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Will Red Hat Survive? 158

Posted by Zonk
from the hold-on-to-your-butts dept.
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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  • Prices (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kangburra (911213) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:28AM (#16620788)
    Red Hat have been over-charging for a long time. If Novell had done something decent this would not be happening now.

    Oracle will give them some healthy competition, may the best distro win. :-)
    • Re:Prices (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chabotc (22496) <chabotc@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:01AM (#16620910) Homepage
      > may the best distro win.

      Umm in both cases the 'distro' is Redhat Enterprise ...

      if oracle's distro wins to much, they will have killed their 'upstream' distro provider, and who's patches and fixes and developments can they then "follow, releasing our updates only a day later".

      Anyhow, it is a very healthy vote of confidence in RHES, it seems to become the 'new' LSB .. But lets hope oracle is smart enough not to kill their supplier :-)
      • Re:Prices (Score:4, Interesting)

        by vhogemann (797994) <victor@noSpAM.hogemann.com> on Saturday October 28, 2006 @07:49AM (#16621458) Homepage
        And Oracle didn't made a good job copying RHEL either...

        From the screenshots I've looked at, they couldn't even manage to get the icons right: http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/sc reenshots/scaled/Oracle%20Enterprise%20Linux%20R4- U4/36.gif [thecodingstudio.com]

        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.

        It would be a much smarter move to partner with RH and a hardware vendor to push an Oracle Appliance to the market. Plug it, configure some basic parameters via web interface, and start using! This would add something to Oracle, simplicity, something that they currently lack, and that could make a difference aggainst the competing DB products.

        I don't know if Oracle actually has the expertise to sell support, and mantain, a linux distribution. Their first attempt at putting one thogether is patetic.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by fimbulvetr (598306)
          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 h
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by billycongo (1019512)
        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
    • Re:Prices (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jkrise (535370) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:09AM (#16620926) Journal
      "may the best distro win."

      RedHat is much more than yet another distro... though it's the biggest distro by a distance. And a database is not the only thing that a distro is used for....

      How can one trust Oracle to look after businesses developed and serviced by RedHat - that has NOTHING to do with databases at all? Or even middleware / ERP?
    • Re:Prices (Score:5, Informative)

      by OffTheLip (636691) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:20AM (#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.
      • >>> 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).

        • Could you put some specifics to this?

          Lets say I have a 2,000 person company and I want the following services on as little boxes as I can get by with.

          File/Print
          Web server/application server - both internal and external
          Database server (to house custom shopping cart style web application + internal apps)
          Content Management Server
          Email + Scheduling
          Development Tools
          General support, say 8:00am to 5:00pm type of stuff.
          Virtual System support, so the company can have a "test" and "development" environment.
          Virus cont
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by lukas84 (912874)
            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
            • If you are a sub 15 person company couldn't Fedora or OpenSuSE work well for you? You get everything for free and the GUI isn't bad at all. The other advantage is that the sub 15 person company loves to use the server as a "workstation" also. You would loose that temptation with Linux.

              The other advantage is that you don't EVER have to worry about CALs. It seems to me that the only real advantage that Microsoft would have would be that it has AD. Granted it isn't a true directory, but it can provide a m
              • by lukas84 (912874)
                The answer is, of course, it depends.

                If you are a information technology company, it might be possible and might even have lots of advantages to use linux exclusively.

                However, if you are not an IT company, i don't see linux to stand a chance. There are some technical reasons here, but also social reasons:

                The technical reasons:

                * Software, which the company needs might not be available under linux. Using VMs or WINE might solve the problem in the short term, but what if the a new version doesn't work anymore?
      • by msobkow (48369)

        Ok, so RedHat provides buzzwords and certs so managers and business owners can comfort themselves with the warm fuzzies that their techie has a cert. Is the cert really that much better than Microsoft's various techie certs? Has a cert ever actually demonstrated someone has the skills and training needed to do the job right, or does it just prove someone had the time and money for a course?

