Novells Enterprise Desktop

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2008-09-08 Print this article Print


Speaking of Novell, I know that while Red Hat isn't focused on a consumer desktop, an enterprise desktop has been part of your plans. What do you think of Novell's enterprise desktop?

They have made a broader investment in [the enterprise desktop]. I'll be frank: I think we in Red Hat for a long time kind of muddled desktop with consumer, and we really underinvested in the desktop versus what we should [have done]. So, we're redoubling our investments in the desktop because the desktop's important.

Our customers are asking for it, we need to have an excellent desktop, and I think we have a very competitive desktop platform out there. But we have not invested as much or as heavily as others.

If you look back at the core, GNOME, if you look at the contributions, we are still a major, major contributor around the desktop and the components that go into the desktop, and I think we actually have a good one.

In Eastern Europe, you saw the bundle we've done with IBM and Lotus Notes. It's been very, very successful, so we are making real strides and a lot of progress there. It's been a more recent push than I think historically we've had because I think there was this, "Oh desktop-that means consumer, and we're not doing that." Let's be clear: The desktop's very, very important to what we're doing. I use it all the time; it's quite good.

Do you use Fedora or RHEL on your desktop?

My desktop at work, I use RHEL, that's our corporate standard build. At home, I use Fedora.

I think that the things that Red Hat's been working on in the desktop space-and even things not specific to the desktop space, like SELinux-I think the pieces are there to make a very compelling desktop, not just for enterprises but for a lot of consumers, too. People who would be willing to pay for something that's built around SELinux and Stateless Linux that is locked down and that people can feel safe using. This is a big hole for Microsoft right now.

Actually, I laugh as you say that. Have you ever run Fedora off like a USB key?

Yes, I have.

And you know we now have it so you can have persistence on it. There's a huge fight around that because persistence is moving away from this idea of stateless, and the original idea around the key and some of that was let's get people used to stateless. ... We still talk quite a bit about it, and we're marching forward, so we have some interesting things coming up going forward on that.

But the cloud is really exciting because that's the place where it can bleed over. It doesn't matter so much the exact boundaries, or it needn't matter-it's accessible.

Well, it's interesting. Once you do that, then you start saying, "Well, the desktop becomes relatively less important." Right, because your functionality is all off somewhere and it's really your front end. We're doing a lot of work on GNOME and a lot of the front-end stuff. Fedora's a great desktop. I mean, the reason I have [Fedora on a USB drive] in my pocket is I often, instead of using the corporate standard build, will boot with this because I'm a big Fedora user-[I have been] for years.

IT's gonna come after you.


As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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