How Red Hat killed its core product—and became a billion-dollar business(ars technica)
Posted Mar 1, 2012 2:35 UTC (Thu) by lkewiu2
Parent article: How Red Hat killed its core product—and became a billion-dollar business
Most importantly for major customers, Red Hat creates a long-term support edition every two years.
That's simply not correct. Look at the gap between RHEL 5 and RHEL 6. I fear that the gap between RHEL 6 and 7 will be even longer.
While Red Hat has proven the model of a very-long-term stable release, this can also kill the company in the long term.
Given that both RHEL 5 and RHEL 6 now have a 10 year supported lifespan, there is not much incentive to make RHEL 7 in any timely fashion (after all, the money is rolling in... "why break something that works ?")
Not doing major updates of a core product was the flawed business model of Commodore, which rehashed an antiquated design without much progress in both software and hardware (ie. the Amiga). A very similar problem occurred with the Saab car company -- it stuck with slightly updating its offerings, while competitors' products leapfrogged it (this was a large contributing factor in GM taking over the company, which eventually strangled it).
To the CEO of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst: don't become another Commodore or Saab. The roadmap should not be entirely comprised of "a minor update to RHEL 6 every 6 months". It must also include "we are working new technologies X, Y and Z for RHEL 7, which will be released in a timely fashion".
(A simple but important example of "X" is proper C++11 support.)
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