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No More Free Updates For Red Hat

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the at-least-debian-still-does-it dept.

Red Hat Software 233

An anonymous user wrote in to tell us (and Timothy called RH and confirmed, this change was made a few weeks ago) that you no longer can Freely and Anonymously use Red Hat's Update Agent to download updated package DBs, and update packages. You must register, and pay $9.95 for the service. Of course you can still update manually, but how long before other services pop up to take its place? And Debian still does apt without me having to tell them where I live. This is unfortunate, but not unsurprising. I want RH to make a buck too, but this seems like a pretty crappy way to do it. Update: 03/19 03:21 PM by T : An unnamed reader points to this FAQ on the change, too.

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Re:Auto update agent is a LAME and DANGEROUS idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#354176)

No, RH isn't stupid. You are for failing to grasp a simple concept called signatures. Every file is signed with the RH GPG key and the program compares the RH public key with the key that was used to sign the file.

In such a way, the origin of the files can be verified.

short sighted (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#354177)

Though I agree that this initially appears to fit well with RedHat's desire to make money off of service, I think it is incredibably shortsighted. Most automated update tools are made because they help offset service cost for known issues especially in consumer space where there the cost overshadows the potential revenue. RedHat is in the public eye as well and they need to ensure that people are upgrading promptly when new security holes are found. The Ramen worm could have easily been avoided if people had kept up with security updates. I personally don't have the time to keep up with security advisories and also compare whats on my system with every new update. I'll use red-carpet for now but I may consider switching back to Debian.

Re:Misleading title... (2)

HeUnique (187) | more than 13 years ago | (#354178)

And you think that Red Carpet will remain free? then think again...

Ximian will give some free updates of course, but their major updates will cost money. Same with Eazel..

Go read their business plan...

Re:prediction: plan backfires, redhat in bankruptc (2)

HeUnique (187) | more than 13 years ago | (#354179)

Call IDC, Giga or any other firm that check market share and ask them about Mandrake VS Redhat in corporate market share...

I'll save you the phone cost:

Redhat: 70%
SuSE: 10%
Caldera: 7%
Mandrake: 3%
Turbo Linux: 3%

The rest - other distributors..

The numbers are from the latest IDC pulication..

Re:Enforced contributions... (2)

HeUnique (187) | more than 13 years ago | (#354180)

Oh really?

Lets check what you get with typical Windows installation:

Windows OS, maybe few freebies applications that your hardware gave you, and if you paid for - Office

Linux: OS, X windows, KDE, GNOME, compilers, editors, games, multimedia applications (players etc), languages (python, perl, etc), and the list goes on...

You know, when you install SuSE - you can use the "CUSTOM" option to select what you want to install - and get less then 300MB disk usage. Just read the damn instuctions!

Not surprising (1)

Alan (347) | more than 13 years ago | (#354181)

This is something I've been kinda expecting for a while now. Redhat is a bit like a .com, and are searching for new revenue streams. Originally it was enough to say "we'll make money off of service", and they probably did quite well at this. However, now, because of unpopularity, or drying up of *other* revenue streams (ads, partnerships, .coms), they've been forced to go this way.

My company just did something similar. After saying that upgrades will always be free the salesguys (note this, it wasn't the developers idea) decided they wanted to track things better, and the only way to do it was to sell upgrades on a yearly basis. Now in some ways it gives us great things, ie: a way of tracking who is up to date (and when you're producing a security device this is a good idea) as well as a revenue stream. Of course, as a Open Source guy, I'd much rather have seen things stay always free.

It'll be interesting to see how redhat does, and if they are more or less popular. I'm a debian user and as much as a zelot as I seem, apt does rock. Redhat is probably heading towards a similar system, the question is, will it be free? :)

Re:Enforced contributions... (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 13 years ago | (#354184)

Posted by nachas:

Why not? I'd like to see RedHat alive and well 10 years from now and this is a small price to pay to make that happen.

Re:More than just US$9.95 (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#354193)

Well even if you have a unix guy on staff it might be worth it, Unix guru's are not cheap. If you can free you admin up from this he can do other things.

Remember that is a business setting people's time costs money.

Not $9.95... it's $19.95/month (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#354195) nges.html

"Software Manager is a subscription offering priced at $19.95 per month for each system. "

"special introductory offer: every system subscribed before April 6 is only $9.95 per month until September 1. "

It's only $9.95 if you sign up now, and then that only lasts thru September.

Odd thing is, is still free. :)

Guess it's a case of pay me now, or pay me later. If Redhat can't make money off this subscription service, then what's left for them to try?

Litotes (2)

KFW (3689) | more than 13 years ago | (#354201)

Sure, it could be bad grammer, but it be an apt use of litotes for effect. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Re:What can we learn from this? (2)

Palin Majere (4000) | more than 13 years ago | (#354202)

" By charging for incremental update services, Red Hat is implicitly admitting that it's business model has some serious flaws. Linux is explicitly free; anyone with a modem or a CD-burner can have Linux for the cost of some time and effort. Why would people pay for something that is -- by intention -- free?"

