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More Thoughts on Microsoft vs. Open Source

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Microsoft 213

An anonymous reader submitted a pretty well-written editorial running over at LinuxPlanet about the Microsoft Open Source Hoopla that has been fluttering about lately. Several good points (like how MS will obviously blur perception of Open Source and Free Software to their benefit). Worth a read.

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Re:Fiery invective is for the converted (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#237859)

For IT managers, talk about improved uptime and security, reduced support costs, smoother upgrade paths and the knowledge that you can't be orphaned by your vendor. For corporate executives, talk about reduced support costs, cheaper hardware, better IT productivity and superior performance.

Save your breath. I tell my bosses about these things every day. Some of them are pretty smart guys. And they agree with me. And then they go out and budget another $20k for Microsoft products. It's not worth the effort; when they decide to stop using Unix I'll just go somewhere else. Microsoft has made people really believe there's no life without them. The only solution is a 100% Microsoft free work environment from the machine room to the R&D labs to the CEO's desk. Once you let the bad guys in, it's over.

Re:Why in the world... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#237860)

MS could steal ideas from Xerox...just like Apple's crack "R&D" dept.

Re:Open Source (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#237861)

Who listens to MS? Perhaps the 90% of desktop computer users who run Windows? Don't kid yourself into thinking that that market share doesn't matter--right now, many of the installed base of Windows users don't particularly like Windows but even the ones who are aware of Linux see NO alternatives. The sooner the Linux developers and companies wake up to that fact, the better.

Re:It's not us vs. them--fool (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#237862)

Another slashbrat heard from. I can't believe how many Linux users have this bizarre attitude that boils down to 1) MS is evil and corrupt and should be opposed at every opportunity, but 2) hey, it's not our place to try to oust Windows from the 90% of desktops where it's already running--Linux is just our special little toy and not for the unwashed masses.

Bullshit. All the Linux zealots should either grow up and take on the responsibility of challenging MS on terms that will win a significant chunk of the desktop, or they should shut the hell up about MS. I think there's almost no threat of Linux challenging Windows for the desktop as long as the developers cling to this immature view of the world.

Put another way, you can either do the hard work and rule the world (and Linux is definitely good enough to do that), or you can play with your toys, ignore the hard problems, and stay in your market niche. But you can't do both.

Good IT gets listened to..... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#237863)

I am as irked by M$'s FUD attempts as anyone, but I don't see why we are all crying about it. WE are the IT of our companies, not Microsofty reps. I have yet to work anywhere where IT did not have a MAJOR say in what went on in userland. People usually become CFOs because they know what they are doing (in terms of finances and making money). No rational board member is going to want to lock the company into Microserfdom when it is explained calmly and logically by IT. It seems like this article is suggesting IT will just sit idly by and watch all this happen. M$ is scared, and scared badly. This attack on open and free software is the last desperate act of a company whose greedy nature has begun to backfire on itself. I have already printed Microsoft's FUD attempt and sent it around the offices of our VPs. I then went around and made sure they understood the FUD in there. If you are viewed as someone who knows their shit (IT-wise), you WILL be listened to! I mean, for God's sake, they ask me what kind of MOUSE to buy for their home machines! Are these the same folks who will overrule the IT guys? No Way! USE YOUR INFLUENCE NOW! They trust you with their systems for a reason...... remind them of that.

Re:Umm check your math there uber hacker (1)

The Man (684) | more than 13 years ago | (#237865)

We work in an unsigned system here. Get over it.

Re:True, perhaps, but so what? (1)

The Man (684) | more than 13 years ago | (#237866)

There are many of us, like me, who want to see Linux continue to improve until it becomes a real contender in every OS market, including the mainstream desktop

It already is. In every technical way measurable, the Free Unix systems are already superior. The remaining barriers to acceptance are political. Political battles are never worth fighting.

True, perhaps, but so what? (3)

The Man (684) | more than 13 years ago | (#237867)

I use Linux. I hack Linux. Nobody can ever stop me from doing either of these things, even if I'm the only one in the world to do so. The court of public opinion does not matter for this very reason. Microsoft could have (~0)-1 market share and it would affect my life not in the slightest. So tell me, why should I care what the papers print?

