Why MDKC & CLIC are not comparable to RH Advanced [Was Re: Redhat Fedora]

Erwan Velu erwan at mandrakesoft.com
Thu Sep 25 10:36:25 EDT 2003

> For many users they need nothing but the
> kernel, a shell, MPI or PVM daemons or clients, and some libraries.  A
> relatively fancy node might add some scheduling or monitoring daemons.
I agree on that point but I'm not sure that everyone wants to know how does it works,
and take the time to set up everything. Scientists for example are not
Linux Guru.

> Who is going to pay $100 PER NODE for that?  Nobody sane.  Maybe some
> businesses who want to build a cluster but don't want to hire somebody
> that knows what they are doing to do so (which is a bit oxymoronic,
> right?  Likely a fairly limited, although undoubtedly high margin,
> market).
We've made the proof that non Linux awared people can install a cluster for their needs.
I know that is not the case everywhere but some like it.

>  If it takes me a whole day to graze the web and collect all the tool
> sources, generally ready to build, directly from their primary website,
> why would I (or my employer) pay thousands of dollars for them ever?
> Instead of "wasting" time on this list I'd divert some of this energy
> into getting and building the sources.  Then (the web being what it now
> is and not wanting to waste the effort) I'd put the packages in a
> toplevel public repository.  Suddenly anybody out there can mirror my
> efforts.
This is really intresting. I've met people who told the contrary ! They said :
"I know how does it works, but I don't want to spend my time
downloading/configuring clusters. That's your job (Linux Editors)  and
you do it well. Why should I spent my time doing the thing you do faster
& safer". 
We follow the products, the security updates, the kernel stuff etc..
Some don't have the time to do it.

> This is what you are facing.  I'm certain that CLIC is very nice, and I
> plan to try it out pretty much immediately as RH (which I have used for
> years) is in a middling state of turmoil and creating THEIR OWN FUD 
If you want to try CLIC please wait the next release (october) that will
contain the newest features. Keep me in touch about this tests, I will
give you a hand if needed.

> What is a reasonable price per cluster then?  Something in the <$100
> range.  And for that money, don't sell them CLIC -- as you say, CLIC is
> free!  Sell them something with clear added value that costs you very
> little to provide.  Sell whole universities this sort of toplevel access
> to a patch stream for $1000, whole governments for $100,000.  If you can
> sell 100 universities or 1000 clusters or one government, you can just
> about pay for the one human likely to be required to run it, and
> thereafter you're making money.
I've missed to explain clearer that point. We are offering a price model based 
on the number of CPU because some software we are including do it. This
model works fine with small clusters in laboratories/small companies.
But we are now working on a site licence. Which allow an
university/company to use the product for a while for a fixed price that
we must negociate.

> My own personal suggestion would be a subscription of sorts to a
> private (authenticated), high bandwidth update server from which the
> user could rsync a local mirror on their cluster server.  Drop your
> maintenance stuff in there and have it automatically propagate. Sure,
> sell consulting and service on the side for market price -- some people
> will need it and buy it.  Keep it in the range where people can see that
> they are getting their money's worth and you make a fair profit.
This already exist throught the MandrakeClub.

> The distribution vendors that survive in the long run will be the ones
> content with EARLY Microsoft income streams -- $30 per PC per year,
> maybe.  Or $10.  For that, they have to provide real value, but the
> market is there for it.  Look at (to point to an interesting metaphor)
> Harry Potter.  The book sells for order $10, yet it has made its author
> a billionaire and its publisher likely 10 times that.  No, this won't
> create a huge empire of world dominating high margin arm twisted sales,
> but its a living, and a comfortable one at that.  Even wealth.  It just
> is EARNED wealth.
Model is nice but I can figure how to sell such number of clusters :D

> I'd put a paypal link right up on your CLIC download site, and suggest
> that everyone who downloads it contribute/pay $50 "per cluster" and see
> how many people do so.  
People are free to do it if they like our product ! They also able to do
it throught the MandrakeClub..

> >Maybe nobody, but you might be surprised.  Right
> now I pay transgaming.com regular small money just to enable GAMES in my
> household.  I'll bet they are making money, and frankly it is a damn
> sight harder to get Window software to run under linux than it is to
> assemble a cluster package that meets a whole lot of needs.  One I can
> do myself in my spare time, the other I wouldn't touch with a ten foot
> pole.  If they charge small money, so can (and so should) you.
I was one of those :D

> Look at their business model.  This is the linux model of the future, I
> believe.  GPL (and available via sourceforge) but who wants to go
> through a sourceforge build when you can get a ready to run build and
> updates for a few dollars?
We remain GPL and available.
Erwan Velu
Linux Cluster Distribution Project Manager
43 rue d'aboukir 75002 Paris
Phone Number : +33 (0) 1 40 41 17 94
Fax Number   : +33 (0) 1 40 41 92 00
Web site     : http://www.mandrakesoft.com
OpenPGP key  : http://www.mandrakesecure.net/cks/ 
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