Feeds

Resellers question Linux on the desktop

Is the channel ready, is Linux ready?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Resellers are enthusiastic about recent moves by Novell and Red Hat to move Linux onto the desktop but warn that fear of the unknown and missing applications are holding progress back.

Asked if he thought Linux was ready to grace the desktops of the average business Philip Burgess, sales manager at Sire Technology, said: "Blimey, I've just put the phone down after talking to SUSE Linux - I'm going to see them next week.

"People would like to see an option on desktops, SCO set things back a bit but there are serious offerings available now. There is always interest from IT departments but it hits a barrier at board level. It's just fear of the unknown - you've got to be brave to recommend to your board something that isn't Microsoft."

Red Hat's desktop strategy was welcomed by Mark Blowers, senior research analyst at Butler Group. He said the announcement of Red Hat's long-term client strategy in London will have "far-reaching significance. At last, Red Hat (and Novell SUSE Linux) are offering the beginnings of a credible, alternative desktop client for long suffering IT managers. Microsoft Windows' 96 per cent share of the market has led to apathy and a lack of innovation... Open source desktop software is now in a position to ask serious questions of the fat client approach."

But Michael Trup, managing director at software distributor Interactive Ideas, was more cautious. He said: "Red Hat have been very server-focused, a strategy that has served them well but this is the next logical step. It is a medium-term market though - it won't happen tomorrow. I'd like to see more applications developed - it's a bit chicken and egg - you won't get apps till you get onto desktops but you won't get there without the apps."

He thinks the lack of applications is the main barrier to Linux getting onto business desktops right now. "For small and medium businesses the lack of a standard accounts package is a problem now. Sage have been talking about it but nothing has happened yet. We see more people moving just because of security alone - they're fed up with all the virus attacks. And for what most people do - email, web browsing and word processing - it's all there."

Peter Dawes-Huish, sales director at reseller LinuxIT, is also cautious. "We made an initial foray into the Linux desktop about eighteen months. Our view is that the market was not ready and the software was not mature enough. But we are seeing increasing demand from customers who are considering putting Linux onto desktops."

Local government and call centres are showing the most interest, he says. "You must be clear on the business needs - many people look at Linux after getting a big bill for software licenses but in many cases this is still the best value for their business." ®

Related stories

Red Hat hits the desktop
Open source 'too costly' for Irish e-gov
SCO case doesn't slow Linux take-up

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage
Fruity firm provides digital balm for furious fanbois
Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS
Startup to take over support for today's Itaniums and beyond
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?