Fedora the Tablet OS?

The Fedora 14 Beta was released today, but as a Network World article points out, it “will be the first Red Hat supported distribution to let users choose MeeGo as their desktop.” This new release will also include the Sugar interface, intended for netbooks, and “will also be the first version to fully incorporate Red Hat’s VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), called SPICE, or Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments. SPICE will allow Fedora to host virtual desktops that can be accessed over a network.”We’ve all been waiting a long time for the desktop Linux revolution that never came. But then while we were all playing with our iPhones and not paying attention, the Linux revolution snuck through the back door and took us by surprise. Microsoft initially outmaneuvered the early Linux netbook gains, but then Android came on the scene and made that defeat look small in comparison to Linux’s seeming triumph in the handheld space.

But I think the lesson that we’ve all learned is that a computing platform revolution isn’t really about the operating system anymore, but about the ecosystem. Both iOS and Android have succeeded because they’re part of a movement to create a vibrant community of users, vendors, app developers, and web service providers that provide a useable, complete package. If Linux is going to make a meaningful splash in this new tablet space, whether it’s Android, MeeGo, or something else, a solid OS foundation is only going to get you so far. I’m not sure whether Red Hat can bring anything to the table to help with the ecosystem-building, and I’m not sure that Intel (a MeeGo sponsor) can either (or for that matter, Nokia, the other MeeGo backer). They just don’t have the kind of juice that Apple and Google have.

Fedora could be the platform upon which a Linux tablet empire is built, or it could just as easily amount to naught. Who will pick up the banner and advance the ecosystem?


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