When you look at the Redhat balance sheet and its latest results you have to say, wow, this company seems to have their business under control. But I wonder, if not something bigger is happening.

With every recession and every bust things change. When times are good there usually is not that much change. Sure we try out new things, but the same-old, same-old carries on. In the years 1990 to 2000 the web started and people experimented, but it was not until the years 2000 to 2009 that the Web became a part of our fabric and way of life.

Now I wonder if Linux is not going to become part of our life? I have had a love-hate relationship with Linux. And I have in the past said that I gave up on desktop Linux. Now I am not so sure anymore.

For the past three months I have been running a desktop Linux machine and have found to like it quite a bit. I am running Ubuntu Linux Server Edition with a GUI. That experiment has been working pretty well.

My next experiment has been a netbook, which I just bought a couple of days ago. It is a clone and nothing special. Supported was XP Home, but I needed to install it from the CD. So  I decided as an experiment to put on Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition. WOW! I am totally impressed. I am typing this blog entry on that operating system. Everything worked out of the box and the UI is just fantastic! With XP Home, and Windows 7 I did not feel like having to yet again go through clicking on small icons (Origami experiences were not nice). Yet with Ubuntu Netbook remix things just worked!

Thus I am now starting to wonder if at the end of this recession it will be Linux that will become a dominate operating system? I am thinking that Linux in conjunction with Google are going to be the next juggernaut. I know Nokia with its N900 has completely jumped on the bandwagon with Linux.

Does this mean I will buy Redhat at these lofty levels? No. But it does mean I am kicking myself for not paying more attention to Redhat.

It’s not a threat. There is a huge opportunity.
Linux will eventually dominate the desktop. It is already huge on the web – hence Red Hat’s success in the B2B market.

However, for the desktop, watch the applications. Just like the iPhone ‘apps, Linux has some powerful plays available. Firefox, Open Office, Gimp/Inkscape, and so on.

Way back at the dawn of Windows 3.0 .. it was the Office package that really got it going. MS Office was really advanced for what was then available and people and businesses flocked to it. Much of it was ‘given away’ with new PC purchases. Later they learned that MSOffice was forcing upgrades, not backward compatible, and so on. Plus some BSODs, lost work, later viruses and spam. Enter Linux.

Ubuntu is the closest to having a desktop ‘Red Hat’ model. The key with Ubuntu is the large number of users, active forums, and real work going on with it. The fun part with Ubuntu is the 6 month release cycle – Lean Manufacturing at it’s best – compared with MS and Apple that have to forecast what equipment will be available in 3-5 years (Vista over-shot available hardware specs and struggled).

When will the Ubuntu IPO occur? Hmm…

I’d recommend trying some other distros as well – one of my favorites is Moon OS which has a really nice GUI (E17 based) and runs well on everything from a P3-600 to a dual core Turion notebook. There’s some really neat stuff out there.

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