March 14, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Red Hat hopes to solidify lead with new Linux

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Red Hat faces a lengthening list of rivals, but the company hopes to cement its lead in the Linux market Wednesday with its latest version of the open-source operating system.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company plans to launch Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 at a San Francisco event Wednesday. It's the first major update to the company's flagship Linux product in more than two years.

Though Red Hat still dominates Linux, a lot has changed in that time. Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server beat Red Hat to the punch with a major new feature, the Xen virtualization software.

Oracle has entered the market with a clone of Red Hat's operating system. Ubuntu is making inroads with strong ties to open-source community volunteers. And Sun Microsystems--for years Red Hat's prime target--is fighting back by bringing its Solaris operating system to widely used x86 servers and making it open-source software as well.

"Red Hat continues to be the vendor capturing the lion's share of revenue and unit shipments for worldwide Linux operating system shipments."
--Al Gillen,
analyst, IDC

"There is disruption from below from the community (Linux versions) and much stronger competition from its peer group," said 451 Group analyst Raven Zachary. "This will take years to play out, but I see Red Hat having less differentiation from other offerings over time."

Red Hat is still on the offensive, though. In its most recent publicly reported quarter, its revenue increased 45 percent to $105 million, 84 percent of that coming through recurring support subscription contracts. Though profit dropped 37 percent to $15.5 million, much of that was from higher expenses stemming from the acquisition of JBoss, a supplier of open-source Java server software that has provided Red Hat with its biggest opportunity for market expansion.

"Red Hat continues to be the vendor capturing the lion's share of revenue and unit shipments for worldwide Linux operating system shipments," said IDC analyst Al Gillen. Though Novell has remained relevant, the overall balance between the two Linux powers "hasn't shifted dramatically," he said.

RHEL 5's biggest new feature, hands down, is Xen virtualization. The promise of virtualization software, which lets a single machine run multiple operating systems in separate partitions called virtual machines, is that a single computer can replace several inefficiently used ones. In the longer term, virtualization also permits software to be moved--sometimes while running--from one computer to another, which opens the door for higher reliability and a fluidly responding computer room.

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Video: Red Hat's big Linux update
Red Hat aims to strengthen leadership role with new Linux release.

Accompanying the virtualization promise, though, are difficulties. Administrators need new management tools, software licensing becomes more complicated, and the underlying technology must be certified to work with a multitude of software and hardware options.

Red Hat will permit up to four virtual machines to run atop RHEL 5 Server, but it's adding a new product called RHEL Advanced Platform that supports unlimited virtual machines and includes the company's Global File System software.

Virtualization is moving to mainstream servers using x86 processors such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron, but Red Hat isn't the only one making the push. It's not even the only one pushing Xen, which also is commercialized by XenSource and included in Novell's rival product.

"This is the beginning of (Red Hat's) serious endeavor. There's a lot at stake," Gartner analyst George Weiss said. "There's Novell and Virtual iron, Microsoft is coming along, then there's VMware," which already dominates the x86 server virtualization market.

CONTINUED: New features, same old problem…
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60 comments

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Still playing catchup with Windows...
Still way behind the functionality in Windows Server 2003 R2.....
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So!
It's a place for everybody it seams. As long as I don't have to pay for windows, I am willing to learn some new things.
Posted by orfeu_niko (104 comments )
Link Flag
Prove or Bugger Off - Your Pick.
...and come back when you actually have a clue

Here's a couple of clues:

* Active Directory was based off of Kerberos (which *nix largely abandoned long ago in favor of LDAP and NIS)

* If having a mandatory GUI that sucks down 20% of a server's hardware horsepower is an "advancement", I don't want it. Apparently MSFT got the message and is offering their next server version w/ a CLI-only interface... (talk about playing "catchup"... LOL!)

Name the "function", and I can almost tell you what *nix-based service MSFT ripped it off of.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
That's true but...
More and more people are leaving windows for linux and I'm not talking techie nerds, I'm talking City, State and even government of other countries are leaving windows for linux.

