“Red Hat chairman Bob Young says Windows will continue to rule the desktop, but open source will win the day on the Internet. Red Hat said at last month’s earnings announcement that it would be emphasizing its focus on two key areas: replacing legacy Unix systems, and expanding its presence in the embedded market. That strategy is paying off so far: despite the continued world economic slump, Red Hat showed a slight profit for the third quarter of its 2001 financial year. In a conversation with ZDNet UK, Red Hat Chairman Bob Young explains why converting UNIX customers is easy; why open source will win the day on the Internet; and why Linux will never replace Windows on the desktop.” Read the interview at ZDNews.
Red Hat Chairman Says Linux Won’t Rule the Desktop
2002-02-04 Red Hat 20 Comments
I believe that with Ximian and other open source projects linux may be able to take more than 5% of the desktop market in the next two years. Schools in israel start to install linux today!
Well at least he is optimistic about it :-
Why would you want UNIX type OS as a desktop?
In my opinion it’s hard to compare how Windows entered to the market with a current situation with Linux. People (market) stopped using such machines like Digital VAX not because of a Windows adventages but because of a price (compare to PC machines). Windowns didn’t won a market, PC did it. It was no metter what opereiting system was working on it. The reason why Linux entered a market was completely different. Linux appeared because of a need for a more stable and powerful opereiting system for … yes, desktops. Linux was not created for a enterprise, big manchines but for a PCs. Of course, later he evolved to a server OS, but he never lost his roots. Flexibility and scalability are the strongest points of the Linux, which allows to use this OS almost everywhere. So Linux is already a desktop system but the major problem with it is available software. For example, Linux is my desktop at work and at home but I still can’t stop using Windows for one major reason: games. Currently, Windows for me is only a game box nothing else. The comclusion is: a role of Linux is to repleace Windows on desktops as a better solution but it will never heppen until there will be the same amount and variety of software as for Windows.
> Linux appeared because of a need for a more stable and
> powerful opereiting system for … yes, desktops.
I’m not a Linux history expert, but AFAIK, Linux appeared in the beginning (with Torvald) only as an educational purpose OS, mostly like Minix. It just attracted a lot of very bright and devoted developers that made the OS growth at this point as one of the best server OS around. But in my opinion Linux was *never* a designed desktop system, I feel the graphicals UIs more like an add-on than anything.
(Note: in this commentary I use “Linux” to represent a typical distro (Red Hat, Mandrake, etc. your pick), and not just the kernel itself as I’m supposed to).
Linus started developing Linux so that he could use Unix-type programs on his PC. His PC was a desktop. QED, Linux was started as a desktop OS.
That’s about all it comes down to.. Potential vs. Reality.
* Potential – With the access to free compilers that support many languages and open source code there is a constant and steady flow of new code and ideas.
* Reality – The amount of actual professional grade programs that come from this is still pretty low. Open source doesn’t make money to support anything but free time coding. 1,000,000 overrated scripts does not mean usable programs and software. Software is also useless when it only works with a small amount of hardware. Whose going to pay $50 for a modem that works in linux when you can pay $9 for a winmodem?
* Potential – Unlike Windows or MacOS you can change the entire appearance and functionality of the GUI since it’s open source and easily configurable. Should be a walk in the park to build a windows killer GUI with all the millions of coders devoting code.
*Reality – Everyone Does! Windowmaker, Enlightenment, KDE, Gnome, Ximian, CDE, quite a few more. There is no standard, everyone is running in a different directions, there could be one killer app in one windowing environment that might not be in another. For a newbie this is hell to figure out. The strength is actually the weakness. Advanced users fight that others are dumbing down everything while the newbies say everything is still too complicated.
A few shorter ones.. if you’re not a coder then you’re only getting about half the usage out of linux. What’s the use in open source if you can’t do anything with it? The whole system is a mess with thousands of little scripts in one directory. Mozilla is a far cry from anything worthwhile to browse the web with.
In general there are five kinds of people that use Linux…
Coders – Linux is a playground and they own it. Want something different, changed, altered, enhanced, etc etc Just open it, edit it, and recompile it. It’s free and you’re the king. A problem or a bug is simply more fun to these guys. Some write drivers and some improve others code. They’ve been using it before you booted directly into a window manager. Usually have a window manager with no widgets or massive backgrounds. Linux was made for these guys.
Brains – Usually scientists or students. The OS is free and they can create tools and programs to process the data they collect. They require the total control over everything that linux provides and their smart enough to tackle anything that comes along.
