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Red Hat Software Businesses

Red Hat Network for the Masses 218

Posted by michael
from the real-men-use-apt dept.
Outland Traveller writes: "A few months ago I sent some feedback to RedHat concerning their then $30/month RHN subscription service. I asked them to consider offering a $5/month low end version more suitable for home users with multiple computers. I'm sure that a plenty of other people offered the same suggestion, but I was still surprised when I opened my email this morning and found that the exact service I asked for is not only being offered, but that fast access to iso images has been added as well, among other improvements. I guess I now have to put my money where my mouth is :) Seriously though, this should be good news for people who download RedHat's .iso images but want to financially support RedHat in a way that makes sense."
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Red Hat Network for the Masses

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  • by NevDull (170554) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:11AM (#2909150) Homepage Journal
    If I want fast downloads, I'd paypal them a buck or two for a day or two of access to high-speed servers with ISOs. But a monthly fee whether or not I get anything of use to me?
    • by friday2k (205692) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:14AM (#2909159)
      I have to disagree with you. Do you think a "pay-per-download/view" model would really work? On a voluntary basis? I think the offering that RH makes to you adds a lot of value and is really affordable. It is like hushmail.com, a nice secure email package I simply pay for because I like it. And I can help them support OpenPGP and other open standards. And this is exactly what RH is trying to achieve and what, IMHO, makes a lot of business sense.
      But these are only my $5/month worth of comments.
    • by ShaunC (203807) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:44AM (#2909211)
      Looking at the big picture, I think I'd rather have the option to pay $5/month than pay $30/month.

      After using Redhat linux for a couple of years, I decided to buy the upgrade to 7.0 last summer instead of just downloading it. For one thing it was simpler to get the CDs in the mail than to figure out what to download and roll my own. I also felt good supporting a company that's treated me well (RHAT +150.00 in two weeks...) in the past. But I never did activate my support, because it was only good for X number of days and after that I'd have to pay almost as much monthly as I'd paid for the bundle. I decided to save my code until I absolutely needed the support.

      I'd feel more comfortable activating my support today, knowing that I'd only have to pay $5/month upkeep for a bit less service, than I'd have felt activating the support when I got the 7.0 CDs. I've always been in favor of choices, end-user empowerment, the idea that the person using software should be able to make the decisions. In that light I think Redhat has made a good move here. The more expensive option is still available to those who can afford it and would like the "VIP" treatment, but the cheaper option probably appeals to more people.

      Remember that Redhat is a corporation, and needs to make money. I'm willing to bet that there are at least six times as many people willing to pay $5/month as there are people who are willing to pay $30/month. Offering the lower grade of RH Network will likely be a profitable decision as well as one that pleases consumers. Maybe I'll buy stock again ;)

      Of course, I still ain't subscribing to the support unless I really need it! But when that day comes I'll be much happier that there's a less expensive option.

      Shaun
  • to debian's bug tracking system, and report a bug.
    instead of those $5...
    www.debian.org
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If I use Debian, I obviously won't pay 5$/month to RedHat.
      If I use RedHat, I obviously won't report anything to the Debian bug tracking system.

      Also, you seem to equate 1 minute to 1 dollar.

      If that was true, 5$/month for RedHat Network would be a nice investment, since it's very likely that a subscription would save you at least 5 minutes a month (searching, downloading and installing updates manually can take a lot of time sometimes).
    • by cymen (8178) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [givnemyc]> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @10:25AM (#2909446) Homepage
      Where do I submit the "stable is taking forever to release, why don't you guys just give up" bug report on bugs.debian.org? Seriously, Debian isn't a viable alternative for an up to date linux server which many people need. If a stable release comes out every 5 years what is the point? I like running Debian unstable on my laptop but stable on servers? No way...
  • by tunah (530328) <sam@@@krayup...com> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:19AM (#2909164) Homepage
    was "Outdated Systems View". Looks cool, you hit a button and your floppy drive starts spitting out ticker tape and the screen shrinks and displays in monochrome "Insert card, face down, 9 edge first"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:22AM (#2909168)
    Instead of a small LAN with a few computers at home, I have a Beowulf cluster. Would this service be of value to me?

    Thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:30AM (#2909186)
    Mandrake has something similar. It is called Mandrake Users Club and you can sign up as low as $5/month. I bet this is where RedHat got the idea.
    http://mandrakelinux.com/en/club/
    • by joestar (225875) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @09:57AM (#2909408) Homepage
      This is funny to watch the Red Hat/Mandrake couple synergia with constantly one taking ideas to the other to progress; remember: Mandrake was the first to provide ISO images, Red Hat did the same soon after, Mandrake was the first to include a remote update tool, Red Hat did the same soon after, Red Hat was the first to offer online services, Mandrake did the same soon after... This is a very nice example of good competition.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:31AM (#2909190)
    Why do slashdot editors feel the need to undermine the stories they post with comments such as "real-men-use-apt". If a user posted a comment with that title it would rightly be moderated as flamebait.
    • by uncleFester (29998) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @11:45AM (#2909612) Homepage Journal
      Real men use make.

