[TriLUG] Re: gentle reminder
chinfox at nc.rr.com
Thu Aug 29 10:21:42 EDT 2002
Full disclosure: As many of you know, I work for Red Hat, but my
opinions stated here are mine alone and do not represent my employer in
On Wed, 2002-08-28 at 15:27, Roberto J Dohnert wrote:
> Sorry about the language Chris. Just it is enough to upset anybody,
> especially when you get so many conflicts from one company. At one point
> and I think you guys will remember this they told me that it was fine for me
> to do that because they couldnt offer support on the complimentary CDs that
> they offer, Which is fine I can understand that. But when you tell me that
> if I spend 59.00 on a standard edition of RH 7.3 just so I can get that
> support, then refuse my customers service it makes me look like a scumbag
> especially when I worked so hard to push the product.
The issue is that you're selling pre-loaded machines, not just reselling
box copies of the OS. If you're going to use Red Hat's name and
trademark to help you sell machines, Red Hat wants you to pay for the
privilege of using trademarks that they own. RH can decide to license
their trademarks any way they choose.
> I had several would
> be customers turn me away because I dont preload MS Windows which means I
> have to prove the viability of Linux on the desktop. Unlike Compaq and Dell
> which offer a Windows alternative, But Im just starting out, I cant afford
> 748.00 for support options and I sure cant afford the licensing fees for MS
Ok, so the OEM agreement has a price ($748, apparently). You decide you
can't afford $748. Guess what? No deal. This is where reasonable
people decide that they can't come to an agreement and go on about their
lives. This happens in business all the time.
But you couldn't stop there. Oh no. You decide to say some unspeakably
awful things to the salesperson and then run to your local LUG to tell
everyone how much Red Hat "sucks". I can't think of any reason to ever
say the things you said to another human being. Ever. And then be so
proud over what you've done to go brag about it in a public forum, even
mentioning the salesperson by name. What a nice fellow you are.
Salespeople are not in the business of turning down money. If the
salesperson decided not to do business with you because doing so would
ultimately cost the company more than it brings in, then they made the
right decision for the company and the shareholders.
It's not RH's problem that you're just starting out and that you can't
afford the OEM agreement. You seem to want all the benefits of an OEM
partnership without having to pay for it. I'm sorry but that's not how
> The threat was worded like this " If you continue to preload Red
> Hat Linux without being a registered OEM we will sue you and it doesnt
> matter if you buy a retail version or not we will not offer any support for
> anybody who buys a computer preloaded with Red Hat Linux from any reseller
> who is not an OEM. wether it is a supported Retail version or not." But my
> concern is that these people put the faith in me and my systems on my word
> alone. If they need support and Im not available who do they turn to ?
Again, it's not RH's problem that you made promises to your customers
that you couldn't keep because you weren't a registered OEM. RH never
made any promises to your customers, you did.
> Red Hat needs to relearn its role because
> they say " We are the best " but they havent showed me anything to suggest
> they are the best.
And what is Red Hat's role, exactly? Red Hat has done more to promote
Linux than any other company. They GPL all the software they write for
their distro. SuSE doesn't do that. Red Hat makes the ISOs available
for anyone to download for free. SuSE doesn't do that either. Somehow
people get the idea that just because Red Hat gives away the software
they should give away everything else including support, use of
trademarks, etc. It's not a charity.
Roberto, you're a businessman. Let's say a customer comes to you and
says, "I want to buy a machine." You say, "Great! Which one would you
like?" Customer says, "The top of the line. But I only want to pay $50
bucks." You say, "But that machine costs $2000. I cannot afford to
sell it for $50." The customer says, "I demand you sell it to me for
$50." Again, you say, "No." So the customer curses you like you are a
piece of garbage and then goes and tells the world how bad you "suck".
Sounds like you could do without customers like that. Do you see the
> The only thing I have gotten from them is insults,
> misinformation, threats and contempt.
Ok, this is what really set me off. When I read your original email to
TriLUG back in May, I took time out of my day to go talk to the people
in Sales and try to figure out what happened and smooth things over. I
was really nice to you and tried to help you out, and now you say that
"the only thing I have gotten from them is insults, misinformation,
threats and contempt." Baloney. I don't know why you never received
the free cds that were promised to you, but from your behavior to the
salesperson, is that any wonder?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Thunder Bear" <thunderbear at yonderway.com>
> To: <webwarrior at mac.com>
> Cc: <steering at trilug.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 11:58 AM
> Subject: gentle reminder
> > Thanks, and please keep us apprised of the situation.
> > BTW - I'd like to hear more about the legal threat Red Hat gave you WRT
> > preloading their distro on machines. Correct me if I'm wrong, but
> > doesn't the GPL prevent them from doing any such thing?
Thunder Bear, as I understand it the GPL allows anyone to pre-load the
actual bits on the Red Hat cd, only they can't use the Red Hat
trademarks to help them sell the machine without authorization from the
trademark owner. In order to sell a machine with "pre-loaded Red Hat
Linux" as one of the features, you have to pay Red Hat for the ability
to use the trademark.
I think it's the same sort of thing that happened with CheapBytes
selling copies of the Red Hat Linux distro as "Red Hat Linux." No one
has the right to use trademarks that they don't own. I think if Roberto
wanted to pre-load the actual bits but call it "Roberto's Linux" then
that would be ok. I don't understand all the nuances of trademark law,
but it seems that a company must defend it's trademarks or risk losing
> > Your post illustrates the beauty of the Linux community in that if one
> > distro is screwing you, there are many other fine distros to turn to.
Yes, there are many fine distros and that is one of the great strengths
of Linux. However, I don't see how Red Hat "screwed" anybody here.
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