Home > Red Hat > Red Hat Desktop Strategy ClarificationRed Hat Desktop Strategy Clarification Eugenia Loli 2004-05-06 Red Hat 11 CommentsJeremy Hogan’s commentary, Red Hat’s community relations manager, is a response to NewsForge’s Joe Barr, who asserted earlier this week that the company had given numerous confusing messages about its intent to enter the desktop market.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 11 Comments 2004-05-06 10:23 pm Come on RedHat and Novell, give me something to pay for. You two are supposed to be pounding the tar out of each other but so far all I see is ‘it works’ distros with decent installers and package managers. Okay RedHat you gave us bluecurve but I want more more more. So far the competition in the linux market has been very friendly…its time for a company that gets it right on open source but is otherwise out for blood to deliver something new. 2004-05-06 11:14 pm When I think of a LINUX distro that meets both the needs of the home consumer but also corporate user I see SUSE LINUX taking that crown. All I’ve heard is complaints from people using RedHat and Fedora since it seems it lacks either useful documentation or was made for the I.T. Administrator instead of the common Joe/Jane user. Not only is RedHat more costly (TCO) to use than SUSE LINUX but it lacks many programs/tools that come included with SUSE LINUX.I’ve used both RedHat and SUSE LINUX and don’t understand why more companies haven’t switched already to SUSE LINUX. Maybe it will help Novell if they do some cool commercial marketing similar to IBM’s commercials. Specially since Novell is working closely with companies such as IBM and AMD it would benefit everyone, except of course the competition. 2004-05-06 11:18 pm Good to have someone at RedHat defend themselves against slanderous criticisms from forums and the media. It’s easy to understand why posters in public forums would write such (they’ve their own distro they wish to promote and resort to childish tactics such as name-calling). Same goes for news writers (sensationalizing always sells). Personally, I’ve been using RedHat for over 5 years, and Fedora Core for almost a year now and I think that RedHat has done well by its investors and by the opensource community. It’d be nice to see them lower the price of their products (which consumer wouldn’t?), but at least it’s the market that influences it and not some company that artificially dictates their software’s value.I’ve had pretty good experience with their public offerings (RHL and Fedora Core), and while the introduction of SELinux (which is disabled by default) in FC2 will require more learning, I’m glad because I was starting to lose my cutting edge when I started getting comfortable with the technologies I do know.And to those nay-sayers who think RedHat bullied the previous holder of the project name Fedora: get over it! It’s a generic name much the same way windows, is. Windows shouldn’t even have been allowed as a trademark name, but since MS DID make it ubiquitous in the IT community, they can hijack it if they want. Prior to the RedHat Fedora project, no person I know in the IT industry had even heard of UC Berkeley’s FEDORA. 2004-05-06 11:46 pm Prior to the RedHat Fedora project, no person I know in the IT industry had even heard of UC Berkeley’s FEDORA.I had and I don’t even work in the IT industry. When Red Hat started their Fedora project I was very confused at first. Still they were no worse than the Mozilla Foundation with Firebird but at least they gave the name back – long live Firefox. 2004-05-07 12:12 am “needing qualifiers such as “corporate” or “consumer.” We don’t expect those to be the same class of users any more than you’d expect to find NT running as your gaming and entertainment platform.”APW: but i would expect people to run XP both as corporate and as consumer desktops.“one product line, drawn from common bits that moved too slow for some and not fast enough for others”APW: ‘too slow’ and ‘not fast enough’ ehh? okay, that clears things up.“high-dollar customers wanted multi-year deployments they could count on to not change drastically”while“Others wanted the new stuff. Now or sooner if possible.”Okay, so Red Hat Desktop v.3 fits the first request. And Fedora fits the second? But I still don’t see any logic to this? Really then, isn’t Red Hat developing 2 separate desktops? RHD v.3 isn’t Fedora, is it? Even if it is now, in order to fit the multi-year/stability needs it wouldn’t be Fedora for long. So what the heck is Fedora useful for (to Red Hat)? A testing ground? What for, RHD isn’t (or soon won’t be) anything like Fedora.Why is Red Hat, the leader in Linux, behind SuSe and Sun on the desktop? How do they intend to catch up and overcome. He seems to imply that its just “matters of focus, time, and resources” but this doesn’t sound like a compnay with a vision. The question of RH on the desktop is not just about the definition of ‘desktop’ but also a question of what their strategy is compared to other players.The article did not clear up the strategy, reveal any vision nor did it appeal to basic common sense. Instead it just babbled about the definition of desktop and said they are working on something. 