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Businesses Choosing "Community" Linux Distros

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the dropping-the-training-wheels dept.

Linux Business 149

An anonymous reader sends along a PCWorld recap of a new study by the 451 Group, which claims that business use of 'community' Linux distributions is on the rise — distros like Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian, as opposed to "corporate" packages like RHEL and Suse. The trend is most evident in Europe. The article points out examples in Sweden and Germany, and cites growing in-house expertise with Linux as one factor helping enterprises get comfortable choosing Linux distros without commercial support. Interestingly, the Swedish company mentioned, Blocket.se, has made a one-off support arrangement with their hardware vendor HP: "HP is really providing device driver and utility support it uses for customers running RHEL, but because the two distributions are binary-compatible, that support approach works just fine for CentOS. Blocket relies on its own engineers, systems administration, and software development to get its applications running on Linux. "

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I saw that on a supermarket chain (5, Informative)

Night64 (1175319) | about 6 years ago | (#24829281)

In Brazil, some times companies use Debian as their main SO, and hire their own support.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 6 years ago | (#24829311)

Or the user is your own support, like me (using slackware on work)

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (5, Insightful)

monsul (1342167) | about 6 years ago | (#24829393)

In Brazil, some times companies use Debian as their main SO, and hire their own support.

I must confess I have no idea how much "enterprise" distro charge for support, but I think that if companies are starting to use their own support, it must not be cheap. Maybe this should send a message to RH and company

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#24829455)

Part of the problem isn't just the cost, but what they will support. I have found in the past that reading and asking questions on forums is more helpful than waiting on the phone for a RHEL support person to tell me that the configuration I seek support for isn't supported. A lot of businesses are comfortable spending money for a support contract, but when they find the support lacking, they have to decide for themselves if it is worthwhile.

I worry about reports like these because while I'm a CentOS user, I realized that I am somewhat riding on the coat tails of RedHat's development efforts...actually, now it is RedHat/Fedora-Community development but still. What if this trend were to continue resulting in the end of RedHat? I would really rather not switch distros. I more or less started with RedHat (even though my first install was Slack) and I have learned a lot from it. I have existed within a RedHat/Fedora/CentOS environment all this time. Switching could be a pain.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829697)

As someone who's juggling OpenSUSE, Fedora, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Windows, and a few other boutique OSes, I can tell you for a fact that's not something you should worry about unless you hand tweak configuration files and have your /etc tree memorized. Anything short of that and migrating between distros will take you a month or two tops (assuming you're actively investing time learning the layout of the various administrative tools/menus.)

Quite frankly the configuration tools on redhat have changed quite a bit just between version 5, RH9 and Fedora Core versions.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (1, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24829701)

If you think RedHat is great at what it does, put your money where your mouth is. It is not that there is a lack of distributions.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (2, Informative)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | about 6 years ago | (#24831781)

If Red Hat had a more reasonable price structure, they may get more revenue.

In my civilian job we use both RedHat and CentOS servers. Because we can't afford the RedHat fees for all of the servers on which we use linux, we pay RedHat for three "production" servers, and use CentOS for all of our "development" servers.

I'd rather pay RedHat for all of them, but considering that I always get better (and faster) support from the various forums and email lists than I do from RedHat (I get so TIRED of waiting on hold), I can't easily justify doing so to my boss. At least he understands that paying RedHat SOMETHING will help keep them alive longer, which keeps CentOS alive as well.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (4, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | about 6 years ago | (#24831731)

Admitted noob question:

What benefits does a Linux like CentOS offer over something like OpenBSD? I used to be a strong Linux supported, but recently have started using OpenBSD everywhere I can. Ports is good, as good as any other package manager I have ever seen, the install is VERY simple, package availability is there...

Is there something that I'm missing that makes the Linuxes so much better than the BSDs? They definitely seem to be more popular.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#24831859)

Having never used a BSD, I wouldn't know. But are there things present to support all the hardware out there? Recently, this has been the case for Linux hardware support. So I can load Fedora on my laptop and play games with 3D graphics with my nVidia card -- does that exist for BSD? If so, I might buy another hard drive and give it a try.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (2, Informative)

RCL (891376) | about 6 years ago | (#24832253)

You may try FreeBSD (if you are familiar with Unix) or DesktopBSD / PC-BSD (if your Unix journey started with Ubuntu). BSD are actually quite indistinguishable from Linux if everything you use is X applications.

The nice thing about BSDs is that they can be shipped with binary and other non-GPL kernel modules installed by default (because they use BSD license). The bad thing about BSDs is that video hardware support is poor (only FreeBSD boasts good 3D performance when using NVidia proprietary drivers - but ATI R300 series is not a good choice even for FreeBSD).

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (3, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | about 6 years ago | (#24829759)

I must confess I have no idea how much "enterprise" distro charge for support, but I think that if companies are starting to use their own support, it must not be cheap. Maybe this should send a message to RH and company

Depends on the context. If - as we do - you only use RHEL because you need a certified platform for some other obscenely expensive piece of software (eg: Oracle), then the cost of RH's licensing is basically irrelevant.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (1)

morcego (260031) | about 6 years ago | (#24831199)

Parent comment is correct.

Certification (Oracle, Dell, HPQ etc) is one of the major reasons to choose RHEL. Otherwise, I just use CentOS.

Re:I saw that on a supermarket chain (4, Informative)

Night64 (1175319) | about 6 years ago | (#24830161)

I don't know what the prices are around the world, but in Brazil SuSe support prices are not particulary cheap. US$ 5000,00 per machine, on a 3-year contract with priority support, 24x7.

In Brazil, some times companies use Debian as their main SO, and hire their own support.

I must confess I have no idea how much "enterprise" distro charge for support, but I think that if companies are starting to use their own support, it must not be cheap. Maybe this should send a message to RH and company

network isp services (1, Insightful)

eneville (745111) | about 6 years ago | (#24829307)

At the ISP I worked for, we used a mixture of Debian, OpenBSD and Windows. This was mainly for network tools. Generally there's little point in the "enterprise" distros since anyone who chooses their hardware wisely shouldn't really need that.

