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The open-source entrepreneur

Maggie Shiels | 09:24 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bob Young is a self-confessed contrarian with a strong desire to change the world by allowing people to share and collaborate. The approach has served him well and has helped turn the Canadian into a multi-millionaire.

Bob YoungFrom the outset, his software company Red Hat bucked the trend set by the big players like Microsoft which stubbornly guarded every line of code and charged whopping fees to maintain it.

Red Hat's approach was unusual at the time and relied on free software developed by an open-source community. Customers were given the right to change the code any way they liked and Red Hat sold services to make sure it all worked.

In those early 1990s, many businesses feared that open source would not be stable and often opted for the proprietary model being sold by the likes of Microsoft. Today, the Redmond giant has seen its market share erode; Red Hat has become the world's open-source leader.

'Shaggy dog story'

Mr Young started out as a typewriter salesman and went on to found and run a computer-leasing company. That was sold on, but the firm that bought him over ran into financial difficulties and Mr Young became unemployed with three children to support and a large mortgage.

"Mine is a sort of shaggy-dog story and goes something along the lines of 'it doesn't matter what bad things happen to you. What matters is how you react to them.'"

He cleaned out his wife's sewing closet, turned it into an office and started again. He started a business called ACC Corp that distributed free Unix software. Mr Young also published a newsletter for former clients using the Unix operating system. Those subscribers turned him on to a new freeware version of Unix called Linux.

Linux logoHe was later told about Marc Ewing, who had created an enhanced version of Linux called Red Hat. Mr Young sold the software as fast as Mr Ewing could produce it.

In 1993, Red Hat Software was created as the two combined their companies and financed their fledgling business by maxing out a half-dozen credit cards.

It was the perfect marriage of technical nous meeting sales savvy - not unlike that forged by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack in the early days of Apple.

By 2000, the company had captured 25% of the server operating system market, and Red Hat held over 50% of the global market for Linux systems. Today. it is the largest distributor of the Linux operating system.

'Hoarding knowledge'

The road to dominance was not an easy one, especially given that Red Hat was pushing against the established system of paying exorbitant fees to licence software and for service agreements.

No-software logoThe behemoth of the day was Microsoft, which engendered little love due to its hard-nosed business practices.

"My problem wasn't Microsoft. My problem was with this proprietary model where the engineers who were using the technology couldn't make changes to it. This slows technological development.
 
"My background was renting and leasing computers and everyone knew in the hardware business that hardware evolved faster than software.
 
"It wasn't until I got involved in this open-source model that I realised the problem is the hardware guys all shared their knowledge while the software guys were hoarding knowledge. They were not sharing and as a result the software did not evolve forward very quickly."

Mr Young's plan was met with some derision:

"My friends who were propeller-head programmers thought this was a good idea but no serious businessman did, and I think of myself as a serious business guy. They believed that software had to be proprietary. That was the only way you could make money."

But he didn't let that get in the way:

"It was the software engineers telling me that the internet needed to be able to share the tools they are using. They needed to work with each other. They couldn't have a big corporation in the middle of their project of building these things - and when you saw that, you saw open source as the only way to solve this."

Red Hat logoHe admits that, despite believing in the necessity of an open model, he couldn't initially see Red Hat as a viable business proposition. Scott McNealy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, helped him see the light at a Unix conference:

"I wasn't sure there was a real business here until I was in the audience when Scott was expounding on how evil Microsoft was with the monopolies that they owned in desktop operating systems and productivity tools, and he said 'what are your alternatives?'
 
"He was pushing Java and he was saying your alternatives were: you can continue to pay homage to Microsoft, or you can always use this free open-source software, or you can use my Java solution.
 
"The punchline of course being we should all use Java. But what was hugely informative to me was I thought no-one was paying any attention to this open software thing and here is one of the most successful guys in technology dismissing it as unimportant.
 
"I suddenly go 'holy cow!' Not a single major billion-dollar company takes this seriously. I know all these propeller-heads who think it is the right thing to do, this sure looks like an opportunity to me. And so, by being as contrary as I am, Scott got me on the right path."

