SUSE is forking RHEL

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I've been saying RHEL is only relevant because it's an agreed-upon standard with an adequately slow rate of change. Entities want to be able to easily use code and documentation from elsewhere, and easily hire experts to support it (1). Some of that is inertia driven, but nothing else about it really matters. Thinking they can generate their own network effects is a really classic IBM blunder (2). Much of RH's historical relevance was basically "RedHat exists to launder Linux for the National Labs" and that basis is not a terribly deep moat - hell the big physics centers maintained their Scientific Linux fork for 16 years before fully shifting onto CentOS then getting rug-pulled... which is not the kind of relationship maintenance you want to do with the customers whose network effects create your value proposition. The death condition for RH is if the Alma/Rocky CentOS community successors and the Oracle type commercial clones all agreed to a different reference point for "Standard Enterprise Linux"(3), and the big producers of code people want to use (your large Physics centers and and NIH scientific compute projects, and/or the shared infrastructure like OpenHPC) tracked that other reference point, suddenly RH brand EL is mostly irrelevant. SuSE running their own EL fork is interesting because there was not an obvious successor reference point to coordinate the non-RH ELs and/or major users if they have trouble tracking RHEL, and now there kind of is - it'll be really interesting to see what happens if there is any divergence. (1) The support point is "why not Debian," they've never had the commercial support partners, certs, etc. Having that was a huge part Ubuntu/Canonical's proposition, but they never really got the enterprise/scientific compute/HPC penetration that RH has. (2) Ya'll remember PS/2 and MCA (Micro Channel Architecture)? IBM was gonna take back control of the PC industry by setting an new (much more license controlled) standard and... the PC cloner industry set up outside coordination points and end-ran them with EISA/VLB and eventually PCI. (3) It might not get called SEL for SuSE or Standard because that would be confusing/trademark problems with the adjacent-industry Schneider Electric. I half jokingly translate the "Enterprise Linux" terminology into "Srs Bsns Linux" some of the time anyway, so the name game will surely be funny.
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