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RedHat marketing was largely responsibile for many people associating Linux with its desktop consumer product. Part of that marketing extended to the publihsing business. Many of those RedHat volumes sitting on bookstore shelves were subsidized by RedHat.
I agree that branding and presence is important, especially in the consumer market which is dominated by purchasers without technical expertise. But, judging from the behavior of every other OS vendor I can think of -- MS, IBM, Sun, etc. -- there's more money to be made in the enterprise and corporate market. (That's an area that gets little exposure in fora such as OSNews and elsewhere and which obviously is unknown territory for most posters.) Why try to sell consumer boxes at razor-thin profit margins in a market saturated with Windows? The sales potential of that market is reduced by the fact that many people with the desire and expertise to install Linux also know how to grab and burn a free Linux iso. Look at the whining here about SUSE not giving 9.2 away for nothing. Imagine that: A business that expects you to buy its products! Next thing you know, restaurants will be charging for lunch.
I'm glad SUSE remains in the consumer market. But, I'm not upset that RedHat left.