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Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough 472

eldavojohn writes "We recently discussed the Linux Foundation's decision to leave desktop Linux alone but Red Hat is also steering clear of that goal. The reason? It's too tough. From the company blog: 'It's worth pointing out what's missing in the list above: we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future. An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers.'"
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Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough

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  • Fair enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by locokamil ( 850008 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:53AM (#23103666) Homepage
    Free means that you're free to look out for yourself.

    As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.
    • Free means that you're free to look out for yourself. As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.
      I certainly didn't intend this submission to sound like I was blaming Red Hat for abandoning Linux on the desktop for the single user. I was, instead, hoping this would generate interesting conversation about whether or not desktop Linux is supposed to be delivered by a company. Perhaps it has to come from single developers working together? Red Hat contributes big time (over 10% of all contributions I think) to kernel development so they're already a god to me.

      Will Canonical's Ubuntu distribution be short lived if they fail to target the enterprise? I don't mean to spread FUD, just wondering. I think Canonical is Europe or South Africa based, perhaps America's economic woes are driving Red Hat away from funding things that, frankly, have no return on investment? Is desktop Linux for the end user merely an economic drain on a company? I certainly hope not but that's kind of how I interpreted Red Hat's blog ...
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ewanm89 ( 1052822 )
        Canonical is based in Europe (London IIRC):

        Founded in late 2004, Canonical Ltd is a company headquartered in Europe with 130 employees working in over 18 countries. Canonical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu project.
      • by eeek77 ( 1041634 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:13AM (#23105156)
        Sorry for a simplistic response on a web forum that's anything but... but here goes.

        Right now, Ubuntu provides everything I need in a desktop. The interface is excellent, tons of apps in the repositories that can do pretty much everything I need out of a computer. I'm not sure of all the business and technical nuts and bolts of what that company is doing, but I sincerely hope they keep doing it. I love their product. The distro installs after about 7-8 clicks and 30 minutes. From my experience, everything has been plug and play.

        Now, I know this is a simplistic approach and my experiences will not be the same as many others' out there. But the cool thing about Linux is it's free, so if something doesn't work, you can just try something else.

        Example, I was happily running PCLinuxOS for a few months. Eventually, it gave me a boot error and wouldn't start up. I tried at it for a few days, but eventually gave up and moved on. I had tried Ubuntu before and came back again to where I am now. I'm sure I'll try PCLinuxOS again because there were some things about that distro that I loved, also.

        Catch my general drift, here? What happens if your Windows PC has a bust? You either beat your head against the wall until it's fixed (yes, you have to do that with Linux also) or you pay someone who can fix it for you.

        With Linux, all you need is hardware, a high speed internet connection (I do NOT recommend trying Linux out without hi-speed internet), and an open mind to explore and try out.

        You could probably count me as a mini-mini power user. I am not afraid to wipe a hard drive and install an OS. But on a regular basis, I try to stay away from the command line as much as possible and I can't code anything.

        (gosh, this guy isn't a coder and he's posting on Slashdot?!? who let him in?)

        My point is that I love what the Linux/FOSS movement provides for me RIGHT NOW. I know there are some greater and global economic/social pressures that might force what we have now off the internet. But as a little person who can't control those things, I hope to the heavens above that what's provided for us currently, continues to be so because I'm very happy with it. Worst case scenario - years from now, I'll still be running my old Ubuntu 7.10 version. I'd bet it will still be just as stable, too.

