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Red Hat To Drop Boxed Retail Distribution

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the treasured-collectables dept.

Red Hat Software 386

An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux, is abandoning the retail channel, the company is expected to announce Monday, says this story in Linux and Main. Non-Red Hat developers will be given a greater role in deciding what's in upcoming Red Hat distributions, too."

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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479617)

Frok Pok

Linux sucks. Use BSD like the GNAA does (-1, Flamebait)

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Re:Linux sucks. Use BSD like the GNAA does (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479683)

You my friend, are a retard.

I realize you're just a troll, and that you probably can't help yourself, but I just have to say this.

There should be some small department in the FBI or something to find people like you and take you in for mandatory sterilization.

Just think of it as adding a little chlorine to the gene pool.

Linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479625)

Red Hat to become Windows OEM Supporter?

frisp piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479630)

FIRS POST MOTHER F?CK*S

Hmm... (3, Interesting)

The J Kid (266953) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479634)

Wonder why this is?
Has it anything to do with the KDE Klash? (Not likely though)

Or is it just that this way they don't loose as much money?

The latter, in my opinion (humble as it is) is the most likely. Of course, it could be something completely different.

Re:Hmm... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479676)

"don't loose as much money"

Maybe if you learned the difference between 'loose' and 'lose' people might give a fuck what you think. Until then you just look like a fucking moron.

Re:Hmm... (1)

gniv (600835) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479741)

In your haste to get the first post, you didn't read the (very short) article:

The company hopes that the changes help to overcome the long lead time needed to produce boxed sets. With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.

However, it is not clear from the article whether they will still sell to the public and how. Not everybody can be expected to download the 2+ GB distribution.

Re:Hmm... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479853)

Well, I could live with mail-order, because my dialup won't do it for sure. I do sympathize about packages being outdated, and the production costs. I'd even be willing to pay for on-demand publishing.

But yes, I'm a bit nervous at this point.

Re:Hmm... (4, Interesting)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479750)

Has it anything to do with the KDE Klash? (Not likely though)

From reading the article it does seem likely that the KDE thing is part of the issue, since customizing of packages is one of the major things that's going to change.

I'm sure that the money they lose on boxed set is a major consideration as well.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479641)

One thing that I noticed about linux was that it was on the store shelves of CompUSA. With packaged sets not available, does this mean Redhat is well known enough to not warrant having a copy available for passer-byers, or does it mean Redhat is slowly moving away from the desktop/average user arena? Discuss amongst yourselves

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479704)

Discuss amongst yourselves

I can't...I'm farklempt

This is not a good move IMO (4, Insightful)

UndercoverBrotha (623615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479645)

When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479729)

Ya really think so? I can't think of a better way to annoy a customer than to sell them something that they later find they could have downloaded or legally copied for free. Of course this assumes you realize that the "value proposition" of included support is worthless when anyone can ask any number of helpful people in any number of Linux forums.

Red Hat clearly aren't making money in the retail channel and it makes no sense for them to be there.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (5, Informative)

UndercoverBrotha (623615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479835)

"Red Hat clearly aren't making money in the retail channel and it makes no sense for them to be there"

You "may" be right, perhaps instead of being stocked at CompUSA, they need to go the Suse [walmart.com] route.

"ask any number of helpful people in any number of Linux forums"

I have never used direct support from Red Hat, but when I was new to Linux, some of my most basic question were met with impatience and arrogance, or haven't you tried "this" yet, when I had no idea how to do, "this". It was only after tinkering a bit on my own and asking an somewhat intelligent question were the board or irc channels helpful, paid tech support on the other hand, will hold your, er.. hand, for the most basic questions

Re:This is not a good move IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479937)

It's unfortunate that a "community" that expects to take over the OS world can't be universally nice - take, for example Stallman (no, OK, I won't force you!). But it does reflect the world at large.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (5, Insightful)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479742)

a few comments.

1. anyone that doesn't have access to a distro of linux is entirely unlikely to buy one off the shelf. More likely they know an über-geek already that got them into Linux or they bought it at Barnes and Noble with a huge book with 5 different flavors, what have you.

2. This strikes me as being a genius idea. Putting those boxes on the shelves is in no way cheap. Do you ever see Red Hat flying off the shelves? Only when its time to replace the box with the next version.

