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Will Red Hat Survive? 158

An anonymous reader writes "Red Herring has an in-depth analysis interviewing industry experts on what the future of Linux distributor Red Hat will likely be now that Oracle is offering cheaper support and services essentially identical to Red Hat Linux. Will Oracle purchase Red Hat? Or is it not yet too late?" From the article: "Mr. Dargo countered that Oracle's move indicated a lack of understanding of the value that Red Hat's support and service provide. But he noted that Red Hat could be vulnerable if Oracle manages to provide better service. 'If the strategy at Oracle works out, Red Hat is going to face some serious issues, but I don't think it is going to work out,' he said. 'There are lots of opportunities for Red Hat to do some aggressive and creative things to turn around.'"
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Will Red Hat Survive?

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  • Re:Prices (Score:5, Informative)

    by OffTheLip (636691) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @06:20AM (#16620950)
    Red Hat charges a premium for RHEL AS, less for ES and WS is priced similarly to Microsoft products. Fedora on the other hand is free. I don't see a problem here. What RHEL does for business and government is offer a validated, supported and, most important for my organization, certfied product. RHEL4 is Common Criteria Scheme certified at CAPP/EAL4+. This means we can use it without justification something we can not do currently with Fedora or the new Oracle offering for that matter.
  • Probably not (Score:3, Informative)

    by cpbrown (794387) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @06:20AM (#16620956) Homepage
    I don't think that it will. It is one of the original heavyweights but in the face of newer and more specialised distros it no longer occupies a suitably small niche in order to ensure its long term continuation.
    In my opinion, most serious developers will keep to a lighter distro, and most newbies will keep to a nice flowery distro such as Ubuntu, which prides itself on ease of use. Red Hat is no longer necesarry. Compettition will inevitably drive it away in the ever dynamic food-web of free software.
  • Identical? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @06:59AM (#16621060) Journal
    Oracle is offering cheaper support and services essentially identical to Red Hat Linux

    Some people [groklaw.net] like to differ over that.
  • by eldepeche (854916) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @08:41AM (#16621434)
    They're not doing something anticompetitive, they're doing something competitive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2006 @09:09AM (#16621534)
    Fedora on the other hand is free.
    There's a good reason Fedora is free. It's not a production OS and it never will be, for that would conflick with RedHat's ability to sell its "enterprise" products. You can use Fedora if you want to debug problems for RH for free.

    As Bruce Perens said it a while ago:
    Fedora project is obviously intended to look like Debian. But unlike Debian, Fedora is an extremely unequal partnership. "Fedora" is where the community developers are supposed to build Red Hat's product, while the certifications and vendor endorsements are held back for the high-priced "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" brand. This is especially obvious in recent certification announcements: the Common Criteria certification will go to "Red Hat Enterprise Linux", not "Fedora". And of course the entire steering board of the Fedora project are Red Hat employees. Red Hat recently announced a second draft of the leadership structure for Fedora, in which they have eliminated voting, expressing the need to keep control in the hands of Red Hat's management.

    But the most ludicrous aspect of the Fedora project is that with Fedora, Red Hat seeks to achieve what Debian did long ago. Because they can't (and shouldn't) control Debian, they decided to re-invent the wheel. It would take them years to achieve a fraction of what Debian already has.
    If you need a stable, easy-to-administer, well-established production OS, I would suggest Debian [debian.org].

  • by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Saturday October 28, 2006 @09:38AM (#16621688) Homepage Journal
    >>> Red Hat charges a premium for RHEL AS, less for ES and WS is priced similarly to Microsoft products

    Everytime I have approached Red Hat for volume licensing they are **ALWAYS** more expensive than Microsoft. In fact the latest bid is 100% more; that is Red Hat is twice as expensive. (this is not for AS).

  • by lukas84 (912874) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @11:50AM (#16622560) Homepage
    I work in sub-200 people environments in switzerland. So my perpspective might differ a lot from yours, but i've found microsoft to offer good value for their money.

    1 CHF (Swiss Franc) = 0.80 US$

    If you're a sub-15 people company, and only have one machine, Microsoft Small Business Server is a good bet. You can get the Standard Edition for 800 CHF, and the Premium Edition (includes SQL Server and ISA Server (no idea why you would want that)) for 1300 CHF. Each includes 5 User CALs, So for 15 people you need two more five packs or about 1000 each. This price doesn't include support, though. Also, i'm not much of a fan of SBS because of several restrictions (only a single domain controller, Exchange and DC on the same machine), but these are the standard practice in such small companies.

    Microsoft offers their SBS server for up to 75 users. I don't think thats a good idea.

    Companies in this size usually don't have any IT staff, so self help is important. With windows, the people at least feel that they can try to fix problem themselves (which they usually can't). With Linux, this isn't the case. (Just because windows server offers a GUI for 80% of it's functions doesn't mean that it's simple).

    Windows is mostly the only choice if you are cooperating with other companies. Some might offer their shipping calculation program only for windows, some specialized ERP software might only be available or windows, etc. pp.

    I've found windows to offer the best SMB desktop management, everything from redhat etc. seems to be geared at big companies with a standard desktop images. Group Policies are a fucking cool thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2006 @12:07PM (#16622732)
    ...has been um... not always great.

    OK, actually, it was always terrible. Is this just our bad luck, I wonder? In any case, I wouldn't say that all RedHat support engineers are at the same level as Redhat's kernel developers - to say it mildly.
  • Re:Prices (Score:2, Informative)

    by billycongo (1019512) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#16622972)
    I think this would be a good time to complain about RedHat. Like many institutions we were using 7.2 on our servers and 8 on our desktops when RedHat decided to pull out the carpet as a Christmas present. Their prices were outrageous (roughly 5 times as expensive as SuSE at the time), and when we mentioned SuSE, they laughed and said, "I hope you're fluent in German."

    We transitioned to SuSE with very little trouble, and we were happy with their aggressive march to the 2.6 kernel, which RedHat found to be premature. A couple of years later they came by again, and we thought that perhaps they would be a little less arrogant, and willing to talk about prices. Nope. Their attitude was, "SuSE will fail, and you will come crawling back to us."

    This particular attitude of theirs wasn't just limited to our business. I heard it from other sysadmins who seemed to be genuinely happy that SuSE has worked out as well as it has. I'm now with a business that uses RedHat and they can't stand them. They are even thinking of moving to Solaris.
  • Re:Prices (Score:2, Informative)

    by fimbulvetr (598306) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:43PM (#16624396)
    Also... why ship X11 at all? This Oracle Enterprize Linux should be focused at the server-side, shipping with a pre-installed Oracle DB, an Java EJB Container, and a nice web-based console to administrate all that.

    I don't know if you've ever installed oracle, but some of the reasons why any good admin knows oracle is written by a bunch of incompetent java monkeys are:

    #1. It requires a gui to install. (Not the newest XE, but seeing as it's not entirely popular yet, I won't include that here.).
    #2. Passwords have no case preservation and use weak hashing. Easy as pie to crack.
    #3. Virtually non-existent security team and patches.
    #4. Unreasonably resource intensive. Default install will install tons of java, its own apache, use gobs of space even with no data stored.

    The list goes on and on...

    While a RHEL install has its downsides, an oracle RHEL should be enough to share the shit out of anyone.

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