Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 recently launched with a streamlined, cut-through-the-crap service-level agreement (SLA). The old version was seven pages, the new version is one page (competitor Novell’s is 36 pages). According to Red Hat, the new SLA eliminates legalese and offers “no questions asked” support on anything it makes.

With one fell swoop of a presentation slide, [Red Hat vice president of support Ian] Gray took the nine-page document that accompanied Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and turned it into a one-page affair meant to simplify a customer’s service experience. “If we ship the bits, we support the bits,” he said. “No more legalese.”

In the old SLA’s place was a “production support scope of coverage.” While technically an SLA, this one-page document now says if Red Hat made it, and it’s production-ready, then Red Hat will support it—no questions asked.


Plus, the company is simplifying support for customers too. It is creating the Red Hat Cooperative Resolution Center to solve problems even when they come from partner products.

In addition, Red Hat created a support center called the Red Hat Cooperative Resolution Center. The center will work to solve issues whether they arrive from Red Hat technology or a partner’s applications, executives said. With this center, Red Hat will take sole ownership of inquiries for any partner’s product that runs on RHEL 5, regardless of whether the problem lies with RHEL 5 or the partner’s product. It’s important to note that Red Hat says it isn’t just covering vendors like Oracle, but all of its partner applications as well. According to Red Hat, its support technicians will accomplish this by working with the support staff of a customer’s vendors to solve a problem.

Kudos to Red Hat for seeing things through their customers’ eyes. Customers don’t care who/what caused the problem, they just want it fixed. When multiple technology providers are involved, it’s nice to know you can count on someone to get it done rather than shift the blame. [tx ED]