      (I'm sure soon someone will degenrate this to 'real men use as...')

      -fester
    • Why do slashdot editors feel the need to undermine the stories they post with comments such as "real-men-use-apt". If a user posted a comment with that title it would rightly be moderated as flamebait.
      You might find them much more humorous if you didn't feel you have to agree with them. They're little unintrusive jokes and quips and you can easily get in the habit of skipping over them if you really must.

      Don't let them bug you. Nobody mistakes them for part of the story, and Slash is far enough removed from a news site that the editors ought to be able to relax and have a bit of fun.

  • by MiTEG (234467) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:33AM (#2909192) Homepage Journal
    I don't know what the current costs of bandwidth are for RedHat, but assuming everyone who pays the $5 downloads all four CD iso's of 7.2, that's a good 2.6 GB. Sure, it's better than not getting anything for it, but the increase in traffic their going to have might hit them pretty hard. I've NEVER downloaded anything from the RedHat servers simply because the mirrors are so much less busy and a whole lot faster.

    Personally, I'd much rather see the in-store retail versions of RedHat drop in price to the $10-15 range for the latest version. I'd be more than happy to pick up a copy (can't have too many Linux install CD's lying around). Most of the documentation can be found online, and there are probably a lot of people like many that just want the CD's and don't really care so much about support. Right now, the current list price for RedHat 7.2 is $59.95, and it can be bought for $48.95 [buy.com] at buy.com. This company really ought to think their strategy. The distro market is pretty competitive right now, and 59.95 is a hell of a lot of money to spend on a free OS.
    • by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:48AM (#2909216) Homepage Journal

      This company really ought to think their strategy. The distro market is pretty competitive right now, and 59.95 is a hell of a lot of money to spend on a free OS.

      I don't think that selling boxed copies in stores is Red Hat's primary motivation. I think their going after the enterprise. That's why they want to sell subscriptions at $30/mo/machine. You buy, or download, one copy of RH and install it on as many machines as you want. But if you want enterprise level support to keep those machines "up2date" then you can pay the monthly fee.

      If you're big enough, you can buy the soon to be released "Red Hat Network in a Box" where you can run you're own completely autonomous Red Hat Network w/in your own corporation. (Info from a Red Hat guy who recently visited our LUG.)

      Box sales in stores is likely to always be part of their market. But IMHO, it's not their primary target.
      • The "Network in the box" feature sounds like a way for redhat to gain some market share in the corporate desktop market. Whenever I discuss Desktop Linux to the "MCSE crowd" one of the big sticking points is Windows RIS (Remote Installation Services).
      • Up2date keeps breaking. It's been awhile since it actually damaged my system (that was an early version), but it's currently (after only a week or two) gotten to the point where I can't use it because of segment violation. This isn't the first time, either.

        Red Hat is a basically quite good product, and I like it a lot. But based on past experience I wouldn't pay a nickel for up2date. (Ok, maybe I'd pay a dollar [but NOT a dollar / month!].)
        .
    • There's two ways to look at it. When I pay $60 for a distro (Mandrake is my choice), I know it's going to a good cause. I feel like I'm contributing to a good cause. So, $60 isn't too bad. Plus, you the manuals in print which is a nice bonus.

      On the other hand, I don't know what people who don't know about "free" software think about shelling out $60. My guess is, they're reading the box and thinking "geez, thousands of programs on 7 CDs and still much cheaper than Windows. Plus, my buddy said it's really cool. Ok."
    • by Myxx (21264) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:18AM (#2909248)
      I don't know what the current costs of bandwidth are for RedHat

      I know how much they are paying because I work for the company that hosts their FTP servers. Trust me...they sit upon dual OC-48 feeds, right on the backbone which means low latency. I don't know what kind of bandwidth they commit to each month but I do know our company loves them. But that kind of access costs. You folks should appreciate the free downloads and help when you can. I have always bought my Red Hat CD.

      Myxx
      • I totally agree. Those fat pipes aren't free, and neither are the developers putting it all together.

        I usually buy the box set when it comes out just to do my part to kick in. I think I'll probably sign up for this for the very same reason.

    • [Red Hat 7.2] can be bought for $48.95 at buy.com.

