Re: Red Hat vs Craftworks Linux AXP

Marc Singer (
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 15:19:42 -0800 (PST)

> David Morton wrote: [some of the original text is omitted]
> I spent the $99.00 plus $12.95 for five day overnight shipping and
> received the RedHat CD together with an outdated manual. This
> product does not work on my machine.

Sad, but true for too many folks. (BTW is 5-day overnight a special
that they offer? Kinda like the three year lifetime warranty?)

> This is all fine and dandy but RedHat have $111.95 of my money. I
> have had a useless CD for 3 weeks. I am not a programmer,
> therefore, for me to make Linux run I need a product to be almost
> plug and play. I read somewhere that's what I was being sold!

I'd assert that for GNU/Linux to be a truly competitive product to NT,
in spite of the performance/cost advantages, it MUST be plug and play.
I've had much better luck with Slackware in the forty or so
installations I've done than RedHat. I've been villified on several
list for stating this fact and opining that RedHat isn't worthy of
it's growing reputation. To their credit, they are moving in the
right direction and some components of the distribution are
marvelously smooth. Installation is not.

> So, when and from whom will I be able to purchase a CD of the Linux
> OS that I can put in my CD player and install using "normal"
> commands that will run on a PC164 with a 2940UW without patching
> this, deciphering that and generally becoming extremely frustrated
> and PO'd? Or, should I just stick with NT and forget Linux and
> leave it in the university computer labs. Me and all the other
> people Linux Journal have been trying to recruit since issue 1.

Most of us using GNU/Linux want it to succees immediately. That
passion appears in the LJ and is starting to enter the mainstream
media. The key difference between it and NT is that NT will never,
and can never be fixed. But, even if my unrecognized prophesy were
never uttered, it is clear from the trends in the market that NT is a
failure as a server operating system. When will GNU/Linux be ready?
As soon as all of us who do this for free either a) receive a large
sum of money to apply the high-cost polishing effort that MS can
marshal, or b) get around to finding the problems and fixing them.
The pace of progress on GNU/Linux has been fantastic. In a couple of
years, it has gone from a useful toy to a commercial grade os.

> I would, respectfully, suggest that all vendors ensure their product
> works the way they advertise before they are marketed. Should this
> mean waiting a while, then so be it. We know Bill does that. But
> you ain't Bill yet. If you want Beta testers, say so. Give them
> copies of your product for testing, but don't expect your customers
> to pay for the privilege of developing your profits. At present you
> are doing a disservice both to the above (way above) mentioned
> people and your own companies.

I cannot agree enough with this. Neither RH3.0.3 nor RH4.0 were
tested adequately. Both failed to install on my Alphas. I do believe
that the x86 version is more stable and tends to install more easily.

> Sorry for the diatribe but all I've read so far, on this subject, is
> straight from the Redmond fables and should not be allowed to
> continue as if it were a normal practice. One perpetrator is quite
> enough! If its free I can't bitch, but if I pay money for it then I
> am entitled to get what I am told I am buying. If the vendor
> chooses to ignore me then I see no reason not to make any future
> customers aware of problems.

It would be a shameful act of disrespect and hubris if they refuse to
refund ALL of your money.

- - -

I am very sorry that you have had these sorts of problems. It
detriments the whole community. The reality is that we need to do the
most difficult work right now, the work of delivering high-quality,
free software to commercial market.

I started (yet another) list to look into the administration problem.
We're beginning with a survey of the existing solutions and plan to
present a formal recommendation of how to solve the problem. We may
either endorse an existing project and help with the development, or
we may choose to present a new design and develop some software to
implement it. The more heads involved, the better our perspective can

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-- Marc Singer

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