Business inspiration

Still, Mr Young was a businessman at heart; he had to work out how to make this dream pay its way.

Freedom software textHe says that Red Hat was so efficient at pushing out this free software through its website that "these software engineers would send me the equivalent of love letters. They wanted us to succeed so badly."

But love doesn't pay the mortgage or put food on the table - so Business 101 came into play. The company charged for services to help customers maintain the software and provide support.

"The Linux OS was a very sophisticated piece of technology and it was evolving very rapidly. We had a new release out every couple of months and we could clearly see that major corporations could not use our software if they had to deal with this rate of change by themselves.
 
"So we realised we could afford to give away the product and the customers would have to ask us for help to keep it running."

Inspiration came from the legal profession:

"If a lawyer comes up with a new argument that gets his client off and wins a case in front of the Supreme Court, every other lawyer on the planet can use his argument without asking his permission.
 
"So how does a lawyer make money? Well, lawyers obviously make lots of money - there's towers in New York and towers in London full of lawyers because it is a very valuable service."

Over the years, Red Hat's approach more than paid off. When it went public in 1999, its share price tripled to over $52 a share on the day and helped to heat up a then-tepid IPO market. At the time, it was said the Red Hat sell-off achieved the eighth-biggest first-day gain in the history of Wall Street.

The sale was also seen as an important test of the open-source operating system's appeal, paving the way for other like-minded companies. Mr Young says this all underlines just how far the open-source model has come:

"I am thrilled that it has gone so mainstream. I saw it as a very necessary piece and I'm certainly excited that I had a small influence on it.
 
"I don't care how well you run your proprietary closed tech company, you simply can't move your technology forward as quickly as the people who have access to common standards where they can all work collaboratively on the technology."

The next chapter

Not long after the IPO, Mr Young made way for a new CEO. Today, he runs a self-publishing platform called Lulu along the same lines as he ran Red Hat and with the aim of doing good.

"I started Lulu not to make money, but to make the world a better place.
 
"I want to enable authors right now who are getting rejection slips from publishers and give them a platform that they decide what they publish and when they publish it and who they publish it for.
 
"And if we are successful, we will have made the world a better place both for those authors and for the customers who are reading books that they would not otherwise have had access to."

Last year, Lulu created 400,000 titles and sold over 1.6 million books. The company claims more than 1.8 million users.

Lusitania shipMr Young admits to being an avid reader and that he has thousands of favourite books. Recently on his night-stand was a Lulu book about the Lusitania, an ocean liner that was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 off the coast of Ireland. It held a personal connection because his great-grandparents were headed to England to see his grandfather, who was in hospital recovering from a wound inflicted in World War I.

"My great-grandparents went over on the Lusitania and were last seen jumping into the Irish Sea, according to the newspaper in my home town.
 
"I look at this book and the author has the passenger list of the last voyage on the back and there are my great-grandparents. What was fascinating was that this was a great example of a book that had relatively little demand. By putting it on a site like Lulu, the author was able to deliver value to people like me who would have had no way to learn this story."

Another recent favourite was called Googled - it's by Ken Auletta and is a history of the search giant. Again, Mr Young found a personal connection:

"I get to the front of chapter three and it goes into a little bit of the history about how in early 1999 Google had nearly run out of money but for a little angel money they had and a contract with a software company they had in North Carolina called Red Hat.
 
"I go 'holy cow'. I funded the start-up of Google. Why didn't we get shares? Why did we take money from them? It's a fun story and nice to know Red Hat played a little part."

Red Hat moniker

Finally and apropos of nothing, if you want to know how Red Hat got its name, watch this fun video [6.98Mb MOV].

Comments

  • 1. At 12:39pm on 15 Jun 2010, IAmTheK wrote:

    Thanks Maggie. Very good article.

