Red Hat Enterprise Linux v3 now out

Eric Rostetter eric.rostetter at
Wed Oct 29 19:30:01 CST 2003

Quoting Xose Vazquez Perez <xose at>:

> Eric Rostetter wrote:
> > The fact is RH failed to get the information about their policy changes
> > out to their customers in a timely and understandable fashion.
> *false*

Nice.  Care to back up that claim somehow?

> > 90+ percent of their customers did not get this announcement.  Many still
> > have not learned of the change.  I get asked every day when RH 10 will
> > be out.  Users are still clueless about the changes.
> maybe they are not very smart.

Maybe, but I seriously doubt that though.  I think they are just poorly
informed.  And I don't see that as their fault.

> > I don't want them to change back.  I want them to give sufficient warning
> > and sufficient lead time for the change, so we can plan for the change,
> > test the new software before the change, etc.
> *1 year before EOL*

So?  1 year before EOL of each version does not mean no future versions.
Those are separate concepts.

> web pages ->

Shows nothing about the topic.  Says nothing about ending RHL.  Says nothing
about RHL 9 even.

> ml list ->

Ditto.  This says nothing about ending RHL.

> lwn ->

Ditto.  And I shouldn't have to hear it from a third party if it did say
something here.  It should be at, not a third party site,
or buried somewhere like which people don't even know

> slashdot ->

Ditto and ditto.

> Register ->

Didn't read it, but I bet the answer would be "ditto".

> linuxtoday ->

Okay, since you think I'm an idiot, let me quote from the above to
make *my* point and show that your message does not address the issue at

| This email outlines our new policy for errata support for Red Hat Linux
| products and gives the end-of-life dates for currently supported products.

This is great, and what we want to hear.

| We believe Red Hat Linux users should be able to plan migrations and
| upgrades in advance and therefore need an errata support policy that gives
| clear guidance on on product end-of-life dates, without any immediate
| discontinuation as we release new major revisions.

This is great and what we want.  What we got this year however was the
sudden immediate discontinuation notice *before* they even released the new
major revisions.  The opposite what it states in the article you pointed
me to.

| We have also taken this opportunity to clarify the end of life dates for
| errata support for our current products:
|       Red Hat Linux 8.0 (Psyche)        December 31, 2003
|       Red Hat Linux 7.3 (Valhalla)      December 31, 2003
|       Red Hat Linux 7.2 (Enigma)        December 31, 2003
|       Red Hat Linux 7.1 (Seawolf)       December 31, 2003
|       Red Hat Linux 7.0 (Guinness)      March 31, 2003
|       Red Hat Linux 6.2 (Zoot)          March 31, 2003

All great!  But where does it say that RHL 9 will be the last release?
Where does it say they will stop making RHL in the future?  Where does
it provide the option for what to do when they stop making RHL?  Where
does it give any cost or time estimates or upgrade paths for when
RHL is stopped?

> All users of these products should plan to upgrade before the given end of
> life dates in order to continue to receive errata.

And we did just that.  Only to find out that we were suckered into spending
a ton of money to buy/install RHL 8/9 just months before RHL was killed off
without warming!  To be told we need to switch to older products (AS 2.1 which
is based off RHL 7, which we just upgraded from, so now we need to downgrade???)
or switch to non-existent products (RHEL 3.0 just finally came out now, we've
not even had time to get it more less test it; Fedora doesn't even exist yet,
so how can we plan or test it????  Neither even had a release date when we
found out that RHL was being ended...)

Basically this was a bait and switch.  "If you want RHL support, you must
spend a bunch of money for RHL 9" followed immediately by "Sorry, we're no
longer going to support RHL, so you need to upgrade to the more expensive
RHEL if you want support".  Ah, I'm such a sucker, here take my money twice
rather than once.  Please take it!  I don't need it!

I would not call that bait and switch *IF* I had known when I upgraded to
RHL 9 that there was a plan to discontinue RHL.  But this was not communicated
to me by RH or Dell.  So in my book, this was just a bait and switch play
to get more money from me.

> [...]

You have done nothing but help to prove my point, call my users stupid, and
make yourself look less than brilliant...  Better luck in your next e-mail.

Oh, yeah, and you made me write a hostil e-mail reply to a list which deserves
better.  For that I apologize to the list, to Red Hat, and to Dell.  If I
could figure out how to make my point another way, I would try to do so.
But every time I try to make my point, I'm told I'm wrong (but not given
a reason), or that I'm somehow not a customer, or just plain insulted.
All this change seems to do is spread FUD, confusion, and bad feelings and

I *really* wish the announcement was handled better so we could at least
all try to be civilized.  But it wasn't, and it is obvious that we're all
acting without any claims to civility, myself included, when it comes to
discussing this issue.

This is my last posting to this list about this issue.  If others want
to continue it, feel free to do so.  But I guarantee this is getting no
where on this list.  Write Red Hat directly, or contact their stock holders,
and maybe that will make a difference.  This list isn't going to do much
for the cause.

Eric Rostetter
The Department of Physics
The University of Texas at Austin

Why get even? Get odd!

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