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Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough

Zonk posted about 6 years ago | from the choosing-where-to-fight-your-battles dept.

Linux Business 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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472 comments

Fair enough (5, Insightful)

locokamil (850008) | about 6 years ago | (#23103666)

Free means that you're free to look out for yourself.

As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.

Is Company Driven Linux Meant for the Desktop? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 6 years ago | (#23103836)

Free means that you're free to look out for yourself. As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.
I certainly didn't intend this submission to sound like I was blaming Red Hat for abandoning Linux on the desktop for the single user. I was, instead, hoping this would generate interesting conversation about whether or not desktop Linux is supposed to be delivered by a company. Perhaps it has to come from single developers working together? Red Hat contributes big time (over 10% of all contributions I think) to kernel development so they're already a god to me.

Will Canonical's Ubuntu distribution be short lived if they fail to target the enterprise? I don't mean to spread FUD, just wondering. I think Canonical is Europe or South Africa based, perhaps America's economic woes are driving Red Hat away from funding things that, frankly, have no return on investment? Is desktop Linux for the end user merely an economic drain on a company? I certainly hope not but that's kind of how I interpreted Red Hat's blog ...

Re:Is Company Driven Linux Meant for the Desktop? (2, Informative)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about 6 years ago | (#23104420)

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:Is Company Driven Linux Meant for the Desktop? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 6 years ago | (#23104692)

Linux is technically ready for the desktop. Now a company with support capacity and marketing abilities is needed if we want to see more than a 2% market share

Whither Fedora? (4, Interesting)

Craig Maloney (1104) | about 6 years ago | (#23103710)

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.

Re:Whither Fedora? (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 years ago | (#23103822)

why do you think Red Hat spun Fedora off, and have set them up as mostly self sufficient? The personal desktop market isn't profitable when you have to compete against an illegal monopoly. Even with Free software as a base.

The year of the Linux desktop isn't going to happen. the year of the Linux mobile, the Linux server, and the Linux hand-held computer, however are fast approaching.

Linux will take the desktop market through the back door. By getting in on every other device first.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 6 years ago | (#23103892)

Linux Mobile? Where?!?!

I keep hearing the "news", but have yet to see anything

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

mweather (1089505) | about 6 years ago | (#23103996)

Re:Whither Fedora? (4, Interesting)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 6 years ago | (#23104052)

Be honest with yourself. That's not *really* linux on a phone, at least not in a way that would ever have any influence over a user switching their Desktop OS.
It's just a way manufacturers found to avoid hiring 2 or 3 more programmers.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 years ago | (#23104662)

at least not in a way that would ever have any influence over a user switching their Desktop OS.
I wasn't aware that advocating desktop OS change was a requirement of a mobile device OS. Just because Apple and MS try to use their mobile OS's as leverage doesn't mean everyone wants to.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#23104682)

at least not in a way that would ever have any influence over a user switching their Desktop OS.

Yes, you see, the point is that you're using linux on the mobile device, not the desktop.

In other words, the great grandparent to your post was saying that desktop linux is going to be completely separate and unrelated to linux on mobile devices.

Sometimes it's about usability, not evangelism.

Some people (like those who hate the nvidia binary drivers) would be much better off if they'd just learn that.

Re:Whither Fedora? Where??? (2, Funny)

miknix (1047580) | about 6 years ago | (#23104314)

Linux Mobile? Where?!?!

I keep hearing the "news", but have yet to see anything
1. Build a cross-compiler along with a decent GNU toolchain.
2. ??
3. Boot linux
4. Profit? No, enjoy it!

Re:Whither Fedora? (5, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#23104072)

Linux will take the desktop market through the back door.

On the contrary, I think it's Windows that has been taking the desktop market through the back door, for quite a while now. Roughly, without lube.

Re:Whither Fedora? (0, Troll)

plague3106 (71849) | about 6 years ago | (#23104132)

The personal desktop market isn't profitable when you have to compete against an illegal monopoly.

