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Re: Why Desktop? Repulsion of Business market, less marketable

Mike A. Harris wrote:
On Sat, 29 Mar 2003, Audioslave - 7M3 - Live wrote:

The main reason that I assumed that the desktop market was something that you were shooting at was the looks of RH 8. It has what most desktop users need, available.

Different people have different ideas of what "desktop" means and
what "desktop market" means.  The home computer desktop is
definitely not a Red Hat target market at this point in time, but
that does not mean that we turn a blind eye either.  We make many
improvements to the OS that benefit users of various categories,
however our prime business focuses are what pay our bills and
allow us to come back again and again with new releases, and as
such, we focus our engineering resources in those areas that give
us the biggest bang for the buck.  If we did not do this, we
would be just another Linux upstart failure.  I believe we must
be doing something right to be the number one Linux vendor.

I've been with this distribution for a long while now. If nothing else, it has weaned me off of the major OS for IBM-compatibles. I do realize that there is a very low desktop (home users). I do see a different picture for the business use of Linux and the home use, at least in my instance.
In my view of where Linux has caught on. It seems that it has not been accepted by the major business community. But with your view, you see the business usages. I am glad to know that RH Linux is accepted wider than I supposed.
Without a feasable version of a simple and highly configurable database within RH Linux, I don't see it attracting a lot of the business market, at our business. The other aspects to RH Linux are satisfactory for me to be able to push in my business. The addition of Openoffice meets most of the other needs for the office. Netscape/Mozilla take care of the Internet usage. The other factors that RH Linux have are good also. The longer termed support was a plus, as a selling point. The cutting down of support lengths probably effects busines users, more than it effects the desktop user.

Red Hat Linux 8.0 indeed has much more desktop savvy than did prior releases, there's no doubt in that. These changes definitely benefit users of the desktop across the board, from the high end workstation user, to the business desktop user, to the home user and the hobbiest. Red Hat Linux 9 continues this paradigm shift as well. Future releases of our OS products will most likely continue this even further.

It is great that these areas have all improved from the concentration toward the business desktop. As a desktop user, with intentions to convince the business that I am in, to switch to RH Linux. I have been derailed by the M$ similar dropping and limiting of support. To me, the reduction of support cycles is too similar and reflects a "mirrored attitude" for my view on "RH Now". I don't know if others see the same similarity or not.
Anyway, if I am to comfortably convince others to use RH Linux, I would have to feel comfortable with the changes myself. I am a bit uneased by the changes, therefore, selling it to others is also less comfortable.

I hope that the future releases keep on getting better. But you also must be cautious that businesses are the ones that are most interested in lengthy support cycles. Home users want newer, better and cooler capabilities. (IMV)

While these changes may make the OS attractive for some users
across the board of different categories, not all of those "usage
markets" are viable "business target markets" with which to turn
a profit. Since there are finite engineering resources, we must concentrate those resources on the areas of the OS that bring the biggest bang for the buck. That allows us to keep existing customers and markets happy, while opening up new markets. As we are able to determine a market to be profitable, we will likely add more resources to develop software for that market based on customer feedback in the given market, and based on the amount of profit we visualize from that market. If we visualize nothing, then we are less likely to allocate a lot of resources to those areas. It's just simple good business sense.

The "in the black" was not caused by limiting support. It was however related to the company reputation and the dedication of resources to certain engineering areas.
The IDE, GUI, Video card recognitions, data integrity are my major desires from the distribution. Security is a bigger personal concern, than earlier thought.

Gah... Now you people have me talking like a financial person. Make me puke. ;o)

To be able to keep XFree86 working reliably. I would say that your financial perspective is a little less of a concern. Keeping the more GUI dependent user bae up and running is more important now, than it was a short time ago. Especially with redhat-config-this and redhat-config-that, which seem to rely in the GUI.

I see the move to include more redhat specific programs to be a move to push RH Linux into a more proprietary product. I hope the move is fruitful for the company. I thank you for the weaning from Windows that this distribution has provided. I am now ready to try the other Linux developers, as a test. I'll probably be back from the venture to see what is up with Gentoo and NetBSD within a week or two. But I feel less welcome to Red Hat lately. Therefore, learning anew is needed.