Re:network isp services (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24829725)

Actually, there are plenty of reasons to choose a supported distro, even at a purely technical institution. For many organizations, it doesn't make sense to devote time or personnel to debugging system problems, and it often costs more to have an IT department handle everything than to have someone from Red Hat or Novell solve the problem. It is not just a question of hardware, it is also a question of software bugs, configuration problems, etc. Yes, any competent IT shop could take care of this, but that means devoting time that could otherwise be spent on business needs to solving little trivialities.

Or did you think the most successful financial companies in the world made an unplanned decision to pay Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, Sun, etc. large amounts of money for technical support, when they could have just done it in house?

Re:network isp services (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 6 years ago | (#24830295)

I call astroturf on the above...

Actually, there are plenty of reasons to choose a supported distro, even at a purely technical institution. For many organizations, it doesn't make sense to devote time or personnel to debugging system problems,

Looking at the cost of labor, when you're working with low end stuff, it's usually cheaper to replace the hardware with something that is supported than waste labor time. When working with high end stuff, someone's job is/was on the line when they specified the equipment, so presumably they got it right due to careful research. It's a good question if there is a middle ground anymore or if that has been overlapped and eliminated.

and it often costs more to have an IT department handle everything than to have someone from Red Hat or Novell solve the problem

Usually the more people you involve the longer it takes. Realize that it is extremely unlikely that RHEL or Novell has hired author of the software that is having a problem, and probably not likely they have anyone with more experience than your own guys in your field of endeavor. It is also highly unlikely that you are having a problem with the distribution mechanism itself (bug in dpkg or apt-get or whatever). So, what it boils down to, is it more efficient for someone familiar with your local system to use google to find the answer, or to have your guys spend extra time explaining the problem to someone else, who knows nothing about your system, so they can use google to find the answer?

Or did you think the most successful financial companies in the world made an unplanned decision

Considering that virtually all financial companies are either bankrupt or going bankrupt due to fraud and stupidity, looking at them as a role model seems about a decade out of date.

Virtually all decisions made to buy support contracts are either:

1) Out of touch "pre google era" PHB decision

2) No internal skillset for something that is business critical, terrible is better than nothing at all.

3) Cascading interlocking licenses and requirements (you "need" oracle, which requires RHEL, so you "need" a contract) That is a bad economic structure which will eventually be worked around or eliminated.

Re:network isp services (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24830519)

You missed the part where I noted that there is more to it than hardware. I would suspect that Red Hat rarely gets support calls resulting from problems in configuring drivers. Really, Red Hat and Novell are spending their time solving problems like, "How do we work around this bug in ksh? Are you going to submit a fix to that?" rather than, "This network card isn't working." In fact, Red Hat publishes a list of supported hardware, and presumably getting support from them for hardware not on that list isn't even possible.

Also, keep in mind that Red Hat guarantees no more than 24 hours for a fix or workaround for basic support, and one hour for their highest paying customers. That is attractive to a lot of businesses.

Re:network isp services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24832123)

The reason Oracle "requires" RHEL is because RHEL is a single, stable distribution maintained by experts, not 16-year-old whizzes, so Oracle can test on it and actually guarantee that your software will work (as in, if it doesn't work, they fix it for you or pay you, rather than you losing your business-critical DB). *You* try to go to the CTO of any reasonable business and argue that you're gonna use Google to solve problems when your shoddy system built of hand-picked hardware and hand-picked software breaks down. This idea that businesses don't need software support is absolutely ridiculous and it's really hurting the open-source community, by telling people that it's okay to provide incompatible distributions, libraries, window managers, ABIs for drivers, etc because someone will figure it out - unless your idea of a "business" is only a small website, a municipal government or a mom-and-pop store. I bet you that if only one or two Linux distributions existed, you'd see a *lot* more businesses on them, and you might even have stuff like Flash and Photoshop and Microsoft Office and so on because these guys would have a single OS to test on rather than every kid's own repackaging of Linux.

Re:network isp services (2, Informative)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#24832777)

I work in small office.

We can't fit an IT staff member, let alone an entire IT department. There's a fellow doing "IT" but he works with our office and a few others that we work closely with.

Although shit never hits the fan (but I'm waiting for it any moment because of bad decision making by PHBs) and I'm able to resolve a lot of minor problems (they're a windows shop so sadly my experience is just helpful in trying to find a solution by exploring) I do believe a paid support contract would be worth it.

But then again, shit never hit the fan. So why should I pay for nothing?

Re:network isp services (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24833087)

I should have been more clear, I was referring to large IT shops that must guarantee 24x7 availability for thousands or even millions of users, such as the firms down on Wall Street. Trying to accomplish this in-house is often more expensive for these companies than paid support from Red Hat or Novell.

Good time know your stuff. You might get hired. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829331)

Anarchy dude, freedom from the man. Smash the state. Stop work, kill your boss.

Ubuntu is corporate (5, Insightful)

Local Loop (55555) | about 6 years ago | (#24829345)

How is Ubuntu not a corporate distribution? There is a
corporation developing and releasing that
product, even if it is loosely based on Debian.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (2, Informative)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 6 years ago | (#24829381)

It's best known for it's community. It's not unusual for a new member of the Linux community to be directed to Ubuntu's forums or wiki. While it's possible to get official support a la RHEL, many (I expect the majority?) of it's users treat it as though it's a "Community" Linux Distro. I sure do.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829591)

Which is interesting that you said that. I run FC9 and whenever I have a problem and Google for it, the answer is 75% in the Ubuntu forums.

Before I'm told to switch: I don't want to write over my FC stuff and I just love FC's server configuration tools.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (2, Insightful)

Icarium (1109647) | about 6 years ago | (#24829387)

Eh? They're referring to the target user base, not whether the distro in question is developed by a corporation or not.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#24829419)

Community is a misnomer, more like "free as in beer" distros. I think calling CentOS a "community distro" is a stretch too, isn't a recompilation of RHEL that explicitly make no functionality or patches themselves anything like a community? I think it's the Ret Hat Linux story all over again, it was very popular because it was gratis and Red Hat killed it in favor of products they could make money on (no, Fedora is not a replacement for what RHL was). We'll see what happens this time around.

Ubuntu is "cummunity developed and supported" (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | about 6 years ago | (#24829465)

The point is that businesses don't buy an "enterprise" version of Ubuntu for $800/yr to get support. The Canonical company sells professional support services and training a la carte.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829669)

In France, the parliament members have their PC on ubuntu;
but they're getting their support from a local company, and not directly from canonical.

