I really don’t understand a lot of the vituperation that is being directed towards Red Hat. First, their CEO didn’t say anything that others, including me, haven’t said before. Linux is not ready for the casual home user who has no clue how to make any modifications to their system, although it is now a very reasonable choice – in my opinion, the optimal choice – for a power user who isn’t afraid to go to the command line every now and then.
I’ve installed several systems over the last week, so I think I have a pretty up-to-date perspective on the question. Red Hat is considered one of the better distros in terms of ease of install, and yet there are numerous issues that Space Bunny, who is a bright girl, simply does not have the technical experience to tackle alone. She couldn’t fix many of her inevitable Windows problems either, heck, half the time I can’t since the problems aren’t fixable, but the plug-and-play drivers and software installation programs are simple enough that she could handle those. But get her printer working with SAMBA, CUPS and whatnot? No way, not yet. Still, with her personal tech support staff, she’s running Redhat 9 with her most serious issue to date being that her favorite crossword wasn’t working in her browser – and after firing up the JRE in Opera, she’s crosswording away again.
As for the much-lamented end of the Red Hat retail line, I think this is potentially great. The Fedora project will allow this line of Linux to return to its roots of community development without requiring things to be held back for the stodgy corporate market. I predict that Fedora will speed up the production of device drivers – I find apt-get and Synaptic to be far more useful than RHN already, so guess which was developed by the community and which was developed by the corporation? Red Hat will use Fedora as a testbed, and incorporate those elements which prove to be most useful and stable into its Enterprise products. Where is the problem in that? It’s obviously going to be in Red Hat’s best interest to see that Fedora remains as healthy, free and open as possible.
In summary, I’m looking forward to this weekend – it’s download time again!