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By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-05-14 Print this article Print

Nevertheless, the move itself was one that Red Hat had to make. For better or worse, Red Hat has decided that it wants its Linux distribution to be a high-end, profitable business distribution. Given that, the Raleigh, N.C., company had no choice but to leave Red Hat 9 behind so that it would no longer have two competing lines.

You know what? Its been a successful move. Red Hats last quarter was its best ever. Why? In large part, it was because RHEL sales increased by 87,000 during the quarter while RHEL renewal rates remained at about 90 percent. Red Hat is a profitable Linux company, and its getting more profitable.

Perhaps thats the real reason why Sun has been so grumpy with Red Hat. Sun is much bigger, but its been declining, in large part due to competition from Linux in the server market, while Red Hat has been growing.

And maybe too thats the real problem some Linux fans have with Red Hat. The company has always been about open source and profits. To these fans, the idea that Linux is becoming mainstream, that their darling, iconoclastic operating system is no longer just for rebels, is abhorrent. For these vocal, malcontent users, Red Hat is the poster child of Linuxs commercial success.

These users will likely always hate Red Hat, but you know what? Get over it. For those of us who want a solid Linux that will be successful in the enterprise, Red Hat—blunders and all—is doing just fine. Linux & Open Source Center Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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