        To answer the parent, I think companies like Ubuntu and Firefox have a strong enough hold on the market that they aren't going to die any time soon. (Hopefully)
        • by gladish ( 982899 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:31PM (#23106578)
          So I'm just about 180 from you. I'm make a living as a software developer and use the command line almost exclusively (except for browsing the web). I made the "switch" about two years ago (at home) from Linux to Mac OS and was really happy. I had the best of both worlds. I recently decided to buy a new PC (big mistake) and installed windows vista on it. I did this because I wanted to learn more about win32 development. About a month ago, I decided to try Unbuntu. Everyone is always talking about this new linux distro that is so wonderful. At first I was very impressed. It actually resized my NTFS partition and setup dual boot without a flaw. Then I started fielding questions from my wife about manging pictures and transferring music with our ipod and realized that it's nowhere near ready for mainstream use. I had to rebuild my favorite game (bzflag) from source to get sound working properly, which is my biggest complaint. The core sound system on linux seems to be re-architected once a year.

          The reason Linux will fail on the desktop and succeed as a server platform is (in my mind) due to fragmentation and duplicate effort. If you look at the development of the kernel itself, it's IBM, novell, redhat, and a relatively small set of individuals. The changes they are submitting are being filtered through an even smaller set of gatekeepers. This prevents random features from just popping up inside the kernel and it ensures that things that people don't want to work on that should be actually get fixed. Remember if a customer complains about a kernel bug, then IBM or someone who's getting paid will probably have to work on it. You can also look at device drivers. How man drivers do you have for a device? Probably one.

          Now look at the UI/Desktop. We have a half-dozen or more media players, window managers, widget sets, etc. And now with Mono everything is being done again but in C#. It's more of a playground than a stable platform. We (as the Linux community) never finished the first 5 media players and now we're building another one. This leads to fragmentation of development effort and to people abandoning projects before they're complete. Sure it's choice, but I'd rather have a choice between 2 good media players rather than 10 unfinished ones. I'm using the media player here as an example, but this pretty much applies to all things on the desktop. Too many people doing the same thing over and over.

          I'm not saying it's bad, Linux is a nice environment to simply learn a new language or API, but as far as bringing it up to commercial grade level... probably never.

  • Whither Fedora? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:56AM (#23103710) Homepage
    I wonder where this leaves Fedora in the long term? I can't say I fault them, but honestly I would hope Red Hat would rise to the challenge rather than shrink away from it.
    • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#23103822)
      why do you think Red Hat spun Fedora off, and have set them up as mostly self sufficient? The personal desktop market isn't profitable when you have to compete against an illegal monopoly. Even with Free software as a base.

      The year of the Linux desktop isn't going to happen. the year of the Linux mobile, the Linux server, and the Linux hand-held computer, however are fast approaching.

      Linux will take the desktop market through the back door. By getting in on every other device first.
      • Linux Mobile? Where?!?!

        I keep hearing the "news", but have yet to see anything
          • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by JeremyGNJ ( 1102465 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:15AM (#23104052)
            Be honest with yourself. That's not *really* linux on a phone, at least not in a way that would ever have any influence over a user switching their Desktop OS.
            It's just a way manufacturers found to avoid hiring 2 or 3 more programmers.
        • Linux Mobile? Where?!?!

          I keep hearing the "news", but have yet to see anything
          1. Build a cross-compiler along with a decent GNU toolchain.
          2. ??
          3. Boot linux
          4. Profit? No, enjoy it!
      • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:17AM (#23104072)

        Linux will take the desktop market through the back door.

        On the contrary, I think it's Windows that has been taking the desktop market through the back door, for quite a while now. Roughly, without lube.

        • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:56AM (#23104858)

          I know you were ranked funny because of how it is worded. But there is truth to it.

          Lets go back to before PCs. I/T and business didn't bring them in, the real McCoy "hackers" and engineers did. Then the users got on board, often with their own dime or in at least the department business unit bought them. There was no direction from I/T or senior management. The PC crept in through the back doors. I/T even used to say use the mainframe, we don't support the PCs.

          At some point the business and I/T woke up and found these PCs took over the workplace, and finally invested in it. The business was driven by the users.

          The Linux desktop is no different, get the home users and it will be dragged into business. The other way around isn't going to work.

          If anything, Red Hat aught to produce a home user version that is so easy to install a 5 year old could do it. And leverage the Vista mess and hand me down computers. Sell it for $20 a download. Get it out there as a choice for new laptops.