Simple, really. Businesses will happily pay through the nose to be able to have guaranteed access to the latest software updates and releases _right now_, rather than whenever the public ftp servers have a space free. And for 9.95/month, it's very much so within the budgetary reach of both small business and Sysadmins wishing to maintain their home systems.

What we are currently seeing is the cost of being a popular distribution. RedHat's public ftp servers are constantly operating at close to capacity, and all those bandwidth costs add up very, very quickly.

RedHat's not admitting to any business model flaws either. It's entire business model is based off of providing paid support for the software distributions it releases. I don't see how this either differs in any way from they're trying to do, or how it shows any flaws. RedHat is expanding its subscription service (in the direction they _told_ us at the outset it would go), and that's life. You're very likely to see more distributions doing things like this as they become more popular and come into more wide-spread use.

Re:Bad form. (2)

Palin Majere (4000) | more than 13 years ago | (#354203)

"All the incremental updates from 98 to 98SE were free. There were, however, some new features added that could justify a new product."

Oh really? New features, huh? Name some. Please. I'd like to know what all these "New Features" are that justify an entirely new release of their operating system.

And no, bundling a newer version of IE with it by default does not count as a feature. :P

Re:Bad form. (3)

Palin Majere (4000) | more than 13 years ago | (#354205)

"Even Microsoft doesn't charge for it's incremental updates..."

Sure it does. It just calls them new OSes. What do you think Windows 98 SE was?

Misleading title... (2)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#354207)

No more free updates for Red Hat

Bull. and all the other mirrors will always have "free updates" for Red Hat. It's just that you might have to click 4 times instead of once. And if you've seen Helix^wXimian's "Red Carpet" software, it just might end up working better than up2date.

And isn't up2date source code available? Run your own up2date server if it's that important...


Re:Misleading title... (2)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#354208)

Fine, same deal. The source is there. You got the bandwidth? Run a server.


Re:Misleading title... (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 13 years ago | (#354210)

Yes, Red-Carpet rocks, and still works. Just used the redhat 7 channel with no problem.

Re:Free = Freedom, not "No Cost" (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 13 years ago | (#354212)

Sure, but they can, (and probably will) make this arbitrary difficult.

Right, then they lose much of the user base thats using RH, as they try out Mandrake or Debian or ___. Doesnt sound like a good business move.

I see it like this... (4)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#354215)

$9.95 is considerably less than I charge for one hour's time. Pretending that downloads of files over either their network service or plain ol' FTP, then a single weekly invocation of this program is far, far, far cheaper than having me do the work by hand.

I would never *personally* use this, as I prefer to do things "my way" but you can bet in a minute I would reccomend this to clients. If there's a problem, they're going to have to call me anyway, but why bother if it works? I set up a cron job and let it be.

I say, good for Red Hat. Let's give this a fair shake.

WTF?!? They're supposed to make money by services (2)

raistlinne (13725) | more than 13 years ago | (#354223)

What is Taco smoking? The business model generally suggested to make money of of Free Software is through services. This is a service that RedHat is offering. They're trying to make money for their service. Which part doesn't make sense?

I've wondered for a while, but it really seems like Taco is one of the tiny minority who's giving Free Software a bad name because he's too cheap to pay for anything.

Giving the source to software that you distribute is one thing - it's a good idea, and benefits prettymuch everyone at very little real expense to the author(s). Allowing these tools to be circulated and improved is also good as it benefits nearly everyone again at very little real expense to the author(s) (I'm not concerned with lost potential income. also, I'm talking about once the tool is written, not using a write-for-distribution-only model).

However, giving away processor time and bandwidth benefits everyone but at a high real cost to the person who's doing the giving. It's completely right for someone to ask for reimbursement in exchange for things that cost them. With GPL software, it's goodness on the part of the author to give it away, but it's also economically viable. Giving away free bandwidth is in general not economically viable and to acuse someone of doing something wrong because they're asking for money to use their service is the height of stupidity.

Without the source, you can get locked in to a vendor. Without automatic updates by redhat, you have to go and do the updates yourself from a mirror. Also, RedHat isn't prohibiting people from rolling their own service (many do), they're simply asking for money in return for what they do. They're not trying to restrict the flow of information or ideas.

Slash should institute a system whereby every editor does a writeup about the news story and we get to choose in our slashbox which ones we want to see (randomly selected from among our pool of acceptable editors). This way none of us would ever have to listen to the childish wrants of Malda. Grow up, Taco. The world doesn't owe you everything.

