Red Hat delivers its state of desktop Linux address: There's no money in targeting consumers

Red Hat delivers its state of desktop Linux address: There's no money in targeting consumers

Summary: Red Hat outlined a good chunk of its desktop Linux plans in a blog post, but noted that it has no intention of delivering a traditional consumer product.In a blog post, Red Hat delivered what could be called a state of its desktop Linux plans and outlined its goals for 2008 and 2009.

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Red Hat outlined a good chunk of its desktop Linux plans in a blog post, but noted that it has no intention of delivering a traditional consumer product.

In a blog post, Red Hat delivered what could be called a state of its desktop Linux plans and outlined its goals for 2008 and 2009. It plans to dish out its client technology to the Linux community, generate revenue through its products and use desktop software to compliment its middleware and server lineup.

What's missing? A traditional desktop product for consumers. That's not too surprising since it's unclear whether there's money in it--consumers are unlikely to pay support--and it makes more sense to allow others like Ubuntu (all resources) take the lead on desktop applications for the masses. If Ubuntu got traction, Red Hat could always acquire the company.

Also see: My kid hates Linux

But it really comes down to money. Red Hat's desktop team writes:

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. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative. Of course, a growing number of technically savvy users and companies have discovered that today’s Linux desktop is indeed a practical alternative. Nevertheless, building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled or are run as charities. But there’s good news too. Technical developments that have become available over the past year or two are accelerating the spread of the Linux Desktop.

Red Hat makes a perfectly valid point: As a public company, it's almost impossible to take a detour to target consumers on the desktop. Instead, Red Hat is focusing on its bread and butter: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, Fedora and Red Hat Global Desktop, which targets emerging markets. Red Hat also noted that its Global Desktop rollout has been delayed for almost a year as the company wrestles with business issues.

The takeaway: Desktop Linux is a tough business.

Topics: Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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153 comments
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  • Because of the subtle differences...

    in distro's, companies and individuals using Ubuntu on the desktop are going to more likely use it's server product. Dealing with different distro's can be a real pain. It is probably one of the biggest reasons for the lack of Linux adoption in the enterprise.

    Companies that deal in Open Source but fail to stick to the idea of the community will fall short of those who do stick with the community.
    bjbrock
    • True, Ubuntu is a force to be reckoned with. And, Ubuntu Server is

      very good. But, as time goes on, there will be less and less differences between distributions. The question is how much help to you want and who do you trust?
      DonnieBoy
      • Give me SuSE. I'm stuck...

        on Yast.
        bjbrock
        • ...

          Yeah! Seems Novell has a winner with SLED and OpenSuSE! ]:) Go figure it originated in Germany!
          Linux User 147560
          • SuSE has always been the best!

            I don't have a computer background but I've never had a problem installing SuSE on my computer... can't say the same about other distros.

            Oddly enough, Red Hat was the only other distro that seems to be user friendly in terms of ease of use but I've alway got the sense that they didn't care for the Linux commumity--jsut my opinion.

            Ubuntu never worked for me and Yellow Dog (for my Mac) would not recognize my monitor.
            iPad-awan
          • I agree, Ubuntu is a joke, I found Suse better

            But that's just my opinion.
            markbn
          • Just curious since I haven't tried SUSE

            What about Ubuntu was a joke and what is better in SuSE?
            storm14k
          • And, that is the beauty of Linux. There are different distributions for

            different people. With MS it is take it or leave it. Kind of like all being forced to drive a Model-T.
            DonnieBoy
          • Your statement is a much bigger joke

            aaaaaaaaaaaaa!
            yschoo1
          • Suse 10.2 vs K/Ubuntu Feisty

            1) Ubuntu is GNOME based only, which is very primitive is many respects (Gedit vs Kate, Nautilus vs Konqueror). Kubuntu on the other hand is not complete. With all the repositories enabled I could not install several applications.

            2) I could not install or make openAFS work with Feisty when it was initially available. But surprise, in Suse 10.2 I was able to do it with little effort. Now, after months of Feisty availability I at last could make OpenAFS work (updated instructions found on the web, initially only for Edgy and did not work), by this time I am already distanced from K/Ubuntu. I admit that this is a filesystem not so popular but given they both had kernel 2.6 I do not see why I found so many problems just in K/Ubuntu

            3) Maybe just my impression or is it a little bit slower than Suse?

            4) Frustration about applications not found in their repositories, etc. I also installed Feisty (Kubuntu) in a PowerPC Mac. Wireless connectivity was the most basic and primitive I have seen in a while (not PEAP?)

            Anyway, OK, K/Ubuntu rocks according to many people, but it's not for me. Is everybody happy now?
            markbn
    • No Different than Windows Desktop/Server...

      and they are from the same company.
      mrlinux
  • RE: Red Hat delivers its state of desktop Linux address: There's no money in targeting consumers

    Red Hat is admitting that linux is a failure and no one wants to use it? This should shut the linux fanboys up. I've been saying that all along that linux is pretty much worthless. Spending hours downloading it, then burn it to a cd, then go through the confusing partitioning process, trying to get it installed without the install locking up, once its installed you have to secure the system, then check application versions, then go to the application website to see if its the most recent, if not then download the source code, then try to compile it and hope it doesn't error out, then install it and look for the executable since linux is very random about where it puts executable files, then try to run the file and hope it doesn't segfault. Plus the incompatibilities with the rest of the world when trying to share documents. After all this is it a wonder that no one wants to use linux?

    You know linux is in a bad state of panic and hurt when one of its own turns against them - Red Hat. I'm expecting more distros to say the same and then eventually disappear.
    Loverock Davidson
    • You know its not 1999 anymore...

      Perhaps you should try a linux distro from this decade? I am not even going to waste my time correcting you, as every single thing you said is 100% wrong.

      Your drivel still gets tiring. Oh, and to answer your response before you respond, I read your post not only for the laughs, but to remind myself that there are people as close minded and blind to the world as yourself.
      Stuka
      • I'm aware of that but linux isn't!

        I have tried distros from this decade and they are all problematic. How do you think I know what a pain it is to use?

        [i]Your drivel still gets tiring. Oh, and to answer your response before you respond, I read your post not only for the laughs, but to remind myself that there are people as close minded and blind to the world as yourself.[/i]

        Oh such as yourself? You read my posts because they are informative and truthful.
        Loverock Davidson
        • ...

          Because you are lying. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
          • Nope

            nope.
            Loverock Davidson
          • yep...

            :)
            bmerc
          • We no when you are lying Loverock Davidson ....

            we here your keys clicking.
            mrlinux
          • here should have been hear.

            NT
            mrlinux
        • Just curious

          Which distros have you tried, and which versions? And what did you find lacking in each one?
          Michael Kelly