          PCs, DOS and MS-Windows came in the back door, and if X-Windows Linux wants it, that is the way in.

      • When people say is it ready for the desktop they are talking about a desktop interface for linux where usability, interplatform compatibility and conistency are primal. Linux itself is a tweakfest. Until the UI gets as standardized and bulletproff and seamless as windows or mac it won't happen.

        Thus mass market desktop worthiness is almost antithetical to Linux's nature.

        But the reverse, Linux on the desktop, where you think of Linux as application running inside a proven desktop is not only possible it ex
      • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:50AM (#23104746)
        Um, the year of the linux server was a while back. It's gone past buzzword status and become mainstream practice.
      • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

        by pressman ( 182919 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:14AM (#23105172) Homepage
        Well, M$ is not an illegal monopoly, they are a confirmed monopoly which has been convicted of illegal behavior.

        A semantic issue, for sure.

        There is nothing inherently illegal with their monopoly, but many of their actions which created a barrier to entry into the market as well as blatantly killing off emerging technologies by leveraging their monopoly in other areas are what is abusive and illegal. It's what they got "busted" for, if you can call what the DoJ did to them "busting".

        The Bush era DoJ should have had the cajones to split them up as per the judges decree, but I suspect too many people in the Bush administration have too much cash tied up in M$ to do that.

    • Doesnt surprise me at all. Their in the business of making money. To make money, you pick the niches that require the least work for the most revenue.

      Creating and supporting a desktop OS for end-users is a HUGELY expensive and complicated undertaking.
    • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fyrie ( 604735 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:08AM (#23103926)
      As usual, the /. headline is misleading. TFA more-or-less says that they have no plans to produce a consumer desktop product because they don't see it as a money maker. This basically means that they don't plan on having a boxed desktop product that you can buy at the store like Mandriva. Fedora will continue on as is - something they work on with the community but don't sell.
      • This means that they don't plan on having a boxed desktop product that you can buy at the store like Mandriva. Fedora will continue on as is - something they work on with the community but don't sell.

        which means that Fedora stays within the community - it has no reach beyond its base.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by canuck57 ( 662392 )

      I wonder where this leaves Fedora in the long term? I can't say I fault them, but honestly I would hope Red Hat would rise to the challenge rather than shrink away from it.

      Lets hope Fedora continues, it is my favorite desktop distro. I like how the menus pull down from the top and are clean and organized. And have always had good stable use from it. In fact, I am counting the days to Fedora 9's release. (Fedora's site [].

      I really don't think RedHat can afford to let Fedora die. It is after all related

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bfields ( 66644 )

      The article title is inaccurate (the press release specifically say they're avoiding the *consumer* desktop, not desktops in general), and misleading (note they're *avoiding* the consumer desktop market, as they always have, not dropping anything new). The release specifically claims that they continue to support Fedora, their enterprise desktop, and their "global" desktop.

      They're doing what I'd expect most companies would do in the face of a large entrenched competitor: finding a few niches where they c

  • Smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:56AM (#23103722)
    Perhaps they understand that most folks, like myself, don't care about the OS, they care about the applications.
  • Desktop Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:57AM (#23103738)
    Well, their main competitor Ubuntu is basically giving away the OS for free. How can RedHat expect to compete with that?

    Personally, I find Linux to be great as a server OS doing very specific things for my home network. Webserver, you bet. Fileserver, yep. Firewall, no doubt. Mail server, of course. But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss. I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.
    • theres 2 reasons i use windows at all: office 2007 (i like it, and one of my classes requires the format for submission) webcam support: while mine technically works in linux, it freezes randomly. it bugs me, really, because until i started this class back in january, i hadnt had to use windows for a year. what a lovely year that was.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by liquidpele ( 663430 )
        Sounds like your school got free copies of MS products by agreeing to force you guys to use the newest version of Office. What kind of idiot would require only the docx format otherwise?
        • its a fully online "intro to computers" class that is required, meh. youre likely right, all the school computers have office 2007, and the text this class uses deals with office 2007 for productivity, and gets specifically into doing this and that in the various office apps. a free trial is provided for the course, its just a hassle to be doing everything in linux, but have to reboot just to be able to format a paper for submission or do a couple hours worth of excel homework.

          i guess it wont hurt to lea

        • What kind of idiot would require only the docx format otherwise?

