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Red Hat Dismissing Microsoft, Oracle

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the cool-under-fire dept.

Red Hat Software 41

Robert writes to tell us Red Hat's CEO Matthew Szulik is encouraging customers to take Microsoft up on their support voucher offer for Novell's rival Linux system in order to "get the issue over with." Dismissing the impact that the Microsoft-Novell deal has had on business, Szulik is just happy to see customers taking Microsoft's money. "Szulik also dismissed Oracle Corp's attempt to under-cut it on Linux support on similar grounds, insisting that customers were unlikely to be convinced by cost savings that are a small percentage of their overall software spend."

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Dismissing? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18067356)

Every time Col. Klink dismissed Hogan, the fun was just about to start.

Red Hat... Yellow Pants (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18075498)

Red Hat sounds like it's speaking from that sinking feeling in the pit of it's stomach, the one that knows a team-up between Microsoft and Oracle can clobber it.

MS is, let's face it, the most trusted name in operating systems and support. In my job, I've had to deal with MS's support people plenty of times, many times face to face, and it's been nothing but positive. Microsoft has the "Corporate Kevorka", because they are proven to get things done. Corporations run on "getting things done", or else they fail. ...Or they just cry and whine and blame everyone else and beg for VC money, but that's not a good business model.

And while I'm not a big Oracle fan, they are a pretty big name, respected in the DB industry. They, like MS, have a rep of "getting it done".

So what does Red Hat have to offer, aside from a counter-culture mystique which only appeals to tech tinkerers, nerds who aren't all that concerned with "getting it done"? Being a member of the FOSS cult isn't going to please shareholders, and that shrine to Lunis isn't impressing executives.

I'm not a fan of having non-technical people make technical decisions, and in my experience, it's always been the IT *Professionals* (not the tinkerers) who have pushed Microsoft products. I know I'll get modded down for saying all this, but... it's all 100% true.

Professionals don't like to be relaint on "the community" for their support. When you have a mission-critical server go down at 11am, "the community" isn't going to go those extra steps to get you up and running ASAP. That's why business... REAL business... always needs to go with the guys who "get it done".

Re:Red Hat... Yellow Pants (2, Insightful)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18080944)

Microsoft dominates the IT industry, so most IT professionals are comfortable with Microsoft. You will only recommend a product you already know.

I work at a company with eight developers. I am one of two that can install, administer, and program for Linux. The other six have only ever used Windows. Our customers all run Windows in their offices. We do everything on Windows because Windows is ubiquitous, not out of any inherent virtues it has over Red Hat. It's simply cheaper to buy product licenses as necessary and reuse existing Windows -only software than to train six developers on Linux, migrate our existing software, install Linux on our existing servers, and convince our customers to migrate. Or in other words, the technical case for Linux is never even discussed because at least for right now the business case is weak.

I have to imagine the same thing is true in other companies, too. Microsoft wins because it's already present, and because more developers and administrators know how to use it. That doesn't necessarily say anything about its superiority (or inferiority) as a product.

Re:Red Hat... Yellow Pants (1)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094240)

Microsoft dominates the desktop portion of the IT industry. It is only one of many players in the much more competitive server and middleware space, and its offerings are inferior to the competition except for two advantages. One is the ease of integration with its desktop and development tools. Second and probably more important is the large pool of people who know or think they know Microsoft technologies. The perception in many IT shops is that this pair of advantages translates into lower cost, which, in the short term, it usually does. In the longer term, vendor lock-in and constant platform churn (deprecation of APIs, etc.) represent a huge cost, but this doesn't bother IT managers much, because it's mostly internal. It translates into a steady stream of work for their development and sysadmin staff, which they can sell to the business as "upgrades" and "improvements." Dumb businesses buy this, so M$ makes a lot of money, even in a space where its offerings suck. Smart businesses don't, and M$ makes a lot of money from them too, but only on the desktop.

Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (5, Interesting)

rohar (253766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067410)

Having attended Oracle Openworld this year and being an Oracle DBA in a large AIX/HP/Solaris environment, I don't think the Oracle Linux support offering is negative for Red Hat or Linux in general. Oracle is attempting to get Linux buy-in from larger corporations that are traditional Unix shops with the idea that offering the same level of support for the OS as the DB on servers that are usually running databases exclusively is a reason to switch from traditional Unix.

