New Linux Support Policies are Ominous
Open source opponents have for years warned, "You get what you pay for."
Now some Linux distributors are planning to make good on that threat. Red Hat and Mandrake's recently-announced revised support policies might spell the end of the free ride for many companies using Linux.
The policies are straightforward: Red Hat will support their regular distributions for twelve months from initial release. Red Hat's venerable version 6.2 will be retired on March 31st along with version 7.0. Versions 7.1 through 8.0 will expire on December 31st. After the expiration date, security patches will be provided at Red Hat's discretion only.
Mandrake's new policy is similar, though a little more confusing: Mandrake will support "desktop components" of any new distribution for twelve months, and they'll support "base" components, including the kernel and Apache, for eighteen months. Which category the other packages fall into remains to be seen.
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