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  • 2. At 1:24pm on 15 Jun 2010, AndyB wrote:

    If RedHat nicely supported Google in the early days, why isn't there stronger ties between the two companies? Currently Google uses the Ubuntu distro as its base linux platform (called Goobuntu), when I'd have expected more Fedora.

    Still, its good to see tat open source Linux is offering an alternative to the established monopolies. If it wasn't for good competition, the monopolies wouldn't improve (look at Internet Explorer for the perfect example!)

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  • 3. At 09:09am on 16 Jun 2010, zak_neutron wrote:

    Bob Young - Respect - Linux visionary. Paved the way for others.

    'nuff said.

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  • 4. At 3:21pm on 16 Jun 2010, ElephantTalk wrote:

    Hi Maggie. Thank you for an excellent article about open source, why it exists and how the whole global IT community can benefit from the philosophy of sharing for the greater good.

    Since open source can't or won't indulge in the branding techniques of other IT companies, it is imperative that organisations like the BBC showcase the quality, usability and interoperability of open source software.

    The current desktop and laptop monopoly must be broken. Firefox has gone some way to achieving this, the same patience and effort should be put into achieving the same sort of success for Thunderbird, OpenOffice and Linux. The consumer must have a genuine choice to avoid the vendor lock-in that has blighted IT for so many years.

    So Maggie, as your technology correspondent colleague is busy playing with his new toy, it's down to you to champion further the cause of open source, time to put the needs of consumers before the shareholders of a handful of greedy monopolistic IT companies.

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  • 5. At 5:11pm on 16 Jun 2010, Green Soap wrote:

    An interesting article. Credit where it's due.

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  • 6. At 10:53am on 17 Jun 2010, ChrisMM wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 2:59pm on 17 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    currently work for a company which has a small open source developer unit within it, the main problem for the Linux distro vendors and open source developers is how to charge, which in effect means how to get round GPL and the likes it is easy with server distro charge on the support and claim the software is still free, but it wont work with desktop editions.

    It is odd how the “Open source community” seems to champion people who are in effect trying everything in their power to take their Linux distro into the retail market and away from the “free and open” intention that Linux was… Sorry is .

    Everyone in the industry watched what happened with the netbook fiasco it did linux as a platform no favours and having Ubuntu bemoan MS for giving cheap licences for Fis imaged machine to the manufacturers when in fact your model is “meant” to free.

    Open source software like open office or gimp etc are great products well worth a mention but then they are not platform dependant and are the true champions of open source in my opinion.

    Linux has a long way to go to be before it can be called user friendly and that is any of its flavours and until then the average user will steer clear and unfortunately MS and Apple now see Google as the bad boy and handshakes behind closed doors by the big two will hinder the open source community in ways I think that will surprise many in all camps.

    I am not really a fan of bob as he never seems to admit he seen a business opportunity to make money and went for it , good for him but a champion of “open source” or “free software” he is not.

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  • 8. At 3:58pm on 17 Jun 2010, linuxrich wrote:

    I was a little dubious about the first mention of Linux. You refer to freeware. Although that's probably arguably not too inaccurate, Free and open source software (FOSS or FLOSS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLOSS) would have been much better. None the less, a pretty good article!

    @ Alexander. Are you perhaps confusing user friendly with absolutely dreadful but familiar? My family and myself have absolutely no issues with the useability of our favourite Linux distro (SimplyMEPIS) due to the fact we have become familiar with a superior alternative to the usual suspect desktop OS.

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  • 9. At 4:10pm on 17 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    @linuxrich
    please dont turn this into a silly this is better than that tripe, explain why it is superior?..validate your response so I have something to answer please or where you to busy compiling and working out why A will work with C but not with B installedand that D wont work with any of the rest.

    I have four flavours of linux running in my home and 2 in the office but MS and Apple are easier and more convenient by miles I point you to the Netbook fiasco young sir.

