Problems with Dell/RedHat relationship

Mark J Strawcutter MJSTRAW at
Thu Nov 1 09:46:01 CST 2001

[sorry for the duplicate, Dell.  redhat address incorrect first time around]


I am writing to express my concern over being caught in the middle of what
appears to be an antagonistic relationship between Dell and RedHat.  We've
been a customer of both companies for years and were pleased to be able to
purchase 6 new 2550 servers pre-loaded with Linux 7.1sbe including
documentation and media.  That pleasure quickly dissipated once I attempted
to get support services from either company.

RedHat says "sbe" = small business edition, Dell says "sbe" = system builder's

Product registration at RedHat does not increment entitlement count in RHN

RedHat says sbe is Dell-specific, that it has been modified by Dell in such
a way that using it with RHN would result in a broken system.  Dell says
that is "a lie".

The distribution CDs appear to be "real" RedHat product in every respect.
RedHat says they aren't.  Dell says they are.

Dell says RedHat produced the CDs, RedHat says Dell produced them.

RedHat says Dell has changed package names and included packages whose contents
don't match what's available on RedHat's site.  Dell says it's the retail 7.1
distribution with subsequent errata incorporated.  

The only change Dell says they're aware of is they changed the install script
to not install rhn* and up2* packages - for what they claim were
"non-technical" reasons (another hint at a strained relationship between
Dell and RedHat?)

Dell says sbe should be maintainable using RHN.  RedHat said one time that
I need to go get an update CD from Dell (which Dell never heard of).  The
next time RedHat said to blow away the Dell-installed software and install
the retail version.

Whenever I have a problem or question, each company points me to the other
after blaming them for the issue.

I'm in the middle of a $250k mail server upgrade project and need to get
support and maintenance procedures in place.  I really need to understand
what's going on with respect to RedHat and Dell.  My experience to date has
left me with an unfavorable opinion of both companies.  I'm hopeful that your
responses to this letter  will help change that.

Mark J Strawcutter                            Email:   mjstraw at 
Technology Services Center                    Voice:   (724) 357-4007
Indiana University of Pennsylvania           

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