A sign of Red Hat and Ubuntu competition to come?

Is Linux its own worst enemy? Will its stability and performance lead customers to opt for free Linux rather than supported, fee-based Linux?

What happens to the disrupter when it is disrupted? That's the question I asked myself while reading this article in LinuxWorld. As more enterprises grow comfortable with Linux, is it possible that they will move from their first Linux vendor (generally Red Hat) to Ubuntu as a way to lower costs further?

The article describes a small telco in Australia that recently dropped Red Hat for some of its servers in favor of Ubuntu. The article stresses that the decision wasn't about cost:

[The telco] said the reasons for moving from the pay-for Red Hat to the zero-cost Ubuntu was not so much about the price, as Locatrix still runs a bit of Red Hat for front-end workloads, but was more about Ubuntu's ability to install new software seamlessly.

In this case, then, it wasn't a cost-driven decision. The telco mentioned that it's a very engineering-driven organization and so can afford to go the self-support route.

But what happens when Linux "just works." All the time? Does the very stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux mean that it's paving the way for up-and-coming projects like Ubuntu to do precisely what Linux originally did to Unix? Namely, start at the edge of the network and work its way into mission-critical installations?

Sounds Oedipal....

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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