Are enterprise Linux distributions
doomed?"> This doesnt mean enterprise Linux distributions are doomed; they do offer benefits and assurances that free distribution projects dont, including organized support, IHV and ISV certifications, training, and reliable network access to updates and fixes. However, the popularity gap, particularly as it applies to software package availability, may become a problem for enterprise Linux distributions. One way to make enterprise Linux distributions more mainstream would be to make them freely available, with the option of paying for subscriptions. As long as vendors provide subscribers with services they want, paying customers will show upstarting with the ones who are paying for subscriptions right now.Vendors could take a page from the Linux software company Transgaming, which lets subscribers vote on which Windows games Transgamings WineX will be made to support next. Subscribers to an enterprise Linux distribution could vote on which packages to include in future versions, which features to address and which bits of documentation to be written next, with the number of votes a company maintains tied to the number of subscriptions it pays for. By tweaking the somewhat-rigid enterprise Linux strategy under which Red Hat Enterprise Linux and similar distributions are sold, vendors can make the most out of the open-source model, thereby building value for their products through popularity while giving customers more reasons to buy subscriptions. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would help if vendors could provide a clear link between the number of subscriptions purchased and the amount of services received. Companies with larger numbers of subscriptions could have the bugs they file looked at more quickly and have their e-mail queries addressed more quickly.