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Ximian Adds Subscription 395

GeneJock writes "Apparently the days of free fast updates from Ximian are gone. The latest update to the Ximian suite replaces the old Red Carpet Manager with a newer version which includes access to a subscription service. This subscription service costs $9.95 a month ($7.95 for the first two months if you signup now). You can still get the updates for free but its slow going... looks like I'll be getting my updates overnight. Read all about it here." Can't fault a company for trying to make some money - hope it works. Update: 12/19 16:48 GMT by T : Please note: Ximian isn't cutting back on the free downloads, either -- in fact, just the opposite. Read below for some more information about this, including a link (yup) to a standalone static binary of Red Carpet, so you don't even need to use Ximian Gnome.

Nat Friedman of Ximian points out that the introduction of the subscription service doesn't mean a reduction in the availability of free downloads, from Ximian and the 40 associated mirror sites. "We've actually grown the pipe by 500% over the past 4 to 6 months," he says. "We also have a mirror coordinator." He cites ever-increasing numbers of Red Carpet sessions as the reason for introducing a subscription; November alone saw three quarters of a million sessions.

That number seems likely to increase, in part because of Ximian partnerships with companies like HP, now shipping a preview release of Ximian Gnome on HP-UX, but also because the Red Carpet software update system no longer requires Ximan Gnome; Friedman passed along this link to distribution-specific static binaries which work with other distributions as well.

Despite new servers and more bandwidth, Friedman asserts that some users downloading software for free will inevitably hit servers at times "when they're getting 8k downloads and they'd rather be getting 50k, and that's really who the subscription is for."

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Ximian Adds Subscription

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  • Er (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrfiddlehead ( 129279 ) <.ku.oc.oohay. .ta. .daehelddifrm.> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:56AM (#2725789) Homepage
    I can fault them if they want me to give 'em 9.95$ per month. I wouldn't flinch if they asked for 9.95$ per year, but per month! Fuck that.
  • by L-Wave ( 515413 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:58AM (#2725797)
    I could see paying for the service if it supported updating KDE as well....but usually installing the gnome ximian packages does some things I dont like to KDE:

    1) KDE's menu loses various programs like gimp, gphoto, etc.... (because the RPMS are now labeled *-ximian.*

    2) It breaks KDE-pim rpm, basically you cant run KpilotDaemon anymore

    3) I forget what else, but there are more.

    anyways, thats just my 2 cents about the service.
  • Too expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 542450 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:59AM (#2725799)
    $9.95 a month is too expensive. Hell, I can buy hosting for $9.95 a month! I wouldn't mind supporting them and getting the benefit of higher bandwidth, but a fair market price as far as I'm concerned would be about $9.95 a quarter.
    • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:10AM (#2725868) Homepage Journal
      Paying per quarter or year makes much more sense. It's a strange feeling to pay for something monthly that you wouldn't use at least once a month (at least I hope they don't make one release per month). I could see 4 upgrades a year, so pay every quarter. But if I can dial up to the entire internet for $19.95/mo (granted 56K), why pay $9.95/mo just to upgrade a small portion of my software?

      I agree with their strategy of charging, no problem there. In fact they should charge for their services. But they need to come up with a better pay model. Maybe charge more monthly for corporate upgrades, less for home users.
  • by darylp ( 41915 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:59AM (#2725801)
    apt-get wins it over for me. Everything else is just eye-candy. And now expensive eye-candy.

    It's nice that even in this increasingly commercialised Open Source world, that there's still a few idealists left.
    • by pos ( 59949 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:40AM (#2726054)
      Seriously, what is with this? Whenever people talk about Evolution or Red Carpet I get this feeling that I have some secret that nobody else knows about. I know debian is harder to get installed than other distros but *come on*.... it is a one time cost. You would think it was next to impossible the way people avoid it.

      Every couple of weeks I pop open KPackage and use the debian servers to and shop around for upgrades. If I ever find myself needing software I don't have... I go to KPackage.

      I don't understand. Why does Ximian need to charge money for bandwidth and Debian not? Are their operating costs a lot higher? I think it must be because Debian is not-for-profit so people must feel more responsability to make donations. I just don't feel philanthropy towards a for-profit business.

      Just some thoughts.

      • I don't understand. Why does Ximian need to charge money for bandwidth and Debian not? Are their operating costs a lot higher?

        They are: nobody is mirroring Ximian (not for free, at least) the way is done for Debian.
        Also, with the money you give them, Ximian has to pay for people developing and packaging the software, not only bandwidth. This is also work that Debian volunteers do for free.

        I just don't feel philanthropy towards a for-profit business.

        Their not asking your charity. They are trying to set-up a business model, compatible with free software ideas. Definively NOT an easy task.

        I think that however they should charge the actual download of the packages, rather than a monthly fee for the _possibility_ of doing it.

      • Why Debian? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nailer ( 69468 )
        I know debian is harder to get installed than other distros but *come on*.... it is a one time cost.

        The Debian developers who wrote APT created it to be independent of packaging systems, and its been out on Connectiva and mandrake (and optional on Red hat) for ages.

        Red Hat users:
        Download the APT package from: 2/ redhat/RPMS.extra/

        and put the following in your /etc/apt/sources.list

        rpm redhat-7.2-i386/redhat os
        rpm redhat-updates-7.2/redhat os
        rpm redhat-extra-7.2/redhat extra
        rpm redhat-freshrpms-7.2/redhat

        rpm-src redhat-7.2-i386/redhat os
        rpm-src redhat-updates-7.2/redhat os
        rpm-src redhat-extra-7.2/redhat extra

        Problem solved.
        * Standard (i.e, RPM) packages.
        * No difficult install.
        * Current stable releases.
        * Auto hardware detection, and other modern OS features
        * APT

        More mirrors would be great, and Debian's larger list of packages, better packaging policies and greater amount of mirrors help, but personally I think the other Red Hat features more than make up for this.
  • Stuck with bugs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:59AM (#2725802) Homepage
    How will they deal with people who don't want to pay $8/month but still think critical bugs should be fixed? Hmm.
    • Re:Stuck with bugs? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Eimi Metamorphoumai ( 18738 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:06AM (#2725855) Homepage
      Those people can download their bugfixes, they just have to wait a little longer. You should note that the free Red Carpet seems every bit as fast as it has for the past month or so (which is quite a bit faster than it was before that). We're not talking about having bugfixes out sooner, just taking less time downloading them.
      • Re:Stuck with bugs? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Tack ( 4642 )
        You should note that the free Red Carpet seems every bit as fast as it has for the past month or so [...]

        Maybe if you use one of the fast mirrors, which are never synced anyway. Try installing from one of those mirrors and you'll see what I mean -- most (all?) of them fail during the install due to missing files.

