Red Hat's extended support option offers breathing room

Red Hat is taking good care of its customers -- and that's one of the intended benefit of open source software.The Linux giant recently announced that it would offer an optional subscription to extend the life cycle support to 10 years for its enterprise Linux.

Red Hat is taking good care of its customers -- and that's one of the intended benefit of open source software.

The Linux giant recently announced that it would offer an optional subscription to extend the life cycle support to 10 years for its enterprise Linux.

The current life cycle is seven years. But with the Extended Life Cycle Support, customers can get limited software maintenance and technical support for three more years.

The extended support option is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and RHEL 4 and will soon be available for RHEL 5. (RHEL 6 is now in beta testing).

It's a wise move in this economic climate. There are a number of Red Hat customers who deployed Enterprise Linux 3 seven years ago and were facing an end-of-life date of October 2010.

Now, if they buy the add-on subscription, they can hold off on the upgrade cycle until 2013.

This is one of the key benefits of open source. Red Hat does not own or control Linux and knows that customers can fairly easily defect to another Linux brand if they feel pushed around.

It also gives Red Hat some revenue boost to offset the longer upgrade cycles of Enterprises.

Red Hat claims this extended support option is the best in the Linux industry.

Microsoft's mainstream life cycle support for its business software is five years. The company does offer extended support for an additional five years but it covers only security updates. Technical support and hotfix support is paid only. \

there is no free technical support

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