Whatever people need to do to get it done, that's what you do. If Windows works, you use windows. If linux works, you use that.

What matters in the end is having the choice and right now, people have a choice.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
You are so right, richto...
Windows Server 2003 is the most functional and familiar server for all server uses (not just Web publishing). No wonder that Windows Server 2003 is the most popular server operating system! (Windows XP Professional is the second for similar reasons)
Posted by giuliocesare (49 comments )
Link Flag
Still playing catchup with Windows...
Still way behind the functionality in Windows Server 2003 R2.....
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So!
It's a place for everybody it seams. As long as I don't have to pay for windows, I am willing to learn some new things.
Posted by orfeu_niko (104 comments )
Link Flag
Prove or Bugger Off - Your Pick.
...and come back when you actually have a clue

Here's a couple of clues:

* Active Directory was based off of Kerberos (which *nix largely abandoned long ago in favor of LDAP and NIS)

* If having a mandatory GUI that sucks down 20% of a server's hardware horsepower is an "advancement", I don't want it. Apparently MSFT got the message and is offering their next server version w/ a CLI-only interface... (talk about playing "catchup"... LOL!)

Name the "function", and I can almost tell you what *nix-based service MSFT ripped it off of.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
That's true but...
More and more people are leaving windows for linux and I'm not talking techie nerds, I'm talking City, State and even government of other countries are leaving windows for linux.

Whatever people need to do to get it done, that's what you do. If Windows works, you use windows. If linux works, you use that.

What matters in the end is having the choice and right now, people have a choice.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Link Flag
You are so right, richto...
Windows Server 2003 is the most functional and familiar server for all server uses (not just Web publishing). No wonder that Windows Server 2003 is the most popular server operating system! (Windows XP Professional is the second for similar reasons)
Posted by giuliocesare (49 comments )
Link Flag
RHEL: Still Stomping The Competition Flat.
The RHEL series is among the top-end distros out there. It's ungodly stable, all patched are back-ported to earlier versions, and aside from a support subscription, is the least costly in town (CALs? We don't need no stinking CALs...).

Besides, what other Server package has a 100% free variant (CentOS) based on the exact same source code?

If you want something that sorta-works and lets you point-n-click your way to semi-functionality, go get Windows. When you want a REAL server operating system, step up to RHEL.

(I also use SuSE Enterprise Linux Server, but I gotta tell you - RHEL tops it easily in features and ease-of-use).

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try to be nice.
Lets stop kicking these poor windows fanatics while they are down. It's kind of sad. Lets all try to say three good things about windows.

1. Windows is good for games.
2. It comes with a nice shiny holographic PID sticker
3. ....

Lets all try to say two good things about windows.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Debian is ungodly stable....
and it doesn't cost a dime.

Not to mention, I'll take .debs over .rpms any day...
Posted by angrykeyboarder (136 comments )
Link Flag
RHEL: Still Stomping The Competition Flat.
The RHEL series is among the top-end distros out there. It's ungodly stable, all patched are back-ported to earlier versions, and aside from a support subscription, is the least costly in town (CALs? We don't need no stinking CALs...).

Besides, what other Server package has a 100% free variant (CentOS) based on the exact same source code?

If you want something that sorta-works and lets you point-n-click your way to semi-functionality, go get Windows. When you want a REAL server operating system, step up to RHEL.

(I also use SuSE Enterprise Linux Server, but I gotta tell you - RHEL tops it easily in features and ease-of-use).

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try to be nice.
Lets stop kicking these poor windows fanatics while they are down. It's kind of sad. Lets all try to say three good things about windows.

1. Windows is good for games.
2. It comes with a nice shiny holographic PID sticker
3. ....

Lets all try to say two good things about windows.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Debian is ungodly stable....
and it doesn't cost a dime.

Not to mention, I'll take .debs over .rpms any day...
Posted by angrykeyboarder (136 comments )
Link Flag
Little Napoleons
It's pretty amusing to listen to a guy ensconced in his little world go crowing about a small thing when big fires are burning in the larger world.

