Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Sizing up the Linux desktop market, part 1

Filed under
Linux

What Linux loyalists might see as "the good news" is that the typical Linux desktop distribution has become highly reliable and rich in capabilities, Iams said. And what's more, today there are more applications to run on desktop Linux than ever before -- and they're getting better, too.

SearchEnterpriseLinux.com caught up with recently to get a holistic view of the Linux desktop market from users to vendors. In part one, the analyst describes the overall progress of Linux on the desktop thus far, and talks a little about how the leading Linux desktop offerings -- Red Hat and Novell -- stack up.

How is the Linux desktop market progressing today?

Tony Iams:. Well, slowly. It has been progressing slowly. Every year seems to be the year where widespread adoption of Linux on the desktop is just around the corner. What is clear is from a technology standpoint is that some amazing progress has been made. If you look at the capabilities of desktop Linux today in terms of ease-of-use, in terms of the productivity applications that are available, it's very clear that the development community has invested huge resources in delivering something that is usable by typical end users. There are some terrific Linux desktop products out there today. What I still don't see emerging quite yet is widespread demand. But clearly there are some users that are very interested in running Linux on the desktop.

What types of companies do those "very interested" users work for? Is there a typical profile of a Linux desktop user organization?

Iams: You really have to break it down by market segment. In large organizations that have desktops with very tightly defined functions -- limited functions for very specific applications -- there is interest in using Linux as a foundation.

Do those dedicated applications tend to be homegrown?

Iams: Yes. That's true. [They include] in-house applications, or very limited function [applications], where you really don't need that broad spectrum of functional capabilities [like] multimedia and so on. All of the things that you can do on a typical Windows PC, those really aren't necessary for a lot of corporate users, especially in larger enterprises because you tend to have rigid job functions there.

What about smaller companies?

Iams: When you get down to the small and medium businesses and consumer segments, those workloads are much more driven by applications, by specific applications. The application portfolio on Linux continues to grow and many developers target Linux, [but] other systems like Windows still have the majority of applications. A lot of [those applications] have not been ported to Linux. If your business depends on that [unsupported] application, it's not feasible to migrate without significant investments in re-porting the application, retraining your users and so on. So, small and medium business tends to be application driven, and since Windows still has the majority of applications, that is a major strength for it.

How do Red Hat's and Novell's compare on the desktop?

Iams: Novell is being a little bit more aggressive because they actually have several offerings there. They have the SuSE Enterprise Linux 9 Professional, which is in the retail channel. Red Hat has more or less gotten out of the retail channel, but SuSE Linux is still in there. That means you can go to CompUSA and it's on the shelf. Red Hat isn't really interested in that for now.

[Red Hat has] Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which you can certainly run on the desktop. And they have Fedora, which they target at sort of the power user that has traditionally used Linux on the desktop.

Novell has SuSE Enterprise Linux 9 Professional, which is also targeted at those enthusiasts, and then they have the Novell Linux Desktop, which is more for enterprise users -- users that only require basic functionality and are mostly concerned with integrating it into a larger IT infrastructure. So, Novell has more choices and packages for the desktop than Red Hat, and [Novell] also benefits from some technology they've acquired.

Which technology is that?

Iams: The Ximian Desktop, for example, is something that Novell bought a couple of years ago. That included Evolution, which is a messaging and groupware application that is compatible with Exchange. And then they have something called Red Carpet, which is a software management tool. Those are both very valuable for helping to integrate a Linux desktop into existing messaging infrastructures that are based on Exchange. And it also makes it easier to manage the software updates that those desktops require.

Of Novell and Red Hat, which one is most likely to crack the SMB market?

Iams: Novell has a rich portfolio of desktop products and functions. And they're potentially in a stronger position than Red Hat to drive into those SMB-type environments because their NetWare operating system has long been used in SMB environments. Novell is now in the process of turning those users over to Linux by migrating the NetWare file and print sharing services over to Linux. That could in turn encourage the redeployment of some of those SMB applications that were formerly based on NetWare. Those would now be based on Linux. That could give Novell a foothold in SMB environments, where the desktop, again, plays a really significant role.

By Mark Brunelli
SearchEnterpriseLInux
Part 2.

