Community support and the bottom line

Community support and the bottom line

Summary: The closing of Fedora Legacy Linux returns us to the question of linking community support with the bottom line.

TOPICS: Open Source

The closing of Fedora Legacy Linux returns us to the question of linking community support with the bottom line.

In a December 30 posting to the Fedora Legacy List, which supported the extended-release version of RedHat's Fedora, engineer Jesse Keating said a lack of volunteers and contributions led to the decision.

Now Novell is piling on, linking its latest lead in Linux download statistics directly to RedHat's decision not to raise its contribution to the Legacy project.

The claim is subject to dispute. Novell's gain may the result of its deal with Microsoft, or it may be temporary. But the depth of obligation open source vendors owe to their communities is still worthy of discussion.

It's a tough balancing act. Vendors like RedHat face financial demands from internal developers, support groups, enterprise customers and stockholders, as well as their communities. And, as Keating noted in another message, RedHat was not the only company that perhaps should have given more.

In the case of Fedora Legacy, moreover, RedHat faced the prospect of competing with itself, pouring money into an effort that would delay upgrades by its own customer base. It made business sense to rely on volunteers.

Or did it? Ubuntu, which has an active international list of contributors, has also pushed ahead of Fedora in downloads. This is helping Canonical, a small firm in the Irish Sea (actually the Isle of Man, above) which offers paid Ubuntu support. And Novell, with its Microsoft millions, must once again be seen as a serious competitor.

So did RedHat do the right thing here, in a business sense? Opinions don't matter in this case -- the bottom line is the bottom line.


Topic: Open Source

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  • how about an apology

    Did you listen to RedHat's quaterly reports.
    They had the highest profits last quarter. Hmmm, looks like they got as much as they can from the community and so after squeezing the very last drop that could be squeezed it was time to drop them like a used rag.
    • Perhaps you should apologize...

      Where did those profits come from? Perhaps from sales of RHEL, because that's the version of Linux based on Fedora and charge for? Your statement would be true if Red Hat dropped Fedora development, but it's just a project to provide longer-term support that stopped, not the distro. Fedora Core is still going, as version 7 is being written as we speak, with the help of the community.

      However, Red Hat did extend the term of support of Fedora releases from 9 to 13 months, allowing users to have full support up to every second release. It's not as long as Windows support for sure, but then again it has been [b]5 long years[/b] between releases. Support for old versions of any OS can easily be a money-drainer, just ask Microsoft about pre-XP support.
      Tony Agudo
      • profiting by not paying wages - thats Red Hat

        How about paying market wages for programmers and other technical skills.

        How about not violating other companies Intellectual Property

        Red Hat has repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to profit from peoples work by not paying them.
        Look at how things are at JBoss. Marc Fleury put it in very soft words that RedHat is not investing -- which if you can understand means they dont want to pay programmers for their time.
      • more on the apology

        Finally, if there is a valid reason I will apologize. I have apologized in the past for a couple of unintentional mistakes.
        However lets look at the facts here.

        1) Red Hat doesnt like to pay people for their technical skills and wants to profit from it and I have to apologize.

        2) Oracle pays programmers market wages (infact after stock options the payscale is better than industry average). It costs companies money to pay wages. Companies charge for software licences. However Dana Blankehorn calls software licence fees "MONOPOLY FEES". A 1 or 2 CPU licence Oracle database is $4995 for a perpetual licence. A MySQL which is not enterprise grade charges $4995 for one year licence. Where is the apology for that. Dont you think he should issue an aplogy. I havent seen one.

        3) Any news channel has a story or comment on news clip they get a doctor. Basically a news channel having many journalists yet they get a qualified person (a doctor) to speak eg Dr Sanjay Gupta speaks on health matters on CNN.
        However on zdnet when commenting on software, a journalist speaks who has absolutely no knowledge of software (absolutely clueless). How can someone who has no knowledge on software write articles on software without there being gaping holes, mis-information etc.

        Not just that, there a couple of others (not calling names here) who knowing write false stuff, dont give data to back up claims they make, write false articles on certain companies, distort information to support certain claims. How about an apology for that.
        • Back to reality

          You have the right letters in your handle, "gas". Maybe that's because you are so full of hot air.

          Even Microsoft gives away free software, but pays their programmers to write it. So does RedHat.

          Time to go deflate yourself.
          linux for me
          • looks like you have nothing valid to say or no counter argument

            "Even Microsoft gives away free software, but pays their programmers to write it. So does RedHat."

            Microsoft pays all its programmers well.

            Cant say the same about RedHat.
            Red Hat, they do exploit their programmers.
            Talk to IT departments that have dealt with Red Hat and its no surprise that they are nicknamed DeadRat.
          • Not true!

            I have worked with various IT departments and RedHat, and I never found your accusations to be true. Try again!
            linux for me
          • maybe you should look closer

            Well, I have worked at various IT departments and I have seen their work ethic, attitude, customer service, tech support, software licencing contracts --- IT SUCKS BIG TIME.

