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Re: Forward looking to FC2 final and SELinux

On Wed, 2004-04-07 at 12:01, Jesse Keating wrote:
> On Wednesday 07 April 2004 10:57, Stephen Smoogen wrote:
> > Jesse, you need to look at this as a business oppurtunity for your
> > VAR. You now can charge big bucks to add selinux=0 in grub.conf for
> > the 'meatheads' who cant do it themselves ;)
> Of course we can do it here at the office, and we will be for all 
> systems going out unless specifically requested not to by the customer, 
> and after the customer is informed of all the extra work involved in 
> maintaining a SELinux enabled system.  This isn't my concern.
> My concern is the perception that people (like my customers) will have 
> with a move to have SELinux enabled by default in FC2.  The perception 
> that FC is just a way to get cheap (free) beta testers for live 
> grenades tossed out there for possible inclusion to a retail 
> (expensive) product will only be solidified.  Then VARs like us who 
> relied upon RHL for keeping the bottom line down and the quality up 

I think the issue is that Fedora is not the product line you are looking
for your VAR. It has always been listed by Red Hat as a proving ground
for technologies into Linux distributions.. that doesnt lead to the
stability that VAR/ISVs want. Those VARs would be better to work with
RHEL and if they cant to work with the GNU/Enterprise or one of the RHEL
'knockoffs' (WhiteBox, Tao?, Chaos?) to get a better cost line.

The big problem is that you and every other silent VAR cant make it into
the stable product you want. Even if Red Hat were to open the Fedora
board to 30 outside people tomorrow, the driving force is not business

> will have to look elsewhere.  RHEL3 is way too expensive for our bottom 
> line, FC could turn out to be too much like a RHEL beta product, and 
> there is nothing left under RH's umbrella.  This means we'll have to 
> look elsewhere.  6~8 months ago, the "elsewhere" was pretty bleak, but 
> with moves that Novell has been making the "elsewhere" is starting to 
> look more and more viable as an alternative.  I think the strong handed 
> tactics that RH has been using worked before when there was no decent 
> alternative, but times are changing and VARs like the one I work for 

Strong handed? The business model wasnt working for them long term.
Losing money hand over fist even if you have 200 million in the bank
(from stock sales) is not a winning strategy. The breakup may be
painful, but it is a lot better if it is quick than finding out later.

Competition from Novell and Sun will help prices somewhat, but I doubt
very much. The water cooler talk of the Linux vendors has been how to
raise prices because losing money seemed to be the norm. The usual water
cooler strategy has been to wait until another vendor did it, let them
take all the heat, and then come out with similar pricing structures "to
face the new reality of Linux". 

I am betting Novell will come out with a similar cooking process for
SuSE home and then have an initial much lower price structure for
'professional' SuSE. After the usual 6-12 months of getting the
disgruntled RH customers (and a resetting of RH prices), the initial
discounts will be go away.. and prices will be higher all around (for
commercial vendors). [This of course supposes that many of the bad
managers from Novell went to SCO Group, and Novell wont auger into the
ground yet another bought business line. I hope they dont, but they have
to prove it for me these days.]

> are changing as well.  When no VARs can afford to use a RH product for 
> their customers, how long until market share for an RH product drops 
> off?  A little guy alone can't do much damage, but a whole lot of 
> little guys have a way of causing havoc.

My feeling is that the VAR market as it stands has been built on a beach
of sand, and the supports were never stuck in very deep. The assumption
that things will always be the same is the easiest one to plan for, but
the one that bites us in the ass everytime. The fact is that the prices
are going to change all around as the Free Beer for commercial
enterprises has ended. 

Stephen John Smoogen		smoogen lanl gov
Los Alamos National Lab  CCN-5 Sched 5/40  PH: 4-0645
Ta-03 SM-1498 MailStop B255 DP 10S  Los Alamos, NM 87545
-- You should consider any operational computer to be a security problem --

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