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Red Hat CEO Questions Relevance of Desktop Linux

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the year-of-something-on-the-something dept.

Operating Systems 615

snydeq writes "Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst questioned the relevance of Linux on the desktop, citing several financial and interoperability hurdles to business adoption at a panel on end-users and Linux last night at the OSBC. 'First of all, I don't know how to make money on it,' Whitehurst said, adding that he was uncertain how relevant the desktop itself will be in five years given advances in cloud-based and smartphone computing, as well as VDI. 'The concept of a desktop is kind of ridiculous in this day and age. I'd rather think about skating to where the puck is going to be than where it is now.' Despite increasing awareness that desktop Linux is ready for widespread mainstream adoption, fellow panelists questioned the practicality of switching to Linux, noting that even some Linux developers prefer Macs to Linux. 'There's a desire [to use desktop Linux],' one panelist said, 'but practicality sets in. There are significant barriers to switching.'"

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Give up control? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331097)

I don't want to give up control of 'MY' unit to the cloud...ever!

Re:Give up control? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331147)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Give up control? (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | about 5 years ago | (#27331201)

Were you forced to post this troll as part of some bizarre 12 step program?

I had to. (5, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27331463)

Were you forced to post this troll as part of some bizarre 12 step program?

  1. Accepting that you have a problem with accepting Linux and that you are powerless in regards to Windows.
  2. Came to believe that Linux will restore us to sanity.
  3. Make a decision to our computers to Linux or to the distribution that we prefer.
  4. Make a moral inventory of our computer systems.
  5. Admit to Slashdot, Linus, and to others the exact nature of our wrong OS choice.
  6. We submit to Linux to remove our OS shortcomings.
  7. Humbly submit to Linux
  8. Make a list of computers we installed Windows on and make amends and become willing to install Linux on them
  9. Find those machines and install Linux.
  10. Continued to take computer inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Linux as we understood the distribution we use, praying only for knowledge of Linus' will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Re:Give up control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331565)

It's actually a three-step program.

1. Repeat old memes
2. ???
3. Profit

Oh Yeah?! (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#27331103)

How about laptops, huh?!

Re:Oh Yeah?! (2, Funny)

Pecisk (688001) | about 5 years ago | (#27331517)

Huh, better tell me how about grapes?!

(For those who didn't get...yeah, that story about fox)

He's just angry... (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 5 years ago | (#27331117)

that Canonical is doing what he's been trying to do for years.

Re:He's just angry... (5, Informative)

IpSo_ (21711) | about 5 years ago | (#27331317)

Uhh, last I checked Canonical hasn't actually turned a profit yet. Its just being funded by someone who has very deep pockets. It could be years before he recovers his investment, if it ever happens.

Re:He's just angry... (3, Insightful)

upside (574799) | about 5 years ago | (#27331423)

Making a profit and being relevant are two different things.

I use Linux for desktop both at work (RHEL/PC) and home (Ubuntu/netbook).

Re:He's just angry... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 5 years ago | (#27331749)

Uhh, last I checked Canonical hasn't actually turned a profit yet. Its just being funded by someone who has very deep pockets. It could be years before he recovers his investment, if it ever happens.

Typically when we encounter such circumstances, the thing to do is to make it publicly funded. It's worked pretty well in the past...

Re:He's just angry... (1)

y86 (111726) | about 5 years ago | (#27331357)

that Canonical is doing what he's been trying to do for years.

Exactly. This ubuntu linux has become an AMAZING desktop OS.

I use the server distro and the desktop OS and I can tell you the user experience is light years ahead of RedHat or Novell.

Re:He's just angry... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331503)

recent ati card still don't works out of the box, 3g huawei modem have troubles, sound card stutters, sleep works rarely, switching from x11 to console may cause lookups and so on.

I love linux, but you need some reality check.

Re:He's just angry... (2, Insightful)

Nyxeh (701219) | about 5 years ago | (#27331529)

I think when it comes to using terms like 'amazing' around Linux (and Ubuntu in particular) is that it has been so bad for so long that the fact that it works as it should is being treated like an amazing success, rather than an expected situation.

Re:He's just angry... (1, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#27331697)

Thanks. Saved me having to say it.

