While Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will be released at an event in San Francisco on March 14, the company has not been sitting idle since the code went gold last month, with its engineering team already doing future planning and hosting worldwide summits, the first of which was held in February.
Red Hat is also developing a new model for next-generation capabilities that allows it to continue to work with the open-source community while also developing early service-based relationships with customers around these new technologies.
The goal of this is to let customers help influence the direction of next-generation technologies and capabilities, while putting that code into production before it is widely released, Brian Stevens, Red Hats chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, told eWEEK in a recent interview.
This will also allow Red Hats engineers to work more closely with those customers to understand their environments better. "This service relationship will be unique and unlike anything we have done in the past in terms of how upgrades work and sustainability," he said.
"So those customers are really opting into a different set of rules, and we are designing those rules around what makes sense. One of the considerations we are having specifically with the new real-time technology is how we harden it while allowing it to advance," he said.
As such, Red Hat has not developed a pricing model for this yet, but it will be a service-based relationship to a limited set of customers and will be used for both its new messaging technologies and the real-time Linux development work currently under development. "But they will both still be subscription-based relationships," Stevens said.
The new messaging technologies and the real-time Linux development work are truly differentiating and will have impact, creating real value for customers, so cost is really the footnote in the conversation between Red Hat and its customers, who want to know how these can be used to create value for them, he said.
Growing Red Hats business while creating value for its customers are overlapping goals, Stevens said.
"In the case of the real-time work, its an alternate kernel so we are not talking about capability thats fully merged upstream. So its not just a layered product or technology set, its a support arrangement around an alternate patch set that we are managing and which we will ultimately drive mainstream so we will have a unified product down the road that will be made generally available," he said.