Average Joe – Grabs a copy of Redhat from Software Etc or Best Buy. Maybe downloaded it if he’s lucky enough to have a broadband connection. Wants to try something new, wants to learn something new. A little tired of windows but he’s capable in it enough that it doesn’t crash daily. He can’t code so he’s probably going to hit a lot of roadblocks in the free reign philosophy. Probably going to hit a lot of pages for projects that are no longer being developed because the student graduated or someone just lost interest and put up a “Don’t email me about it, I’m no longer working on it, don’t bitch because it was free in the first place!” He usually goes back to windows after a while because he can’t get his winmodem working or there is just some windows app or hardware device that doesn’t work in linux that he can’t live without.
Angst-ridden MS Establishment Hater / Script Kiddie – Most hang out on slashdot or irc. Bashes anyone using Windows or MacOS, then launches a DoS attack against them. Most don’t code because it takes too much time that could be better spent trolling. They contribute nothing to the OS as a whole, usually even submit bug reports full of profanities to the very guys they look up to! They call themselves hackers and propagate macilious scripts that they couldn’t comprehend if they tried. They have a copy of XP on another partition which they make sure to put in their .sig that it’s only for games, yet they stay booted in primarily. Complains that the entire OS crashes every 30 seconds and Bill Gates is satan.
The business users aren’t using linux by choice, the coder/admin installed it to further his or her own philosophy. Not even considered a catagory in itself.
I’d say those make up 90% percent of the linux community. I don’t see them taking the market anytime soon.
Great work LinuxDude ! That’s a very good and close look at the Linux community. And it’s *only* because of the fourth group of people that I stay clear from this OS. That’s a sad thing, because the 4 others groups are nice peoples… 😉
Linux was started as Linus could not afford Minix, or a box to run Minix.
That DOES NOT MAKE IT A DESKTOP OS, just a PC OS!
Lots of OS run on X86s as they are CHEEP!
People can afford them, and a server for MOST COMPANYS do not need to be all that powerfull!
Linux Dude: Bravo!
I believe that Linux is not on the desktop for a few reasons. The number one
reason is what Linux Dude mentioned, LACK OF STANDARDS. You have like
multiple Desktops, a million configuration utilities, tons of coders that
think they are creating something that no one else can write who don’t
want to work together and nothing common to all applications for sharing
data like OLE which is an achillies heel to a Linux desktop. There are
the Ximilan GNOME guys developing their desktop and libraries and the
KDE guys writing there OS in parallel. If I had to bet they are both used
pretty much equal, although I am getting the feeling that the KDE desktop
is starting to take the lead as it seems alot more like Windows to most
people, which is where the people are migrating from in the first place.
Why can’t the community figure out that duplicating efforts is a waste of
time? Also, I went to Linux world in NYC last week and asked Mandrake why
they install all kinds of useless software with the distributions when
no one really uses it? I mean who needs 11 email programs, some text base
and some GUI based, and 5 web browsers, even a text based one? Why is KDE
developing Konquerer for that matter?!? Anyhow, they told me the reason
is basically because they don’t want to piss off anyone in the community
by leaving certain programs out of the default install! In the mean time
the average user is spending like 1.5 hours going through a thousand
software titles in order to sort out what they are really going to use.
Basically the user experience is the last thing that some in the community
seem to care about. As for the “Angst-ridden MS Establishment Hater
/ Script Kiddie”, this cracks me up by the way, there are a TON of these guys
at the local Linux users group I used to go to. They used to blast me for
running Windows NT 4.0 on all my machines at work. I could not seem to
explain to them that there are Windows based progams, like CAD and other
applications that my company has been using for 7 or 8 years that work great!
And as far as replacing Microsoft Office? That is basically impossible at this
point using Linux. It just collaborates too well and why would I take a
chance in my business just for software ideology? They even offered to “help”
me convert my business over to Linux citing examples of businesses that
have saved money. They don’t mention that when you buy a computer, Windows
shippes with the machine for free anyhow…I give Linux like 5 more years to
mature on the desktop. I think that there are alot of worthy projects
that have to be completed before this occurs and there have to be some
standards that should develop. The best project that I have seen to get
Linux to the desktop is WINE which I think everyone should be working on as
this project will allow Windows apps to run on Linux, but not as an
emulation; WINE is good because Windows apps run in Linux directly. This
is much different than what happened with OS/2; WIN-OS/2 was basically a
copy of Windows that was separate from OS/2. I had to ask OS/2 developers
why develop for OS/2 when WIN-OS/2 is available? There was no answer.
Development under Linux is much different….it will occur because there
are alot of great free tools around, and windows compatibility will just
complement the environment, not stop development on it. Im rambling now,
but some of the Killer Apps for Linux at my company seem to be Apache
and MySQL (which are both available for Windows…go figure?)
I think that Linux has definate potential as a desktop OS in coutries like India, Mexico and China (another poster gave Israel as an example). Countries that cannot afford the liscenes needed to run Windows on all their machines can do a lot with Linux
So our opportunity is not to replace Microsoft on the PC. If you’ve got a perfectly good working PC, why you would go through the angst of replacing it?