I don't think that there will be many customers that are already running Linux and purchasing support from Red Hat switching to Oracle Linux support, but I think the Oracle support of Linux and their IP indemnification of Linux is overall good for Linux adoption in the enterprise.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (2, Insightful)

growse (928427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067778)

Indeed. Big companies are where the money is, and if they're not a linux shop already, they're nervous of unknown companies like Novell and Redhat coming along and selling something to replace their unix/windows/whatever boxes with.

With Oracle/Microsoft behind it, buying linux looks a bit more attractive.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (2, Informative)

justinchudgar (922219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068830)

they're nervous of unknown companies like Novell

I started my career in IT installing a NetWare server in a trucking company that had previously used Wyse terminals connected to an IBM big-iron box in the early 90s. During most of the 90s I worked on Novell NetWare networks in companies like Westinghouse, Bank of America, GTE, Marriott Intl., etc. It was only when Windows 2000 came out that the customers I worked with started leaving the NetWare fold. Even now, I just finished a gig with a municipality helping them finish their transition from NetWare to 2003 Server. And, in 2007, they still have not migrated away from GroupWise.

So, though NetWare is a legacy product, Novell is very well know, and, in many cases liked, by corporate IT managers. I have very fond memories of using tools like ZenWorks to roll out hundreds of Windows 98 clients with little hands-on effort while RIS and SMS were just a gleam in Mr. Balmer's eye. Though I have no data to support it, I would be willing to bet that Novell has a lot more brand recognition than Red Hat in the enterprise market.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (2, Interesting)

growse (928427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069372)

I agree, because of past ventures such as Netware, Novell is more widely known to companies than Redhat. However, awareness of MS and Oracle blows them out of the water.

If I, as a company, have a yearly spend of £50 million with Oracle (quite feasable) I'm going to be more likely to seriously consider Redhat as a supplier if Oracle tells me that they're a good idea, because I have a relationship with and trust Oracle.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (1)

rohar (253766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18076134)

I too started out my IT career as a Novell CNA and we even ran Oracle 8 on Netware for a while at a small startup in 1998-99. The company I am at now replaced the Novell servers with win32 a few years ago, but the brand is well known. The Linux servers we do have are Redhat, but that is due to the Suse/Novell deal coming late in the game.

The adoption of Linux for Oracle database servers at my company has a few major obstacles, and none of them are to due with the branding or the support behind a Linux distro.

  1. An attempt to lower the number of OS's we are supporting and running Oracle on (currently AIX,HP and Solaris), consolidating on AIX.
  2. The little-endian/big-endian issue of having a x86 and RISC environment and overhead with Oracle transportable tablespaces and physical database copying/moving between byte formats.
  3. The effect Linux has had on traditional Unix and medium iron is there currently is a relatively competitive price from IBM, HP and Solaris. This is especially true when you are loading servers with 32GB or 64GB of RAM. The hardware/OS cost of x86/Linux vs. RISC/Unix doesn't have that much of a gap when you look at TCO across the server lifetime. The Oracle licensing per processor makes the TCO of the servers high, the savings on x86/Linux becomes a small fraction of the total database server capital and maintenance cost.
These aren't "show-stoppers" and with 10G we will be doing some Linux.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (1)

Gigaflynn (1008043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067810)

maybe RedHat realises what the oracle meant, and can see that as there is no spoon, there is no money either

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (5, Interesting)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067858)

The other rationale that came right from an Oracle guy presenting at the local LUG was "one throat to choke." He said that customers didn't like calling Oracle support only to be told their problem was a Linux issue and then calling Red Hat and be told it was an Oracle issue. To the extent that people install RHEL only to run a Linux server, customers will probably migrate to Oracle. Oracle Linux isn't positioned as a general purpose distro but as a platform for an Oracle database (hine: don't call Oracle if you have a Samba issue).

In a similar vein, the same person said that Oracle is pushing current Windows customers to migrate to Linux. It seems Oracle's Windows support spends more time dealing with Windows issues than Oracle issues. Oracle Linux isn't a way to go after Linux distros. Larry's ultimate target is Bill.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is a good thing (4, Informative)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068376)

Oracle Linux isn't positioned as a general purpose distro but as a platform for an Oracle database (hine: don't call Oracle if you have a Samba issue).

My boss attended the last OpenWorld and had a much different opinion than your own. We (web developers) actually had to convince him not to change our current software stack out for their "Red Stack." It consisted of Red Hat Linux with Apache, PHP and Oracle DB but here's the real kicker: as long as we ran on Oracle's "Red Stack" they would support our custom PHP code with everything else. They are supporting more than Oracle DB - they're supporting the whole webserver stack as well as any code you write on that stack - so I would have to disagree with you on the impact of this issue.

