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."