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18 April 2008, 11:22

Red Hat does not want to be on consumer desktops

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Red Hat, number one on the Linux market, does not think that the consumer market will be lucrative for Linux on desktops in the foreseeable future. In a blog entry, Red Hat's desktop team explains its objectives for the Linux desktop: the focus is on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop for enterprises, the Red Hat Global Desktop announced last year for emerging countries, and the free Fedora Project.

The team writes that the market for private PCs is suffering from the dominance of a major operating system provider, and "some people still perceive that today's Linux desktops simply don't provide a practical alternative" – which, of course, the team says is no longer true. The team nonetheless says it does not see any way to make money in this segment.

The timing of the announcement is surprising. Last year Dell added another model to its range of Linux desktops in response to customer demand, and Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are also shipping Linux desktops, with HP even offering a pre-installed Red Hat Linux desktop. But Novell seems to agree with Red Hat. This week, Novell's CEO Ron Hovsepian explained that the Linux desktop is mainly interesting for enterprises. He does not expect Linux to see significant use in consumer desktops for another three to five years.


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