      I noticed at that buy.com page, under the section where it says "customers who bought this product also bought", the first thing listed is Microsoft Visual Basic C++ Std 6.0. There are some confused or soon-to-be-disappointed people out there.
    • Basically, in case you didn't notice, they've discontinued the two cd set. So, now the cheapest version you can buy is what used to be the deluxe version, hence the price.


      Mandrake has done something similar. The download version now no longer comes in a box, it's just $5 per cd. It's simply not worth the effort for the distro companies to make these cheap versions, which is why they are now making various types of subscription services.


      Red Hat has never (okay, I take that back, maybe at some point they did, but not for very long) expected to make money selling their distro to consumers. Where they make their money is selling to corporations, and the home version is basically just advertising.

  • by StarHeart (27290) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:37AM (#2909196)
    I wonder when someone will reverse enigeer up2date and make an open source up2date server. So you could just pay $60 to redhat to download the update full speed, then turn around and at as a server to your lan to update all the others. The source is avaiable for rhn_register and up2date, both GPL, so it wouldn't be that hard.
  • Very good thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by junkster191 (551312) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:42AM (#2909205) Homepage
    This seems like a very solid move on redhat's part. The RHN is a well run system that fits in perfectly with the open source philosophy, and the only thing that kept me from getting all my machines on it was the cost. But now, I'll probably go ahead and subcribe. Also seems like a good financial move, since locking people into a monthly subscription-for-service type contract is a great way to make a lot of money, and seems to be what most companies are striving for nowadays (especially MS). Hmmm, I wonder what kind of transfer rate I can get now on the ISO images from the T3 at work?
  • Seems Expensive to me. I've been downloading and installing Suse using FTP and floppy disk for my last few installs, getting all the support I need from newsgroups. The financial support comes in the form of the 3 distros I've bought from them over the years. (Total cost about 3 years subscription to a $5 a month service)

    I know the various distibution makers HAVE to make money but I cant see that this adds any REAL value to the product by subscribing.

    Im sure someone will now inform me other wise...
  • by ellem (147712) <[ellem52] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @06:58AM (#2909229) Homepage Journal
    You hate M$, you love Open Source, you think Linux Roolz, you probably have $60 bucks somewhere. Just send them the money,

    RH puts out a decent product and will probably be the last Linux standing tall at the end. Just give'em the $60 bucks and prove that you are more than a 1337 h4x0r and someone who actually cares about this whole Open Source, anti M$ thing.
  • by Michael Wardle (50363) <mikel@mikelward.cCOUGARom minus cat> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:07AM (#2909237) Homepage
    It's unfortunate that Red Hat has not offered this service sooner. I moved my home systems to FreeBSD [freebsd.org] only last week as it's much easier to upgrade to the latest release version [freebsd.org] (or even [freebsd.org] to the latest CVS version) or to get a package of a recently-released application [freebsd.org]. Similar benefits [debian.org] can be obtained from Debian [debian.org] GNU/Linux as well. Both can be upgraded at no cost.

    From my experience of Red Hat [redhat.com], even if I did want to upgrade to a more recent version of Red Hat Linux, I wouldn't trust it to an automated system. I upgraded a Red Hat 6 production server to Red Hat 7 last year, and so many things broke I was quite disappointed.

    I guess this service will be useful for those home users who want to automatically pull down the latest security patches, tho.

    (For those who don't know, the quote [geocities.com] is from Red Dwarf [reddwarf.co.uk], a British comedy.)
    • I finally managed to get to the Red Hat Network site, where it is described like this:

      Red Hat Network is an Internet solution for managing one or more Red Hat Linux systems. All Security Alerts, Bug Fix Alerts, and Enhancement Alerts (collectively known as Errata Alerts) can be retreived directly from Red Hat. You can even have updates automatically delivered directly to your system as soon as they are released.

      So this service does not actually offer the ability to upgrade to the next Red Hat Linux version; it only offers patches for your current version.

      Does this mean Red Hat still has no upgrade facility other than rebooting the server and booting from the install media? If so, then despite the RHN being a useful service, it seems that Red Hat still doesn't provide the functionality I want.

      If I could do a live minor upgrade (such as 7.1 -> 7.2) of a Red Hat system it would definately be a step in the right direction.

      I also wonder how a major upgrade (such as 6.2 -> 7.2) could be made smoother, considering the substantial changes between major versions.

      The Red Hat Network is a good start, but some more tools are needed to ensure that upgrades are easier to perform, and are more likely to succeed.
      • I also wonder how a major upgrade (such as 6.2 -> 7.2) could be made smoother, considering the substantial changes between major versions.

        FWIW, I recently upgraded a RH6.2 machine to 7.2 (actually 7.2.x, since there are several packages that have been released since 7.2) using up2date and had no problems. up2date finds all the dependancies and gets everything you need. Granted, I did have to reboot when it was done in order to load the new kernel, but it was much easier (and had less downtime) than upgrading from the CD.