Perhaps the largest barrier that will face Linux on the home
desktop, is that home desktop user's computers generally come
with an operating system already, and it generally isn't Linux. They are much less likely to choose something like Linux en masse
unless there are compelling reasons for them to do so. In their
eyes, they're theoretically saying "what can you do for me Red
Hat?", and people generally don't want to pay for their OS either, especially if one comes with their computer already (wether they've paid for it or not). In order for Red Hat to be answer their question, we have to ask "what are you willing to pay for us to provide you that".

Keep on making it superior to Windows, in business practices, security, ease of configuration and other aspects.Then shortly the crowd will see the beauty of the UNIX similar OS.

What you then have is somewhat of a catch-22 situation, but not
entirely. What generally has happened in the evolution of Linux,
and it's entrance to new markets - from a "company can actually
turn a profit selling Linux in this market" viewpoint, has been basically more and more software becoming available for Linux and improving in quality, until people are literally knocking on the doors with huge fistfuls of dollars. When people come to the front with huge fistfuls of dollars, they help to drive future development, which in turn makes the software start to be viable for more and more businesses and people out there, whom then come forth with money, which then causes more software and features to be developed to meet the current paying userbase's needs/requests, and so goes the chain.

Perception, word of mouth and the lack of a need for a fistful of dollars attracts more businesses and individual users. Some will throw more money your way because of the impression that they get from the "personality" of Red Hat". As you may have noticed, there are those who want to buy the CDs, because of the stickers, manuals and their general satisfaction with the product. Others will go through RHN, so more money goes to the product, less to the middleman. Others, like myself, will hold onto the bumper and hang on for the ride. Cheaper is always better.

My view on depending upon businesses for support, is that you have to concentrate on your reputation to be the "middleman" to getting these companies to choose RH over other options.

Businesses, especially publically held companies, such as recent Red Hat, and the company that I work for. Is they expect money in, with no money out or spread throughout the company. There still are businesses that the owners want to make a decent living, spread their wealth to others that help them. But these companies seem to be getting reduced in numbers. I am familar with "budgets" that are really "expectations", which seem to try to hide the cashflow from the workers.

The home user market isn't like that. I don't have any actual
statistics, and am completely making guesses, but realistically
speaking (IMHO), while there definitely are hobbiests out there,
and other home users etc. who do purchase products and/or
services, the number of people doing so again "in my own personal
opinion" isn't large enough to solely drive the development. If
there were a couple hundred thousand home users subscribing their
shiny new copy of Red Hat Linux 9 to RHN in a week under the basic $60/year subscription, and indicating what they're using it for, then statistics could possibly be generated to make a business case.

I hope that the usage for RHN goes up. I am not really sure if RH is my early vision used for escaping the grasp and limitations, set forth with M$, or it was the learning experiences and answer to my basic computer needs.

I loved Microsoft software, when they added similar features from pctools, stacker and other competitors. I loved the push of netscape into the open-source world.

I never bought any of the above products, when there was a prictag attached. I have purchased RH discs before. That is mainly due to my attraction to the distro, of past days.

Perhaps this could be a survey done via RHN to find out? I'm not completely sure that people don't forge such surveys though so it is hard to collect hard data IMHO.

The questions should be more related to confidence, what is important to the user, trust and similar topics. As one user relayed earlier on this list, a survey would be the best option. Multiple choices do have an impersonal touch to them.

Also, the use of Linux within my personal work environment is very limited. To my knowledge, it is only used for a few purposes. The business model looks lesser than the desktop, to me.

That's definitely not the norm.

Being on different sides of the fence, I am glad to hear your perspective.

In my business environment, I would think that everybodys industrial computers were trash. I see the failures, but don't see the pool of reliable units. At home, I think that personal computers are very reliable, since they work for long periods, without failure.

I now see three markets. Server use, corporate use and home use. I think that home use is higher than business use, excluding server use.

"usage" and "profitability" are 2 different things. There can be
10 million people out there downloading Linux and using it,
sharing it with friends, etc. but if those 10 million people, or
some decent percentage of them aren't paying for the product or
services (and by all means they certainly don't have to), then
those users may find the OS popular, and may help to popularize
it even, but they're not putting the money in to drive
development. Development is driven largely by what features are
required by paying customers. Generally, these features also are
things that non-paying customers want too, and so everyone
benefits. But if non-paying customers want features that a large
amount of paying customers aren't asking for or demanding, it is hard to justify allocation of resources to doing such things instead of allocating those same resources to implement things that do increase the number of large paying customers. Again, it is simple business sense.