"Illegal monopoly" makes you sound like an idiot, because monopolies aren't illegal.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | about 6 years ago | (#23104190)

Is is when they abuse that power.

Re:Whither Fedora? (0, Troll)

plague3106 (71849) | about 6 years ago | (#23104228)

The abuse is illegal, the monopoly is not. There is a difference.

Re:Whither Fedora? (2, Informative)

sobachatina (635055) | about 6 years ago | (#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? (2, Informative)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 6 years ago | (#23104364)

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.

Linux on the descktop is already available (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 6 years ago | (#23104562)

When people say is it ready for the desktop they are talking about a desktop interface for linux where usability, interplatform compatibility and conistency are primal. Linux itself is a tweakfest. Until the UI gets as standardized and bulletproff and seamless as windows or mac it won't happen.

Thus mass market desktop worthiness is almost antithetical to Linux's nature.

But the reverse, Linux on the desktop, where you think of Linux as application running inside a proven desktop is not only possible it exists.

Virtual machines running at nearly full speed are available for mac and windows. The ones i've seen on mac can run the linux unrooted, rooted or even capture Linux windows and treat them as any other application window in the host OS's desktop.

The latter is where you finally arrive at linux on the desktop.

Sure the UI is not highly tweakable. But that's a "good thing". All the other parts of linux you like, all the plugable modules, configuration files, etc... all those are there in their full tweakable glory. So nothing is lost and a lot is gained.

This is how Linux can come to the desktop. It won't be the desktop that hardcore linux users will want neccessarily since for power users it layers on a potentially fragile layer of indirection. But for the mass market desktop it would work.

Re:Linux on the descktop is already available (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 6 years ago | (#23104760)

You're right in many ways.

Fortunately Linux as a concept is big enough to encompass desktops for power users and for mass market. Also watches, cellphones, and whatever else they want to run it on.

Re:Whither Fedora? (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 years ago | (#23104746)

Um, the year of the linux server was a while back. It's gone past buzzword status and become mainstream practice.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 6 years ago | (#23103850)

Doesnt surprise me at all. Their in the business of making money. To make money, you pick the niches that require the least work for the most revenue.

Creating and supporting a desktop OS for end-users is a HUGELY expensive and complicated undertaking.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about 6 years ago | (#23103918)

Fedora is a gold mine of information, testing, and development for Red Hat. They would never let it just fade away. Plus, it's a testing ground for RHEL -- despite what RHAT says publically. (this comes from someone who has been on the inside)

Even if RHAT did pull their considerable resources out of the Fedora, community would, or at least, could carry on.

Re:Whither Fedora? (5, Informative)

fyrie (604735) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Whither Fedora? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#23104564)

This 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.

which means that Fedora stays within the community - it has no reach beyond its base.

Re:Whither Fedora? (2, Informative)

canuck57 (662392) | about 6 years ago | (#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 [fedoraproject.org] .

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.

Smart move (5, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | about 6 years ago | (#23103722)

Perhaps they understand that most folks, like myself, don't care about the OS, they care about the applications.

Desktop Linux (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 6 years ago | (#23103738)

Well, their main competitor Ubuntu is basically giving away the OS for free. How can RedHat expect to compete with that?

Personally, I find Linux to be great as a server OS doing very specific things for my home network. Webserver, you bet. Fileserver, yep. Firewall, no doubt. Mail server, of course. But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss. I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

xSauronx (608805) | about 6 years ago | (#23103782)

theres 2 reasons i use windows at all: office 2007 (i like it, and one of my classes requires the format for submission) webcam support: while mine technically works in linux, it freezes randomly. it bugs me, really, because until i started this class back in january, i hadnt had to use windows for a year. what a lovely year that was.

Re:Desktop Linux (1, Flamebait)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#23104024)

Sounds like your school got free copies of MS products by agreeing to force you guys to use the newest version of Office. What kind of idiot would require only the docx format otherwise?

