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Red Hat's CEO Suggests Windows For Home Users 1079

Posted by timothy
from the self-abnegation dept.
Selecter was one of many readers to point out a ZDNet story in which "the CEO of Red Hat now says that Linux is not ready for the desktop, but may be ready in a few more years. Curious - I'm wondering if this is the start of a corporate only retrenchment of Linux, or just a bump in the road to Linux having a wider desktop share?" Apropos that, Gwobl writes "Jim Lynch, over at ExtremeTech, weighs in on the fate of the Linux desktop, now that Red Hat has apparently turned its attention to the enterprise and Novell is buying SUSE (to go with Outlook clone Ximian, which it also owns). Lynch's take: Cheer them on! The Linux world needs these strong champions. And don't overlook Novell's networking roots. Time was, Big Red defined networking."
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Red Hat's CEO Suggests Windows For Home Users

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  • Re:Fsck You RedHat! (Score:5, Informative)

    by forevermore (582201) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:25PM (#7391646) Homepage
    I don't get it. Why is everyone complaining that redhat has dropped support for their non-enterprise distro? All they did was, well, drop support for it as in tech support, which you had to pay for anyway. All of the same quality we've come to expect from them as far as packages go will still be there like it was before, if not better, through Fedora [redhat.com] (which is now part of RedHat instead of being a separate group).

    Other than the lack of official pay-for tech support (which my guess is most home users didn't use), this is a good thing. Not only do we get RedHat's people working on packages, but we get the experience and time of the Fedora people, too. This will mean more packages, better packages, and more releases more often.

    In exchange, RedHat will get some better packages for their enterprise distros, which will give them a stronger foothold in the enterprice market, which is a good thing for Linux fanatics everywhere.

    The quality of the non-enterprise redhat release will not get worse, and we will presumably still see updates for the "old" redhat branches get pushed through Fedora, so those of us using 7.3, 8 or 9 in production environments will still get our openssh, bind, sendmail, whatever patches when we need them.

  • Re:Some MBA dork... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Requiem (12551) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:29PM (#7391702) Journal
    Most people can't install an operating system period. I use Linux exclusively at home, and my girlfriend has had no trouble adapting (she uses it mostly to check her e-mail, and plays a bunch of the KDE games). If "ready for the desktop" for most users means word processing, internet access, and so forth, Linux is almost there - it just needs to be able to read Word documents properly (and OpenOffice comes close).
  • Re:LEt's face it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AstroDrabb (534369) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:44PM (#7391847)
    Red Hat for the desktop is not going away. It is becoming Fedora [redhat.com]. I have been using that since it came out and it is pretty nice. I think the Red Hat CEO made this comment because they are getting out of the desktop market for a while. It seems a little like a stab in the back. Of course the CEO was quick to mention how great Linux is as a server and that there still is the Red Hat Enterprise line. I do agree with the CEO that for the average user, MS Window is easier to use, especially with device support. Linux on the desktop is a good match for a "windows-power-user" though. I have been using Linux on the desktop for the past 5 year exclusively and really do prefer it over MS Windows.
  • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:46PM (#7391857) Homepage Journal
    The slashdot posting should be modded -1, flamebait. The actual quote from Szulik is, "I would say that for the consumer market place, Windows probably continues to be the right product line," he said. "I would argue that from the device-driver standpoint and perhaps some of the other traditional functionality, for that classic consumer purchaser, it is my view that (Linux) technology needs to mature a little bit more." You will note that the posting says nothing about "home users" while the headline of the ZDNet article clearly says "home users."

    Another quote from later in the article: "We think that the enterprise desktop market place is much more strategic and has buyers whose needs we can exceed." The consumer market wants their computers to work with their digital cameras, GPSs, MP3 players, favorite games, etc. and, like it or not, Linux isn't there. Some of the lack of support is due to a "chicken and egg problem" of no one asks for such support so its not there and because its not there, no one asks for it. When some large companies tell their suppliers that they're out of the bidding because they don't support Linux, you'll see support for high-end stuff that rapidly filters down to support for "consumer" level stuff.
  • Re:LEt's face it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by bruthasj (175228) <bruthasj@yaho o . c om> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:17PM (#7392092) Homepage Journal
    Bzzz! Denial is the first stage. We're all in this together. Just because RH is running after a market to make money in does not mean they are giving up their ideals. ES and AS are still available for download, as is are their clustering management tools.

    Folks, no one's turning into a bad tomato, nothing is wrong with RH and Suse. I'm serious. Give it six to nine months and you'll see.

    No one's along just for the ride, all of these guys have made tremendous contributions from the kernel to the compiler to the desktop. RH CEO's comments are strategically patterned after the current corporate IT thought for the purpose of aligning a market strategy that will better sell their ES, AS line of Redhat. Get over it.

    This ain't a stab in the back and we don't need to stoop down to the level of derogatory diatribes. I hate to break the reality here, but these comments are in no way offensive nor damaging to the future of Linux.

    Everyone in the world needs to just sit down, breathe deeply and count backwards from 15 to 1. Then, remember, "not everything what everyone says is an offense against me". Say that as your mantra for the next hour.
  • Say it after me (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:43PM (#7392307)

    Szulik said that Linux is not ready for the consumer desktop. Which means your mum, Joe Sixpack and other similarly clued home users.

    And the man is right. If you install Linux for your reasonably smart but not overly computer-knowledgeable friend, you'll either have to support it or he will get pissed off with it. When that happens, he'll either

    1. give up in disgust and will forever troll online forums about how Linux sucks, or
    2. perseveres and keeps playing with Linux in his spare time for 6 months to a year, after which he can become a full-time Linux user.