3. Red Hat makes their money in providing service and support contracts to big companies. Not the little guy.

This is a money thing. removing the shelf space issue is good business sense. It might tick you off but it will make investors happy.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479747)

When there is a real alternative to windows, let me know. Right now you sweaty pear-shaped losers get around a circle jerk over Linux, but that doesn't change the fact that Linux is a horrible piece of software.

Moron.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479774)

You seem to be lost - try http://lick-microsoft-cock.org/

Re:This is not a good move IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479951)

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (-1, Troll)

YOU FAIL JESUS!! (683661) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480001)

I'd laugh, but it's true.

Don't let the fascist moderators get you down, AC, continue to spread the truth. Maybe the light will click on some day in the heads of these close-minded fools.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (2, Insightful)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479772)

If somebody wants an alternative to Windows, Mandrake is a much better choice. It's designed for Linux newbies, and Mandrake 9.1 has worked well for the installs I've done.

(In all fairness, I haven't tried RH 8 or 9. For home use, I'm using Gentoo now.)

Re:This is not a good move IMO (2, Insightful)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479787)

I m sure you will be able to purchases the CDs of the ISOs from other channels as well. For example some LUG sell downloaded ISO images on CDs for merely the cost of the media ($2-$5) and shipping.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (1)

CineK (55517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479791)

it shouldn't be a big problem since you can get it bundled with linux magazines - no need to download. the real problem is - how will they bundle any commercial apps with the download edition - because commercial app is not sth you could get easily bundled with any mags.
does it mean special donload sites, activation keys for non-free software or what ?

one more thing is that some companies simply need physical media of posessed software due to some nonsense legal reasons.. when they buy some soft they want to have a box...

Re:This is not a good move IMO (4, Insightful)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479892)

When someone is ready to try an alternative to Windows, its much easier to pick up the CDs rather than wait hours for a public download to finish...and lose the enthusiasm for a change in OS.

I agree with you, but there are other distros that cover this marketspace. Mandrake is probably the most popular newbie distro, though my personal preference is SuSE (and yes, I do mean for newbies). There are numerous others with retail presence as well, like Lindows, TurboLinux, etc.

I don't pay that close attention to the others, but I very much doubt that SuSE will be giving up on the retail market any time soon. Their free online distro is not the same as their boxed distro, and that differentiation probably helps their sales. Truth be told though, everyone I know who uses SuSE buys the box for the kickass manuals. I don't know anything about the quality of Red Hat's printed documentation, but I suspect that's the main thing that would be missed.

In my experience, anyone who is ready to try an alternative to Windows is going to be more turned off by the price of a boxed set than the amount of time it takes to download ISOs.

Re:This is not a good move IMO (5, Interesting)

UndercoverBrotha (623615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479965)

"In my experience, anyone who is ready to try an alternative to Windows is going to be more turned off by the price of a boxed set than the amount of time it takes to download ISOs."

I didn't realize Windows XP [pricegrabber.com] ....was only $89(Oem)...this makes it even harder for the boxed product of Red Hat [pricegrabber.com] to sell...Joe Consumer would probably opt for a more known name anyway and its advertised ease of use, but when he wants to write a simple document is when he pays the piper! [pricegrabber.com] ..after reading some of the comments and checking the price of both Boxed products, perhaps it does indeed make sense for RH to leave the shelves....

Re:This is not a good move IMO (1, Insightful)

typhoonius (611834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479896)

In my experience, most non-geek Linux initiates are encouraged to switch by Linux users, so why not just burn an extra copy or two of your distro of choice for someone?

Re:This is not a good move IMO (1)

wuice (71668) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480008)

I highly doubt they're making this move with the idea of the new user experience in mind. I'm sure this is driven by prime directive number one, the profit motive. This begs the question, does linux retail distribution prove (still) to be an unprofitable venture?

The other thing the article mentions is that they are pushing the responsibility of creating the distro packages to the developer themselves. I wonder if this is in reponse to a desire for the developers to have more control, or if this is another money-saving move.

I for one am very curious to see what is driving these changes but I can only imagine the driving factor is money. Not that I fault them for that or think they're out of line for it.

Effects for other players (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479646)

Perhaps this may be a boon for MandrakeSoft? The novice home user who only wants to casually look at Linux or who lacks broadband might feel more comfortable going to the store to get Linux CDs.

Re:Effects for other players (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479722)

No one wants to buy shitty french products so you can take mandrake and renault home with you frog boy.

