Red Hat, the world's leading Linux company, is asking its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) users to help set the features for its next release RHEL 7. Of course, Red Hat is based on open-source Linux, and, in particular its Fedora community Linux operating system. There, the developers call the shots. Now the company is seeking the active help of its RHEL users as well.
This is going to be done in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Ideas discussion group on the Red Hat Customer Portal. According to the company, the "RHEL 7 Ideas discussion group is an extension to the interactive processes already underway with partners, customers and contributors in the open source community. It provides a venue for sharing thoughts and use cases and is invaluable to Red Hat engineering development groups. Access to the Red Hat Customer Portal, which includes a wealth of Red Hat Enterprise Linux information and knowledge, is provided as an important component of every Red Hat subscription."
"Since its inception, Red Hat has always operated in a truly transparent and collaborative way--the open source way--and this is especially apparent in the way we approach product development," said Jim Totton, Red Hat's VP and general manager of its Platform Business Unit. "We welcome all of our customers and partners to participate in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Ideas group and collaborate with other users and Red Hat engineering to make the next version of our enterprise operating system better than ever."
In an e-mail interview, Totton explained that the main differences between Fedora and this new group are the "audience and scope. Fedora targets contributors and users of Open Source technology with a broad set of technologies. Red Hat Enterprise Linux targets enterprise IT with a relevant set of features and technologies. Those two worlds do obviously overlap - as Red Hat Enterprise Linux also gets created on top of a Fedora foundation -- but are not the same."
Totton continued: "The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Ideas Discussion group specifically provides the opportunity to share, discuss and listen to Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribing customers and partners which creates the opportunity to learn from peers on a company and individual level. This enables us to gain insights and feedback and improve Red Hat's understanding of what better solutions should be delivered."
"RHEL enterprise users are the key audience rather than the developers pushing the technology forward in Fedora. The primary audience in the customer portal is the technical staff in the Red Hat subscriber base--customers, ISV/IHV partners or solution providers, as well as resellers and system integrators. While we would certainly not exclude C-level, it is less likely for those to engage in collaboration about the next generation product," concluded Totton.
"Having a formal process that allows customers to influence new features and overall product direction can be beneficial for vendors and customers alike," said Elaina Stergiades, IDC's research manager for Software Support Services, in a statement. "By including this capability in an online portal, software support providers can simplify the feedback process and increase engagement between internal staff and customers - providing expanded benefits and additional value for support subscriptions."
To participate in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Ideas discussion group, Red Hat subscribers can log into the Red Hat Customer Portal using their Red Hat Network (RHN) log in and click on the discussion group link on the front page.