I'll add the next step in the logic though: obviously if Canonical do the desktop better, they also get the server market, or at least, debian-like distros (quite probably Debian itself) will. Good riddance to the RPM format, I say. Redhat should have swallowed their pride and adopted the superior format years ago, and we'd all have been a lot further forward now.

Jim Whitehurst must be french. (0, Flamebait)

y86 (111726) | about 5 years ago | (#27331131)

Only the French could come up with such a daring plan for victory.

See WWI and WWII.

Har Har har.

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331389)

Only the French could come up with such a daring plan for victory.

See WWI and WWII.

Har Har har.

Didn't France bankroll the American Revolution?

"Har Har har."

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331429)

Funding a war isn't the same as fighting it. ;-)

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (2, Insightful)

dwiget001 (1073738) | about 5 years ago | (#27331473)

Well, the French **also** fought with the U.S., kicking the British arse on the high seas, etc.

Guess you missed those parts of the American Revolution.

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (-1, Flamebait)

y86 (111726) | about 5 years ago | (#27331675)

Well, the French **also** fought with the U.S., kicking the British arse on the high seas, etc.

Guess you missed those parts of the American Revolution.

Thanks for proving my point. Once again, victory is achieved by Americans with the French riding on our coat tails.

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331627)

Um...I think funding is at least as important as fighting in a war.

Nowadays, however, we send our Johnnies off to fight on behalf of the oil companies, and then reduce or eliminate their VA benefits when they return home physically and/or psychologically injured. (I'm hoping this improves under Obama.)

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (1, Offtopic)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#27331699)

The British would not have surrendered had the French fleet not cut off reinforcements to Yorktown from Britain by taking control of the coast of Virginia. They also had soldiers, including high level officers, assisting the Americans. This is all in addition to all the funding.

It's highly unlikely the Americans would have been able to win the war without French assistance, and it would do us well to remember that. America and France have a long history of helping each other out of tight situations, and we do ourselves a disservice by forgetting that.

Re:Jim Whitehurst must be french. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331583)

You do know who won these wars?

Put it in a shiny box. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331141)

Put it on the shelf, and sell it for $50. Use the $50 to pay for 1) 24-hour tech support phone line and 2) Licensing for MPEG, MP3, etc so that DVD and music playback Just Works, out of the box. I'll buy half a dozen copies and GIVE them to all my relatives. Please, somebody do this already.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (4, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 5 years ago | (#27331271)

Put it on the shelf, and sell it for $50. Use the $50 to pay for 1) 24-hour tech support phone line

One support call by each buyer will exhaust the 50$.
And people who buy rather than download will be kind of people who will need support.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (2, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 5 years ago | (#27331371)

I bought Ubuntu for $20 at BestBuy sometime last year shortly after 8.04 came out. Haven't seen it since then, but I assume free OS's don't sell too well when obscurely placed in the PC software section instead of directly next to all the shiny Windows Vusta boxes.

But thats really irrelevant, the thing I take issue to is that Mac OSX is NOT a better developer environment than Ubuntu. I've been using Ubuntu for over 2 years now at work and the only thing I can't do with it is Netmeeting, which is becoming less relevant since Lotus e-meeting works in linux for sharing desktops. I own a MacMini at home and I just can't bring myself to develop on it. That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (2, Insightful)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | about 5 years ago | (#27331571)

That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.

Unless you're developing for multiple platforms, in which case it's actually pretty cost effective to be a reboot away from Linux/Windows/OSX rather than purchasing separate machines.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331587)

I decided to take the plunge and finally learn C with the ultimate goal of moving on to Objective C to build apps for my MacBook. Mac users seem to actually pay for this little app or that little app... that's not as much the case for Windows, and absolutely not the case for *nix.

It may not be a better dev environment, but people will actually pay a couple bucks for what I write if it works well. That alone's enough incentive for me.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (4, Insightful)

upside (574799) | about 5 years ago | (#27331483)

This is one of the interesting things you constantly hear about Desktop Linux: vendors must provide support.

Have you EVER heard of an end user calling Microsoft for support? I'm sure people do, but I've never heard of such a thing.

People just assume they should know, else they ask me or other geeks for help. Corporation hire experts who are trained or self taught. Even THEY don't call Microsoft for help.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (3, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | about 5 years ago | (#27331567)

I worked on a team that paid Microsoft for support. I actually used it, and had them fix a problem (that I couldn't figure out via google and newsgroups). Of course, my boss commented that it was the first time Microsoft support had actually managed to fix a problem, so YMMV.

