Red Hat: no money in desktop Linux
No mincing of words here. Ever since Red Hat dropped its Linux boxed set in favour of Fedora, the company has demonstrated a lack of interest in the mainstream desktop. Now, at the InfoWorld Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has reaffirmed his company's position on Linux for the masses.
"First of all, I don't know how to make money on it. Very few people are running a desktop that's mission-critical" said Whitehurst, noting that Red Hat does have a desktop offering pointed at enterprise deployments, but not home users. The story notes other businessfolk playing down Linux's chances in the mass market -- although one chap noted that he has Linux deployed throughout his business and on his home PCs.
It's a complicated situation. Without doubt, there's more interest amongst dabblers now than ever before, and Linux is getting into new hands thanks to the blossoming netbook market. But when users get hooked in by the free (as in beer) software, perhaps they're more reticent to buy boxed sets. So, readers: do you buy your desktop Linux (eg Mandriva Powerpack)? If not, what could distro vendors do to make you part with your coinage?