        Of course, I can get 500k/s from those mirrors, which is nice. But if I want to install Ximian GNOME and have it work, I have to use Ximian's servers, and I get about 3k/s from there. Same thing with RC updates.

        I think $10/mo is too expensive for something I'd use maybe once a month. If it was say $75/year, I think I'd pay that.


  • I know everyone has to pay for their expenses but what's the deal? The only value added that you get is "bandwidth".

    How can consumers be sure they're not just throttling what they used to give away for free and that what they're charging is fair?

    If you compare this to Salon charging for content, Salon actually provides content that is above and beyond their standard content. This goes back to the whole discussion of, "How can you take what's free away and try to sell it?"

    I don't see the value in providing bandwidth except to larger corporations who do massive amounts of updates but again, how far as Linux and Ximian penetrated corporations as a desktop?
    • It's the same thing happening to the sites that offer large game demos and patches (GameSpot and Fileplanet, specifically).

      While the content is all free, all you are paying for is faster/less conjested download. For example, in FP's case, you can spend the money on a 'personal server' that lets you download instantly, or wait in line for one of the FP mirrors to queue up.

      In Gamespot's case, they provide the large downloads only if you pay them, but since these are mirrors of what's available on the gamemaker's site, they still offer the links to those.

      Is this unreasonable? For the gaming sites, maybe, since there are probably some fanatic people that take a day off, click reload often until a demo is out so they can be the first to grab it and play it. For something like Ximian, I would rather see them divide the service into two parts: a 'critical' updates which should only be limited to security bugs that would be open and fast to all, and then the split servers for all other programs, ones for payed customers and ones for free downloads. Typically when you hear of a new bug, you want your patch ASAP, and this is not because your fanatic but because it's necessary; while probably waiting a short amount of time for the patch to come down the free-server side isn't a problem, security patches should be 'instantly' available regardless.

    • How can consumers be sure they're not just throttling what they used to give away for free and that what they're charging is fair?

      This one is pretty easy. They probably are just throttling their old bandwidth, but since they paid for it, that's their perogative.

      I assume you would determine if 'what they are charging is fair' the same way you determine it when you buy apples or SDRAM or a house. "Are you willing to pay X amount for Y benefit?" If YES, then the price is fair. If enough people decide NO, then Ximian changes prices or business models or what have you.

      I don't see the value in providing bandwidth except to larger corporations who do massive amounts of updates but again, how far as Linux and Ximian penetrated corporations as a desktop?

      It's quite simple, then. If you don't see the value... don't buy it. It doesn't matter a whit for YOUR purchasing decision what others think or do. The market forest is determined by each little tree like you.

      This is basic economics, not quantum mechanics.

    • First of all, what's the problem if they are just throttling their free service in an attempt to actually make money, or at least cover their bandwidth costs?

      Secondly, $10/mo is fucking cheap. Really fucking cheap. The company I work for spends about $100k/year on CheckPoint licenses and subscriptions, $100k/year on Cisco support contracts, and god knows what on Sun, Microsoft and Dell contracts. If the $120/year might save me 2 hours per year, it's paid for itself. If it saves me 3 hours, it saved the company money.

      Despite what so many people on slashdot think, businesses don't mind paying for things and honestly, neither do I.

      • Yes, for a company RCE sure is dirt cheap. But as a home user, my RCE subscription would be about 1/3 of my entire internet bill, and that's a bit steep, IMO.

      • Secondly, $10/mo is fucking cheap. Really fucking cheap. The company I work for spends about $100k/year on CheckPoint licenses and subscriptions, $100k/year on Cisco support contracts, and god knows what on Sun, Microsoft and Dell contracts.

        Let's say you have 100 people at your company. That gives you $12,000/year. For a thousand person company, well there you have it. I suppose it's better than the $30/desk-month that Red Hat wants.

      • If I'm reading Ximian's website correctly that is $120 per year per client. Add to that you aren't getting support just bandwidth for patches and from my perspective this service isn't business friendly.

        Not to mention I don't see any guarantee that your downloads will install flawlessly either.

        For example, I just used Red Carpet on my RH7.1 machine and tried to update my apache installation. It failed because the new rpms had new dependancies. Instead of searching for and getting those additional rpms Red Carpet just choked on the install.

        If Ximian expects me to pay $10/month for a premium service I need more out of it than just a promised amount of bandwidth. I need reliability. That's for the Ximian packages and the RH packages. It's all in the deal.

    • by dbarclay10 ( 70443 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:19AM (#2725923)
      Your entire argument seems to rest on the fact that you believe bandwidth is free.


      Okay? Hope that clears everything up :) You may not pay by the byte, but Ximian does, as does almost every other company and individual running a server.

      By allowing people to download stuff for free(although relatively slowly), they're still basically giving you money from their pockets.

      So please, until you start providing servers with a 100Mbit connection to a good backbone, and provide all the bandwidth fees(thousands of dollars per month), then please don't bitch.
      • I don't know if you missed my point but it was about having something "Value Added". Like so many other threads point out, that's 120 dollars a year more than Microsoft.

        "By allowing people to download stuff for free(although relatively slowly), they're still basically giving you money from their pockets.

        And so is every GPL developer on the planet. Giving your time/bandwidth/food whatever to people for free is something that's not new but offer something if you're going to charge 9.95 for "more bandwidth".

        Also most businesses on the Internet understand that bandwidth costs money but it's an expense that they have to pay for. They get the convienence of letting people download their software instead of having to run an operation that presses cds, handles ordering and a warehouse to ship people cds.

        So please, until you start understanding economics and charging 120 dollars a year for no value added except a faster download, don't bitch.

        Ximian is not penetrating the market that will pay for that type of service, especially to make it a sustainable business model.
        • Also most businesses on the Internet understand that bandwidth costs money but it's an expense that they have to pay for. They get the convienence of letting people download their software instead of having to run an operation that presses cds, handles ordering and a warehouse to ship people cds.

          An analogy that would hold IF there were a shelf at the local computer store marked FREE and another marked $9.95

          $10 a month is quite reasonable, and there appears to still be an option to get the free updates. I don't see the problem.

      • I think the problem that people are having is that they are already paying for thier bandwidth, and don't want to pay for someone elses. Part of me worries that if this trend continues, then i will not be able to justify 40/month for MY broadband connection, if i have to pay sites i visit to let me use it quickly. Yes i know that it costs them more money then me, but maybe they should find another way to make income.
    • How can consumers be sure they're not just throttling what they used to give away for free and that what they're charging is fair?

      What does it matter? They could charge $50 a month if they wanted. The question is quite simply: Do you feel it is worth it? If not, then don't pay it. If so, then pay it. Then Ximian will make marketing decisions based on the number of people that subscribe.