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  • 10. At 5:44pm on 17 Jun 2010, linuxrich wrote:

    Fair comment, I suppose I could have expanded my last statement. For me, the reason I (almost*) exclusively use Linux on the desktop is that it gives me the freedom to tweak my systems to perform (Productive, useful!) tasks that would be inconcievable in a Microsoft (Probably Apple too.) environment. At the same time, I enjoy an extremely high level of stability and availability with a minimal need to perform regular maintenance activities like disk defrags (Never!), virus scans (Very rarely.) etc. For me, having systems that don't require regular intervention to keep running and that can be relied on to be available make for ease and convenience. I firmly believe that anyone who is willing to take the time to unlearn one system and learn another will similalrly benefit. This includes perhaps taking machines with ill advised Linux implementations (I assume this is the Netbook fiasco you refer to.) and replacing the operating system with a better thought out and supported alternative as provided by any of the regular top names listed on Distrowatch.

    * There are a couple of installs of Vista in my household. A laptop that hardly ever gets used and a Business Edition partition on the main desktop that will either get wiped or virtualised as and when I need the disk space.

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  • 11. At 6:08pm on 17 Jun 2010, Daniel Walker wrote:

    In a few years time, I think arguing about which desktop software is best, will be as anachronistic as arguing which petrol company makes the best petrol, or which bank has the best cash machine network.

    As long as the pump has has a green nozzle on it, it won't wreck your engine: as long as both the ATM and the card have the word 'Visa' written on them (or whatever) you can get your money.

    Now that so much of the software we consume is running on a machine other than our own, it no longer matters if that software is locked down and controlled, or not. We're not buying the software, we're buying what the software can do. I could have the entire source code for Amazon, but I still wouldn't be able to get a book.

    In an online world, source code has stopped being an asset. As a software developer, the best you can hope to do, is to stop your software becoming a liability - which is why the support has become the salable commodity and not the software. Unsupported software is worse than useless in an online world, because it is one exploit away from becoming a complete liability to its users.

    When governments are willing to name specific unsupported software products - and advise their citizens not to use them - that's when you know that this idea has gone mainstream.

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  • 12. At 7:28pm on 17 Jun 2010, ElephantTalk wrote:

    @ Alexander.

    You are totally missing the point of 'free software'. If you'd taken the trouble to read the Free Software Definition, you'd see that free refers to freedom and not to price. The freedom to run, study, change and distribute software for the benefit of the IT community. We did it back in the 1970's so it's hardly a new concept.

    Nobody is trying to get round GPL to make money because GPL doesn't restrict you from making money out of free/open-source software. But, by and large the software isn't retailed in the way that Microsoft stuff is, and anyway the priority behind free/open-source is to enrich the IT world and not to gain financially.

    I don't know which Linux distros you've tried, but a lot of my family and friends are using the latest Ubuntu or Fedora, and have not reported any 'user-unfriendly' issues.

    I've been in IT a lot of years and seen a lot of software and I can categorically state that operating systems based on Unix, which was designed as a multi-user, portable, secure system with networking and the internet in mind; are superior to any version of Microsoft Windows, which has always had to play catch-up in terms of security and networking, because it was designed as a stand alone system, to be mass marketed to earn a quick buck.

    If you read the global tech news, you'll see that hundreds of companies and public organisations are switching to open source in general and Linux in particular, all around the world, from Asia through Europe and Africa to South America, both for desktops and servers. They have finally realised that Microsoft has abused its monopoly position to rip them off with mediocre software at high prices.

    But what really bugs me, is that when I walk into a PC retailer for a new PC I can't choose which operating system I want. That monopoly has to be broken, the consumer must have a choice.

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  • 13. At 7:58pm on 17 Jun 2010, Sorin Manolache wrote:

    I once heard the metaphor that giving software for free and charging for service is like a restaurant giving food for free and charging you 5 bucks for a glass of water.

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  • 14. At 8:47pm on 17 Jun 2010, ElephantTalk wrote:

    Shouldn't it be give food and water for free and charge for bringing it to your table? Change your restaurant, but stay with free software.