          Possibly an idiot that wanted the students to learn the newest version of the by far dominant set of tools.

          I'm a programmer, so no one really cares about my Word/Excel skills. Try to get any number of non-technical office jobs and you'll be surprised how many employers do. You don't have to be completely insane or in Microsoft's pocket (although I'm sure in some cases those are the reasons) to try to provide your graduates with skills that ar
    • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#23103814)
      You do know that Microsoft's personal deals with nearly every hardware manufacturer out there has a LOT to do with Windows' general "lack of fuss."
      • You do know that Microsoft's personal deals with nearly every hardware manufacturer out there has a LOT to do with Windows' general "lack of fuss."

        Ultimately, (most) end users don't really care, as long as it "works" for them.
        • Oh, I know, and you know, but I was correcting the Parent Poster's position that Windows was working better for some sort of magical reason.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      I have found that Linux works just great on my desktop at home. The only reasons I jump into Windows if FS2004 and FSX.
      Linux just seems faster and I have less to worry about than with WindowsXP.
      My wife finds Linux just as frendly and easy to use.
      The only thing lacking in Linux for my wife and I are some specfic programs.
      My wife really wants ACDC for Linux as well as infraview.
      I want FS2004 and FSX but I am not holding my breath.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      Really? What do you do for virtual desktops on XP? I'd have to say any GUI without virtual desktops is "pretty clunky".
  • Confused ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:04AM (#23103842) Homepage
    OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess.

    But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop". I've used Linux/FreeBSD as a desktop OS for over a decade. Gnome and KDE both seem fairly robust, with lots of apps and functionality.

    WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?

    I'm afraid I just don't get what is fundamentally missing here. What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

    • Re:Confused ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:10AM (#23103978) Journal

      OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess. But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop".
      Mainly, it's the combination of "just working" and supporting the things that end up not working that you'll need to provide.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Red Hat is just being disingenuous. They're really in the business of selling support for a free product to companies who want to run Linux on their servers and still have somebody to yell at when things go wrong. If you think about it, Microsoft isn't really interested in the "desktop" business either - they want to sell to companies, so they can charge full price, (re)sell frequent upgrades, and sign fat support contracts. After the initial sale, there's NO money to be made (either by Red Hat or Microsof
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

      Simple answer: easy installation.

      FreeBSD with Gnome or KDE is simply not comparable to Ubuntu Hardy (for example) in terms of installation and administration for the average Joe.

      I agree that for the desktop might not be the right terminology but if you step in Joe's shoes and compare both solutions you'll notice a huge difference.

      • Personally, I've found Gentoo easier to install than XP. Especially when something goes wrong. Not that I'd suggest to my mother or wife to try to install either...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beelsebob ( 529313 )
      What's missing is the finishing off, and the polishing that so many computer geeks seem to miss.

      An example:
      Leopard has a very shiny feature called time machine
      The same thing can be done in Linux in a variety of different ways.

      What's missing then?
      No linux distribution has *one* nicely flagged easy way to do this, that makes the user feel confident about what they're doing. There are no rounded corners, or neat animations to bring up the GUI for it, or beautifully simple browsers with big friendly buttons sa
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Tikkun ( 992269 )
        So... then you're saying... that Windows isn't ready for the desktop because it doesn't have Time Machine.
    • Me too (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:24AM (#23104166)
      I was about to ask that same question. I'm using Linux "on the desktop" right now as I write this, as I have for years. What is it about my desktop that isn't "ready for the desktop"? If anything, my friends using Windows have had to deal with more overall crap, and most of them would acknowledge as much (but not switch, of course).