Re:Ubuntu is corporate (3, Interesting)

sloanster (213766) | about 6 years ago | (#24833081)

Yes, ubuntu server is indeed every bit as solid as RHEL or SLES, and enterprise support contracts are available from canonical. We're a SLES shop, but we've set up some ubuntu servers and are impressed with the distro. We'd love to roll out ubuntu on a large scale but the chief stumbling block is not any fault of ubuntu, but our old nemesis, the old boy network again.

Oracle is the chief obstacle here, as they are pushing their own redhat clone (or redhat proper), barely tolerate suse, and dismiss everything else. They quite arrogantly (you had to be there) remarked that they had "no plans" to offer oracle for ubuntu. While annoyed at their arrogance, I do trust that time and market conditions will have them singing a different tune. I remember oracle telling me in 1998 that they don't support linux, and that I should try sco. muahaha.

Even so, we're looking at using ubuntu for general infrastructure roles - smtp, ftp, ntp, dns, etc. On the oracle front, our national manager is just angry enough to look very hard at using postgres or db2 or anything but oracle.

How it's supposed to work. (4, Insightful)

haeger (85819) | about 6 years ago | (#24829359)

This is how things are supposed to work with linux, isn't it? You support your local economy by using local people, instead of sending money away to whereever the HQ happens to be.

I thought this was one of the strengths with linux. Let's see if RH or SUSE has a business model that works according to this reality.

.haeger

Re:How it's supposed to work. (2, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | about 6 years ago | (#24829723)

I agree completely. What RH and SUSE and Canonical, etc, etc now need to do is convince companies that they can do the customization job cheaper than the company's in house staff. Every installation needs planning, modification and execution. Why not choose experts who do it every day?

The problem the big distros face is that they have been used to providing crappy proprietary style hand-holding support rather than giving a true service. If you read what Michael Teimann has written about his experience, you've got to assume he understands this. If Red Hat doesn't listen, well, it's too bad for them...

Somebody will figure it out eventually. There's a lot of money to be made.

Re:How it's supposed to work. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24829755)

Who said that is how things are supposed to work? Last I checked, the way things were supposed to work is that you are entitled to a copy of the source code for your software, which you could redistribute under the same license that you received. Where did local economies fit into that?

Re:How it's supposed to work. (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24829767)

Let's see if RH or SUSE has a business model that works according to this reality.

Not sure about RedHat, but Novell (with openSUSE) activaly sponsors openSUSE and has made it extremely easy to make an openSUSE basded distro [opensuse.org]

Almost all other tools are included as well, including the Build service [opensuse.org] which can be downloaded and is used to make the distributions from scratch.

So I would say they are at least very much aware of the reality. Also do not forget that these companies invest people and time in thinks like the kernel, KDE, GNOME and other OSS and Linux related projects.

It will not be the downfall of Linux if those companies go away, but it will leave a serious impact when the developers who are paid to work on Linux won't be doing that anymore.

Re:How it's supposed to work. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 6 years ago | (#24829925)

More precisely, with OSS you are supposed to get enough information to manage your own support.

Re:How it's supposed to work. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24830147)

That depends, companies like RedHat have been major contributors to all sorts of open source projects. If companies are hiring their own help, what are the chances that they're going to invest in the linux community the way RedHat does? If they're just using open source stuff in house, they're not distributing any changes, so they don't have to give anyone the source.

I'm not sure it's a bad thing exactly, you're right, this is why the licenses were written that way. Maybe it will just encourage competition, I dunno.

Re:How it's supposed to work. (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | about 6 years ago | (#24831519)

If they're just using open source stuff in house, they're not distributing any changes, so they don't have to give anyone the source.

In my experience, this is likely wrong, at least for bug fixes. Enterprises don't want to maintain separate trees for applications not part of their core business just for fixing a bug, so sending the bug fix to the developers is the sane thing to do, and at least this is what my employers have done.

Not according to GPL zealots (0, Flamebait)

Chemisor (97276) | about 6 years ago | (#24830873)

As we are constantly reminded by the GPL zealots, the only "moral" way to make money from your software is to release it under the GPL for free and then charge for support. The article gives a fine example, IMO, why this business plan will fail and if anyone makes money from your GPL software, it would not be you.

Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (5, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | about 6 years ago | (#24829363)

What I'm seeing across Europe is a growing use of not ABW (Anything but Windows) but WIW (What I Want). So developers are using Linux, and supporting it themselves, and execs are using Macs. A very common pattern is to see the "standard" corporate image run inside a virtual machine which gives access to the corporate email and other MS apps while the user spends lots of their time in the native machine doing their work. As a way to do "home working" this also works well as it means the corporate contamination of your home machine is limited to just the virtual image.

With more and more things being browser surfaced the need to have an MS box is reducing and people are choosing to use what they want and support it themselves. The corporate desktop therefore becomes virtual.

Personally I've a Linux laptop for Dev and a Mac OSX for the rest of my work, the Mac runs a windows VM for my corporate access.

This isn't a big religious thing its just that it works.

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (1, Insightful)

jcn (55250) | about 6 years ago | (#24829429)

What I'm seeing across Europe is a growing use of not ABW (Anything but Windows) but WIW (What I Want).

I wonder, how does one observe the subtle difference between these?

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 6 years ago | (#24829543)

What I'm seeing across Europe...

The real question is how is he seeing across Europe?

That does however answer the question - do Linux developers these days have big egos? (said half-jokingly as I have also developed some stuff in Linux)

Re:It is easy to see the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24830131)

I wonder, how does one observe the subtle difference between these?

It's not a subtle difference, it's an obvious difference. Compare:

"That's it, I've had with this piece of sh@t! Get something that works better than this!"

vs.
"Boss? If you want me to be productive, I need to be able to use an OS that I'm comfortable with, makes me efficient, and has a ton of already packaged useful software ready to go."
and

Boss:"Hey Joe, I'm not too good with the technical computer stuff. Can you give me some advice on what kind of computer I should use? I want Something That Just Works."
Joe: "Well, if you want something that just works and you don't mind a little extra for something with class, get a mac laptop."

See the difference? One person is pissed off and fed up with the failure of an OS and wants to find something that works better. The other folks either already know what they want or are asking advice from their technical staff to get something suitable for them.

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | about 6 years ago | (#24829689)

So developers are using Linux, and supporting it themselves, and execs are using Macs.