        Clearly certs aren't enough to maintain a company of RedHat's size, or there would be major competition from compa

        • Clearly certs aren't enough to maintain a company of RedHat's size ...

          Maybe so, but having the certs is the ONLY way that Linux of any kind would be approved to deploy on certain networks. No certs, no deployment. Pick a different OS platform. Period. As far as having and maintaining these certs go, RHEL is the only game in town.

          We've been waiting for years for someone to get a Linux distribution, any Linux distribution, approved for a particular DoD network that we deploy our systems on. We can't do

          • by msobkow (48369)

            Sorry. I should have clarified that I was referring to admin and developer certs, not software certification.

            By definition a software vendor is certifying their product for it's purpose, despite the handwaving disclaimers of many licenses.

          • by msobkow (48369)

            I almost forgot...

            My understanding was that most of the military/DoD certifications require a complete software development history, identifying who made any changes and when. I'm not sure that OSS could ever qualify under that requirement.

            Personally I wouldn't worry much about the milspec markets. I don't see Linux as "better" than Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, BSD, or QNX when it comes to development. It's philosophical and marketing differences that I like about Linux, and I can't see that being relevant

      • by steve_l (109732)

        Windows pricing is hard to compare, because its so variable. A copy of XP pro over the three year life of a PC is less than RHWS; but add on the cost of CAL licenses to network infrastructure (exchange, file servers) and the price of a PC rises. Same for server installs -the cost of the database scales with the number of users you want to support.

        On the other hand, if you are a developer with an MSDN subscription, you get all of windows, office, much of visual studio for a flat rate, less than an AS subscri
      • I downloaded the first two disks of FC 6, and am trying to install to dual boot with XP.
        I already have the partitions set up, having used QTParted in my knoppix remaster, see screenshots below.

        -- Rapidweather
    • Oracle might steal some of the mindless drones from RedHat but more likely it'll hurt Novell and similar companies that also have also-ran distros from a big name company with no future. Most of us that have been using Linux for more than a few years will stick with RedHat or Debian. Since RedHat is known for their extra support most companies employing these people that actually know how to use Linux will probably opt for RedHat.

      Pardon me for saying so but most of the people I know who use distros other th
      • Novell's distro (AKA SuSE, free version at http://www.opensuse.org/ [opensuse.org]) is not exactly an unknown also-ran distro. They had several years of experience before being acquired by Novell.
        Now SuSE is often, and to some extent justly, accused of being overly eager to look like Windows. But I still consider it a distro that can be recommended to Linux newbies. It is easy to install and get started with, and from there you can work your way up to more "hardcore" distributions.
        • by Afrosheen (42464)
          So, you're saying that SuSE has become the Mandrake/Mandriva of the Linux world? I've had 2 SuSE installs (10.0) with completely broken package managers on fresh installs over the last few months. Granted this is the opensuse that you mention. I keep trying and it just won't work. I still think Mandriva is superior for the desktop but I wouldn't use it on servers.
        • by MikeFM (12491)
          Exactly - SuSE isn't a hardcore distro. I'd suggest it to someone that is new to Linux and wants a lot of stuff thrown in just to se what kind of packages are available. It's good for a first taste. It's not very good for serious server use. My biggest complaint about SuSE is YaST which is fine for toying around but really puts it's toe in the soup when you're trying to do anything serious. It's also somewhat buggy. A recent install for a friend reminded me why I don't care for it. During installation it ou
    • Keep in mind, that Oracle is pushing the same distro. The real difference is who will give better service at lower prices. A lot of ppl here say that Oracle will crush Redhat. Yet these same ppl knock Oracle for their service and security (oracle is not that bad; they are much better than MS).

