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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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  • 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?
  • 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.
  • by deragon ( 112986 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:12AM (#23104012) Homepage Journal
    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 than enterprise versions. That is also appealing.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sobachatina ( 635055 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:30AM (#23104300)
    On the contrary- his post was well worded.

    A monopoly can be ruled illegal if it is abused. Microsoft was convicted of abusing its monopoly so it is appropriate to clarify that their monopoly is technically of the illegal variety.

    You should be more careful before throwing insults around- it has the potential to backfire.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tanktalus ( 794810 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:33AM (#23104364) Journal

    While you're right that not all monopolies are illegal, that doesn't mean that there isn't a subset of monopolies that are illegal. From a layperson's perspective, any monopoly taken through the court systems and found to be in violation of the region-specific version of anti-trust laws can be called an illegal monopoly without fear of slander/libel charges (using truth as a defense).

    From the prosecutorial perspective, it's a bit more convoluted, but simply put, we could say they were charged with being an illegal monopoly while the trial was underway.

    If they haven't been charged, then you can only suspect them of operating illegally without exposing yourself to slander/libel charges.

    There most definitely are illegal monopolies. Thus the splitting of Bell. Thus the long trial and settled-out-of-court slap on the wrist of IBM. Thus the sanctions demanded of (and largely ignored by) Microsoft in the US. But the US isn't the only region that has found Microsoft guilty of illegally abusing their monopoly position. So has the EU. Thus, I'd suggest that we'd be fully in the right declaring not only the obvious that they are a monopoly, but that they've abused it in a manner inconsistent with the law: an illegal monopoly.

  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:33AM (#23104380) Homepage

    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 use this as a reason to kill of RedHat, then I hope they are poised to feel both their own position in the community AND RedHat's

  • by ewanm89 ( 1052822 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:36AM (#23104420) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Informative)

    by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:37AM (#23104452)

    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 to their desktop. And business does not drive the desktop, people do. Maybe the marketing misses this point, but business will buy what the users walk in the door knowing. Business are so adverse to training and change, they will follow user skills not lead in them. So unless RedHat wants to be a server only distribution in the future, they need Fedora.

  • 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".
  • 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.

  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bignetbuy ( 1105123 ) <{dirrtygsharp} {at} {}> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:36AM (#23105608) Journal

    It'll be fine. They don't provide much (any?) financial support for Fedora anymore. I think the foundation takes care of that
    RHAT provides people, resources, money, hosting, and other assets to Fedora. There is even a Fedora group within RHAT HQ that works 100% of the time on Fedora. That doesn't even include the numerous bugfixes and other coding that RHAT corp developers do for Fedora.

  • by pressman ( 182919 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:38AM (#23105648) Homepage
    Again, this is largely semantic, but "illegal monopoly" isn't really a great term. To be precise, M$ is a monopoly who has been convicted for abuse of their monopoly power. It doesn't make the monopoly itself illegal, but it does make their actions as a monopoly illegal according to law.

    Convicted, abusive monopoly, yeah. We have court rulings proving that.

    Their actions are illegal, not their monopoly. Should they, by their actions, abuse their power too egregiously, the government has a duty to bust up the monopoly... but apparently, the Bush Administration doesn't feel terribly duty bound to obey the courts... or laws in general, so we still have this behemoth to deal with as a monopoly.
  • Re:Smart move (Score:2, Informative)

    by waitd ( 448356 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:49AM (#23105834)
    What I had been thinking about is getting a copy of Microsoft Windows XP designed for the EEE machines when it comes out. It is supposed to be a VERY small foot print and if it will still support the hardware in my system that would be a great base to install VMware on top of and run all my OS's in VMware.

    Or I suppose I could try to strip XP down, but that seems like a lot of work. Any one have any good links on how to strip XP down to the BARE MINIMUM?
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by pebs ( 654334 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:56AM (#23105960) Homepage
    WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?

    Working power management. Just when I have power management somewhat working, the next kernel upgrade breaks it. Power management is especially important on a laptop, but also important on a desktop when you want to be energy efficient.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bfields ( 66644 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:28PM (#23106510) Homepage

    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 can compete and using those as toeholds to justify further development. And they do a lot of desktop development.

    Seems reasonable to me.

  • Re:Smart move (Score:2, Informative)

    by tarrantm ( 1210560 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:34PM (#23106614)
    nLite: [] and there's vLite for vista.
  • by dekemoose ( 699264 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:12PM (#23107276)

    Windows to anyone whos computer I will be supporting unless I think they really need something it offers (games for example, I really miss Rome Total War).

    Look at Crossover Games if Wine won't do it for you. It's based on Wine, but they're putting a lot of focus on getting games to work. I use Crossover Office and it works really well for me, worth the money.
  • Re:Me too (Score:3, Informative)

    by RiffRafff ( 234408 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:16PM (#23107334) Homepage
    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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:39PM (#23110396)

    Before I switched to using LaTeX for everything, I used OOoLatex [], which lets you use LaTeX for your equations and OOo for your layout.

    Personally, I find LaTeX layout much easier to handle, so I do recommend switching entirely, but it is a matter of opinion.

  • by __aaqvdr516 ( 975138 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:37PM (#23111852)
    Easy, virus and malware. You can say that linux is not attacked because it is not mainstream as much as you want, but the fact is that there are no virus or malware for linux on the wild.

    And the 2 trojans, 21 Viruses, and 10 worms listed on Wikipedia are what exactly?

    I know Wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but to say that there are no virus or malware for Linux is nonsense. I'll give you that they are much less prevalent due to the differences in distributions and the overall security model of Linux. When Linux gets it's fair share of the desktop, you'll see a huge upsurge in the number of viruses due to the standardization of the install for the general masses.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik