LONG RANT [RE: RHEL Copyright Removal]

Laurence Liew laurenceliew at yahoo.com.sg
Mon Nov 24 09:01:30 EST 2003

Hi all,

RedHat have annouced academic pricing at USD25 per desktop (RHEL WS
based) and USD50 for Academic server (RHEL ES based) a week or so ago.

>Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat, the top seller of the open-source
>operating system, will sell students its Red Hat Academic Desktop
>product for $25 and sell schools its Red Hat Academic Server product
>for $50, including online software updates but no telephone support.
>The products will be offered first in the United States, but will be
>available internationally by the end of the year, said John Young, vice
>president of marketing.

I have been building clusters for 5 - 6 years for various customers, and
have seen the arrivals and disappearance of distros and cluster

The cluster community have done very well and today, large commercial
organisations are adopting linux clusters as one of the tools they use
to solve their complex problems.

But I find this talk of "stripping" RHEL copyright to create yet another
distro to be counter productive as linux beowulf clusters goes into
commercial mainstream computing.... where customers have specific
support demands. (And yes... commercial customers WILL PAY the full list
price of RHEL to build a cluster).

Now... I believe the USD25 and USD50 are acceptable pricing for the
value that RHEL + RHN brings to the customer (academic). The cost of the
OS is a small fraction of the total value of the cluster.

Most of our users want a stable and supported OS, but more importantly,
most of them run a commercial software of one form or another... and
this means that these 3rd party ISV softwares are most likely to be
certified on RHEL.

It would do me no good if I build a cluster with a "RHEL with copyright
removed" or a fedora core as my customers would not be able to get
support for their Ansys, Fluent, Matlab and so on and so forth... yes
technically they can be the same.. but commercial support matrix says

BTW ROCKS V3 is based on RHEL 3.0 WS... 

With the new RHEL academic pricing model, I would encourage all to go
for the academic pricing for RHEL and focus on the real problem on hand
which is building better cluster systems ontop of a commerical quality,
robust and supported OS, rather than try to roll-your-own distro.. and
support updates etc etc...

Linux have enough Linux distro already. What we should be concentrating
on is to create more value ontop of existing distros such as RHEL...
create better cluster toolkits like what the Rocks and Oscar guys are
doing, or improve on Ganglia, PVFS, distributed shared mem,
checkpointing etc.... or focus on getting your apps to run faster...

There are alot of cluster problems that needs to be addressed and I
believe the community would benefit more if we focus on these issues
rather than another distro....

let Redhat make what they deserve, let them continue to engage the ISVs
and get them to certify and support RHEL... the wider the based of ISVs
running on RHEL.. the faster and wider the adoption of Linux not only in
the schools but also in the enterprises.

if the community continues to fork a project just becauses it charges
some $$$$, our progress would be very slow.... Redhat have listened to
the customer and partners and have created a academic pricing model for
cluster builders... so we should accept that and move on.

today the linux market is anchored by Redhat and a few other linux
vendors... imagine if Redhat were to become unprofitable and closes
shop.... the impact would be tremendous.

yes.. there will always be another linux company that will try to take
over redhat position in the market..., but the credibility of the linux
community and the opensource business model would be thrown into
disarray and you will see droves of commercial ISVs abandoning linux and
moving back to UNIX and Windows....

where would that leave us? without commercial apps, linux would never
sustain and grow in the commercial arena.


On Mon, 2003-11-24 at 17:06, neil.brown at syngenta.com wrote:
> <snip>
> > Actaully, I believe that ROCKS is based on RHEL 2.1 WS.  I've 
> > used it a few
> > times, and parts of it are quite nice.  The ROCKS guys have automated
> > most of the recompile process, but I don't know if the 
> > automation includes
> > stripping out the RH stuff.
> > 
> > -- 
> > Jesse Becker
> > GPG-fingerprint: BD00 7AA4 4483 AFCC 82D0  2720 0083 0931 9A2B 06A2
> Thanks everyone for your replies on this topic. 
> I think part of our problem is that we're ideally looking for a standard
> distro that we can use on our Linux servers and desktop PC's as well as on
> our cluster. This would be nice, as it'd make administration easier with the
> commonality between Linux boxes. Perhaps this isn't the best way of doing it
> though. I'm beginning to think that maybe something like Fedora would be
> good for the cluster. I've had a play with it and it seems VERY similar to
> RH9. The fast paced release cycle wouldn't be so bad for the cluster, as
> it's easy to rebuild and we wouldn't need to upgrade EVERY time a new Fedora
> release came out.
> For the other servers, we often run Oracle and we really need to run a
> supported distro. The problem is, about the only supported Linux distro's
> later than RH7.1 are "paid for" ones like RHEL and SLES. They do support
> UnitedLinux too though. What would be nice is if there was a free Linux
> distro based on UnitedLinux.
> I've looked at cAos before. Looks good, I'd like to try it when a release
> becomes available. Not heard of White Box before, but I'll have a look at
> it.
> Thanks again,
> Neil
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