I brought Ubuntu with me on day one on the new job. It's getting a warm reception. I tried suggesting Macs for the other execs and sales staff but they didn't want them. Some of the sales people want to stay with their Windows laptops, which is fine, we expected to support those anyway. The other execs surprised me by opting to move to Linux instead, even our CEO. I thought they'd be more amped about getting Macbooks, but no one really wanted one. That was a surprise.

For some of the older IBM laptops we're experimenting with PuppyLinux. Seeing if we can get some more mileage out of them. But Ubuntu is getting a warm reception. Even caught one of the staff borging the Windows box in the flex work area with a live CD. Hiring hasn't been any problem. I've managed to find some blue chip Linux/PHP developers for about the same as we were paying the Windows only staff. Maybe the current job market played into the ease of that transition, but we had some really good candidates to pick from.

Moving off Exchange was a little more choppy but we got it done. There was one Gmail gotcha that delayed our roll out for a week but we got past that. Another surprise was after people uploaded their old messages to Gmail was how fast they dumped Outlook. We had planned on supporting Outlook but most everyone switched over to the Gmail interface on their own, a few had already been using Gmail anyway.

Linux is completely capable as a desktop OS in the working world. We have saved quite a lot of money just in licensing fees. Not only could we find skilled Linux people, we found them at competitive local market rates. Where we had three Windows developers, today we have one OSS developer and we're still meeting our development targets. Now we're moving on replacing services running on the remaining Windows servers so we can retire them. The savings are significant. It's a big win for me, although at this point it's picking off the low hanging fruit. Still, it's some good fruit. We're standing up servers for the cost of the hardware. Rolling out some pretty sophisticated services for the cost of the developer. Our next area of consolidation will be cutting loose some of the outsource providers and moving some of those services back in house. You can do things like that when you're not blowing your budget on Microsoft licensing.

Lighter weight distros (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 6 years ago | (#24830207)

For some of the older IBM laptops we're experimenting with PuppyLinux. Seeing if we can get some more mileage out of them. But Ubuntu is getting a warm reception. Even caught one of the staff borging the Windows box in the flex work area with a live CD. Hiring hasn't been any problem. ...

Once the top staff notice that they using the computer for work rather than spending all their time fighting Windows, you can probably zap that last box, too.

PuppyLinux is good. There's also "Damn Small Linux" and "SliTaz" to try. Fluxbox on ubuntu (see also Fluxbuntu) is not too bad. I had it for a while on an old PII w/128MB RAM. It was fine except swapping between applications could take a second or three.

Re:Lighter weight distros (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | about 6 years ago | (#24830475)

Once the top staff notice that they using the computer for work rather than spending all their time fighting Windows, you can probably zap that last box, too.

Most of the staff managed without any prompting from us. We were prepared for a lot of hand-holding that never materialized. Even with OpenOffice there hasn't been much. One question on how to do mail merge, I think.

The XP box in the flex area is supposed to be for guests and one of our vendors uses GoToMyPC for demonstrations and that doesn't work with Linux...that I know of anyway. And, yes, that's one of the vendors we're phasing out.

There is entertainment value in seeing the XP box sitting alone and unused in the flex area. Ultimately suffering the indignity of becoming the pedestal for the flex area scanner/copier and being periodically borged with a live CD. Poor sad little Windows box, nobody wants it. lol.

Puppy got the nod because it looks nice. I know that's not a great reason but if that smooths over the transition, fine. The laptops aren't that old. They have 256 meg of RAM and are pretty zippy running Puppy. The sales and execs probably use their Blackberries more than the laptops anyway. The only people with desktops are administrative, developers and support.

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24830375)

Moving off Exchange was a little more choppy but we got it done. There was one Gmail gotcha that delayed our roll out for a week but we got past that. Another surprise was after people uploaded their old messages to Gmail was how fast they dumped Outlook. We had planned on supporting Outlook but most everyone switched over to the Gmail interface on their own, a few had already been using Gmail anyway.

You moved your internal Emails (containing business-critical information and trade-secrets) to gmail? ARE YOU CRAZY?!

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24831663)

We had planned on supporting Outlook but most everyone switched over to the Gmail interface on their own, a few had already been using Gmail anyway.

So you were using a combination of Exchange/Outlook while at the same time some of your employees were already using @gmail.com accounts? Email correspondence coming from some gmail.com users, and some internal email domains? Doesn't seem to be a sound company or IT policy to me. Also some customers don't like the idea of their email to/from your company being hosted by a third party, regardless of who that third party might be (ie Google). This is especially true if your correspondence with external customers might contain confidential data such as trade secrets. As an IT administrator I don't like the idea of being at the mercy of someone else in regards to my data, but rather the IT department having full control of my employees data.

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24832611)

Google sells search appliances, perhaps they sell mail appliances, too?

Re:Linux at the bottom, Mac OSX at the top (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 6 years ago | (#24829781)

A very common pattern is to see the "standard" corporate image run inside a virtual machine which gives access to the corporate email and other MS apps while the user spends lots of their time in the native machine doing their work.

I don't think "common" is the word you're after here. I struggle to believe such an expensive and complex solution is necessary - let alone desirable - outside of a handful of corner cases.

Religiosity decsribes nothing here. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | about 6 years ago | (#24832185)

"What I Want" is just as much a "religion" as is pursuing software freedom for its own sake (a position often, and erroneously, called religious). Software freedom just works for me (and apparently millions of others).

'business' as usual? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829379)

not any more. not ever again. fear is unprecedented evile's primary weapon. that, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' greed/fear/ego based hired goons' agenda. Most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'war', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid scheme. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & the notion of prosperity, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Ubuntu Support Contracts (4, Interesting)

isorox (205688) | about 6 years ago | (#24829383)

Ubuntu support contracts are available, same as Redhat, which is the reason we use ubuntu as our standard server, not debian. The other reason being our in house engineers are more likely to have ubuntu experience than redhat, as it's free and ubiquitous.

Re:Ubuntu Support Contracts (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24829771)

Ubuntu is ubiquitous? That's a laugh. Ubuntu is popular on the desktop, but last I checked, it was Red Hat derivatives that were dominant in the server market.

Really though, good point about support contracts being a reason to choose one distro over another. That's what the article misses: for a lot of IT shops, support contracts are very cost effective.

