Red Hat targets enterprise before snaring consumers

Sew up the enterprise, and the consumer desktop will follow (with a little help from third-party killer-apps) says Red Hat.

Shrink-wrap Linux evangelist Red Hat admitted that it is relying on third-parties to port major desktop apps to its operating system before it can ship to consumers.

Red Hat is in London today pounding out the open source message and promoting the latest "easy-to-install" Red Hat 6.1, but says the enterprise will remain its major focus until killer consumer desktop applications open up the home Linux market.

Andy Dickens, Red Hat's director of European sales explained: "We would love to get into the consumer market, but we need third parties to develop desktop applications before we would see widespread consumer adoption. With 6.1 we have added features that could be considered consumer-friendly -- an easy install shell, more comprehensive support etc... but we need killer apps."

He continued: "The movement has started. Corel is designing for Linux for example, but until it picks up, we'll be concentrating on the enterprise."

But Red Hat hopes that the consumer Linux market will eventually take off, and believes that if it captures the enterprise market with a good reputation for fulfilling shipping, service and support promises, the home market will fall into line. An ideal situation if, for example, the momentum in the consumer market mirrors the current corporate pull, which Red Hat European general manager Colin Tenwick likened to "trying to hold on to a tiger."

CEO Bob Young envisions Red Hat's future efforts will follow the example set by US supermarket supremo Wal-Mart:

"In order to build up a loyal following of customers, Wal-Mart didn't do bad things to Sears, or say nasty things about Kmart. Instead it did good things for its customers, and set about looking after those customers better than the competition. That's what we want to do."

We can't wait.

Gagging for a consumer tailored shrink-wrap of Red Hat Linux? What killer desktop apps would you need to be available before you would consider a re-format of your PC? Tell the Mailroom