That is not quite accurate.

Linux distros are not even distinquishable except for driver compatibility for your Linux machine.

Three years and 164 Linux distributions, most used and tested...Most documented with hours of notes and observations. While the devil might still be in the details, it is those details that make the pretty pictures you see on your monitor.

Even after a year of hard development on the live cd front, there is still only one distro that gives you 100 percent streaming out of the box with zero fiddling with drivers and stuffing obscure mplayer files into folders.

That would be PCLiuxOS. Out of 164 distros, this is the only work that I have found suitable for the new user and power user alike. Mepis fell hard on streaming, but it did make the attempt.

You and I seem to be guilty of the same thing...believing the deeper intention of our words will be evident in the most general of statements.

THAT'S why I don't write for a living. Wink

helios

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Kernel Space: Linux, Graphics

Leftovers: Software and Games

  • Best Linux remote desktop clients: Top 5 RDC in 2017
    This article was provided to TechRadar by Linux Format, the number one magazine to boost your knowledge on Linux, open source developments, distro releases and much more. Subscribe to the print or digital version of Linux Format here. SSH has been the staple remote access tool for the sysadmins since its advent. The cryptographic network protocol is synonymous with remote network services over an unsecured network. Admins use SSH to mount remote directories, backup remote servers, spring-clean remote databases, and even forward X11 connections. The popularity of single-board computers, such as the Raspberry Pi, has introduced SSH into the parlance of the everyday desktop users as well.
  • A Powerful Dual-Pane File Manager `Double Commander` New Update for Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    Double Commander is a powerful open source & cross platform file manager, inspired from total commander file manager but includes new ideas and features. It brings dual pane side by side experience to enhance the use of GUI for the user. The main window of the application is separated by two panels side by side that allow you to view the content of two different location or same and browse through folders with ease. For each file, image or folder, details such as name, extension, size, date and attributes are displayed in the list.
  • SoftMaker Office 2016 – Your alternative to LibreOffice?
    Depending on how you look at it, the world of office suites for Linux is either very rich or very poor. As the rather obscure idiom says: the tailor (hence the cliche suit reference) always goes naked. But in essence, you’re either using LibreOffice – used to be OpenOffice – or maybe something else. Probably nothing. However, there are quite a few office products for Linux: Kingsoft Office, SoftMaker Office, Calligra, standalone Abiword, some others, each offering a slightly different aesthetic and functional approach. We talked about this in the office suite competition article back in 2013, and a lot has changed since. LibreOffice finally became suitable for use side by side with Microsoft Office, as far as decent document conversion and fidelity go, and every one of these products has seen a large number of major and minor number increments. In the original piece, SoftMaker Office was kind of a dud, and it’s time to give it a full review. Let us.
  • Reports: PS4 is selling twice as well as Xbox One, overall [Ed: Xbox continues to be a loser]
    Microsoft stopped providing concrete sales data for its Xbox line years ago, making it hard to get a read on just how well the Xbox One is doing in the market compared to Sony's PlayStation 4. Recent numbers released by analysts this week, though, suggest that Sony continues to dominate this generation of the console wars, with the PS4 now selling twice as many units worldwide as the Xbox One since both systems launched in late 2013. The first set of numbers comes from a new SuperData report on the Nintendo Switch, which offhandedly mentions an installed base of 26 million Xbox One units and 55 million PS4 units. That report is backed up by Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, who recently tweeted a chart putting estimated Xbox One sales somewhere near the middle of the 25 million to 30 million range.
  • PPSSPP (PSP) Emulator 1.3.0 Version Released, Install in Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    PPSSPP is a PSP emulator written in C++, and translates PSP CPU instructions directly into optimized x86, x64 and ARM machine code, using JIT recompilers (dynarecs). PPSSPP is an open source project, licensed under the GPL. PPSSPP can run your PSP games on your PC in full HD resolution, it is cross-platform application. It can even upscale textures that would otherwise be too blurry as they were made for the small screen of the original PSP.

Security Leftovers

4.9 is a longterm kernel

Might as well just mark it as such now, to head off the constant questions. Yes, 4.9 is the next longterm supported kernel version. Read more Also: Yes, Linux 4.9 Is A Long-Term Kernel Release