Re:Effects for other players (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479962)

If you noticed, RedHat does not target the home user. They aim for buisness because that's where the money is. Mandrake aim the end user.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479662)

...is this good or bad for Linux..?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479680)

What's good for RedHat is good for Linux.

;-)

Re:So... (1)

broeman (638571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479968)

RedHat is probably focusing even more on company solutions, instead of being an all-round distribution. For the hardcore RedHat user (and certified at least) it means no change, maybe even improvements. You could see a problem for those users that has believed for some years now that Linux is RedHat, and can't order a package from the homepage or their local store. But for new users, they are seeing commercials from Lindows (WalMart), Mandrake and SuSE (especially here in Europe). For the l33t users there will be no influence at all, since they use Gentoo/LFS/Debian.
</2cent>

As long as I can download the ISOs from Finland (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479669)

As long as I can download the ISOs from Finland,
I dont' really care. Redhat's disto is great;
but their concentration on the server market
will hurt their reputation amoung the home
and desktop markets.

Well (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479678)

If it keeps them effective, cool. This part concerns me though:

--
The company hopes that the changes help to overcome the long lead time needed to produce boxed sets. With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.
--

Kinda valid, but sounds more like their boxed versions simply aren't selling that well. Not blasting them by the way. I always buy my Linux distros just to support the company, and this is the now only company I get my Linux distro from. I trust they won't go away...

Re:Well (1)

Vargasan (610063) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479845)

The company hopes that the changes help to overcome the long lead time needed to produce boxed sets. With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.

What about RedHat Up2Date? Wouldn't that make the many packages shipped on CD not-so-obsolete?

Although, I haven't actually seen a boxed version of RedHat in ages (or any other Linux distribution, for that matter). They don't seem very frequent here in Canada, but it could be just the stores I go to (I don't go in big retail stores(ie. Best Buy, Future Shop, Radio Shack, etc.))

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479932)

I can understand what they are trying to say. I've seen Red Hat for sale in places that perhaps it shouldn't be (like Virgin Megastores, propped alongside normal commercial software). The problem is that the versions they have sat on the shelves are always hugely out of date, and are not likely to work with a lot of more recent hardware out of the box. I believe they had RH 7.1 when I was there last, compared with the current version of 9.

And if places like Virgin are trying to sell something like Linux to the general public (I can't imagine most regular Linux users would be buying out of date and overpriced box sets from a music & video games store), an 'old' version is going to have a Linux newbie bringing it back because it trashed their brand new Gateway PC.

I think perhaps this is for the best.. I just download Red Hat ISO's through the 'Instant ISO' thing on the Red Hat Network anyway!

Re:Well (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479936)

With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.

Is this problem due more to time-to-shelf, or due to a the very short 6 month release cycle?

As a home RH user, I'm a little peeved by the 6 month release cycle. I want a stable release with incremental updates.

Upgrading from 8->9 was a bit of a pain, and I wonder if differences in the binaries really needed such a intensive update script.

(Yes yes, I *am* checking out Debian).

Can't possibly be right (2, Interesting)

HisMother (413313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479685)

There must have been a misunderstanding here. Surely they don't think that their cash flow won't be injured if they stop producing shrinkwrap software? Both companies and Joe Sixpack like cardboard boxes and plastic CD cases. ISO-download-only would literally destroy their company.

Re:Can't possibly be right (1)

d3faultus3r (668799) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479725)

I think they mean that you'll still be able to order the software, you just won't see it on a store shelf.

Re:Can't possibly be right (2, Insightful)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479803)

you'll still be able to order the software,
you just won't see it on a store shelf.

Which means that they'll get fewer new users than they otherwise would have done - many people are more likely to buy the products that they see, rather than go hunting around to find a better product on the internet somewhere

Re:Can't possibly be right (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479762)

Well, RHAS will still be sold as a commercial product. RH is now focusing on the business market and is dropping the consumer market.

Re:Can't possibly be right (5, Interesting)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479783)

Of course its always rather likely it isn't right. This is slashdot after all. The real story is naturally a little different.

Re:Can't possibly be right (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479823)

Care to elaborate? Or is this going to be a big surprise?

Re:Can't possibly be right (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479900)

I assume your hands are tied in terms of what you can say here, but will Redhat clarify the issue shortly?

Re:Can't possibly be right (5, Interesting)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480057)

There are a collection of things happening the first of which will be officially announced monday. Suffice to say that Red Hat isn't crazy enough to leave people unable to obtain software on CD, nor is it going enterprise only..