2004-05-07 1:22 am Well written and to me points out where the friction originates from… their expectations and mine. It still doesn’t satisfy me though. I had looked to Red Hat then as MY alternative to MS Windows and apps.I think Matt is still right on when he implied that Linux is just not there yet as a consumer desktop. I was dissappointed but I would have to agree. I would have loved it if he had said something like “but we are close”, but I don’t think he did.It was good that I had gotten to try out other distros after my RH fallout because through other distros I had realized that Linux is indeed ‘getting there’. Still, I believe RH should step up in this regard (the consumer desktop) and come up with a competing product. 2004-05-07 3:05 am The “community” is inhaling laughing gas if it imagines that Red Hat is going to market a shrinkwrapped consumer product unless it believes it can make money doing it, and provide the support and hand-holding those consumers will expect. The commentary makes it clear that Red Hat does not believe it can do either at this time.If Red Hat did release a consumer product tomorrow, it would be Fedora in a pretty box. I’m using it right now. I like it. But there’s no way that it is ready to sell over the counter at Best Buy and Walmart: no support; no documentation; no reason for a happy Windows user to but it. 2004-05-07 4:30 am I think RHEL is abusing the general good will of the open source public that uses and tests Fedora for them. RH does provide RHEL source code, but do they also provide build scripts, makefiles, etc. (or whatnot)? Because then a rebuild project could literally duplicate RHEL rather than taking good guesses. RH would still have there valued added prop. with the tech support, fast(er) updates, etc. and yet they would being give back the complete product to the OSS community that does so much of theor dirty work.Right now, I think RH is kind of pimping the Fedora project I don’t think it is completely in keeping with the open source way (RH really keeps all the marbles and the community kinda gets the short end of the bargain)…but then again, who am I that anyone should care? 2004-05-07 4:50 am psst…Redhat provides source rpms for RHEL (atleast the open source parts, I think it includes things like JDM/JVM which it can’t legally distribute). Going from a source rpm to a fully compiled system is a joke and is really simple. Infact, there are quite a few distributions that are just compiled versions of the RHEL source rpms (for example: http://www.whiteboxlinux.org/)Yet since most of the rpms are based on the fedora rpms, then everyone wins. RH keeps fedora to be the best they can since this is what they will use as the base for RHEL. So now the community using fedora will submit bug reports helping to get both fedora and RHEL to be better, etc… etc… at goes around in a cycle, only improving.The whole fedora move was intended to try and strengthen the community (its success wasn’t that great since the whole process is still being opened.) therby making fedora more widly used. 2004-05-07 5:57 am Their focus seems true with the desktops…think of the desktop offering as an “accessory” to the server products rather than being a seperate offering and you’ll understand it better. It’s just like Sun is marketing “Java Desktop” basicly to push it’s enterprise java products. <p>To a certian extent even the mighty MS puts the “desktop” second place to the OS being a “server accessory”. Even MS claim to fame was in the corperate space. They got all the businesses to “buy in” to Windows, then the home market sort of follwed as everyone “wanted” to work from home. Once Linux gets some seats the “money” will follow. But the “linux desktop” is already commititized because you can get it for free! Therefore development much past the “free” version is a waste of anybodies time because the “free” version will catch up in 6 months…or your parts will be so important that the “free” version will never implement them…so you’ll have to make it free to get it used!Right now the Linux desktop can do everything those old Windows 98 boxes can…and do it a little better. Let’s face it, there is no “innovation” in the corperate space. Even in a shop full of windows XP and Office XP they’re just used as “fixed” versions of Win98 & Office 97…all the HARD apps still aren’t being ported or improved much for winXP…just “candied” up a bit. 2004-05-07 10:17 am What a lot of people here and in other forums seems to not understand is how damaging to both Red Hat and Linux in general it would be for Red Hat (as the de-facto standard Linux distribution) to proclaim that they had a product ready for the consumer market. Because the moment they do that computer magazines will start flooding over with reviews pitting (RH) Linux against WindowsXP; a comparison where we will get tons of bad marks for bad hardware handling, missing drivers and lack for games and/or applications (and no; WineX and Wine doesn’t cut it any more than the OS/2 Windows support did as a real solution).The bad reputation Linux would get from this we might never manage to emerge from.Red Hat is doing the right thing in clearly stating that they have a product ready for corporate user. As soon as Linux gets to critical mass in this segment we will probably start to see more hardware support for linux and more games etc., at which point we are ready to proclaim to have a ‘Consumer Desktop’ solution available.So please stop attacking Red Hat for doing the only responsible thing. Lets learn from the mistakes of OS/2 not repeat them.