      That's how capitalism works. You get to decide pricing indirectly, not directly!
    • >How can consumers be sure they're not just
      >throttling what they used to give away for
      >free and that what they're charging is fair?

      GNU/Linux isn't profitable and it isn't profitable for anyone to start a business doing it unless they are willing to do things that are value-added with it and charge a fee.

      Anything you do in life costs something. The fact that MS has acted outrageously doesn't mean that all companies are into predatory pricing and super-aggressive marketing.

    • Fucking Porsche, they charge more for their cars than toyota, and all you get is speed!

      What the fuck?

  • I hate to say it (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by cca93014 ( 466820 )
    But that's 9.95 per month more than Microsoft...

    Come on, give it a year and you'll have half a license for XP or something.

    RHN is fast and free...
    • Re:I hate to say it (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sircus ( 16869 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:25AM (#2725954) Homepage
      RHN is not free. You get a free year (afair) with your copy of Red Hat, but if you want additional machines to use the service, or you want to use the service thereafter, it's $19.95/month
    • Re:I hate to say it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bonius_rex ( 170357 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:29AM (#2725983)
      What does this do to RedHat's paying RHN customers? There is a RedHat channel in RedCarpet. If I were going to pay for a service like this (I'm not), I'd go with Ximian, which gets me my RedHat updates, PLUS all the content from Ximian, codeweavers, Loki, etc. etc.

      Anyone think this might be bad news for RedHat?

      • Well, this should be bad news for Redhat, since (a) it costs half as much, and (b) the Ximian client is much nicer than redhat's abominable little mess.

        But on the other hand, Ximian does a terrible job of keeping up with redhat advisories; for instance last week's glibc buffer overflow finally showed up in red carpet today. What's the point of paying Ximian for an upgrade service if you're still going to have to go trawling around ftp sites (or subscribe to Redhat's prompter service) in order to make sure you're actually up to date on serious bug or security fixes in your operating system?
    • But that's 9.95 per month more than Microsoft

      No its not. We aren't talking about simply the ability to download patches from a website. Ximian is still offering this at the same price as Microsoft is.

      We're talking about Priority Access to patches and new releases. This is comparable to, say, the Microsoft Select program. Now, how much does that cost per year?

      I do not believe that this service is aimed specifically at consumers. It is priced too high (in my opinion) for casual consumers. However, for a business (SOHO or larger), this price is quite reasonable.

      How much does a SOHO pay for MS software similar to what you get with the Ximian suite? Can a SOHO get legitimate copies of MS software and its updates for free at all? They can with Ximian.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:00AM (#2725810)
    I agree, it would be nice to see them make money, and this is really in the spirit of give the product away, charge for services. But the reporting is done with such a double standard.

    If MS was to institute this sort of plan, the response would not be "can't fault a company for trying to make money". Granted, they already make enough money as it is, but if you're going to be critical of MS for considering subscription-ware, you ought to be critical of Ximian.

    Of course, the updates are still free, but the automatic service costs. Of course, with MS this fact would be completely overlooked and the flaming would commence.

    All that said, I think it is very valid to charge for this. For home users, this is only a mild inconvenience, manually updating is both fast enough and mostly trivial. If you are more adventuresome, you can rig an auto-update setup with scripts and cron. Where this really shines is for large deployments (companies) that could afford the subscriptions anyway.
    • Know your audience (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zangdesign ( 462534 )

      If MS was to institute this sort of plan ...

      Are you kidding? Slashdot would flame the holy living hell out of them! The kneejerk reaction of the non-MS crowd would be that "Micro-shaft" is trying to stick it to the consumer.

      Let's get real here.

    • by geekster ( 87252 )
      I don't have a problem with Microsoft making money, what I do have a problem with is when this takes a higher priority than the software itself. I don't see this here.
      Yes, I don't like Microsoft.
    • Should Ximian have a monopoly such that every new computer bought requires you to spend $10 / month on updates or your computer stops working then I think they would get bitched at a great deal.

      Here it is still optional - that's not usually the case with Microsoft.
    • by Flower ( 31351 )
      For large deployments? Are you kidding? I don't want 1000+ machines clogging up my pipe with a 1000+ downloads and consuming tons of redundant bandwidth I'm paying for.

      No. What I want is one. Count them. One server getting those downloads and being able to push out the updates to my clients. That way I pay for one download but all my machines get patched.

      For large deployments, what I really need is the ability to automagically mirror a Ximian server. And the second I can do that I only need one subscription. Red Carpet, at least for how I've got it configured, is useful at the consumer level and at that level $120/year is pricey for what you are getting. Call me a cheap bastard but I can't consider this service until it costs about a third of what they are currently charging.

    • by PrimeEnd ( 87747 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:44AM (#2726080)
      If Microsoft were to offer Office for free with a slow download and for its current price with a fast download, most people would collapse with astonishment. Then they would praise Microsoft.

      There is no double standard here. Ximian gives away all of its software for free. MS doesn't. With Ximian you can pay for a faster download.

      But you knew that and were trolling right?

    • It's not a double standard, it's a different business model!

      MS charges big money for the product and gives the software update subscriptions for free. (they still charge for support though...)

      Ximian gives the product away, still gives you the software update for free if you don't mind slower downloads, but tries to make money on the side by providing a faster server to do so.

      How is that a double standard? It's two different business models. You're trying to compare apples with oranges.

    • There is no double standard going on here. It is simple, Ximian is offering the service for free, if you want the "Value Added" service, it will cost you $9.95 a month, or if you want to you don't have to use the service at all and your current copy of Ximian Gnome will continue as before.

      What Microsoft was (and still is) proposing is every computer sold with thier products HAS to use .NET and the user HAS to pay for this service. If the user chooses not to use .NET, thier products will stop working after 1 year at which time they must purchase a new copy at a much higher rate than using the service would have cost them.

      I see a big difference in how each business handles this, Ximian gives you three choices; don't use service (product continues to work), use basic free service, pay for advanced service. Microsofts .NET strategy gives you two choices, pay for the service or don't pay for the service (product stops working). I see no double standard here.

  • $119.40 per year (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Patrick ( 530 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:02AM (#2725821)
    Ximian is asking you to pay $119.40 per year for software that is functionally on par with Microsoft Windows. I wouldn't pay $120 per year for Windows, and I'm not going to pay $120 for Ximian GNOME, either.

    Even if you buy every release of Red Hat Linux, it won't cost you $120 per year. And that's an entire operating system (with GNOME included!), not just a pretty GUI.

    Remember, folks, it's still legal to mirror this stuff. It's all GPL.

    --Patrick, who will continue paying $0 per year for software

    • Re: Mirroring... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by don_carnage ( 145494 )

      I think you've hit on a key point here. The $9.95/month seems to attempt to cover bandwidth costs paid by Ximian.

