support

Facebook and the lack of user support

Today I learned that Facebook support is non-existing. I had a problem joining a corporate network, and it requires you to add you work email-address and Facebook will send you a link through work email to confirm.

Very simple, right ? Not so for many users, including me. "Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can." The FAQ does not really answer to anything, the forums are full with people reporting this issue, cursing at Facebook, mocking Zuckerbergs billions and the shameful state of support.

Is 10 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a blog article titled Is 7 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?. In that article I make the case that with RHEL major releases moving from 1.5 years to 3 years and virtualization reducing the importance of hardware life cycles, RHEL support should be extended beyond 7 years.

Yesterday Red Hat announced that it did just that. From today Red Hat offers RHEL Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS) on top of normal subscriptions for specific versions and variants. Meaning that for RHEL3 only i686 AS/ES and for RHEL4 i686 and x86_64 AS/ES and ia64 AS are taken into consideration and are thus more expensive than regular support. No pricing information is available yet.

As a result of this the timeline of RHEL releases looks like this:

Click the picture to see it in all its glory

Is 7 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?

Seven years is a long time. Most people won't know where they are in 7 years. I'm interested to find out how many kids will be running around the house in 2016 :-) However if you are responsible for thousands of Enterprise Linux servers, seven years may no longer be sufficient.

Let me explain what I mean. When Red Hat released RHEL2.1, seven years of support was perfect, seemed more than one would want. RHEL3 came 18 months after RHEL2.1 and after one year of testing RHEL3 and 3rd party integration new systems could be deployed, giving you 6 years of support. Your hardware would usually not outlive the operating system support.

RHEL backported one additional year

At the 2008 Red Hat summit in Boston, Red Hat outlined to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux for new hardware and installation media one year longer than it did in the past.

This is a major event. In the past Red Hat offered new hardware support, bugfixes and feature enhancements (dubbed full support) for 3 years after the initial release. But now that will be for 4 years after initial release. New installation media will be release up to 5 years after initial release !