People will use whatever the media tells them to use...and businesses who use better software should have a competitive advantage over those who use crap. I doubt Mr. Mundie has ever used Linux, so who cares what he thinks? If he wants to use an inferior product, we should all snicker at him quietly and move on. Enough of this feeding frenzy.

Take a step back from the brink, folks; if you just want a stable, reliable, high-performance OS, Linux is a great choice. If you want a cause, go join the Peace Corps.

an intriguing article (3)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#237870)

With some VERY well-made points. It's all too true that perception makes the difference. (For those in the UK, "Bill Baggs" and "Environmental Sci-Fi" should be all I need to say on this.)

IMHO, Linux distros that are aimed at the educational, corporate or government markets should be concerned. Mud sticks, even when the mud only exists in the minds of others.

Re:It's not us vs. them (4)

RenQuanta (3274) | more than 13 years ago | (#237877)

And, really, do any of us give a flying fsck if PHBs love free software or not? The choice will still always be OURS - and that's the important part.

I don't really give a ff if PHBs love free software or not, but I do care about whether or not they're willing to deploy it in a production environment in place of Windows9x/NT/2K/XP.

While I may love running Linux and FreeBSD at home, the only place I can run it in my little domain at work (a Fortune 10 company) is in the lab. And then, only because I do IT security, and need to simulate "hostile hacker boxes" to test various security implementations. A lot of our infrastructure is NT/2K because we aren't allowed to use Linux (even though many vendors are now supporting it).

Why? Because PHBs and senior executives not only don't love Free Software or Open Source, but also because they are 1.)scared of using something which "isn't supported by a vendor" 2.)not interested in deploying something they where they can't own stock in the vendor company 3.)Don't really care about cost differences, only want to pass the next corporate audit, etc.

Sadly, I've learned since I came to corporate from Academia that the article's author is spot on - perception is everyting! The only way to gain ground in corporate is to get the right perception out there, and to get more vendors to write software to support Linux and *BSD.

So why do I care if FS/OS gets adopted in the workplace? Because I spend anywhere from 40-60 hours a week in the workplace, and what we use there has a serious influence in how much time I can spend at home on what technology. I've actually got Win2K at home, and I'm working on an MCSE (shudder!) because there's so much Windows at work. Granted, I'm working on SAIR Linux and Solaris certifications also, but because of the environment at work, I'm spending 33% less time on UNIX technology, just to ensure my resume is spiffy when a PHB/Senior Exec looks at it.

That's why I care what they think.

Microsoft doesn't hate Linux!!! (1)

Da VinMan (7669) | more than 13 years ago | (#237879)

They hate open source/free software. They hate it because Linux uses it, IBM uses it, Sun uses it, and Apple uses it.

Do all the above companies use open source/free software as RMS and ESR strictly define them? Of course not. But each of the above companies has made a point of differentiating themselves with open source/free software in one form or another.

Microsoft doesn't have to fight IBM, Sun, Apple, or Linux now. All it has to do is take open source/free software down a couple notches, and it gets to nail all of them for free.

It really is pure genius.

It's not us vs. them (4)

Luke (7869) | more than 13 years ago | (#237881)

This is the wrong attitude to take. Because of the very nature of free software, there is NOTHING microsoft can do to prevent people from writing and using free software. The only thing that they can do is spread FUD so that businesses may think twice about using Linux/BSD/emacs/What have you.

And, really, do any of us give a flying fsck if PHBs love free software or not? The choice will still always be OURS - and that's the important part.

Re:The self-absorbed Linux community (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#237882)

<P>Hehe, this is quite the riot but I just remembered that I had made this account way back when. Whee, I have a low numbered account back.</P>

Re:dont let em (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 13 years ago | (#237883)

how microsoft blew java out of the water with the confusion they generated by introducing incompatibilities with their version of java?

Ha! Sun did that themselves by implementating their own special Sun extensions, and in any case the Java platform independence works great...just so long as you're willing to modify your code for each platform. Java is its own worst enemy and Microsoft truly has been a bit player in the drama saga that is Java.