      Perhaps some sort of distributed mirroring system needs to be implemented for smaller companies that don't have $billions$ coming in every year to spend on bandwidth.

      • Well, you can still get the whole thing for free (as well as the updates) - it's all GPL stuff.

        But you're making a good point. If you choose to subscribe to this thing, you'd be paying $100/year to maintain a piece of software. When with Windows you're paying $100 upfront, and the fat bandwidth download of updates is free (with the caveat that someday they'll stop supporting it and there won't be anymore updates).

        I don't see this business model working at all. I can see paying $20/year for this, not $100. But you can't blame them for trying.
      • by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @12:55PM (#2726632) Homepage Journal
        The Gnutella network exists and would be an excellent haven for free content. So long as it is clear that you are expected to share whatever you download, this is basically free bandwidth for ximian, although it is still slow.

        This also solves the legitimacy problem that peer-to-peer systems often have. If the files are legal to redistribute as all GPL'd code is, then pow! - we have a clear non-infringing use for a network like this. Sorry Jack Valenti, networks are for kids.

        It's a win-win. What's really needed is a list of projects that need to be shared from people's idle gnutella collections, so that the sharing can happen with a modicum of intelligence- or perhaps even just an announcement on the download page asking users to pledge to share the files they download (or some portion of them) on peer to peer networks like the gnutella network in order to guarantee their widespread distribution, and a place to enter their email address so they can be notified when a newer version has been released so they can start sharing the newer one. You probably can't offer a discount for this or anything since

        If bandwidth is their only problem, I think this is a solvable problem so long as the content they are distributing truly is free.

        Please, someone with more time and experience, steal (or hire me to implement :) my idea and develop a free software distribution vehicle (apt-get? redcarpet? something new?) which is agnostic as to its transport mode but explicitly encourages the use of peer-to-peer networking for file transfers and only uses centralized servers for version listing updates. The legality of transferring files between users rather than from central distribution points is a huge advantage of free software- currently we're only capitalizing on it by downloading iso images or copying cdroms. We can do much much better.

        • Check out these two projects:
          Everything Over Freenet(EOF) - they have a version of apt-get running over Freenet already.

          World Free Web

    • To quote:
      Ximian is asking you to pay $119.40 per year for software that is functionally on par with Microsoft Windows. I wouldn't pay $120 per year for Windows, and I'm not going to pay $120 for Ximian GNOME, either.
      No they're not. GNOME is Free. So are the patches that Ximian uses. All the source is available. They're not asking you to pay for the software, they're asking you to help recoup some of their bandwidth costs.

      There is no Internet Tree of ethernet branches, router fruits and electricity roots. Bandwidth is EXPENSIVE. You may not pay by the byte, but almost all companies and individuals running server do.
    • Ximian is asking you to pay $119.40 per year for software that is functionally on par with Microsoft Windows. I wouldn't pay $120 per year for Windows, and I'm not going to pay $120 for Ximian GNOME, either.

      So, like, don't. ;) This service would be useless for people on anything less than a T1 anyway. Did you miss the part where it said "still free for those not willing to pay for fast download speeds"?

      Remember, folks, it's still legal to mirror this stuff. It's all GPL.

      Yeah, so, like, you missed the point again. Of course it's still legal to mirror ximian. Corporations, however, are funny and don't like to rely on sites named "", which may be up, or down whenever the owner of the mirror decides to boot into windows. Suits would actually prefer to pay a fee to have an official distribution center available to them on a fast uplink and 24/7.

  • by dago ( 25724 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:03AM (#2725831)

    In addition to the basic updating service freely available to Red Carpet Users, updating is also delivered through two premium subscription services:

    Red Carpet Express provides users with priority high-bandwidth access to Ximian applications and leading third-party software for faster installations and updates.

    Red Carpet CorporateConnect provides centralized Red Carpet updating to corporations and workgroups, including special features which allow system administrators to distribute their own in-house applications to their users - quickly and securely - through the Red Carpet interface.

    So, it seems that there's still a 'normal' version, for use with 'normal' programs, using 'normal' server and a commercial one, with high-bandwith servers and some commercial soft.

    No problems, just use the one you prefer depending, pay if you want/can and use the free version otherwise.

    Of course, let's hope that there will still be free updates available.

  • They have GOT to be kidding! This is NOT going to make them money. It's not going to do ANYTHING for them. Before long, someone will write their own updater to grab the stuff off of the mirrors. Heck there may even be extra mirrors setup already. Personally, they need to kick some butt on the Evolution stuff (ability to automagically order or prompt you to order gifts for B-days through them, reminders to buy ink and stuff through them and other things like this). Also, things like the Outlook plugin would be things I could see companies buying. They should also work on a Novell Groupwise plugin (we'd buy it!!! We are Novell shop still). But to start a updating service for 9.95 a month is just dumb. Unless they can GUARANTEE fast servers and things such as this, it would NOT be worth it. Ask Red Hat how much money they make off of up2date subscriptions...:)
  • Won't work (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Syberghost ( 10557 )
    I have no problem with them trying to find ways to make money, but this one isn't going to work.

    Let's say you're using RedHat. It'll be a similar story with other distributions, but that's the one with which I'm most familiar.

    With Ximian, you get GNOME slightly ahead of what RedHat has, major hassles with upgrading RedHat to a new version, and you pay for updates.

    With Redhat and no Ximian, you get GNOME slightly behind the curve, easy upgrades to new versions, and updates are free but not quite as easy to use as Ximian.

    So basically, I'm supposed to pay a monthly fee so that I can have GNOME be the most recent build, instead of a couple months old? Please; if I'm in a position where that's really important, I'm someone who can fix it myself.

    I don't think that many people are going to find value in this particular service.

    Oh; and I should add, I hope I'm wrong. I wish no ill-will to Ximian, and I'd love to be wrong about this.
    • Re:Won't work (Score:3, Informative)

      by Syberghost ( 10557 )
      Upon re-reading what I wrote above, I realize I said something misleading.

      With Ximian you don't pay for updates. You only pay for the fastest-available access to them. Updates are still free.

      With RedHat Network, you pay if you want to avoid having to manage your entitlements via a web page if you have multiple systems. You get the same bandwidth priority either way.
      • Actually - with RHN you get the updates WAY before Ximian are putting them in their Red Carpet servers. I know because I used them both, and when you're maintaing few dozens Red Hat Linux servers - the few days gap is really important..

