Open Source

Red Hat focuses on desktop Linux and emerging markets


Red HatRed Hat announced a new desktop version of Linux at its Red Hat Summit in San Diego. Red Hat Global Desktop is aimed at desktop and laptop customers in developing nations. Intel is partnering in the design and distribution of the software, which is geared for Intel PC designs called Classmate, Affordable, Community, and Low-Cost for customers in emerging nations. Get additional details in the CNET Networks' News.com story: "Red Hat tries new desktop Linux angle."

For more information about Red Hat Global Desktop, take a look at these other news sources:

What do you think about Red Hat's efforts to take less of one-size-fits-all approach? Are you impressed by companies (such as Red Hat) who have decided to work on the One Laptop Per Child effort? Join the discussion.

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About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

6 comments
support
support

It's not just Red Hat that doesn't seem to understand what made Microsoft so great - it's all linux distros. I've personally talked to the head developers and presidents of Novell, Linspire and a couple more distors to try and explain what they just don't seem to get. But, it's like trying to teach a penguin to fly. It's a really cool idea, but penguins just aren't built to fly. Linux isn't built to take on Microsoft on the desktop, and it's because they can't seem to learn the lessons that made Microsoft the dominant force it is today. What they should be asking is "What made people adopt Microsoft as opposed to OS2/Warp or Apple machines? Was it ease of use? Not really. OS2 was just as simple to use - from a desktop standpoint. Apples were fairly simple machines to use also. Was it price? Not really. OS2 was not that expensive. In fact OS2 had a small business following that could have really given MS a run for their money. Microsoft even helped build OS2. The simple, but often overlooked, answer is Visual Basic. When Windows arrived, businesses (especially the legions of small to mid-sized businesses that make up the bulk of Microsoft's sales) had no real reason to buy a computer. The few programs that were around did mostly Word processing and spreadsheet stuff - things they were perfectly happy to keep doing on paper. It wasn't until businesses saw how easy Windows was to program that they began to dream of ways that they could use VB + Windows to enhance their businesses. It no longer mattered that the program offerings were spartan as far as small business was concerned. They could actually afford to code apps that would enhance their bottom lines! No C++ guru needed. VB was RAD. You didn't really need to be a traditional "programmer" to code some pretty neat (and cost saving) apps in Windows anymore. The desktop & business could be extended and made more profitable by just about anyone in the organization that put in a little time to learn VB. These part-time coders are sometimes called "task oriented" programmers. Their main jobs were not programming, but VB made programming apps to simplify their work life a relative breeze. Home users adopted it even more because so many apps (mostly written in VB) were popping up and because would-be-geeks could now code at home. ...AND IT WAS FUN! Not like the C/C++ of its time, with never ending lines of code. This was visual! This was RAD! And, if you didn't know how to code something, you could find the code online or simply buy a 3rd party control to do it! The fact of the matter is that most programming has been done by "task oriented" developers and not professional developers. Linux cannot seem to grasp that concept. People adopt what is easy before anything else (cost is actually secondary). VB made Windows easy by making programming easy and making it easy to find apps to do things you were interested in - again, because there were so many VB coders writing all of those neat apps. Comparatively, Linux and C++ (or even Java) is NOT easy. Compared to VB (through VB6 anyway), there is no language so easy to code in and so powerful for the effort you put into it. Look...apps sell OS's. OS's don't sell apps. The ability to make the OS do what you want in and easy, cost-effective, RAD manner sells an OS to the small to mid-sized business customer. Having to pay an arm and a leg for a C++ guru to write simple apps for your OS does not. And, for 95% of the world's population, people use at home what they use at work. Look around...people in advertising that use MACs at work use MACs at home. People that use Linux at work use Linux at home. People that use Windows at work use Windows at home. If you really want to see Linux (any distro) succeed, you have to take the small to mid-sized business desktop. To do that, you have to make it easy to do what THEY want to do - that means making the desktop easy to program and easy to understand. Then, as businesses adopt Linux, home users will too. Linux needs its VB. Up until MS dreamed up VB.Net, VB had the largest pool pf programmers of any language EVER. VB had more lines of code in existence than any other language EVER. And, more people used Windows in business and home because VB was so powerful and easy to use that they could (for the most part) make Windows do exactly what they wanted it to do. With VB.Net the complexity, code bloat and inefficiency of the language have all but decimated the "task oriented" developers that made Windows the powerhouse it is today. Because of .Net, "task oriented" VB developers (those core non-programming, but productive as hell developers) have been disillusioned and have fallen by the wayside - and with them the favor (and much of the power) of the Windows platform. The only reason people don't leave Windows in droves is because Linux doesn't have its VB. For God's sake, stop copying Microsoft with useless products like Mono (which is doomed to be forever a step or more behind Microsoft by the simple fact that it is a copy of .Net) and adopt something like REALbasic. Integrate it fully into a distro. Place how-to video links right on the desktop and start a free code library uncrippled by the GPL for REALbasic coders to make REALprofits for their efforts. (Yes, Virginia, coders must make a living and that sometimes involves proprietary code and programs.) Geoff Pearlman (the president of REALbasic) gives REALbasic away for Linux - partly because I pestered him until he did. So there is no real reason NOT to do this. REALbasic is easy to learn, VB-esque and is unencumbered by the GPL (for people that like to make money from their software - like small businesses). You can even compile your Linux apps for MAC and Windows with the pro version ($600 I think) and a little thoughtful coding. If not REALbasic, get SOMETHING! Target the "task oriented" developers that Microsoft has left behind. Linux needs it's VB. And, until it gets it, Linux will forever remain the realm of geeks.