Some people "bowl" for the love of the game, the competing against others. Others want to "bowl" for the dollars, counting upon their skills. I wish you luck with the "Linux for Dollars" goal. i hope that there are a lot of lovers of the game left.

Some people might think this way of thinking is "corporate ugly", and "not community spirit" or some other fanatical thing, but it is really very much the opposite. By focusing on implementing things that the benefit the largest number of paying customers, *everyone* including non-paying customers, and quite often even non-Red Hat Linux users end up benefiting from. For example, Red Hat has developed NPTL. NPTL isn't something that matters much to the home desktop user at all. It *does* however provide a feature that makes Linux very much more attractive to a lot more commercial companies, of whom will likely be planning migrating more and more of their systems to Linux now, and paying gobs of money to us. ;o) The community benefits also, as do any of our competitors who also use NPTL.

I see value with the scanner. I don't see NPTL to make much difference to me.

It's a win win situation for everyone, however we do end up making money off of this because now many companies out there consider Linux one notch more viable for doing business. By continuing to implement features like this that cause more money to come in, we end up making Linux more and more accessible to more and more users out there across the board.

I may be crazy, and by all means feel free to disagree with anything I'm saying. But I believe at some point, many of the things missing for "the home desktop" will be things that some company out there wants to have and is willing to tell us "if you implement foo, we will be interested in your product as a solution for our problem" They may even go as far as to directly pay us to do it. When that happens, more and more of the missing pieces of the desktop will start to fill in, and eventually we'll have ourselves in a much more viable situation for the home desktop. Then it's only a matter of visualizing a business case that is large enough to jump on Microsoft's toes with both feet.

That is a tough order.

It is a tough order, but their greed will repel others from itsd usage. If you show less support, higher costs, etc. The product will have to be based upon its security, ease of configuration and its capabilities.

Good luck!

I do feeel that getting the schools to teach Linux and invest in
hardware, with the savings, will increase Linux adoption. I do
feel that a push to commercialize Linux too heavily will result
in a backwave for Linux to break into the market, as a feasable
alternative to proprietory software.

Absolutely, and Red Hat is very involved in trying to do just that with our "Open Source Now!" initiative.

For adoption at our business. I was thinking about our division in Norway. They currently use win2k professional for the OS. Older versions sell with NT4.

Ewww! ;o)

I concur.

They want to check into using Linux, in order to reduce the price of their product. I was going to try to push Red Hat. Now, I'm considering checking out other distros, for their adoption.

Definitely check out various solutions and choose the one that best meets your needs.

will do!

In short, the desktop market is probably more feasable now.
Mainly because of Windows discontinuing their support, for their
products. But with making RH more expensive, selling it, to
businesses, looks less likely. The adoption of more stringent
end of life cycles also is a crippling point, within Red Hat.

It is entirely within the realm of possibility that none of our products/services and/or price points meet the needs of your particular problem domain. If that is the case, then make your situation known to Red Hat either via telephone or by emailing sales redhat com and providing detailed feedback of your needs, and how our products meet or dont meet them.

We'll hopefully receive enough of such feedback to see
commonality between a large group of potentially paying customers
that present a viable market with which to enter with new
products and/or services and thus meet the emerging market's
requirements. If not, then it's likely something that a large enough market doesn't exist yet, and which we'll not persue yet.

In the mean time, users can try to fit one of our existing products and services to their needs while continuing to provide us with feedback, or they can explore alternative solutions to that which we provide.

Customer feedback is indeed important to us, and helps as one
piece of the puzzle to drive our direction. If we miss a viable market target, then either someone will step in and fill the gap on us, or we'll realize that there is a market we are missing out on that looks like a profitable venture, and we'll likely persue it, as we keep a close eye on these things. ;o)

They aren't a customer yet. They are only a prospective market.

Ok, I promise... this is my last ultralong email for today. ;o)

Take care!

At least it was filled with differing ideas and came out as comparative reasoning. Not a bad posting.


Bucy's Law:
	Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.

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