Subject: Re: Speculating on where the distro market is going
From: "Luis Villa" <luis@tieguy.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 16:27:11 -0400

On 10/19/06, Federico Lucifredi <flucifredi@acm.org> wrote:
> Luis Villa wrote:
> [...]
> > (b) seems like the most likely scenario to me- IBM doesn't want to
> > have the hassle of owning a distro. They just want competition to keep
> > prices low and bidding competitive- that's why they kept investing in
> > SUSE. It wasn't that they actually preferred suse; they just wanted to
> > make sure there was a counterbalance to RH. If Oracle and Sun make
> > Ubuntu an enterprise player, IBM will be thrilled- they get another
> > counterbalance to RH and SUSE for free.
> >
>
> Agreed. And that's why I expect IBM to add Ubuntu to its 'tier-1'
> players any minute now ;-)

Right. Or as soon as Oracle certifies, at any rate.

> > Note that f IBM isn't going to buy, then there just aren't enough
> > players in the space for (a) to happen.
>
> Strictly speaking yes. But then there are always the surprises that make
>   the news more interesting than the weirdest fiction. Sap, for
> instance, could enter. And that is not the strangest option in my mind ;-)

I just don't see it happening. The only real reason to buy a distro
vendor, IMHO, is if you're already in the OS game for some reason and
need an in-house Linux OS to offer to your old customers with your
prior OS. This is what Novell did and what I assume Sun thought hard
about (with Cobalt). IBM and HP have thought better of that,
preferring to push for competition and standardization (OSDL) and just
quietly/slowly dropping OS development altogether. IANAMBA ;) but if
that is the rational route for OS vendors, then surely it must be the
rational route for ISVs who sit on top of the OS.

[Worth noting that IMHO there is no way Mark sells out- he'd much
rather make long-term money licensing/selling to all the players in
the space than to become one of Ellison's toadies and make short-term
money. IBM might be the one player with big enough vision to satisfy
him. So we're stuck with the three players we've got, unless SUSE
collapses even further, but I don't see who would cause them to
collapse out of third place- maybe rpath?]

Luis