      I suspect that that this "not ready for the desktop" meme that I see constantly being reinforced is just part of the FUD campaign that Microsoft and its stakeholders have waged for years. It doesn't matter that experienced Linux users know it's a load of crap if they can keep their own customers too afraid to try it.

      I've also noticed lately that posts like this one get modded down pretty quickly, now that there are companies that perform this service for a fee. Let's see if it happens this time...
      • Re:Me too (Score:5, Insightful)

        by abigor ( 540274 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:18PM (#23106356)
        People don't use operating systems - they use apps. If the apps are there, then people will use whatever OS the computer comes with.

        Linux doesn't have the apps - Quicken? Nope. QuickTax? Nope. Photoshop? Nope. Office? Nope (although CrossOver is pretty good these days). Garage Band? Nope. And on and on and on...

        However, if you are like me and have very simple needs - coding, browsing, email, Skype - then it's fine. I've been using it on the desktop since 1997, although my main desktop is now a Mac, which is the best of all worlds: commercial apps, Unix, and a beautiful, solid desktop.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Tax prep software... Well, you've got me there (although there's always Wine). On the other hand, OpenOffice and the GIMP more than meet my needs for what others might use MS Office and Photoshop for (although people accustomed to PS often complain about GIMP's interface). Frequently use Pan for Usenet, XMMS for music, mplayer for video, and of course Firefox. Availability of games - or at least the popular, modern ones - may be a problem for those who are into them, but that's not an issue for me.

          Money spe
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by RiffRafff ( 234408 )
            Even the "Linux has no tax software" is a non-starter; everyone offers platform-independent web-apps for doing taxes nowadays, and they're updated (for when the laws change mid-season) much faster.

    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      I think they mean COMMERCIAL desktop
    • Re:Confused ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#23104254)

      WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?
      Every time one problem is solved, it's another one.

      It used to be "No serious office software". Then OpenOffice came to be.

      Then it was "very difficult to configure" (never mind that in businesses, where much of the money is, a dedicated IT department does all the configuring and they sure as hell don't go around like monkeys clicking "Next Next Next" on every PC). Then Ubuntu came to be.

      Right now there are a few more - the first two that spring to mind are "very difficult to manage across a large group in a similar easy fashion to Windows - you can't easily click a button and - poof! - an icon for an application will appear on the desktop of everyone belonging to a particular group, you can't easily centrally disable UI functionality on a per-group basis so end users don't see anything that might confuse them." The general answer to that one is "it's not that hard to roll your own" - which is certainly true but few IT departments want to re-invent the wheel. Canonical have a product called "Landscape" which supposedly solves this but it's only available when you pay for support so how good it is I don't know.

      The second argument right now is "all the little business applications which handle boring things like payroll and accounts, of which there are myriad, are conspicuous by their absence on Linux".

      Once this problem is solved, I imagine something else will come up. I think what it really boils down to is "a migration would provide little benefit and cause a great deal of work which we can't justify". Which is probably the most sound business reason that exists - make no mistake, it will continue to exist for a very long time. Lots of companies stuck with dumb terminals for years, only to migrate to PCs with a terminal emulator for the business application.
    • Red Hat means they don't think they can make money selling a retail Linux for use on desktops. That's been their position for several years.

      Whether or not it is possible to put together a collection of Linux software that qualifies a a "desktop" is not at issue.
  • "as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers" Hmmmm... We all knew that, but they they have to tell the world? ;)
  • by deragon ( 112986 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103864) Homepage Journal
    But in the long run, they might get bitten. Canonical's Ubuntu offer is fantastic. The server/desktop solution is essentially the same. The free version is THE enterprise version. In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough. Scrap the OS and reinstall RHEL to get support from the Vendor. With Ubuntu, you just go and pay for support.