You will however have to wait until Monday

Ever seen a boxed copy of the enterprise versions? (1)

jasonbowen (683345) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479943)

Well have you? Redhat is a public company and as such they have to divulge how they made their money. You should look at their last quarterly statement.

Hmmm (1)

Ruds (86067) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479690)

I guess this means that RH is going to focus almost entirely on B2B sales. I would imagine that the sales of the box sets barely offset the cost of marketing, etc. If they focus on business customers only, it probably simplifies their service commitments. I wonder if they'll sell service contracts and docs directly on the website, or if they'll just make the ISOs available and leave it at that.

Matt

Bad move PR-wise (5, Interesting)

k98sven (324383) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479703)

I think Red Hat is making a mistake.
There is enormous PR value in having a retail product available, even if it is not particularily profitable.

Example: Ericsson is widely known as a "cell phone manufacturer". Actually, they make very little money off selling consumer products like cell phones. Ericsson has always made its money off the sales of system hardware. (switches and whatnot)
But it's the consumer products that have given them brand-recognition, and that is worth a lot.

I think Red Hat should take note of this.

Re:Bad move PR-wise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479856)

Actually Ericsson makes a lot of its money through its land mine subsidiary. The legless kids in Eritrea still love and use their products though!

Re:Bad move PR-wise (3, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479864)

Very few people buy the boxed sets. People are comfortable with cell phones, it's an entirely different market - there is plenty of competition and little lock in. People are aware of these facts.

Operating systems are different. The vast, vast, vast majority of people use whatever comes with their computer. Those who wish to try something different, are by definition not mainstream. The problems with the boxed sets are many - they are expensive and complex to produce, and are rapidly obsoleted at a rate most people would not be happy about.

Basically, with the increase in broadband penetration it becomes increasingly likely that if you want Linux, you either have, or know somebody that has a fast link, so you can download the ISOs.

I expect you will still be able to buy CDs of the distro, just that you will have to get them from online shops.

Anyway, IMHO this move makes sense. RHL is no longer a "product" as such, certainly not one that makes money. It would seem to make sense to make it more a community thing - after all, in terms of software freedom it's just as good as Debian.

I'd be a bit worried that it might stagnate though - I hope Red Hat still take a lead in developing it. Would BlueCurve have happened in a community driven distro? Probably not. Yet I still like it.

Downsizing... (4, Interesting)

mark_space2001 (570644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479706)

The changes will begin with development lists being made public, and will be followed by return of package maintanence to the developers themselves. Currently, packages are "handed over" to Red Hat developers, who then tune them for inclusion in a particular version. Under the new system, developers will maintain control of the packages.

This sounds like they are downsizing some of their workforce to me. Yes, I know that the article said this move was to improve release cycle times but it sounds like they are just plain getting rid of the retail line and there will be some layoffs too as certain people are no longer needed.

Re:Downsizing... (1)

alangmead (109702) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480030)

If you are correct about them planning on reducing their workforce, you could take the announcement this way:

If you think release cycles are long now, wait until we don't have any employees anymore. We're going to try to bring as much of the open source community in to help us on our product, so when we let all of our developers go, it won't affect schedule too much.

First Post! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479708)

How about dialup users like me?

RedHat Trademark (2, Insightful)

kc8ioy (640909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479710)

What will will do for businesses putting redhat on the desktop in regard to the RedHat trademark? Are they going to have to pay for it online, or will they drop all the trademark stuff for RedHat Linux?

Maybe this will make RedHat make like Debian in regards to trademarking, etc. Maybe not since they should still be selling the support packages.

Makes sense.... (2, Informative)

gloth (180149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479718)

...given that RedHat made most money from their support contract. I've been using Linux for 10 years, have tried a lot of distros, but never shelled out money for a boxed set, and especially these days, with broadband internet access and CD burners everywhere, I'd assume most people just download the ISO images anyway. I don't think RedHat ever made money with the boxed sets, and most people won't be affected by this move either.
Nothing to see here, move on.

Re:Makes sense.... (5, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479781)

Most people who use and enjoy Linux and want to keep it going do, in fact, "shell out money" for a box set. I put my money where my mouth is; I buy every x.1 Mandrake release and am a Mandrake club member. I also just purchased the definitive guide, even though I think it's a little overpriced, the shipping is too high, the discount for being a club member isn't very much, and the entire book is available to club members (like myself) as a .pdf.

