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We just purchased a Dell PowerEdge 2800 server with RedHat Enterprise
Linux installed. I had an OS question, so I called RedHat for
support. The rep was nice enough to answer my question, but told me
that since I had purchased the RHEL license from Dell, I should call
Dell for OS support, not RedHat. He said RedHat is only obligated to
help me with questions about the RedHat network and up2date, and that
RED HAT RECEIVED NO MONEY FROM OUR SUBSCRIPTION!
A Dell tech support rep confirmed this. He said that although the
customer would get the information second hand from Dell, the
subscription cost would be less, so some customers would prefer that.
Am I correct to assume that RedHat would provide better support than
Dell? If I had known this before making the purchase, I would have
preferred to buy RHEL from RedHat. (In fact, the Dell rep told me it
wouldn't make a difference who sold it to me, which apparently is not
Dell might say that the preinstall of the OS is worth it to me, but in
reality it is of questionable value -- without asking us, they installed the 32 bit
version, and the hardware (Xeon CPU) can handle 64 bit, so I'll
probably wipe out the drive and reinstall the 64 bit OS anyway.
Actually, what you pay for depends on your specific needs. Many people buy pre-installed systems because they have no need for vendor software support. For example, you're posting on a Linux support web site...
Alternatively, you can contract for RHEL support from many companies, both large (like IBM) and small (independent contractors). The "open" part doesn't just apply to the software.
Once you (or your staff) are sufficiently familiar with the software and the bug reporting/patching processes, you can also decide to do away with contracted support altogether.
Personally, I don't find pre-installs that useful either. I always prefer to install/configure/customize the system myself. The only value a pre-install has is that it lets me be sure the hardware is supported and compatible.