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Stormy Peters lands on Gnome Foundation

Ex-HP exec takes charge

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The Gnome Foundation yesterday announced that it has hired former Hewlett-Packard industry analyst Stormy Peters as its new executive director.

She will hope to snap up a few more industry members and community contributors to the open source group’s cause.

Peters previously headed up HP’s open source strategy, policy and biz practices before becoming director of community and partner programs at OpenLogic.

Her new role will focus primarily on bridging the gap between commercial and open source camps. She'll be hoping to promote the free desktop for Linux and Unix-based operating systems not just to fanboys and openistas but also to Microsoft-leaning folk.

However, the desktop market is a notoriously tough nut to crack. In April this year the world's leading Linux vendor, Red Hat, abandoned plans to develop a consumer desktop product and admitted it was unable to compete with the might of Microsoft.

The firm said at the time: “As a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers.

“The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative.”

Meanwhile, Novell's president and CEO Ronald Hovesepian also recently admitted that developing a desktop Linux platform to rival Microsoft's offerings will take longer than it had initially hoped.

The company's wonks are still sat in the backroom developing Novell's Suse Linux desktop distribution for the consumer market.

Hovesepian said in April: “The consumer market is taking longer to develop… The market for the desktop for the next three to five years is mainly enterprise-related."

Words Peters will perhaps be wise to heed in her new role at Gnome. ®

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