Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Apr 2008 16:26 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Linux "Recently, both Novell and Red Hat went on record as dismissing the idea that the consumer Linux desktop is going to be taking off anytime soon. It's not? Has anyone told Asus and Xandros? Everex and gOS? How about Dell and Ubuntu? They're all doing great with consumer Linux desktops." The enterprise Linux leaders are not the ones making strides on the desktop. Does that mean that the Linux desktop has no future, or just that they've let their business focus let them drop the ball on that segment of the market?
Thread beginning with comment 310348
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Clueless
by zztaz on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:08 UTC
zztaz
Member since:
2006-09-16

The author has created his rant out of mistatements of what Red Hat and Novell have said. Neither said that Linux on desktops are not and will not be successful; they've said that there isn't much money to made selling support for Linux desktops. They're right. Unlike Microsoft, they don't sell the software, they sell support.

Companies are willing to pay for good support, hardware and software, for critical systems. Desktops are chosen for reasons other than support costs. Until that changes, the Red Hat business model won't work for desktops.

Microsoft has shifted the burden of support onto the OEMs, which has tended to hide the true cost from the end users. The Eee PC shows the breakdown of Microsoft's business model, in that the hardware cost is so low that the cost of Windows can't be hidden. So it's Asus that sees the benefit from using Linux on the desktop, not Red Hat or Novell. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Clueless
by David on Fri 18th Apr 2008 18:03 in reply to "Clueless"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

This is an important point. Linux's greatest strength is also the reason that for-profit companies are reluctant to make large investments in the development that Linux needs to be a credible competitor to Microsoft and Apple's desktop OSes: it's freely redistributable. They are unable to make money by selling a license to each home user, and unlikely to make much money from support.

Every milestone that Linux has hit taking it closer to desktop viability has been the result of either organic user-driven development (Which is slow and uneven) or a spurt of development made speculatively by a startup (like Ximian) or a more established company (Red Hat, IBM, Novell), which until now has always failed to make a profit for the company in question and has eventually been abandoned. Luckily, the strength of open source development comes to the rescue, as all those "spurts" are kept rather than lost, and Linux improves.

Reply Parent Score: 1