Re:More than just US$9.95 (1)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 13 years ago | (#354225)

"Nix gurus" don't necessarily have time to check for, download, and install every single RPM. I see this as a very valuable tool for some companies (definitely NOT individuals). It's something I can pay for and purchase - which is usually how businesses operate. Now, as far as automatic updates to production systems go, I have to say a big NO to that. I just get visions of hellish late nights trying to figure out WTF RedHat just installed....

Re:WTF?!? They're supposed to make money by servic (1)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 13 years ago | (#354226)

No, Taco is just very much a Debian-bigot. If it ain't Debian and (Taco's favorite gushing item right now) apt-get, then it must be evil.

Re:Auto update agent is a LAME and DANGEROUS idea. (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 13 years ago | (#354228)

I don't know why it should be any more lame and dangerous for Red Hat to do this than for Debian, and this is the basis of their famous apt-get, with a bit of extra security added (which I understand Debian is planning on adding in their next rev.).

The difference is that Red Hat is a commercial firm. Ximian is trying for exactly the same piece of the pie. Could be interesting.

Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

Enforced contributions... (3)

augustz (18082) | more than 13 years ago | (#354231)

With all the folks who can't manage to put their money where their mouth is, I'd just consider $9 my contribution to open source.

Oh please. Good for RH. (4)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#354233)

This is what's called a SERVICE.
They are *not* charging you for updates, new versions, etc. THat's still free.

They are charging for a specific SERVICE they are providing to keep your systems updated automatically. If that service isn't worth money to you, and you'd rather do it your own way, that's absolutely fine.

Looking forward to mdk8.0... (2)

RPoet (20693) | more than 13 years ago | (#354234)

I don't understand how Red Hat can withdraw the free system update feature seeing as more and more competing distros have the same feature without the need for registration etc. Mentioning Debian is not necessary of course, but the upcoming Linux-Mandrake 8.0 will come with the choice of apt-get and urpmi. It will also have the Mandrake Update Robot (not sure of the name) that can do automatic upgrades non-interactively (like in cron jobs etc). All of this for free and decentralized. Oh well.

stupid (2)

jilles (20976) | more than 13 years ago | (#354235)

This will mean less home users will use red-hat. This is a problem, because this is also the type of user that convinces their employers to adopt linux. And which distribution will they recommend? Exactly, the one they use at home. Red-hat won't get rich from this small fee. However, they will loose a lot of customers who will simply use something else since they don't like to cough up the money. It seems like a stupid thing to do.

The main source of revenue for Red Hat should be support contracts. A secondary source is retail sales of Red Hat CDs. Asking money for updates (a potential third revenue source)will harm those two revenue sources so it is a bad idea.

Re:Bad form. (1)

fitsy (22336) | more than 13 years ago | (#354236)

Not yet they don't. You should read up on BG "vision" of dot Net etc. You are soon gonna have the idea of "software as a service" rammed down your throat. Its coming allright.

Didn't Ximian already beat them to the punch? (1)

tweder (22759) | more than 13 years ago | (#354237)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Ximian [] 's Red Carpet [] utility do the same this as Redhat's update agent? I don't see the problem, since someone else is providing a _free_ means to the same end. Plus Red Carpet is a far more attractive, professional looking utility, IMNSHO.

Re:Enforced contributions... (2)

Nonanonymous_User (24745) | more than 13 years ago | (#354239)

That's fairly lame. I mean, even Microsoft provides the Windows Update service for free...even to people who pirate Windows.

The technology for auto-updaters is there and the source is available, so it's not like there aren't a million examples to refer to when implementing your own.

This just seems like a way to squeeze more money out of the consumer and nothing more. I would rather pay $50 for a boxed software set and be able to receive free updates online.


Re:But this is what was touted all along... (2)

powerlord (28156) | more than 13 years ago | (#354243)

all of a sudden the cost of one movie ticket and a soda

I don't know where you live but here in New York, Sony recently anounced a hike in the Movie prices from $8.50 to $9.00. I WISH that it was the cost of a movie ticket and a soda, but it barely covers the cost of a ticket.

Re:What can we learn from this? (2)

PigleT (28894) | more than 13 years ago | (#354244)

You're right, but it's not only the linux arena in which software versions exist.

The whole commercial `venduh' world has thrived off it, or rather off victims' laziness, for decades now; updatability is something that comes with all software, but awareness of the need for updatability is particularly prevalent in the open-source world.
It's the "release" phenomenon that I've been harping on against for the last couple of years now; all software gets improved over time (and occasionally forked): all a distribution does is to slice specific versions of the software, compile the lot together, do some testing and say "this works".
This is why unsubstantiated talk like "RH7.0 is unstable, it's a 7-point-0 release, I'm going to avoid it" is bogus: the release is as good as any other and in terms of upgrading from there to the current bleeding edge, you've got less far to go than if you start from 6.2.
.|` Clouds cross the black moonlight,

Re:More than just US$9.95 (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 13 years ago | (#354245)

True, a lot of companies running Linux will have a Unix guru. Still, at internal charges of $50 per hour, for access to that unix guru, the unix guru is likely to suggest to his boss that his time is better spent automating the fault recovery system than installing a piddly update. (we usually calculate 20 hours per year at $50 for basic system maintenance, mainly patching, per server (this is for ordinary unix buisness application servers tho, Linux would probably get away with about 10 hours.).)

