Intel acquiring Pallas

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Aug 28 16:24:47 EDT 2003


On Thu, 28 Aug 2003, Stephen Gaudet wrote:

> With Itanium2 this is not the case.  Both Red Hat and SuSe have a fixed 
> cost of about $400.00, plus or minus a few dollars per system.  
> Therefore, due to this fixed cost, MOST people looking at a cluster 
> won't touch Itanium2. 

Steve,

Are you suggesting RH has put together a package that is NOT GPL in any
way that would significantly affect the 64 bit market?  The kernel, the
compiler, and damn near every package is GPL, much of it from Gnu
itself.  Am I crazy here?

So I'm having a hard time seeing why one would HAVE to pay them
$400/system for anything except perhaps proprietary non-GPL "advanced
server" packages that almost certainly wouldn't be important to HPC
cluster builders (and which they would have had to damn near develop in
a sealed room to avoid incorporating GPL stuff in it anywhere).

> Some white box resellers are looking at taking RH Advanced Server and 
> stripping it down and offering on their ia64 clusters.  However, if 
> their not working with code lawyers, and paying very close attention to 
> copy right laws, they could end up with law suits down the road.

If Red Hat isn't careful and not working very carefully with code
lawyers, I think the reverse is a lot more likely, as Richard Stallman
is known to take the Gnu Public License (free as in air at the source
level, with inheritance) pretty seriously.  Red Hat (or SuSE) doesn't
"own" a hell of a lot of code in what they sell; the bulk of what they
HAVE written is GPL derived and hence GPL by inheritance alone.  The
Open Source community would stomp anything out of line with hobnailed
boots and club it until it stopped twitching...

So although many a business may cheerfully pay $400/seat for advanced
server because it is a cost and support model they are comfortable with,
I don't see what there is to stop anyone from taking an advanced server
copy (which necessarily either comes with src rpm's or makes them
publically available somewhere), doing an rpmbuild on all the src rpm's
(as if anyone would care that you went through an independent rebuild vs
just used the distribution rpm's) and putting it on 1000 systems, or
giving the sources to a friend, or even reselling a repackaging of the
whole thing (as long as they don't call them Red Hat and as long as they
omit any really proprietary non-GPL work).

I even thought there were some people on the list who were using at
least some 64 bit stuff already, both for AMD's and Intels.  Maybe I'm
wrong...:-(

  rgb

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu



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