Red Hat recommends Windows for consumers

Red Hat recommends Windows for consumers

Summary: Red Hat's chief executive has said that Windows will remain the right platform for home users, at least until Linux has had more time to mature


Red Hat's chief executive has said that Linux needs to mature further before home users will get a positive experience from the operating system, saying they should choose Windows instead.

Linux is seen by Microsoft as its most dangerous competitor for desktop operating systems, and after a number of high-profile cases where government departments have switched from Windows to Linux-based systems, the OS has been making some progress. However, Red Hat said that the hype around desktop Linux is still mostly unfounded at the moment.

Matthew Szulik, chief executive of Linux vendor Red Hat, said on Monday that although Linux is capable of exceeding expectations for corporate users, home users should stick with Windows: "I would say that for the consumer market place, Windows probably continues to be the right product line," he said. "I would argue that from the device-driver standpoint and perhaps some of the other traditional functionality, for that classic consumer purchaser, it is my view that (Linux) technology needs to mature a little bit more."

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.

However, Szulik expects Linux to be ready in a couple of years after it has had time to mature. In the mean time, he is adamant that corporate users would be surprised by how much the operating system has to offer. "Consumers want USB drivers and digital camera support; but for the enterprise desktop, that is a little bit different -- that area is ripe," he said. "We think that the enterprise desktop market place is much more strategic and has buyers whose needs we can exceed."

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • Red Hat might not feel that their product is ready for the home user because it isn't their current target but that's a bit rich when you know the number other vendors (mandrake, lycoris, libranet,xandros and even Suse) that target home and soho users.

    Red Hat should not consider itself as being linux.

    I myself run linux at home and have connected an all in one printer/fax/copier/scanner, my ipod and a DV camera. That was almost all handled almost without guess work and with a lot less driver install than on windows

    And large variety of software that comes with my perticular distro and some other is a lot better suited to a home user than the meagre software bundles that usually comes with a typical windows PC.

    A platform that is a lot better for home users is the Apple offering. Stable, integrated and intuitive.
  • Well, It looks to me that RedHat is getting sponsorred by Microsoft, if they are recommended Windows.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..Red Hat's chief executive has said that Linux needs to mature further before home users will get a positive experience from the operating system, saying they should choose Windows instead>>>>>>>>>>>

    Hey, you forgot to tell us which version !!!
  • Red Hat's only complaint about Linux in the home is that they don't have a strategy for making money off it. so they say it's not ready for the home desktop, and we should continue to use bugware like MS windows. Someone needs to get a clue!!!!
  • People like seeing at home what they have at work. M$ knew this and built a server environment out of the desktop. One thing that hurt Netware was no seemless desktop to match it. We all know Netware is superior to Windows and that Linux, in many cases, is superior to Windows. But Windows wins in marketing. RH doesn't want to spend the money pushing a DT Linux. They've dropped it completely (moved it to Fedora). Caldera essentially did the same thing (and where are they?). I hate to see RH going this route. It's basically turning a shoulder to the community. Now the community will have to see if it turns it's whole back. You have to take Linux to the masses, pure and simple. A ripe, robust desktop offering is the only way to do it.

  • I don't agree, but if RedHat really believes that Microsoft Windows is a better choice for home users, perhaps before making the annoucement, Redhat should have waited for Microsoft to announce that Linux is a better choice than Windows for business users.

    Personnaly, I am using SuSE 9.0 Pro on my home desktop and
    laptop while I type this and this home user is certain that Linux
    is a superior product over Windows for this home user.

    (I already sent a copy to them)

    I read the comments of Matthew Szulik at,39020390,39117575,00.htm

    I have to say, at this point, I am very upset with your CEO and company. I have been using redhat linux since August 1997 on my desktop. I bought a Geforce2/GTS card when they came out, and there is no difference between my computer and anyone else's.

    That being said, I will never again use nor recommend your products to anyone again. Your comments that consumers should use windows and not switch to linux for the desktop was a slap in the face for all the people working on desktop linux. MANY strides have been made recently and many more will continue to be made: with xandros, lindows, mandrake, etc.

    Your comments show your absolute lack of community feeling/goodwill for the open source community. I will never again use redhat, use fedora, nor recommend either to my employer or anyone else. I will recommend those companies that are committed to seeing open source progress. Your advertisements for the monopoly and against the linux community sicken me.

  • There's a huge amount of people who can use Windows, but can not install it. So the 90-year-old father thing is barely a point.

    On the other hand, it's common not to have any hassles installing new devices under Windows. That's something I'd like to see in Linux, at least 80% of the time.
  • Counterproductive to the LInux movement, and par for the course for the company who is discontinuing all support for affordable Linux distributions.
  • It seems most of the Linux around are IT people. I use it at home and a little at work. While I like it, I have to agree with Red Hat, it is not ready for prime time. Instyalling software is not point and click yet, devices are not as easy to install, I have a cheap webcam that works fine in WinXP but not in Linux. When I home I like to play Euchre or Literati on yahoo sometimes and it was not easy to get Java working with those browsers. With Windows it worked right off the bat.

