does Ubuntu get the enterprise?

Magnus Runesson mr-ubuntu at
Thu Jan 25 12:04:07 GMT 2007

On Thu, 2007-01-25 at 12:02 +0100, Matthew East wrote:
> There hasn't been much discussion on this list of late, so maybe this will
> kick off something constructive and interesting.
> The basis argument seems to be that Mark's free as in beer policy for
> Ubuntu undermines its potential for enterprise use, as opposed to the
> model that SUSE and Red Hat have set up.
> Personally, I think it's nonsense. I don't feel safer with software if I
> have to pay for it or not, what's important to me is the reputation of the
> software, its stability and security history. Ubuntu is gradually building
> that up well. Yes, I'll be more secure if and when Canonical starts
> building up its financial success, because I know that will have good
> effects on Ubuntu, but I won't care about their business model, if it
> works.

I totally agree with you. What he says is nonsense and shows that he
does not understand the open source business model. The nice thing about
Ubuntu, except for its technical brilliance, is that it really gives the
possibility for me as an enterprise to select and change what service
provider I want to use. I can evaluate their support offers according to
the parameters that are important for my organization, such as their:
* supports quality
* response time
* cost
* knowledge about my organization
* guarantees

If I am not happy, I change support supplier. Of course suppliers with
crappy support does not like this, but what customers care about them?

It is important that also the big software providers such as SAP,
Oracle, etc understands that they prior to certify a product to a
certain release with certain patches they must start to certify their
products to LSB.
I know that it is harder to certify against LSB and that LSB, yet, is
not complete. But there are already companies that says: "Okay, this
product runs on Linux. Call us if you have a problem no mater what
distro you run." One example is the small database provider Mimer.

Can we get the software providers to change? Yes, look back! A few years
ago oracle said that we support this release of this OS and you have to
have exactly these patches on your system, no more or no less. They have
started leaving this since today the customers demand that they must be
able to install the latest security patches as fast as possible.

When the customers understands that they can set up the requirements
what support options they wants, and not the supplier. They will start
to requires that products are not bound to a certain distribution.

Another view of this is that it is expensive in an organization to
handle a lot of different distribution. So if supplier A says Red Hat 4,
B says Red Hat 5, C says Suse, etc. then you will end up in a mess.
things works different on different distros, you can not run several
softwares on one machine etc. It is better for an organization to say to
its suppliers that we use Red Hat 4 and will have the possibility to
select Ubuntu in the future so we requires that you can handle all LSB
certified distros.

And take a look on Red Hat's, Novell's or even Microsoft's perspective.
Of course they want to lock in the customers, then it is increase the
possibility that they stay since it is hard and expensive to stay than
live with support and products that does not fit you.

In this discussion, we must not forget about the importance of open
formats and standards. Which is a key for open distributions to rely on.



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