We also paid a premium for the privilege. But this was a product that generated enough revenue that the higher-ups paid a huge premium to have a Microsoft engineer come out and sit around while we were deploying certain SQL Server replication changes, just in case something went wrong.

Re:Put it in a shiny box. (3, Informative)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | about 5 years ago | (#27331737)

We had an MSDN Universal subscription. We had a case where an app needed to access Card & Socket services to determine what actually was in the PCMCIA slot (This was under NT4).

Nothing in MSDN. Called support and got an answer from them. Of course, they said "This is undocumented, and is not guaranteed to work on any other release.".

perspective (5, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | about 5 years ago | (#27331149)

It might not be ready for his desktop be it has been on my desktop for 7+ years.
His main problem is that he doesn't know how to make money off of Desktop Linux.

Re:perspective (5, Insightful)

Andr T. (1006215) | about 5 years ago | (#27331279)

This makes me think that... if I don't know how to make money from orange juice, should I tell people that drinking it is stupid?

Re:perspective (4, Interesting)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 5 years ago | (#27331647)

This makes me think that... if I don't know how to make money from orange juice, should I tell people that drinking it is stupid?

Well, no - but maybe it means you tell people you don't think it's worth being in the orange juice business...

As for preferring Macs over Linux - I've been down that road and I came back. In the end OS X just didn't make me happy. Replacing my Mac laptop with a Linux one has been delightful. It just feels right.

Re:perspective (4, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | about 5 years ago | (#27331307)

Also, what's with the assumption that the desktop won't be relevant in 5 years? That seems highly unlikely.

It's already been around and mainstream for maybe 15 years, and I don't see it going away any time soon. Sure, mobile devices are going to play an increasing role, but I get the feeling that people are still going to be heading into an office five days a week five years from now.

Re:perspective (4, Interesting)

Penguin Follower (576525) | about 5 years ago | (#27331457)

Let me know when a mobile phone can serve as a CAD workstation, video editing workstation, or other high performance need. We have plenty of those around here where I work. Also need to mention dual wide screen monitors in imaging departments like radiology (they rotate them vertically for x-rays, etc.) It's more likely that thin clients will become the norm again before mobile devices replace desktops. We have a lot of Citrix thin clients here and that number is growing steadily...

Re:perspective (5, Insightful)

anaesthetica (596507) | about 5 years ago | (#27331355)

doesn't know how to make money off of Desktop Linux

This is exactly why Microsoft is afraid of Desktop Linux – no money to be made.

Re:perspective (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#27331397)

Well it isn't really all that clear to me that anyone has to make money off of desktop Linux distributions. At least at the moment, Linux distros seem to be making pretty good progress as it is.

But also I think the summary may be misleading. From the article, it seems like he's pointing out the problems with switching to Linux on the desktop right now, and then going on to say that he isn't very interested in trying to push Linux on the desktop because he's questioning the relevance of desktop computing *at all*.

But then the summary makes it sound like he's just ceding the desktop OS business to Apple/Microsoft, which would be somewhat different.

money makes the world go 'round (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | about 5 years ago | (#27331531)

That's not just his problem. It's his employees' problem too. If he can't make seven or eight figures a year selling the stuff he can't pay his underlings five figures a year to put food on their tables and then they starve and can't do any more work.

Even if you love developing for Linux in your spare time you still need a full time job that, somewhere along the line, sells a service or a product. If that sale isn't made, you won't have a job and you'll have to look for one instead of working on FOSS. No matter how you slice it, FOSS depends directly on the traditional for-profit market to stay alive.

Re:perspective (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331595)

Seemingly left out from the discussion:

If it weren't for all the Unix derivitives, like Linux and OS/x, cloud computing would REQUIRE a Microsoft OS.

Re:perspective (1)

h2sammo (1513571) | about 5 years ago | (#27331695)

profits are the only way for an entrepeneur to measure his efficiency in satisfying consumer demand (wants). if he doesnt know how to make money off of it he doesnt see that consumers would be satisfied by linux on desktops. as an entrepeneur, he wants to satisfy consumers (aka make profits). the more handsome his profits are, the more satisfied the consumers are (because they chose his products over the competition's).