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

xSauronx (608805) | about 6 years ago | (#23104170)

its a fully online "intro to computers" class that is required, meh. youre likely right, all the school computers have office 2007, and the text this class uses deals with office 2007 for productivity, and gets specifically into doing this and that in the various office apps. a free trial is provided for the course, its just a hassle to be doing everything in linux, but have to reboot just to be able to format a paper for submission or do a couple hours worth of excel homework.

i guess it wont hurt to learn how to use excel and formulas and such...but its still a hassle.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#23104414)

What kind of idiot would require only the docx format otherwise?

Possibly an idiot that wanted the students to learn the newest version of the by far dominant set of tools.

I'm a programmer, so no one really cares about my Word/Excel skills. Try to get any number of non-technical office jobs and you'll be surprised how many employers do. You don't have to be completely insane or in Microsoft's pocket (although I'm sure in some cases those are the reasons) to try to provide your graduates with skills that are in demand.

Re:Desktop Linux (3, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 6 years ago | (#23103814)

You do know that Microsoft's personal deals with nearly every hardware manufacturer out there has a LOT to do with Windows' general "lack of fuss."

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#23104220)

You do know that Microsoft's personal deals with nearly every hardware manufacturer out there has a LOT to do with Windows' general "lack of fuss."

Ultimately, (most) end users don't really care, as long as it "works" for them.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 6 years ago | (#23104266)

Oh, I know, and you know, but I was correcting the Parent Poster's position that Windows was working better for some sort of magical reason.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#23104632)

Oh, I know, and you know, but I was correcting the Parent Poster's position that Windows was working better for some sort of magical reason.

Fair enough.

For what it's worth, I would say the reason is complicated and a combination of a lot of different factors adding up, including the one you mentioned.

The biggest one, IMHO, is that the open source community has high esteem/respect for developers, but other tasks that go into producing a polished product meant to be used by less technical people aren't valued the same way. I think someday the community will come around and place high values on rigorous testing, UI design, user documentation, etc., and that really will be "the year of Linux on the desktop."

Re:Desktop Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23103832)

I'd agree with redhat not profitable atm - although having said that 90% of my office(the non laptop crowd) are on terminals connecting to centos based x-servers - We wouldn't pay a per user fee for it though....

Re:Desktop Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23103872)

Buhahahah, Red Hat's main competitor is Ubuntu? First of all, RHEL is available as CentOS for free.

Second of all. Ubuntu STILL isn't anywhere near turning a profit. If Mark's money runs out before they do start turning a profit, canonical goes bye bye.

Re:Desktop Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104064)

What about Launchpad? I'd imagine that's turning a profit, and Ubuntu is driving users to it.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about 6 years ago | (#23103954)

Well, their main competitor Ubuntu is basically giving away the OS for free. How can RedHat expect to compete with that?
RHAT already does compete, sort of, in the desktop space. They have a workstation product. Not sure of sales volume though.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#23104098)

I have found that Linux works just great on my desktop at home. The only reasons I jump into Windows if FS2004 and FSX.
Linux just seems faster and I have less to worry about than with WindowsXP.
My wife finds Linux just as frendly and easy to use.
The only thing lacking in Linux for my wife and I are some specfic programs.
My wife really wants ACDC for Linux as well as infraview.
I want FS2004 and FSX but I am not holding my breath.

I've had a different experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104120)

But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss.


I find Windows (XP) terrible as a desktop. I find it impossible to figure out what the fuck is happening when something goes wrong, I find the way installers scatter shit all over the filesystem to be deeply irritating, and the fact that the config information is often stored in a hidden binary database (the registry) is idiotic.

Of course, I'm a programmer and I mostly work with manipulating large quantities of data (usually text), and Unix is just a lot better at doing that than Window).

Re:Desktop Linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104330)

But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss. I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.
The problem is not that Gnome or KDE can't match or beat the Windows GUI. I feel this has been the case for quite a while now (especially with Gnome). The problem is that you (and a lot of new Linux users like yourself) are biased towards the system that you're already familiar with.

