Pick a Free OS

Michael Tiemann CTO, Red Hat

any partitions without formatting. Does Red Hat plan to do anything like that?

We're always taking advantage of the open source development nature of Linux.

Everything that goes through kernel.org and through Alan Cox ultimately winds

up at Red Hat. At the same time it's also important to note that we do have

many of the guys who are doing a lot of the key kernel infrastructure that

allows companies like Mandrake to write these things. If the Linux kernel did

not support the API's that are needed by ReiserFS or it didn't support the

capabilities needed by these other tools then the whole open source eco-system

would collapse. So we think it's great that other people are doing open source

development also.

Which distribution do you feel is your main competitor?

Right now our main competitors are Sun Solaris and Microsoft.

An interesting phenomenon that is happening these days is that Red Hat gets

associated with Linux. So instead of saying Linux vs. Netware vs. Microsoft,

they say Red Hat vs. Microsoft. What are your views on this?

You have to have a reference point. What is Linux? From our perspective we've

worked hard to packaging testing and distributing a particular thing. We call

it Red Hat. That's the distribution that most people take as the reference

standard. Maybe it's a function of its quality or maybe it's a function of its

popularity. You can't compare Microsoft vs. Linux but you can compare Windows

2000 vs. Red Hat Linux.

Is Red Hat the number one Linux distribution? What are the segments where it's

popular and where does it lack?

Red Hat Linux is the number one OS in a number of market segments. There are

some market segments that we feel will not be so important in the future. The

whole Windows desktop paradigm was invented in the 1980s. It may be obsolete

5-10 years from now. Even Microsoft is moving away from that, as can be seen

from this .NET thing. Do we invest resources in older technology that we know

is obsolete or do we innovate in the Internet infrastructure space?

I think the answer really is that we see a number of ways in which Red Hat

Linux is already the market leader in the segment or can be a leading OS.

That's our aim. The fact that we don't care about problem X or Y creates

opportunities for other distributions.

Red Hat doesn't make a version of Linux that is fine tuned for the desktop.