        What really amazes me is that Ximian is actually stealing clients from Red Hat Network and Redhat so far didn't say or do anything about it, not mentioning that RHN is pretty much empty (well, it only got some security updates) which is a bit of dumb idea (you got the infrastructure - start selling!)
  • by jmu1 ( 183541 ) < minus threevowels> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:12AM (#2725876) Journal
    I like Transgaming's product, winex, but I do have a problem with the subscription service. You would expect to be able to download a new version every month if you are paying a monthly fee. But you don't get that at all. They have only had one update since I signed on in October, and paid for three months. Ximian better have an update per month(at least) or it would not be worth it at all.
    • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @12:05PM (#2726197) Homepage
      Why bother with "an update per month" ? Who says you're going to need that update ? Let's say you just buy a month at a time, and only buy a month when you know there's an update waiting for you. Ximian (or any other company) will start producing minor half-assed updates just so you stay hooked onto the service every month. Now even though Ximian is a free-software house, they are still run by marketing and finance droids, so don't expect them to be any more honest than XYZ MegaCorp.

      Once again, I declare that the net needs a micropayment system (with a warranty, if that's applicable at all). If you want to download 20 megs worth of updates, then pay for that 20 megs of bandwidth (let's say 2 dollars). If you spend the next year without needing or wanting an update, then you don't disburse another penny and life is good. This model is flawed because it will encourage them to release 'fat' patches, but there surely is a way to allow a reasonably honest and fair system for all.
  • by somethingwicked ( 260651 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:12AM (#2725878)
    Can't fault a company for trying to make some money - hope it works.

    Actually, this parallels the story on Monday "VPN Clients Not Allowed On Residential Service"

    EXCEPT then it was unacceptable for a cable company to charge extra for a business account

    Again, my criticism then was not of people dailing in from home to remote a server, my criticism was of people saying

    "YEAH, I use it all day long telecommuting for business but I don't want to be charged a business rate. My business can't afford THAT! They have no right to differentiate me based on my use or time of use"

    Now Ximian differentiates their service levels and /. wishes them luck

    *ironic wistle as I walk away shaking head*
    • There's an important difference between

      In order to do A we charge you $


      If you want to do A, we'll do if for you for $
    • The problem is that cable companies essentially have to intrude on your network and figure out what you're running in order to offer their service. Ximian's service is a natural and reasonable one to offer. There is no 'customer policing' to make sure it works.

      Also, I have no problem with the cable companies differentiating based on usage, but that should be based on usage, not what software you happen to be running. If they want to rate limit you and charge you extra to have it lifted, that's great. What I have a problem with is them telling you what you can and can't have on your network.

      Essentially cable companies are trying to 'police' users for business mistakes they made. They shouldn't have assumed that all users would be docile downloading consumers, and structured their business and pricing plans accordingly. Instead, they want to blame consumers for their glaring error in offering unlimited bandwidth to home users isn't quite so apparent.

      In short, the situations are not comparable.

    • The difference being this:

      Red Carpet CorporateConnect provides centralized Red Carpet updating to corporations and workgroups, including special features which allow system administrators to distribute their own in-house applications to their users - quickly and securely - through the Red Carpet interface.

      Ximian's business service actually offers ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONALITY. I think the main gripe for most people in regards to the cable companies trying to charge more for VPN usage is that their business accounts don't have any features that justify the money spent on it. No faster upstream or downstream, no static or additional IPs, in short, NOTHING that makes it any different from the standard home package.

      Also, in this case, if you don't want to use Ximian's Red Carpet, you don't have to. You can switch distros, switch GUIs, or just use the version of Gnome that comes with Red Hat. No one is forcing you to pay for it, and they aren't suspending free downloads. In the case of the cable companies, if they could limit VPN usage to only business accounts, they would. And where else could you turn? DSL isnt available everywhere, and its not like you have more than one cable company to pick from either.

      In Short, its comes down to this:
      You buy a pipe from the cable companies, they shouldn't tell you what your needs supposedly are. On the other hand, if you tell THEM you need a business connection, you'll get one. And its the same with Ximian. They aren't telling you what you need, but they have the service available if you need/want it.

      For the record, I don't agree with Taco's comment, you can most certainly fault a company for trying to make money.
  • What's the big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:13AM (#2725882) Homepage
    I must be confused. A company is offering premium service (just like RHN does) for a reasonable fee and every gets their panties in a wad. They are not discontinuing the free updates (as the teaser implied they were), they are simply saying "if you pay us, you'll get priority access". Red Hat has been doing this for years with FTP access. A real world analogy would be this: For 32 cents (US) the US Postal Service will send your letter anywhere in the US. For another few dollars they will make someone sign for it, and for a few dollars more they'll get it there faster. Are you saying you'll boycott the USPS because they charge more for faster service?

    As for myself, my time is actually worth something so I'm more than happy to spend 10 bucks a month on a useful service that gets my updates to me faster.

  • by SpookComix ( 113948 ) <spookcomix AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:14AM (#2725887) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Red Carpet Updater for a couple of months now, and aside from it's obvious bias toward Gnome (and how easy it is to replace parts of standard Gnome with Ximian's versions...complete with dancing monkey) and a few dependency issues (most recently during an attempted update of Galeon, no less) it's been a pretty good tool.

    Linux needs an automatic updater like Red Carpet. Why? First, because of WindowsUpdate. It's quick, easy, and on the mark when updating the OS and MS's addons. You've bought the OS, sure, but the updates are free. At $9.95/month, now you have a free OS that ends up costing you the same as the full version of XP Home after just over a year and a half.

    Second, because updating Linux without a tool like that is just impossible for the average user. People here often complain about the inaccessibility of MS updates to bug fixes and security holes, but at least they're in one place, on one site (even if you have to dig to see them), and usually end up on WindowsUpdate. How to the Linux Elite expect an average user to keep up with every possible package, dependency, bug fix, security hole and update? Linux's greatest strength, openness and diversity, is also it's greatest weakness. There is no central repository to keep your system running smoothly...except tools like Red Carpet.

    What about for corporate situations? I'm telling you, Debian scares me, but a local apt-get cache for my users is looking more and more attractive every day.

    Is this the new trend for Linux? "Yes, our OS is free (as in beer *and* speech!), but in the long run, it'll cost you more than Windows if you want to actually keep it updated." I dunno...that doesn't sound appealing to me, and it doesn't sound like it fits within the creedo that has been trumpeted for the last 10 years.


    • At $9.95/month, now you have a free OS that ends up costing you the same as the full version of XP Home after just over a year and a half.

      But you get a lot more than a Windows XP replacement. You also get an MS-Office replacement (OpenOffice, Evolution).

      Now if you don't use this stuff, then of course it's not worth it. But if you actually use the applications that are provided through the service then it's a great deal.

