Red Hat, Novell/Suse, and IBM, oh my...

by Todd Ogasawara

Red Hat sent out an email to registered users yesterday announcing As previously communicated, Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat Linux 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 as of December 31, 2003. Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat Linux 9 as of April 30, 2004. Red Hat does not plan to release another product in the Red Hat Linux line. Slashdot has
1121 comments on their site
about this so far.

Today, we read on Techweb and elsewhere that Novell is buying SUSE for $210 million and IBM is investing $50 million in Novell

One can only wonder what the Linux landscape will look like in 2004...

What will you be running in 2004? Red Hat? Red Hat/Fedora? Novell/SUSE? Debian? BSD? Windows Server 2003? Something else?


2003-11-04 09:51:00
I'd love to run SuSE if they'd only offer a free downloadable ISO as redhat once did (two days ago).
2003-11-04 10:53:04
RH 8 or a Debian-based distro
I teach UNIX system administration, LAN security and some programming courses at a technical college using Red Hat Linux.

I started getting fed up with Red Hat, however, when I began to get locked in to RHN for updates. (Yes, I did purchase an account.)

Then Red Hat 9 came out and we had all sorts of issues using it in the classroom. (Primarily difficulties compiling certain packages from source and the X server would mysteriously die for no observable reason.) I went back to RH 8 for the classroom (the textbook is based on Red Hat Linux) and I'm putting together a developer build for my programming students using Knoppix.

Frankly, I don't think I fit Red Hat's target market but thankfully I have some choices by going Linux.

2003-11-04 11:05:08
Mandrake alternative to Windows
I've been running Mandrake for a long time. Mandrake 9.2 is quite usable on the Desktop and I like the OpenOffice, KOrganizer, and Mozilla much better than Microsoft's offerings. Using PHP makes more sense than ASP. Using MySQL make more sense than SQL Server or Access.

Mandrake 9.2 and full-featured software: cost of download connection.
Microsoft alternatives: more than $1000 for simple, restricted versions of its software (more than $5000 for advanced offerings)

2003-11-04 11:16:54
Redhat ISO...
Fedora Linux( is essentially RH 10. It is just community supported...for better or worse...and its still totally free and Open Source.
2003-11-04 11:30:19
Only a couple of days ago did I ponder my poor choice in employment some years back. The company (I won't mention the name) used to be a market leader and is now trying to die with $500 billion in the bank. The only company I could think of in a similar predicament was Novell. Too much cash to go belly-up, not enough smarts to live. I would actually go unemployed rather than spending time learning their dying portfolio. Having used SuSE as my primary desktop OS for many years (since 4.x? 5.x?) it will be sad to see Novell slowly murder them by incompetence (WP, UnixWare, SilverStream etc). I think Debian / Knoppix and Mandrake are the ones left. Or perhaps I'll go back to Slackware. NOTE: It is absolutely vital to the Linux world that CD distros keep on going. Not that many people have broadband in Africa / Asia and ISOs are needed.
2003-11-05 07:35:42
No more doubt !!!!!
With such a mess ,in the Linux world.... No more doubt,I completely switch to BSD.

If a small company has to pay for a commercial linux desktop,is better to buy a Windows one.

Or... switch to the BSD family!!!

2003-11-05 08:15:34
"Not that many people have broadband in Africa / Asia and ISOs are needed"

Actually, this is not true. Some parts of Asia like South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong (these are the parts that matters), have much higher broadband penetration than the U.S. Can't say the same for Africa though.

2003-11-05 11:06:59
Linux in 2004?
Fedora with apt-get is a great improvement over RH9. It is on my desktop machine. For our small office server, I purchased Red Hat Enterprise ES. Stable and well supported. This will be my setup for 2004. SW cost: Under $200 for a full-blown server and desktop with office suite. M$ people just do not believe it.
2003-11-05 14:19:00
Comments from around the net
Saw a couple of op-ed pieces on the topic that I thought others might be interested in too...todd

Novell, Red Hat and the Linux Desktop

NewsForge: Putting Novell's SuSE purchase into perspective

2003-11-05 15:41:09
SuSE Linux and Novell
I have been using SuSE for quite some time to one extent or another, versions 4, 5, 6, and 7. Until version 8.1, I had never used the desktop applications. The command prompt taught me quite a bit about the system, and when I decided to give the actual desktop and graphics interfaces a try, they were ready.

The *.rpm packages made managing the different packages rather easy, updates were a single command line. Even some of the Open Source community were providing the SuSE rpm install files as part of their standard package offerings.

I realize that businesses have started utilizing Linux OS for their servers, and the GNU Open Source community made them affordable for everyone. With Oracle developing Linux as a certified platform, the last barriers to business utilization are crumbling.

My concerns are with the Open Source community and their ability to hold the unity needed to not only develop the packages, but to keep a GNU operating system to run them on. With RedHat bowing out of the desktop platform race, the question becomes who will hold the open source community together in distributing their code.

Microsoft managed to change hardware to a proprietary item, from motherboards to printers. When the monopolistic nature of MS became apparent, shifting to GNU or any other software based on the published interoperability standards became a tiring and difficult task requiring knowledge of primarily unpublished information about these proprietary changes. Microsoft continues to alter it's interoperability standards, still bent on developing an entirely proprietary network and hardware.

SuSE is (or was) one of the major players in maintaining network standards, a non-proprietary internet. The striking point among all this development is that Novell is a publicly traded company, and if it becomes competition for Microsoft, Microsoft is quite capable of purchasing it one share at a time.

Dan Kirk

2003-11-05 19:40:41
No more doubt !!!!!
Interesting to note how it was supposed to be Linux that saved us from the evils of proprietary software, while BSD supposedly allowed Big Business to co-opt community technology.

Guess what...

2003-11-06 14:08:57
Good news!
Your career can still be saved!

Repent and install the free .NET sdk and runtime now!

The .NET Rapture is coming!

2003-11-06 14:12:01
SuSE Linux and Novell
I realize that you linux minded folk are not given to clear thought, but how on earth did you come up with the idea that Microsoft "managed to change hardware to a proprietary item". I didn't know that before Microsoft companies like IBM, DEC and Intel were just giving their hardware, designs, and patents away for free!
2003-11-06 14:14:50
Novell buries everything it buys
You might as well install XP now. You can keep FreeBSD, which Microsoft approves of, on another partition so that you can play with Mono.
2003-11-08 07:03:01
SuSE Linux and Novell
Don't forget to add "Apple" to the list of (still) proprietary hardware...