If you particularly like a certain distro and use it for day-to-day use, I suggest you do the same if you want it to survive. Or if it's something like Gentoo, give them the amount it would cost if they had a boxset once a year or so, which would be about $60.

Chris

Re:Makes sense.... (1)

gloth (180149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479814)

Just to avoid the perception that I'm happily living off of other people's work... I "give back to the community" by providing patches or adding new functionality every now and then, to projects that I use. To each his own!

oh yeah? (2, Interesting)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479719)

Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux


Who's the leading distributor period?

Re:oh yeah? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479757)

1. Mandrake: 46.02%
2. Red Hat: 21.33%
3. SuSE: 18.67%
4. Debian: 5.33%
5. Corel: 2.66%
6. Caldera: 2.66%
Others: 3.33%

Linux World Magazine
June 2003

Re:oh yeah? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479957)

That's probably a "most popular distro" poll, not an official measure of true popularity. Red Hat is now and will probably be for a few more years the most commonly used linux distro.

And The Winner Is... (4, Funny)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479806)

Who's the leading distributor period?

I believe that would be www.linuxiso.org [linuxiso.org]

Re:oh yeah? (2, Funny)

mikewren420 (264173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480046)

I thought BitTorrent [bitconjurer.org] was the leading distributor, period.

>-~

Betting the Farm? (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479726)

Of course I haven't RTFA (being on /. and all that), but that's either a very smart decision on turning their focus entirely to the enterprise - follow the money - or they're in the process of pissing every last techie with a knack for Linux (and thus subverting it into the corporate world) off big time.

The two options are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Betting the Farm? (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479770)

What linux techies do you know that go to their local compusa and buy their distros there?
I don't know anyone who has every purchased a boxed linux distro. Everyone just downloads the ISO's so the retail boxes are a complete waste of money.

Re:Betting the Farm? (5, Interesting)

big tex (15917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479888)

I buy the boxed sets, at least every other release. Yes, it's kind of silly, but I like having the "real" CD. It just looks sexier that way.

Vote with your wallet and all of that. Remember, the busisness world counts sales, not people.

Also, I don't program, so it's my way of giving a little back to the nice people at SuSE for sponsoring KDE developers and the like.
I may not have a stall in the Bazar, but I can bring doughnuts to share. :)

Re:Betting the Farm? (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479989)

Everyone just downloads the ISO's so the retail boxes are a complete waste of money.

Not always. Sometimes purchasing a boxed set is cheaper then time spent downloading and burning the ISOs. Time is money.

In the time it takes to download and burn the ISOs, I can walk/drive over to CompUSA, buy the boxed set, walk/drive back to the office and be finished with the install before the ISOs are done downloading.

If I want to install now, the boxed set can be very valuable.

It's a Good Thing (5, Insightful)

mikewren420 (264173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479727)

Red Hat was probably hemorrhaging cash in the consumer retail arena... so rather than continue to fight a loosing battle, they're regrouping and doing what works for them.

It's a novel conect in the IT economy.... focus on what actually makes your company money, and dump what you loose money on. Red Hat isn't a Microsoft... they don't have the capital to piss away to maintain market share. They *need* to focus on what makes money.

Unfortuante but seems sensible (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479758)

I doubt that Redhat make much, if any profit through their retail to the general public so it makes sense for them to concentrate on their corporate clients and let joe six pack down load it if he wants it. Probably means layoffs for the people involved in the shrinkwrapping though

Acutally a good move - service oriented (5, Insightful)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479761)

Red Hat is provider for Linux OS for the Enterprises. They want to concentrate more on the RH 2.1 Advance Server, and not waste too much time on the retailing the distribution.

Moveover since the developers will be actually the one doing the packaging as well, Red Hat's job will become in including those packages in their ES/AS/WS distributions. Making the developer list open to all, will in-turn help them making their ES/AS/WS services better.
They want to be a service oriented company, rather than a product oriented. And this is the only Open Source Model that will survive.

Unexpected (1)

Zarxos (648322) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479763)

This is definitely an unexpected move, but I'm not completely sure whether it's good or bad. I, personally, would never have bought the CDs, since I can just download the ISOs for free, and if I decided to get RHN, I could just register online.

However, now dialup users are basically screwed, unless they can order cds from LinuxISO or some similar site.

So it's kind of a toss-up. How many people were actually buying the boxed version is the real question. If not that many people were buying them, I can understand why they did this, because they were probably losing money.

Developers to decide contents of distro? (1)

perotbot (632237) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479764)

Wouldn't it be better to have the both users and dev decide what they need? In all seriousness, I think the users and developers both need this input. The developers for the nuts and bolts and the users for the apps. This way both groups get what they want WITH what they need. BUT you need to leave a way to easily add components that were not included originally. RedHat is the most "corporate" of the *nixes, and has VERY limited choices out of the box (OO.org as default office is just one), so some more choices would be a good thing.

Two strikes for Red Hat (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479767)

This is #2.

#1 was the one-year end-of-life policy:

I'm perfectly willing to pay extra for ongoing support on old Red Hat versions. I'm perfectly willing to upgrade remotely every year a-la FreeBSD buildworld. I'm perfectly willing to pay extra for a "Small Biz Server" product.

However, all Red HAt has to offer me is "hobbyist version" and an "advanced workstation".

Luckily, Linux is not Windows, I switched all servers to FreeBSD except a few that belong to clients. When they end-of-life, you can guess what OS they will be switched to.

Now here's strike #2: no more boxed set, which I bought regularly.

Tell me Red Hat, don't you want my money?

any difference? (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479817)

i don't think this will make a noticeable difference to Redhat's revenue. Isn't their biggest source of income their corporate customers? i.e. those buying things like Enterprise Edition with a support contract?

So how will they get my money now? (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479829)

Granted, it's not like they were getting $100 a year out of me before - for every boxed set I would pick up (because I was in a time/place where downloading would be inconvenient or just because I wanted to support the company) I've probably downloaded three sets of ISOs off mirror sites... but that still works out to $20 or $30 a year of my money that Red Hat saw. Were the boxed sets really a losing proposition for them?

Was going to happen sooner of later (5, Informative)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479843)

When took one of RH's training classes a few years ago the instructor was telling us that less then 10% of RH's income is from the distro and they would drop it if they could. It was only a marketing tool for them. That most of RH's income is from support, training, and custom development.

Then look at RH's support model they are like Sun they don't want to deal with the lower tier customers, they only want to deal with the large corporations. Guess you could say Red Hat is turning into a traditional Unix company.

Re:Was going to happen sooner of later (1)

buddha42 (539539) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479922)

Cart-Horse

most of RH's income is from support, training, and custom development.

less then 10% of RH's income is from the distro and they would drop it if they could

So they would be supporting, training for, and developing.... what exactly?

Guess you could say Red Hat is turning into a traditional Unix company.

Guess you could say when the lower tier customers don't want to pay a dime, its hard to make a money.

Re:Was going to happen sooner of later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6479982)

If they dropped the distro, what would they be supporting and training people for?

I call BULLSHIT.

About RH Training Course [OT] (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480004)

Just wondered if you'd mind sharing a little info on the Red Hat training course you went on?

I am due to go on the RH253 with Red Hat here in the UK in a week or so - I just wanted to know how you found the course, whether it was worth the money, and if you enjoyed it?

I understand its quite hard going and that they cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time...?

Cheers.

The Article... (1)

mikewren420 (264173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479869)

Red Hat to abandon retail channel

Posted on Saturday, July 19 @ 09:20:28 EDT by staff

Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux, is abandoning the retail channel, the company is expected to announce Monday.

The company's next major release, codenamed "Cambridge," will not be provided in boxed, retail form, according to company communications with employees and developers, which have been made available to Linux and Main.

Additionally, Red Hat plans extensive changes in its development and distribution model. The changes will begin with development lists being made public, and will be followed by return of package maintanence to the developers themselves. Currently, packages are "handed over" to Red Hat developers, who then tune them for inclusion in a particular version. Under the new system, developers will maintain control of the packages.

The company hopes that the changes help to overcome the long lead time needed to produce boxed sets. With a six-month release cycle, and with the rapid pace of Linux development, many packages shipped on CD are obsolete before they ever reach retail shelves.

The reorganization will take place following the release of "Cambridge," scheduled for this autumn.

Details of the new development and distribution model are expected to be announced Monday. The company says it plans to offer developers maximum freedom in deciding what is included in Red Hat Linux without Red Hat itself losing control of the distribution.

Formed in 1995, Red Hat Software has become the most widely used Linux distribution among enterprises in North America. It has concentrated in recent years on enterprise server rooms, training, and distribution by subscription.

