Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Redhat Directions

The speaker at this month's TLUG meeting was a technical sales rep from Redhat. Normally I would cringe at that but he has given talks at TLUG before and he is very entertaining. Except the last time he presented at a meeting, he worked for Novell. How fortunes can change.

Redhat's is target market is servers for big business and most of the people at TLUG work in that environment, so they probably got more out the presentation than I did. One area I found interesting was how Redhat maintains good relations with the developers of the open source projects on which they depend. Large customers sometimes ask for new features or changes, but Redhat will reject the customer's request if the changes do not fit into the future plans of the project's developers. It may mot be good for customer relations but it avoids a worse problem of Redhat having to maintain forks of various projects just to keep a customer happy.

It was a little surprising that Redhat is the largest corporate contributor of code to the Linux kernel and other free software projects, but it make sense. IBM has many proprietary products under its control, whereas Redhat relies entirely on free software for its business. It was these little pieces of information that gave me new understanding of where Redhat fits into the overall open source world.

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