I assume you've never needed to use two or more monitors and therefore haven't noticed the lack of multi-monitor support in the Windows GUI? In Windows you can't just place down two taskbars (one for each monitor) like you can in Gnome. Under Windows you also can't drag a fullscreen window from one monitor to another. There are plenty of examples like this where Windows (especially XP) is by far inferior to a typical Gnome desktop.

With regards to a desktop environment "just working", have you considered the time and expertise required to get Windows XP to open archives (.rar/etc), play movie formats (.flv/etc), read documents (.pdf/etc) and do countless other similar things? If I install Ubuntu which includes Gnome, all of these things "just work". I don't need to be a computer guru and have knowledge of finding, downloading and installing applications, configuring them, updating them when vulnerabilities are found, etc.

I have used both environments extensively (coming from a familiarity in the Windows environment) and would say that Gnome easily beats the Windows XP experience - especially for new users. Don't confuse familiarity with functionality and usability. Try installing each system from the original CDs and pretend you're completely computer illiterate. Which one is easier to get running, and more importantly, to use?

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#23104486)

Really? What do you do for virtual desktops on XP? I'd have to say any GUI without virtual desktops is "pretty clunky".

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Tikkun (992269) | about 6 years ago | (#23104516)

I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.
You could have just said that you're a PC gamer and Wine is more effort than it's worth for that application... ;)

Makes sense in a away (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23103762)

Redhat built up a reputation on the server. They really do not compete against that many. The desktop is a whole other creature. In particular, it is not just MS (which is hard), but also apple, nearly ALL the other linux distros, and even BSD. This is a tough market and will require staying power.

Confused ... (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 years ago | (#23103842)

OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess.

But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop". I've used Linux/FreeBSD as a desktop OS for over a decade. Gnome and KDE both seem fairly robust, with lots of apps and functionality.

WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?

I'm afraid I just don't get what is fundamentally missing here. What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

Cheers

Re:Confused ... (3, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | about 6 years ago | (#23103978)

OK, so I'm thick, I'll confess. But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop".
Mainly, it's the combination of "just working" and supporting the things that end up not working that you'll need to provide.

Re:Confused ... (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 6 years ago | (#23103984)

Red Hat is just being disingenuous. They're really in the business of selling support for a free product to companies who want to run Linux on their servers and still have somebody to yell at when things go wrong. If you think about it, Microsoft isn't really interested in the "desktop" business either - they want to sell to companies, so they can charge full price, (re)sell frequent upgrades, and sign fat support contracts. After the initial sale, there's NO money to be made (either by Red Hat or Microsoft) for the typical "home desktop" machine - there's only headaches to be had from that market.

Re:Confused ... (3, Interesting)

tomtomtom777 (1148633) | about 6 years ago | (#23104036)

What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

Simple answer: easy installation.

FreeBSD with Gnome or KDE is simply not comparable to Ubuntu Hardy (for example) in terms of installation and administration for the average Joe.

I agree that for the desktop might not be the right terminology but if you step in Joe's shoes and compare both solutions you'll notice a huge difference.

Re:Confused ... (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 6 years ago | (#23104576)

Personally, I've found Gentoo easier to install than XP. Especially when something goes wrong. Not that I'd suggest to my mother or wife to try to install either...

Re:Confused ... (1)

ohtani (154270) | about 6 years ago | (#23104086)

Streamlining it all. The streamlining of installation and pieces integrating with the system and the management of such setup by the development team. These days, it just doesn't quite work if a distro simply installs GNOME or installs KDE. It needs to tweak the setup a bit and add components and tweak other settings to make it all seamless like it's part of the system.

Re:Confused ... (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 6 years ago | (#23104154)

What's missing is the finishing off, and the polishing that so many computer geeks seem to miss.

An example:
Leopard has a very shiny feature called time machine
The same thing can be done in Linux in a variety of different ways.

