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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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  • Remind me again.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mrs.Trellis (590263) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:00PM (#7391419)
    ...which company was it that has decided to focus on the enterprise market? They can't make it pay so they're going to muddy the water for all their former competitors, I thought more of RedHat this is more like Redmond FUDish behaviour. With it's new found direction, RedHat seems to have lost its honour.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:02PM (#7391438)
    Consumers want USB drivers and digital camera support

    Funny, I've been using my USB digital camera with Linux since I bought it over a year ago.
  • Some MBA dork... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:02PM (#7391441)
    This guy is not a Redhat founder, he's just some MBA dork they picked up to make the VCs happy. You can see how quickly he's sold out the dream of linux on everything and turned it into the VC dream of 'linux on everything profitable'.

    Business has accepted linux--to rape for as much cash as they can milk out of it and Redhat is among the worst of the bunch.

    Maybe its time to evaluate Novell/SuSe... a lot of hardware vendors are offering SuSe now. Look at SGI for one....
  • From the article:
    There are plenty of other distros that can cover the desktop for home users, there really isn't much of a need for Red Hat to be in that space.
    I thought RedHat was the one who almost build and create that space...
  • Fsck You RedHat! (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Picass0 (147474) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:06PM (#7391483) Homepage Journal
    Burn my karma, but I mean it. I was luke-warm on the whole Fedora distro idea, but now I don't even care. I'll install Suse or something else next time.

    I've been a RedHat user since 5.1. No more.

    There are other Linuxes in the sea.
  • by Empiric (675968) * on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:14PM (#7391559) Homepage
    Well, this isn't really that surprising. Unfortunate, but unsurprising.

    It's the basic political pattern of the formation of an oligarchy. A new force enters the scene, propelled by fortunate environmental circumstances, such as Microsoft's extremely high margins and overbearing market control coupled with the idealism of Open Source development. Typically, they are strident in their "freedom" and/or "anti-monopoly" stance. Once the force finds itself established, though, the things that got it there in the first place start to look a lot less desirable. "May the best man win" becomes "may I and my friends win".

    Red Hat is discontinuing all but their "Enterprise" versions of Linux (as was previously mentioned here), because of a lack of profitability. So, from this perspective, the desktop is irrelevant. Supporting Linux for the desktop doesn't translate into more money, while supporting Microsoft for this role potentially does, either via overlapping stock portfolios or joint business ventures.

    Naturally, I have no way of knowing if Suzlik's intent is along these lines in this particular instance. It is, however, the direction that the econonomic considerations will drive companies in Red Hat's position toward, and if Red Hat isn't advocating Microsoft wherever it can't turn a profit now, I expect it will be soon.
  • 90 year old father (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391582)
    Szulik gave an example of his 90-year-old father going to a local retailer in order to purchase a computer with Linux: "We know painfully well what happens. He will try to get it installed and either doesn't have a positive experience or puts a lot of pressure on your support systems," he said.

    Yes, and I bet 10000000 rubles that your 90 year old father would put extreme pressure on Microsoft's support system if he installed Windows instead of RedHat Linux.

    In short : Szulik's father is like mine : he still prefers typewriters (or, in his case, pen and paper probably).
  • by LinuxHam (52232) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391586) Homepage Journal
    http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/outs ourcing/story/0,10801,86826,00.html

    IBM announced a new offering today, extending the outsourcing to include the desktop.. I thought this was a great step in the right direction since basically no one really follows all the way through with desktop management. If IBM owns the hardware and bills flat rate per desktop, it behooves them to minimize TCO.

    Paired up with ebusiness initiatives (i.e. "webifying" apps and streamlining business processes), this could lead to some IBM-sponsored Linux desktops.
  • by pjack76 (682382) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391587)
    Or, at least, the corporate desktop, at least in environments where one doesn't necessarily want one's users installing all kinds of crap on their PCs.

    Secretaries, for instance, can probably live quite well with OpenOffice, one of the nicer scheduling tool (Ximian maybe, never used it). And if all the users in my organization who just needed that setup actually had that setup, my job as administrator would be so much simpler. </whine>

  • by nevets (39138) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391589) Homepage Journal
    Szulik gave an example of his 90-year-old father going to a local retailer in order to purchase a computer with Linux: "We know painfully well what happens. He will try to get it installed and either doesn't have a positive experience or puts a lot of pressure on your support systems," he said.

