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Thread: Open SLES?

  1. #1
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    Default Open SLES?

    What got me thinking about this was a blog post from Dag Wieers, recently of the CentOS team.

    Why is there no Open Source SLES ? | Field Commander Wieers

    The discussion has actually been running for a couple of years now. One of the later comments points out that this very suggestion was raised for Opensuse 11.2, and it was (correctly, in fairness) rejected. (I say "correctly" because I don't think there should be a plan to "convert" OpenSuse into an open version of the Enterprise Suse.)

    However, I think Novell is missing a big opportunity here. Red Hat is the proof. There are three tiers (if you want to call them that) of their product available:

    Fedora -- community, completely free distro targeted to desktops (serves as a test-bed for the enterprise stuff, too)

    Clones of RHEL such as CentOS and Scientific Linux -- which fill a unique need that I'll mention below.

    The Enterprise, pay-for-support product, RHEL.

    When distros like CentOS appeared, some in the community said, "wow, that's going to hurt Red Hat. Who will pay for their Enterprise product when you can get basically the same thing from Cent for free?" In fact, Red Hat's sales to enterprises are doing just great.

    How can this be? Because yes, those of us in smaller enterprises often download and use these "free" variants. With our budgets, we don't have a choice. BUT ... and this is key! ... when we reach a position where we DO want support, let's take a look at this:

    1. I have a server farm filled with CentOS. I've gotten used to its crotchets, I've learned how to make it work, and I am loathe to change now -- regardless of how good the alternative might be.

    2. SO ... I opt for RHEL. I'm getting exactly what I'm familiar with, all of the widgets and apps and configurators that I've built over the years work exactly as expected, and I get the best of both worlds.

    Again, this is not speculation. The fact that Red Hat's sales of their enterprise products continue to lead the whole industry is all you need to look at.

    Here's a perfect example: we have a firewall machine in Denver that's running Opensuse 10.3, which is getting ready to EOL. I have to remotely administer this machine from Birmingham, so I can't install or upgrade myself. I like (love!!) Yast, but in this case, I'm going to build the replacement server with CentOS and ship it out there, ready to plug-and-play. I'll just put up with Webmin for configuration.

    Why? Because with Suse, I have two choices:

    1. Pay up front for the Enterprise product, but as I said above, that's not an option for us -- NOW. It will be in the future.

    2. Use OpenSuse, but I'll be forced to upgrade the thing about every 18 months. That's unacceptable. The life of the hardware is 4-5 years, I need a server operating system that will be supported with updates for at least that long. I don't want to go through this again in 2011.

    In sum, and to repeat: I think Novell is really, really missing an opportunity here. They should make ALL source (including updates) for Suse Enterprise freely available. Yes, this means that CentOS-like "clones" of their enterprise edition will appear, but they'll still end up ahead, because more businesses like ours will use the clone, then move up to the enterprise-supported product.

    Just my opinion, but I really believe this.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    +1

    I'm with you on this.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Open SLES?

    There's a thread on the mailing list about this at the moment.
    [opensuse-project] Creating a group of conserned Users and Novell partne

    Which has led to this
    OpenSLE Info Page

    From the sounds of things it just needs a community to get behind it, though as has been mentioned no one wants to talk about the sles/sled patches which afaik aren't accessible without a subscription.

    As the mailing list is still in its early days I guess only time will tell how they manage this, and whether it goes further.
    Man first, have a try at Info, have a look at Wiki, if all that fails Scroogle!!!!!
    If I've helped click on the Rep button I don't know what it does but it sounds cool.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    On Sun, 06 Sep 2009 02:56:01 +0000, FeatherMonkey wrote:

    > As the mailing list is still in its early days I guess only time will
    > tell how they manage this, and whether it goes further.


    Yep. Personally, I think spending time on a name at this stage is a
    little premature, they should first focus on what the goals of the
    project are, then figure out a naming strategy. But I don't have the
    time to invest in that as well. :-)

    Jim



    --
    Jim Henderson
    openSUSE Forums Moderator

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    And this could be the LTS Suse after the mourning because of the shortened support of openSUSE And i don't think it will have bad influence on SLE. Maybe it could even has good influence on the sales as smpoole7 points. But i'll stop here because i really don't use any OS for that long. I like to update every time there is new release

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherMonkey View Post
    There's a thread on the mailing list about this at the moment.
    [opensuse-project] Creating a group of conserned Users and Novell partne
    And some of the comments in that thread underscore the disconnect -- simply put, the failure to understand what open source is and how it works. For example, one person complained that he saw no need for an "interim" (in the Fedora -> Centos -> RHEL, or in this case, OpenSuse -> "OpenSEL" -> SEL) product, because it would be "more work" (or something like that, I'm going from memory.