People cost a lot of money.

Odd.. (1)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 13 years ago | (#354249)

That's pretty odd, I registered like 3 hours ago and updated (for free).

No... (2)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 13 years ago | (#354250)

You're not, AC - if this is how it works, it doesn't sound that safe. I would much rather the process is a user process, and root has to go in every now and then and manually run the update, selecting which packages to update. Maybe the system uses sudo or similar to give access to a user process only to certain areas - who knows?

What I don't understand, if the original poster of this thread is correct, is why someone at said "client" doesn't just set up a single server (and a single license with RedHat), set up for free updates, then use that machine to update all the other machines on the network running a copy of RedHat (it isn't necessary for each machine to auto update - talk about a waste of bandwidth)? This shouldn't be that difficult to set up, and bypasses the monthly fee - right?

Hey, I am all for RedHat to make money - and I agree that this is a value added service, and should be charged for. No problems here with that. But they better hope their normal business users are all dumb, or have incompetent admins (running Linux - hah - probably some MCSE who picked up a book on RedHat and now thinks he knows something - that or a management type trying to get ahead)...

Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!

Not with precautions.... (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#354255)

With RHN you specify exactly which updates will be sent to which systems. So, hopefully, you've tested this update on a test system at some point before rolling it out.

If you are worried about someone putting a backdoored package on the site, any packaging method could have that happen. But RHN does do checking of the packages to make sure they haven't been tampered with.

Not true. (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#354256)

Windows Update does NOT compete with Red Hat Network. I can't push updates to my workstations using Windows Update. I can't check to see which versions of software they have instaleld with Windows Update.

Different service.

Red Hat Network was never going to be free.... (5)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#354258)

It was free during the trial period while they worked the bugs out. It was never going to be a free server. I knew it was going to be $10/month ages ago.

But, each person gets one free system on the network. So if all you run is a Red Hat workstation you don't have to spend anything. Only people with multiple systems do.

I can see the benefits of RHN. I like the single console view, and I like being able to push updates to clients, but at $10/month/workstation that can get pricey if you have a lot. Then again, I'm sure if you have 500 or 1000 workstations you can work a better deal with them.

Isn't this how free software is supposed to work? (5)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#354259)

They are selling a support service. You can either get the updates yourself and apply them to your systems, or use the easy push method from Red Hat Network.

What's the problem? They have to make money somehow, and supposedly support is the way it should be done with open source. Support them.

Re:It makes sense. (1)

treke (62626) | more than 13 years ago | (#354260)

Just because it makes sense makes it no less news. RedHat is taking a very helpful service that they have provided for free, and decided to charge for it. I'd have no difficulty in downloading all of the RPMS and installing them myself, but there are a lot of new users who get a copy of redhat and might have a difficult time keeping up to date. Before it was a simple as running the up2date utility, now it's figure out what updates you need, download them, Install all of them, dealing with dependencies.

I dumped RH long ago... (1)

Shanep (68243) | more than 13 years ago | (#354264)

for Debian.

Red Hat was starting to show some of the hallmarks of Microsoft. Lots of security announcements, overly money hungry, etc.

Debian and OpenBSD are so quick to fix problems, and have awesome system update mechanisms, not to mention the stability and in OpenBSD's case the extreme security (not that Debian can't be secured).

I have Red Hat to thank for holding my hand while I got into Linux (though it was'nt a very firm grip with RH5.0!), I could'nt imagine EVER going back to them.

The sad thing is, a flood of stories in the media along the lines of "Linux not "free" any more!" are bound to be coming from journo's that either are clueless, are paid to cast Linux in a bad light or are simply afraid of the very technology they write about.

Free update agents are plentiful (1)

Diffraction (70861) | more than 13 years ago | (#354266)

I can see the need for the RH Network if you're updating a lot of machines but for personal use there are a lot of alternatives (see Freshmeat [] ) that do the job perfectly. I for example run a little utility called "frmps" as a cron job - it simply checks every night if there are any new rpms available, installs them and mails me a report. That's all I need to keep my system current automatically.

And come on folks, their business model is to sell support. Of course they will charge for it, and they should. This is no news.

More than just US$9.95 (2)

Wattsman (75726) | more than 13 years ago | (#354271)

It's just a special introductory offer for every system that subscribes before April 6. If you get your system logged in before that date, it's 9.95/month until September 1.
Regular price is $19.95/month. Much like paying for another dial-up service. A casual user might find this service useful enough to be willing to pay for it. They may be trying to get business customers to use it, but I have a feeling that most business customers have a *nix guru that takes care of their systems already.