    I'm sorry, but I tried to get my 75 year old father-in-law to use the internet. I got him a Windows box with a simple dial up connection and set everything up for him. But he has yet to use it by himself. It would have been easier for me if I set him up a Linux box, because I know it better and could write scripts to help him log on automatically. I know it is also possible to do that with Windows but I didn't have the time to learn it for him.

    My point is that computers in general are not easy for an old fashioned 75 year old who rather write snail mail letters than to use email. So that excuse is not a good one.

    Linux is partially ready for those willing to learn. It is not Linux's fault for not being ready, but it wont be ready until all software vendors port there products to linux. I won't be Windows free until I have a reliable tax program for linux. I still use quicken since I don't believe that gnucash is there yet. Also it helps since it works with my tax programs.

    Also the GNU/Linux system needs a standard that all non-free software vendors can write code for. This includes games. Once it gets that far, and Linux gets the software vendors to treat Linux equal to Windows, then Linux will be a fine alternative to the average user. I don't care about 70 year olds learning about computers just because their children want them to (well I do care about my father-in-law ;-). I really care is when the average 30 year old business person can use it without out any more complaints then they have with Windows.

  • Oh come on. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chronus22 (645600) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:17PM (#7391590)
    Redhat failed to profit off the desktop market, decided to quit supporting their desktop version, and now, purely by coincidence, decide to announce that linux "isn't ready" for the home desktop market. We have a company that has been unsuccessful in a certain area, and who is now blaming its lack of success on the product. I just find it disappointing that they had to tear down linux (and all the other companies who market linux to the home desktop) with them.
  • by darnok (650458) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:19PM (#7391606)
    From the article, it seems that he's making a fairly common misconception: he's saying it's difficult to install Linux.

    How many "normal" people out there have ever installed Windows? You buy a PC; it has Windows pre-installed on it; the end. I'm not sure, but I suspect MS sales figures would support this; the vast majority of Windows sales are bundled with new hardware.

    If he thinks installing Linux for home use is hard, try installing Windows for home use. First you install from the XP CD, then you'd better call MS to get it activated. Then you start installing all those patches from Windows Update. Then you start installing your apps - one at a time, and you'd better have all those code numbers and activation keys at your fingertips. Don't forget to call Symantec to register their products, and Quicken too. Don't forget to track down the driver CDs for those obscure bits of hardware - in this sense, "obscure" can mean things like digital cameras, scanners, etc. that are actually pretty common in home PCs.

    In my experience, the typical home user installing a Windows PC from scratch takes 1-2 *days* to get it done, and that's 1-2 days of dedicated time spent largely sitting in front of the computer. Remember we're talking typical home users here, not corporate desktops or home machines owned by techos.

    Now look at the Linux way of doing things. You get a Linux distribution from somewhere, and this may be a challenge if you don't know where to start looking. You power up the PC, put in the first distribution CD, and off you go. The installers for all the major Linux distributions are now pretty well comparable with Windows in terms of ease-of-use, although driver support is a bit more challenging.

    You pick what sorts of apps you want (e.g. word processor, spreadsheet, ...) then say "Go". After a while, you'll be prompted to put in the next CD (unless you're installing off DVD), then the next one. Once that's done, you reboot and you're done - there's very little need for a home user to install patches to things like Mozilla, KDE because they simply don't need them.

    Unlike Windows Update patches, most patches to "Linux software" is to add functionality or protect against obscure buffer overflows - again I'm talking about "typical home user" stuff. Most of it just isn't needed.

    I just can't see how installing Linux is even remotely as difficult as installing Windows these days. Typical time to install Linux, from scratch, for a new home user is a few hours - admittedly most of that time is head-scratching time, but it's still a whole lot less than 1-2 days of typing in codewords and swapping CDs on the Windows platform.