What's missing then?
No linux distribution has *one* nicely flagged easy way to do this, that makes the user feel confident about what they're doing. There are no rounded corners, or neat animations to bring up the GUI for it, or beautifully simple browsers with big friendly buttons saying "restore". Even if this did exist, it would probably work in a completely different way to the rest of the system, leaving the user with no confidence that they're doing the right thing.

Re:Confused ... (2, Interesting)

Tikkun (992269) | about 6 years ago | (#23104584)

So... then you're saying... that Windows isn't ready for the desktop because it doesn't have Time Machine.

Me too (4, Interesting)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 6 years ago | (#23104166)

I was about to ask that same question. I'm using Linux "on the desktop" right now as I write this, as I have for years. What is it about my desktop that isn't "ready for the desktop"? If anything, my friends using Windows have had to deal with more overall crap, and most of them would acknowledge as much (but not switch, of course).

I suspect that that this "not ready for the desktop" meme that I see constantly being reinforced is just part of the FUD campaign that Microsoft and its stakeholders have waged for years. It doesn't matter that experienced Linux users know it's a load of crap if they can keep their own customers too afraid to try it.

I've also noticed lately that posts like this one get modded down pretty quickly, now that there are companies that perform this service for a fee. Let's see if it happens this time...

Re:Confused ... (4, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | about 6 years ago | (#23104254)

WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?
Every time one problem is solved, it's another one.

It used to be "No serious office software". Then OpenOffice came to be.

Then it was "very difficult to configure" (never mind that in businesses, where much of the money is, a dedicated IT department does all the configuring and they sure as hell don't go around like monkeys clicking "Next Next Next" on every PC). Then Ubuntu came to be.

Right now there are a few more - the first two that spring to mind are "very difficult to manage across a large group in a similar easy fashion to Windows - you can't easily click a button and - poof! - an icon for an application will appear on the desktop of everyone belonging to a particular group, you can't easily centrally disable UI functionality on a per-group basis so end users don't see anything that might confuse them." The general answer to that one is "it's not that hard to roll your own" - which is certainly true but few IT departments want to re-invent the wheel. Canonical have a product called "Landscape" which supposedly solves this but it's only available when you pay for support so how good it is I don't know.

The second argument right now is "all the little business applications which handle boring things like payroll and accounts, of which there are myriad, are conspicuous by their absence on Linux".

Once this problem is solved, I imagine something else will come up. I think what it really boils down to is "a migration would provide little benefit and cause a great deal of work which we can't justify". Which is probably the most sound business reason that exists - make no mistake, it will continue to exist for a very long time. Lots of companies stuck with dumb terminals for years, only to migrate to PCs with a terminal emulator for the business application.

There's No Money In it (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | about 6 years ago | (#23104482)

Red Hat means they don't think they can make money selling a retail Linux for use on desktops. That's been their position for several years.

Whether or not it is possible to put together a collection of Linux software that qualifies a a "desktop" is not at issue.

Re:Confused ... Explanation, Its SIMPLE! (1)

miknix (1047580) | about 6 years ago | (#23104724)

But, seriously ... what the hell do people mean when they say that someone needs to design a "desktop". I've used Linux/FreeBSD as a desktop OS for over a decade. Gnome and KDE both seem fairly robust, with lots of apps and functionality.
I totally agree.

WTF is fundamentally missing that it can't be a "desktop"?? Are we talking administration? Apps? Screen savers? Spinning cursor add-ons? iTunes? Virus scanners? Boxed software?

I'm afraid I just don't get what is fundamentally missing here. What is missing from the puzzle for being a "desktop"?

Cheers
I see GNU/Linux Desktop as a kitchen and the desktop user as the woman (*shrugs*) responsible for the kitchen.

GNU/Linux gives you the tools and means to do great things like the kitchen gives womans (*shrugs*) power to do amazing cooks.

GNU/Linux desktop needs healthier hacking to run just like you want. The same way, kitchens should be cleaned up and decorated to look like every woman dream.