Red-Carpet (1)

ctsnydal (81242) | more than 13 years ago | (#354274)

Isn't RedHat's update agent essentially part of ximian's red-carpet?

Oh no!!! (1)

hansendc (95162) | more than 13 years ago | (#354276)

Because of its all in all crappy command line interface, I gave up on up2date on my machines that don't have X.
I use rhup [] , a free (you don't get charged ten bucks to use it) utility to download updates for you.

Re:Red-Carpet (1)

plazma (95294) | more than 13 years ago | (#354277)

no, red-carpet is a different system, but ximian uses the same packages that redhat releases

But it's not $10/month/workstation (1)

Wiggin (97119) | more than 13 years ago | (#354278)

its $20/month/workstation for all systems you sign up after april 6, or after september 1 for all systems you sign up before april 6.

Re:I see it like this... (1)

Wiggin (97119) | more than 13 years ago | (#354279)

Yeah, but if you have 50 workstations after spetember 1, thats $20*50 workstations per month. I realize that this is probably less than the support costs associated with 24/7/365 support, but please realize that this is not only $10. this will be $20/machine/month which may or may not be considerably more than what you charge per hour.

Re:Misleading title... (1)

_Upsilon_ (97438) | more than 13 years ago | (#354280)

Red Hat will still have free updates. You just have to apply them manually.
(and it's not all that difficult to write a script that can look on the FTP server, download the updates you need, and install them)

rpm-get script (2)

Fjord (99230) | more than 13 years ago | (#354281)

I've never gotten up2date to work well for me. Instead, I've been using a script that parses output and automagically installs stuff for me. Considering this news, I'm releasing the script to the public (something I didn't want to do because if rpmfind changes, the script breaks).

Here is the link to the script [] . Please mirror, etc, as this is a cable line, and my wife's website (the reptile shelter in my sig) will go down if this site goes down.

Re:Bad form. (1)

Amezick (102131) | more than 13 years ago | (#354283)

1) This is a documented way to make money from Free software. (One of the documents from MIT/AI stated this)
2) Microsoft chares for the application in the beginning and their every 4 year updates. They also charge for the developers network updates.
3) You can still get the updates for free, you just have to pay to use thier service. --Angus

Re:Enforced contributions... (1)

Ashran (107876) | more than 13 years ago | (#354286)

If you take it that way, a windows license is way cheaper than a redhat linux one...
Another reason to use Windows (beside that its user friendlier, and its not as bloated as linux)..
And yes linux is bloated, you need like 1.5 gigs with SuSe to have a somewhat working installation, with no fancy tools .. and my win installation takes like 400 and I have all tools I need :p
Flame me away, or mod me down, I dont give shit ;)

Re:bloated!? (1)

Ashran (107876) | more than 13 years ago | (#354287)

The whole MSVC AND enterprise tools install takes 851 MB (893.008.094 Bytes) (including full install of MSDN) .. GCC with it tools comes close to that, and doesnt have a as good help as MSVC does

What? (1)

Oztun (111934) | more than 13 years ago | (#354290)

This story leaves me wondering:

Is this for customers who haven't bought a boxed version and registered it or just people who download redhat for free?

I looked on RedHat's website and I don't see anything about it.

Re:doh! (1)

Oztun (111934) | more than 13 years ago | (#354291)

I meant:

Will customers who have bought a boxed version be able to register and download without paying another 9$?

Re:doh! (1)

Oztun (111934) | more than 13 years ago | (#354292)

The updated faq explains the answer:

How is the free trial different?
Previously, you could receive a basic level of service free up to five systems. Starting February 26, you can try the full version of Software Manager for free, but only on one system.

So if you are a registered customer you can update your machine for free on one system instead of five.

Looks like slashdot didn't get the facts straight.

Re:Enforced contributions... (1)

Oztun (111934) | more than 13 years ago | (#354293)

From the updated faq:

How is the free trial different?

Previously, you could receive a basic level of service free up to five systems. Starting February 26, you can try the full version of Software Manager for free, but only on one system.


Jumping to conlusions based on things read on slashdot can make you look like an idiot.

bug-free software (OT!) (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#354294)

"Anyways, the only bug-free program anymore might be hello world...."

OK, time for a personal rant.

I keep hearing this--hearing that bugs are inevitable, and that bug-free software is impossible. This leads to the development of software with bugs, because "we can't catch everything!"


Check out this article [] for proof to the contrary.

We have become FAR too accepting of bugs in commercial software. It's only because we accept it that the companies can get away with it.

OK, rant over. Back to watching the snow.

Re:Free = Freedom, not "No Cost" (1) (114827) | more than 13 years ago | (#354302)

Right, then they lose much of the user base thats using RH, as they try out Mandrake or Debian or ___. Doesnt sound like a good business move.

