Red Hat defends its subscription license model for Linux

Anyone finding Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscriptions a tough sell for management used to Microsoft‘s
one-time license fee for Windows must emphasize that there are more
factors to be considered, chiefly return on investment, Red Hat
officials said Friday.

The issue was raised
by an attendee during a question-and-answer session between
high-ranking Red Hat officials and the audience at the Red Hat Summit
2009 conference in Chicago. The attendee said it was difficult to
persuade decision-makers to move away from Windows and buy Red Hat’s Linux.
They are sold on Microsoft’s one-time acquisition fee and security
updates, he said. "With the subscription model for RHEL, you have to
keep paying," the attendee said.

Technically, Linux is more stable and better than Windows but
management looks at the duel from a different perspective, he said.
Management sees "a subscription model as an expense that you have to
keep forever," said the attendee, who asked for an approach to
persuading management to embrace open source.

Red Hat officials stressed return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership.
"We have many, many, much data and many models to prove that what we
have is a better investment over time," said Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s executive vice president and president for products and technologies.

Red Hat Linux
can save on personnel costs pertaining to IT management, said Katrinka
McCallum, vice president for the management solutions business unit at
Red Hat. "[Users] are able to do a lot more with some of the management
tools," she said. Buyers must consider hard dollars, business value,
reliability, and people costs, McCallum said.

From
a total cost of ownership (TCO) perpsective, Red Hat comes out ahead
every time, claimed Marco Bill-Peter, vice president of the Red Hat
support group.

App server for Ruby apps
Also
at the conference this week, company officials touted separate projects
to provide an application server for Ruby applications and also to make
it easier to use Red Hat technologies.

TorqueBox is a project to provide an application for running Ruby applications. A successor to the JBoss Rails project, TorqueBox is an open source effort that may or may not become a product, said Bob McWhirter, a JBoss engineer at Red Hat.

With TorqueBox, Ruby applications could gain benefits akin to what Java applications have had with Java application servers. It could run Ruby on Rails applications also.

"I
think just as we saw that [as] Java matured through the years, we ended
up getting an application server for Java," McWhirter said.
"Application servers solve a lot of problems that we have developing enterprise software
and Ruby has no application server. Ruby has not gotten that maturity
yet. I think by providing an application server to Ruby, it makes life
easier for those developers."

 

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