The rapid pace of innovation is the Linux market's own worst
enemy, according to the chief executive of Linux distributor Red
Speaking at the Networld + Interop trade show in Atlanta
this week, Robert Young said the fast pace of change in the Linux
world puts a lot of pressure on users to keep up to date with the
latest releases, patches and updates.
"The catch is when we ship Red Hat Linux we are shipping well
over 800 lines of different programs," he said. "If you accept that
each of these programs update on average once a year, that is two
updates per day that you, as a system administrator, have to track,
study and figure out whether you need [to implement new patches or
updates]. The downside to innovation is the imposition on your
Young said this is the reason why the Linux distributor has
launched its Red Hat Network - an internet-based service which
helps administrators deploy and manage distribution of the Linux
operating system. The subscription service provides update
management and customised preferences for security alerts. Red Hat
said the network will double system administrator productivity as
well as enhance the security, reliability and performance of
"Instead of it being your responsibility to track and certify
the system and do the evaluation, Red Hat will do this
automatically for you. [Customers] have been frustrated with Linux,
because it required more of their time," said Young.
He also criticised the software industry for being the only
sector that does not allow users to change what they have bought to
make it work better. "Under the existing binary-only software model
you get [the software] but you don't get the source code and you
can't make changes. If you do, either to fix a bug or to add a
feature, the vendor can have you thrown into jail. This is a flawed
business model," said Young.
He compared the open source world with the car market, where
manufacturers ship vehicles to which buyers can make changes or add
new features without a problem. And as in the car world, Linux
users are not obliged to go back to the original manufacturer for
repairs or tune-ups, because they can go to a host of vendors that
provide service and support for the operating system.
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