      My belief is that Oracle will pull some of RH's coders to their side as well as hire new folks. These ppl will enhance Linux at a much faster clip, which feeds back into Fedora. RH will come down in price but not down
    • by mrmeval (662166)
      Overcharging and dumbing redhat down down. I will be switching out my desktop and servers soon.
  • If Redhat dies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unixmaster (573907) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:41AM (#16620834) Homepage Journal
    What will Oracle rip^^^base its Unbreakable Linux on?
    • You worry too much. The simple answer is that even if redhat dies, Oracle has the source code. They would simply roll their own. In fact, if Oracle is smart, they will push a desktop system with their business apps. As they make inroads, they might consider a new network computer (ala thinknic (but offering flash instead of a dvd) or Sun's java station).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by burnin1965 (535071)

      What will Oracle rip^^^base its Unbreakable Linux on?

      More importantly where will businesses go to get their linux OS upon which to run Oracle?

      Yes I know, Oracle will provide the OS and that is the idea behind Oracle's Unbreakable Linux, but there is a problem that should be considered by anyone who is interested in replacing Red Hat support subscriptions with Oracle support subscriptions. The CEO of Oracle does not believe in supporting open source because Ellison fears that "if we could do this, other peop

    • by mikesd81 (518581)
      They'll end up buying Red Hat
  • Competition (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jastiv (958017)
    I wish the beat your competition into the ground monopolist attitude that some people have would just die. This is the open source revolution here. We don't need to have one guy win while the other guy loses. Red hat does plenty of other things besides working with Oracle. Its not about making the other guy lose, its about you winning. If there is no market, then you all lose.
    • I wish the beat your competition into the ground monopolist attitude that some people have would just die.
      Bullshit. What's wrong with beating your competition to the ground? If Redhat has enough guts and innovation to hang on (which I believe they do), let them.

      Or else they can die, like everybody else with a failed business model.

      Or be bought by somebody else.

      The open-source revolution doesnt pay the bills.
      • Yeah, all the OSS does not pay the bill. Hmmm, so ISPs are failed (the internet is nothing but OSS and standards based on OSS).

        Likewise, the redhat is not paying their bill a decade later. Likewise, Suse is a money losing operation for Novell (NOT). And Ubuntu and Mandrake are not paying their bills (well, to be fair, Mandrake was having issues, but they are very much alive).

        All in all, your last statement was absolutely wrong based on 30+ years of history.
        • Please understand the context of that statement.
          The OP seemed to indicate that supporting OSS somehow entitled Redhat to a succesful business operation.
          I was just pointing out that this does not need to be the case.

          ISPs are Service providers; as long as people find value in their services, they'll remain in business. Same is the case with Redhat - their survival depends on the value of their support services. Companies dont run purely on goodwill. They need a viable business model. OSS or non-OSS has noth
          • Something people seem to be missing here is the idea that oracle could just up and say, "we'll provide redhat's service, and charge 1/2". In terms of oracle's codebase, they have the people. They should know their code. But what about the rest? Without doubt, redhat knows the kernel. Anybody interested in the OS would look to redhat as an authority, and oracle not so much. Trying to set up email? VoIP? Need to set up the real time patches for your digital sound lab? The Art Institute of Where-ever ha
    • If there is no market, then you all lose.

      Who puts in the effort and expense of delivering to a non-existent market? There is always a market, or just a bunch of bankrupt fools with old business cards living on the streets.

      If there is a fixed-size market, then "normal" business competition comes into play. In such a situation, it is about "making the other guy lose" so you can steal their share, because it's the only way to grow. For whatever reason, people don't consider stability and long-term viabi

    • by kz45 (175825)
      "I wish the beat your competition into the ground monopolist attitude that some people have would just die. This is the open source revolution here. We don't need to have one guy win while the other guy loses. Red hat does plenty of other things besides working with Oracle. Its not about making the other guy lose, its about you winning. If there is no market, then you all lose"