Don't have time/knowledge to maintain your kitchen? Get a maid!

Re:Confused ... Explanation, Its SIMPLE! (1)

miknix (1047580) | about 6 years ago | (#23104782)

Don't have time/knowledge to maintain your kitchen? Get a maid!
.. or go eat at the restaurant

Re:Confused ... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 6 years ago | (#23104740)

I love using linux as my desktop, converted about a year ago, and have not looked back. However, at my office, I have to use/administer windows. I have got to say that the one thing Linux lacks as a desktop in the business world is group policy (or something equivalent). I can't tell you how nice it is to have one spot on the server to configure password policies, proxy's for browsers, printing defaults, and application settings for all client computers. Not to mention a quick dirty way to deploy software out.

Why tell the world? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 6 years ago | (#23103858)

"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" Hmmmm... We all knew that, but they they have to tell the world? ;)

And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (4, Insightful)

deragon (112986) | about 6 years ago | (#23103864)

But in the long run, they might get bitten. Canonical's Ubuntu offer is fantastic. The server/desktop solution is essentially the same. The free version is THE enterprise version. In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough. Scrap the OS and reinstall RHEL to get support from the Vendor. With Ubuntu, you just go and pay for support.

And corporations like to keep things simple. Why have two distributions (one for the desktops, one for the servers) when one could do the job? This is where Ubuntu outshines.

I am not too familiar with using Ubuntu on the server side. It lacks support from big ISV such as Rational (IBM) and maybe Oracle. However, since it is Debian derived, I would trust the OS for most server tasks. So while in the past we were more inclined to use RHEL, in my organization we are considering Ubuntu for the server side.

Red Hat is concentrating too much on the short term. Yes, they should not spend too much money marketing a desktop version or polishing it. Canonical barely does any marketing (ever saw an add from Ubuntu?). But Red Hat should have a presence on the desktop to remain in the race in the long term.

I have a lot of respect for Mark Shuttleworth (Canonical owner). He has a long term vision and while part of his goal is too be profitable, he also has a social goal.

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (2, Informative)

deragon (112986) | about 6 years ago | (#23104012)

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:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104018)

Canonical sure wants to take over. They've got one step to cross first... Turning a profit _before_ Mark runs out of money...

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (3, Interesting)

newbiefan (703469) | about 6 years ago | (#23104168)

In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough.
If you want Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free, get CentOS. Red Hat contributes more to free software than Canonical.

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (2, Insightful)

deragon (112986) | about 6 years ago | (#23104532)

Yes, but if you want support from THE vendor, you won't get it. With Ubuntu, you can install for free and get support from THE vendor. Of course, you probably can get support for CentOS from 3rd parties, but large corporations prefer to get support from THE vendor, i.e. those who actually designed the product in the first place.

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 6 years ago | (#23104288)

And corporations like to keep things simple. Why have two distributions (one for the desktops, one for the servers) when one could do the job? This is where Ubuntu outshines.
Really?

http://www.ubuntu.com/products/WhatIsUbuntu/serveredition [ubuntu.com]

http://www.ubuntu.com/products/WhatIsUbuntu/desktopedition [ubuntu.com]

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#23104354)

For the time being, the only difference between Ubuntu desktop and server is the default loadout. You can easily change from desktop to server (and vice versa, or a mix of both) with a few apt-gets.

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (2, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | about 6 years ago | (#23104380)

Is not like RedHat isn't already spending money on the "Linux Desktop". Or do you think all those fancy stuff people from @redhat.com 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

Re:And Ubuntu will take over in the long run. (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 6 years ago | (#23104684)

The simple reason why you want to have a commercial desktop that is different from the commercial server is that you really don't want to field support calls from secretaries, shipping and receiving, salescritters, general managers, and any other non-techie about how to get Apache, FTP servers, and the like, all working. From a techie perspective, RH's workstation offering was maddening in that these things were missing, but from a support perspective, it would be maddening to try to support all those non-techies that don't really need what they're trying to use (and the first key to security is to shut down or not even install what you don't need).