    Hell, if you want to really reduce the time just get the home user to boot up Knoppix. Plug in a USB memory card and they can back up everything to it. There's your install done, in a couple of minutes (and that includes the trip to the shop to buy the memory stick).
  • Digital cameras (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phliar (87116) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:21PM (#7391618) Homepage
    Who is this guy? The "success" of Linux may in fact depend on third-parties and device drivers for strange hardware, but Windows gets a free ride here, since MS doesn't have to worry about all that. When hardware manufacturers include Linux device drivers, and app makers automatically release Linux versions, it will kick Windows' ass. Any Unix could do this, not just Linux.

    Since that's not going to happen, we should keep doing what we have been. Linux or any other free software project didn't get to where it is because of some damn MBA suits. Why do we care about some suit's judgment?

  • by skyfaller (624053) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:26PM (#7391662) Homepage
    I used to be a satisfied Red Hat user up until 7.3... it didn't "just work", the way that SuSE and Knoppix (with hard drive installation) do now, but I hacked around and got everything working, and I was very pleased with myself and Red Hat.

    However, with the Red Hat 8 and 9 releases, I was shocked to discover that the distribution had suddenly begun to suck. It had become slow, unresponsive and honestly ugly. No matter what I did everything looked pixelated, and the new GUI looked dumb. There were innumerable minor problems, like XMMS not working out of the box, that made the entire distro just vaguely and unquantifiable annoying. All of my friends who tried the new versions reached similar conclusions.

    Now, it is all becoming clear to me why I switched to using SuSE on my desktop and a Knoppix install on my laptop. Red Hat is not ready for the desktop! However, the fact that Red Hat isn't competent enough to build a working distro for consumers says nothing about the other distros of Linux. I have been handing out Knoppix CDs for free on my college campus with my club, the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, and the response that has been coming back from my fellow students has been, "Yes! Linux is finally ready for the desktop! Normal consumers can use it right out of the box to actually accomplish work!" Red Hat should speak for itself.
  • Re:LEt's face it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:29PM (#7391694)
    but let's face it: For Mr Joe Dummy, Linux is not comparable to Windows yet. Not as polished, not as finished.

    I have mixed feelings on that. If someone just needs email, browser, and word processing, Linux is a fine alternative. And that's a lot of computer users right there. Especially if Linux came pre-loaded on hardware that was known to work I think it would certainly have more potential for home users--especially if the price tag were a few hundred bucks cheaper than those versions paying the Microsoft tax.

    I've been using Linux on my laptop since March--first Redhat 7.3 and now 9.0. My main complaints are:

    1. USB drivers. Yes, my USB keyboard and mouse work. But if I want to buy a digital camera or scanner with USB I have to be very careful and investigate to make sure it's going to work. With Windows you really have no doubt.
    2. Laptop screen energy saver. When my laptop goes into screensaver I just have a black screen. But it doesn't turn off the backlight, it just goes black. I've found no way to make this work. Not saying there isn't a way, but this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy... let alone someone who just expects everything to work.
    That's really it. If my screen would turn off when it should and I could buy USB devices without worry about them working, I'd be a 100% happy camper. Even so I'm a 99% happy camper since digital cameras are not a huge part of my life, but those are the kinds of things that will bother a normal end-user.

    The NDIS-driver compatability layer recently mentioned on Slashdot is cool, but it seems Linux already supports pretty much every network adapter I throw at it--including those internal to laptops. I think a much more useful compatability layer would be a way to somehow use Windows USB drivers. That would really make things slick.

    Of course now that RedHat is going to abandon non-enterprise users I'm left wondering where I should go from here. I could try FreeBSD, I could try another Linux distro, I could buy some Mac-based laptop that's been looking rather attractive... or I could even slap my old WinXP hard drive back in my laptop and just go with that.

    But over the last 8 months I've become so accustomed to not being under Microsoft's control or whims that it'd really suck to go back.

  • Re:...you dumb kid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dipipanone (570849) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:32PM (#7391717)
    Your ignorance to the fact that Linux is a superior operating system in all spectrums of performance, security and above all else stability.

    Sigh. OK, I run three operating systems. Linux on my server, OSX on my laptop and Win2k on my desktop. I have to say that I've never noticed that performance of linux on the desktop is superior to Windows. My experience has been exactly the contrary. Linux on the desktop is slow, unresponsive and until quite recently, somewhat flaky with poor font rendering and a pretty poor user interface.