The real danger! (2)

panda (10044) | more than 13 years ago | (#237884)

If you combine the recent comments from Microsoft's Mundie with those made by Allchin a few months ago, Microsoft is really sounding loopier than the loopiest Linux defenders. Allchin as much as said that it is un-American to make something and give it away. He said that it ought to be illegal and that Congress was being informed. You want to talk about loopy?

I'm very, very concerned about the mental state of Microsoft's top executives and about that corporation's future being run by people who hold such psychopathic views.

First they call us un-American... (3)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#237885)

When that didn't work, many of us aren't American anyway, they attacked our credibility.

But if you have the source code you can defend yourself so you don't have to be towed back to port because the clock management software (the clock for Christ's sake,) has a bug and divides by zero.

And as a bazillion scrips kiddies can tell you, its easy to repeatedly crack OSes that evolves as slowly as Microsoft's. You don't need source code. In fact you don't want the source code because the writer's intent keeps getting in the way of seeing what the code really does.

And, by the way, NOBODY who spends serious money on software (like a million for a package and a couple of grand per seat on maintenance for one mission critical system,) buys it without getting ALL of the source code. Of course we make them sign non-competition and non-disclosure agreements out the wazoo.

Microsoft has been selling a pig in a poke for years now because they don't sell anything important. Office apps. Bid deal... And when that market gets saturated, they're broke.

Now the bag is unravelling and their business model is proving to be mushroom fertilizer. For years they made money selling something that was only "almost good-enough."

Well it IS now only just good enough so they're sucking wind trying to hype crap. Nobody I know's buying it. If the OEMs weren't bundling it, nobody would bother buying anything beyond Windows '95 with service packs to fix some bugs.

FUD doesn't work if you can't show something scary. All M$ can show is a bunch of Unix and Linux systems working and not cratering the bottom line.

Re:It's not us vs. them (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 13 years ago | (#237889)

The only thing that they can do is spread FUD so that businesses may think twice about using Linux/BSD/emacs/What have you.

Gee, is that all?

That's rather a hell of a lot, actually. The history of ideas is littered with the corpses of better ideas killed by worse ideas that were marketed better.

Microsoft may be mediocre as far as technical innovation is concerned, but as far as manipulating the market is concerned, they are way, way the fuck out in front.

Re:It's not us vs. them (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 13 years ago | (#237890)

Actually, from what I've watched in the past - it is pretty easy to get a jr level/average pay type Linux job. (Atleast in the larger cities).

The issue with whether people can administer your system after you leave is moot. Most installations of anything are so "bent" to their operating environment that it is a moot point. Please... millions of people can't be wrong.

Good luck -
Pan

If they like passing audits (4)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 13 years ago | (#237892)

If your PHB's like passing audits, perhaps you should invite the BSA to have M$ over for a little audit party? After all, these audits are for their own good, and they should be more than willing to pay such a small price for quality software and peace of mind, right?

Perception is everything, and the perception that M$'s ever-tightening licensing demands coupled with their ever-faster upgrade cycles and ever-more-aggressive lawyers is a significant cost of their "solution" needs to be reinforced. If M$ can be egged into reinforcing that perception themselves, that's even better ;-)>

Re:It's not us vs. them (2)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 13 years ago | (#237893)

I guess part of the problem is that when I leave the company, they are going to have a hard time finding someone who can administer the Linux systems I have implemeneted, and therefor would rather stick with Microsoft "soultions".

I think the word in quotes should be "problems"... :-) Anyway, it basically is not true in most places that it is harder to find a qualified *nix administrator than a qualified Windows administrator. Sure, you can hire some joker who went to some diploma mill school and has a shiny new MCSE certificate really easy, but that doesn't mean much in the real world. For that matter, it isn't that hard to find a junior level *nix adminstrator these days, as a lot of people are using it at home these days.

The Conflict (2)

PRickard (16563) | more than 13 years ago | (#237895)

"Free software is bad for innovation - unless we tie it to Windows."

"We have made Windows source code available to thousands of partners. .. Open source software is dangerous and kills innovation."

Somebody needs to call a meeting and decide what the standard line will be.... FUD isn't effective when it contradicts itself.

Where the argument will be fought (1)

indecision (21439) | more than 13 years ago | (#237899)

The article ends with:

And when [Microsoft] try to distort reality with their perceptions, of course we need to counter their statements with the truth. Not with scathing flames and rants, however, but with our own calm and reasonable statements. We have to get the word out beyond our little community and into the mindset of the wider public view.