    And corporations like to keep things simple. Why have two distributions (one for the desktops, one for the servers) when one could do the job? This is where Ubuntu outshines.

    I am not too familiar with using Ubuntu on the server side. It lacks support from big ISV such as Rational (IBM) and maybe Oracle. However, since it is Debian derived, I would trust the OS for most server tasks. So while in the past we were more inclined to use RHEL, in my organization we are considering Ubuntu for the server side.

    Red Hat is concentrating too much on the short term. Yes, they should not spend too much money marketing a desktop version or polishing it. Canonical barely does any marketing (ever saw an add from Ubuntu?). But Red Hat should have a presence on the desktop to remain in the race in the long term.

    I have a lot of respect for Mark Shuttleworth (Canonical owner). He has a long term vision and while part of his goal is too be profitable, he also has a social goal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by deragon ( 112986 )
      Replying to myself.

      Yes, they plan to offer an enterprise version of the Desktop, but that requires a license. Organization with Linux on the Desktop will eventually influence what their employees run at home. But employees will probably get another free distribution. And if they are familiar and comfortable with a free and libre version at home, managers might be eventually enticed to switch the corporate desktops to this version too.

      And AFAIK, free version usually have a bigger repository of software th
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Canonical sure wants to take over. They've got one step to cross first... Turning a profit _before_ Mark runs out of money...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by newbiefan ( 703469 )

      In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough.
      If you want Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free, get CentOS. Red Hat contributes more to free software than Canonical.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by deragon ( 112986 )
        Yes, but if you want support from THE vendor, you won't get it. With Ubuntu, you can install for free and get support from THE vendor. Of course, you probably can get support for CentOS from 3rd parties, but large corporations prefer to get support from THE vendor, i.e. those who actually designed the product in the first place.
    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      And corporations like to keep things simple. Why have two distributions (one for the desktops, one for the servers) when one could do the job? This is where Ubuntu outshines.

      Really? [] []

      • For the time being, the only difference between Ubuntu desktop and server is the default loadout. You can easily change from desktop to server (and vice versa, or a mix of both) with a few apt-gets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pembo13 ( 770295 )

      Is not like RedHat isn't already spending money on the "Linux Desktop". Or do you think all those fancy stuff people from write and find their way to the Ubuntu desktop get all reinvented and rewritten from scratch. Fedora is free to the user, but not to RedHat.

      Ubuntu is okay and all that, but I believe that RedHat does more than their fair share for the community. If they feel they don't have enough resources reaming to package a proper desktop distro, then so be it. If Ubuntu people want to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 )

      Canonical barely does any marketing (ever saw an add from Ubuntu?)

      Your post was the last time I saw a Ubuntu commercial.
      Fedora isn't a try out of RHEL

      If Ubuntu is taking over Red Hat let me know when all the ISV's certify ubuntu, when it becomes EAL4 certified (if it does you can thank redhat for pushing SElinux into ubuntu), when they are opening more code than any other company, when they have a cert nearly as respectable as RHC*.
      I mean Ubuntu doesn't even contribute to the kernel hardly, or anything else for that matter yet they're going to take over? RedHat has been

  • Desktop Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sadsfae ( 242195 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103878) Homepage
    With a plethora of excellent choices for the Linux desktop available like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc who really cares?

    Red Hat targeting the server market makes more sense, they still support Fedora Project so nothing new to see here.
  • hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103882)
    The article did not mention it, so I'll state it. Truth is that they are being spanked by Ubuntu and are forced to move to server in order to survive. As always, its hard to make a business in selling something people can get for free. Not to mention that as Linux get easier and more reliable paying for support seems less attractive.