Oh golly... (4, Funny)

Murpster (1274988) | about 5 years ago | (#27331153)

Yes I think I'm going to take this sage wisdom from some ignant suit... "I dunno how to make money off it, so it must be irrelevant." Maybe loosen that tie a little and let some oxygen up in that ol' brain there, buddy? Perhaps then RedHat and Fedora will stop getting declining in quality with each new release.

"ignant suit" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331255)

Yes I think I'm going to take this sage wisdom from some ignant suit...

That's ignint you ignint dumbass.

Really? Again? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331163)

Simply because some CEO can't sell his product in a market flooded with free (and equally good) alternatives (like ubuntu, debian, puppy linux, soon android, and other), the desktop distro is going to disappear? Really?

Or is he talking about the desktop computer? Well, I'll put his name on the pile of people proclaiming the doom of the desktop. While laptops are almost everywhere, they haven't replaced the desktop in the workplace. In fact, at the firm i used to work for, they bought everyone laptops for a round of buys, but then switched back to towers.

Also, I shudder to imagine how slow and botched a thin client rollout would have been. It seemed like every day one server or another was going down for something. I know that's not how you run your shop, but I can't imagine my old 150 person firm was unique.

The desktop is likely to still be relevant (3, Interesting)

magisterx (865326) | about 5 years ago | (#27331209)

Cloud computing and the client-server architecture in general is definitely decreasing the significance of the desktop and will continue to do so, but there will likely remain some niches where it makes sense to have significant desktop performance.

One example that comes to mind is doing development work, including both traditional programming and CAD work as well as graphics design. To be responsive to the user it seems those would want to keep most of the processing near the end user. Similarly, anything dealing with sensitive information must tread lightly when dealing with the cloud or any other server which is not under direct and immediate control.

Re:The desktop is likely to still be relevant (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#27331265)

I don't know about you, but I don't think a Smartphone or sub-netbook could really qualify for many folks as a full-time portal to the Net. Desktops and notebooks will still be part of the show for many years to come, if for no other reason than typing speeds of 12 words a minute don't really cut it in a lot of fields.

Re:The desktop is likely to still be relevant (2, Interesting)

beerbellyswan (741954) | about 5 years ago | (#27331381)

More importantly is privacy. I would much rather have my personal data stored locally on my own machine than some Google data center. The desktop will always have a place for those concerned with their private things - even if a significant portion of their personal data is sent through the networks via online banking, taxes, etc...

Desktop irrelevant (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331213)

You're right, in 5 years the hundreds of millions of desktop computers running various OS's will all go away because of massive investments by companies in huge single points of failu^H^H^H cloud computing facilities. And with this booming economy, those billion dollar future tech gambles will be coming along any day now...

Re:Desktop irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331477)

Other good way of reading Whitehurst words is: 'bla bla bla, buy our software, bla bla bla'

Jim Whitehurst can't make money out of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331223)

Therefore it is irrelevant and nobody wants it.

If large businesses are too conservative to switch to a different operating system, they will definitely be too conservative to use vapour-computing.
And rightly so. Who would give up control of something critical to the cloud.

Maybe that's why I use Ubuntu (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331225)

I've been using a Linux desktop for years. Now that OpenOffice is a reality, and Firefox is the best browser, what's not to like? Sure, Macs are OK, but their keyboard layout makes X windows development very difficult. And the comment, "What about laptops?" is right on the mark: Am I supposed to carry a Linux laptop, and then a Macbook, just so that I can use the Mac desktop? That's absurd. The RedHat CEO is just plain wrong.

Dumbest. CEO. Ever (5, Insightful)

fodder69 (701416) | about 5 years ago | (#27331243)

How many times have we heard the 'Death of the Desktop'. Just because he can't figure out how to make money on it does not mean it is going away.

Re:Dumbest. CEO. Ever (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | about 5 years ago | (#27331787)

About as many times as we have heard "The network is the computer"...um, I mean, "thin clients"...no, that's it not, I think it was "client-server architecture". Or was it "AJAX and Web 2.0 will allow us to move more applications on to the web"? I'm so confused! (Or maybe I'm just getting old. Everybody but mcgrew, get off my lawn!)