That is where this argument will be won, not on the PC.

I disagree. One overriding strength of the Linux movement is that its driven by people who concentrate on the technological problems to be solved and solving them, and in the process we're leaving the beancounters standing still.

A lot of linux development (apps and kernel) is done by people who don't care whether the stuff they write gets used by millions the world over - they do it because the problems are interesting and the solutions satisfying. And the GPL provides a way of protecting that kind of working attitude.

That is where this argument will be won, on the basis of technological excellence, which definitely includes the PC.

Re:confused (2)

TFloore (27278) | more than 13 years ago | (#237903)

Yes, you are confused. Not because you misunderstand MS's message, but because you misunderstand the audience.

MS isn't pitching this message to techies. They aren't pitching it to home users (right now). They are pitching it to MBAs, the CEO/CIO/CFO of major corporations. You know, the people that don't say "give me a budget for new servers" but instead say "give me a budget for new Microsoft servers".

Microsoft is very aware of who their audience is, and how to communicate with that audience. And they do it very well.

Re:Yes, I think you have (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 13 years ago | (#237904)

Remember: Open Source != Free[1], GPL === Free[1].

[1] as in beer


From www.opensource.org:

Definition of Open Source

1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

Rationale: By constraining the license to require free redistribution, we eliminate the temptation to throw away many long-term gains in order to make a few short-term sales dollars. If we didn't do this, there would be lots of pressure for cooperators to defect.


I think that makes Open Source free as in beer. Which means that Microsoft will never use an 'Open' license.

Simon

Re:Fiery invective is for the converted (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 13 years ago | (#237905)

For Mr. and Mrs. America, talk about Free as in Beer and explain that roughly 10% of the price of a computer these days is the Windows Tax.

I guess it depends on how much you pay for your computer, how many that vendor sells, etc etc etc.

So it's 10% +/-10%

Simon

Nice idea, but will people buy it? (1)

Voxol (32200) | more than 13 years ago | (#237908)

But does success for Linux have to come at the price of ripping down Microsoft? No, it doesn't. We don't need to attack them just because they're there. When we do, we are just making their case for them.

Personally I use Linux, Solaris and Windows ME together in one big happy development environment (read 'family').

I can't remember who said it (might have been Sun Tzu), but some tactician said that when fighting your opponent always leave them a way out. Dont' box them in because if you force them to fight like trapped dogs, they will. It must be shown that Microsoft has a place in a future where Linux is the standard desktop platform.

I read somewhere quite a while back, that Windows (the 95 family) is a loss leader. It could be in Microsoft's best interests to let Linux win. There's the sales pitch that needs to be thrown at Big-Bill. Read the Halloween docs and they mention that Microsoft was working on an open source project to port DCOM to Linux. This would indicate that they don't have religious convictions against open source itself (why is it that the word 'Linux' is normally followed by either 'freak' or 'zealot'?).

Perhaps their actions this week are symptoms that Linux has them backed in a corner. Linux will win because they cannot compete with open source. The Slashdot community continuously shows it will not settle for anything less than complete capitulation by Microsoft. Microsoft is boxed in a corner, especially as if they show too much weakness they could be sucked down with the dot.com garbage on the stock market.

I really believe that Microsoft has a place, even after Linux wins and I hope they can see this too.

OSI Certification (3)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#237909)

Well, Microsoft isn't going to be able to touch the meaning of OSI Certification. It would help us if people explicitly said that their open source project, using a license listed at http://opensource.org/licenses/, is "OSI Certified".
-russ

Re:The Conflict (2)

macpeep (36699) | more than 13 years ago | (#237914)

You are using quotation marks but I'm pretty sure nobody said exactly that. I read what Craig Mundie said and he actually admitted that there are good points with open source software - namely that it helps debugging and development. That's why he said they would follow a model where they share the source code with partners to get the benefit of "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" but without putting the source under a license that would allow it to be forked.

You and I may or may not agree with his points (if people can't contribute, will they really look for bugs either?) but don't misquote / fake-quote and then act all flabbergasted about it. If you didn't understand what his points where or if you thought they were contradicting, i suggest you re-read it.