Re:Ubuntu Support Contracts (1)

linhares (1241614) | about 6 years ago | (#24831385)

Ubuntu is ubiquitous? That's a laugh.

I wouldn't be laughing very hard. It was the dominant distro in 2005 [distrowatch.com] , in 2006 [distrowatch.com] , in 2007 [distrowatch.com] and in 2008 [distrowatch.com] .

There may be a pattern in there.

Re:Ubuntu Support Contracts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24831363)

What, you can't find Debian consultants in your area? Or are you just lazy?

http://www.debian.org/consultants/

Also, HP supports Debian if you need a big corporation.

New Business Model? (4, Interesting)

CustomDesigned (250089) | about 6 years ago | (#24829435)

What about the Red Hat business model? (A little arm chair CEOing here - clearly I'm not CEO material, but this is Slashdot.) Hopefully, it can continue to support a steady stream of businesses migrating away from Microsoft for some time. But what about when that runs out?

The self supported businesses will still need to obtain their in-house expertise somehow. So training and certification would be one profit center. Contract work like IBM does would likely become the core business. Having an inside track as the distro maintainers is a valuable selling point, so continuing RHEL is vital - but must now be subsidized by training and contract work.

Re:New Business Model? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 6 years ago | (#24829611)

Many defense contractors that work with classified materials are required to use an operating system that is accredited as compliant with DoD security standards. Becoming accredited is expensive on the order of millions of dollars per major release of the software. The only entities that can afford to repeat this process for every release are large companies offering enterprise licensed software. RHEL 5 is one of the distros that is accredited. Even when that stream of business runs out, they'll still have a large market with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.

Re:New Business Model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829643)

Certification is USELESS. if you hire based on that then you are making HUGE mistakes. Microsoft proved to the world that certification means nothing.

So stop being a proponent of the most useless thing on the planet.

Re:New Business Model? (3, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24829785)

Not all certifications are useless. As a case in point, consider the fundamentals of engineering exam and the certification one gets from it, "licensed professional engineer." Passing that test is no joke, and LPE's are generally the sort of people you want to hire for engineering work (in some places, they are the only people you can legally hire).

Re:New Business Model? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#24830249)

Vendor provided certifications are useless because there's a conflict of interest...
It's not in their interest for the certification to be hard, it's in their interest for it to be as easy as possible to increase the pool of "certified" staff for their product. Be it Microsoft, Cisco, or any other vendor sponsored certification. They are all designed to promote the product, not train staff.

On the other hand, proper academic certifications as well as those sponsored by vendor-neutral organisations can carry somewhat more value.

Re:New Business Model? (1)

cetialphav (246516) | about 6 years ago | (#24829865)

Red Hat doesn't need to change anything about their business model. The fact that many companies are choosing "free" distributions, as opposed to "commercially supported" distributions, is simply a sign that the entire Linux market is growing. Red Hat's business is growing at an amazing rate and that will continue for some time to come. Basically, everyone involved in Linux sees their customer base growing because the entire Linux "pie" is continually getting bigger. If anything, people using these other distributions represent a great opportunity for Red Hat because it is much easier to switch from Ubuntu to RHEL than to switch from Windows.

The other place the CEO of Red Hat is looking for growth is to move from just the operating system to other parts of the application framework. This is why they have purchased JBOSS and other companies. Red Hat wants to provide an entire integrated application platform, instead of merely a kernel and supporting utilities. Just look at the kind of money thrown at companies like Oracle and SAP and it is clear that there is tons of money out there to be made. Worrying about CentOS is just a waste of time for Red Hat.

Applications (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | about 6 years ago | (#24831043)

That is a good point. No in house team can expect to be expert on every application out there, so there will always be a market for application specific support. The trick is to see it coming an be ready with competitive offerings (as opposed to whining about the good old days like RIAA).

Re:New Business Model? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24831151)

Centos is a way for Red Hat to compete against Ubuntu, suse etc.

Centos = "Use RHEL for free and get used to it". There is significant difference in the way Redhat Linux works and Ubuntu works.

If one day you want Oracle, SAP, Expensive Software that's only certified to run on RHEL, the cost of RHEL is nothing.

For my own home server I've switched from opensuse to ubuntu because I've got tired of waiting for yast software management (it's really really really slow) and waiting for suse to fix it.

But I'm not sure how Ubuntu will do if you're trying to install a few hundred RAID+LVM boxes with a particular config + software bundle over the network. Seems to be "uncharted territory".

If the article quote is true... (5, Insightful)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 6 years ago | (#24829447)

isn't that better for the economy overall than paying private company x for a complete solution. At least doing it this way keeps money and jobs nearby.

openSUSE? (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24829451)

openSUSE is also a community [opensuse.org] distro [opensuse.org] where Novell is part of that community (as well as the sponsor).

Re:openSUSE? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829635)

That's lovely, but no one actually uses openSUSE or SUSE these days. Out of all of the customers we have, only one is dumb enough to use SUSE...

Re:openSUSE? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 6 years ago | (#24829813)

But that's openSUSE. The summary/article means Novell's SLED version of Suse, which isn't a community distro.

licence management sucks donkeys (0)

Werrismys (764601) | about 6 years ago | (#24829467)

I use CentOS because it's less of a hassle. No RH's braindead subscription management.

Re:licence management sucks donkeys (1)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | about 6 years ago | (#24830675)

No doubt. And the fact that using the only RPM package manager I have any interest in using (yum) ends up with them having an out on the support contract. We're a 30 server CentOS shop now. Mostly 5, but some 4 in there still. It works just fine, and, being a tech company, I just don't see the need for a support contract. And because its RHEL, all the stupid Dell DMI/Openmanage/firmware updates work just fine.

RedHat and SuSE's strategy backfiring... (3, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | about 6 years ago | (#24829553)

Well, SuSE's distribution was always aggravating to those who wanted it for free (no free ISO downloads back in the day meant it was hard to install for free). RH was amenable to first-party free distribution until RH9, after which they decided this was their way.

Namely, both SuSE and RHEL have a 'commercial-only' distribution with those enterprise sensibilities and a free 'first-party' offering that is ostensibly an enthusiast endeavor which really translates to recruiting enthusiasts as testers. They bank on trademark/copyright of text and images to keep clones from looking *too* much like their first-party offerings. CentOS is from a technical standpoint, a clone (plus some other stuff, but the clone-only behavior is default), but distinguishable enough to preclude Vendor and ISV support (both don't want to go the linux support path alone generally).