The desktop isn't going away. Distributed computing will be stick around as well, as will AJAX and "Web 2.0" (whatever that means). How much software is created for each of these, and the distribution of how much we spend working with applications that use each of these models, will change over time. Increased network speeds and availability have made models that require access networks less cumbersome and will probably continue to do so, but I don't think that there will ever be a complete "death of the desktop" (just like there has never been a complete death of COBOL).

Of course the desktop will be relevant in 5 years (5, Insightful)

kabloom (755503) | about 5 years ago | (#27331291)

Of course the desktop will be relevant in 5 years, because it's still the most convenient way to get serious crative work done (writing, coding, school work, artistic projects). I'd hate to see what would happen to the quality of kids' school reports if they wrote them on smartphones.

You missed the "Cloud" Part (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | about 5 years ago | (#27331491)

He doesn't mean people won't use computers in 5 years, he means that more likely than not students will compose and submit documents in a browser-based environment where it won't matter what operating system they run.

Of course with America's aging teachers worried about their retirement at the moment I'm not sure it will be quite that soon. I still have teachers who want me to print documents to hand in. In 2009. Really, its absurd, I haven't used a printer for anything besides school in probably 8 years.

Re:You missed the "Cloud" Part (1)

kabloom (755503) | about 5 years ago | (#27331753)

While that may be true, creating ran easy to use desktop machine to get you to into the could will still be important. I can't see Linux cedeing that territory as uninteresting. If anything, (but again unlikely) Linux would gain as commerical competitors cede the territory as uninteresting, forcing desktop makers to fend for themselves regarding the software environment.

Re:You missed the "Cloud" Part (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 5 years ago | (#27331763)

A teacher I know was accused of tampering with work when he allowed electronic submission. The way the school IT system was set up (i.e. not very well) meant there was no proof either way.

At my university, however, most work was submitted electronically.

If I owned a printer I'd use it for:
- The occasional map (I've not yet bought a decent smartphone)
- E-ticket confirmations
- Letters to MPs (Members of Parliament), I find a letter is more likely to get a reply than an email
- Printing politically subversive stickers/posters.
As it is, I print this stuff at work (or an internet cafe, if I'm desperate)

RedHate (1, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | about 5 years ago | (#27331297)

'First of all, I don't know how to make money on it'

That's easy. Make it not suck, then sell copies.

Of course, if you're RedHat, that would require getting rid of RPM and yum, and moving to a packaging system that doesn't suck like APT and dpkg, so it's not going to happen.

Fortunately, we have Ubuntu.

Re:RedHate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331705)

getting rid of RPM and yum

Nowt wrong with RPM and yum.

What about recycling those old desktops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331299)

Everyone is all gaga for Cloud computing but there are still millions of used desktops out there that can be used in a cloud-based setup. The idea is that the end user has a dumb terminal, right? Well these old systems -- anything Pentium +, hell even 486s possibly, can be a dumb terminal running Linux with a light Window manager. Puppy comes to mind when I think about Linux that works on *everything* known to Man (with an X86 chip in it). Does this not fill a role of cloud computing?

Wait, that eats into Dell/Apple/Gateway/Asus's entire business plan (build, sell, make obsolete stuff as fast as we can).... oops.

Why have a linux desktop? (1)

DougWare (1515559) | about 5 years ago | (#27331321)

As an avid linux user/systems administrator for over 11 years...I still do not understand why you need both server and desktop versions. Once you pick a distrobution, you should choose either bleeding edge or stable...those should be the only two versions you really need to worry about. I've also been a huge user of RH and it's forks (previously WhiteBox, currently CentOS). If I needed a desktop installation you simply do not install the server packages. Can someone explain why we need a dedicated desktop version?

Yeah right, clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331363)

Developers prefer Macs to Linux? Uh, what? One is hardware the other is an OS. I guess he meant OS X and not "Macs".

Just because some Linux developers prefer OS X over Linux doesn't mean anything. I'm willing to bet a larger number like Linux. I have a Mac and I run Linux on it because I don't like OS X.

As for Cloud Computing, we will continue to need something to run on the client. Linux is a way better choice as a Cloud client because it's more secure, lightweight, and cheaper. If anything Cloud Computing makes the case for Linux even stronger. Personally I doubt we will ever see elimination of the Desktop. People have been saying thin-client/Cloud/whatever is coming for a long time. The truth is that we will probably continue to do like we are now. That is, some stuff is network based and other stuff runs locally, whatever fits best (how are you going to run World of Warcraft in a web application?!).

Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331379)

adding that he was uncertain how relevant the desktop itself will be in five years given advances in cloud-based and smartphone computing

Oh, please. I stopped reading there. No offense to this man, but give me a break.

How relevant is a redhat based desktop ..... (1)

yossarianuk (1402187) | about 5 years ago | (#27331399)

Not sure about anyone else but anything redhat based seems pretty poor as a desktop.

Fedora - supported for about 10 minutes (maybe a bit longer)

Centos - as old as the hills.

Enterprise - As if i'd pay for desktop linux ! (when there are much better free options)

Ubuntu/opensuse even Arch linux make better desktops in my opinion...

I agree (2, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 5 years ago | (#27331413)

In my opinion, he's right.

Linux is fine for users who fit (mainly) into two categories:

1) knowledgeable people who like to tinker with computers and have an understanding of the base OS and some of it's quirks.
2) extremely un-knowledgeable people who get linux installed on their desktop by someone from category 1. They make no changes to their desktops, use few programs and if they do have an issue, call "tech support" who is almost always the guy or gal who installed it for them.

In the middle, you have a huge number of people who just want their computer to work. Linux does the trick, but they're conditioned to MSInstallers and setup.exes. They're used to the "Windows Way" and the "Mac Way". They use their computer to play games. They use the internet, email, and maybe some word-processing type stuff.

They don't want to have to change their thought process.

(car analogy time)

It's like being taught how to drive an automatic your whole life and then being forced to drive a stick. There's a learning curve there. And most people simply don't want to try it.

(for the record, I have several different OSes running, Leopard, Ubuntu, XP, and Vista on various computers. I'm agnostic, I use what is best suited for the job.)

works fine for me (1)

slashmojo (818930) | about 5 years ago | (#27331417)

I've been running Centos (RHEL) on my desktop (home & work, laptop & desktop) for years now with no significant problems at all.. it pretty much "just works".

I've also toyed with switching to ubuntu to see what all the fuss is about but ultimately see no compelling reason to switch. Sorry Mr Red Hat - your system works just fine already.. ;)

I don't feel any great desire to rush headlong into "the cloud". The whole cloud buzz these days is interesting and no doubt it has its place but not on my desktop thanks. I also wouldn't like to spend much time online with a smartphone, no matter how shiny.. my old eyes couldn't take the strain!

Quote from Gretzky (1)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | about 5 years ago | (#27331425)

I'd rather think about skating to where the puck is going to be than where it is now.

Original Quote by Wayne Gretzky:

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been"

Sounds like Larry Ellison's "Network Computer" (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 years ago | (#27331431)

Anyone old enough here to remember that? Bill Gates responded to Ellison's claim that the PC was dead, by saying, "I like my PC."

I think a lot of folks still like the freedom of being able to install what *they* want, not what is available in some cloud, or what their company's IT folks claim to be "the standard application set" that is more than anyone else might need.

Now, whether Jim Whitehurst can make money off how *I* like to handle my computing needs, well, that's his problem.

Revealing statement (3, Funny)

Keith Russell (4440) | about 5 years ago | (#27331441)

I'd rather think about skating to where the puck is going to be than where it is now.

We've just learned two things about Jim Whitehurst:

  1. Fedora is going to bail his ass out when "cloud computing" goes out of vogue.
  2. On any given night, he is the most knowledgeable hockey fan in the Carolina Hurricanes' luxury boxes.

Sounds like a sore loser. (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 5 years ago | (#27331495)

Just because RedHat used to be at the top of the desktop Linux game and failed doesn't mean its impossible.

I Believed in the hype! (1)

Hobbes_BA (1004933) | about 5 years ago | (#27331505)

I was this close, to actually changing my desktop from Ubuntu to Fedora. I was believing in the Red Hat "rediscovering Desktop" hype thing. I guess the Fedora Community should be _really happy_ to this CEO kind words. FAIL

Isn't Cloud computing simply 70s-era technology? (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#27331527)

I don't understand all this obsession with "cloud" computing, where the programs are run by some central server instead of at home. As someone who lived through the 70s and 80s, it sounds like the old "dumb terminal" and "smart central computer" model, and we abandoned that because it sucked. I can't envision a rebirth being any better.