    This is important, and often overlooked: Red Hat has no objection to CentOS. In fact, the CentOS guys and the developers at Red Hat swap bug fixes and ideas. This is how open source works. If done right, the "OpenSEL" (or whatever they end up calling it) would NOT be a drain on Novell in any way, because the community would maintain it. In fact, it would be a bonus for Novell -- the whole secret to open source, the "bazaar" approach, as it were, is that you literally have millions of potential developers improving your product, instead of a few!! Can't they see this? Sigh.

    Once again: if I'm running "OpenSEL" and eventually reach the point that I need commercial support, I can simply call Novell and say, "OK, time to go with SEL. Here's my credit card number." It's a seamless, painless migration.

    BUT ... and this is what they miss ... IF I am running CentOS, and I've spent two years tweaking scripts and applications for it, I'm going to go with RHEL. It's just that simple.

    Novell: there is a REASON why Red Hat continues to lead. CentOS is NOT a drain on Red Hat, it's one of the reasons WHY they continue to lead in Enterprise Linux. And I would point out, mind, that Novell has been around a lot longer than Red Hat, and (at least at one time) is (was) arguably a much larger company.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    Quote Originally Posted by Siminin View Post
    And this could be the LTS Suse after the mourning because of the shortened support of openSUSE And i don't think it will have bad influence on SLE. Maybe it could even has good influence on the sales as smpoole7 points. But i'll stop here because i really don't use any OS for that long. I like to update every time there is new release
    I play around and change on my *personal* machine all the time as well. (Especially since I discovered VirtualBox -- I installed Slackware 12.2 last night just to see what it looked like. )

    We're speaking primarily of enterprise servers here. Very few people use CentOS for desktops, either. A server like this will need to run 24/7 with as little down time as possible.

    Just scheduling down time to upgrade the distro is a major undertaking in some cases -- which is why something like OpenSuse (especially since they reduced the update period to about 18 months) has become unsuitable.

    So, to repeat The Declaration(tm)(r)(c)(sm): I'll use CentOS for these servers. When time comes to go with commercial support, I'll go with RHEL. Novell will have lost those sales.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    Many of the people on that list (and otherwise) are so disconnected from reality it's just downright scary - one of the reasons I've never gotten involved with most of them.

    I think what Boyd is doing is great and I wish him the best in his endeavors.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    FWIW, I complained about the need for an LTS/OpenSLES equivalent a long
    while back and I was met with outright hostility. I hope you have
    better luck with the argument.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Open SLES?

    On Sat, 2009-09-05 at 17:46 +0000, smpoole7 wrote:
    snip...
    > However, I think Novell is missing a big opportunity here. Red Hat is
    > the proof. There are three tiers (if you want to call them that) of
    > their product available:
    >
    > Fedora -- community, completely free distro targeted to desktops
    > (serves as a test-bed for the enterprise stuff, too)
    >
    > Clones of RHEL such as CentOS and Scientific Linux -- which fill a
    > unique need that I'll mention below.
    >
    > The Enterprise, pay-for-support product, RHEL.
    >
    > When distros like CentOS appeared, some in the community said, "wow,
    > that's going to hurt Red Hat. Who will pay for their Enterprise product
    > when you can get basically the same thing from Cent for free?" In fact,
    > Red Hat's sales to enterprises are doing just great.


    Are you SURE about that? I mean, that's certainly the P.C. thing to say
    and certainly what Red Hat wants everyone to say, but is it true?

    Also, CentOS has become a stumbling block for many because of its
    inconsistencies with RHEL proper. Especially over the past year.
    CentOS is no longer a trustworthy "free" RHEL clone (mostly due to some
    stagnation... supposedly resolved now).

    Is SLES free? Yes. Anyone can download and install SLES today. What
    you do not have is a free updater service that tries to mimic what
    Novell provides. But if you simply want to test against SLES10 SP2 (for
    example), anyone can download that today. And it's not the abitrarily
    restricted thing that Red Hat provides.

    >
    > How can this be? Because yes, those of us in smaller enterprises often
    > download and use these "free" variants. With our budgets, we don't have
    > a choice. BUT ... and this is key! ... when we reach a position where we
    > DO want support, let's take a look at this:
    >
    > 1. I have a server farm filled with CentOS. I've gotten used to its
    > crotchets, I've learned how to make it work, and I am loathe to change
    > now -- regardless of how good the alternative might be.


    Then don't change.

    >
    > 2. SO ... I opt for RHEL. I'm getting exactly what I'm familiar with,
    > all of the widgets and apps and configurators that I've built over the
    > years work exactly as expected, and I get the best of both worlds.


    Very true. You opted for CentOS instead of a freely available
    enterprise distro for eval. And yes, ideally, it's not supposed to be
    hard to upgrade. However, if you had, for example, installed SLES 10
    SP2 (for free), getting on support (you have to admit) would be even
    easier than blowing everything away and installing RHEL. True?

