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Red Hat: Vista is an Opportunity

Alex Pinchev did an interview recently with ZDnet while visiting the UK, he spoke a little on Microsoft-Novell, Oracle and the upcoming Windows Vista.

On Microvell:

It's been a tough couple of months for Red Hat. Firstly Oracle said it would sell support to Red Hat's Linux customers and offer its own free clone of the open-source operating system. Then Novell signed that huge deal with Microsoft. Let's start with Novell/Microsoft. What do you think of that partnership?
I'm very disappointed that Novell did it. They [Microsoft] went to the weaker player. We would never sell off our open-source community. You probably saw that the open-source community is really mad.

Was Red Hat approached by Microsoft for a similar deal?
If you listen to Steve [Ballmer], Red Hat has said many times no.

So were you approached?
We put a very clear message in the market that we would never do it. Microsoft has tried to kill open source for many years, but can't do it. I mean, how do you kill a community?

Do you feel Novell has an advantage over you now that it has signed the deal with Microsoft?
Customers are not afraid of Microsoft. Customers don't want to be dependent on Microsoft.

On Oracle:

What about the second major threat to Red Hat: Oracle's announcement?
They are forking their Linux operating system. Oracle open source is not a Red Hat operating system. It is an Oracle operating system based on Red Hat. We have an ecosystem around our operating system and it's a very expensive value proposition. The minute Oracle takes open source into their own environment, they are breaking their own certification. Customers want to know what happens in the future. They will have to wait for us to support it [Oracle's version]. It's not an easy thing.

Oracle said it would offer support at less than half the price of Red Hat. How can you compete with that?
One thing Larry [Ellison, Oracle chief executive] says on stage, another in reality. It's half our list price without volume discounts and it's just vanilla support. With Oracle there's one 24/7 support, the same subscription for all your environment. You are buying support you don't need. We discuss with customers different service levels for dedicated parts of their infrastructure.

And, on Vista:

What's your take on Vista, which launched two weeks ago?
People are concerned about Vista: usability and the resources it requires. People will look at the alternatives when they have to replace hardware. That is absolutely an opportunity for us.

Pinchev is also asked about the relative security of Windows compared to Linux, the JBoss acquisition and plans, as well as indemnification and whether Red Hat sees a need for patent protection for Linux. Head on over to ZDnet for the full discussion.

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