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I think you raise some very valid points, and I hope you don't take my response as an attack because that's really not where I'm coming from.

1) You wrote: There is a certain backlash against Redhat among most technically-minded Linux users.

I'm unaware of any backlash from the "most technically-minded Linux users." A few years back there was (unbelievably) much complaining about RHAT's and Caldera's efforts to make Linux easier to install, and later there was some complaining when RHAT began taking certain liberties with file placement and location (primarily involving /etc). Most, if not all, of these concerns have been alleviated by RHAT's active participation in the Standards committee. Alan Cox (to many people he is Mr. Linux) works for RHAT, and it's hard to get more technical than this guy. I've read that Linus incorporates Cox's kernel changes without even testing them anymore. Cox is just that good.

At any rate, the war between the distributions as to which is best, is never going to end. Frankly, I've always thought this much more of a friendly war than one approaching the vile and bitterness associated with MSFT vs. Linux (which is normally discussed with the equivalent mentality of a junior high school debate comparing Slayer and Metallica).

2) Mandrake was originally based on RHAT. It was the starting point for their development, but I do not believe Mandrake continues to rely on RHAT for any of Mandrake's current and future offerings. I address this further in my post #3137, Thoughts on the Business Model.

3) Yes, cheapbytes does offer this. It's a great way to get an overall feel for the market. However, the cheapbytes CDs normally run one release behind. Again, I address this concern in my post #3137.

4) You wrote: LinuxCare specializes on support.

This point used to bother me greatly. However, after reflecting on my years spent on the various Linux newbie/user lists, it doesn't bother me as much. While the majority of Linux users are quite technically adept, many are not and more and more non-technically oriented people are trying Linux.

It is true that a company could easily grow their own in-house Linux expert, and I expect that most probably already have or will. The same can be said for any computer-related industry. However, if you're experiencing a network problem, it's comforting to know that Alan Cox works for RHAT and that RHAT is providing your support.

5) You wrote: Imagine a large company with 5,000 computers buying one single Redhat cd for $50 (if not for $2 at cheapbytes) and installing it on all systems. Yes they can do it and this is one of the attractive selling points of Linux.

Absolutely. It's a great selling point.

6) You wrote: Debian. The distribution, Redhat competitor that I personally use.

To each his/her/its own. I'm glad you like Debian. I tried it and never could get it to properly install. But there's a very real possibility that the problem lay with me and not the distribution. RHAT has consistently, reliably and dependably worked worked for me.

You wrote: Betting on RHAT is a speculation.

Life is speculation. If you view investing as "betting," then any investment is highly speculative.

You wrote: Also, in my opinion large companies like Intel investing in RHAT probably means that they're trying to use their stake in it as a way to get their own linux offerings more exposure and support. This does not mean that RHAT itself will make alot of money, although it is a good sign for RHAT.

While any company expects to profit from any investment it makes, INTC had other, very specific reasons for investing in RHAT that were not related to any specific product. At the time INTC and DELL approached RHAT, they had no Linux position. They recognized the growth and potential of Linux and the future necessity of having a Linux position. I find it very telling that RHAT did not seek out these companies. These companies approached RHAT. And that speaks volumes as to RHAT's progress toward developing a brand name.

Great post! Thanks for making me think.
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