    You can always to the eval which has 60 days of update support. update
    and you'll have at least for 60 days, EXACTLY what you get with an
    enterprise subscription. Should is be longer than 60 days? Maybe that
    would be something that Novell should consider. 60 days isn't all that
    long. I'd opt for 90 days and provide a mechanism for a longer eval...
    but you know, I BET the Novell guys would renew the eval if you asked
    them based on your need for your own evaluation time period.

    >
    > Again, this is not speculation. The fact that Red Hat's sales of their
    > enterprise products continue to lead the whole industry is all you need
    > to look at.


    ??? I guess, I'm just not politically correct.... Red Hat's "enterprise
    sales" got quite a boost from their JBoss deals. Again, are you sure
    that Red Hat's RHEL growth is still keeping pace? What is Red Hat's
    quarter to quarter RHEL growth like (percentage wise) vs. Novell SLES?

    Just something to think about...

    Is Red Hat the (or at least perceived as the) market leader for
    enterprise Linux? Yes. Is RHEL adoption growing faster than SLES?
    Maybe not.

    >
    > Here's a perfect example: we have a firewall machine in Denver that's
    > running Opensuse 10.3, which is getting ready to EOL. I have to remotely


    A CONSUMER distro like Fedora. Suffers from the EXACT same issues as
    Fedora...

    > administer this machine from Birmingham, so I can't install or upgrade
    > myself. I like (love!!) Yast, but in this case, I'm going to build the
    > replacement server with CentOS and ship it out there, ready to
    > plug-and-play. I'll just put up with Webmin for configuration.
    >
    > Why? Because with Suse, I have two choices:
    >
    > 1. Pay up front for the Enterprise product, but as I said above, that's
    > not an option for us -- NOW. It will be in the future.


    Ditto for Red Hat.

    >
    > 2. Use OpenSuse, but I'll be forced to upgrade the thing about every 18
    > months. That's unacceptable. The life of the hardware is 4-5 years, I
    > need a server operating system that will be supported with updates for
    > at least that long. I don't want to go through this again in 2011.


    I agree. If you want long term support but are UNSURE if you want to
    commit, you could always try out SLES 10 SP2 and then later purchase
    support when satisified that it works well. I'm pretty sure there may
    be ways to get at the patches in a less than convenient way for SLES 10
    also.... but it's probably wise to pay the one that owns the hand that
    feeds you.

    >
    > In sum, and to repeat: I think Novell is really, really missing an
    > opportunity here. They should make ALL source (including updates) for
    > Suse Enterprise freely available. Yes, this means that CentOS-like
    > "clones" of their enterprise edition will appear, but they'll still end
    > up ahead, because more businesses like ours will use the clone, then
    > move up to the enterprise-supported product.


    NOTHING is preventing YOU from starting up a CentOS like clone of SLES.
    You do understand that it requires work though? What happens when the
    SlentOS maintainer gets tired, gets sick or just decides to give up??

    CentOS use the Red Hat support team to provide them their work which
    they compile and package in a Red Hat-like way. Similar to Red Hat,
    they need funding to do what they do. The rely on companies for support
    in the way of funding (instead of that funding going to the the ones
    that made the changes to base they use) and donations of servers and
    bandwidth.

    Think of CentOS as one of the many Debian forks... with one exception,
    their goal to is to NOT greatly deviate from the base.

    So whereas Ubuntu (for example) mainly uses Debian as their base...
    unlike CentOS, Ubuntu does more config and application development that
    deviates from the base. Also, unlike CentOS+Red Hat, it's a bit easier
    for Debian to utilize/change their base based on things they like from
    Ubuntu (you could think of Ubuntu as a poorly done Fedora, poorly only
    because Ubuntu doesn't contribute across all areas well yet).

    Red Hat's quandry is that it's primary "change" feed is supposed to be
    Fedora, much like openSUSE serves as a playground for interesting change
    possibilities for future SLES. So, does Red Hat recieve changes from
    CentOS?.. maybe, but unlikely since their goal is to utilize Red Hat's
    base and changes and not really give back the other direction. Ubuntu
    at one time was accused to doing similar things, but the difference was
    that Ubuntu did actually make some app and config changes.

    To quote CentOS, "CentOS mainly changes packages to remove upstream
    vendor branding and artwork". And certainly the same COULD be done with
    SLES... the question is.... will YOU be willing to do/start this?


    >
    > Just my opinion, but I really believe this.


    If you believe in it... consider being the one to create SlentOS

    But creating, maintaining, supporting and sustaining a CentOS-like
    project is DIFFICULT and expensive... takes a lot of dedication and
    monetary support.

    Really, I'm not totally against the idea... just not sure if it's really
    necessary, and I'm not totally convinced that converting from CentOS to
    RHEL is the best way vs just installing RHEL and moving to a supported
    path later on.





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