    And I'm not a new or occasional user of linux either. I've been running it steadily since MacLinux/LinuxPPC and RedHat 5.2 so I think I'm in a position to make an informed decision here.

    Now I think XP and 2k are the better of the Windows line of operating systems but like anything from Microsoft its usually half done when you get it SP1 and soon to be SP2 did not and I suspect won't fix half the problems and security issues still to be found.

    I'm currently running Mandrake 9 on my server, and I hadn't patched it for a few weeks, so I just did an update at the weekend. I downloaded over 90gig of patches and critical software updates. I suspect that in actual bandwidth, I've used far more updating Mandrake than I have updating Windows 2000. (Or I would have done if I hadn't had to reinstall Windows 2000 as often as I have.)

    Leaves me puzzling why you even commented. I would much rather use a Linux desktop then XP anyday.

    You must be a masochist. While I share your ideological preference for free software, it doesn't run any of the software that I want on my desktop, and as a user experience it really doesn't come close to being as user friendly as Windows 2000. It's sluggish, clunky and has a long way to go yet before I'd be happy to give up Windows 2000 -- and there's really nothing I'd like better than to be able to do that.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOSPAM.beau.org> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:33PM (#7391731)
    Linux on the desktop is already beginning to happen. But it has been clear for at least a year that RedHat has made a strategic decision to leave that segment to others.

    Guess they have now decided to sow salt over that ground as they leave to hurt their competitors. No matter, they will be a footnote in a few years.

    I tend to doubt Fedora will ever build much of a community because Redhat will find they can't really cut it loose. Because were they to actually turn it over to the developer community we already know what they would do, and it isn't what Redhat has traditionally done.

    RedHat drove innovation by producing horribly broken .0 releases with all sort of bleeding edge software. Contrast to Debian. Being more concerned with stability, they would never have unleashed GCC 3.0 (aka RedHat's 2.96) anytime close to as early as RH did, but they NEEDED it for their commercial customers. Same for Glibc and their most recent stunt of backporting native pthreads from 2.6 into a 2.4 mutant kernel for RH9 and RHEL3.

    The value of RedHat used to be that they were where the Geeks and Suits collided and out of that friction came innovation. Run the Geeks off and they are doomed to solidify into the next SCO, a tired outdated product from a company without the resources to continue the required level of development needed to keep up. Anyone want to bet that several of their superstars bail before their next major release?
  • Re:Fsck You RedHat! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FatherOfONe (515801) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:37PM (#7391769)
    Here is what is bad. You want to go in to a business and replace some of their NT and or NetWare boxes with linux. You choose RedHat. Well you better cough up some cash or hope that what works with Fedora will work with their Enterprise Server.

  • by blixel (158224) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:38PM (#7391775)
    Funny, I've been using my USB digital camera with Linux since I bought it over a year ago.

    I can use mine in Linux as well ... and now that I have it setup it's basically just as easy as it is in Windows. But setting it up, while not difficult for geeks like us, wouldn't have been possible for a lot of people. In Windows I just plug my camera in and some wizard thing pops up and aks me what I want to do with my camera. You can hate wizards all you want. But when it comes to devices that are just toys for most people, the wizards probably spell the difference between a positive experience and a negative experience.

    And on the topic of digital cameras specifically, I actually wouldn't mind having some little daemon wizard fire up when the kernel detected my digital camera was plugged in. As it is now I have to mount the camera, copy the images from the mounted location to my permanent storage, erase them if I want them gone, then unmount it. All of which is relatively simple for me since I have created little scripts to do it all automatically. But I wouldn't recommend it to my mom and I think that's what the statement "Consumers want USB drivers and digital camera support" really means. The "just works" concept. "dmesg | grep sd (find camera device) - mount -t vfat /dev/sdc1 /mnt/camera - cp /mnt/camera/* /home/user/pics - umount /mnt/camera" doesn't fit the bill for most people.
  • Hey, wait a sec. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @08:47PM (#7391871)
    Am I the only to say it?

    Linux isn't ready for the desktop.

    It won't be until the day that Aunt Mabel doesn't have to call up a person with a degree in computer engineering to fix her computer.