Meanwhile, here comes Canonical. They truly keep the distribution and support model independent. They have rapid release cycles, but denote a more 'enterprise-friendly' LTS cycle underscoring things. Regardless, the distribution is free to download and distribute. So clients can prototype and train and even do production as they feel comfortable with doing so without support, and then when they do need support, the contract is available without reinstall or other drastic measures. Suddenly, the mark of whether another party will support it or not is not keyed on the distribution, instead requiring a Canonical support contract to be in place.

I think SuSE/RH's approach is botching the market. I know of a *lot* of CentOS installs going in to places that might feel more comfortable with the option of purchasing a support contract. Knowing the strict distinction between RH and CentOS, Ubuntu will be very appealing to those places. The absolute identical nature of free training/development/prototyping systems with low support requirements and production use is also appealing.

Re:RedHat and SuSE's strategy backfiring... (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24829807)

SUSE has always been free for download. In the beginning it was free 2 months after the boxed version. This has changed when Novell took over. They also have put YaST under complete GPL as well.

Now there is a more clear difference between the community distribution and the corporate one. SUSE is corporate, openSUSE is community/

Both can be downloaded for free. For SUSE the (security-)updates need to be payed. For openSUSE they are free.

Oh and it hasn't been SuSE for a long while now.

IIRC... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 6 years ago | (#24829883)

I thought SuSE used to be download available, but only piecewise. In other words, you could do a live internet install or download packages individually, but from SuSE you would not have gotten a simple set of ISOs.

Anyway, now there is SLES and OpenSuSE, with the same relationship as RHEL and Fedora.

But you are right, both RH and SuSE can be downloaded for free with registration, with cutoff on updates. I wasn't even aware of this. It does ease some of the problems, but the simpler Ubuntu approach still seems more straightforward. A large chunk of commercial software pain is tracking entitlement, and coping with limited-period 'evaluations' don't exactly make that easier.

Re:IIRC... (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24830433)

SuSE (now SUSE and openSUSE) was available via FTP as ISO and as individual packages and as network ISO so installation over network was possible. Individual packages could be downloaded, although there was no real need to do so, as everything was on the DVD and CDs anyway.

Due to the large amount of packages and the increase in Internet connections, some packages are only available via Internet.

The main difference between SUSE and openSUSE is that SUSE will be having paid security updates for 7 years from the release date. No idea what you mean with 'evaluations'. If you want, you can run SUSE as much as you desire without any limited period. openSUSE is completely free, as are the updates.

And again now it is SUSE and openSUSE.

Works for us (5, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | about 6 years ago | (#24829571)

We use CentOS on pretty much all our 150-odd Linux servers, except for those that require RHEL to be in a supported configuration (Oracle DB, Oracle Appserver, Oracle Financials).

Of course, while we mainly do this to save money, out of the million-plus we pay Oracle, the few thousand in RHEL licenses doesn't even count as a rounding error (hell, compared to Oracle licensing, even the cost of the hardware is irrelevant).

Re:Works for us (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 6 years ago | (#24829787)

Works for us too. Typically, we keep one current RHEL license in case we need support and every machine gets a CentOS install. The RHEL license is our "last resort" option if we cannot fix a problem ourselves or get support from the usual community resources.

With that said, we haven't had to use Redhat's support in several years. It's more of a baby blanket at this point. At one time it was something held closely to our hearts, but over time we just kinda forgot about it...but can't bring ourselves to finally throw it in the dustbin.

A Question of Investment (3, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | about 6 years ago | (#24829659)

Does this present a problem in terms of one of the models of open source? One of the things often discussed on /. is the question of profiting from working in open source.

What's often been suggested is that there's money in support, and that if you create some software, and have experience then supporting it, that you gain a competitive advantage. That the likes of RedHat, MySQL etc will be customer's most likely first port of call.

If companies are simply going to go to someone else, that then suggests that investment in open source software could go down...

Re:A Question of Investment (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24829843)

If companies are simply going to go to someone else, that then suggests that investment in open source software could go down...

It could also mean that more (local) people get involved and are closer to their customer so willing to solve the problem and investment in open source software could go up...

Instead of 100 developers in one company, you will have 1 developer in 200 different companies.

Re:A Question of Investment (1)

QuestorTapes (663783) | about 6 years ago | (#24830285)

> Does this present a problem in terms of one of the models of open source? One of the things often
> discussed on /. is the question of profiting from working in open source.

> If companies are simply going to go to someone else, that then suggests that investment in open
> source software could go down...

It's a legitimate concern; but looking at it from the standpoint of someone who has worked in corporate environments using closed source software, with support contracts, another possibility presents itself.

The possibility that many of the corporate supported distros overvalue the support they are providing. Maybe they offer support; but in the effort to reduce costs, they are still trying to provide "just enough" support.

Closed source is no different. Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, Lotus...I've worked in companies that have had support contracts with all of them. For the extra money, you still get first line "would you like fries with that" support, followed by:

  -really long, painful, and time consuming- delays getting to speak to a competent tech, followed by:

  -really, really long- delays waiting for an "I don't know" response, followed by:

  -even longer- delays getting it escalated to an engineer or developer....

All to answer a question I can get an answer to myself in 20 minutes of reading the source code.

The real lesson, I believe, is that distro vendors wanting to sell open source need to -really- support the products for the money they charge. They can't just sell the package and punt the support; support has to become the business focus.

It -can- be done; I've gotten that level of support from closed -and- open source vendors. But -never- the big corporate ones. Only the smaller, hungry ones.

They lesson might be: "you can make money as a lean agile support provider for a custom distro; but not as a fat-cat BS-enterprisey vendor, selling BS levels of support."

Re:A Question of Investment (2, Interesting)

williamhb (758070) | about 6 years ago | (#24830733)

Does this present a problem in terms of one of the models of open source? One of the things often discussed on /. is the question of profiting from working in open source. What's often been suggested is that there's money in support, and that if you create some software, and have experience then supporting it, that you gain a competitive advantage. That the likes of RedHat, MySQL etc will be customer's most likely first port of call. If companies are simply going to go to someone else, that then suggests that investment in open source software could go down...

