Enterprise Apps Header Red Hat Plans Linux Desktop Offering 'for the Masses'

Speaking of Linux on the Desktop, it looks like Red Hat is getting back into the Desktop Linux market. From the article:

Red Hat is planning a packaged Linux desktop solution that it hopes will push its Linux desktop offering to a far broader audience than exists for its current client solution.

“This will be a more comprehensive offering that will target markets like the small and medium-sized business [SMB] sector and emerging markets. Part of this strategy is to get the desktop more to the masses than our existing client is getting today. So there will be a different packaged solution for the masses coming down the pike,” he said.

Asked if part of the strategy is the mass consumer market, Cornier responded that Red Had has “no plans to go and sell this offering at Best Buy, if that’s what you mean by the mass consumer market. Customers will be able to download it and get a Red Hat Network subscription on the Web for it, which is what we feel is the distribution wave of the future anyway,” he said.

I’ve always thought Red Hat was missing an important part of the market by not offering a maintenance but no support option. That’s basically what RHL was. For my part, I still maintain that Fedora is not a viable option for the average Linux user. If you’re a developer it’s not bad (in fact I use it on both my main home desktop and my main work desktop), but the initial roll out was poor, the packaging paradigm keeps changing (I don’t mean at the RPM level, but at the Core+Extras flips that go on every couple version), the upgrades often break things and with Fedora Legacy gone the upgrade cycle is too fast for a non-enthusiast. I don’t mean this to mean that the project isn’t doing some absolutely awesome things as they are, it’s just that I think people try to do with Fedora things they shouldn’t (mainly, act like it’s RHL). If you can believe it, RH9 is still one of the most downloaded distro’s at LQ ISO. To me, that speaks volumes. The article was a bit light on details but I am looking forward to seeing what the product actually entails.

On the desktop note, I’ve really been meaning to try SLED and have heard some great things about it (although the patent deal did put my off a bit on installing it to be honest). I just haven’t had the chance though. Hopefully soon. They announced the SP1 beta at Brainshare, so now is as good a time as any. They also released this “Mac Guy” spoof, which is superbly done. On the distribution front, after hanging out with Jono a bit at SCALE I finally installed Ubuntu for the first time (on my laptop). Not bad at all and I’m interested to see how it survives a little use and an upgrade or two. The amount of quality choice we have in the Linux market today is truly phenomenal.


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