Is this the diplomatic way of saying Linux sucks for the desktop? I think so.
>> Linux was started as Linus could not afford Minix, or a box to run Minix.
eerr… Doesn’t linux need a 386 processor? I found this at http://www.linux-history.org/kernel/
The first release of the Linux-Kernel to the public was in September 1991.
The size of the tar.gz-archive was 71KB.
This version only ran on Intel 80386 processors on a PC architecture.
There was a basic virtual memory sub-system and a few drivers.
The only supported filesystem was the MinixFS.
There was no network support at all.
Funny how Linus couldn’t afford a box fast enough to run minix when linux was designed to run on a 386 and minix could run on a 386. And I guess he used a Minix FS just for fun?
Anonymous you’re probably one of these Angst-ridden MS Establishment Haters / Script Kiddies, go out and acctually read something on linux instead of listening to you’re Angst-ridden MS Establishment Hater / Script Kiddie buddies.
that’s exactly how I see it too. Great stuff
Nice statement LinuxDude!
BTW isn’t on of the greatest things about linux that the advent of group 4 led to similar groups in nearly all other os communities? Maybe the fact that there are alternatives out there which are usable with more or less initial effort and these alternatives are getting more and more press coverage makes an increasing number of people think about what they run and why. Even if the final choice is to run a mainstream os 😉 there is nothing wrong with that if it is the right one for what you want do to.
And if you are _really_ tired of all that flame wars – the BSD community seems to be pretty much laid-back.
unlike India, mexico … Israel Can afford it. A major microsoft site is located in israel. however, one of the largest Intel sites and the IBM compiler division is located in israel and when such a large % of the population works with Linux at work it is natural that people would start using it at home.
The slump in PC sales, PC saturation and the lack of IT spending is definitely some reasons linux needs to focus on the embedded market. Truly the embedded market is bigger than PC market and offers more opportunity to prove it can be a viable solution. Bob Young is looking at from the right perspective the Enterprisal View not the hobbies or anarchist view. Taking over the desktop that is past goal that is not realistic. Little note about history MS took the desktop with Windows 95 in two years. Linux has been out for 10 years and has not made a dent in that market at all. That sums it up. Linux has to transform itself from being the hobbist OS to one that offers real corporate solutions. Another thing that hurts linux is Linus Trovald’s total control over the kernel (he has refused to turn it over to a corporate community that will maintain it openly). Even Dell dropped linux because no one was buying the PC’s not even the linux community. Another thing no standard linux base. Faced with these internal obsticles Bob Young is right. Focus on the embedded markets.
Anagram: No! Linux Standard Base
Hint: Before stating that something doesn’t exist, type it into a search engine. 5 million hits? Maybe it exists after all.
Actually, linux is beginning to get some attention with home users in a country like Egypt (although its still pretty small) primarily because its free and because its getting easier to use and install. My initial experience with installing linux was with Suse Linux 6.2, which was pretty bad (I, like most people, am not really a unix geek) but when I got a recently got a copy of a Red Hat linux 7.2 distro which came with a local Egyptian computer magazine I was actually pretty suprised about how (relatively!) easy it was to install although it seemed pretty confusing for a (very!) average Joe like me which individual packages I should install or not (such as which of the 1 zillion font editors I might use and deciding whether or not that Latext font thing is actually important or not), so at the end, like most users i know, I just ended up just installing everything that came up with the standard package groups in the install screen so I wouldn’t have to worry about dependencies (i.e the standard KDE, Gnome, development tools,etc) which probably meant that I ended installing more stuff than I actually needed and I probably have some programs that I will never even glance at. Having said that, I’m pretty happy with both Gnome’s and KDE’s usability (although I personally find that KDE seems faster and more responsive) and I can’t see why some people say that they can’t compete with Windows in terms of usability, ease of use and looks.
I think that for Linux to be mores acceptable at home however, distros should be more focused on making more “dumbed down” editions of Linux which contain just the basic stuff (the KDE and Gnome packages, Staroffice and possibly KOffice, and possibly a few development tools for learners and a few games, and maybe even Gimp). Believe me, most of us out there (as well as a lot of the so called Linux purists I know) do not really need Apache or some really obscure text editor,but are pretty content with using apps like StarOffice (and yes Koffice as well!) which might not be as rich as MS Office, but has most of what most of us need (without the multi-hundred dollar licsence that MS Office requires). Most important of all, it would be more cost efficient since such a disro was distributed on a single CD.
I do understand that some Linux people would be offended by what I just said, but ultimately, for Linux to succeed with average users, it should be as hands off as possible. I do think , however that there has already been good steps taken with the most recent distros towards that direction. I just hope that they continue and possibly with as little regard as possible to some og those Linux fanatics.
Nadav, does Linux give users hebrew support at least as Windows does?