hal
hal

I sense a scramble by the Linux FOR SALE folks to maintain a market presence with the pending release of Ubuntu. Tough to compete with a fully integrated OS and suite of desktop products that are user friendly, functional and FREE. Linspire's apparent decision to complement the Ubuntu effort with added products for sale that work with that base makes sense. Directly battling that reality doesn't. Good luck Red Hat, I think you are going to need it.

MaryWeilage
MaryWeilage

What do you think about Red Hat's efforts to take less of one-size-fits-all approach? Are you impressed by companies (such as Red Hat) who have decided to work on the One Laptop Per Child effort?

frank.schafer
frank.schafer

It definitively is NOT VisualBasic. BTW the OSF has Python (wich, like Cobol, Fortran, Prolog, C, C++, Java, SmallTalk, ... is running on more than one platform). BTW: have you ever tried to develop a robust application using VB? I had to and I had to learn that VISUAL means in it's full meaning: "The programmer doesn't know what the program does." Debugging is more a Trial-And-Error tapping. Hmmm, THIS is real RAD!!! The real reason for the majority of $icroMofts program (Yes, I refuse to call THIS an OS.) is that is was aggesively SOLD. Gates isn't anything else as a businessman. From this point of view I take my head in front of him. ... but $icroMoft has to play fair in the business. They refuse to act so, thus they will have to learn. If you speak for small business which want to make money. Get the grasp! HW and SW will be mostly for nothing. It is the solution our customers pay for, a working solution and the service we give them to make their problems solved and hold teir applications running.

DanLM
DanLM

[i]Up until MS dreamed up VB.Net, VB had the largest pool pf programmers of any language EVER. [b]VB had more lines of code in existence than any other language EVER.[/b] And, more people used Windows in business and home because VB was so powerful and easy to use that they could (for the most part) make Windows do exactly what they wanted it to do.[/i] I can't even find a reference to how many lines of code their is for visual basic, but I can for cobol. [i]COBOL programs are in use globally in governmental and military agencies, in commercial enterprises, and on operating systems such as IBM's z/OS, Microsoft's Windows, and the POSIX families (Unix/Linux etc.). In 1997, the Gartner Group reported that 80% of the world's business ran on COBOL with [u]180 billion lines of code[/u] in existence and with an [u]estimated 5 billion lines of new code annually[/u].[1][/i] So, let's see. 2007, add 10 years at 5 billion lines annualy. Another 50 billion, with a total of 230 billion lines of code for cobol. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=COBOL&action=edit God, I hate wikipedia. Please provide a reference to total number of lines of code that VB can attest to world wide. Also,l please provide a reference to the number of platforms it is supported on world wide. How many platforms did you say that VB was supported on may I ask? Dan

DanLM
DanLM

Id like to see bench marks of a VB program trying to process 300,000 transactions in a batch environment for any major medical or insurance company. Want to bet that neither buisness even bothered with VB for their hard core processing? Hell, I even liked what I seen when I played with VB. But, to make a blanket statement like VB has more lines of code in the world then any other language EVER? sh*t, your asking to be taken down. Dan