Plus there's the drawback of not owning anything. I bought Word back in 98, and yes it was pricey, but I've been able to use it over a decade now, at a cost of ~$10 per year. I also have the option to sell it and recoup some of my cost (around $25). I don't want to switch to a "software lease" model that sucks $50 out of my wallet year-after-year-after-year. That adds-up to $500 a decade which is plain nuts.

I want ownership.

Re:Isn't Cloud computing simply 70s-era technology (1)

thewils (463314) | about 5 years ago | (#27331691)

I don't really mind the "cloud" as it gives me options, alternatives...

What I really want to avoid is the storm [wikipedia.org]

The desktop is irrellevent? (1)

JerryLove (1158461) | about 5 years ago | (#27331541)

Much like the desktop itself eliminated the terminal interface, and computers meant the end of paper and pencils.

Linux on the desktop is like a gaping anus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331555)

It's interesting to look at, but, on closer inspection, it stinks.

Macs are better (0)

street struttin' (1249972) | about 5 years ago | (#27331575)

His comment on Macs is a good one. Even some linux devs prefer to work on Macs because the desktop experience of a Mac is better than the desktop experience of linux. The innards of a Mac are similar enough that linux dev work can still be done, but the ease of use of the desktop beats linux hands down. The Mac GUI is what linux should have been ages ago, and probably would have been if linux had standardized the graphics stuff, or even just ripped it out and started over instead of trying to clamp everything onto 20 year old ideas/methods.

Desktop Linux is pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331611)

I love Ubuntu, it's a very good desktop by Linux standards. However, you have to bear in mind that Canonical is not a typical company. It runs at a loss, subsidized by Mark Shuttleworth, a billionaire. Mr. Shuttleworth has done the world a good deed by investing in Canonical instead of a football team as his billionaire toy, but that does not mean that Canonical is a commercial validation of desktop Linux.

After 4 years, I've given up on desktop Linux. I run a web hosting ISP and have run RH-family Linux servers (Fedora and then CentOS) for about 10 years. However, now that my laptop has 2GB of RAM and a fast dual-core cpu, I can run a text-mode Centos server in the background under vmware. This leaves me with a Windows XP desktop I can use for photoshop etc.

Convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331621)

Mark Shuttleworth has said that he's only using desktop-linux to get into server marketplace. He has succeeded rather well in his plan (only the ??? before profit is yet to solve).
One key point is making your server product familiar with sysadmins and the other is convergence. When distribution doubles as a server and a desktop OS it attracts more development and that way also more users (cycle is ready: convergence drives adoption, adoption drives convergence).
There is probably even some money in desktop-linux itself, but then you're either targetting OEMs or some niche market and either way the profit stays small (low margins - low volume).

Re:Convergence (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#27331743)

My problem with Ubuntu's server offerings is that there's no significant advantage over Debian's, and Debian's base install is smaller than Ubuntu's. I actually have had a number of problems with Ubuntu's Apache2 packages not using older versions of TinyMCE, whereas Debian's work without a hitch.

I think Ubuntu's philosophy, as far as the desktop is concerned, is fine. I think their server offering has nothing in particular to offer that other distros don't have.

Sour Grapes? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 5 years ago | (#27331625)

Jim Whitehurst's comments seem like -1 Flamebait to me. Can't compete in an area? Cop out and say it's not important... just like a 6 year old would.

Bull Shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331639)

Bull Shit! Linux makes a great desktop. As people switch to Mozilla and OpenOffice the perceived problems with desktop Linux go away. Microsoft helps with crap like Vista and Office 2007. I wish Red Hat would see which side their bread is buttered on. Ubuntu does.

I use Linux on my laptop, but (4, Interesting)

melted (227442) | about 5 years ago | (#27331665)

I use Linux on my laptop, but even I have to agree.

What I want is a $50 add-on that will:

1. Fully and legally support bytecode interpreter and hinting for fonts. Bonus points for including decent fonts as well.
2. Support all major audio and video codecs. I shouldn't have to break any laws to get support for my digital media. Bonus points for not having to buy another codec pack when I upgrade my OS.
3. Support multi-monitor automatically when I connect a monitor (like Mac or Windows).
4. Work well on laptops. I should not see error messages about my hard drive failing to soft-reset every time I wake my laptop up from sleep.

