[CentOS] CentOS for commercial use

Mon Apr 4 16:56:34 UTC 2005
Aleksandar Milivojevic <amilivojevic at pbl.ca>

Collins Richey wrote:

> I would like to know how those of you who use CentOS in commercial
> endeavors justify the decsion - ethics, community vs. vendor support,
> etc., etc. I've heard many comments to the effect that we CentOS users
> are just leaches, since RedHat does the major work.

The major work is done mostly by community.  Red Hat, or any other 
distribution, is built from free software that is developed and 
maintainted by many volunteers who are not affiliated (or paid by) Red 
Hat in any way.  Yes, there are people paid by Red Hat who also 
contribute, but still, vast majority of work is done by community.

What Red Hat sells is support.  And really, there is nothing else they 
can sell you.  So, I don't consider people using RHEL clones to be 
leaches.  They are simply not buying part of the system that they don't 
need.  Even with commercial software (Windoze, Oracle, etc), support is 
something you pay extra annually on top of what you pay for the software 
itself.  If you want it, you pay for it.  If you don't want it, you 
don't pay for it.

And you know, consulting, support, training, and certifications is a big 
and profitable business on its own.  Even Microsoft is probably making 
way more money on it, than on selling Windblows OS.  You can make a very 
good money out of it, and if Red Hat as company is managed as it should 
be, than Red Hat doesn't need to worry about its financial future. 
Frankly, I don't really understand their business decision not to 
release RHEL distribution for free.  Those who need support would buy 
support anyhow.  Those who don't need support can choose some other just 
as good distribution anyhow.  Somebody who started using some other 
distribution isn't going to buy support from Red Hat.  Somebody who uses 
RHEL (clone), might decide to spend some extra $$$ for 

I don't consider Red Hat's bugzilla system to be part of "paid support". 
  If I find a bug when using CentOS, that the bug exists in RHEL, and if 
I report it, fixing it will lead to better product for Red Hat's paying 
customers too.  Happy customers = more referrals = more profit.  Each 
time I stumble on non-trivial security related or data corruption bugs 
(as the bug in NFS system I recently reported) when using CentOS, I 
report it to Red Hat.  Usually I'll mention in bug report that I 
stumbled on it when using CentOS (if I don't forget, happens sometimes). 
  It is than on the Red Hat to decide if they are going to do something 
about it, or wait till one of paying customers is bitten by it.

I haven't heard anybody being called a leach for downloading and 
installing Solaris 10 (which is free for commercial use too, for those 
of you who don't know it, and it is planned to go open source sometime 
this year) on his/hers Intel box, and not paying for Sun support (or 
buying Sun hardware).  If Sun who actually did all development work 
themselves (and put way more money into making it) is not calling people 
"leaches", I would be very dissapointed to hear it from Red Hat  who 
"only" (OK, it isn't as simple as "only", making a distribution is a big 
job on its own, but you get the point) packaged something that other 
people spent countless man-hours to make.

Aleksandar Milivojevic <amilivojevic at pbl.ca>    Pollard Banknote Limited
Systems Administrator                           1499 Buffalo Place
Tel: (204) 474-2323 ext 276                     Winnipeg, MB  R3T 1L7