Red Hat delivered a pick-me-up to Microsoft yesterday when it announced formally that it will not be delivering an open source, Linux consumer desktop product.
Said Red Hat, "We have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future."
"... 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. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today's Linux desktops simply don't provide a practical alternative. Of course, a growing number of technically savvy users and companies have discovered that today's Linux desktop is indeed a practical alternative. Nevertheless, building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled or are run as charities. But there's good news too. Technical developments that have become available over the past year or two are accelerating the spread of the Linux Desktop."
Interesting that this statement clearly tips its hat to market leader Microsoft, while refraining from directly laying the blame for the failures of the Linux desktop at its feet. A refreshing bit of restraint.
In return, I shall refrain from detailing why the blame for the lack of viable consumer Linux desktop products lies with commercial Linux vendors like Red Hat and Novell, whose CEO Ronald Hovesepian, according to this Channel Register piece, also this week stated:
"The consumer market is taking longer to develop... The market for the desktop for the next three to five years is mainly enterprise-related."
Now, Microsoft just has to figure out how to get enterprises to bite the bullet and upgrade to Vista