Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog: "And then I asked about IBM. And apparently they'd just been with OSDL, who'd evangelized that with open source, there was no lock in. When I pointed out that OSDL was led by a 17-year IBM veteran who should know better, the CIO started laughing as if I was joking. So I suggested they read the OSDL website, and revisit some software basics. IBM told him they couldn't get locked in with linux. And I said, 'nice vision, but Red Hat has you locked already.' The CIO shrugged, 'nah, it's open source.' My response, 'Have you tried replacing what you're deploying?' He asked his lieutenant, who said 'we can't get vendors to qualify to any distribution other than Red Hat. We don't have a choice. He's right.' IBM, up to its old tricks again."
Horseshit. One, it's a lie. BEA, IBM and Oracle all support at least 2 Linux distributions (Usually RedHat and SuSE). Novell still ships most of their products as "everything but the metal" packages, but their "Linux" products are supported on every damned distro known to man. Even Sun's own Java Application Server 8 (formerly SunOne, iPlanet, Netscape) support RHEL and Sun's own Java Desktop System. Not to mention aside from Sun, everyone supports 2 Linux distros across 3 or more hardware platforms!
However, the second fact remains that a major point of Red Hat "lock in" is missed: if Red Hat closed their doors tomorrow, "Red Hat Linux" would continue nearly unphased. Whether it's After-Life support or Red Hat clones or the fact that migrating to another distro doesn't really mean anything -- certainly not like migrating to another *nix -- in terms of support from vendors.