Re:Oracle Support of Linux is bull sh*t (2, Insightful)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070912)

Oracle is absolutely full of sh*t. I've been to LinuxWorld, I've been to OpenWorld, and I've seen their PHP talent. As someone who's supported and developed PHP for 8 years (since php3) I encourage you to maintain a strong distrust for this company's claims about their software. Ellison is not to be trusted with application software, just look at how many application stacks he's wasted. At this point, Larry is a has-been yacht salesman. The sales team at Red Hat will decimate ORCL in the next few years. Wait and watch. Heck, even Cisco is on the JBoss+RedHat bandwagon (CAS/CAM/NAC/MARS/etc.) and soon all if Cisco's clients will be too.

Brilliant! (4, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067428)

As we've seen in the past, completely ignoring your competition is the best way to deal with them.

Red Hat's new mascot = the ostrich.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067514)

I don't know, he might have a point.

FTFS "Szulik is encouraging customers to take Microsoft up on their support voucher offer [CC] for Novell's rival Linux system in order to "get the issue over with.""

If people do say 'hey, I want support now please' it will end any question about whether RedHat has something to worry about. I'm leaning toward the thought that the results of asking MS for Linux support will turn up on viral news sites all over the place with hilarious results. Can you remember the Verizon Math? or any number of other customer support nightmares that got published on the Internet?

Re:Brilliant! (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079830)

Maybe I should put some of the transcripts from my RH support coversations up... While not quite in the same class as Verizon Math, they're not far off. Microsoft support is actually quite good compared to RH.

Having said that, but the time I call RH for support, I've exhausted all other avenues. With Microsoft, because I don't use it as much and my knowledge isn't as good, I call earlier, so the questions are easier. But their overall professionalism and response tends to beat RH.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

Canth7 (520476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069416)

As we've seen in the past, completely ignoring your competition is the best way to deal with them.


Red Hat's new mascot = the ostrich.

Why not? Ignoring the competition has worked wonders for Novell.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

billycongo (1019512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073610)

I'm not so sure it's ignorance. This is perhaps the most arrogant company I have ever dealt with in my life. Most of the other companies out there who have competition don't treat it mildly. I'm not sure where the arrogance comes from, but they're just sitting in RedHat HQ with smirks on their faces. When we threated to move to SuSE they said, "Good luck reading the German manuals." When we let them come back and pitch their product again, they made no concessions on price, and said, "We'll still be here when Novell goes under."

Sad (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067444)

but true... It's getting to the point where software in general but especially the Linux and OS community is more and more about politics than about the software itself....

Yes, moderate me down you bitch.

Irony (2, Insightful)

avdp (22065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067508)

insisting that customers were unlikely to be convinced by cost savings that are a small percentage of their overall software spend

It's sort of ironic that this has been Microsoft's argument again Linux all along. It all comes down to "Total Cost of Ownership" and which vendor's completely made up numbers are more believable (and which "research" firm they've "sponsored").

encouragement (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067524)

If people rush to use the support voucher, then microvell will only be encouraged to do it again.

It makes sense for Red Hat to go it alone... (-1, Flamebait)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067650)

It makes sense for Red Hat to go it alone, because everyone can run their entire enterprise on 100% Red Hat OS's. Sound about right?

Oracle, pfft (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18067686)

When Oracle announced that they were going to rebrand and sell Red Hat, most people that posted comments on this site were up in arms over this. Anyone that does business with Oracle would have known how insignificant the announcement was. Dealing with Oracle sucks. I can phone three different sales reps and get three wildly different prices for the exact same configuration. Sometimes the pricing depends on how their products are going to be used, sometimes not. Without getting into more specifics, I can think of no other word for their sales department, other than 'greasy'. The only reason we still buy some products from Oracle is because we have to.

For all their warts, doing business with Red Hat is a dream compared to Oracle.

Oracle, pah! (2, Interesting)

Macka (9388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072500)


Re-brand and sell Red Hat? Don't think so. Sell support for Redhat, yes. That's not the same as re-branding it.

The big problem with Oracle selling support for Redhat is this. If a customer discovers a bug in Redhat that requires a code fix and reports it to Oracle, who gets to fix it, Redhat or Oracle? "Oracle" I hear you say, because they have access to the source code.

That's all well and good, but what guarantees do you have as an Oracle customer that Oracle's fix is going to be included in Redhat's source tree? Answer: none! Redhat aren't beholden to you or Oracle, because you don't have a support contract with them.