As for support for Ubuntu - some IBM products do support it, e.g., DB2.

Desktop Linux (3, Insightful)

Sadsfae (242195) | about 6 years ago | (#23103878)

With a plethora of excellent choices for the Linux desktop available like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc who really cares?

Red Hat targeting the server market makes more sense, they still support Fedora Project so nothing new to see here.

hmm. (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 6 years ago | (#23103882)

The article did not mention it, so I'll state it. Truth is that they are being spanked by Ubuntu and are forced to move to server in order to survive. As always, its hard to make a business in selling something people can get for free. Not to mention that as Linux get easier and more reliable paying for support seems less attractive.

Shame though, I used to use RH. before dallying with 'drake, 'diva, and 'dora on the way to (K)Ubuntu. Each to their own though.

Re:hmm. (4, Insightful)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#23104250)

RedHat has ALWAYS focused on the server/workstation market. They're not focusing on the desktop because the backroom is what they're best at.

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104328)

Truth is that they are being spanked by Ubuntu and are forced to move to server in order to survive.
lol! Look at all the little Ubuntunoobs modding this "Insightful".

The problem is software. (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 6 years ago | (#23103894)

The problem with the viability of desktop Linux, and why everyone is so leery of it, is the lack of consumer software for it. True enough, OpenOffice is an admirable effort, and it is getting very close to parity with MS Office. And Firefox / etc. are fine. But there is more to do on these damn machines than write emails, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

What is needed on Linux is the same panoply of software that is at the same level of quality as found on MacOS or Windows. What is missing on Linux:

1. The Adobe/Macromedia collection of software â" from Photoshop to Dreamweaver to Flash.
2. A really good video editor (think AVID)
3. A really good audio/music program (think ProTools and Ableton Live)
4. A low level video layer (think quickTime/Quartz / WindowsMedia)

I'm sure there's more. Frankly, NOTHING on Linux rivals the Adobe CS collection. NOTHING on Linux rivals AVID (or even Final Cut Pro). NOTHING on Linux rivals ProTools. Why don't I have a Linux box? Because the above mentioned software packages (and a host of others) are not available on Linux, and the stuff that is similar to it is inferior. If Adobe / AVID / Digidesign / Ableton / etc. ported their stuff over to Linux, I'd get a Linux box in a heartbeat. But until then, I'm going to hang with my MacBookPro, thank you very much.

And since this is The Truth On The Ground, that's why places like RedHat are hesitant to bother with desktop Linux. They could build it, but there's nothing to do there, and thus no money to be made.

RS

Re:The problem is software. (0, Troll)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | about 6 years ago | (#23103970)

The problem is that no one is going to take the time to write "high quality" software for linux, unless they're going to make money on it. Since they know most Linux users will either

A. Attack them for not being "free and open"
B. Steal the software anyway

It's not likely you'll ever see such an animal.

Re:The problem is software. (1)

Shados (741919) | about 6 years ago | (#23104232)

Exactly. And heck, even most of the good software that Linux DOES have was made for money (Firefox/Mozilla has a larger income stream than most companies I worked for...).

People have to sit down and let it sink in that money rules the world, even the Free Software world (with a couple of notable exceptions).

Re:The problem is software. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 6 years ago | (#23104370)

Jeremy wrote:

The problem is that no one is going to take the time to write "high quality" software for linux, unless they're going to make money on it. Since they know most Linux users will either
A. Attack them for not being "free and open"
B. Steal the software anyway
It's not likely you'll ever see such an animal.

I (sadly) agree, and that's why Linux is going to die in a ghetto. On the flip side: Adobe could port their entire CS to Linux, sell the software and Throw In The Computer For Free (buy CS version (x)! Get a Linux computer from ASUS for FREE with the coupon included!!!) Fuck - I'd do that in a New York Second. I really believe Adobe is the key to Linux - it would provide the killer apps everyone wants on a platform they could pretty much dictate. At that point, you know for a fact RedHat would drool at that deal...

but, (sigh) as you know and stated clearly, the zealots will pee in the well, and it won't happen.

