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

Graphics: AMD, RADV, RadeonSI, Mesa 18.0.1

  • AMDGPU DRM Gets "GFXOFF" Patches To Turn Off Graphics Engine
    AMD's Huang Rui has posted a set of 20 patches providing "GFXOFF" support for the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager Linux kernel driver. GFXOFF is a new graphics processor feature that allows for powering off the graphics engine when it would otherwise be idle with no graphics workload. Obviously, this would equate to a potentially significant power savings with that engine being able to be shut-off.
  • RADV Driver Lands Support For Vulkan's New Descriptor Indexing Extension
    Earlier this month with the Vulkan 1.1.72 specification update was the new VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing extension that is quickly being well received by developers. The VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing extension allows for creating large descriptor sets made up of all their combined resources and selecting those resources via dynamic indexes in a shader.
  • RadeonSI Now Appears To Support "RX Vega M" With Intel Core CPUs
    One of the most common Linux hardware questions I've received dozens of times in the past few weeks alone has been over the support for "RX Vega M" Vega-based graphics processors found on select newer Intel Kabylake CPUs. It appears RadeonSI at least should now support these Radeon graphics on Intel CPUs.
  • mesa 18.0.1
  • Mesa 18.0.1 Released With A Number Of Fixes
    In addition to Mesa 17.3.9 being released today, Mesa 18.0.1 also rolled out the door as the first point release to last quarter's Mesa 18.0 series. Mesa 18.0.1 features improvements to its Meson build system support, several RADV Vulkan driver fixes, various fixes to the Gallium3D Nine (D3D9) state tracker, various Intel driver fixes, several core Mesa improvements, and then the other random smothering of fixes collected over the past few weeks.

Programming: nGraph Compiler, JavaScript Trademark, PyPI and Pip

  • Intel Opens Up nGraph Source Code For DNN Model Compiler
    Intel tonight announced they are open-sourcing their nGraph compiler code, which serves as a framework-neutral deep neural network model compiler. Intel claims with nGraph and Xeon Scalable hardware that researchers can obtain up to 10x performance improvements over previous TensorFlow integrations, as one example. Besides TensorFlow, nGraph also supports PyTorch, MXNet, Neon, Caffe2, and CNTK while also planning to support other frameworks moving forward.
  • Why it's finally time to give up on the name JavaScript
    An iOS developer has apparently received a cease and desist notice from Oracle over the use of the word "JavaScript" in the title of their app. The developer, Tyanya Software, shared the notice on perennial internet soapbox Reddit to seek advice on how to fight the order. [...] If user reviews are any indication, the app is not even particularly good, with reviewers stating things such as "Not ready for production," "Does not work as advertised," and "Waste of money, don't buy this." The last update to the app was in 2014, which the changelog notes was only an upgrade to add support for iOS 8. The app developer is at least honest about the intent behind the unwieldy name for the app, saying in a Reddit comment that "we game the App Store ranking by adding all the keywords to the app name." While Oracle has a duty to protect their trademarks, this type of legal bludgeoning underscores a historical problem that has been left unaddressed for too long: JavaScript is a terrible name for the thing being described. It has nothing to do with Java, an actual product developed by Sun (now owned by Oracle). JavaScript was developed at Mozilla, and the name was changed during beta releases of Netscape Navigator 2.0 from "LiveScript" to "JavaScript." It has, for some time, caused confusion among casual web users about the difference between Java and JavaScript. Given that ECMAScript is also a trademarked term, it seems best to revert to calling the language "LiveScript" to undercut trademark-related legal posturing. [...] Oracle declined to comment on this story.
  • New PyPI launched
    The new PyPI has been launched. Browser traffic and API calls (including "pip install") have been redirected from the old pypi.python.org to the new site. The old PyPI will shut down on April 30. LWN covered the new PyPI last week.
  • Pip 10.0 has been released
    The release of pip 10.0 has been announced. Some highlights of this release include the removal of Python 2.6 support, limited PEP 518 support (with more to come), a new "pip config" command, and other improvements.

Meltdown/PTI Mitigation Impact On BSDs vs. Linux

Besides the fresh BSD/Linux disk performance tests, some other tests I ran on various BSDs and Linux distributions this week was looking at the performance impact of Intel Meltdown CPU vulnerability mitigation on each of them, namely the performance impact of using kernel page-table isolation. On DragonFlyBSD 5.2, TrueOS 18.03, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Clear Linux I ran tests when the mitigation was enabled and then again when it was off for seeing the performance impact. Read more

Red Hat and Fedora Leftovers

  • Enterprise Node.js on OpenShift, April 19th, 12 p.m. EDT
    The next online DevNation Live Tech Talk is Thursday, April 19th at 12pm EDT. The topic is “Enterprise Node.js on Red Hat OpenShift” presented by Lance Ball, and hosted by Burr Sutter. The popularity of JavaScript on the front end and the JSON format for data has led to a “JavaScript Everywhere” movement with Node.js at the center. Node.js offers developers an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that is perfect for high concurrency, low-latency applications that run across distributed devices. Its reactive architecture makes it an ideal technology for containerized microservices architectures you’ve been hearing so much about.
  • President to President with Luc Villeneuve, Red Hat Canada
    ITWC President Fawn Annan gets to the point with Red Hat’s general manager for Canada. Villeneuve speaks about building the open source technology firm in the country, the unique differences when dealing with the Quebec market, and how he fosters a positive culture in the workplace. Plus, he dishes on how his experience in journey hockey taught him how to build a successful sales team.
  • Be mindful of jumping into an open source project too soon: RedHat CTO
    Open source software has long been seen as a movement towards collaborative development. In a conversation with BusinessLine, Chris Wright, Vice-President & CTO at RedHat, talks about some of the challenges the open source community is facing and why it is important to set expectations right when it comes to promoting open source software. Edited excerpts:
  • DevOps Tool Market Global Manufacturers: Chef, Atlassian, Saltstac, Red Hat and Docker Inc.
  • Two sizzlers stock’s are not to be missed: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), Navient Corporation (NAVI)
  • Fedora Community Blog: Fedora meetup at Pune – March 2018
    Long time we did not had any meetup at Pune, Maharashtra, India, so we decided to get started again. Details about this meetup are available at Fedora Wiki page. Planning for meetup started 1 month before. Initially Ompragash proposed to have meetup.com account for Fedora Pune to get more awareness. Later dropped this plan, since this is not only Fedora Pune level topic but applicable for all Fedora events.
  • Fedora 28 Beta – dnf system-upgrade
    Used DNF to remove duplicate rpms, reinstalled the new kernel and libwbclient, and corrected GNOME’s right-click behaviour, and all is well.