    • I'm with you. I run FreeBSD on my home server. I disagree with Debian being an option - "stable" is just too freaking out of date to run and unstable on a server just isn't tempting. I run Debian unstable on my laptop though.

      At work I caved in and decided to just move everything to RedHat. I hope RedHat works on up2date/rpm/whatever so you can move from one release of the os to another with minimal breakage just like FreeBSD and Debian. If I ever colocate a box there is not a chance in hell it will run RedHat. My first choice would be FreeBSD just for ease of maintenance. When you can't get to the machine physically without a lot of time/effort/$$$ why run something that is simply inefficent for your purpose. That's the way I see it...
      • It would be nice if the debian crew came up with a release branch somwhere in between stable and unstable. Something that was a little more up to date than stable and a little less bleeding edge than unstable.

        Oh wait, THEY ALREADY HAVE. It's called testing and if you had read any debian news within the past year you would know about it.
        • It would be nice if the debian crew came up with a release branch somwhere in between stable and unstable. Something that was a little more up to date than stable and a little less bleeding edge than unstable.

          Oh wait, THEY ALREADY HAVE. It's called testing and if you had read any debian news within the past year you would know about it.

          But testing does still break periodically. Testing is - well - relatively untested.

          Debian is a great distribution and definitely has its niches, but it seems fair to ensure that people don't think the testing version is comparable to what RedHat is offering. RedHat releases undergo a good amount of testing. With Debian testing, you're the one doing the testing.

          If you can't afford some down time now and then, or if you aren't comfortable doing a bit of command line work when your X server suddenly doesn't come up after an upgrade, you need to steer clear. Stick with ancient Debian 2.2, which may be the most stable release on the planet, or look elsewhere if you need the newer whiz bang stuff without giving up a ton of stability.

  • "Fast" ISO Downloads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:16AM (#2909245)
    Just bought my subscription today, didn't even know about the recent price reduction. The system views are nice. One of the features I like the best so far is the ability to compare systems.

    Update the dev server, test, compare with production, and schedule an update...

    mmmm.. nice.

    On the other hand, I haven't even been able to *start* a download from the supposed fast servers. I wonder if everybody is download extraneous isos for fun now.....
  • Old model (Score:1, Troll)

    by nagora (177841)
    The whole RPM thing is dead as far as I'm concerned. I've used RH since version 5 and I'm leaving it now (in stages) in favour of Debian, although I'm going to try Sorcery on one machine to see how it goes.

    The reason is obvious: dependancy hell. I've had enough of it. Any system which uses RPMs is simply too hard to maintain.

    If RPM5 comes out in the next month or so and supports a high-quality dependancy resolution system I might still stick with RH, but I don't expect it to.

    TWW

    • Re:Old model (Score:2, Informative)

      by havardw (180104)
      Not that I think that Debian can't be a better distribution in some ways, but have you looked at APT for RPM [tuxfamily.org]?
    • Yeah your right, I think that dependancy hell is the main thing holding linux back on the desktop, apart from a relience on Xfree (this ones a bit controversial) and the lack of property applications and now games I guess :-( (these last two being something that open source let's linux get away with).

      Right now it is simply too hard for a "average" person to update and install software on their box, For example, say my mother wishes to install the new version of evolution, she goes to the web site and there are 20 different types of packages to install (one for each distro), so she takes a punt, and then finds out that there are 20 different dependant packages, For linux to progress there need to be two standard install systems, consisting of a binarie version and another source version, for EVERYTHING IMHO. Doing this my mother would simply have to download one file, double chick and the programs installed, and by not having to think to much avoid confusion

      People aren't dumb rather they tend to get the shits when they have to do a whole host of things just to "install fscking outlook clone".

      Personally Im curious to why it seems to be taking so long, after all RPM's haven't really changed much since Red Hat 5.

      Also while Apt get is definitely a step in the right direction but a newbie might think that having to download other programs when they have just downloaded the principle package a bit "rich".

      • lack of property applications

        What like?

        Generally, I think the Sorcery Linux model sounds pretty good. I find that I'm compiling more and more software on my systems so a source-based method appeals and also gets rid of the "which version" issues with binary distros.

        TWW

      • Dependency Hell?

        Difficulty to install stuff?

        Gamming issues?

        Try Mandrake Linux Gamming Edition:

        WineX for your gamming needs.

        Nice GUI/CLI for unified install /uninstall / upgrades .

        urpmi (the CLI) solves "dependency hell". The front-end "rpmdrake / MandrakeUpdate" is the nice GUI front-end.

