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Re: What price do you want?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Buck" <RHList towncorp net>
To: <fedora-list redhat com>
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2003 4:50 PM
Subject: RE: What price do you want?

> The real dilemma is that the provider, whether Red Hat or another Linux
> operation, needs to make a profit or they will go away (I assume).
> Linux was created with the idea of offering an operating system at NO
> COST required, an open license to allow a user to have and use as many
> copies as desired without violating the copyright and to be freely
> distributed.  I believe his goal is to have offered a product available
> that anyone with a computer can afford.

    Actually, I believe you will find that Linux was originally created
because Linus had spare time on his hands, and wanted a version of Unix that
could run on 386 computers. GNU/Hurd was created as an open source project,
from the start, with the intent of supplying a version of Unix for little or
no cost.

> What bothers me is that the GNU license on the product says that If I
> have the product and wish to distribute it, I can - without recourse!
> But Red Hat now requires the buyers of their product to sign a contract
> that takes that very purpose out of the license.  If I were to work for
> a company that has that product, that contract would prevent me from
> getting a copy to learn from or from installing it on another computer
> for a backup at the office without paying for it again.
> If Red Hat's contract is deemed legal, then they have just effectively
> found a way around the GNU license.  Now they can take what is required
> to be public by license and taken it for themselves and restricted the
> distribution.

    I do not see this as violating the GNU license at all. Remember, the
Distro itself is NOT under the GPL. The individual components that make up
the distro are. If you want to take the RedHat modified Kernel and
redistribute it you are more then welcome. The same goes for Anaconda, the
various configuration tools, Xfree86, anything you want. What RedHat has
added an additional license on is the way that all of the components are put
together, to which there is NO existing license. And what RedHat has done is
to put a price tag on 3 things:

    1) Their method (and the knowledge that led to the designing and
implementing of that method) of compiling, assembling, and distributing all
of the individual components into a runable whole.
    2) The ability to obtain technical support and package errata for a
period of time longer then the life cycle of the individual components.
    3) The RedHat name and reputation.

    That's what you're paying for...untold thousands of man hours over the
past 10-ish years to build this product, and the untold number of man hours
to support these releases for 5 years down the road. If you don't feel that
the price tag is worth those things, then don't buy it. You are free to roll
your own distro, go with Fedora, Debian, Slackware, SuSE, Gentoo, Mandrake,
Yellowdog, or any other distro that's out there.

    I know that it's been said before, by other people, but I think RedHat
made the right choice in spinning off their free product. I've been working
with Linux for years, and I still can't manage to build a working system
from scratch. Even when following instructions!
(http://www.linuxfromscratch.org) Does this mean that I'm willing to pay
$750 per server? No....but I don't need the telephone support, but we're
seriously discussing picking up the Basic version for $350. Certianly, we'd
like it more if it cost less ($199 is a nice price point) but I don't see
$350 as being unreasonable, when stacked up against how long it would take
us to adjust to a different distro (or gods forbid, roll our own) not only
in learning curve in how to do things that we've become accustomed to doing
in RH, but also in adapting all of our custom applications to the new
systems as well.

    We're keeping an eye on Fedora as well, and in a few months, we'll
probably make a decision on if we go with Fedora, or we pick up some RHES
licenses. It's all going to depend on how stable the Fedora products are
looking (not to mention management), and how the new version of RHES runs.


Adam Debus
Linux Certified Professional, Linux Certified Administrator #447641
Network Engineer, ReachONE Internet
adam reachone com

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