    Shame though, I used to use RH. before dallying with 'drake, 'diva, and 'dora on the way to (K)Ubuntu. Each to their own though.
    • Re:hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Constantine XVI ( 880691 ) <`trash.eighty+slashdot' `at' `'> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#23104250)
      RedHat has ALWAYS focused on the server/workstation market. They're not focusing on the desktop because the backroom is what they're best at.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#23103894) Journal
    The problem with the viability of desktop Linux, and why everyone is so leery of it, is the lack of consumer software for it. True enough, OpenOffice is an admirable effort, and it is getting very close to parity with MS Office. And Firefox / etc. are fine. But there is more to do on these damn machines than write emails, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

    What is needed on Linux is the same panoply of software that is at the same level of quality as found on MacOS or Windows. What is missing on Linux:

    1. The Adobe/Macromedia collection of software â" from Photoshop to Dreamweaver to Flash.
    2. A really good video editor (think AVID)
    3. A really good audio/music program (think ProTools and Ableton Live)
    4. A low level video layer (think quickTime/Quartz / WindowsMedia)

    I'm sure there's more. Frankly, NOTHING on Linux rivals the Adobe CS collection. NOTHING on Linux rivals AVID (or even Final Cut Pro). NOTHING on Linux rivals ProTools. Why don't I have a Linux box? Because the above mentioned software packages (and a host of others) are not available on Linux, and the stuff that is similar to it is inferior. If Adobe / AVID / Digidesign / Ableton / etc. ported their stuff over to Linux, I'd get a Linux box in a heartbeat. But until then, I'm going to hang with my MacBookPro, thank you very much.

    And since this is The Truth On The Ground, that's why places like RedHat are hesitant to bother with desktop Linux. They could build it, but there's nothing to do there, and thus no money to be made.


    • by tomtomtom777 ( 1148633 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#23104230) Homepage

      I couldn't disagree more. How many users do you think, are actually using one of these professional tools?

      I think only a few. Most users still use there computer for web browsing, emailing wordprocessing and IM.

      Although it would be nice to have those professional applications ported or seriously replaced with Open Source versions, it's definitely not the BIG problem of Linux on the desktop

      • >>" Most users still use there computer for web browsing, emailing wordprocessing and IM."

        And if they are satisfied with the software they're using for those basic tasks, they have no incentive to consider an alternative.

  • Post Inaccurate (Score:5, Informative)

    by ebeneazer ( 74557 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#23103904)
    The title the post is in accurate. They are avoiding the "consumer" desktop not desktops altogether. Per the article they are still committed to developing desktops for the corporate market. This is a logical move as corporate environments tends to be a much more controlled (more current hardware and managed upgrade schedules anyone) and profitable to support than the wild west of consumer desktops and clueless users . . .

    Hopefully the moderators will correct this very missleading title.
  • by Adaptux ( 1235736 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:07AM (#23103916)
    While Red Hat correctly acknowledges the significant difficulties which exist with regard to creating a sustainable business ecosystem around GNU/Linux as a desktop OS, the actual article makes clear that Red Hat is working hard on developing solutions for these problems: The list of their investments in free software development in this area is impressive, and they're pre-announcing commercial products in this area. What more would you want?
  • Like a utility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:14AM (#23104040)
    I've posted before that the desktop GUI is becoming a lot like a utility. This is another example of why: everyone needs it, but it's too difficult to make a profit providing it, so this is why Ubuntu is stepping up strong.
  • the last company i worked for had redhat on about half the engineering desktops.

    • by Ambidisastrous ( 964023 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:57AM (#23104874)
      Here's what the article says:

      Considering our goals listed above, our desktop product plans for 2008 and 2009 include:

              * Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop. This is our fully supported, commercial product. It is 100 percent compatible with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux server products. Its focus is to provide a desktop environment that is secure and easily managed. And it is upgradeable with the Multi-OS option (which provides virtualization support) or the Workstation option (which provides high-end workstation capabilities).
              * Fedora. This is a Red Hat sponsored, fast-growing, free product. While Red Hat doesn't formally support Fedora, users can turn to a healthy online community to obtain help when they need it.
              * Red Hat Global Desktop (RHGD). Plans for this product were originally announced at the 2007 Summit Conference. It is designed exclusively for small, reseller supplied, deployments in emerging markets (e.g. primarily the BRIC countries), and will be supplied by a number of Intel channel partners.

