With little fanfare, Red Hat Linux 9 is nearing its end of life. Red Hat Inc. is encouraging its business customers to move to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is asking its Linux-enthusiast customers to try the Fedora Project. But Progeny Linux Systems Inc. has another suggestion for these customers: Continue using Red Hat 9 with support from Progeny Transition Service (PTS).
On April 30, Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat will stop producing new security, bugfix or enhancement updates for this well-known Linux distribution. On May 1, Progeny is set to launch its follow-on program, to be announced Wednesday. The program is an add-on to Indianapolis, Ind.-based Progenys existing PTS support lines for Red Hat Linux 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0. Support for all of these lines will continue through the end of 2005.
Progeny, an independent provider of Linux-platform technology founded by Debian Linux creator Ian Murdock, is known primarily for customizing Linux distributions for businesses. The companys Red Hat support aims to assist users who still rely on legacy versions of Red Hat Linux and arent ready to migrate to another Linux platform.
"Ongoing customer demand for a fully supported, reliable security update service has prompted us to extend PTS through December 2005," Greg Duwe, Progenys director of sales, said in a statement. "Our subscribers prefer to tap into our experience to help them maintain their legacy systems, rather than having to do their own monitoring, packaging and patch testing."
"Using the Progeny service has saved our organization time, money and needless risk by allowing us to migrate from Red Hat 7.2 on our terms, when it fits our business needs, not Red Hats," said Rudy Pawul, lead system administrator of ISO New England Inc., a nonprofit corporation responsible for the day-to-day operation of New Englands power supply.
PTS costs $5 a month per machine or a flat rate of $2,500 per month for unlimited machines. Customers gain access to a software repository containing security updates for Red Hat Linux 7.2, 7.3, 8.0 and 9 and are notified of security vulnerabilities and available patches.
Dan Kusnetzky, IDCs vice president for system software research, said he thinks Red Hats strategy of moving to a pure enterprise play "is somewhat risky but very understandable, since they realized that they needed a steady, growing steam of revenue to provide the stability and support that enterprise customers want."
So far, Red Hats move seems to have worked. Red Hat reported good results in its last quarter on higher-than-expected sales of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux line.
On the other hand, Kusnetzky said, "This leaves the door open for another company to pick up customers. Thats the risky side of Red Hats model. [But] this is part of open source: No program is left behind."
Kusnetzky also said he thinks Novell and SuSE are looking forward to picking up customers of Red Hat 9 and earlier. But a Novell representative said Novell and SuSE are "not making a special effort to win Red Hat 9 customers. We have offerings, of course, but were not doing anything particular to get anyone to move."
Red Hat customers who want to stay in the Red Hat family can go to the Red Hat Linux Migration Resource Center. Customers who want to try Progeny support can visit the Progeny Transition Service site.