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Click'n'Run vs. Red Hat Web store

An open source issues and strategies expert compares the business models behind the online stores of Linspire and Red Hat.

I just read about Red Hat's plan to create a Web store for its products. Is that comparable to the Click'n'Run service that Linspire already has?

Red Hat and Linspire are following two different strategies as they pursue two different customer groups.

Linspire always intended that its Click'n'Run store would be the bigger part of the business. They saw that bringing Linux to ordinary users meant that these users would have difficulty in finding and installing new software, and that solving the problem would mean a nice revenue stream for Linspire. A great business plan!

Red Hat knows that its customers have all the tech savvy they need to install Linux applications. The question is, are the applications going to be reliable enough for enterprise production work? Red Hat recognized in its earliest days that certifying software to run on Red Hat was one of the limited ways a service business could earn money. If you want to see the result, look at the current Red Hat store.

Currently all the store offers is Red Hat (including JBoss) products. It takes some searching to find the partners who have paid for their certification, and they are all in a reference database rather than in an attractive store. Red Hat has figured out that an important advantage over Oracle's spin of RHEL (Oracle Unbreakable Linux) is that Red Hat is certified for security and for a good number of applications. The promise is that the apps will actually work with Red Hat. So, Red Hat is going to promote this advantage and make a sales commission on the products as well. A great business idea, as long as they can integrate it with their channel sales plan.

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