"One of the most frustrating aspects of open source but
commercially supported software is that it takes many orders of
magnitude of freebie customers to attain a base of core customers
who will pay for a glorified product with commercial-grade
installation and ongoing tech support. There is always a temptation
to try to monetize the vast installed base of users who are making
use of the so-called development or community editions of programs.
But Red Hat isn't going for it.
"In a recent conference call, when Red Hat reported its
financial results for its second fiscal quarter 2009 ended in
August - revenues up 29 per cent to $164.4m and profits up 16 per
cent to $21.1m, and apparently ahead of expectations by a smidgen -
Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat's president and chief executive officer,
was asked if the company would reconsider changing its business
model and start offering support on Fedora, the company's
development release for its variant of Linux.