    For now, she'll stick with Microsoft. Sure, it has its downsides. And, while people might scoff, the fact that Windows fixes itself (most of the time) simply by rebooting it is a simplistically beautiful solution. Doing so allows someone like Aunt Mabel -- who really knows so little, that she can hardly tell the difference between a "folder" and a "file" -- to fix her problems.

    Linux doesn't do that. If a Linux system is broken before a reboot, it usually stays broken after. If the filesystem had a bad super block, Aunt Mabel better hope that she can unmount the drive and run fsck. If the X server just crashed, she better hope that she can use SysRq to flush and unmount the filesystems so that they don't send her into a panic the next time that she reboots the computer. And when her friends send her a "ppt" file via e-mail, and she calls you up asking you how to open it, you better be prepared to explain that PowerPoint isn't installed and that she'll have to save it to her home directory and import it into OpenOffice.

    Nope, not there yet. Close, mind you. But not quite.
  • Re:Initial reaction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by peter_gzowski (465076) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:19PM (#7392109) Homepage
    When a linux distro has that slick of an install ("Just click "next""...), along with *all* the device drivers, it'll really take off on the desktop.

    I am soooo tired of the assumption that the Windows SETUP is the Windows INSTALLER. Have you ever installed WinXP from scratch? It's still the ugly yellow text on blue TEXT INTERFACE. You can't just click next, next, next. You have to hit, like Shift-F8 to agree with the license, and partition/format the harddrive (I'm not complaining about the ability to partition/format here, I'm just pointing out it's not as easy as people think), and then install the OS. You are not guaranteed that everything will "just work" when you boot up. It will boot (assuming you haven't made the egregious mistake of trying to install Windows second, assuming it knows how to properly overwrite the MBR), and there will be GUI, and sound, and maybe networking, but you still probably need the disks a lot of your hardware came with.

    Now, Mandrake, RedHat, and SuSE all have very nice graphical installers. I haven't tried all these installers, but I know Mandrake (my favourite) has an installer where you can click next, next, next, except for the choice of root password, and a single user/pass, and the rest is taken care of for you. Even the part where it partitions for you, and, IIRC, shrinks any Windows partition you have without formating it, and installs Linux in a dual boot configuration with Windows automaticlally mounted at /mnt/windows. I had no problem with any of my hardware, nor have I had any problems with putting it on my friends' computers.

    Granted, you do have a point with the USB devices. I have yet to plug in a usb mouse and have it "just work", but general usb storage devices "just work" in Mandrake. USB printers still have to be configured, AFAIK. Anyway, just my Canadian 2 cents...
  • by kormoc (122955) <kormoc.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:25PM (#7392151) Homepage
    Umm, mplayer plays dvds just fine out of the box, and noone I know has had a problem with it if they just read the docs first.

    Second, if you know how to modify byte codes to get a non standard apm working, well, you should know why you have to recompile your kernel.

    And about power management, get the blasted hardware people sticking to the standards and you won't have this problem, dell and gateway and sony use different versions of the standards and each laptop they tweak small things here and there. It's insane!
  • No no no no (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ItWasThem (458689) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:30PM (#7392183)
    Wow. This hurts.

    I've used Red Hat since 5.2, still maintain several Red Hat servers at work. You can be sure I won't be using or recommending Red Hat any more be it for personal or corporate use.

    Looks like my Mandrake 9.1 discs are going to get much more use. Of course there's an issue with those as well what with Mandrake moving to ads in 9.2 :/

    I saw a poster in another thread earlier that said the only reason he sticks with a mainstream distro like Red Hat or Mandrake is for their software update and packaging services. I think that's right on the money. If it weren't for the need to constantly be up to date I could ditch mainstream distros completely. These companies are starting to cause more trouble than their worth.

    When I see news like this it just makes me wish we could put the Linux geenie back in the bottle, get these corporate types out of our hobby, and for once have something for ourselves that doesn't get corrupted and then suffocated by the greed and ignorance that permeates business culture today. As an example the Internet could've been great. Heck, computers could've been great.

    Now when I code I spend more time wondering if someone has a patent and will sue me, if I still have the CD I ripped the MP3 I'm listening to from in case the RIAA police come knocking, if tomorrow I'll be able to use my non-broadcast flag television set, etc. etc.