So the next time you run up2date or upgrade to the next Redhat errata, what happens? Your application breaks again because your Oracle specific patches aren't in the Redhat code tree.

The only solution for Oracle is to run their own patch servers so that with every errata Redhat ships they can apply their own code fixes before allowing you (their customer) to update. What a headache for Oracle! Think of the overhead they have to swallow. The admin costs. The server environment costs. The developer costs. The QA costs - assuming they bother to QA the Redhat updates after they've changed them (cos Redhat won't).

And Oracle are supposed to do all this and run a profitable support service for less money than Redhat? Bollocks they can!

Enjoy your unified Oracle support while you can, because I don't see it lasting very long.

Re:Oracle, pah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18075034)

The only solution for Oracle is to run their own patch servers so that with every errata Redhat ships they can apply their own code fixes before allowing you (their customer) to update. What a headache for Oracle! Think of the overhead they have to swallow. The admin costs. The server environment costs. The developer costs. The QA costs - assuming they bother to QA the Redhat updates after they've changed them (cos Redhat won't).

And yet somehow Red Hat manages to do all this with fewer than 1/50 the employees that Oracle has. Adding a couple of update servers and a group to merge patches isn't significant to a company already running tens of thousands of desktop machines, internal servers, and a hosting business, and which has supported its software on every major OS platform for the last 20 years. Especially when Oracle is using the same OS builds internally and has to do all the work anyway.

Re:Oracle, pah! (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18078850)


There is also the question of whether Oracle would be allowed legally to just compile their patched versions of Redhat's source RPMs and offer them up over the internet to external customers. I think they would have to strip out all mention of Redhat from the source to prevent copyright infringement the same way that CentOS does.

I wonder if there are any Oracle linux customers out there who could chip in on this conversation and tell us what Oracle are really up to.

Re:Oracle, pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18085842)

As a greasy sales person, I can tell you often enough the 'sales bullpen' full of 'vibrant young men in their prime, the swiftest, bestest of the enterprise' are often in reality mushrooms. Often teams are kept apart so there is no chance of anything coming to light before the powerbrokers are ready to reveal, if that moment comes at all. What your against is a monopoly, not always a greasy sales person. If the person seems like they are working for you they probably are, with tied hands. I tried selling memory recently to the channel. The channel told me I was nuts trying to sell them at what they charge retail. The powerbrokers told me I was nuts and should close the deal in one call. "How many are you ordering today sir". I told them I was not a clone and walked out. Not everybody can do that or wants to do that. If they were paying me $100k to smile, take the abuse and say idiotic things, I might still be there. No harm in asking and occassionally you get a sale simply by asking. Personally I am not the type to not listen to the customer, but as I just admitted, the stakes about replacing the salary have not been that high either. I have always made it up by being successful in sales. If something gets in my way, IE people in charge, I don't sit still and put up with it, but what about the poor sucker who is caught in a trap? I think you are calling some of them.

Great title (2, Funny)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067746)

Am I the only one that, upon reading the title, thought about how difficult a decision it must have been to fire both Microsoft and Oracle at the same time?

Re:Great title (1)

alexjohnc3 (915701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067878)

What's that you say? Szulik set Microsoft headquarters on fire?

redhat has brand name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18067754)

I really don't think redhat will be effected that much on support cost. RedHat will always be more expensive because they've got brand name recognition and they roll out a nice enterprise linux line. My only complaint about the rhel line is the compatible repositories that don't include popular applications that debian and ubuntu has. I'm going to make the switch to UbuntuStudio when it comes out in april.

Read all about it... (2, Funny)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067794)

Company dismisses competitors. News at 11.

TroLlkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18067866)

[klerck.org]? everyday...Redefine networking test. *BSD has steadily Another 7older. 20 towels on the floor there are some s4id. 'Screaming and coders most. Look at the

My distro... (4, Interesting)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18067998)

Is bigger than your distro... Frankly, while I can understand why the people who run one distro want to show that they are better than the other distros... it is one of the things that holds linux back a bit. You get the diversity of development that comes from the different groups producing distros, but to the public who might want to try linux, it gets very confusing to sort between them if they are not technical. I mean you look at ubuntu's "linux for human beings" which implies that the other distros are not for them... And before anyone mentions that vista has six versions, they are all from MS, clearly enough delineated with a dot chart, and there are sales people there ready to steer you to the most expensive version. It would be at some level in linux's interest to have the distros look at some kind of mutual marketing strategy to help people sort out the differences between them so they can pick the one right for them, at least on the desktop side. The server people for the most part are learned enough to figure it out.