    Linux has potential and I see it getting very close to the average user, but let all be real here, it is not ready for the non IT People masses.
  • Poor little dude who wrote the "OpenLetter".
    My guess is that you are the kind of person who sees the glass of water as alf empty...we don't need your kind in the community anyways. It looks like you missed something. Linux is a professionals tool, built for professionals who put their time and efforts to put an end to the monopoly of Microsoft in the desktop market.

    I believe that most people don't have the skills required to code their own drivers, I'm sure that his 90 years old grand father dosen't anyways. So lets give the home market for microsoft. Anybody knows that right now, Linux in all its forms and wonders is not ready for the average 8 years old sister who just wants to play. Meanwhile, we will continue to use the open source projects within our Universitys and research centers. I would even suggest that we should try to keep it that way.
  • For the most part, I think he's right. Microsoft has had a head start in the marketplace, and with getting to know the consumer and what the consumer wants. Regardless of software quality, it is easier for low-skilled or no-skilled users to use a Windows PC compared to Linux. However, in time, that will change. Microsoft sees this change coming, and that's why they are threatened.

    The bad news is that Microsoft will probably plaster his quote all over the place in order to scare people away from Linux. Although I agree with what he said, someone like him at a CEO level should have been more careful choosing his wording and phrasing.
  • This is a very sad comment on the integrity of Red Hat's management. My family has been on Linux for three or more years. My nine-year-old seems to have no trouble with the infamous Linux desktop and my 13-year-old is able to find software compatible with anything her friends are using. My wife and I use Linux full time as writers. Linux has completely solved the virus and email contamination problems. We used to mess with Star Office so we could be Word-compatible but have found that unnecessary. And if I decide I really miss my Windows games, which I don't, I know people playing them in Linux using Wine. I think Red Hat is mistaken.
  • Anybody who doesn't believe Linux is ready for the desktop hasn't used the right distro. I am a newbie to the Linux world. I tried Redhat 9 and it was certainly good enough if the system was setup right for anybody to use. Remember, most systems are setup for people before they get them. With recent developments at Redhat I decided to find a different distro. I just loaded SuSe 9.0 and boy is it ready for the desktop. It saw my old winmodem, it loaded all the drivers, its a beautiful desktop and has all of the GUI you could ever want while maintaining the power of the command line. My sister wants a computer and I will build her a SuSe machine. I would build my grandfather a SuSE machine, and there are other CHOICES for other tastes. Windows will get no more money from me or my family!
  • This guy obviously doesn't know what he is talking about. I am somewhat of a newbie in this game. I recently installed Xandros Linux and find it quite suitable for my needs. It loaded easily, detectred all my hardware, all within about 10 minutes. It took me more than a half hour to load w98. Even my wife finds it easy to use. I am 60 years of age so I take great offence to this guys remarks regarding older people not being able to use linux. I love this OS!!
  • Matthew Szulik just tries to encourages the Linux/Open Source community to develop what the home user needs/wants. Since this is an even larger task than developing the linux Kernel itself.
    MS's GUI(windowing system) is straight-forward and understood by everyone (little kid's...grandpa). Because MS only has one GUI called Windows Linux has Gnome, ICEwm, Afterstep, KDE, XIMIAN...
    The community should (like MS) concentrate on one GUI...without loosing the supporters of the other....Get it stable...make it easy...for everyone....MS makes the best GUI, they will be the winner until there's something better...
  • Is this guy nuts? Ok, I now there is a lot an ordinary user doesn't understand about how to operate a linux system - as a former Windows user, I know how many problems have to be solved for linux to be really user friendly. But this statement clearly is wind in the sails of Microsoft, and will do a lot of harm to the linux community.
  • First we hear that Red Hat is going to stop supporting its distro and start using Fedora as a sponge to soak up all the best the GNU/Linux developer community has to offer for its Enterprise Linux and now Tiemann recommends that home computer users choose Windows. Yeah, why disrupt your tiny little brain and let Redmond take care of all the details, backdoors and holes.

    Gosh, and all this time I thought I was using USB and gphoto
    on my Debian boxes too. Must have been a figment of my over active imagination but I like it and I'll just stay where I am in la la land.

  • Well well well, after several weeks of RedHat demanding that I fill out surveys and then just cutting me off all together, true colors have been revealed. I saw this one coming. I think Redhat stock is going to tank at this point.

    What's next for me? Let's see I could try SUSE, Mandrake, Slackware, Lycoris, Lindows, Yellow Dog, Knoppix, Gentoo, etc etc etc etc..

    Good ridance RedHat.
  • He should quit his job then. Clearly his position is favorable to the competition.
  • Szulik should take his shares, cash out and get out of the country. His comments are akin to the local Ford dealership stating that Fords really aren't at the point of maturity with the imports and you would be better off buying a Honda. Regardless of the truth of that statement, for a company executive responsible for the profitablity of the company to recommend a competitor's product is nothing short of egregious.