    • People here often complain about the inaccessibility of MS updates to bug fixes and security holes, but at least they're in one place, on one site (even if you have to dig to see them), and usually end up on WindowsUpdate

      If you use a distribution like RedHat, you also get all your updates and security fixes in one place -- Further, you can pay for up2date, just like Ximian premium, or unlike Microsoft you can pay zero and just download yourself.

      The biggest problem with Ximian is that it doesn't quite provide that sort of one-stop shopping. For Gnome software it does a great job, but in my experience it lags behind or completely misses other software. For me personally, $9.95 a month is too much for Gnome-plus-some-other-stuff but for others it may be an OK price.

      Even with Microsoft, if you want to keep track of all your software you have to go many places. Microsoft obviously won't provide you with upgrades for Adobe software but RedHat will update your GIMP. It is actually more plausible that RedHat (and similar distros) will provide you one-stop stopping for all your software updates than Microsoft, which actually doesn't quite have a monopoly on *all* windows software.

    • Mandrake Update (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tin Weasil ( 246885 )
      Mandrake Update works fine (as of version 8.1) and automatically updates you with security and bug fixes whether you paid for Mandrake's product or just downloaded it from a mirror.

      I have a feeling that Ximian is on the way out the door...
    • *Cough*apt*cough* (Score:4, Informative)

      by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:45AM (#2726087) Homepage Journal
      Linux has (and has had) several automatic updaters forever now. I prefer Debian's -- apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade is pretty hard to beat. If you run the stable branch, you can pretty much put that in a cron job and forget it. I don't know why it scares you... it's a great solution.

      Redhat apparently has some sort of tool (up2date or something) which performs a similar task.

      red-carpet was pretty cool, but IIRC the Ximian gnome didn't get along too well with Debian (Mainly dependency naming issues IIRC) so I wiped it off my desktop and installed the standard gnome branch. I really can't tell the difference, either. And getting Ximian off my desktop was a much more miserable experience than it had to be, though this was more Debian's packaging system's fault than anything else. The dependencies cascaded and X and all the X programs ended up getting uninstalled too.

      If I were in a corporate situation and getting paid for keeping a Linux network healthy, I'd set everyone up with Debian, have their apts pointing to a machine inside the company and either set them on a cron job or hack out some method of kicking off a apt update on a remote signal. Then I'd thoroughly test new packages before releasing them to the live apt server.

      Time will tell if this subscription model works for Ximian. I suspect that in its current form, it will not.

      • Re:*Cough*apt*cough* (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WesHertlein ( 535542 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @02:57PM (#2727458)
        I prefer Debian's -- apt-get update ; apt-get upgrade is pretty hard to beat. If you run the stable branch, you can pretty much put that in a cron job and forget it.

        Be careful about saying something like this. Too many people will take it literally.

        One should never run a software upgrade unattended like this (trimmed and taylored by an IT department is one thing, somebody's local server or desktop is quite another). I know, I know, you take proper precautions with what gets puts in a crontab. Even for something like this, you're probably better off with the snippet:

        apt-get update && apt-get upgrade --download

        That way:

        • The upgrade only runs on a successful update
        • The packages get cached for easy install later, but nothing remotely volatile is going to be executed right now
        • A nice reassuring note will appear in an e-mail box everyday. (Everybody does alias root mail to a local user, and then check it, right? ^_^ )

        Personally, I go a little more crazy. I tend to do:

        apt-get -qq update && apt-get -dqq upgrade && apt-get -sqq upgrade

        (The shorthand is mostly for e-mail subject lines, so I get a reminder of what's going on.) In long terms, that's:
        apt-get --quiet --quiet update && \
        apt-get --download-only --quiet --quiet upgrade && \
        apt-get --simulate --quiet --quiet upgrade
        This way, I only get mail if something (like an install) needs to get done. I check my e-mail in the morning, and if something is pending, it gets taken care of.

        This post is mostly a just-in-case post... someone might read the parent and think, "hey, that's a great idea!" (which they should ^_^). Hopefully they'll scroll a little bit before adjusting their crontab.

    • Is this the new trend for Linux? "Yes, our OS is free (as in beer *and* speech!), but in the long run, it'll cost you more than Windows if you want to actually keep it updated." I dunno...that doesn't sound appealing to me, and it doesn't sound like it fits within the creedo that has been trumpeted for the last 10 years.

      Maybe my math is off, but it seems to me that the cost of buying the Windows equivalents of all the programs included with a recent Linux distribution would easily run into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

      Again, $10/month is not unreasonable.

    • As another caller said, Debian should not scare you, and apt-get is the answer to your needs.
  • by sigsegv ( 90 )
    This is not surprising at all. I was initially turned off by this (and a similar offering from Red Hat with their up2date service), but then I remembered the basic business model of Open Source. Open the source code, but sell services based around it. AFAIK (and it's not that far ;) anyone with a big enough pipe and enough patience can get Ximian GNOME and its updates. They're just selling an update service around it. This is not a problem and I wish them luck. It's not something that I need, but some people might.

  • Okay, repeat this three times:

    Free Ximian Red Carpet updates will still be available.

    The subscription fee is only for the new premium service, Red Carpet Express.

    Nothing to see here. Move on.
  • by nemesisj ( 305482 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:19AM (#2725924) Homepage
    This latest move is a noble attempt at trying to make some money, but I'd rather see companies like Redhat get an easy to use automatic software updater that keeps every package on my system up to date, and give me the "express treatment" when I enter a UPC code from the boxed version of the software I bought at a retail store. I think this would be a much better solution since it doesn't mean me paying every month, and Redhat is still making money off of retail sales, in addition to racking up more brick and mortar sales numbers.
    • Except for many people one of the neat things about Free Software is you don't end up with boxes and old CDs clittering up your limited available storage space, along with the environmental problems that go hand in hand with putting bits onto plastic in boxes made of wood, with manuals made of wood. All I need is that wire that goes from my firewall out through the front wall.
  • Not a chance. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:21AM (#2725937)
    $10/month for Ximian.


    That's absurd. Imagine paying $10/month for each of GNOME, the kernel, your office suite, etc etc.

    As another poster mentioned, that's $10 ($30, $40..) more than MS is asking for per month for automatic updates.

    I'd actually think about paying $10/month for fast auto updates for the entirety of my'd be nice to go to *one* site, make three clicks, wait for the download, and have my entire system up to date with the latest patches. Even better if it were done automatically.

    But paying $10/month for one [albeit large] component of my system just invites others to charge for other components.

    So much for avoiding the MS license if that happens, right?
    • Re:Not a chance. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by scenic ( 4226 ) <sujal@suja l . n et> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:41AM (#2726061) Homepage Journal
      Except that Red Carpet does everything you just asked for. I keep ALL my systems up to date via Red Carpet. I *don't* use RHN, and I don't have to hit any other sites for anything else.

