The press loves a "sky is falling" story, and they
found one this week with the recent developments in the Linux community, but the
reality is exactly opposite. This week Red Hat confirmed that they were
not targeting the desktop but rather focusing entirely on the server
opportunity. Meanwhile Novell purchased SuSE for $210 million and
re-emphasized their enterprise strategy. Press accounts cited these
developments as negative indicators for Desktop Linux. Predicting the demise of Desktop Linux because of Red Hat and/or SuSE's
withdrawal, would have been like predicting the demise of professional
baseball after Michael Jordon retired from baseball to go back to
playing for the NBA full time.
For those of you who aren't sports
buffs, Michael Jordon is recognized by many as the best basketball
player of all time, yet he left the NBA for a very short time to try his
hand at professional baseball. Jordon was a phenomenal basketball
player, winning several championships and breaking many records, but as
a baseball player, he was...well...much less inspiring. Just
like Jordan's real passion and skill was in basketball, so has Red Hat
and SuSE's real contribution been to servers and the enterprise, not to
What is transpiring is a natural maturation of the Linux
business with companies moving from generalists to more focused
corporate missions and at the same time creating a "divide and conquer"
strategy. Red Hat is making enormous strides on the server and has
decided that this is their best area of opportunity. (We use Red Hat
servers at Lindows.com presently.) Novell is going to continue to
champion SuSE's enterprise approach which is also showing momentum.
(We use SuSE's OpenExchange product line.) Lindows.com will continue to
focus solely on the desktop -- where our efforts have been exclusively
since day one. Linux will be a greater threat with a few larger
companies focused on complimentary areas rather than distributed across
every software opportunity. Together these companies pose a formidable
challenge for Microsoft since they now have laser-focused competitors.
Each of these opportunities (server, enterprise and desktop) require
different marketing, distribution and development strategies. The only
way for companies to truly succeed is to focus on the area for which they are best suited.
I'd like to take this opportunity to share some data about what
we're seeing in the desktop Linux business, because the growth and
momentum is showing startling progress:
Registered LindowsOS users are increasing at an astonishing rate, having
jumped by 30% in the last two months alone!
- The largest company in the world, Walmart, sells LindowsOS computers starting at $199, helping Lindows.com make affordable choice available to millions of consumers.
Lindows.com has over 3,000 resellers in dozens of countries, including
Fry's, Micro Center, Amazon, PC Mall, TigerDirect, and PC Club.
Lindows.com has over 300 OEM's and system builders worldwide who are
selling computers pre-installed with LindowsOS. We will be
in more than 100 major retailer outlets in the US by the Christmas
- Lindows.com is participating in the Intel
Channel Conference, which is a touring conference where a small,
exclusive group of leading technology companies meet with system
builders, system integrators, VARs, resellers and so on, to connect
them with the cutting-edge technology that will impact the future of
- Also at the conference with Lindows.com is Seagate,
our partner for LindowsHD. Seagate is the largest manufacturer of hard
drives worldwide, and has recently started shipping hard drives,
pre-loaded with LindowsOS, thus changing the way computers are built,
by making them less expensive and easier to build.
- Lindows.com has hundreds of
consultants, in over 35 different countries throughout the world.
Thanks to open source, everyday thousands of new lines of code are
being written for Desktop Linux applications. Lindows.com is adding new
products almost daily to the Click-N-Run
Warehouse, now totaling over 1,800 programs, as well as seeing
existing products get better and better each month. Programs like GAIM,
Mozilla, OpenOffice, and StarOffice continue to not only match, but
often out-perform their MS Windows counterparts.
The Desktop Linux Summit attracted more than 500 attendees last year. This
year that number is expected to triple.
Lindows.com now works with the majority of hardware companies (HP,
Epson, nVidia, ATI, Intel, Via, Seagate, FIC, AOpen, etc.) to ensure that their
printers, video cards, modems, mother boards, and so on, all have Linux
drivers. Many of these companies are now even working with us to make
sure LindowsOS is compatible with their new equipment before they
As Victor Hugo said, "No army can withstand the strength of an idea
whose time has come." Desktop Linux's time has come and nothing can
stop it. The thousands of developers who contribute daily to Desktop
Linux are showing no sign of retreat. All the same advantages which have
taken Linux to 25% market share on the server (affordability, stability,
security, open standards, etc.) exist on the desktop too, and will simply prove too compelling for
many to resist. I can tell you first-hand that Desktop Linux is alive
and well, and its future has never looked brighter. Hopefully many in
the media will share this promising news as well.
Michael.The Michael's Minute Meter
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