[Linux-aus] Red Hat

Robert Kearey robk at ningaui.net
Tue Sep 23 14:49:02 UTC 2003

Disclaimer: I *do* work for Red Hat, though I can't speak for them in any
official capacity.

[Regarding Red Hat trademark policy]

> Now, from that and the surrounding web pages, if my understanding is
> correct, the terms are basically these; if a person, Linux User Group
> or educational institution, makes copies of Red Hat Linux and
> distributes the copies without any charges other than for replication
> and handling, that is okay, but, if a business makes copies of Red Hat
> Linux, and sells the copies outside the business (sells the copies to
> parties other than departments or people within the business), then the
> business is not allowed to either use the name Red Hat Linux, in
> relation to the Red Hat Linux, or, include the Red Hat logos in the Red
> Hat Linux software.

That's just standard protection of trade marks, as is required under
various trade mark legislation around the Great Sphere. Hardly news.

> Thus, Linux Australia, PLUG, etc, are allowed to make copies ad
> infinitum, and, supply them to members, charging "reasonable"
> replication and distribution costs, as copies of Red Hat Linux, and
> people who are not businesses, may do the same, but businesses like
> EverythingLinux, LinuxWA, etc, are not allowed to make copies and
> distribute them as copies of Red Hat Linux.

> What a strange thing.

Not at all. Not only is it protecting Red Hat's trademarks (as the
'product' being sold as a Red Hat product actually has nothing to do with
Red Hat, except in so much it's a third party distribution of Red Hat's
ISOs), but it ensures that a clear line is kept between the product that
Red Hat proper sells and can therefore support, and the Cheap-Byte CDs or
their local equivalent.

> It appears that Red hat, with those restrictions, are attempting to
> reduce commercial distribution of copies of Red Hat Linux and therefore
> reduce usage of Red Hat Linux, especially in commerce and government.

Um, no. That's rather a long bow to draw.

> As an example, if my local government wants a copy of Red Hat Linux to
> evaluate, and therefore, wants just copies of the disk set (3 disks or
> five disks or whatever), they cannot obtain them from someone like
> LinuxWA or EverythingLinux, who should have relative high quality
> replication facilities, ensuring much more reliable replication than
> copies made by an individual.


$34.95 inc GST for five CDs and a nifty manual, all in an attractive box.
Considering you'd end up paying $20 or more for burnt CD-Rs from most
places, sound like a good deal to me :)

> Thus, a person who perhaps does not have much experience at replicating
> Linux distribution CD's, and/or has equipment that is not so good,
> sypplies the local government with a copy, which has a flaw or flaws in
> the copying (like a CD in a previous copy that led to several comments
> on the PLUG list), which leads to great problems in attempting to instal
> and run the distribution, leading to the local government abandoning the
> prospect of switching to Red Hat Linux, as an unstable distribution,
> based on the copy that was provided to the local government, which was
> prohibited by Red Hat from obtaining a superior copy of the
> distribution, as businesses are no longer allowed to replicate and
> market replications of the distribution.

> That means that Red Hat has lost the particular local government and
> each computer within the local government, as potential installations,
> due to the restrictions imposed by Red Hat.

... and Trogdor smote the Kerreck, and all was laid to burnination.

Seriously, you're really catastrophising here. Surprisingly enough, Red
Hat actually *sells* product you can *buy* for a reasonable price, and
theirs plenty of people selling good quality burnt CD-Rs of 'pink tie
linux' (for example).

I'd also hope and expect that anyone evaluating software for an enterprise
like a local government would take a bit more time and care than just
burning a CD-R on cheap media on a dodgy writer and crossing their
fingers. Cheerful amateurishness can only take you so far - when that
stops, that's when companies like Red Hat are supposed to fit in.

> And, all it takes, is for an IT manager to use a well-replicated copy of
> a Linux distribution, as a successful evaluation copy, convincing the IT
> manager, and thence the local government, business, or government
> department,to commence a migration to Linux.

If only it was that simple!

> And, equally, all it takes, is for an IT manager to use a flawed copy of
> a Linux distribution, as an evaluation copy, getting a bad impression of
> Linux, or of the distribution, and condemning Linux as unstable and
> unreliable, dismissing it as a waste of time, never to be tried again,
> for the enterprise. This is the more likely outcome, now that businesses
> are not allowed to replicate and market copies of Red Hat Linux, which
> replications should be considerably cheaper to obtain than official
> boxed sets, and, therefore, better for evaluation copies.

More catastrophising, and rather dubious at that.

> It appears to me, to be a case of Red Hat shooting itself in the foot,
> as far as trying to get used commercially is concerned, especially with
> one or two, and posibly more, Linux retail businesses in WA, apparently
> writing Red Hat off as not worth the trouble, and the flow-on effects of
> that, thus Red Hat loses potential customers.

Or, from the flip side, Red Hat stops losing time and money when
customers, of whom they've never seen a cent, start ringing up and
demanding support for a product that Red Hat has had nothing to do with.
You might also want to consider the implications of the dilution of trade
marks by common use and abuse of brand and product names.

Really, this has been discussed to death a thousand times already. It's
getting old.

> Ah, what tangled webs they weave...

If you're implying that Red Hat is somehow 'practicing to decieve', you
should reconsider that.

> Bret Busby

Rob K			I swear, if I collected all seven dragonballs,
http://ningaui/net	I'd bring back Jon Postel. - Raph

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