Re:My distro... (2, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069338)

It would be at some level in linux's interest to have the distros look at some kind of mutual marketing strategy to help people sort out

First off, I agree with you 100% about Linux adoption being dependent on clear choices and direction for users that don't have the skills to decide for themselves.

That said, in whose best interest is it? As an example, I'm a Debian guy now, use it for almost everything. But if I decide I want to start a business tomorrow selling PC's with Linux the first thing I'm going to do is settle on two, maybe three configurations. I'll sell a light server (console tools only, light on resources, perfect for a firewall), a "GUI" server (Ubuntu, maybe Etch with all the GUI server tools I can find, perferabbly web based) and a Desktop (Ubunutu out of the box, would have to think about whether or not to install the codecs and binary drivers based on legal issues). Or something like this anyway, I'm not going to actually sell PCs and don't have business model ( as if you couldn't tell :-).

My point is that I don't think you'll ever get the "guru" community to give up making new distros and promoting them over each other. What we'll hopefully see is Vendors picking a few distros, or one, to work with and then offering various levels of software for a) different hardware configs (server vs. laptop) and different needs (media PC, desktop, server, etc). Using different distros can actually help this process as a lot of them are created already for specific purposes.

Even though MS sells all their choices and (somewhat IMHO) clearly labels them users are still confused by the choices. Heck even with XP I always have people asking "What's the difference between home or pro?, Tablet and media center?", etc. And sure, they could get the info themselves by looking it up, but I think users will always ask a friend or a guy in a best buy before they'll take the time to look it up themselves.

Bottom line is, no one "owns" all and everything "Linux" at the moment so it's in the best interest of those who want to sell it to trim the choices down for users.

Re:My distro... (1)

DJ Wings (954277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069362)

Is creating your own Linux distro the new blogging? Are you to blame for DistroWatch's ballooning distribution count? Will all the feuding "developers" ever shut up? Stay tuned for another exciting, -1/troll-rated episode of... Linux-family Feud (aka "10 Good Reasons to Switch to Slackware or Arch And Just Stay There") Now, here's Mark "Thank God for Freedom of Speech" Shuttleworth with the WPOV weather forecast.

Re:My distro... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070376)

You get the diversity of development that comes from the different groups producing distros, but to the public who might want to try linux, it gets very confusing to sort between them if they are not technical.

Some of us realise that ultimately, we are the only people who are likely to have our best interests at heart. Steve Ballmer would not consider my life or my wellbeing to be worth a blade of grass, most likely...and so he isn't a good person to entrust my wellbeing to as far as using a computer is concerned. If I want to make sure I have a computing environment that I can really trust, I have to do it for myself.

You might not enjoy having to think, but the alternative is that people who do not care about you will make the same decisions for you. You not making choices doesn't mean that they don't get made. It simply means that they get made for you by people who have their own welfare in mind. Not yours.

I hope he didn't really say that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069100)

...software spend...

In places where English is spoken (or American for that matter) we might use software spending as a noun.

I hope Szulik hasn't really joined Dogbert's corps of jargon-spewing management zombies....

Makes sense to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069496)

Although RedHat is quick to dismiss this as a plot by Microsoft, I see the logic behind MS aligning with Novell. For me it makes perfect business sense, given their acquisition of Microsoft-related technologies like Samba, Mono and Evolution, in adiition to their strong presence in areas important to Microsoft's Future, like Identity, Virtualization and Management. Many (including some vocal people in the Samba Team) don't like the idea of Novell warming up to Microsoft, but if you're an Enterprise with both Linux and Microsoft in the data center, it might sound quite enticing...

Calling Microsoft for Linux Support (2, Funny)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071858)

I just know how this is going to turn out:

*ring* *ring*
Customer: Hi, I'm having a problem getting apache to start automatically when my server boots.
Tech Support: Oh, apache can't do that. You should switch to IIS. It will start automatically.

Novell Victorious (1)

nikanth (1066242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18077356)

This deal has clearly made Novell the victor, as many big corporates are going for Suse.

Microsoft Response to Zsulik's Comments (1)

AlexGr (1054296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084548)

Interesting response reported by Todd Bishop, Seattle PI: In response to Red Hat CEO, Matthew Szulik's comments dismissing the impact of the Microsoft-Novell deal on Red Hat, Microsoft director of corporate communications, Jeff O'Mara, told Todd Bishop/Seattle-PI that many customers are leaving Red Hat and looking for a Microsoft-Novell solution for a variety of reasons. http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archi ves/111803.asp [nwsource.com]
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