Red Hat has confirmed that the release of its Global Desktop Linux operating system for emerging markets has been delayed by negotiations on how it will provide legal versions of popular proprietary media codecs.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Linux vendor announced plans for Global Desktop in May and had originally scheduled a release for August. Late last week the company confirmed that it will delay the release until September.
To improve the user experience, we have been looking at how we can provide legal versions of the most popular multimedia codecs needed to listen and view the majority of the content on the Internet, the company said in a statement. We are wrapping those negotiations up and hope to deliver those codecs with Global Desktop when we launch in September.
While no names were mentioned, the statement appears to shed some light on suggestions that Red Hat could be about to enter into some form of agreement with Microsoft. Certainly when it comes to multimedia players, Microsoft would have to be one of the companies Red Hat would be speaking to, along with RealNetworks, Apple and Adobe.
Microsoft has repeatedly stated that it would like to repeat with Red Hat the interoperability and patent deals it has done with Novell, Xandros and Linspire, although Red Hat has publicly stated that it is not interested in any deal that involves intellectual property licensing.
The Global Desktop is a new offering from Red Hat aimed at local government and small business customers in emerging markets. Red Hat has worked with Intel on the product, which will be delivered on the Intel’s Classmate, Affordable, Community, and Low-Cost PC lines via its channel of system builders.
We want to see Linux desktops become widely adopted around the world. But, we believe there is no money or value in creating a Windows clone, the company explained. To enable the wide adoption of Linux desktops, we believe we need to offer a different product and offer it through broader distribution channels than what has been done in the past.
Red Hat already offers Enterprise Linux Desktop 5 costing $80 for a single-year Basic support agreement. While RHEL Desktop gets a major refresh on average every two years, the Global Desktop will be refreshed annually giving faster access to new applications and drivers.
As well as RHEL Desktop and Global Desktop, Red Hat has also contributed the core operating system for the One Laptop Per Child project to create a low-cost laptop device for developing nations, and is working on a project called the Online Desktop to take into account the impact of online desktop applications.