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Red Hat Summit: "The Desktop Paradigm is Dead"

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You have to wonder what the heck Red Hat is thinking when CTO and VP of Engineering Brian Stevens says to the keynote attendees "we believe the desktop paradigm is dead."

Stevens made that public statement in response to a question from eWeek's Peter Galli, who must have tracked Stevens down as the reception last night after I ran into Galli as I was leaving the reception. Peter's a good journalist, and asked a good question: "when is Red Hat going to move to the desktop?"

Stevens' strong reply in this morning's keynote illustrates a larger point. While we now have to sort through all of the corporate-speak and find out what Stevens meant by they're going to move to a more collaborative and cooperative environment and harness online services to build a "online desktop," his statement is indicative of something that we are going to see a lot of from Red Hat in the near term.

If you ask when Red Hat is going to play in a particular sandbox, the answer you are likely going to get is: they will be building their own sandbox instead.

Red Hat is not going to try to go head-to-head with individual companies and technologies on their competitors' terms. Instead, this looks to be a company that wants to define the rules of its own game.

Red Hat doesn't want to follow the crowd on the desktop. They want to start using the application services model they picked up from their JBoss acquisition and shift that from the middleware space over to the client space.

They're being kind of cagey about it, with no real timelines or roadmaps yet. The only thing I heard during the keynote was from Brian Stevens who said that these online services would start showing up around Fedora 8.

There's going to be an press conference again at noon where I think they're going to specify some of these client issues, and talk more about their whole services oriented application model. More later.

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