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  • 15. At 11:12pm on 17 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    @redlinuxhacker
    “You are totally missing the point of 'free software'. If you'd taken the trouble to read the Free Software Definition, you'd see that free refers to freedom and not to price. The freedom to run, study, change and distribute software for the benefit of the IT community. We did it back in the 1970's so it's hardly a new concept.”
    DID you read that back to yourself i think not "open source” does not mean compiling others work then charging for it GPL forbids it end of story but redhat used even by bob admission a legal but underhanded method of charging and the IP issues here are enormous . coming from a unix based scientific background i have worked for IBM , Compaq, hp ,Computacenter and have over 25 years industry experience at a senior level.
    Your response requires validation tell me why unix based system are better how is the networking better how virtualisation effects the equation , take my company i can employ 2 MS server techs for the price of one Unix tech, i can source hardware without concerns about compatibility issues, i have a support /upgrade roadmap stamped in stone i have System management tools heads above Linux tools,i don’t have to worry about consultants that are really pre sales with a poor knowledge base and lastly i don't have to work with or buy from Sun.
    I could go on but why i like Linux but i read the same rubbish all the time that Linux has broke the back etc, it is like the Indian government switching from MS exchange to Squiremail..I mean come on it is all about money squirrelmail is a decade behind exchange and rather..Well rubbish.
    Show me some stats to prove your point “They have finally realised that Microsoft has abused its monopoly position to rip them off with mediocre software at high prices.”
    Who where when?.
    Linux in any flavour is not retail yet by any means , thinking otherwise is ill informed the General public don’t want to learn anything they just want it to work.

    @linuxrich
    You said the one word “tweak” the general public and business are not particularly interested in, and with Bo tasty like SharePoint and with MS 2008 hyp v being able to run linux apps on Virtual layer for MS os’s , virtuall application layers are becoming dominant and that really makes OS’s a mute choice.
    Even my current favourite Distro Debian comes in 5 dvds with a ton of junk and work to get right i like it by my 13year old son laughs when he see me using it and usually comes away with “plug and play dad”.
    Do not Kid yourself ladies and gentlemen just because you support a thing does not make it anything other than a personal preference and spending all your time in any one of the environments MS, UNIX, Apple, Linux makes you less not more and sadly lacking in any attempt to comment on the IT industry as a Whole, I run a company because I understand the whole, but i had to work for lots of companies in widely differing environments to get there even my optics based Phd is just a wall hanging now.

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  • 16. At 11:51pm on 17 Jun 2010, 0xdeadbeef wrote:

    #15 @Alexander
    "DID you read that back to yourself i think not "open source” does not mean compiling others work then charging for it GPL forbids it end of story"

    Of course this is completely and demonstrably false.
    GPL imposes *no* restrictions whatsoever on the price of software - you can charge exactly what you want for it. The only restriction imposed by the GPL are that you must provide a link to the source code of the application you sell as a binary, *including* any modifications you made. End of story.

    All this means is you cannot modify a work and sell it without contributing your changes back to the community that gave you the original work. Furthermore thousands of companies use modified GPL'ed software on a daily basis as part of their internal software infrastructure with no requirement placed on them to distribute their changes - many do, but it is not a requirement.

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  • 17. At 01:18am on 18 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

    probably better quote from the Gnu direct: we are talking about red hat here, ask yourself why could not bob just charge for his software direct if this where true why did he have to find a way round it?

    You can charge only for distribution "Distributing free software is an opportunity to raise funds for development. Don't waste it!"

    that is their catch phrase if it was so easy to charge for linux distros the market would be a very different place.

    We run open source development platforms and like others we bend the rules to suit as under the cooperative's rules the software is available to all comers for "FREE".

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_05/b3918001_mz001.htm

    oh yes where is the rest of your reply just to remind maybe your where to quick in replying and missed the rest.

    Your response requires validation tell me why unix based system are better how is the networking better how virtualisation effects the equation , take my company i can employ 2 MS server techs for the price of one Unix tech, i can source hardware without concerns about compatibility issues, i have a support /upgrade roadmap stamped in stone i have System management tools heads above Linux tools,i don’t have to worry about consultants that are really pre sales with a poor knowledge base and lastly i don't have to work with or buy from Sun.

