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Red Hat Details End of Life for Consumer-oriented Linux Distributions

Dave Aiello wrote, "CTDATA has chosen to subscribe to the Red Hat Network, a semi-automated software update service, in order to keep our Linux servers relatively current on patches. Red Hat sent a single email to me trying to convey most of the information about the business decision to stop producing a consumer distribution, and the options they offer to customers like me who are subscribed to the update service."

The email reads, in part:

Thank you for being a Red Hat Network customer.

This e-mail provides you with important information about the upcoming
discontinuation of Red Hat Linux, and resources to assist you with your
migration to another Red Hat solution.

As previously communicated, Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and
errata support for Red Hat Linux 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 as of December
31, 2003. Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for
Red Hat Linux 9 as of April 30, 2004. Red Hat does not plan to release
another product in the Red Hat Linux line.

With the recent announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux v.3, you'll
find migrating to Enterprise Linux appealing. We understand
that transitioning to another Red Hat solution requires careful planning
and implementation. We have created a migration plan for Red Hat Network
customers to help make the transition as simple and seamless as

"This message was written to encourage CTDATA to move its servers from the original Red Hat Linux product line to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. But upon first reading, I did not think that the email (in itself) provided enough information about the upgrade process. I felt more concerned than informed."

"I had to spend close to half an hour in the Red Hat Migration Resource Center of the Red Hat website in order to understand the new product line and what our options are."

"I have no doubt that this migration is the right thing for Red Hat's business. But, I question whether this is going to confuse the entry level Linux implementer who has sold his boss on moving pieces of a small business' IT infrastructure from Windows to Linux. A customer like this is the low end of the target market for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but probably doesn't do enough business with Red Hat to justify attention from their sales force."

"Although we are probably a member of that group of Red Hat customers, CTDATA doesn't need that sort of hand-holding. But, I'd guess that a number of customers at this level really need it. Has Red Hat realized this, and if not, will it hurt Linux's overall momentum?"

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