What is Red Hat's achilles heel? No, it's not SuSE, Windows, or Solaris. Ubuntu anyone?

What is Red Hat's achilles heel? No, it's not SuSE, Windows, or Solaris. Ubuntu anyone?

Summary: By way of Slashdot comes this interesting editorial at FreeSoftwareMagazine.com by Tony Mobily who makes a case for why Linux server success is connected to Linux desktop usage, how this initially benefited Red Hat, how Red Hat lost sight of that basic principle, and how Ubuntu not only has it right, but is poised to dethrone Red Hat.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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By way of Slashdot comes this interesting editorial at FreeSoftwareMagazine.com by Tony Mobily who makes a case for why Linux server success is connected to Linux desktop usage, how this initially benefited Red Hat, how Red Hat lost sight of that basic principle, and how Ubuntu not only has it right, but is poised to dethrone Red Hat. Writes Mobily:

......Then, the split: Fedora came along, but it was underfunded and the “community involvement” was patchy and disorganised. Eventually, Red Hat effectively abandoned its desktop audience, to focus on the more lucrative corporate market. Then, a very smart man called Mark Shuttleworth made 500 million dollars in the .com boom, learned Russian from scratch, went to space, came back in one piece, funded several charities focussing on South Africa, and... oh yes, he created Ubuntu Linux.

Mark accomplished three things with his move. First of all, he created tons and tons of work for himself. This isn’t really crucial to my point, but I think it’s important to mention it. He also gathered a community of hackers to create what is, in my humble opinion, the first desktop GNU/Linux done right. And I mean, really right. The third thing he did, was divert tons, and tons, and tons of GNU/Linux users away from Red Hat Linux, and towards Ubuntu Linux. A lot of those people—and this is the crucial piece of information—were system administrators, who in the last 12 months got more and more used to using Ubuntu Linux rather than Red Hat. And—guess what?—now they have Ubuntu Server, which—again, guess what?—is a GNU/Linux server system done right......

Although I didn't copy his entire story verbatim, that's a fair enough chunk that I'll repsect his requirement anyway which is to mention this copyright notice: (C) Tony Mobily 2006 Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. 

Mobily's editorial makes some interesting points and there's no question that the buzz around Ubuntu is very hot right now and some influential people from some unlikely organizations are writing about it.

Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and open standards at IBM where Red Hat and SuSE Linux are the party line, recently ditched Ubuntu to give SuSE a try but it was barely minutes before he realized his error and went back to Ubuntu.  

Tim Bray, director of Web Technologies at Sun where Solaris is king (but where a lot of people run Mac on their destkops) has chronicled his involuntary encounter with Ubuntu running on a Ultra 20 (Yikes!).  He's using it to keep his blog updated while his Mac in the shop for a logic board that fried itself right at the moment that he opened up a Microsoft Word document from a lawyer (begs the question.... was it the Word formatting or the fact that it came from a lawyer that the logic board found to be illogical?).  Then today, he filed an update which seems to indicate that he's pretty happy with Ubuntu and sees it as doing some things right where Mac OS X gets them wrong.   

Recently, as a part of a interesting analysis entitled Debian, Ubuntu, and the future of Linux, Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst at Redmonk wrote:

Ubtuntu is in some respects the Linux distribution equivalent to Ruby on Rails: it values convention over configuration, and makes certain choices in the name of simplicity.

My question: While in New York for C3 Expo, I bumped into some folks from Xandros. There was a period of time there where Xandros was hot.  What happened to Xandros now that Ubuntu now has all that great karma? 

Topic: Open Source

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  • Ubuntu works well

    My first Linux install was Suse. I really wasn't happy with it and installed Ubuntu instead. I've been running it now for just under a month and couldn't be happier. I still have alot of learning to do on Linux, but so far it has been a good experience. I just need to figure out how to get WMV to work.
    DarthRidiculous
    • i'll second that

      my first linux was redhat 8, then fedora 3, then Vector Linux (coz i needed a lightweight distro for an old laptop and didnt mind the console - it got far more things done than i could under woes)

      all this time i kept dual booting with M$ winWOES, but once i built my latest PC, Ubuntu dapper came out the day before by a pleasant coincidence - now im running ubuntu exclusively for two months....just loving it!!! i think the mac thing holds here - it just works!!! (well i did have trouble to get the nvidia opengl driver working, until i learnt abt something called automatix)...
      galileon
    • WMV in Ubuntu

      Assuming they aren't DRM'd, you can play them after you install w32codecs. Search http://www.ubuntuforums.org/ for details.
      mrregistered
    • Two distros include it

      Microsoft has licensed the CodeCs to at least two Linux distros; Linspire and Turbo Linux. That means at least 2 distos have licensed the CodeC from MS so that they can play these formats out of the box. Both distros also licensed DVDs players and play DVDs out of the box.

      Someone already descibed where to find information on other distros.
      Edward Meyers
  • I want nothing but fiddling

    As long as you don't need freely available hardware (gee those device drivers are hard to get), you don't mind fiddling with each distro and flavour of *nix to get what you want, you don't play or need games and you don't need any of the myriad apps available for Windows, you want to join a cult and spend most of your time on the web (with your non MS browser) trying to find out why your great *nix install isn't quite working how you wanted it (or why you can't play WMV files ;-)).

    If you don't want the latest software and you are prepared to put up with appalling documentation for all your great Open source software.

    Then hell, *nix is for you.
    TonyMcS
    • Good, stick with Windows then

      Have fun reformating, updating and removing spyware, all courtesy of you M$ browser.
      DarthRidiculous
      • You have been away from Windows for a long time.