      Business don't care about the open source revolution. Businesses are there for one thing: to make money. Both Redhat and Oracle re
  • They Don't Get It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by capt.Hij (318203) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:47AM (#16620864) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    Enterprise Applications Consulting analyst Joshua Greenbaum said Oracle's gambit puts Red Hat in a "very dangerous position" because it doesn't own intellectual property and is just offering services.
    First, Oracle is not offering the same thing as Redhat. They do not have the same kind of support. Second, Redhat owns something better than intellectual property. They have kernel and application programers. They have the people who can offer customized support and insight that few can match. Third, Redhat understands and cares about open source. Despite what a few whiners around here say, Redhat supports the community and takes on people who attack it. They have built tremendous good will. I can't see Larry going after people who attack the GPL. Larry only cares about Larry and Japanese statuary.
    • If Slashdot is going to link to articles that predict "The Death of..." every time a prominent tech company takes a hit in the stock market, then its editors are about to be as 100 times as busy! Red Hat (two words ;) has lucrative multi-year deals with a number of big players (including, ironically enough, Oracle..), and they are savvy enough to use that time to circle the wagons and modify their business model to deal with this new competition. If they have to lower prices--fine. If they have to fire s
    • I Didn't Get It (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BeeBeard (999187)
      I'm sorry to reply to your post twice, but there is of course no way to edit former comments :) Here goes:

      Despite what Mr. Greenbaum says, Red Hat does have some intellectual property. In fact, that's why Oracle (according to the article) is indemnifying its customers against IP issues that may crop up, just to be on the safe side.

      Second, Redhat owns something better than intellectual property. They have kernel and application programers. They have the people who can offer customized support and insight th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy (216950)
        I think RedHat made itself vulnerable a few years back when it basically changed its structure and dropped support for the small guy. We had a half dozen servers and had the inexpensive contracts for each server, about $40 a year or over $300 total, just for updates. If we wanted more support, we would simply pay for it as we needed it. I used their web services to manage servers and really liked their service. I would have paid more for the service, but not $250 to $800 per machine per year. Now I pay
        • Thank you for sharing your history with Red Hat. I thought that Red Hat had developed some goodwill in the Linux community over the last decade or so. But what I'm hearing from you is that they've squandered a lot of that and essentially abandoned their original user base, including diehards such as yourself. Would it be too fatalistic to intimate that if Red Hat can't win you and others like you back in the future, then there will be no future for Red Hat?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheLinuxSRC (683475)
            I am one of the people much like the GP who got burned by Red Hat during the RH9 to enterprise Linux conversion. I had just bought a (personal) subscription to show support for a company that I respected, which was canceled with no refund about 3 months into a year contract. This, unsurprisingly, left a very bad taste in my mouth.

            However, all is not lost for those who prefer a Red Hat style distribution that is stable rather than the Fedora line. I am currently extremely happy with CentOS [centos.org], a community reb
            • "I am currently extremely happy with CentOS, a community rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux line."

              The "problem" with CentOS is support. That's not an issue for the individual (and I too was rather disappointed in Red Hat's decisions and behavior during the period you mention); but companies want support contracts. A friend works at a company that recently switched to RHEL after using CentOS. That decision was made because their customers were demanding support for the platform the company's hosting ser
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pharmboy (216950)
            I expanded on this below, so I won't rehash, and instead answer the main question:

            Would I ever go back to RedHat?

            It is very possible. Everyone makes mistakes, myself included. But I wouldn't go back until they changed their business model to something that is more friendly to small guys. I wouldn't even demand an apology, although one is certainly deserved. I am not a fanboy/anti-fanboy. I am a pragmatic guy that will use what I believe is the best option, be it RedHat, SuSE or even MS if they could ge
        • by ronanbear (924575)
          Sorry I'm not trying to troll I'm just curious. Why do you not want to use CentOS or one of the other clones? Updates are free where you were paying $300 before.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Pharmboy (216950)
            Very good question. First, I am NOT opposed to paying for support. I previously DID pay for support. I am opposed to paying $800 if all I want is guaranteed updates. I have no problem paying per phone call, a reasonable fee for them to provide updates ($40-$60 per year per machine). RH needs to stay in business, and I WANTED them to stay in business, which is why I paid for distros, even tho they were free.

