Tuesday, December 11

Red Hat’s Loss Is Ubuntu Linux’s Gain

By The VAR Guy

Ubuntu Penguin Time for The VAR Guy to stir up a little controversy, this time in the Linux desktop market. He thinks a small desktop setback at Red Hat could lead to more PC momentum for Ubuntu Linux. Here’s the scoop.

Red Hat yet again has delayed a major Linux desktop release. Sure, Red Hat intends to ship the PC software in January. But repeated delays have given Ubuntu Linux repeated opportunities to further accelerate its desktop momentum.

Admittedly, The VAR Guy is a bit biased when he writes about desktop Linux. He’s running Ubuntu Linux on one of his PCs … and loves it. Plus, The VAR Guy has frequently criticized Red Hat and Novell for their on again/off again/on again interest in desktop Linux.

While Red Hat and Novell battled on the server, Ubuntu Linux filed a small but important niche in the desktop Linux market. Though desktop Linux isn’t ready for all consumers, even our resident blogger managed to safely — and easily — install Ubuntu on his Dell PC.

Now, plenty of other folks are discovering the power and simplicity of Ubuntu. Thousands of Wal-Mart shoppers in recent weeks have purchased $200 Everex PCs running Ubuntu. And the number of PC companies pre-installing Ubuntu on their desktops and notebooks continues to grow. Plus, Dell has quietly sold about 40,000 PCs preloaded with Ubuntu since July.

Sure, Red Hat and Novell have enjoyed some desktop wins of their own lately. But the operating system game tends to be a winner-take-all contest, where the dominant player generates 90 percent market share, and everyone else battles for scraps.

The VAR Guy believes Ubuntu enjoys the early lead in the North American desktop Linux market. Now, if he only had some hard numbers to back up that claim.

Regardless, Red Hat’s desktop software delays could wind up accelerating Ubuntu’s momentum.

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