      We originally hoped to deliver RHGD within a few months, and indeed the technology side of the product is complete. There have, however, been a number of business issues that have conspired to delay the product for almost a year. These include hardware and market changes, startup delays with resellers, getting the design and delivery of appropriate services nailed down and, unsurprisingly, some multimedia codec licensing knotholes. Right now we are still working our way through these issues. As mentioned earlier, the desktop business model is tough, so we want to be prepared before delivering a product to the emerging markets.
      This means that, as you probably expected, Red Hat is focusing their for-sale desktop on the enterprise market, and letting the consumer market use the free, unsupported Fedora for now. The "tough" comment was about a new low-cost consumer offering outside the U.S.

      The headline should be: "Red Hat Delays Low-Cost Consumer Desktop, Says Business Model Is Tough".
  • Leave desktop Linux alone!

  • What is so difficult about getting the post popular software packages, drivers and plugins and putting them together into a functional desktop...then advertising that the particular OS will do this and that and that...?

    I know that there are folks out there that are accomplishing [all] desktop functions with free software. Again, what's hard for Redhat to bundle software that such folks are using, into a fully functional desktop that will work as advertised?

    From Java, to Adobe's flash it's all free software

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PRMan ( 959735 )

      Simple. Because only Linux geeks will say that GIMP=Photoshop. The rest of us have tried both and know better.

      That's not saying that it will never get there (or get close enough, like OpenOffice, that it won't matter to 70% of people.

      But right now, it's just delusional to say GIMP=Photoshop. Those applications DON'T exist on Linux.

      Plus, companies have decades worth of Access, C++, .NET, etc. apps on every desktop that they are not about to switch. So until it runs all of those, they're not switchi

  • by Fuzi719 ( 1107665 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:57PM (#23107018)
    I don't have outrageous hardware, just a standard older P4 system with an ATI graphics adapter. I've tried 5 different Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, and Mandriva. None of them will install a working usable desktop. The default install doesn't use any of the abilities of my graphics adapter (an older ATI x1300Pro AGP model) so it is soooooo slooooow to paint it is unusable. Trying to install the included ATI drivers always results in the "black screen of death" that results in the only way to get out of it is to do a complete reinstall of the OS. I've spent literally days trying to get a distribution working to no avail. But WinXP installs, detects my graphics adapter without a problem, installs the adapter specific drivers, and is fast fast fast without me having to spend hours or days killing chickens under a willow tree during a blue moon after midnight. Even Vista installs on this machine without a problem (though I hate Vista and went back to XP Pro). And yes, someone always blames ATI for the problem. But pointing fingers doesn't lessen the issue: no Linux distribution will install and work as easily as Windows does currently. Until that is addressed, Linux on the desktop is a minor niche at best.
  • Profit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:39PM (#23107698)
    They aren't saying its "too tough". They are saying it isn't lucrative enough. Margins in the server world are much better than in the desktop world.
  • by SocietyoftheFist ( 316444 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:13PM (#23108186)
    The fanboys tell me over and over how this is the year of the Linux desktop, I've been hearing that since 1999, but I've tired of the issues I had trying to run Linux as my primary desktop. I bought a MacBook Pro last year and am very happy with it. I run Windows/Linux in VMWare Fusion when I need/want to do something in them but I really am quite happy at deciding to choose the Mac as my primary platform. I started using Linux in 1996 with Slackware 2.x but last year when I found myself still having to compile source code to get a new piece of hardware to work, without full functionality to boot, I through in towel and said I'm done. Linux will succeed on the desktop when hardware manufacturers build their products with Linux in mind and ship with Linux drivers. When the latest gadget that everybody wants has a sticker that says "Ready for Linux", Linux will have arrived.

I've got a bad feeling about this.