We're in a dramatic moment when the giant monopoly that sits on 95% of the world's desktops has made a serious error in releasing the newest version of its OS in an unfinished state and there's now a growing hunger among pc users to find out more about Linux and Mac, which sit on less than 4% of the world's desktops each. Apple will undoubtedly make some market share this year, though they don't need this to survive--they've got their niche already carved out. Linux, on the other hand, has a golden opportunity to expand into the "real" world of computer desktops if the "community" can rally around a single distro that hardware makers consider comprehensive and polished enough to offer on machines sold at retail.

The mission of the moment for Linux fans, programmers, and users is to think about this question real hard. Sitting in your closet making smug idiot comments about Microsoft products, which will be totally ignored, is wasting your brain cells. If Red Hat is such an excellent distribution, then those who hold it in high regard need to start working on ways to get as many softwares and drivers as possible compatible with it, make sure its gui interface is attractive and easy to use, and pay some money up front for copies to keep the enterprise going. Do you understand the mission, or does wisecracking satisfy your delusions of grandeur?
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All three?
1. port drivers to Linux. Improve Linux code.
2. Spend money on boxed versions of Linux to help promote the fight
3. Make smart ass remarks about windows.

1 and 2 are a social responsibility. Option three is just fun.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Vive la Pinguin!
What can I say - I get bored sometimes whilst waiting for compiles.

(and yes my wee friend, some of us have been supporting Linux financially, programmatically, and otherwise since the 90's. Try not to assume too much next time, 'k? It makes you look silly when the facts come 'round).

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Combine RPM and DEB?
I find that much of what I want (I run ubuntu) is in an RPM, so I need to either use the methods availiable or some other path, when what I really want is a combined RPM and Debian package manager. If that came out, no borders would exist between the SuSE/RHEL and Debian derivative distributions except ideology and packaged software/look and feel.
Posted by ben::zen (127 comments )
Link Flag
Little Napoleons
It's pretty amusing to listen to a guy ensconced in his little world go crowing about a small thing when big fires are burning in the larger world.

We're in a dramatic moment when the giant monopoly that sits on 95% of the world's desktops has made a serious error in releasing the newest version of its OS in an unfinished state and there's now a growing hunger among pc users to find out more about Linux and Mac, which sit on less than 4% of the world's desktops each. Apple will undoubtedly make some market share this year, though they don't need this to survive--they've got their niche already carved out. Linux, on the other hand, has a golden opportunity to expand into the "real" world of computer desktops if the "community" can rally around a single distro that hardware makers consider comprehensive and polished enough to offer on machines sold at retail.

The mission of the moment for Linux fans, programmers, and users is to think about this question real hard. Sitting in your closet making smug idiot comments about Microsoft products, which will be totally ignored, is wasting your brain cells. If Red Hat is such an excellent distribution, then those who hold it in high regard need to start working on ways to get as many softwares and drivers as possible compatible with it, make sure its gui interface is attractive and easy to use, and pay some money up front for copies to keep the enterprise going. Do you understand the mission, or does wisecracking satisfy your delusions of grandeur?
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All three?
1. port drivers to Linux. Improve Linux code.
2. Spend money on boxed versions of Linux to help promote the fight
3. Make smart ass remarks about windows.

1 and 2 are a social responsibility. Option three is just fun.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Vive la Pinguin!
What can I say - I get bored sometimes whilst waiting for compiles.

(and yes my wee friend, some of us have been supporting Linux financially, programmatically, and otherwise since the 90's. Try not to assume too much next time, 'k? It makes you look silly when the facts come 'round).

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Combine RPM and DEB?
I find that much of what I want (I run ubuntu) is in an RPM, so I need to either use the methods availiable or some other path, when what I really want is a combined RPM and Debian package manager. If that came out, no borders would exist between the SuSE/RHEL and Debian derivative distributions except ideology and packaged software/look and feel.
Posted by ben::zen (127 comments )
Link Flag
But I'm worried
Having seen UNIX come out of Bell Labs and start out as a free alternative to the myriad of hardware specific OSes, and seeing it fragment into numerous hardware specific OSes (HPUX, AIX, SUNos, Tru64UNIX, etc, etc.), I'm worried about Linux and the numerous "flavors" now competing with each other for revenue. Seems like history repeating itself.