        Any comment about XP SP2 other than "perfect" was written by a Linux ringer who only pretended to try the operating system.

        When that deception fails, they do try XP, and then attempt to deceive Linux users.
        Anton Philidor
        • What are you smoking

          Perfect is not a word I would ever use for any M$ product. I've used SP2 extensively at work and on my personal computers, as well as OSX and recently Linux. Its works good, but it is certainly not perfect. If you think its perfect, then good for you, you are a better man then me.
          DarthRidiculous
    • wtf

      I use windows, but can't stand the MS browser. There may be myriad apps, but basically ALL cost money. And honestly, Mac is the cult. *nix is the "hobby"...

      and really, if it was DOS, it'd still be just about as simple to set up/configure things...
      shryko
      • A lot of good software is free...

        ... especially the add-ons for IE. The community of Windows users has been dedicated and efficient for many years. I'm grateful.

        By the way, I've tested old DOS versions of programs. The simplicity and speed is impressive. Not certain that was your point, but if you were saying that not all changes are advances, I'd agree.
        Anton Philidor
    • obviously you didn't try Linux

      for a long time. Unlike MS, things changed since your last glance at Linux. But please go on playing your precious windows games....
      I recently moved to Linux (Suse BTW) after 20 years of MSDOS, Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and XP. I'm very happy with it.
      european
    • It's amazing that someone else's

      use of linux upsets you so much. Do I post here and disparage you for using windows? You're a broken record--find something else to worry about. We use linux because it suits us--it doesn't suit you, obviously, and no one is saying you should use it.
      ebrke
    • I don't think so

      I beg to differ on so many levels. First, out of the box, most Linux distros load under 20 minutes, and that?s the server portion. Ubuntu loads under 20 min just after asking a few questions. Not only does it load the OS, but apps too. Windows takes about 1 hour to load just the OS, not to mention the patches like SP1 and SP2. SP2 alone is almost an hour in itself. And loading all the apps, that could take some considerable time. <p>

      In terms of support, I have the whole world to draw from. You only have Microsoft and you have to pay for your support and talk to someone from India to solve your problem. Most of the time your just frustrated if you can?t find someone to answer a simple problem because it wasn?t written in a script.. <p>

      Software doesn?t need to be totally up to date as Linux distros aren?t into pushing out buggy software just to dazzle the mindless windows drone with eye candy. Open Office is at version 2 and can do all the things that MS office can do without the cost. And Open Office has more bells and whistles and doesn?t need to have patches to run. You don?t see Open Office Word having to run in safe mode. And the price is right, free (although I do donate to further the cause) <p>

      Firewalls and virus protection; not necessary in a Linux distro. I mean, they do exist, but I fail to want to load one as just about all exploits are designed to crash Windows, not Lijux..<p>

      Price, what?s there to say except you can?t compare. You are paying for Beta, it?s buggy, it?s unreliable, unsecure, and you are at the mercy of Windows to fix it. It?s up to them if they choose not to. Linux, Ubuntu, is based on tried and true code and is backed by the community. You are alone with Windows. <p>

      Software, it?s like the MAC, just about any program designed for Linux will work. There?s no compatibility issues, never wondering if it?s configured right, and no fear of it crashing your system.
      mypl8s4u2
  • i personally use PClinuxOS

    Personally for me it just work i have tried
    DSL
    Debian
    mepis
    cent-os
    Suse

    and now i try PC-BSD wich is very great

    Yes i have try ubuntu but i prefert the .rpm way more easy
    Quebec-french
  • Too close to call

    [url=http://www.distrowatch.com]DistroWatch.com[/url] shows for the last 30 days:
    [pre]
    Rank Distribution H.P.D*
    1 Ubuntu 2353>
    2 SUSE 1564>
    3 MEPIS 1255>
    4 Fedora 1067>
    5 Damn Small 804>
    6 Mandriva 767>
    7 Debian 706>
    8 PCLinuxOS 692>
    9 Zenwalk 544<
    10 Gentoo 524>
    [/pre]

    I'll 'tip my hat' and say that Ubuntu has their act together, but as for comprehensiveness, nothing approaches SUSE. Nothing.

    Bueler?

    Linux Users Unite! ;)
    D T Schmitz
    • nothing approaches SUSE

      right ... true also as far as the superficiality of QA is concerned.

      ... when I have to use SUSE for work I daydream that someday Novell will see the light and base their distribution on Debian. Fortunately it is possible to pretend yast does not exist and use SUSE as an ordinary, normal, reasonable and solid GNU/Linux distribution.
      emilper
      • I'll grant you

        There were some temporary 'ugly' issues with YaST in the release of openSUSE 10.1 of late, and particularly the ZenWorks zen-updater, but Novell came to the fore and resolved them!

        It's safe to go back to using zen-updater now. ;)
        D T Schmitz
    • yes to the uniting

      once Linux can unite to make compatibility nigh universal, they'll win...

      "all for one, and one for all"... it could work. But really, there is a problem where people create their own interface, and the compatibility will deteriorate between the 2 versions... I mean, people should make it so fedora can use the apt-get, and debian the rpm... make it so they are interchangable, like DOS's .com and .exe... make it easy to identify programs, executables, etc.

      pity it's still a ways out there.
      shryko
      • Kinda like blue ray and HD DVD

        Problem is today, everyone thinks what they're doing is best, M$ is a good example of this. Instead of uniting, they try and ram their way down your throat and hope it takes.
        DarthRidiculous
      • Apt4RPM and Alien

        These already exist;

        http://apt4rpm.sourceforge.net/

        http://kitenet.net/~joey/code/alien.html

        There is also unDeb and unRPM.
        Edward Meyers