        In two words: it works.
    • The whole RPM thing is dead as far as I'm concerned. I've used RH since version 5 and I'm leaving it now (in stages) in favour of Debian, although I'm going to try Sorcery on one machine to see how it goes.

      The reason is obvious: dependancy hell. I've had enough of it. Any system which uses RPMs is simply too hard to maintain.


      Then, Try Mandrake Linux 8.1 and urmpi.

      This is an "apt-get /install / update" for RPMs. With GUI (rpmdrake or MandrakeUpdate) and CLI (urpmi)interfaces. Works with RPMs located on a local / exported directory (hint! NFS server on your network!) or from http / ftp servers.

      Pretty cool. It works. Really. Give it a try. I love it.
  • So what is the exact difference between the $5 and the $30 subscriptions?
    Do the $30 subscribers get more bandwidth, faster access to updates, or even more stuff?
    Redhat has to offer something to still get people to get the more expensive subscription
    • by EvlG (24576) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:55AM (#2909273)
      Read the site.

      But for the lazy, the $30 is really targeted at Enterprise customers. It offers support for things like multiple admins, grouping systems to perform updates on a group, etc... It's suited for running more than 4 or 5 machines in your apartment. Think hundreds, or even thousands, in the workplace.
  • by SysadminFromHell (535868) <yvanNO@SPAMsanctamaria-aarschot.be> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:56AM (#2909274) Homepage
    I`m using Ximian Red Carpet for almost half a year now, and I`m wondering what`s the difference between these. Seems to me that all the advantages (fast servers, package control,...) are also available in Red Carpet, for free. PLUS when you use RC, you don`t only have the RedHat Channel, there`s also Ximian Gnome`s own channel, Staroffice, Loki Games, Codeweavers, ... I`d like to support RedHat in some way, but there must be something I can`t get elsewhere.
    • I tried Red Carpet a while back. Just took a look at Ximian.com. What's the deal? Do you pay them a certain amount per month or is Red Carpet free with purchase of $30/$50 package? If there isn't a monthly cost how do they stay in business?

      In a similar note I wonder how the hell debian.org can afford the bandwidth for all the apt-get'ing. I know there are plenty of mirrors but still...
      • Redcarpet is free to use as a basic services but they also have "premium" package for 10 bucks a month that quarantees faster downloads (this might also mean that some packages appear later to free mirrors, but atleast, redhat channel seems to be quite fast since all upgraded rpms appear usually the same day as redhat puts them out..). Weird part is that after this premium service was launched, redcarpet got shitload of new mirrors and atleast for me, downloads have been really fast.(+800KB/s)
    • For a single machine I think Red Carpet is the way to go.

      For multiple machines, RHN apparently can update multiple machines from one Web interface, which I'll bet is a lot more convenient.
    • I`m using Ximian Red Carpet for almost half a year now, and I`m wondering what`s the difference between these.

      When you try to upgrade to RedHat 8.x, you'll find out. The hard way.
  • I like it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EvlG (24576) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @07:59AM (#2909275)
    I upgrade RedHat twice a year - I always run the most current. I look at the $60/machine as 2 purchases of a $30 edition (do they even make the $30 edition still). To have the machine update itself with a click of the mouse, even if I am away from the box out of town is a nice benefit as well.

    Also the Instant ISO program. I hope they have the bandwidth, because I intend to take full advantage of it on release day. Saves me from a trip to the store, 2 or 3 weeks later.

    I've come to love RedHat over the last 4 years of using it since switching from Slackware at RH 5.1. I'm pleased with the convenience this service offers, and I am quite happy to give them $5 a month to keep my server running well.
    • To have the machine update itself with a click of the mouse, even if I am away from the box out of town is a nice benefit as well.

      There's really no need to pay for this sort of thing. Searching for "redhat update" on Freshmeat reveals 5 GPLed update tools. I even wrote one myself to meet my university's specific needs. Download it, run it with -writeconfig, edit the config file to point to your favorite mirror, copy the script to /etc/cron.daily, and you're set for automatic update retrieval.

      Beyond basic "rpm -Fvh" functionality, it can be configured to send mail to a specific address when updates arrive, ignore certain packages (with regexp support), and write a script which performs the updates when run.

      It's called HURL (Hurl Updates Redhat Linux), and you can get a copy here [brandeis.edu]. Drop me some mail if you like it or have suggestions.

      • And what are you going to do when Red Hat has to shut down because everybody is such a cheap bastard?