Do you think that RH makes money by people having their distro installed? It's not like market share == cash flow. So you install Debian on your box instead of RH. How does that hurt them?

I'd bet that anyone who balks at $10/month is someone who has never given RH a dime anyway.


$9.95 to spend (4)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#354311)

The choice is difficult: beer, update redhat, beer, update redhat, beer, mmm... Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!


no, you don't (1)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#354313)

You can still download the RPM's for free and install them yourself. Anyways, the only bug-free program anymore might be hello world....

Exactly how then? (5)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#354314)

Since the poster doesn't like the charge for update agent, what other ways would he/she have them make money? Look, the redhat update agent is the very definition of "Value Added Service" and it seems very reasonable to charge for it. They noted in the post that the old way of getting the files and applying updates still works just fine. Why not charge a (in my mind) paltry 10 bucks to make it easier? Look, not everyone has their linux server hacked together from 486 parts and hooked to a cable service. Some folks are trying to push it into the enterprise and services like this are great for that.

hmm... (1)

yzquxnet (133355) | more than 13 years ago | (#354315)

"I want RH to make a buck too, but this seems like a pretty crappy way to do it."

Of course it seems crappy to you. If it affects a user in any way that involves touching someones pocket book, then it must be crappy. Everyone likes everything, just as long as it is free. I'm sure there are many people out there who run webservers and ftp servers who know just how expensive bandwidth can be. Everyone wants Red Hat to be profitable. But no one, at least the majority here, wants to pay for anything related to it. It's always, "oh, the other guy will pay for it." It seems that a small minority of people are funding these projects and the rest are leaching off of it. (Gee, why does that sound familiar?)

I'm still looking for a company that has a working business model based on giving away products for free.

That's why... (1)

dane23 (135106) | more than 13 years ago | (#354316)

I use Mandrake. Red Hat has been leaning towards something like this for a while now.

Re:Enforced contributions... (1)

dane23 (135106) | more than 13 years ago | (#354317)

I agree with the sentiment, and as long as it is a CONTRIBUTION that's wonderful. But contribution denotes a choice. Red Hat isn't giving people a choice of whether to pay for, contribute to, the service; aside from not using it that is. At least the updates are still freely downloadable and like the CmdrTaco said, "how long before other services pop up to take its place?"

prediction: plan backfires, redhat in bankruptcy (1)

Bad_CRC (137146) | more than 13 years ago | (#354319)

mandrake is taking redhat's place as the distro to have anyway. redhat is just making it's time till it dies.

I don't envy those companies trying to make money in an opensource arena, but I can say that trying a microsoft "squeeze" tactic will backfire every time.


Re:I see it like this... (2)

Mr. Adequate (138862) | more than 13 years ago | (#354320)

Have one machine that connects to RHN. Roll out the updates to the other 49 machines from the first one. Costs only 20 bucks and is a lot faster than having each machine suck from RHN individually

Not the "M" word! (3)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 13 years ago | (#354321)

Oh no... someone said Money in the same paragraph as Linux, someone better prepare for the onslaught of free software fanatics from Slashdot...

...who are also going to try and mod this down.

Re:Free = Freedom, not "No Cost" (1)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#354326)

> You can still get the updates for free

Sure, but they can, (and probably will) make this arbitrary difficult.



Re:Free = Freedom, not "No Cost" (2)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#354328)

> Right, then they lose much of the user base thats using RH, as they try out Mandrake or Debian or ___.

Like when you boil a frog. They have to make it slowly more and more difficult to upgrade.

> Doesnt sound like a good business move.

Well, they _have_ to make money one way or another.

They are market leaders, the have a slightly incompatible product (as everyone else), and they represent the _real_ "linux" in the eyes of US corporates. All commercial software that runs on "linux" runs mostly on redhat GNU/Linux. They are taking advantage of this, but will try to keep they barrier of entry as low as possible (like microsoft does by encouraging so-called 'piracy') by chargin only automagic updates. They will probably have a scheme so non-commercial users can still update.

So maybe it is a good business move...



mandrake (1)

nothng (147342) | more than 13 years ago | (#354335)

well, at least Mandrake still has a free update agent so if you are just using your redhat box as a workstation and really want an auto update switching is pretty painless. However, if it's a server you probably should be updating it manually anyway so it's no big deal. I have to admit it's sad that one must pay for something like that, but if people are willing then businesses will try it.

Re:Do I understand this correctly? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#354336)

1) Microsoft supplies software with bugs
2) My software crashes and there's no way I can find the bug.
3) I mention this bug to Microsoft and they blame someone else
4) I pay for the upgrade just in case only to find that the same bug exists in the new version and Microsoft are still blaming someone else.

Why am I happier using Linux?

