IT-Director: [Colin Tenwick] Interview: The Red Hat Phenomenon

“With the Linux revolution in full swing we decided to talk to
one of the companies at the center of this mystical storm – Red
Hat. Red Hat is one of the oldest and most successful of the
open-source companies in Silicon Valley. The other, Cygnus, has
just been acquired by Red Hat making the combined power-house
perhaps the ultimate open-source company. We spoke to Colin
Tenwick, the company’s VP for EMEA [Europe, Middle East, and Asia]
operations about the future of Red Hat, Linux and the open source

ITD: When will Linux really hit the

CT: It depends on your definition of mainstream.
In the Unix marketplace the pace of Linux acceptance has been
considerable. Similarly in the Windows user base. These are the
sort of companies that we are dealing with on a daily basis moving
from Windows or Unix to Linux for both performance and economic
benefits. …”

ITD: Does that mean that Linux will be soon be
available on the desktop?

CT: It already is available really in a variety of
forms. But that’s not our target. We are concerned with the next
generation appliances, things like hand-helds, and next generation
phones. The PC is really a 1980’s device, we see the challenge for
Linux as getting it onto the chip – that’s where the real potential
is, and that’s why we acquired Cygnus because in this space there
is really no-one better. The Linux space at this end of the market
is a new one and one that is ripe for development for this new
economy. Windows CE is struggling to make in-roads to this area
although EPOC, from Symbian, will perhaps be around, but that
leaves us with an excellent opportunity. That’s where we are

ITD: How important is Windows 2000 to the future of

CT: Windows 2000 is probably Microsoft’s most
critical release to date because for the first time it simply
cannot take its customer base for granted. If you look at the
Microsoft situation you can see that it is being attacked from all
sides. Linux, databases, web, mobile, Microsoft is facing stiff
competition and it is really having to fight for its corner. With
Windows 2000 there is no guarantee that it will be a success, and
that’s the first time that has happened for quite a while.”