(double sigh)

RS

Re:The problem is software. (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | about 6 years ago | (#23104548)

Adobe is quite happy to remain a significant Apple player I'm sure. That is their platform and it has always shined there.

Re:The problem is software. (1)

mini me (132455) | about 6 years ago | (#23104092)

Disney was well known for using Linux for those things you mentioned several years ago. Granted, some of the software they used was probably developed in-house. I don't know if they are still using the platform, but if it was good enough then, it can't really be worse today.

Re:The problem is software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23104222)

as for pro tools, you should check out ardour www.ardour.org

It uses JACK and my m-audio delta 1010 performs nicely. combine it with ubuntu studio, and I won't be going back to windows for professional recordings again.

Re:The problem is software. (5, Insightful)

tomtomtom777 (1148633) | about 6 years ago | (#23104230)

I couldn't disagree more. How many users do you think, are actually using one of these professional tools?

I think only a few. Most users still use there computer for web browsing, emailing wordprocessing and IM.

Although it would be nice to have those professional applications ported or seriously replaced with Open Source versions, it's definitely not the BIG problem of Linux on the desktop

Re:The problem is software. (1)

reallocate (142797) | about 6 years ago | (#23104556)

>>" Most users still use there computer for web browsing, emailing wordprocessing and IM."

And if they are satisfied with the software they're using for those basic tasks, they have no incentive to consider an alternative.

Re:The problem is software. (1)

Tikkun (992269) | about 6 years ago | (#23104652)

And why does Joe Sixpack need any of the products you mention? They want something simple, easy to maintain, secure, plays all their media and works with youtube. Around 1% of the population uses the tools you mention to create media, the other 99% consume it.

Post Inaccurate (5, Informative)

ebeneazer (74557) | about 6 years ago | (#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.

No, Red Hat hasn't given up (3, Informative)

Adaptux (1235736) | about 6 years ago | (#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?

GNOME is tough (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23103960)

Considering the fact that they always backed GNOME it is not really surprising. Both Red Hat and Novell (+Ximian) poured shitload of money into GNOME development. Results? Still crap.

How ironic (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 6 years ago | (#23103964)

How ironic. RedHat was the reason that linux became my *only* desktop, 10 years ago. It's still my only desktop. I disagree with them, that it's too hard. I think it can be done. I fully understand and agree about their bottom line however. Idle dreams, would RedHat partner with e.g. Apple for UI and app/desktop integration?

Re:How ironic (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 6 years ago | (#23104292)

Idle dreams, would RedHat partner with e.g. Apple for UI and app/desktop integration?
You do realize you're talking about Apple, right? They're not known for being a team player, except when it suits them (ex: Exchange support for iPhone)

Like a utility (2, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | about 6 years ago | (#23104040)

I've posted before that the desktop GUI is becoming a lot like a utility. This is another example of why: everyone needs it, but it's too difficult to make a profit providing it, so this is why Ubuntu is stepping up strong.

What is so hard? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 6 years ago | (#23104490)

What is so difficult about getting the post popular software packages, drivers and plugins and putting them together into a functional desktop...then advertising that the particular OS will do this and that and that...?

I know that there are folks out there that are accomplishing [all] desktop functions with free software. Again, what's hard for Redhat to bundle software that such folks are using, into a fully functional desktop that will work as advertised?

From Java, to Adobe's flash it's all free software and that's what most people need. If there are licensing issues, talk to the folks that license the software. It is not impossible. I am sure companies like Adobe will be happy to have an additional distribution channel now that Microsoft is on the attack with Silverlight and Moonlight.

What Redhat are doing is to wait until some traction has been got by the desktop...then jump in! Microsoft must be happy with this news. Sad indeed.

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