Re:pricing themselves out of the market ? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#354337)

Just as a matter of interest, isn't Windows.NET going to be available on a subscription basis? And aren't Microsofties the world over going on about how brilliant it is, even though it's still semi-vapour at the moment. Of course if you actually read the Changes FAQs [] you'll find the following words:

Starting February 26, you can try the full version of Software Manager for free, but only on one system.

So basically for every RedHat box you buy, you get free updates. It's only if you use the one box set to set up several PCs that you have to pay. This is obviously aimed at businesses, but for those of us with more than one PC at home there are still plenty of distros to choose from.
BTW if this change happened nearly a month ago, why has it only just become news?

Re:Bad form. (1)

akgoel (153089) | more than 13 years ago | (#354338)

All the incremental updates from 98 to 98SE were free. There were, however, some new features added that could justify a new product.

Other services? (2)

tau_ (154048) | more than 13 years ago | (#354341)

Huh. There are other update services already, and have been for a long time. autorpm is the first I saw (and tried) - and Ximian's Red Carpet is also perfectly able to provide update services for Red Hat Linux. ry =autorpm

It costs loads, it must be good! (1)

ChiaBen (160517) | more than 13 years ago | (#354344)

Another added cost? This is an IT managers' dream! It's so much easier to sell expensive software to the boss, than to convince them that free software is better.
Thanks RedHat!

But this is what was touted all along... (4)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#354345)

For nearly two years major linux firms said they would one day charge for services related to their software, and for nearly as long /. users have been touting this as a viable business model. Now that it is implementation time, all of a sudden the cost of one movie ticket and a soda is too much to pay to a company that lets you download their principal product for free.

Re:What can we learn from this? (1)

janimal (172428) | more than 13 years ago | (#354349)

This is by no means a pay update.. you just pay to make it easy. But I have another point.

This announcement reminds me to donate to the good cause. I'll pay for something by RH just to support them. Right now I'm piss poor - I just upgraded my hardware - but as soon as I'm out of school I'll donate. :) Thanks for the reminder.


Re:Odd.. (1)

neowolf (173735) | more than 13 years ago | (#354350)

It's good for one machine. If you purchase a separate shrink-wrap for each machine you install it on, and register each of them separately, you can get one free account for each one. It is when you buy one shrink-wrap, and install it on several machines that they get you for $9/box.

Exactly... service charge (3)

mizhi (186984) | more than 13 years ago | (#354356)

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. It's not like they're still not providing the source code, and the ability to modify it... they are also not preventing you in anyway from distributing it. They're charging for the acti of downloading a distribution they've put together. Notice too, that unlike a certain OTHER company, they actually have competitors for what is generally the same product. Now, I like free things, and I am a RH user, but it's not like you can expect RH to survive on charity. Notice, that this is completely within the spirit of opensource software. Charging for a service.

/. is a great site, and open source is wonderful, but sometimes the opensource community can be a bit whiney.... esp when no crime has been committed.

On the other hand, I do hope RH understands when I start using another distribution. :-p

Free = Freedom, not "No Cost" (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#354358)

Did you forget this Mr. Taco.

Isn't this what America is all about right now, convenience = money?

You can still get the updates for free. It's like buying a Mandrake distro at Wal-Mart. You could download it for free (not including broadband costs), or your could spend $25 to get it right away.

What can we learn from this? (1)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 13 years ago | (#354359)

By charging for incremental update services, Red Hat is implicitly admitting that it's business model has some serious flaws. Linux is explicitly free; anyone with a modem or a CD-burner can have Linux for the cost of some time and effort. Why would people pay for something that is -- by intention -- free?

If anything, the nature of Linux requires free updates, simply because Linux is a conglomerate of various packages with their own update schedules and releases. I can install Debian 2.2r2, update the XFree 86 to 4.03, add the latest gcc 2.95.3, and tailor my system to my needs. Such a model simply doesn't fit with the Red Hat idea of "Linux releases." The only true Linux "release" is the kernel...

Scott Robert Ladd
Master of Complexity
Destroyer of Order and Chaos

Can't somebody copy the update service? (1)

31337du0d (207612) | more than 13 years ago | (#354364)

Couldn't someone set up their own server to do the automatic updates if he wanted to pay for the bandwidth of giving away free updates? Would it be very hard to do? Red Hat's software is mostly GPL, so I don't think there would be legal problems with someone setting up this server. I don't think $10 is a bad deal for the convenience they provide.

Re:Enforced contributions... (1)

hubba (218952) | more than 13 years ago | (#354368)

I suppose $9 are not really worth arguing about but I don't like the way redhat 7 is not fully backwards compatible unless you manually install library files from you RH6 cd's so from that point of view Redhat is not my favorite anyway.

Pennies from heaven (2)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 13 years ago | (#354370)

I don't know why anyone is whining. You can still download Redhat for free, so if you have to set up a box, no problem. Redhat is a company filled with people who have to eat, pay rent, etc. $9.95 is not too bad when you consider the M$ option. If you're going to use Redhat software and expect updates, don't be such a leech by demanding everything free. If you don't like it, then use another distro.