This doesn't really matter... (4, Interesting)

ElGuapoGolf (600734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479878)


Let's face it, RH is *NOT* targeted at the types of users who are going to pick up software at Best Buy and CompUSA. Even people who want to try linux are going to be put off by RH.

It's just not desktop/home friendly. No flash, no mp3 abilities, and GNOME, while much improved, isn't quite there yet. (File selection dialog, you know it)

This means that the only distro you're going to find at BB and CompUSA is going to be SuSE, at least until or if Mandrake ever manages to find another retail distributor.

RH is choosing to concentrate on the business space. Which is good, since their efforts there are somewhat lacking. (RHAS is dreadful, but with improvement it'd be decent)

Re:This doesn't really matter... (1)

iantri (687643) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480005)

This means that the only distro you're going to find at BB and CompUSA is going to be SuSE, at least until or if Mandrake ever manages to find another retail distributor.

FYI Mandrake (at least when I bought 8.0) is available in Canada through Business Depot / Staples / Bureau en gros (I would assume, since they are all the same company).

RH is choosing to concentrate on the business space. Which is good, since their efforts there are somewhat lacking. (RHAS is dreadful, but with improvement it'd be decent)

Out of couriousity, what is so bad about it?

Why not (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479883)

Some times you've got to make bold decisions in business. Am sure redhat would have thought up alternative revenue streams to make money. If you're haemorrhaging money its time to think "is there a better way" not carry on down the same road haemorrhaging more money. Plus this packaging rethink would save them enough and, hopefully improve quality

Hmm.. manuals? (1)

peterprior (319967) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479884)

Not sure about this move, I know a lot of people who like getting boxed sets of software with a good sized printed manual in it (SuSE for example includes two manuals in professional, totally over 1500 pages of stuff).

Also, with the whole "Linux is good for use in poor areas, third world countries and countries like india / china", how easy is it to get the software when dialup or internet cafe is the only way to access the net ?

Red Hat Saying "Adios" to Desktop Arena (1)

LazloToth (623604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479902)


What this says to me is that RedHat is pulling out of the "mainstream" desktop arena in a less than subtle way. It's going to be a slug-out between RedHat and SuSE for the server side of things, and RedHat wants to get lean and mean for the fight. I'd say that, in the eyes of RH execs, getting in shape means dumping the pounds associated with desktop distribution support. Sorta sad, but also sorta not. RH has been getting its butt kicked on the desktop for a while now, but has a chance to extend its lead in the back office. Time to have another look at SuSE desktop, maybe?

Dialup users need boxed distros (1)

kirun (658684) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479905)

I have a dialup connection, so a boxed distribution is absolutely essential to me. It isn't a choice between FooProg 1.12.4 and FooProg 1.14.6, it's a choice between Linux and Windows.

I could, I suppose, nip off to the nearest broadband internet cafe, download a load of stuff and burn it. But a box is easier.

This is the great thing with Linux - just because one company goes a certain way, you don't have to follow. Somebody will step in to let you go another.

Relevant Question (1)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479919)

Will I still be able to buy Red Hat on CD from the company? Downloading big ISOs is annoying, and I don't want to buy from some 3rd party vendor that just ships some burnt CDs. I still want an actual product ... nice CDs, manuals, et al. Is Red Hat doing away with this too, or just the distribution of it in stores - will I still be able to buy it directly from then? If not, how in the world is Linux supposed to compete with Microsoft if you can't even BUY IT?! (I know I know, it's available to download for free, but that's just not the same.)

I think you got it (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480009)

Yeah, I'm worried the plan is to effectively prevent people from getting ahold of any Redhat but the enterprise versions that you can only buy with support and a promise to buy support for every copy you use (!).

Is anyone but SuSE real competition in the commercial space? I can't see Debian in corps...

Re:Relevant Question (1)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480049)

Psst. Red Hat isn't the only company producing Linux distributions right now.

If you want to shell out money for a commercial Linux distro, I'd recommend SuSE anyway -- some very powerful configuration tools, a damned nice installer, and some of the best-produced and most thorougly documented paper manuals I've ever seen.

Not accurate (1, Informative)

hp-rh (690793) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479969)

The headline is inaccurate. The information that will be released on Monday is regarding the development direction of Red Hat Linux. Further information on the retail product line will be forthcoming closer to the product launch plan this fall.

