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UserLinux.com: UserLinux: Repairing the Economic Paradigm of Enterprise Linux

Dec 03, 2003, 15:00 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Perens)

"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 servers.

"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..."

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