We all have to keep our eye on the mark and compete with Windows. If everyone pushed the plow in the same direction for one linux distribution, we'd make some headway. But now I see RHEL, SUSE, Gentoo, etc.

While I run 400+ servers on RHEL, and it is really, truly rock solid, I also run some SUSE, and you can't move easily from one to the other. Applications install differently. The directory structure is different. And application vendors only 'certify' to specific distributions, usually RHEL, but not always SUSE.

Feels like 1987 all over again...
Posted by paulghenderson (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sort of
I don't know of many companies going to put Gentoo on their production servers, and that goes too for about 95% of the distro's out there.

For businesses the list is pared down largely to
RedHat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Xandros and Debian, and this is largely influenced by what their tech guy's preferences are!

Having so many distros is benefitial because
1. You can probably find something that when the installation (if applicable) is done you are well on your way to the system you want ot build.
2. Competition breeds innovations. Look at Windows (low-competition) vs Office, Visual Studio and SQL Server (higher competition). Windows hasn't changed much and has room to improve while the others have had to work to keep their position and it shows in the quality of their products.
3. Easier for those who want to to get involved in a project or distro, which provides an outlet for those with great ideas to make something of it without having to spend $$$$$ on something they think is just a hobby (and turns out to be a mega-hit!)
4. Allows the distro to concentrate on something (RHEL = Servers, SuSE & Ubuntu=Desktop, etc.) and do a great job instead of trying to be everything to everybody!

I think the diversity is a good thing and that it isn't as overwhelming as people keep saying it is, when you look at them.
Posted by dragonbite (452 comments )
Link Flag
Unbuntu
I would not touch this with a 10 foot poll in an enterprise desktop environment.

Everything from its SATA port issues to video driver issues, to its issues with KVM switchs to its habit to not wake up from sleep. To its horrid perforance with wine.

I installed it on my system at home ran wow, in Wine spent hour tweaking and working with guys on the forums. And I managed to scrap ohh 23fps from a system that normal runs wow at 60.

Other issues laptops when you use an external monitor the Display not sizeing proper to the external display.

When posting about the SATA issue, the comment back is yah lots of people with this issue, but its on a low priority fix, make sure to keep sending more reports to try and get them to bump priority. For now just shut down sata if your not using it.

And the list goes on and on and on and on, just vist the forums.

Why did we stick with Vista and Microsoft on our desktop? It just works, seriously we don't have the time to spend hours on forums and with tech support just to make it install proper on Dell Laptops and Desktops. Way to many issues with Unbuntu right now..
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Link Flag
Why?
[i]"I also run some SUSE, and you can't move easily from one to
the other. Applications install differently. The directory structure
is different"[/i]

Not really... there are small differences, but as long as you have
LSB going in both, basic functionality is the same, and I can take
the same source code in most instances and compile them w/o
incident in either variant.

RPM's also install pretty much the same in both cases... I think
you're referring to YaST vs. YUM (the installer package helper
apps), correct? They both operate in much the same way, but
have different internal mechanisms and interfaces.

What are you moving from one to the other? I agree that on
some levels they behave differently, but at the basic *nix level
they're pretty much the same.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
But I'm worried
Having seen UNIX come out of Bell Labs and start out as a free alternative to the myriad of hardware specific OSes, and seeing it fragment into numerous hardware specific OSes (HPUX, AIX, SUNos, Tru64UNIX, etc, etc.), I'm worried about Linux and the numerous "flavors" now competing with each other for revenue. Seems like history repeating itself.

We all have to keep our eye on the mark and compete with Windows. If everyone pushed the plow in the same direction for one linux distribution, we'd make some headway. But now I see RHEL, SUSE, Gentoo, etc.