            I thought about Whitebox and CentOS, and had considered them both because I was already familiar
    • by Znork (31774) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @07:19AM (#16621342)
      One has to wonder at Mr. Greenbaums analysis. Red Hat is used to not owning exclusive IP and competing on a level playing field. Oracle isn't; it's whole operation is used to the protection of exclusivity. I fail to see any dangerous position.

      I wonder if Larry has really thought this through; offering Red Hats patches developed for Red Hats customers but two days later isnt a compelling sales argument so what will Oracle do when Oracles customers report bugs to Oracle? Report the bugs to Red Hat and hope they fix them? Or fix them themselves, and submit the patches upstream to Red Hat? Either their customers risk being left high and dry, or Oracle will be doing Red Hats work for them, just as much as the other way around.

      "I can't see Larry going after people who attack the GPL"

      But maybe we'll see Larry going after the GPL, once he realizes that Red Hat can freeload right back at him.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Marsala (4168)

      I absolutely agree with you on that last point: credit where credit is due. At the end of the day, RH's products are open sourced and the do a lot of good work to protect open source as it's key to their business model.

      But this doesn't change the fact that RH is a pain in the ass to deal with as a customer. I'm trying hard to remember one single conversation with them that didn't start off with the assumption that I was a drooling imbecile or where I got back a prompt and useful answer instead of an a

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Fourth, Red Hat have patents, which the current owners have sorta-kinda promised not to assert just this minute.

      Say, I wonder if Oracle will feel bound by that sorta-kinda promise when they buy Red Hat out?

  • I think Red Hat will survive, as in keep alive. They'll not be raking in huge profits but if they put their head down and keep it steady they may just have a chance to share the market with Oracle. I agree to the fact that Red Hat overpriced their support, but now they have some serious thinking to do. Oracle is a very aggressive player and it'll want to squeeze every inch possible out of this venture. Red Hat will survive, because many people would still consider them as a de-facto standard, especially in
  • by jkrise (535370) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:50AM (#16620876) Journal
    RHEL might be the biggest Linux OS for (supported) Oracle deployments, but RedHat is much more than just an RHEL or Linux services company. In fact, one could argue that the success of RedHat Linux and the JBoss / JEMS platform might indeed be a serious threat to Oracle's survival... once other databases are made part of RedHat's application stack.

    By undercutting and subsequently angling for a takeover of RedHat, Oracle is getting into a business which is not beneficial to customers and end-users.... the focal point of the entire Open Source and Free Software movements.

    If Oracle wants to offer support Linux-based database solutions, it ought to come up with it's own distro. NOT kill RedHat.. the no. 1 distro. What would happen to RedHat's non-database successes... middleware, applications, hardware collaboration, education and research, training and services... solutions partners etc.? It would appear these are threats to Oracle's long-term survival.. but they are the most valuable things for customers (not just servers and infrastructure).

    HP took over Compaq took over Digital... and now, the Unix businesses of Compaq and Digital (both very valuable for customers) have been lost forever.

    Oracle might compete... but must not be allowed to takeover RedHat. In many ways they are bigger stumbling blocks to the Open Source revolution than even Microsoft.
    • Oracle might compete... but must not be allowed to takeover RedHat.

      Sure thing. Let me just reach into my wallet and pull out $14 billion dollars, the approximate difference in annual revenue between the companies (hint: Red Hat's revenue is not even 1 billion, so most of that 14 belongs to Oracle). I hate to be cynical, but ideals are no match for lots and lots of money, my friend. You can rally around Red Hat all you want, but that won't change the fact that Red Hat and Oracle are both companies--capita

      • Actually redhat's marketcap is like $3 billion. That is what you'd need, currently. Between cash and cash equivalents, Novell has over 1/2 of that. Wouldn't it be a *kick* for Novell to buy redhat?
    • We will support RedHat of Oracle plays dirty and tries to kill/takeover Redhat, just as we supported Firefox against IE. Oracle will be the bad guy. Being bad guy, is bad in the world of IT. There are hordes of sharp, wise, conscious it managers, programmers, developers and administrators who do not hesitate to take sides.