I guess we should stop (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#27331717)

Wow. I guess I should stop using Linux on my desktop. My family should also stop. Of course, the company I work for should also stop rolling it out to people.

All praises to the corporate talking heads! We must bow down to their profound wisdom and mystical knowledge and tailor our lives to their needs and profitability!

Like I give a rat's ass what some corporate drone thinks. People who yet again claim that the desktop or the personal computer are dead, or that everything will be in the cloud, or that people mainly use computers for email and web browsing, or that everything we do at the desktop can be done on an iPhone, blah blah blah, are in a deep state of catatonia. The things we know as "desktops" today will certainly evolve, but to believe they will disappear is absurd.

Using it now! (1)

pcjunky (517872) | about 5 years ago | (#27331741)

I'm not sure what he is talking about I have my preferred desktop running Ubuntu now. I use the Windoz box for games and running one piece of software (platypus) that I can't get to work in Linux. Works ok via Virtualbox though.

I have been dealing with troves of infested windows boxes lately that are almost impossible to completely disinfect. One neighbor has had me reinstall Windows three time in the last year.

No more, Ubuntu goes on this box now!

The desktop has legs (1)

squoozer (730327) | about 5 years ago | (#27331755)

Saying the desktop won't be relevant in five years is complete and utter, crack smoking, nonsense. I would put money on most people still using computers that a very broadly similar to the current machines five years from now for the simple reason that cloud based applications aren't as good as desktop applications and they aren't going to be for a good few years yet. Sure, there are some cloud based applications that are fairly good. Email is the perfect example, for many people web based email is good enough but those applications are few and far between. We might all end up with virtualized machines and big-iron in the server room again but that is just moving the hardware.

A virtual machine hosted remotely and not tied to a single piece of hardware looks a lot like the end-game of browser based web-applications. Sure there are a few differences over how data is accessed but that's pretty minor stuff.

Cloud computing is wonderful, (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | about 5 years ago | (#27331757)

right up until:
a) your internet connection drops in the middle of that critical project that must be done in the next hour.
b) You hit your ISPs up/down cap.
c) Your bandwith gets deprioritised due to you not paying as much money to your ISP as company XXX.
d) The internet crashes due to being overloaded with everyone that has a computer connecting and streaming load of data at once..

Anyone else think that "cloud computing" is a UK government IT project?
(For those outside the UK, our government has a track record of failing IT projects (massively over budget and delivered X years overdue), due to exceptionally bad planning and not thinking the whole process through)

<offtopic> Hence I am not worried about the comms database, I am still waiitng on a national health database, an ID card & a biometric passport.</offtopic>

Linux Developes prefer Macs? (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | about 5 years ago | (#27331769)

Ignore his obvious mistake of comparing a computer to an Operating system.
Still, What is he rambling about?

I imagine there are a few developers in most camps that prefer another, maybe they even defect. Big deal.

I don't even count myself a real Linux user, and even I use it more than any other operating system. I think it is ready for the desktop, whether he thinks so or not.

Ubuntu is nice for us non linux people, and Mandriva PowerPack is even nicer. It is just brain dead simple to use and I never touch a command line.
My binder of (seemingly) 1000 windows installation CD's and DVD's just sits there, unused!

I kind of miss the days when I felt like a king with my hundreds of nice commercially produced cd's for windows. Then I have to "help" a friend rescue their computer and quickly am reminded how many days it took me to fully set up a system with software and drivers. After that I feel better about all my Linux software being on a single DVD with my crude handwriting on it.

Smod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27331789)

Has Mr. Whitehurst been listening to The Smodcast and Kevin Smith's recent infatuation with Wayne Gretsky?

The world only needs 5 "real" computers.... (3, Insightful)

jabjoe (1042100) | about 5 years ago | (#27331791)

Wasn't the desktop never meant to happen? Won't we all meant to be using thin clients?

This never happened, and may never happen because the bandwidth speed isn't going up faster than computers speed. Maybe we will reach a point where all the user input and computer output can be piped about and the latency isn't a problem, but even then I'm not sure people will want it. The freedom implications seams sinister to me, and I'm untrusting of storing stuff only online as I've had data lost for me before (ok, ten years ago, but still).

I think things will continue as today, fat clients. I can do whatever I want the limits being only myself, time and my machine specs.
Scales nicely too.
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