Absolutely -- the fundamentals of open-source have a "prisoners' dilemma" in them. Everyone would be better off if everybody contributed to development, but each individual is better off free-loading off everyone else. X development has already, reportedly, stalled somewhat, despite having a bucketload of users. The financials, of course, are leading a lot of the industry in the opposite direction. For example, Google's core algorithms (and any other proprietary Web service) far from being open-source have a "you don't even get to see the object code" policy. But so many Slashdotters still consider Gmail part of an "open source" Linux desktop -- the devil's greatest achievement was to make you think he doesn't exist? (badly misquoting The Usual Suspects)

Red Hat have dropped the ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829699)

One of the contributing factors IMO is the degree to which Red Hat have
dropped the ball with their service.

Our company has used RHEL for a long time, but there is honestly
little reason to continue the subscriptions. The reasons are:

1) Red Hat Network:
- The speed is pathetically slow. It took me 39 seconds to login yesterday.
- See first point. Really REALLY slow.
- Large number of outages. Their scheduled outage windows are very large
    and IMO not necessary. If they need windows that large, then someone isn't
    doing their job properly with change management at RH.
- Scheduled outages hit us often (as they are based on North American after
    hours time and we are not located there).
- To work around speed required a ridiculous cost for RHN satellite
    (and it requires Oracle. Yuck.)
- Poor integration between subscription management and RHN. Trying to
    see subscription numbers is a PITA.

2) Subscription costs
- Subscription costs are still charged yearly. Even MS does monthly
    through SPLA.
- Cost is higher than MS Windows
- Only way for discounted subscriptions is to go through
    third party reseller. WTF would I want to deliberately put
    a middle person in when I was previously dealing direct ?

3) Support
- Their online support tool is horrible. The support response we
    get is usually pretty poor.

4) Other rant:
- WTF is the deal with installation numbers!??

"corporate" linux? (4, Insightful)

louzerr (97449) | about 6 years ago | (#24829717)

We use SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) from Novell for many of our servers, and are very happy with how easy it is to maintain (a lease cycle for the hardware eliminates the need for upgrades). I would be extremely hard-pressed to even consider using a community edition for production servers - that corporate-level support is extremely important.

However, when it comes to the desktop, the community editions offer more modern features - Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED), is several years behind the current Open Source SuSE.

If the linux desktop ever comes of age for the average user, SLED may offer a very stable, easy to use environment (at least for supported hardware). However, since Linux Desktop is still primarily a developer's game, the OSS version offers the bleeding edge developers like, and know how to cope with.

What's the headcount at these companies? (3, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 6 years ago | (#24829741)

I could see this happening for smaller companies, but for the larger companies, I can't see them switching over. Large companies *hate* change. And I'd imagine that it's the larger companies who are using the corporate editions, while the smaller ones feel comfortable with the community editions.

Re:What's the headcount at these companies? (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | about 6 years ago | (#24831985)

I worked in a small company that used a software development project life cycle management application called SourceForge Enterprise Edition. You can download and use what they call the SFDE [sourceforge.net] version of it if you have 50 users or less. This is a VmWare appliance where CentOS is the guest OS. We had no trouble with it whatsoever. We looked at what it would cost to upgrade to RHEL and, frankly, that was just out of the company's reach financially.

I have been writing business application software for over 20 years. SFEE is most probably the best life cycle application that I have run across but, ultimately, I was still unsatisfied with it. You have trackers and artifacts that you have to customize in order to get change requests and defects. It's kind of a round peg in a square hole deal. Trackers are too generic, too agnostic. I agree with 37signals that software should be opinionated [37signals.com] . That is why I am "scratching an itch" by developing a real collaborative software development project life cycle management application.

I am calling this application Code Roller [dynamicalsoftware.com] . This app has a lot of features.

  • Users can collaborate on requirements, use-cases, test plans, designs, and diagrams.
  • Documents can be attached to any of these kinds of items. Documents are managed with multiple taxonomies.
  • All of these things can go through a software development friendly workflow process of review and approval/rejection.
  • Time is managed through tasks and events.
  • The user can also work his bug list.
  • A dashboard style interface shows you at a glance what projects that you are working on and what teams that you are a member of.

For more information, please check out my white papers [dynamicalsoftware.com] . I would absolutely be honored if members of the /. community would become beta testers [dynamicalsoftware.com] .

"dupe" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24829837)

the study was discussed earlier at http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/09/0121210

Most... (2, Interesting)

Shads (4567) | about 6 years ago | (#24830061)

Most of the businesses I've worked for I've pushed Debian as the distribution of choice. The biggest problem I see in mixed shops with Linux is often times there is no standardization on a single distribution. The one company I worked for had: Slackware, Gentoo, Redhat, SuSE, and some custom homebrew... I spent 3 months standardizing everything over to Debian. I built a standardized install manual, made sure we had a repository up to date with the latest drivers for special hardware, and setup all kinds of custom system status tracking with cacti and snmp. Management liked the new system setup so well that they eventually got rid of all the windows servers except two who ran custom software that our company's programmers wrote years ago and we lost the source code for.

Debian's free, the support is spectacular, it's package management is *excellent*, it's upgradable, it's easy to manage, and it doesn't install a lot of junk that is unneeded.

I *hate* rpm. It makes me crazy.

Re:Most... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 6 years ago | (#24830763)

Ditto. When I started working here they had Windows a combination of Windows (POS, Laptops) and linux on the servers (Some Fedora, others Gentoo, CentOS, and a couple debain boxes). Basically the owner of the business had his IT infrastructure built over the past 4 years by different contractors, most students from the local university. So it was a mash up of whatever the flavor of the year was back when.

Personally, that has been one of my biggest beefs with Linux over the past 8 years is that every year a different distro seem to be the next big thing. At least until it gets to be too large and "mainstream/corporate" and everyone decides some other distro is the next big thing. It's just like the kid who developed the wireless access tool swore it wouldn't run on anything but Gentoo. I remember by the end of the meeting I had the code installed and running off my PowerBook.

When I started working here my first goal was to get everything running off of one platform. We evaluated several distros of Linux as well as FreeBSD on the servers/PC BSD on the desktops and it ended up everything was moved to OSX. Ironically, it was the only platform where everything just worked from top to bottom.

