Michael Tiemann CTO, Red Hat
They target the server segment only. Does Red Hat believe that the desktop is
That's not a fair question because we do provide a workstation configuration.
The workstation configuration does have the necessary driver and application
support. I think it is too quick to call the desktop dead and it's certainly
wrong to ignore the workstation market because that is what Linux developers
work on. We can't abandon the developers; we can't abandon our own developers.
We have to continue to support the new hardware capabilities that are coming.
In terms of the traditional desktop, which is only low value application
driven, who knows where that's going to go.
Was that the reason why Red Hat acquired Cygnus?
Cygnus provided key development tools and Cygnus' relationships in the
embedded space expanded Red Hat's mission from server vs. desktop to the whole
host PC space. Our announcement with Ericsson with respect to the webphone,
our announcement with Motorola of high availability embedded systems. There
are a lot of exciting things happening in the embedded space and Cygnus on
it's own would not have been able to address this space. Red Hat by itself
would not have been able to. But Cygnus plus Red Hat now has the ability to
attack those spaces.
Cygnus has its own OS, eCos. Where does Linux fit in?
eCos is an appropriate OS for very very small devices. One of our customers is
building a digital TV and after the application, there was only 24KB left for
OS space. All the proprietary OS' were not able to go less than 50KB. When
eCos was configured for this, their first try was
11KB! Do you want to spend time and effort trying to strip Linux down to that
level or do you want to use a Real time OS, which is scalable, supports the
same POSIX API that Linux does. So the way to look at it is that Red Hat can
support more than one file system and more than one
kernel too but still have a consistent programming API.
Is eCos open source?
We always do open source. It's actually something like the Mozilla public
license. The reason we didn't want to put it out as GPL was because if this
Digital TV company links an application to the kernel. We did not believe it
was commercially possible to GPL the kernel.
Do you think there is room for more free OS'?
There's always room for individual preferences. Look at how many programming