Red Hat’s decided to abandon its attempts to to get in on the consumer desktop scene, to stay focused on its proven gravy train – enterprise.
You can’t blame them, really. With the U.S. economy woes and the resulting global economic slowdown, Red Hat’s probably feeling that right now isn’t the best time to gamble. In their announcement on the site, they boil it down to simple practicality:
“An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers.”
Cue the scathing blog posts on its about turn, after all Red Hat was all in a tizzy just last year, ditching Fedora and making out that Red Hat was going to seriously go into consumer desktops.
Says everyone’s favourite not-Steve, Fake Steve Jobs:
“Yay! Red Hat’s basic argument is that not enough people want Linux on the desktop — I know, shocking, right? — and so they can’t make money doing it and because they’re a publicly traded company they can’t do things that don’t make money. See their pathetic statement here. “
With the negative publicity Microsoft’s Vista received, many Linux hopefuls thought that maybe, just maybe this was the time for Linux to start making its way onto consumer desktops. Instead, Apple’s capitalized on consumer wariness of Vista to get more publicity for its new Leopard operating system. Linux is still struggling to earn a place onto consumer machines, with retailers not as keen to promote sales of Linux-based PCs. See computer maker Dell’s site for example. More often than not, shoppers will be guided to choosing what version of Windows they want and not being explicitly told ‘you can choose Linux, too’.
Though Linux still doesn’t seem to be making headway (even Asus chickened out and started offering Windows versions of their EeePCs) on the desktop scene, enterprise demand is steady, with Novell, Red Hat and other vendors continuing to promote enterprise solutions for the platform. Perhaps Red Hat’s departure will give room to other Linux flavours to get more attention instead of remaining in the shadow of the Open Source service provider who could (make a profit).