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Free Red Hats Replaced by Fedora

Free Red Hats Replaced by Fedora

In a fit of exquisitely bad timing, Red Hat pulled the plug on its free distributions just as Novell and SUSE were waxing eloquent about the wonders of open source and Novell, now suddenly Red Hat's most immediate worry since it's buying rival SUSE, was going on about what a good open source citizen it's learned to be.

Red Hat warned people this was coming eight months or so ago, but the move still caught a lot of folks off-guard.

In an e-mail, Red Hat told customers it won't maintain or provide errata support for its Red Hat Linux line of old dot releases 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 past December 31, and will dump the more recent Red Hat 9 maintenance and errata next April. (Hmmm, thereâs a lot of those servers out there. Even Microsoft supports software past end-of-life.)

There won't be any more Red Hat Linux releases either.

There will only be one free experiment-loving Red Hat and that will be the so-called community-supported, non-enterprise, Red Hat-distant-though-nominally-supported Fedora Project that apparently evolved from a group that specialized in providing high-quality RPM packages for Red Hat.

The first Fedora Core 1 release hit on Thursday. The concept behind it is said to be "develop often, release often." Red Hat described it as a "proving ground for technology that may eventually make its way into Red Hat's fully supported commercial solutions" like the upcoming - it'll get here eventually - 2.6 Linux kernel, the stuff of Fedora Core 2.

Of course Fedora won't get Red Hat patches for security, holes and bugs. See, standard off-the-shelf Linux is pretty good so Red Hat needs an enterprise differentiator to make money off of so Red Hat can't really patch Fedora.

It's created the Red Hat Linux Migration Resource Center, So, naturally, some people got their hackles up - based on the e-mail talking up the glories of migrating - about the commercialism of the thing and how Red Hat was pushing people into buying Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik, who was in London talking to the investment community at the time, said it wasn't just the money, it was a matter of support and compatibility too. Oracle, for instance, won't support free Red Hat and it was getting to be a negative experience for customers to be running on, say, 7.1. It was also getting complicated trying to support all the species of Red Hat.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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