    I could go on but why i like Linux but i read the same rubbish all the time that Linux has broke the back etc, it is like the Indian government switching from MS exchange to Squiremail..I mean come on it is all about money squirrelmail is a decade behind exchange and rather..Well rubbish.
    Show me some stats to prove your point “They have finally realised that Microsoft has abused its monopoly position to rip them off with mediocre software at high prices.”
    Who where when?.

    Linux in any flavour is not retail yet by any means , thinking otherwise is ill informed the General public don’t want to learn anything they just want it to work.







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  • 18. At 07:16am on 18 Jun 2010, ElephantTalk wrote:

    @ Alexander.

    Now I am confused by your comments.

    There is no issue with IP because free/open-source software is released under one of the appropriate copyleft licences.

    I don't understand how you claim that Bob Young used an "underhanded method of charging" or how your company can "bend the rules to suit". There is nothing underhand or rule bending about re-distributing software when the licence allows you to do that, whether you charge for it or not. Again, this software is free as in freedom not as in price. It's not about making Linux distros "retail", that is the economic model used for proprietary software, the economic model for free/open-source software is totally different.

    As for struggling with five DVDs to install Debian, as far as I'm aware most Linux distros are available on a live CD. In my Linux circle we use this method to install Ubuntu or Fedora and can be up and running in about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour.

    And if Microsoft Windows is secure and not over-priced, why is Google planning to replace its desktops with Mac or Linux?

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  • 19. At 11:20am on 18 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    @ redlinux
    firstly your name gives a clue to your alligence or bias if you like, dont expect to be a judge at the next OS olympic's i think you and others like "MS rulez" or "apple rox's" probably would not get asked.

    Read the article about LINUX Inc, i have no problem with companies or org's that offer services and charge for services or distribution based systems around Linux products.

    Bob was very cheeky though he charged for support but in effect offered none which is bending the rules, I am a business man and I understand economics I just think this “We are the champion of free” is a bit contradictory, I laughed reading the overpriced MS you need to check your figures Unix and Linux aren’t to cheap in the back end, Sun can make you cry even at pre sales at least MS wait to your bashing out the numbers.

    You need to take pay attention to the distro vendors who are itching to go retail ask why they have as many lawyers working for them now as coders.

    I have been about the Unix/linux for years, and the move since 97 has been how to make money, you also miss the point about debian it comes in 5 dvd’s with all the goodies and requires a rather longer time to get install with all the selections I want and even then it requires a tender loving touch or it might go in a huff, but hey that is linux for you.

    Google planning is it now, I think you will find there wont be any Mac’s either and this has nothing to do with functionality just PR and market share.

    The point which bemuses me is why the Fanboy crowd always jump to defend anyone in the Linux world or extol their virtues even when they are trying to find ways to change the ethos of the community even linus is know to succumb to a bit of arm twisting for the big boys and the greedy.

    Bob is a great business man he truly is and I respect that, but a champion of open source I would have to disagree , we use simillar methods like others but we don't kid ourselfs we are anything other than a business.

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  • 20. At 12:18pm on 18 Jun 2010, Daniel Walker wrote:

    Redhat Linux is something you just come to live with if you operate in business, these days: it's the Linux of business. Employers run Redhat, even if their employees might prefer to run something like Ubuntu, by choice (and those employees are going to need to understand the "Redhat Way", if they're to gain the keys to the server room).

    Maybe business just needs to buy stuff from people who look like Redhat? IT departments get budgets, and Finance departments like to see those budgets spent, periodically, on big-ticket items?

    Our Unix people are moving all our AS/400s to Belgium (that'll be cheap, won't it? I assume on the logic is that, having the English channel in the way, will improve response times?): Our Windows guy just blew seven grand on a Sharepoint server (it's a glorified Wiki, except it needs four quad cores and 8Gigs, in order to run it)... Don't ask me why, but I'm sure it felt cathartic for them.

