Message ID: 258808
Posted By: bill_beebe
Posted On: 2005-04-23 02:11:00
Subject: How Linux Saved Microsoft

Interesting Enderle spin. And I do mean spin. The article was a link from OSNews ( to a link from LinuxInsider with the above title.

Here's some choice jewels from this latest screed.

Linux's Positive Impact

Now look at Microsoft. They have adjusted prices downwards sharply in third world countries which, before this, couldn't even afford Microsoft's products. They have improved the quality of their products to a degree that many of us run Windows for weeks without crashing. The products are vastly more secure and are wrapped with an infrastructure Can your network transform your business? See how AT&T can help. of services that makes them much harder to penetrate and vastly more capable.

Patching is largely automatic, problems with hardware have all but been eliminated, and much of the development and break fix processes have been fully automated with testing that is magnitudes better then it was only four years ago. Microsoft is listening as well, as all you need to do is use Linux in a sentence and your Microsoft rep will remain glued to your side.

Microsoft is also going though a massive effort to, once again, capture the costs associated with their products and find ways to reduce these problems so that the products better compete with Linux. The company has gone so far as to hire large numbers of Linux programmers to implement policies and processes that have many of the advantages that Linux promises.

An example is its Shared Source Initiative which provides source code to an ever-increasing group of companies that feel they need to look at source, something that Microsoft would never have even considered a few years earlier.

Virtually none of this would have happened had it not been for Linux, and had it not, we would have seen a different version of Longhorn (the next version of Microsoft Windows) than we will now see, and we probably would have liked it vastly less as a result. Microsoft is even aggressively working on its culture, which has been the core to Microsoft's appearance of untrustworthiness and arrogance. Those of us who watch the company have seen dramatic improvements over the last 12 months in Microsoft's general behavior as a result.

False Threat?

Even the fact that we are talking about Linux, which not only isn't a company, but isn't even an operating system, is a sham. There is no Linux product; not really, Linux only refers to the kernel which, by itself, doesn't actually do much of anything. It is more the core point of a concept that surrounds "open source" which, in turn, is based on a false concept. This concept is that people actually want to look at source code.

Think about it: For decades we have surveyed companies and for decades, except for those who are actually in the software business, the vast majority have said they don't want to be in the software business. Yet open source Latest News about open source, as it is supposed to be practiced, puts you squarely in the software business. We also know that IT buyers want the vendor to enjoy all of the product liability associated with an offering, but open source, at best, passes some of that liability to the customer, and, at worst, all of it.

Finally, we know that what is largely holding the open-source community together is a dislike for Microsoft. As Microsoft improves, the reality of what Microsoft is will slowly penetrate the increasingly artificial reality that the open-source community has created and, much like it was with Apple, non-aligned buyers will avoid the related platforms and aligned buyers will change sides as their perceptions shift to the new reality.


Message ID: 258810
Posted By: bill_beebe
Posted On: 2005-04-23 02:59:00
Subject: My response to Enderle

I posted a link to Enderle's latest in message 258808. Here is my response to him.

You really don't understand how disgusted and angry we've gotten with Microsoft's behavior since the late 80's. Microsoft has lied and cheated its way to dominance in the computer industry, and it shows no signs of changing its behavior. Many of us using and promoting Linux used to be Microsoft advocates until it because crystal clear just what Microsoft was becoming. And by the time we had finally realized what was happening it was too late to make a difference. I have on my bookshelf Andrew Schulman's "Unauthorized Windows 95", where he went through and basically showed that MS had lied about the 32-bit underpinings MS had written about in "Inside Windows 95". We learned in UW95 that Win95 was nothing more than Windows 4 on top of MSDos 7. That was, for me, the turning point with regards to Microsoft. From that point I promoted Unix (Solaris), then Linux.

Microsoft has stolen every idea it sells in every product from the time it was writing BASIC for the Altair in New Mexico in 1975. And they've lied about the capabilities of their software for just as long. Back when they were a little company "just" selling MSDOS we put up with Microsoft because of the far richer marketplace for applications and tools. But we can't ignore them any more; they own well over 95% of the PC market for the OS, and they've got all the sectors pretty well sewn up too. The only two they don't have complete dominance over are games and antivirus, but they're doing everything they can to finish those off as well.

We want Linux and Free BSD and yes, even Inferno (what you still think of as Plan 9) because we have something more than just source code. We've got freedom from the iron boot of Microsoft. You're right that very few want to do something with all the source code, but the real reason we want open source is because the whole thing is open, from process to engineering to source code to final usage as we see fit.

You've been quite disingenuous presenting the reasons and the facts with regards to the Open Source/Free Software movement. We have decades of well-documented history to show us what Microsoft is all about, history that you paper over and spin far differently than what is factually documented. Microsoft can tone down their retoric and back off the strident anti-GPL claims, but the fact remains that Microsoft is unbowed and unrepentant all around the world. They believe they have the money to buy their way out of every spot of trouble, and that's exactly what they're doing. Microsoft will not change because they don't have to. This is all about politics and perception, not about fundamental structural change.

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