            Well I know friends who worked at RedHat who are not too happy with what happened.

            Even Dana Blankehorn wrote a blog saying things were not going too well after the Red Hat and JBoss merger. Marc was stating that Red Hat wasnt investing into JBoss. Talk to a few JBoss developers or ex-developers.
          • maybe you should look again and dont keep your eyes closed

          • its reality check for you

            Your handle rhymes with "Enuchs for me"
            Dude, I dont even want to know how mixed up you are. Its best if you keep it to yourself.

            Hope this is enough reality check to deflate you.
      • 5 long years

        makes for a VERY VEHEERY difficult certification process.
        Large IT departments are going to budge from XP anytime soon.

        Right on Rafterman. :)
        D T Schmitz
    • apology for what

      There's nothing I can see worth apologizing for--it's a good article.

      What's your beef defcon???
      Lay your cards on the table and we can sort things through.
      D T Schmitz
      • Dangers of confusion

        [i]"What's your beef defcon???"[/i]

        He seems to be very anti-open source. Maybe he looked at it once and could not understand it and is terrified it may become the norm? ;-)

        There seems to be a lot of confusion between Fedora and the Fedora Community Project and that is where some of the Shill's triumphalism seems to come from. They think that there is only one Fedora. I suppose it is because nobody pops up to issue patches for Windows 98 - it is Microsoft or no-one. Those living in the monocultural world of Microsoft just don't seem to get it!
        • your confusion shows

          Windows XP is the successor to Win98.
          All your Win98 programs will work on Windows XP.

          Whats my beef?
          The lies that *nix fanboys say.
          Read my earlier posts wherein I have stated in detail some instances of the crap that Dana has stated. I still havent seen an apology. More important than the apology, I hope he doesnt repeat similar mistakes.
          When mistakes are pointed out, one learns from them. Lets see if this time its going to be any different.
          • My confusion?

            [i]"Windows XP is the successor to Win98."[/i]
            No. Windows 2000 was the successor. Win XP replaced W2K

            [i]"All your Win98 programs will work on Windows XP."[/i]
            Nice dodge - I was talking about them running on VISTA not XP.

            [i]"When mistakes are pointed out, one learns from them. Lets see if this time its going to be any different."[/i]
            Well - here's a chance to practice what you preach.
          • when are you going to learn anything

            In the consumer space Win95, Win98, WinMe, WinXP
            In the enterprise space WinNT, Win2K, WinXP

            Basically the consumer version of Windows starting from XP is using the NT kernel.
            The reason why Win95 and successors and WinNT used different kernels is because in 1995 hardware was expensive.
            8MB RAM was considered a luxury.
            Win95 was designed to have a complete GUI while running on the least processor and RAM requirements.
            NT kernel requires atleast around 100MB RAM to be responsive to user input. This requirement is not because of bloated code but OS features/design (learn more on Operating System )

            All GUI OS's of the era eg Apple OS was similar to Win95. Infact Win95 was ahead in that it offered pre-emptive multi-tasking however till OS X, Apple used co-operative multi-tasking.

            Windows Vista is the next generation of Windows. The only reason business applications and many commercial consumer applications dont work is because Microsof locked down / changed a few aspects keeping security in mind.

            If one purchased Win98 and applications they can continue to use it forever if they want it.

            If they want the newest OS, instead of charging a support fee MS charges a one time licencing fee.

            If they still want to use their old programs but on a different OS, Windows XP fits the bill.
          • Try to keep up.

            If Linux was not a serious contender, Microsoft would not bother to acknowledge it any more than they do Atari or any of the other forgotten OS's. But Linux IS a serious contender and packs a serious wallop that demands attention from even an 800 pound gorilla.

            That's pretty bottom line.

            So far as I am concerned, having used nearly all of them at one point or another, that list of MS OS's you posted is a list of their failures ... and you left out a half dozen going all the way back to DOS when other vendors had multiple simultaneous user / multiple simultaneous apps versions of DOS and Coherent was running Unix on 386's. Am I the only one who recalls DOS 4.0 or the first version of Windows?

            The days of Microsofts' illegal monopoly are coming to an end in ways that the US Dept. of Justice didn't have the authority to pursue even if it had found its missing cajones.

            Your shouting is nothing more than the opening bars of a funeral dirge.
  • Linux and business - incompatible?

    Business works by purchasing a computer, loading the OS and apps, and then letting it run that way FOREVER. Trying to upgrade ANYTHING is a long drawn-out process. Companies want to stay on the same kernel and have all new kernel fixes BACKPORTED to whatever version they first loaded. This means that TODAY, Company 'F' has MOST of its Linux servers running SLES8 and are slowly moving toward SLES9 - while SLES11 is coming out.

    NOW you see that keeping older versions up-to-date is critical for businesses like DeadRat, and you can also see that having this done for free REALLY cuts into the bottom line. Now you know why they did this.
    Roger Ramjet