    Now I'm just bummed. Damn.
  • by fmouse (130442) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @09:43PM (#7392306) Homepage
    Q. Where do most home users get Windows?

    A. It came pre-installed on their computer when they bought it.

    Q. Were did most people who use it get Linux?

    A. They downloaded it, bought a box, orderd a CD and installed it themselves.

    Q. What would happen to computer makers who made Linux "easy to install" by pre-installing it on computers, just as Windows is pre-installed?

    A. The mean giant in Redmond would grind them up, turn them into pellets and feed them to his dogs! You can damn sure bet they would lose their OEM license from M$.

    Let's not forget in looking at the ease of use of Linux vs. Windows for home use that a level playing field means that we don't consider the installation process, which most home users don't have to deal for Windows.

    In fact, these days M$ usually doesn't even give you a Windows CD when you buy a new computer so you can't install it from scratch.
  • Dare I suggest it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceallaigh (584362) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:01PM (#7392446)
    Consider purchasing a Mac and enjoy the best of both worlds; Unix with a responsive and functional desktop.

    Sean
  • by jejones (115979) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:04PM (#7392465) Journal
    Windows I can play a DVD with any number of easily installable and functioning programs. Linux I killed myself getting 2 different programs to work. And they still have many issues.

    That's weird. I found that building mplayer was pretty trivial, and ogle just worked.

    Yes, there are things that need work--in part at least thanks to manufacturers who refuse to provide the info needed to write drivers and the like, and partly thanks to network effects that keep many app writers targeting Windows--but I'm not going back to Windows.
  • by vtechpilot (468543) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:10PM (#7392513)
    I feel compelled to throw in my basic economics training. See, economists devide all spending into three components: Government, Consumer, and Capital Investments by businesses. Add in Net Exports and you have GDP. Anyway, the purchase of equipment by a business would be a Capital Investment since it is something they will use to make more money. Since a home user is not the government nor business and certainly not an export buyer, they are infact a consumer.

    Therefore Home User = Consumer.
  • by DukeLinux (644551) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @10:41PM (#7392720)
    I got rid of RedHat and installed Mandrake 9.1. I have been running it for 7 months now and have yet to run into something that did not work right from the base distro. I still compile my own apps, install them and I am always playing with the system. I have Linux terminals running off of it (ltsp.org). I have always bounced between RH and Mandrake and have always gone back to Mandrake because it is more polished and I spend less time fixing it. So long, RedHat you were my first Linux distro but not my last. I won't miss you a bit.
  • Re:Let's face it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MarkusQ (450076) on Tuesday November 04, 2003 @11:43PM (#7393055) Journal

    Everyone should read it, IMHO: The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail [barnesandnoble.com]

    The reviews and reader comments (5 star average from readers) on the linked page should convince you if my bare word doesn't.

    -- MarkusQ

  • Re:LEt's face it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:16AM (#7393300) Journal
    Perhaps I was just unfamiliar with it back then, but while I had a blast with Linux on *my* desktop five years ago, it really wasn't appropriate for even a typical Windows power user at that time.

    It still isn't appropriate for a Joe User. On the other hand, it's software developer nirvana...
  • Re:Remind me again.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:53AM (#7393551)
    With it's new found direction, RedHat seems to have lost its honour.

    Sorry, but Red Hat has sucked for awhile now. They continually been behind in package management for example. Why should I need to go download a third-party Red-Carpet management app to get what apt-get and urpmi give me on Debian and Mandrake respectively? up2date has very basic package installation support if you subscribe to RHN (which we did, now we're screwed in 6 months) or hack in your own repositories.

