The community Linux impact
A recent talk I led about community Linux and Ubuntu in the enterprise at LinuxWorld generated some discussion over at Slashdot. I can’t say that I completely agree with the headline, ‘Paid support not critical for Linux adoption.’ Well, not critical to some adoption. If we’re talking about the enterprise, and particularly if we’re talking large enterprise, paid support is absolutely, positively critical to use of Linux.
In addition, we believe it is actually commercial support or ‘paid support’ — not for RHEL or SUSE but for CentOS, Debian or Ubuntu — that is helping to drive community Linux in the enterprise. The point of our report is to offer a sense of what increased adoption of non-paid Linux, which we do see in the enterprise and even in the large enterprise, means for those commercial Linux subscriptions and vendors, as well as for partners and users.
What we found is that it can work both ways. Community Linux can very often serve as entry into the open source OS and lead to broader, more advanced use all the way up to commercial subscriptions. At the same time, community Linux versions (that is, for our purposes, a community-developed, freely available Linux operating systems for the server) also present an appealing option to commercial Linux. It can be a particularly good option when the code is identical and perhaps more flexible, as is the case with CentOS for Red Hat, or when the Linux distribution is getting easier to use and support, as is the case with Ubuntu, and when hardware providers and other players are offering commercial support for it, as is the case with Debian, which is supported by HP on the company’s hardware.