      think why things with .asp extension break "getting hacked" records over the net, whereas despite being open, sites with .php do not suffer as much.

      i would be very cautious not to ev
  • by c0l0 (826165) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:52AM (#16620888) Homepage
    I've never been an Oracle customer myself, but I know some people who heave been - and how content, or rather, how NOT content - they were with the service of the company. Red Hat, on the other hand, was awarded with the first place in some customer-contentment-survey recently cited by German IT-newsmag c't (where Oracle came in at around place 40 or so). So I suppose that Red Hat offers much better service, and will do so even more on a product THEY actually make themselves, compared with something Oracle basically just relables.

    It could turn out a problem, however, that uneducated "decision-makers" (how I loathe that word) who don't give a shit about what their more tech-savvy and competent advisers say, and just go for "Unbreakable Linux", because it's cheaper and supported by a big and well known player of IT. Who has ever been fired for buying Micr..., uhm, Oracle?
    • by udderly (890305) *
      I've never been an Oracle customer myself, but I know some people who heave been - and how content, or rather, how NOT content - they were with the service of the company. Red Hat, on the other hand, was awarded with the first place in some customer-contentment-survey recently cited by German IT-newsmag c't (where Oracle came in at around place 40 or so). So I suppose that Red Hat offers much better service, and will do so even more on a product THEY actually make themselves, compared with something Oracle
  • ...BSD has apparently been dying for a decade or so, so by my figures regarding *nix OSes it'll survive for at least a little while longer. A better question is will it survive long enough to see the arrival of Duke Nukem Forever?
  • We are in the future. Red Hat is dead. Now how would Oracle provide services for Red Hat?
    • by Mr. Hankey (95668)
      Redhat packages the results of open source projects into a distribution. They also create a few tools of their own, but these tools are also open source. Oracle can continue along the same path, maybe they'll even provide a bit more stability in the distribution schedule and/or backports of new packages rather than just bugfixes if they take longer to release new versions. This isn't the first time Redhat has been forked, as an example I've been running Mandrake/Mandriva for years. We do use RH where I work
  • Probably not (Score:3, Informative)

    by cpbrown (794387) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:20AM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ronanbear (924575)
      Small niche? Red Hat is the market leading distro. Oracle represents another huge company which depends on and is compatible with RHEL. RHEL has spawned several important clones CentOS, Scientific Linux and now Unbreakable Linux.

      Unbreakable will most likely only compete with RHEL for Oracle customers. That's a profitable market for Red Hat though. What Oracle need to remember is that undercutting a Linux distro is a dangerous game because they can be undercut at any time. All it takes is someone selling g

  • Identical? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:59AM (#16621060) Journal
    Oracle is offering cheaper support and services essentially identical to Red Hat Linux

    Some people [groklaw.net] like to differ over that.
  • I think there ought to be an investigation to make sure Oracle isn't doing something anti-competitive.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by eldepeche (854916)
      They're not doing something anticompetitive, they're doing something competitive.
  • Another industry heavyweight like Oracle promoting Linux should expand the Linux market rather than cannabalise it.

    Those that consider their current arrangements good value won't be quick to run to save a few dollars and if Oracle starts to prove itself a strong Linux service provider RedHat is going to have to adjust, not shut the door!
  • It looks like Oracle get the tough job of keeping their distro compatible with Red Hat.
    Are they up to that? Are they up to handling and solving bugs and big crises?

    Forking an Free/Open Source project is not so easy as people might think on the surface.
    • Oracle will have to hire a lot of RedHat's best support staff, or equivalently skilled engineers, to even begin to support this. Oracle is amazingly painful to install and manage: they do extremely customized things to disk partitions and use some of the worst installation and system management tools I have ever seen.

