if you just download errata. But I'm a tech. guy, so I feel free to speak about them differently :).

[2] This is /., while I get paid by Red Hat this is my personal opinion of their motivation ... I do not speak for Red Hat, etc. etc.

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