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UNIX Review: Review: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3

Feb 04, 2004, 19:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Casad)


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"Since its founding, Red Hat has been locked in a never-ending quest to answer the question, 'How do we make money on a product the customer can obtain elsewhere for free?' Enterprise Linux 3 is the latest episode in Red Hat's quest. And though you will find the same old Linux inside, this latest offering from the leading Linux vendor reflects a credible new approach to the market and a steady commitment to strategic engineering improvements. It looks like they might be on the right track, but only the market knows for sure.

"The first thing you will notice when you start to explore the possibilities of Enterprise Linux 3 is its price. (At least, I hope that is the first thing you notice, because the price could easily render further explorations unnecessary.) You won't find Enterprise Linux at the old Linux rate of 'free' (plus the cost of the shrink-wrap box). The basic edition starts at $179.00, and the cost is as high as $18,000 for an enterprise installation on an IBM S/390. Such pricing may seem impossibly optimistic to the old world of the Linux counter-culture, but in the new game of corporate Linux, the premium for reliability is so high that the software cost just rides along with all the other expenses. Enterprise Linux marks Red Hat's realization that they are shifting away from their low-budget Linux niche and getting closer to their dream of becoming a premium, service-based system more like Solaris. With Enterprise Linux 3, they finally cut the cord and leave the old Linux behind. Red Hat Linux 9 will be the last version of the legacy OS that has been at the center of the company's fortunes since 1994. Red Hat will continue to produce a free-wheeling, use-at-your-own-risk community-based version of Linux called Fedora, but the company is clearly staking its future on the souped-up and exclusive family of Enterprise Linux systems..."

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