Besides, I feel that if one actively supports open-source software, then they'll be decent enough to put some money into it. Eventually, no money == no open-source software.

ms wannabes (1)

zencode (234108) | more than 13 years ago | (#354371)

embrace and extend. thanks, guys. gee, where have we seen this tactic before. hmmmm.

i'm moving everything to debian this week.

check cheapbytes' debian 2.2 binary cd (intel, 3 cd's) [] .

My .02,

Well the reality seems to be too harsh (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#354372)

So now we can all start dreaming [] . And here are some tips on dreaming well and enjoying your experience.

Special REDHAT RPM's? (1)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | more than 13 years ago | (#354373)

will this grow into RPM's for Redhat systems becoming "SPECIAL"? Won't I be able to go to [] and locate updated RPM's by platform because they won't have REDHAT RPM's? I can't see RedHat placing restrictions on redistributing the updates, it just wouldn't be 'Linuxish' of them.
If there isn't one now, somebody will code us a tool that uses to inventory system packages and check for updates automatically. There's nothing that will slow down the Linux Movement, I doubt a major distributor charging for updates will make much difference.

Bad form. (1)

Tin Weasil (246885) | more than 13 years ago | (#354374)

Even Microsoft doesn't charge for it's incremental updates...

Re:Bad form. (1)

Tin Weasil (246885) | more than 13 years ago | (#354375)

1. Okay. It's documented. So? That doesn't make it any less distasteful.

2. Microsoft does charge for it's application in the beginning. So does RedHat. Yes, you can get RedHat for free, but their bussiness model sure hopes you'll go to the store and buy a copy off the shelf.

3. Apt-get.

*gasp* (4)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 13 years ago | (#354385)

you mean, after spending thousands and thousands of dollars for developing updates..they're going to charge?? How dare they follow economic reality!

Just freakin great!!!!! (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 13 years ago | (#354388)

I bet the next version of "windowsupdate" becomes a subscription service now. Imagine that; sell crap software and then charge for the fixes. Kinda like symantec does with their "upgrade insurance". (Best godfather voice)"Pay us and we'll protect your mission critical systems". I hate all these companies. -ted

Who cares (1)

papskier (263483) | more than 13 years ago | (#354389)

It only works about 50% of the time anyways. The other 50% of the time it just hangs. Maybe now they'll get some money to pay someone to develop a decent system. I love my RH 7 system, but the updater wasn't ever worth the trouble.

$man microsoft

Dang it! (1)

oooga (307220) | more than 13 years ago | (#354392)

I just learned about this service on Saturday, and now they're cancelling it. "We'll tell you, but then we'll have to cancel you."

Do I understand this correctly? (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 13 years ago | (#354397)

1) RH supplies software with bugs
2) My software crashes: I find bug and tell RH about it. I lose money because of downtime
3) RH fixes bugs (i.e. finally does the job right)
4) I pay money because they couldn't get it right the first time

Why am I not happy about this?

pricing themselves out of the market ? (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 13 years ago | (#354398)

i dunno about you guys, but the last time i went to wal-mart windows me was teh same price as redhat/mandrake on the shelf.. and windowsupdate is free in addition, the recently added faq states that the price will be $19.95 a month after april 9th(?) which is a little over half what it costs off the shelf .. i think if they are interested in pursuing this the best way to do it would be to only charge commerical companies the fees.. since they can afford it and leave it free for non-commercial use.. my $.02

Yay for Mandrake... (1)

Heidi Wall (317302) | more than 13 years ago | (#354399)

Everybody knows that Mandrake has surpassed RedHat qualitywise a long time ago, and there update tool is still free. If anything this is going to accelerate the marketshare slide towards Mandrake Linux.

And it's a good thing too.

Advantages of Mandrake vs. RedHat:
- qmail vs sendmail
- rpms compiled for nonarcheologic procs (see 586)
- cute
- no desktop environment bigotry, kde and gnome with a nice default setup
- did I mention cute? and sexy...

Mandrake 8.0 Beta is out now. Test it.

/* And you'll never guess what the dog had */
/* in its mouth... */

It makes sense. (1)

qpt (319020) | more than 13 years ago | (#354402)

Red Had provides you with a service and convenience and you pay for it.

This isn't news. It's how our economy works.

- qpt

Double negative? (2)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 13 years ago | (#354403)

This is unfortunate, but not unsurprising.

Did CmdrTaco ever learn about double negatives in school? If it's not unsurprising, doesn't that make it surprising? in this language anyway?

I guess he's free to use double negatives if he likes. That don't make me no never mind.

Easing into a subscription model? (1)

redgekko (320391) | more than 13 years ago | (#354404)

Could RH and other distros be following Microsoft's lead and slowly evolving into a subscription based business model? This looks like an 'Easing In' to me.
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