      RedHat updates? Available. Loki Demos? Available via Red Carpet. StarOffice (with all the configs set up so that Evolution can launch .doc and .ppt files directly into SO)? Available. Opera? Available. The list goes on.

      My point is just that you're not just paying for priority access for GNOME updates. You're paying for priority access to whole system updates.

      In a way, Ximian is making a meta-distribution, and Red Carpet is what facilitates that... it allows them to add channels that contain most of the major downloads you might be interested in. If you're not interested in a particular app (let's say you don't want to use StarOffice), just unsub that channel.

      You should try running it... it's a lot different (better, IMHO) than RHN. That's why I've already signed up.


    • The service you are describing is exactly what Ximian offers. You don't get just one component on RC. You also get a channel for your distribution, with security and other updates. In addition there are already Red Carpet channels for things like Loki Game demos, Star Office, Codeweavers, etc.
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:28AM (#2725978)
    Good luck! That price point just won't work. Maybe at $30-$40 a year, people might sign on, but Ximian is simply not thinking with their current pricing scheme.

    Added to which, whats to stop aggresive mirroring from getting software out to free sites within hours of it being available to Ximian subscribers??? I just don't see the benefit.

  • I'm thinking of signing up and probably will if i can use it to update all my linux machines with one subscription. $100/year is a little steep, I'd bet that they would get more than twice the number of subscribers at $50. It comes down to choosing to use them for free until they go the same way as Eazel et all. Or to pay to keep a decent good quality open source software house around.

    To the people that compare the cost to the cost of M$ software, yes it is worth it.
  • One word: Overpriced (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is way overpriced in my opinion. I am an IT manager for a company with about 30 Linux desktops. According to this pricing I would have to pay about $3000 per year to keep my Linux boxes updated. I don't think I would ever get anything like that approved by the management. If it was less than a $1000 it might be doable but $3k is a little bit too much.

    At one point I spoke to one of the Ximian sales reps (who in ultimate irony uses Microsoft Outlook as his e-mail reader) who told me that supposedly an average Linux administrator uses 1-3 hours of his time a week trying to update the software, dealing with software dependencies etc. I don't remember spending so much time dealing with dependencies and such. I also wish them good luck but I am pretty sure we won't be subscribing to Red Carpet Express.
    • by mcmanus ( 13074 )
      In a corporate environment, pay for 1 RCE, operate that
      RCE through a squid proxy with a large max cachable
      object size.

      proceed to operate the other N-1 RC-Classic clients through that same proxy.

      Instant and seemless mirror - indeed faster than RCE. Any minor differences in installations can still be resolved automatically against the 'slow' classic server as cache misses.

      Saves both you and ximian bandwidth - a win win and very use to do with already deployed tools.

  • I agree that they need a business model such as this if they want to make money -- however, 10 bucks a month is a bit much I am afraid. I may be on a rampage, but I am getting a bit selective about which Internet software/service plans I go with nowdays because the bottom line is that my paycheck only divides by $9.95 so many times...And I am afraid (for them) that I am in the majority here. maybe $29.99 a year? maybe $9.99 a quarter?
  • by DragonWyatt ( 62035 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:31AM (#2726002) Homepage
    I am sick and damned tired of people bitching about modest fees from previously free open-source sites. I mean, really. ESPECIALLY when they still offer a free alternative.

    We're all smart people. If there's one thing we should have learned about the dot-bomb era, it's that organizations (businesses, companies, hacker efforts, the red cross...) NEED MONEY TO STAY ALIVE. That's just how it is, people.

    We have lots of control over organizations, simply by choosing who to support with our $. (Guess what? Ximian might be a good opportunity to further the cause.)

    All of you people that are out there bitching about paying some small fee for good access, what don't you get about this? What is so hard to understand about needing $$$ to support the effort?

    Money is a basic requirement for effectively bringing anything to the masses, be it charity, goodwill, and even open-source software.

    Everyone bitching on here, take a step back and look at the big picture. You need to do your part. FYI, your part is NOT bitching about what amounts to a sustenance model for something you care about.

    If you love and care about important stuff like this, suck it up, and spring for the 33 fucking cents/day it might cost you.

    I, for one, have already signed up to pay the paltry $9.95/month to support something that I care about and love, which I don't want to go away.
    • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @12:33PM (#2726443)
      Subscriptions will not support Ximian. Red Hat already offers a more compelling product - they'll update your entire OS, not just the UI.

      I don't really see how Ximian is going to make it. At the end of the day they are really just another Eazel - a company with a neat product that you can obtain for free. There simply is not a compelling reason to give Ximian money.

      The best advice I could give them at this point is to develop some truly useful and unique linux apps and sell them. People will pay for something they cannot get elsewhere if it truly enhances the utility of their system.

      For example, I would pay for a Real JukeBox type system that united all of the functions of the various linux music programs in one nice package.

  • Absolutely untrue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leandrod ( 17766 ) <`l' `at' `'> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:40AM (#2726056) Homepage Journal
    Please go check, people -- the free servers continue to exist. Only access to new, faster, bigger bandwidth servers are charged.

    Presumably this could even make the free servers faster for users who choose not to subscribe, since the existing servers may be somewhat offloaded.

    In any case, the same service exists in Debian -- and it covers the whole operating system, not only Gnome.
  • 1. I have no problem with a priemum service offered for getting Ximian updates quick.

    2. They want too much money for it. ($10 a month give me a break half that is enough) I would pay $5 dollars a month maybe.

    3. You can get updates for most distributions (mine is SuSE and they offer updates direct from SuSE) so you can update your OS not just the Ximian GUI desktop.
    Interesting model but unless they get some big corp to go for this I do not see tha basic Linux user buying into this.

    Linux users will pay for CDs they find in stores to save them the time of download. However, I can't see many going for the service.

    I am not sure if that is sad but its definetly true.

    ________________________________________________ __
  • Price Discrimination (Score:3, Informative)

    by ProfDumb ( 67790 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:46AM (#2726094)

    Like others, I wonder if the $9.95/month price is too high just for better download times. However, we should remember the basic theory of economic price discrimination (which is a morally neutral term in economics, by the way, unlike other forms of discrimination.)

    The point of price discrimination is to divide your consumers into groups based on their willingness to pay. Let's say that the profit-maximizing price -- if only one price is offered -- is p0. Then if a firm offers two levels of service at p1 and p2 (with p2 the higher price), it is likely that optimal p1 is less than p0 and optimal p2 is greater than p0. The reason is that the higher-priced service is aimed at a particular group of service-sensitive/price-insensitive consumers, not at the "average" consumer.

    Now, take p0 as the Microsoft price -- we would expect Ximian's p1 to be less that the MS price and it is: zero. Correspondingly, we might expect that p2 could be even higher than the MS price, as it arguably is. It seems to me that most consumers would prefer the Ximian solution -- at least you have a zero-price choice.

