Enterprise Linux Log

May 2 2007   9:03AM GMT

Response to the Dell/Ubuntu partnership

ITKE ITKE Profile: ITKE

Some news heard ’round the Web today regarding yesterday’s big Ubuntu Linux on Dell computers announcement:

“We applaud Dell for offering its customers true choice in desktop operating systems. By directly listening to its customers, Dell heard that desktop Linux is more than ready for the masses. While there is still work to be done, I think even the most cynical would agree that this is yet another sign that the days of the desktop monopoly are over.” — Amanda McPherson, director, The Linux Foundation.

Red Hat’s Scott Crenshaw:

The second question is: why Ubuntu and not Red Hat?

Frankly, I think this question misses a major point. There’s a big market out there for open source and with it comes a diversity of vendors. Our focus at Red Hat is encouraging the growth of free and open source software. We think it creates better software, better communities and better value. We think we do it well, for the customers we seek to serve. Energy should be directed to helping people take advantage of these benefits, but because the question is being asked, I’ll share some perspective.

From time to time we receive proposals from hardware vendors to preload software onto desktop or laptop computers. When the arrangement makes appropriate financial and strategic sense, we pursue it. When it doesn’t make sense, we don’t pursue it. Buying market share is an easy way to get headlines, but doesn’t build a sustainable business model which allows continued support or investment, remember our goal is to completely change the paradigm.

That doesn’t mean we only pursue opportunities if there’s money involved. Fedora is the most popular Linux distribution in the world — each release is installed by millions, perhaps tens of millions, of people at no charge. Additionally, Red Hat has offered its resources to design and develop the user interface for the global One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project to help create a borderless online world.

Justin Steinman, Novell’s director of marketing for Linux and open source, told eWEEK today that the move is just one more proof point in the continued growth of Linux.

“As proponents of open source and Linux, we’re happy to see Linux being preloaded onto consumer desktops.”

But Steinman then downplayed its significance. “I wouldn’t necessarily refer to the Dell-Ubuntu deal as ‘major.’ Dell is only going to load Ubuntu on three machines targeted at the technical consumer market, and the only support option available will be through online technical self-help forums, which will be monitored by the community,” he said.

So, Ubuntu Linux on Dell is the second coming for everyone but the major Linux distributors. Sounds about right to me ;-).

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