UserLinux.com: UserLinux: Repairing the Economic Paradigm of Enterprise Linux
Dec 03, 2003, 15:00 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Perens)
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"Enterprise users have embraced GNU/Linux. But the very aspects
that make Linux desirable, its low cost, Open Source nature, and
the way it gives customers more control over their software, are
under attack by Linux vendors bent on increasing shareholder value.
Businesses are paying more as Linux distributions demand a per-seat
cost and service lock-in for software that they didn't develop and
that others support. Many of the early adopters of Linux are small
but profitable industries with extremely sophisticated needs, and
commercial Linux distributors simply can't afford to pay much
attention to them while larger markets are waiting.
"This has hampered the adoption of Linux. For example, a very
large multinational bank recently informed me that they had called
off a 10,000-system Linux deployment becuase 'Linux is now more
expensive than Windows.' An ISP complained that the cost of
Enterprise Linux is greater than the annual profit of one of his
"We, the Free Software developers, created this software to
empower everyone, and for everyone to share. But
today's Enterprise Linux is a lock-in play, designed to draw the
customer into expensive subscriptions and single-vendor service.
Customers are made to agree not to pass service bulletins on to
others. While this is within the letter of the licenses that we
crafted for our software, it's outside of their spirit. We have no
problem with payment for service, when service is rendered. But the
$1000 per year or greater that many customers now pay for their
Linux systems goes not for service, but for a brand and the
endorsement of a few application providers like Oracle..."