    As someone who just installed about 6 Red Hat boxes into production after convincing the boss that we might as well go with the "commercially supported" distribution, I now face absolute product obsolescence in 6 months (Red Hat 9 will have no further updates, apparently including security fixes, after April 30th 2004). I tried to convince him that Debian was a decent choice, but it backfired when the "stable" distribution doesn't even install smoothly on our new hardware (APIC issues causing lockups DURING install on brand new Asus AMD boards). The only way to get around it was to compile a custom kernel completely without APIC support. Obviously this didn't bode well with proving Debian is a good distribution for the business environment. I fear it's going to be back to Mandrake for us on the servers. :-(

  • OS X (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whiskey riot (602687) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @12:54AM (#7393557) Journal
    I wish Matthew Szulik had mentioned OS X, giving Apple a little publicity
  • Re:Let's face it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Minna Kirai (624281) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @01:36AM (#7393781)
    The simple way of looking at the "Innovator's Dilemma" is to think about the danger of self-cannibalization. (Oops, that sounds equally obtuse!)

    What it means is that the people best able to come up with a new/better/cheaper solution to a problem are often those people who work professionally on old/worse/expensive methods. Beginning to sell the improved product may have you competing with yourself. Like supposedly General Motors can make superior cars that never wear out, but chooses not to so they can earn money from the current ones.

    The Innovator's Dilemma is that companies faced with a new idea have a disincentive to bring it to market if it will undercut a currently profitable market. But- they've got to market it sometimes, because if anyone is going to undercut their sales, it should be them. So there's a game of holding back new ideas until just before you think someone else will sell them.

    The ID describes how capitalism- the free market that supposedly drives corporations to serve consumer needs- can sometimes encourage them to hold back.

    An example of the effect specific to Operating System vendors (and the Linux Distribution market in particular) is the question of support fees. RedHat's biggest revenue source (even moreso, with the recent retreat from retail selling) is customer support contracts. But if the usability of the software itself were improved, then the customer's need to buy support would go down.

    So Linux vendors are in the awkward position of profiting by not improving their product. They still have a drive to improve, because having the "most usable" distrib will suck up market share from the others. But improving software quality is not an inarguably healthy idea for them.
  • Re:Remind me again.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by matthewn (91381) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @05:25AM (#7394492)
    Tonight I brought home a brand-spankin' new iRiver IHP-120 [iriveramerica.com]. This is a device that has only been available for a couple of weeks. I plugged it into my USB port, right-clicked my Gnome desktop, chose Disks-->USB, and whammo, there I was, browsing my nifty new toy. When I was done, I right-clicked its desktop icon, chose Unmount, and that was that. (On my XP box at work, by the way, no joke, everything went all to hell when I tried to "safely remove" the device.) From a user perspective, this is not hard stuff. Elegant interface, no surprises. Everything went just as well recently when a friend showed up with a new Olympus camera he wanted to dump some pics from. Plugged and went.

    Now, there are two reasons why it's become this easy: (1) I'm running Mandrake 9.2, which supports all kinda hardware that I previously had to hack together support for, and (2) I've tweaked my fstab so that any old mass-storage device that appears can be mounted at /mnt/usb. Stupid little system tweak, but a Windows convert will not put up with that bit of under-the-hood Unix fun, nor should they have to. It's there for us geeks who like it, but they shouldn't have to see it -- they want things to be three-steps-max easy, right out of the box.

    Linux can be that level of easy, but none of the distros are making it happen. You see bits of excellence in different areas in each -- one has a fantastic means of adding a network printer, another has a terrific clone of the Windows Internet Sharing wizard, etc. Nobody's putting it all together in the way it could be put together. One of them will, eventually, of course; it just seems strange that it won't be Red Hat.

  • by slashvar (695187) on Wednesday November 05, 2003 @05:46AM (#7394553) Homepage

    The question "is Linux ready for the desktop" isn't the rigth one. Since the vision of a desktop computer in open source community (and generaly for nerds and geek, even if they don't use an open source OS) isn't what I can call a desktop computer for a real "end user".

    Most of user that I meet are only using their computer for one or two monolitic applications or for game. They don't need a complete multi-user OS like a Unix system. Even if linux (or *BSD) now comes with smart and usable GUIs, the main usability problem is the complex users/administrator separation.

    I think a good step to a real open source desktop OS is to integrate an open source kernel into a simplified userland base where the main administrative taskes are hidden (in fact we need an "open MacOS X").

    Whithout this simplification, no "end-users" will ever be interested in an OS. In fact, this needs seems interessant to me, since it reflect the fact that general OS, as general purpose languages, may not be a realistic goal.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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