Re:Kill Mac OS X? (2)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 13 years ago | (#237919)

Those few Apple users that are left will probably not switch to MS just because they make their GUI look more like Apples

No but those incomming college freshmen next year who need to buy a computer for the first time and don't know anything about computers might chose XP over OSX when they used to chose iMac over Dell w/ Win98. A major demographic for the iBook and iMac is first time computer buyers. The Macs are simpler and "cooler looking." This is what XP is competing for -- not hardcore mac users. Hardcore Apple users use G4s anyway.

hilarious (2)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#237922)


In the portrait Microsoft is trying to paint, open source and free software are synonymous and they are bad news for software developers who want to succeed. In their world, the free software model is just as bad a business model as the dot.coms who just tanked on the stock market. Sure, the Linux community knows these facts are in error--but far too many people may take these erroneous conclusions as fact.


MS Rep: We've got the latest icons an paperclips assistants to help you point and click
Client: Well I was looking into Linu...
MS Rep: YOU DON'T WANT TO USE THAT TRUST ME! Nothing in this world would cripple your finances more than an OS environment who is willing to give you something for free when you could pay for exclusive licensing through a reputable source such as Microsoft. I mean have you ever heard of Linus Torvalds or Richard Stallman. Who are these rejects
Client: I don't follow how can free hurt me
MS Rep: Simple, see when you call tech support at least we put you on hold when you call, what are you gonna jump on IRC everytime your systems bluescreen?
MS Rep: Well you go ahead and use it, but when all those hackers who use that operating system infiltrate your networks, you'll see why closed source precompiled executables will outlast an OS who lets you tweak anything you want on the system
Client: Your right I keep reading all those horror stories about hackers using Unix

;)

This reminds me back to when Billy G was on trial and the judge asked him "Whats a box" and Billy G stated, its what's used to ship a PC. Ahh... MS obscurity through obscurity.


Contradiction == Perfect FUD (3)

eries (71365) | more than 13 years ago | (#237926)

Are you insane? FUD is twice as effective when it contradicts itself. Even better is if it takes twelve different steps to actually prove it. By the time he's done thinking about all that crap, your typical IT manager is like "Whoa this is way too exhausting... I'll just stick with what I've already got."

Since MS has a monopoly, that's exactly the kind of thinking they have to encourage.

Re:It's not us vs. them (2)

_marshall (71584) | more than 13 years ago | (#237927)

Why we should care:

Most people here at slashdot either advocate linux or at least consider it a viable alternative to any propietary closed source OS. Most people here also have a job either working directly with computers, or using them on a day to day basis. Taken these two facts into consideration, Many people are stuck using an OS at work that they are unhappy due to the current propoganda that Microsoft throws around about anything besides Microsoft. It is extremely important, IMO that linux and open-source in general are seen as not only viable alternatives in the corporate world, but as better alternatives.

-------------------

What Linux Needs... (3)

Matrium (75816) | more than 13 years ago | (#237928)

Brian Proffitt makes some very interesting points in this article that anyone interested in the future of the GNU / Linux / GPL / Open Source movement should pay attention to.

"... Microsoft, it seems, has not learned Universal Law No. 312: If you call automatically equate GPL'd software with "open source," you will get a corrective statement from the FSF or Richard Stallman. It's like smoke and fire, can't have one without the other.

Yes, Microsoft did confuse the two concepts of GPL and open source. Care to take a guess why? Because they know the average listener is not going to know the difference. And like any good political campaigner, Microsoft is not going after the truth here. They are going for perception and sometimes that's all you need."


That's right, the average person does not know or even care about the difference between GPL'd software and open source software. Now that Microsoft is taking direct shots at Linux, GPL, and Open Source its time for Linux guru's, users and advocates to stop rolling their collective eyes at the thought that someone doesn't understand the difference and to start talking to the masses about Linux, the GPL and Open Source.