    So much IT spending and strategy is determined by an old guard of guys who are always two years away from the Heartattcak Hotel - and so the IT industry perpetually dwells in a state where it's going to be "great in two years, when all these old codgers have retired". In some ways, that's Redhat's business pitch: "Just like Solaris, but it runs on a Dell".

    Redhat is a long country mile away from being the best Linux available, but if you work in business-Linux, you tend to become accustomed to looking at Redhat systems, in much the same way that Windows guys become accustomed to looking at the MMC, and all its various gruesome "snap-ins".... Both those worlds are a bit like peering down a time warp, at a computer from the 1990s, but they cost lots of money, and if systems administration was a nice job to do, it wouldn't pay so well, now, would it?

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  • 21. At 12:56pm on 18 Jun 2010, linuxrich wrote:

    Personally, I think Red Hat is a positive part of the Open Source world, along with SuSE/Novell to a lesser extent - but that's another story... Even Canonical with it's growing part in the enterprise/business sector. Yes, they all have their faults to a greater or lesser extent. The main thing though, is that they play a major part in bringing Linux and Open Source software in general to the attention of a wider audience and they have the clout to fend off underhand attacks (Patent lawsuits etc.) this attention may bring. I welcomed the day when Red Hat servers started to make an appearance in the data centre where I work.

    Speaking of which, and to re-enforce my statement in an earlier post that GNU/Linux is superior to more widely adopted alternatives, my work entails me dealing with a wide range of systems including Red Hat, Solaris, AIX, iSeries(AS/400) and various flavours of Windows. None of my windows using colleagues can deny that the systems that cause us the most problems are invariably the Windows based ones. Based on that alone why on earth would I choose to use the most problematic system I deal with at work, at home?

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  • 22. At 3:59pm on 18 Jun 2010, Alexander wrote:

    Red hat is ok but not my favortie Enterprise version by a long shot, AS/400 deserves to be put to rest it is peversely bad.

    Unix , WinTel , and even linux vairations all have their place the problem in the moderm business enviroment is consultancy and the different business units it entails, pre sales, technical, post sales, support.

    SME and even larger customers like the Public sector are constantly getting duped into technology and life cycle road maps which do not fit the project they are intended for , under specing is rife and pre tender advice and agreements seem to disappear in the small print.

    And dont blame MS or Apple or any Software developer this usaully comes from manufacturers, they might need to shift say san unit's of a certain flavour this quarter and that is the message that gets driven down to the consultancy business units, sell this and not that.

    You be better directing your anger at IBM, DELL, SUN, HP, LENOVO and services players like Computacenter, Capgemini, Cerco etc.

    But if we are talking consumer units for the General public then Windows and the Mac's have it and linux has miles to go yet, and that is just reality related to market share and public trends and not an opinion.

    Again I like linux but lets get real about it or it will forever be labeled into a niche.

    It is funny though as probably most people have at least 3 or 4 devices in their house that run on linux variations like dvr's, washing machines etc..but then again they never see it.

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  • 23. At 5:12pm on 29 Jun 2010, David wrote:

    I can't see why people are knocking Linux distributions. There are horses for courses. I know with my home laptop, I have been using ubuntu on it for 3 years and not had a problem with registry corruptions, mallware and viruses which is more than I can say for the Windows system that I run on my desktop. As for ease of use, ubuntu is probably easier than windows but not as nicely integrated as mac.

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  • 24. At 5:39pm on 02 Jul 2010, crispen wrote:

    So companies charge 'Whopping' fees to maintain code and 'Exorbitant' fees to license it or is that just Microsoft? Careful, the lawyers might get twitchy on that one. Maybe you could deal with the pros and con of Open Source rather than just taking the default view that it is good because its paid for differently.

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  • 25. At 5:40pm on 02 Jul 2010, crispen wrote:

    or should that be cons?

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  • 26. At 12:49pm on 14 Sep 2010, Shapebookstore wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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