Subject: Re: update server alternatives
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 16:20:24 +0900

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <> writes:

    Tom> Gah?

    Tom> I gather you're trying to make a really pointed remark, but I
    Tom> must confess I don't get it.

Socratic, not pointed.  As you see, you figured it out for yourself.

    Tom> With fed-ex package delivery, the goal is to point-to-point
    Tom> communication of objects that the carrier doesn't have any
    Tom> role in creating.  With updates, the goal is broadcast
    Tom> communication of objects that the update provider does, at
    Tom> least logically, have a role in creating.

Note that Red Hat mostly does _not_ produce its product, and certainly
is not exclusive vendor because it's open source.  [Aside: I really
don't understand why you think Red Hat is missing the point of open
source.  As far as I can tell, most of their "Linux" development work
is aimed at quality control of the RH distribution, and as such the
most important communication is among maintainers of individual
packages.  Most of the rest is done by assigning Red Hat employees to
work as developers in the publicly developed projects such as the
kernel.  Their eternal mistake of "not funding arch" is a pretty small
one, I think....]

That said, both channel fan-out and productive role are red herrings,
as far as I can see.  They are logically, productively, and
managerially separable from the issue of control of the channel(s).

    Tom> There is, I suppose, a loose analogy: When I buy from fed-ex,
    Tom> I contract for the end-to-end check, not the transport
    Tom> mechanism.  That gives me what I want.  It gives them the
    Tom> freedom to tweak and optimize the transport over time --
    Tom> which in turns helps them (it seems) give me what I want.

Exactly.  The USPS has historically contracted the bulk of its
transport to the common carriers, and both transshipment and channel
reliability as such have made the quality of postal service it a joke
at least since the demise of the Pony Express.  I think that Red Hat
is going to want to control the distribution channel in the same way
for the same reason of quality control as Federal Express.

There are other reasons, of course, in particular the customer
database.  (But FedEx has one of those, too, you know.)

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