Havoc Pennington

Red Hat, Inc.

Lets face it ... (2, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479973)

I have never bought a boxed CD set. I never will it cost £40, if it cost $10 then I would, Linux is in demand at the moment, this demand will most likely grow companies should be working out how best to satisfy this demand not provide a product put some imaginary price on it then expect profits. Companies that satisfy a genuine need and give customers what they need thrive, others don't.

They want the desktop??? (1)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479978)

I don't get it. How can they have made all these moves to become a desktop distro (such as bluecurve and the ensuing controversies) and then they walk away from retail? Retail == desktops!

This move sounds to me like a concession that SuSE and Mandrake have won that market.

Re:They want the desktop??? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480027)

No, preinstalled == desktops.

Reason I've never bought a boxed set (1)

Pettifogger (651170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479983)

I've never bought a boxed set of Red Hat because it always seemed that whatever was on the shelf was an old version. Unlike other commercial operating systems (which will remain unnamed) Red Hat and most Linux distros are constantly changing. It would be next to impossible to keep the latest versions freshly in retail, and the constant changes would probably confuse the average retail shopper. What I would like to see them do is to sell hardcopies of books and manuals.

Smart Move (2, Insightful)

dalslad (648100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479992)

I have to acknowledge them for a good business move.

They have obviouly looked at the retail market and made the same observation as the rest of the software world: Don't attempt to compete with Microsoft in the channel.

Understand that Microsoft eats software companies for lunch by luring them into a den where the buyers for Office Depot, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc.don't know RedHat, Corel, Claris, etc. from the $1 CD's they sell from CD Specialists, Inc.

Microsoft pulls software companies into the retail space just to watch them LOSE money. Red Hat has decided to stop the bleeding.

Here's Another Point:

Nothing in this announcement says that Red Hat will stop providing media. They will continue to provide media just like every other software company you haven't heard about does.

Have you ever seen AIX on the retail store shelf?

This is a very smart move for Red Hat. You'll find the media out there, but someone else will provide ala Mandrake.

Red Hat has a tight lip. They don't elaborate. Yet they keep gaining market share.

Their timing here is impeccable.

People bash Red Hat all the time and Red Hat people just don't answer. They don't get into the frey. But Red Hat developers are on all the mailing lists and they're giving us their time and expertise. That's RH encouraged. I'm an old timer and it's taken me a long time to discover what Red Hat is doing. I may use a different Distribution, but they are good for Linux.

Speaking as a customer (1)

bigmattana (646048) | more than 11 years ago | (#6479996)

I had SuSE installed for about 6 months before I bought the retail package. SuSE has a very nice online package update system, but it still takes a while even with a high speed connection. I finally decided to pay for the retail distribution so I could get documentation and updating packages would be much quicker. (Thought some of the packages in the box might have a newer version online) I would never have paid for a distribution that did not have these two things, especially when you can get the ISOs for free. They are really hurting themselves here. I think very few home users are going to pay simply for support if they are already willing to experiment with a new OS that isn't exactly as simple as windows to deal with.

Off Topic - Minimal Distro (0, Offtopic)

gmenhorn (602062) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480021)

If I wanted to install the most minimal set of the Linux OS (enough to get the system booted and a shell - no other tools) what distro or how would I go about doing this?

It's a real shame (1)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480058)

I always purchased the boxed set of any distro that I was using for longer than a couple of weekends. I have purchased 3 Red Hat versions, and Slackware and Mandrake. I like having the company boxed sets because they usually included some goodies to go with it.

Broadband is only plentiful in some areas in the US. I currently get over 1.5Mbs. The new house I just purchased only has DSL available and it's 19,500 feet to the nearest CO. How fast do you think that will be?

Oh well, as long as Slackware ships boxed sets, I'll be sticking with them.

Hey, the DEVELOPERS will maitain the rpms ! (2, Insightful)

alexk78 (690795) | more than 11 years ago | (#6480064)

I think that you have missed the point where redhat says that the developers of packages will maitain their own rpms for the distro. As a developer that had to create rpms, i see clearly that this move would influense the way developers produce - distribute their programs. If a developer maintains the rpms, he will probably tell people to use them in their install, this would mean that he would tell people to use RedHat to install the software on !

RedHat is simply recognising, like Microsoft, that is has to attract developers for it's platform, so that people would develope for RedHat platform, not for general Linux.
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