The Year of the Linux Desktop

I dreamed I saw the ghost of Havoc Pennington last night,
with chains upon his hands and upon his feet...
sentenced to ninety-nine years on the GNOME Foundation Board,
he was the saddest soul you'd ever hope to meet.

A little ditty I’m working on, called “The Year of the Linux Desktop”. I don’t know how the rest of the song goes yet, but the tune comes to mind every time I see a Slashdot article like this one.

It surprises me that smart people can’t put these pieces together. Red Hat has never left the Linux desktop space; we’re just interested in making it, y’know, actually profitable for us. And that means corporate deployments, where Big Companies deploy and manage thousands and thousands of systems.

So what bothers these Big Companies, when it comes to Linux? Mostly, they’re just bothered by the fact that they still need to run Windows applications. Increasingly, they love Linux, but that crazy VB application that Accounts Receivable uses just doesn’t work under Linux.

How does one solve that problem? Simple — by putting Windows in a corner.

Here’s the thing: those funky apps that only run on Windows are not required by everyone, for everything, at all times. They are required occasionally, by select people, some of the time. Which makes them a perfect target for virtualization.

Imagine that you are a Big Company, and that you have 50,000 desktop computers in your organization. Would you rather pay for 50,000 Windows licenses, or would you rather pay for 50,000 Red Hat Desktop licenses at a substantially cheaper price, and then pay for 1000 Windows licenses that can be summoned on-demand by anyone in the organization when they really need that crazy VB app?

Funny that we just signed a deal with Microsoft to make that possible. Funnier still that people actually wonder who got the better end of that deal.

Interesting times ahead.

The Year of the Linux Desktop

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