    In contrast, Szulik also said that Linux would be fscking great (using different words) for corporate desktops, where users merely use the system and not mess with settings, and there is tech support to back them up when / if a problem comes up.

    Could we not overreact please? Linux is *not* dying.

  • by CoeurDuLion (721563) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:25PM (#7392956)
    I have been working with a Large organization that is very Windowized on the Desktop and E-mail (Exchange). They have no problems and understand the necessity of running big iron hardware with Unix for major databases and web applications.

    Like many mixed shops, we started to use Red Hat linux on commodity x86 hardware for Apache, Snort, Ethereal, and other functions about two or three years ago (right when the Red Hat 7.x series emerged). We were able to leverage our Unix admins as well as old and new cheap hardware to fill in gaps when our budget couldn't buy a new Sun or HPUX box dedicated to a single function.

    For those of us who needed a dedicated Unix box on our Desktop that would work with the Windows-centric computing environment for users - Mac OS X and G4 Macs were made to order, but we also used a lot of Linux desktops as x terminals for administration as well an even cheaper form of Unix Workstation.

    During this time we also were one of the first groups to purchase from the Ala Carte support offerings including Engineering Development Support from Red Hat...for an initial product it wasn't half bad. But then Red Hat started screwing with their support offerings every two to three months. They would change what is available or what was supported and many times this would be while we were negotiating with them for additional support. Eventually the Red Hat Sales Rep said that we had to purchase Red Hat Advanced Server at $2k a pop to get Engineering Support and other Niceties that we had with a similar support agreement from Micro$oft. When I told the Red Hat Sales Rep where is my ROI compared to MS products - because w2k server was only costing me $2k a pop - he said that I didn't have to pay the MS client licenses tax on the workstations. When I told him that I already owned the licenses, he got mad and hung up the phone on me (needless to say he doesn't work at Red Hat any more). Ironically it is cheaper to buy a Sun Fire 100/120 or Sun Fire LX 5X/6X series server with the Solaris license rather than buy a Red Hat AS License. I even get a free year of support from Sun.

    What has happened is that if you want to use Red Hat Linux is that you have to pay $$$ for it as opposed to just having to pay for support. I understand that Red Hat is having financial woes and that they are trying to focus on a market that they have some market share in...but what they are forgetting is that the guys who brought linux to that market used the free versions to demo an application and then they added support when they got the OK from management to do a production implementation. It also eliminates the use of the product for quick fixes with a limited budget (Snort Sensors, Ethereal).

    Lastly Red Hat has forgotten that People who use Windows at home are going to encourage it at work. Especially if Linux is not available in a form that they can use at home. The main issues with Linux today are: 1. Driver support - this is being fixed every day by hundreds of developers; 2. A reasonable software installation system - Red Hat started a great system with the Red Hat Package Manager, but really have not developed it from the initial product. Many other RPM based distributions of Linux have much better implementations of Red Hat Package Manager than Red Hat (Mandrake comes to mind). Both of these are areas that Red Hat has to devote development dollars and time to help correct for their server/workstation market. They could still make it free to users who don't need support without making that user use an unstable Fedora product. This is the value that they can bring to market...not another Micro$oft type of pricing scheme that is going to turn IT managers and Corporate Managers away from wanting to use their platform. No one is going to build an application on Fedora because of its BETA nature and most corporations aren't going to buy a copy of Red Hat AS for a test implementation. In reality I see Novell/SUSE, Mandrake, and even Debian taking the platform farther than Red Hat.

    It was good while it lasted, but it seems that Red Hat did not have the leadership, creativity or imagination to have created a business without reverting to the tried and true schemes of its biggest competitor.
  • Alienation (Score:2, Informative)

    by ndavidg (680217) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:29PM (#7392982)

    RedHat is being short-sighted and alienating its developers and users. Many developers have put a lot of work and sweat and time away from family to make Linux user-friendly. I don't think they will want to work with a company that has scrambled their efforts with every release (i.e., Bluecurve) and then call Linux work unfinished and not as good as Windows.

    In today's GUI world, without a solid desktop, you have no server. And there are many companies out there who are starting to consider or request Linux for clients and servers. Does it make sense to have Suse on the desktop and RedHat on servers? I don't think so. Administrators would be doing twice the work and managers twice the training.

    Suse's Yast2 and KDE configuration is a perfect example of a successful desktop. A 90-year old grandpa would not buy a computer with Windows any more than he would program the VCR. But most people in the work place who go to the control panel in Windows before calling the help desk would not have a problem with Yast2.

    The bottom line is that the GPL allows software to outlive the companies that created, compiled, or sold the software released under this license.

    And once governments and businesses begin to receive and understand the benefits of the GPL, they will be more perceptive of those entities that threaten it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @04:04AM (#7394270)
    I for one had the soundblaster 16 running beautifully under Linux (in January 1996). Never hand any problems with it. I had a power (car audio) amp with 6x9 speakers attached to the 66MHz '486. Worked great as a computer/stereo (playing cd's) as well as a general purpose linux box. (Yes, it also played wav and midi files without fail). If anyone had problems, the problem wasn't with Linux's ability. ...as for having to reboot... you really don't know anything about Linux do you. Rebooting is for windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @04:30AM (#7394349)
    Minor correction about the winmodems.. I'm typing this using an Intel HaM winmodem that runs great on drivers supplied by Intel.

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