Red Hat Sets Sights on Linux Desktop

Red Hat is doing its part to truly make 2004 the year of the Linux desktop with plans to bring an enterprise Linux desktop to market before the year ends.

NEW YORK—The battle over the Linux desktop is about to heat up, with Red Hat Inc. planning to bring an enterprise Linux desktop to market within the next year.

That move comes after Linux luminaries like its founder Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton, his right-hand man and maintainer of the kernel, both said 2004 will be the year of the Linux desktop.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEKs interview with Andrew Morton.

Red Hats upcoming move will put more pressure on Sun Microsystems Inc., which is aggressively pushing its Java Desktop System with good success, and Novell Inc., which last year acquired Ximian and SuSE Linux, allowing Novell to offer customers a complete Linux-solution stack and global technical Linux support.

It should also give Microsoft Corp. more to worry about, as the Redmond, Wash., company already perceives Linux as one of its greatest threats.

"In the year coming I think its safe to say that we will come out with an offering specifically aimed at the enterprise desktop user that will not only use existing Red Hat solutions but also some pieces that we and the open-source community are working on to make this a more complete offering," Paul Cornier, executive vice president of Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C., told eWEEK in an interview here ahead of the annual LinuxWorld conference.

But Cornier declined to give too many specifics about the offering. "We are, in association with the community, building parts of the product. The tools, the consistency within the operating system and across the user interfaces, more work is being done on expanding fonts. We are capable of doing more work on OpenOffice.

"So those are the kinds of things we are building toward so we can put together a more complete offering," he said.

Next page: OpenOffice: Productivity suite of choice.