While I run 400+ servers on RHEL, and it is really, truly rock solid, I also run some SUSE, and you can't move easily from one to the other. Applications install differently. The directory structure is different. And application vendors only 'certify' to specific distributions, usually RHEL, but not always SUSE.

Feels like 1987 all over again...
Posted by paulghenderson (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sort of
I don't know of many companies going to put Gentoo on their production servers, and that goes too for about 95% of the distro's out there.

For businesses the list is pared down largely to
RedHat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Xandros and Debian, and this is largely influenced by what their tech guy's preferences are!

Having so many distros is benefitial because
1. You can probably find something that when the installation (if applicable) is done you are well on your way to the system you want ot build.
2. Competition breeds innovations. Look at Windows (low-competition) vs Office, Visual Studio and SQL Server (higher competition). Windows hasn't changed much and has room to improve while the others have had to work to keep their position and it shows in the quality of their products.
3. Easier for those who want to to get involved in a project or distro, which provides an outlet for those with great ideas to make something of it without having to spend $$$$$ on something they think is just a hobby (and turns out to be a mega-hit!)
4. Allows the distro to concentrate on something (RHEL = Servers, SuSE & Ubuntu=Desktop, etc.) and do a great job instead of trying to be everything to everybody!

I think the diversity is a good thing and that it isn't as overwhelming as people keep saying it is, when you look at them.
Posted by dragonbite (452 comments )
Link Flag
Unbuntu
I would not touch this with a 10 foot poll in an enterprise desktop environment.

Everything from its SATA port issues to video driver issues, to its issues with KVM switchs to its habit to not wake up from sleep. To its horrid perforance with wine.

I installed it on my system at home ran wow, in Wine spent hour tweaking and working with guys on the forums. And I managed to scrap ohh 23fps from a system that normal runs wow at 60.

Other issues laptops when you use an external monitor the Display not sizeing proper to the external display.

When posting about the SATA issue, the comment back is yah lots of people with this issue, but its on a low priority fix, make sure to keep sending more reports to try and get them to bump priority. For now just shut down sata if your not using it.

And the list goes on and on and on and on, just vist the forums.

Why did we stick with Vista and Microsoft on our desktop? It just works, seriously we don't have the time to spend hours on forums and with tech support just to make it install proper on Dell Laptops and Desktops. Way to many issues with Unbuntu right now..
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Link Flag
Why?
[i]"I also run some SUSE, and you can't move easily from one to
the other. Applications install differently. The directory structure
is different"[/i]

Not really... there are small differences, but as long as you have
LSB going in both, basic functionality is the same, and I can take
the same source code in most instances and compile them w/o
incident in either variant.

RPM's also install pretty much the same in both cases... I think
you're referring to YaST vs. YUM (the installer package helper
apps), correct? They both operate in much the same way, but
have different internal mechanisms and interfaces.

What are you moving from one to the other? I agree that on
some levels they behave differently, but at the basic *nix level
they're pretty much the same.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Strange
When I want to catch and bait someone I toss a linux box in the DMZ.

Gurateed 48 hours an unpatched fresh install will have lots of fun issues.

But really, Linux.. are we talking FS or APP server or DB server?

I seriously can not remeber the last time I have had to deal with a hacked Windows server. Or a virus plaqued server.

But we really dont want to talk about reality, we prefer to talk more about the.. myth.

Intresting note on this is that Red Hat is not growing there market but, expanding profit on existing install base, with service contracts.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Strange
When I want to catch and bait someone I toss a linux box in the DMZ.

Gurateed 48 hours an unpatched fresh install will have lots of fun issues.

But really, Linux.. are we talking FS or APP server or DB server?

I seriously can not remeber the last time I have had to deal with a hacked Windows server. Or a virus plaqued server.

But we really dont want to talk about reality, we prefer to talk more about the.. myth.

Intresting note on this is that Red Hat is not growing there market but, expanding profit on existing install base, with service contracts.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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