[lug] Fedora *MEETS* KRUD comments wanted
nate at natetech.com
Fri Sep 26 13:25:22 MDT 2003
Michael J. Hammel wrote:
> On Thu, 2003-09-25 at 16:03, Nate Duehr wrote:
>>I do not trust RedHat anymore. They have the appearance of no longer
>>having my best interests at heart, as a non-paying user of their system
> My guess is that, as a non-paying user, they weren't really worried
> about your trust. In fact, they probably had no idea you existed unless
> you somehow registered as a non-paying user. They aren't running for
> congress. They're running a business. And doing a much better job for
> paying consumers than MS has. Had you paid for the service, you might
> have stronger arguments here.
I guess I wasn't clear enough -- the "as a non-paying user of their
system" was meant to say something along the lines of:
"Both paying and non-paying users were once supported by RedHat. In
return they built a base of people who trusted that their Distribution
and a base of people who felt using RedHat software was a sound business
decision from the bottom-up. Techies convinced managers to use their
products when Linux was a huge risk they didn't understand. RedHat
benefited greatly from this. RedHat also gets large sums of money from
techies to get "Certified" that they really understand the RedHat
distribution specifically whereas the LPI and other certifications are
1/20th the price and anyone who can pass an LPI can administer a RedHat
box. Now I feel that they no longer have the non-paying parties
interests at heart."
That just seemed too wordy yesterday, though. ;-)
I never made a judgement call about whether that was "good" or "bad"
though, it just "is". They made the decision, and I'm willing to live
with it. If I personally feel like it's "bad", there are plenty of
On the other hand I *am* a paying customer of RedHat. A number of boxed
sets for both myself and employers, and a card-carrying member of RedHat
Network with a couple of subscriptions. But the price tag just jumped
from $60/year (originally $90/year) to a minimum of $400 for each
server. That's quite a price-increase when you have 50 servers doing
what is today, relatively generic stuff.
If RedHat were the only stable business-capable distro out there, I
would wholeheartedly agree they're worth every penny of the increase.
But they're not.
>>-- even though they never really owed it to me in the first place. I
>>can't blame them, but I also can't trust them anymore.
> Trust them for what? To provide a free service to you forever?
> Surprisingly, they're actually doing that. It just doesn't happen to be
> in a form you want. If you're not paying for their services, what
> exactly is it that they owe you in order to earn "trust"?
It's the whole disconnect between the pure-Free Software world and the
business world, especially in the U.S. I used to trust that they were
committed to Free Software as a community. Now I don't trust that as
much. They have investors to feed, I totally understand. I never
thought they could play both sides of the fence indefinitely.
Yes, they employ people who contribute to Free Software greatly, and
those people have Community interests, but the Corporate decision-makers
are slowly and inevitably moving RedHat toward their real goal -- a
commercial software company. Yes, one with better morals and attitudes
than many others, but still -- they have a business to run. I have no
problem with that. Never did.
>>longer a "helpful partner",
> How can they be a partner if you provided nothing to them? Being a
> partner is a two way street.
I got used to free-loading and got burned. :-) That's all I was
saying. You make it sound like I didn't realize that was going to
happen? Surprised, yes. Naieve, no. :-) But I was pimping their
wares for them too. Selling Linux to people who had no idea what Linux
was on the basis of "you see how good RedHat is?". Now I can't do that
in good conscience.
They implicitly had an offer on the table for years... "If you use our
free software, we'll always be here to back you and your business up
with support if you need it. Otherwise, you can continue to use the
software as long as you like and we'll sell you training and a piece of
paper that'll make your employer(s) happy."
They never said the above statement explicitly, but they definitely
implied that RedHat would always remain free-as-in-beer for almost a
decade. That changed this year. They gave up the lie that they're able
to survive on the sale of services alone. Sad, but true.
>>Maybe that's the biggest damage... lots of people probably feel similar.
>> The "rules" changed without warning.
> Without warning? How much time did you need? This has been under
> discussion for quite some time. RH9 is still (I believe, I could be
> wrong) being supported.
Where was it under discussion? Perhaps it was, but I still see an
awfully large number of surprised people. I don't remember seeing any
RedHat managers posting to discussion lists or other public forums or
them calling on the phone asking my opinion as a customer of RHN?
I doubt they really wanted the publicity. They had a long history of
naysayers (including myself at one time) that said they'd never make it
selling Free Software. What they really meant was they'd never make it
giving away software. That's true.
>>Kinda like Verisign's DNS wildcard records for .com and .net this week...
> I couldn't disagree more. Red Hat has been very forthcoming with
> information about this change. Verisign notified next to no one.
Agreed, I said that in frustration. Verisign is way slimier than RedHat
and has a track record of being so. :-)
Many people misinterpreted my comments, and I thought I was pretty
clear. RedHat doesn't owe me anything.
All the software they distribute is Free Software and there are other
high-quality distributions offering the exact same software. So when
they say "the only way to continue to play with us in this sandbox is if
you pay the toll"... I'll leave the sandbox and go hang out somewhere
They need to create value (probably in add-on proprietary software)
before asking people to pay more for what they can get for free elsewhere.
They just *might* have enough momentum to gather up cash from people
willing to pay now to build such wonderful tools that I have to "go
back" to them someday, but for now... if I just need Apache/Tomcat/MySQL
there's places to get it for free and with no degradation in quality.
So -- for me -- no more RedHat. Honeymoon's over. Oh well. They're
not hurt, I'm not hurt. This particular divorce will be quite painless,
we won't even argue over who gets to keep the dog.
But I will be very wary of strategic "changes of direction" in the
future at RedHat if I ever "go back".
I wish RedHat all the best in their endeavours. I just don't need ES or
AS or any of what they're offering, but being able to use the distro
with "name recognition" was nice while it lasted.
Someone else also made some comment about my employer wanting to use
RedHat -- no... not really. My employer picked the "popular at the
time" linux distro many years ago and used it for free, just like I have
for my personal stuff. I really don't think it was a technical decsion.
Apache is Apache. There's a Mandrake machine floating around here
somewhere, and I've loaded at least one machine with Debian.
I fully expect if we have any business sense we'll continue the practice
of using whatever's free-as-in-beer and works. :-) But I can't speak
for them, since this is America and I'll get the crap sued out of me for
having an opinion!!! (GRIN)
I had a funny message from a friend after yesterday's posting that
summed it up nicely... "So you're saying you're upset that something
changed you never paid for?".. "Yep.".. "Well at least you're honest!"
From your signature line on your message Michael:
Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
-- Credited to the Dalai Lama.
RedHat achieved Linux-"immortality" by sharing. They're not as willing
to share anymore. :-)
Good discussion. And even ON TOPIC!!! Whoo hoo! And not even
degrading into a Distro-war, wow.
Oh ... someone mentioned the whole "bleeding edge" thing too... yeah, I
have a Debian "sid" box at home and a Gentoo box that gets emerge'd just
about every night... but not at WORK.
As the cartoon said... "When you're holding the moon for ransom, you
value stability in an application." (www.ubergeek.tv/switchlinux for
those that missed it.)
I'm Nate, and I'm a Super-villain. (Pbbbt.)
Nate Duehr, nate at natetech.com
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