Re:Most... (1)

PybusJ (30549) | about 6 years ago | (#24830965)

One problem with standardising on Debian is that you don't really know how long your machines will be supported with security updates. Debian's policy for security updates is the release of a new stable plus 12 months, without a clear schedule of when that might be. Sure, for woody, this ended up being almost forever, but there's no way to plan ahead for this.

It looks like there's a new debian-stable just around the corner and your 12 months start ticking to get your whole enterprise upgraded,

Personally, I dislike updating working systems (software testing on a different OS version, taking hardware out of service etc. - yuck) and so I like to know the support envelope when I install. Preferably staying with an OS version for the expected life of the hardware.

At work I do currently manage a couple of Debian systems along with a mixture of Redhat and Ubuntu (plus a few SuSE). Over time, the Ubuntu has grown to dominate the desktop & workstations and users familiarity with it on the desktop means it's beginning to gain ground over RHEL on servers too. It's rpm free too. Maybe it's not as stable as etch, but I do like having a 5 year support span on the Ubuntu LTS releases.

John

Sensible in many situations (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24830387)

If you're running a large compute cluster or server farm, it only makes sense to use one of the community distributions. Even with volume discounts, licensing and purchasing support for an enterprise release such as RHEL or SLES is prohibitively expensive. This is one reason why the Rocks clustering distro is well-accepted, as it's based on CentOS and uses unencumbered packages for just about everything.

Works For Us ... (3, Informative)

saltydog56 (1135213) | about 6 years ago | (#24830891)

Several years ago we here at NASA replaced Solaris X86 with Red Hat Linux as the operating system for our PCS systems (Thinkpad laptops used as the crew interface in the Space Station's command and control systems) We are currently in the process of rehosting again, this time to Scientific Linux, a CentOS-like rebuild of RHEL done by the good folks up at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Certainly cost was a factor, but not the deciding one. From our perspective it is golden not to have to track how many laptops each of the various development groups (many of which are international) have it loaded on.

Re:Works For Us ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24832047)

Yes it would be inconceivable for the very expensive NASA program to have to track and maintain accountability of what software is running on the laptops that perhaps control those expensive projects.

I wonder what other statistics it's "golden" not to have to track, and how much it costs the taxpayers...

Exactly what I expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24831093)

Once again Linus is right and I completely agree.

This is the endgame being played out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24831097)

This is the endgame of Linux and Open Source being played out. People and companies like Open Source because it is Free - free as in $$ - not because of some ideological philosophy.

Now that companies are moving off commercial Open Source which costs some $$ to completely free Open Source it will lead to the death of commercial Open Source companies.

With a bit more time companies like RedHat and Novell will figure out - or rather Wall Street will figure out - that there is no money to be made in Open Source and there would be no commercial enterprise of any repute left that would support these free Open Source software packages.

Once that happens businesses will find that no one will guarantee a timely fix for the problems they encounter on Open Source software since there is no company of repute left supporting it.

That's the endgame of this all - free software would be back to its status as hobby software meant for hackers and not meant for corporate environments.

And really that's fine and just.

In the end, free - as in $$, doesn't scale as no one gets paid and no one makes any money off that - it would be good to learn that lesson again. It has been 15+ years since death of communist USSR - time to relearn that lesson in economics again.

In fact, once Open Source is dead, jobs and salaries for software developers will rise as commercial software picks up again - so in the end, no one will really lose, other than communist, Open Source touting hippies, masquerading as software developers.

Ubuntu is corporate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24831233)

What the hell, Ubuntu is a corporate distro just like OpenSUSE or Freespire.

Some distros may need goal redefinition (3, Insightful)

Yfrwlf (998822) | about 6 years ago | (#24831877)

It seems like several companies are still trying the tactic of software exclusivity, the same tactic the console companies are waging on one another. (In that arena, it's pretty unfortunate, too, as a lot of it just comes down to how much money you're willing to pay for exclusives, and Microsoft has the deepest pockets, or so their accountants claim.) This is something that cannot and should not occur in Linux as it hurts everyone. Part of software freedom is software accessibility, so when a new driver is created for example, it needs to be modular and easily pluggable into any Linux or Linux-like kernel, quickly and without hassle (the point of modules). Some companies are going to have to face the fact that they cannot get away with attracting everyone to their platform just because they have a certain software title, or just because they have large repositories.

Linux should be Linux, period. You should be able to use the entire Internet as your Linux repository. If package managers want to keep these so-called "third-party" packages separate from the ones they officially support for support contract reasons, so be it, but do not take away my freedom to install any piece of Linux software I want easily on any Linux distro. Cross-distro Linux packaging is more than possible [linuxfoundation.org] and should become a reality soon.

So, without these "exclusive" distro-specific software packages, what remains to define a "distro"? Well, of course it's what it was from the start, a simple bundle of software for the convenience of being able to find all the basics, or simply the software you want, in one place. Linux distros should never be anything more than software bundles.

Help with Linux defragmentation. Support more standard APIs for desktop [freedesktop.org] and general Linux interoperability to give everyone more choice and thus more freedom.

Re:Some distros may need goal redefinition (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | about 6 years ago | (#24832023)

Oh, forgot to add, how can distro companies expect to make money then? Same way they did way back when: commercial paid support to answer the immediate need of any company that requires it, though of course this can easily be done by any development team and should in no way be tied to a specific Linux software bundle because it should have nothing to do with it (companies being tied to specific Linux software bundles really are unnecessary), AND last but most importantly and mainly, should be behind specific Linux software projects, either closed source or open source, in which they can help promote, like MySQL or any and all of the rest of them do. IMO these software projects should be the main focus of these companies, for instance Canonical and various projects on Launchpad [launchpad.net] which they specifically support.

So, like I said, some Linux distro companies may need to redefine themselves, because profiting off the fragmentation of Linux isn't something that the Linux community will let happen.

Is it just me or... (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24832015)

... isn't the sysadmin hired for supporting your company's digital infrastructure?

Support contracts? We are past the closed source era...

Distro holywars again, RUN! (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 6 years ago | (#24832191)

OMG... Gasp! no... no... Distro holywars again, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!

While under NDA, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24833055)

I can only say that my company, a Cisco software partner is using CentOS servers for Cisco's video distribution systems.

So let me get this straight.. (1)

vistahator (1330955) | about 6 years ago | (#24834019)

American business's with M$ malware assurance contracts are not installing Vista on their network? Say it aint so!
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