    Of course, while this argument is in favor of a relatively "high" price for the premium service, the firm still has to worry that even the service-sensitive folks will "defect" to the low-price service. Unless they make the free service really bad, I still wonder if $9.95/month isn't too high. Perhaps they should go for a $10/quarter "Premium" service and a $10/month "Elite" that has further support benefits.

  • Frankly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:47AM (#2726100) Homepage Journal
    I'm not impressed with any of the auto update tools for Linux. All have exceptionally good points. (Aduvizor is probably the friendliest tool out there, up2date actually -has- up-to-date RPMs, and Red Carpet's ability to include/exclude "channels" is brilliant.) Equally, all of them have exceptionally grotty points (Aduvizor's gone totally commercial, Red Carpet's dependency resolver has more bugs than a termite mound and often doles out older binaries, and up2date's "other channels" effectively don't exist.).

    What's worse, these ONLY support RPMs. There's nothing for SLP's, DEB's, perl modules, etc. Further, they generally only support one architecture (i386). Binaries for the 486, 586, 686, Athlon, etc, just don't seem to exist on these servers.

    What is needed, IMHO, is a caching gateway for developers. A developer simply registers a directory, and forgets about it. (File-And-Forget). Every N hours, the gateway scans all registered directories, updates a database of who has the most recent version of what, and drops from its cache any out-of-date versions.

    On receiving a request, the gateway would check it's cache for a copy. If it has one, it send the file. If it doesn't, it locates what server does have a copy, grabs it, caches it, then forwards it.

    Dependency checking would be simplified, because this kind of server would have a record of damn near every RPM, DEB, SLP, perl module, etc, out there. If the dependency couldn't be met directly, it can always use something like Alien to covert a different package format to the one needed to meet the dependency.

    Such a system would also be much cheaper to run, as you don't need a gigantic machine. Remember, you're not storing all the binaries on the computer, only the ones likely to be needed. You also don't need to administrate such a machine, to keep it up-to-date, as it updates itself, with the help of the developers themselves.

    All you'd need is a decent network connection. Geant would do nicely. Failing that, someone could practically run something like this out of their home, especially if you allowed a peer-to-peer arrangement of gateways, so that no one connection is saturated.

    IMHO, this would utterly negate the need for any kind of commercial update tool, and provide a universal updating system for most Linux platforms.

  • by mirko ( 198274 )
    Lots of posters whine because they don't want to spend the 120$ a year for the "extended" service.

    If I understood properly, they could also continue with the same slow service for free so, what do they criticize ?

    It is Ximian's right (and necessity) to sell something. This something is potentially invaluable (and affordable, BTW) for corporations .

    If you really want a quick service with auto updates for free, then take a Debian, but I hope you won't mind the learning curve.
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by --daz-- ( 139799 )
    $9.95 is pretty steep. Unfortunately, that seems to be the magical number on the Internet. The maximum minimum people are willing to pay per month.

    Also, why is it ok if companies like Ximian try to make money, but when others (like MS, for example) try, then they are evil, dastardly corporations?
  • I wish them the best, but I don't think this is going to succeed. The distributions that Ximian's updater supports, will all also include Gnome updates with their distribution updates. I suspect that most RedHat, Mandrake, etc. users are just going to get their updates from RedHat, Mandrake, etc instead of Ximian.

    To make this work, they need to offer something the distros don't. Some proprietary software that the distros can't include, would work. But I suspect that would be a politically unpopular idea and generate a lot of flamage. But I don't have any other ideas at the moment. I'm glad I'm not in their shoes.

  • I paid my $99.00 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bherrmann7 ( 142154 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @12:27PM (#2726392) Journal
    I doled out the money. I have enjoyed using Ximian's
    service for over a year now. It saves me time and
    keeps my software (including OS) up to date.

    Although the main reason I paid is not for faster downloads, I paid because I want them to keep up the good work. Continue to develop useful software and release it as GPL. The faster downloads is just a bonus.

  • Rumor Control (Score:5, Informative)

    by Peter Teichman ( 4503 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @12:40PM (#2726496) Homepage
    We'd like to clarify a few of the facts around our new Red Carpet Express service.

    Since we launched the Red Carpet service this past April, it has become immensely popular. In fact, usage of Red Carpet has grown over 500% since the service's inception, and we've had to scale our public server's network pipe accordingly. Today, hundreds of thousands of people use Red Carpet on a regular basis to keep their systems up to date. Almost since the day we launched it, we've had a number of users ask us to provide a subscription service to Red Carpet that would offer a higher level of bandwidth. That's what Red Carpet Express is.

    Red Carpet Express is not a sign that we're backing away from our free Red Carpet service. As our userbase has grown, it has become harder for us to increase our available bandwidth -- and consequently our monthly colo bill -- to provide everyone with the fastest connection possible. And so, for the users who absolutely must have high speed all the time, there is Express. Red Carpet Express is made up of a new, dedicated network of machines located at major hubs, and doesn't cut into our free service at all. In fact, over the last few months, we have increased bandwidth to our free Red Carpet service dramatically as the userbase has grown.

    Red Carpet Express is not a sign that we're backing away from our mirror network. We have a dedicated mirror coordinator who works with our over 40 mirror sites to make sure they have the latest content as quickly as possible. This isn't going to change with the launch of Red Carpet Express. In fact, I'd like to encourage those users of our free service to consider looking for a mirror site closer to them.

    Anyway, we hope people give Express a shot. It's the perfect stocking stuffer! :-)
    • Red Carpet Express is not a sign that we're backing away from our free Red Carpet service.

      Red Carpet Express is not a sign that we're backing away from our mirror network.

      So who are you actually appealing to? Red Carpet on its own in any form is only going to appeal to a fraction of users - those who perform their own major upgrades between distro versions. Now take this audience and reduce to only those who depserately need the highest who exactly is this?

      As it stands, it is incredibly easy to spoof your model - just sign up for one account and use it to distribute to free mirrors. The free sites would potetnially only be a half hour behind the paid update.

  • Alternative (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krokodil ( 110356 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @03:52PM (#2727869) Homepage
    I am maintaining free software package with several dependencies (most from RedHat and Ximian GNOME distributions). Many users complain about not being able to install it. Publishing it as channel as Ximian would be perfect. Unfortunately Ximian does not allow 3rd parties to create and maintain software channels using thier technology.

    Now then they started to charge money it is just matter of time until somebody will write free open source service analogous to Ximain which will allow developers to publish their own channels via WWW interface. Bandwidth would be moderate, because such server only needs to distribute XML files with pointers to packages on other sites.

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F.M. Hubbard