        Free software is a totally different mindset. There will always be a way to "beat the system", but if everyone does this there will be no commercial system to beat. Some may think this is a good thing, but we all owe a lot to companies like Red Hat, even if you use a different distrobution... even if you use debian.
        • Well, my university supports Redhat. We bought something like 100 copies of 7.2 deluxe (or whatever they call it). We just chose not to pay for RHN because it doesn't fit our needs.
          As far as personal use goes, people who are cheap wouldn't buy RHN anyway and would just do their own updates. At least this way their machines can be secure.
          Should people not use the GIMP because they could buy Photoshop? Certainly the free software movement owes Adobe a debt for their ideas, if not for their code.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    According to their site, the proxy caches updated rpms, and the satellite basically acts as a RHN server, serving up the web stuff.

    Has anyone actually used these servers with the workgroup service? I couldn't find any reference to them in the Red Hat Network Workgroup User Reference Guide 1.0 [redhat.com].

    For that matter, has anyone used the Workgroup service? Opinions?
  • ... but does anyone see anything about $5, or even any lowered prices at all? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what the poster is getting at, but all I see is $60/year for RHN, and $240/year for the new Workgroup service. Sure, there are improvements, but I don't see anything making this better for the home user...
  • by TheLinuxWarrior (240496) <aaron@carr.aaroncarr@com> on Sunday January 27, 2002 @08:58AM (#2909336)
    I think when I first looked at RHN it was $20 monthly. If I were still at a company that was running linux servers, I would definitely pay that fee. Right now however, the company I work for only allows linux in a pilot environment.

    At home though, I have a 10 machine lab, most of which run Redhat on them. But still, if I want to get RHN, that's $240 per year. Like I told Redhat, I can get a Windows license cheaper than that, and that includes free use of the Windows update service. So if I have a two year upgrade cycle, I've paid $440 to Redhat, while paying about $200 to Microsoft. The difference being that if I remember correctly, that $240 annually to Redhat covers up to 10 machines, while the Windows fee only covers one. Still though, it's not like I grant myself a large IT budget for home.

    Now that the cost for a home user to sign up has come down, I can definitely see myself using it. It makes updating much easier, and it allows me to do my part in supporting the Linux distribution that I prefer.

    • At home though, I have a 10 machine lab, most of which run Redhat on them. But still, if I want to get RHN, that's $240 per year. Like I told Redhat, I can get a Windows license cheaper than that, and that includes free use of the Windows update service.

      You're going to run a 10 machine lab of Windows machines for less than $240 including upgrades to their latest OS, or are you talking about just buying one copy of Windows for all 10 machines?

    • If you have ten machines at home, you are spending (probably) at least $240/mo. in electricity. Who knows what for connectivity.

      Your home IT budget is bigger than you think.
  • Okay, besides the cost, and maybe not even that, what's the difference between this kind of subscription and M$'s ?
    • Okay, besides the cost, and maybe not even that, what's the difference between this kind of subscription and M$'s ?

      Yeah, why are people so happy about this, when they would be foaming at the mouth if Microsoft wanted to charge you $5/month?

      The difference is that Red Hat is not pointing a gun (or a team of salespeople or lawyers) at your head and forcing you to sign up for this. You can buy (or download) one copy of Red Hat, install it on your 1,000 machines, and never pay them another cent, if that's what you want to do. The fact that RH gives you that option make people (including me) happy. So far, I've chosen not to subscribe to any Red Hat services. That may very well change someday, but when I want it to.
      • Yeah, why are people so happy about this, when they would be foaming at the mouth if Microsoft wanted to charge you $5/month?

        Simple - I can install RedHat for free. I have to buy M$ at a cost of $100-$200 every year or two for each machine. Too expensive for me for what I get.

        Thats why I never used RHN - too expensive for my little LAN of 5 or 6 machines. But $60/year for the service seems like a great deal. And I can't help but feel lik ewhen $ goes to RedHat its almost a donation where money sent to M$ feels like gettin grobbed - can't explain why though :)

        • And I can't help but feel lik ewhen $ goes to RedHat its almost a donation where money sent to M$ feels like gettin grobbed - can't explain why though :)

          Because they release everything (or most) as open source?

    • by yerricde (125198) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @01:17PM (#2909854) Homepage Journal

      what's the difference between this kind of subscription and Microsoft's ?

      If you don't pay Red Hat, you can still use the software you have, and you can get new software off rpmfind [rpmfind.net]. If you don't pay Microsoft, on the other hand, you lose your right to use the software because under a rental agreement, you are not the owner of a copy, and in the United States, 17 USC 117 states that the owner of a copy can dictate terms of use.

  • This works out to $60/year. Consider that a home user with a single computer spends about $90 every 2 years to upgrade his/her version of windows. That's buying very upgrade that comes along. Drop that to every four years, and a windows person spends about $20/year.

    For these people, RedHat costs 3x more to keep updated than windows. Granted, more software comes with RedHat, even in the stripped down versions.

