Red Hat’s awesome desktop Linux work

Red Hat on What’s Going On With Red Hat Desktop Systems? An Update (emphasis added):

we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future

Somehow Slashdot reads this as Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough.

Obviously not true, as the Red Hat post goes on to say they have an enterprise desktop product, a community supported desktrop distrubution, and an upcoming desktop product for emerging markets.

More importantly:

Other desktop related projects where Red Hat has been the primary developer, or a major contributor, include:

  • X Revitalization effort (kernel modesetting, randr, dri2)
  • Screen size control panel
  • PolicyKit & ConsoleKit
  • Gnome (screensaver, gvfs/gio, GtkPrint, etc)
  • Liberation Fonts (with sponsorship of the Harfbuzz font shaper project)
  • Theora encoder improvements
  • Sponsorship of Ogg Ghost (successor to Ogg Vorbis)
  • NetworkManager and Network driver work – developed by Red Hat
  • OpenOffice.org 64-bit port
  • OpenOffice.org integration into the rest of GNOME: Port to cairo, dictionary unification, print/file dialogs
  • PulseAudio
  • Bluetooth file sharing
  • Ongoing hal maintenance and revitalization
  • DBus and DBus activation
  • Multiple power management activities:
    • Tickless kernel
    • Gnome power manager and the quirks list
    • Suspend/resume enhancements
    • Laptop backlight intensity autocontrol
    • www.lesswatts.org project support (such as Powertop)
    • CPUfreq
    • AMD PowerNow!
  • and of course, lots and lots of bugfixes!

Although I think 2001-2002 is the only time I’ve primarily used a Red Hat desktop (before I used Slackware then Debian, since I’ve used Mandrake then Ubuntu), I’m certain that many of the things that make using a free software desktop (any distribution) so nice today have been built by engineers at . Thanks!

14 Responses

  1. GioSico says:

    When I went to go back to Linux I went to RedHat and they were no longer available. They missed their calling. Ubuntu is the only way now.

  2. Hi GioSico!

    Not that it matters now, but presumably http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedora_%28Linux_distribution%29 is what you should’ve found. I guess that’s a lesson for RHAT marketing.

  3. […] Mike Linksvayer » Red Hat’s awesome desktop Linux work Totally want to underscore how awesome Red Hat’s contributions are to the DESKTOP and open source! (tags: redhat contribution 2008 friends awesome desktop linux opensource) […]

  4. Luke says:

    Don’t forget OLPC work :-)

  5. Luis says:

    This post could equally be titled ‘Red Hat’s epic fail in community marketing.’ Almost all of those lines have full-time employees attached to them who do little or nothing besides ‘work that benefits the desktop’, and yet people somehow think that Ubuntu cares more about the desktop, and often think that Red Hat doesn’t care about the desktop at all. It is really spectacular how much money they spend and how little good PR they get out of it.

  6. Greg DeK says:

    Well, there’s certainly plenty of fail to go around, and one of our big focuses over the next few months will be to emphasize Red Hat’s amazingly awesome contributions — but there are a few obvious and intractable problems:

    1. Red Hat cannot, for legal reasons, add the single most obvious differentiator: multimedia support. Canonical can.

    2. Red Hat will not, for financial reasons, carpetbomb the planet with Fedora media. Canonical must, because it’s their core business strategy.

    It’s a hard problem.

  7. Luke,

    I’d like to care about OLPC, but it just isn’t happening for me.

    Luis and Greg,

    I’m sure you’re both correct.

    Regarding media carpetbombing, I’d be way more enthusiastic about spending an equivalent amount working with hardware vendors to get preinstalls. See, I really ought to be excited about OLPC…

  8. Luis says:

    Greg: those are perfectly good excuses for ‘we have less mindshare as a desktop distro'; they’re bad excuses for ‘we have less mindshare as a desktop contributor’, which is really the problem I was talking about.

    Mike: OLPC, the technology and educational philosophy, should be incredibly exciting to you, ideologically. I can understand, though, that OLPC, the organization, is grossly incompetent, and that might get in the way.

  9. Afraid OLPC hype count triggered an allergic reaction in me long ago. My personal problem.

  10. Nicu says:

    Greg: I think you overestimate the value of the free Ubuntu’s CDs. Maybe also the value of codecs. There is a much bigger perception problem with Red Hat and the desktop (but is a a long argumentation, maybe after the F9 release I will take some time and write a piece about it).

  11. […] Mike Linksvayer My opinions only. I do not represent any organization in this publication. « Red Hat’s awesome desktop Linux work […]

  12. dwmw2 says:

    Luis, I think ‘grossly incompetent’ is a bit harsh — even for me! Certainly there are things which could have been done better, but I think OLPC has done a damn good job with the “impossible” task it took on, overall.

    It’s certainly true that OLPC could do with a lot more integration with the community — and with the Fedora community in particular. But let’s not downplay the amount we _have_ achieved in the last year or two.

  13. Greg DeK says:

    Re Luis: “Those are perfectly good excuses for ‘we have less mindshare as a desktop distro’; they’re bad excuses for ‘we have less mindshare as a desktop contributor’, which is really the problem I was talking about.”

    Yes. Completely agreed. I can guarantee you that we will work to fix that. That’s a pure marketing problem, one that we *can* and *will* address.

    Re Nicu: “I think you overestimate the value of the free Ubuntu’s CDs. Maybe also the value of codecs. There is a much bigger perception problem with Red Hat and the desktop (but is a a long argumentation, maybe after the F9 release I will take some time and write a piece about it).”

    Maybe, maybe not. Certainly the many Ubuntu successes have to do with a strong strategy that highlights “Linux for human beings” — i.e. positioning and community-building — but make no mistake, spending LOTS of money on physical media and taking legal risks with their codecs have been their *primary* mechanisms for taking their leading position. And they were able to take this position largely because Red Hat very publicly abdicated their leadership in the desktop world. Which was pretty stupid, and a lot of us said so at the time — but what’s done is done.

  14. […] flavor for mobile devices (and I haven’t followed, but I imagine that Red Hat still does some valuable engineering for the desktop). I wish both companies ever more success in these ventures — more huge […]

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