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Red Hat's Missed Opportunity

Posted 10-18-2010 at 04:20 PM by beetleman64
Updated 10-18-2010 at 04:22 PM by beetleman64 (typos)

Those of us who use Ubuntu will be aware that Ubuntu has got a "partner repository", a repository which contains proprietary software which, by nature, cannot be included in the main repository. It is an idea which I personally think is excellent, as it allows software which goes against the principals of Open Source to be included for the benefit of standard users.

It's such a good idea that I'm amazed no-one else has copied it. Those who use a distro outwith the Ubuntu family have to get things individually, or rely on services such as RPMFusion. There is no massive problem with this, but it makes life more difficult for new users.

What also surprises me is that Red Hat, whose seemingly recession-proof business is generating major profits - over $700 million per year, cannot license the software in the partner repository, such as MP3 or DVD playback and Flash for use in Fedora. After all, Fedora has become increasingly easy to use in recent releases, and this trend would surely increase were Red Hat to go that extra mile. It would also open up Red Hat Enterprise Linux to more media-centric organisations such as media companies and even schools, thereby increasing sales (and profits) for Red Hat.

I am convinced that the partner repository is a key component to Ubuntu's success, and if Red Hat want to capitalise on it, then it's only a logical solution.

I should also point out that a partner repository allows Red Hat to stick to FOSS software, as the proprietary software is in a separate repository and is entirely optional.

Should Red Hat include a partner repository in Fedora? Or should they stick to their strict open source roots? Let me know in your comments.
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