    Still, I think more reasonable support contracts for individuals can only help these distro companies. I've been asking the same from Mandrake every chance I get, but to no avail.
  • "from the real-men-use-apt dept."

    I guess those "real men" don't have to work at a company that makes any money.

  • I sent similar feedback in response to an email from RedHat, with the same $5 / month idea. As you said, I have a feeling quite a few others had the same thoughts.

    I usually buy a packaged version when it comes out, it keeps me current, gives a little back to RedHat, and gives me the n days of support. But only one machine. With 2 at home (as I figure many have with one 'user' machine and a firewall) I could use RedHat Network for updating, but I had to keep switching machines in order to use up2date. For me, the $5 / month is worth the time savings in using up2date vs. doing the individual downloads of each fix. As someone else said, guess I'll now have to step up to the plate and pay it :)
  • I asked them to include the subscription in their "professional" edition, somewhat like they used to with their previous incarnation of RHN. I work at a business that a) doesn't have an account with RH (we buy from a vendor) b) doesn't have a business credit card. I don't want to use my own credit card and expense it, nor do I want to go through the rigmarole of setting up and account. This change doesn't impact me much.
  • I purchased the 7.0 boxed set some time ago and originally the service was supposed to be offered for a limited time. RedHat then decided to give the service for free to one system if you bought the boxed set. I still have free access.

    Are they still giving the service away for free if you purchase the official boxed set? I've used Caldera 2.4 and Debian 2.4, but I came back to RedHat because of the RedHat Network service. I did use apt-get extensively when I had Debian, but I found RHN easier to use. Just my opinion. This is the right price for this service, and I posted this opinion to RedHat's feedback form. I'm going to get my brother and sister to sign up, as I got them to start using RedHat some time ago at 7.0. Of course, my brother still uses Windows for Everquest.;(

  • RHN vs. Red Carpet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Outland Traveller (12138) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @12:11PM (#2909683)
    I've used both Ximian's redcarpet updater and RHN. Ximian's client is very slick looking, and I like how you can subscribe to different channels. I also like you there's an option to install RPMs from a directory- this makes Redcarpet useful as a general RPM frontend.

    Red Hat Network doesn't look as elegent, but it has more functionality overall. RHN gives you emails of critical updates and errata tailored to your actual systems. It gives you a single point of management for multiple computers. One thing that I tried yesterday was to schedule the install of new RPM packages on one of my tower systems from my laptop. It worked great! Also, I love how you can exclude packages from being upgraded. It's very annoying to have to click on every individual update manually in red carpet just because if you hit "update all" it will update a package you want left alone (usually replacing a more up to date version with a downgraded ximian version).

    I'm used to periodically checking for updates manually, and then pushing them down to each system as needed. This saves a lot of time if you can spare 60$ a year for each additional system (you get one system free).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You know, you pay $30 a month, and get stuff that degrades over time? Maybe "Red Hat" will be the new MMORPG.

    "I'm a 40th level Zealot with the staff of ESR and a hair from the beard of RMS, I'm gonna kick your ass"

    Seriously though, accountants love this "constant revenue" model. That's why you'll see it take over. A little money now, and a little money forever!

  • by petis (139263)

    "Seriously though, this should be good news for people who download RedHat's .iso images but want to financially support RedHat in a way that makes sense."

    I don't know about you guys, but isn't the best way to make money to offer a service or product that people are willing to pay for because it's good; rather than hoping on donations because people like the company?

    That said, I have no clue wether this service is worth the money or not, I am merely reacting to the wording of some of the posts. To me it sounds like some of you are looking for an excuse to donate money to RH. They should be able to survive without you being kind to them. That will never work out in the long run. So, I hope that those of you who will pay for this will be paying for the right reason; because it's worth it, not because you want to be nice to RH.

    Oh. I guess this is troll -1.

  • by flacco (324089) on Sunday January 27, 2002 @01:30PM (#2909897)
    I would be all over this if:

    1) RHN would NOT store my machine configuration on their servers. I see no reason this can't be stored on my machine.

    2) Red Hat would coordinate with Ximian so that their releases coincide. Let's say $9/mo for Red Carpet and RHN combined. This would cover all system and basic desktop updates; both RH and Ximian might want to keep a level or two of premium service beyond this basic service.

    Maybe even offer different desktop subscriptions, so that $9 might get you RH+GNOME, or RH+KDE.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      > 1) RHN would NOT store my machine configuration on their servers. I see no reason this can't be stored on my machine.

      This is _optional_. You don't have to do this.
    • 1) RHN would NOT store my machine configuration on their servers. I see no reason this can't be stored on my machine.

