So, what took Red
Hat so long?"> Asked why it took Red Hat so long to release a true desktop product and if the move was a reaction to Novells embrace of Linux and open source across its product line, Ferris said Red Hat had been looking at this desktop product for close to a year, well before the Novell acquisition of SuSE Linux Inc., and the company had wanted to make sure the technology was ready and focused on the open-source architecture and all the necessary roadmaps required to get to a secure and managed client."One of the core components of that architecture is the operating system, and so we are taking that platform and providing the benefits of open source down to those clients that have existed," Ferris said. "Red Hat had already announced some efforts with companies like Wind River [Systems Inc.], so if you look at the client strategy as part of the overall whole, what we are doing is building momentum around the focus on having an open architecture across the entire infrastructure, from the desktop and client all the way to the largest servers, including the mainframe," he said. According to Ferris, the Red Hat Desktop is the first step in that strategy, and Red Hat will be taking a phased approach to the delivery of the technologies. The first phase will focus on the security and manageability of the clients, as well as incorporating this under a unified platform. The second phase will involve more interoperability and productivity, things like assisting clients and migrations and helping them interoperate with existing infrastructures. "Think of Microsoft in that realm," he said. The third phase will focus on the thin client. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 3 and, likewise, Red Hat Desktop Version 3 will have some of this security manageability messaging, but the first phase will really kick with the release of Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Desktop Version 4, expected in the first quarter of 2005. "So you will see a lot of the additional things coming out at the time and, likewise, there will be more interoperability that starts at that time. We certainly have some today, but from an infrastructure perspective around the open-source architecture, thats really where we start to implement things and then move on heavily into Version 5," he said. Thin client and other infrastructures that allow the customer to control their desktops much more tightly will also start in Version 4 and move forward. "But the intent is to watch how customers are interacting with the data and start to mature the models around that rather than focusing in on what happens on an individual client or desktop," he said. Customers are going through a shift in how they interact with data on the client and what they do moving to new hardware, Ferris observed. The shift is more about security and manageability, the "core themes of this desktop release," he said. Asked if Red Hat saw Sun Microsystems Inc.s Java Desktop System as its primary competitor, Ferris said there are some primary differences between them and while the core functionality of the desktop is very similar, "the biggest difference is that we own the full stack whereas Sun is emphasizing the fact that theirs is a layer that sits on top of an operating system they happen to provide. "Not only are we providing a desktop environment that includes the operating system and the applications for that operating system, but also that you are building out from the same code base that you can deploy your servers from. So, every time we release or update the unified Linux family, we will do it at the same time for the Red Hat desktop product," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at http://linux.eweek.com for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Linux news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:
Tuesdays announcement isjust part of a larger client strategy within the company, which is extending that family of products down to the client. "We are extending the Red Hat open-source architecture down into the client.