      What Oracle can do is create a pre-built Linux OS tarball that can be blown onto an approved server and simply replace anything local, which would simplify quite a lot of the installation whac
  • by Captain Kirk (148843) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @06:18AM (#16621118) Homepage Journal
    Oracle and "cheap" in same sentence. What next? Microsoft and "gentle"? IBM and "modest"? Enron and "due diligence"?

    Seriously, Oracle is never going to be a cheap solution in any market. They claim to be an enterprise software vendor. They charge prices that allow them to provide enterprise solutions very profitably. Oracle clients do not care about the price because they run their business more profitably on Oracle software. In many comapnies, small projects are developed in bitty things like MS Access and then ported to Oracle when they have proven a good idea. Getting your app an Oracle back-end was seen as proof you did a great job when I was contracting at Vodafone for example.

    The very fact that they have the Oracle brand behind them means they can and will be the most expensive provider of enterprise level support of Linux.

    Unless Red Hat has some aspiration to be more expensive than Oracle, the arrival of Oracle in the market can only be good news as it will grow the overall marketplace.
  • Linux will.
  • by melonman (608440) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @07:15AM (#16621326) Journal
    Surely the bigger loser here is Novell. Oracle is competing with Red Hat for support of RHEL, but then Red Hat never had the monopoly in that market anyway: plenty of people used Red Hat without paying for AS-quality support. What this move does do is make the Red Hat flavour of Linux even more clearly the mainstream enterprise distribution. How well Red Hat will cope with competition from Oracle in offering support for that product remains to be seen, but I'd have thought that selling a non-Red Hat flavour of Linux to an IT department suddenly got a whole lot harder.
  • Premium pricing indeed. This side of the pond, Red Hat costs:

    AS (4-16 CPU servers), 24/7/365 support, 1 hour response, £1,388/year ($2,636 at todays spot $ rate)
    AS (4-16 CPU servers), working hours Mon-Fri, 4 hour response, £833/year ($1,582)
    ES (1-2 CPU servers), working hours Mon-Fri, 4 hour response, £444/year ($843)
    ES (1-2 CPU servers), 30 days install support then just updates, £195/year ($370)

    and those are unlimited incidents, and no CALs for each user (put as many on as you wis
  • I'm about to take my RHCE next month. RedHat can't die NOW. That's unfair.

    .haeger

    • by canuck57 (662392)

      I'm about to take my RHCE next month. RedHat can't die NOW. That's unfair.

      Don't worry, Red Hat will not die next month as has been predicted for years, in fact it may do the opposite. If Oracle starts shipping Red Hat into corporate I/T it is also an endorsement of the technology. Thus, open doors even in close minded Microsoft shops.

      No one in corporatate America is looking at what China and India are doing with Linux. In fact, if you do getting a RHCE gives you a future. And contrary to noisy minori

  • Yes Red Hat will survive (or, at least not die because of Oracle).

    There are those who want a supplier of just a linux system. Linux will always be strategic to Red Hat, but Oracle can change and will never be so Linux-focused.

    There are lots of people out there, who, for different reasons, dont want anything to do with Oracle.
  • I'd be rather wary of what an Oracle Linux would look like, even if it is based on RHEL. Bleah! I'd be much more nervous for Red Hat if MySQL were to do this.
  • A market for both (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uslinux.net (152591) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @09:01AM (#16621798) Homepage
    There are plenty of companies which are concerned with nothing but the best price for their support. Usually these are small companies, though sometimes they are larger ones too. Companies *really* concerned about cost ignore companies like Oracle and instead run Debian, SuSE, White Box, or some other distro. If they need support, they tend to find the least expensive, small consulting firm they can (like mine). The ones that believe "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" will likely consider Oracle.

    But, the big companies will stick with Red Hat. Why? Simple. When they have an issue with an application, Red Hat has engineers which troubleshoot the problem, fix it, then release a new package. Sure, Oracle *could* do that, but can they get Red Hat to accept the patches? More importantly, will they just say "sorry, that's a bug in the vendor's software"? Red Hat has engineers who are dedicated to patching and improving the OS.