      Bandwidth. If they have to interrogate every system to see if it wants the S/390 updates and the Sparc updates etc. every time, that costs them more money than the disk space to store your architecture.
  • It would be really cool if the Redhat Network supported the Content-Addressable Web [onionnetworks.com] so that we could automatically download our ISOs from the closests avaliable mirrors, and even download from multiple mirrors in parallel.

    Stay tuned for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference [oreillynet.com] where we will be unveiling a companion set of technologies to the CAW that will change distribution of open source content forever!

    If anyone wants to know more about CAW before the conference, please contact me at justin_at_onionnetworks_dot_com

    --
    Justin Chapweske, Onion Networks [onionnetworks.com]
  • ...is their insistence on making FAM and sunrpc portmap *ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY* to run KDE. FAM (File Alteration Monitor) is a daemon that monitors files for changes. I guess that the "logic" behind it is that it's less cpu-intensive to have one daemon constantly strobing files on your harddrive than half-a-dozen programs doing it simultaneously.

    Since FAM is not a "well known service", the only way for the system to work is to...
    1) fire up ye olde sunrpc portmap on port 111 listening to the whole world (ARRRGH!!! Hello Lion/Ramen) and have FAM register itself with portmap.
    2) FAM is then assigned a random port (could be above or below 1024) and listens to the whole world (ARRRGH!!!) on that port. Other programs can query portmap to find out which port to talk to FAM on. Oh yeah, the "-L" (local listen only) commandline option *IS IGNORED IN THE DEFAULT LAUNCH MODE* (i.e. xinetd). So *OTHER COMPUTERS CAN MONITOR YOUR FILE CHANGES*. ARRRGH!!!

    Linux users have long laughed at Windows where *DESKTOP CLIENT PROGRAMS* are security holes. But here comes Redhat with a "feature" that, out-of-the-box, makes your filesystem activity viewable by the entire internet as well as exposing two open ports. WTF were they thinking when they did that ? More succinctly... were they thinking when they did that ? Planet earth calling Micro^H^H^H^H^H Redhat; isn't it time your boss man sent out a memo telling his programmers to put security ahead of features ?

    How many newbie end-users are going to know how to properly update portmap and hosts.deny and hosts.allow and iptables to protect themselves? Redhat should've set the port number in /etc/fam.conf, and have it readable by any programs that want to talk to FAM. Or howsabout a sunrpc clone and FAM that bind to interface lo, rather than eth0 ? Make it secure and closed to the outside world out-of-the-box, and force people to port-forward via ssh if they *REALLY* want the rest of the planet to be able to monitor their file activity.
  • Why would people pay $5/month per machine to keep software updated when a well-designed free solution already exists? "What's that?" you say. (Oh no.. another Debian zealot..) Just consider this a moment:

    1.) As a sys admin, if you're smart and value your time, you'll be using mostly diskless workstations to begin with. No, I don't mean what Sun calls diskless workstations. I mean ordinary full-featured PC's with no hard disks. Or if they do have hard disks, it's only for a cache of the networked filesystems. So there, right off the start, you don't need this RHN silliness because by very nature, diskless workstations don't need updated, only the server does.

    2.) So lets say you're a home user with only 3 machines, making it silly to set up diskless workstations. There's still a better way. First, you use Debian. One machine is your 'test box.' Use both the Debian testing and unstable sources. (unstable is rather misleading if you think that implies the kinda useless mess that is Mandrake's 'cooker' tree. Debian unstable is quite stable enough for all but heavy production systems) So anyways, once a week, on your test box, you do:

    apt-get update; apt-get upgrade

    This will upgrade *everything* installed on the machine as packages. Most likely everything is fine, but if you're worried, use the test box for a couple days to make sure everything is stable. All other machines should have a weekly cron job that uses your test box as a package source and performs the same operation.. but 2-3 days after the test-box upgrade, just in case something broke.

    It's that simple. The RH people need to wake up and realize that they need to sell an actual solution if you're going to make money. Repackaging free software is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
  • This is probably OT, because there must be something I'm missing since I really cannot understand what this fuss is all about?

    The RedHat ISO images have been available for downloads for years. Numerous ftp sites around the world mirror them. (check /pub/linux/distributions/redhat or alike from any of your nearby university ftp site and get overwhelmed with the bandwidth)

    I understand the interest for 'update -u' (which is the RedHat equivalent of the Debian 'apt-get upgrade'), but that's been also running for over a year now and having used that on a dozen or so boxes I've never payed a dime for that.

    Besides, the rpms and srpms are always available on numerous ftp mirrors in the redhat directories, and will continue doing so. After all they cannot charge for the software, only for the service. And ftp mirrors around the world is also something that they cannot charge for, which actually is the kind of service I'd be willing to pay for... :)

    For the record, the RedHat up2date service has been well worth the $5 a month, even $30 for a bit older (i.e. working) users.

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