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to linux or not to linux...

On Mon, Dec 20, 2004 at 05:17:37PM -0500, Grant M. wrote:
> David Hummel wrote:
> >If you can give me one compelling reason to purchase RHEL for a
> >workstation or laptop when there are so many excellent
> >community-supported distributions out there, then I would be willing
> >to pay also.  Otherwise you are just lining the pockets of Red Hat
> >when the money could have been donated to the FSF, or elsewhere.
> I disagree. I think that purchasing from any company that is using GNU
> or another OpenSource License is sending a message. If you are willing
> to support a company (not just an idea) by putting up your hard earned
> cash, then I think it has value to the other, non-commercial ventures
> that are available. If companies like RedHat, Suse, Ximian and others
> were to go out of business, it would be a dramatic blow to those very
> same comunity-supported distributions.  Not only does it send the
> message to corporate America that OpenSource might NOT be viable, but
> there is a relatively large loss of returned code that the
> community-supported versions would then not have available. If you
> don't buy ever buy it, then you might as well buy Microsoft.

I'm not questioning the contributions of Red Hat, Novell/SuSE, etc.
Those companies have plenty of support _in the enterprise_, which is
surely on the rise.  What I am questioning is whether there are any
advantages (technical or otherwise) to installing RHEL on an end-user's
personal workstation or laptop.  So far I'm not aware of any.

Don't forget that the companies you mention exist because of GNU/Linux,
not the other way around.  The viability of Linux is being determined by
its technical merits and its lower cost of ownership compared to
proprietary software, _not_ the corporate bottom line of Linux
resellers.  If you believe otherwise, then you should be buying
Microsoft.  But again, this thread is not about Linux in the enterprise.

> >If you're thinking that purchasing RHEL is supporting the community,
> >it is to the extent that Red Hat is, but IMHO, there are better ways
> >to do so (contributing code, reporting bugs, advocating Linux,
> >starting an open source project, etc.).
> Those are other ways, but in my opinion they are only different ways,
> not necessarily "better". Supporting Linux isn't just contributing
> code.  It's supporting the companies that sell it,

( Those companies do not sell Linux.  They sell support and services
  related to Linux. )

> the companies & organizations that champion it, and the people that
> support it; not just with volunteer efforts or lip service, but with
> hard cash. The FSF is a great organization and donating to them a
> great idea, but indicating that giving money to RedHat or Suse (my
> preference) is a bad idea is itself a REALLY bad idea. Unless you WANT
> to see Bill Gates rule the universe ;-).

I never said purchasing from Red Hat was a bad idea.  I said that there
are better uses for your money given the situation.  By all means
purchase RHEL for your laptop if you are absolutely convinced that's the
best route.  I'm not.

If I purchase RHEL, what percentage of that revenue is allocated to the
development of code that will work it's way back into the kernel or
other OS software?  I'm sure a good percentage of it is paying the
salary of some tech support person who may or may not be able to answer
a question that I can probably answer myself by doing a little research.
If I donate to the FSF or the like, I'm pretty sure where all my money
is going.


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