    That said, the large companies are likely to exert a bit of muscle to get a better deal on their Red Hat contracts by comparing the Red Hat support costs to Oracle. In the end, this will certainly cost Red Hat some revenue, but I don't personally see it as dire as wall street did on Thursday. And in the end, the marketis certainly big enough that Oracle could end up having a positive influence on Red Hat's market share, as yet another company advocated Linux to the masses.
    • by steve_l (109732)
      That's a really good summary. RHEL are in the top 3 contributors to the linux codebase, next to linus and IBM. Nobody else understands it as well, or (outside Linus), has the ability to effect change. That's important, because it means redhat are one of the few groups who can set a direction for linux that suits them.

      With the JBoss purchase, they even have influence in many java projects. Not all; I suspect google sun and IBM have more. but they own hibernate and jboss, and have a presence in tomcat.

      I'm bus
  • The best that a giant company like Oracle can do is copy Red Hat's OS. That says a lot for Red Hat. If my job depended on which OS to buy, I'd buy Red Hat.
  • Since both companies are publicly traded, it's easy to see what the people who are paid the big buck$ to carefully evaluate the future of both companies because 10's (100's?) of millions of dollars are riding on it have decided about the future of both companies.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=RHAT&t=1y [yahoo.com]. RedHat's 1 year price trend.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=ORCL&t=1y [yahoo.com] Oracle's 1 year price trend.

    I'd say the big-money decision makers have declared Oracle the winner in this one. RedHat's a dead
    • by dgenr8 (9462)
      If that's "money" talking then "money" is full of baloney. What was "money" saying in February, 2000?
  • Despite what they say, Red Hat hasn't been selling service, they've been selling software. Read their licenses, and it says that you may install one copy of RHEL for each support contract you buy.... whether you want to service or not. If you want to install an extra copy for development or training, you pay for it, just like with Microsoft. In fact, MS might have better deals for developers and admins. Sure, you can get Fedora for free, but it's not the same product. If you want RHEL, you pay for it,
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      Sure, you can get Fedora for free, but it's not the same product. If you want RHEL, you pay for it, one copy one "support contract"... plain and simple.

      I suspect they'd also be playing rather fast and loose with the GPL, as well.

      This is the entire reason why I've always believed more in the BSD license for business. The GPL was specifically designed to disallow monopoly. Of course, the usual Communists in the audience will immediately scream that that is as it should be. What they are as usual forgetting
      • History proves you wrong. The BSD license is less successful than GPL for anything but essential infrastructure projects. BSD seems, to me, especially ill suited for applications. Which is where the next battles will be fought.

        Red Hat is profitable. JBoss was profitable prior to being bought by Red Hat. MySQL is profitable. Profitable businesses can be built under the GPL. Perhaps not with the gargantuan profits a monopoly would get. I guess they shall have to settle with being millionaires instead of bi

  • is a loss leader for Oracle, and it hurts Microsoft. Oh, and will make it cheaper for Oracle to buy them later, if they want to, which they do, because Larry's pissed at RedHat's CEO for buying JBoss.

  • So if this works for Oracle RedHat goes out of business, and Oracle loses all that free integration work RedHat was doing for them. Oracle's overhead at that point will have to go up, or they will severely hurt Linux development and therefore adoption. RedHat, IBM, and Novell are probably the 3 biggest corporate contributors to open source with RedHat being the largest (my guess). If Oracle puts RedHat out of business they will have to sustain the same level of contribution as RedHat currently provides o
  • Rest in Peace Oracle. This is going to be the motivation many businesses need to switch from Oracle to MySQL or Postgres. Oracle is shooting themselves in the foot by doing this. RHEL has so much more to offer than Oracle. We're not going to want to change OS (even flavors) now that we're locked into support contracts with RH. We already use MySQL for a number of smaller non-critical apps. It has a better track record than Oracle and it's "After a week of troubleshooting, you need this obscure patch,

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