In the eyes of the average person Linux is an underdog, this strange OS used by college kids and computer geeks in dark rooms late at night. What is going to change this not the superior attitude that, "Linux kicks ass, and Microsoft sucks so much. Why does it suck? 'Cause Microsoft is evil and Bill Gates is the devil!" Sorry, this just isn't going to work, as Proffitt points out:

"We don't need to attack them just because they're there. When we do, we are just making their case for them"

What this movement needs are speakers that know how to handle the media and the public. Linus is a bit too self effacing and RMS is a bit too fanatical to make good spokespersons. So I issue this question to the Slashdot audience: Who is going to stand for the whole GNU / Linux / GPL / Open Source movement? Who has the availability proclaim the strengths of this movement in an intelligent manner? Who has the availability to manipulate the media in favor of this movement?

Re:wow. (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 13 years ago | (#237932)

Face it: the only companies that will make good money off of GPL software are the hardware companies. Large corporations backing Linux are all companies that either sell hardware, or closed-source software on top of Linux.

Well, yeah, I pretty much agree with you there. Fortunately, most big corporations in the industry ARE hardware and/or service companies: IBM, SGI, HP, and so on. Sun is a hardware company but still thinks it's a software company, which is why it hasn't been a big fan of Linux/OSS so far. Then there are pure software shops like MS, etc. They're screwed if OSS takes over, which is why they're fighting so hard. Oracle is in kind of the same boat, but I'm not sure what they're position is, besides that fact that I know you can get Oracle for Linux.

And, if you agree with "a penny saved is a penny earned", then a whole lot of companies can make a lot of money from OSS.

Re:What Linux Needs... (1)

mr (88570) | more than 13 years ago | (#237933)

I think that Eric S. Reynolds does a very good job at promoting open source

(Errr, Eric S Raymond perhaps???)

No he does not.

Like the OSDN (Open Source Developers Network), the Open Source Research Labs (RedHat's think-tank), ESR pubically supports Linux. If the support was for Open Source, there would be mention of BSD. Instead, the word Linux is used rather than the words "Open Source OS".

ESR did say at The Bazzar "BSD should get more press than it does", so he knows the difference. Rather than run the risk of not getting the attention from the pro-linux crowd, he doesn't rock the boat with an Open Source OS message, just a Linux message.

Poor Richard Stallman, he actually was responsible for the whole thing
1) RMS has chosen his lower-income-life-than-he-could-make-if-he-sold-ou t.
2) RMS would be the 1st to point out that he is into Free Software (the RMS way, as opposed to the Bruce Perens version.) and wants no connection to the bigger set of Open Source.

RMS may be "a hippy", "wrong", or "creator of the vial GPL that keeps programmers out of work", but at least RMS has the courage of his convictions.

wow. (1)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 13 years ago | (#237934)

Instead of software as the product, it's the service and hand holding that sells. That's what end users want. They are buying a solution, not a program.

I haven't heard that in a while... I thought the idea of selling software support as a service went out with the dodo.

Face it: the only companies that will make good money off of GPL software are the hardware companies. Large corporations backing Linux are all companies that either sell hardware, or closed-source software on top of Linux. People aren't going to pay good money for something that they can get for free... especially now that Linux is easier to install and more user-friendly.

-rt-

Re:Linux "losing" (1)

Fjord (99230) | more than 13 years ago | (#237938)

If you are talking servers then right now the 'winner' of that 'battle' is clearly Solaris and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to know why, it's all to do with scaling.

You can't just hands down say that Solaris is always the best choice of a server for the job because of "scalability". It's very dependant on what the server is for, and what the budget contraints are.

For example, if you are deploying a J2EE application, the scalability of Solaris is moot: you rely on the scalability of the application server.

For another example, if you are deploying a departmental application, then there is no valid reason to purchase enterprise class hardware.

Our own form of spin control (2)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 13 years ago | (#237940)

What us advocates of Linux need to do is hold community open source meeting, invite the public, give corporate managers food. I'm sure that there are enough of us around that the costs would be less than TV campaigns and things like that (although advertising is a good idea). But such a community "grass roots" effort might be extremely effecitive. We could show exactly how and why MS products can crash and can cost businesses far more money. We could even crush the idea that NT/2000 is so easy to use that anyone can set it up. Just ask an exec to come set up IIS in the presentation :).

Its not a war of OS's, but I think we have an obligation to let people know there are alternatives, and there are inexpensive ways to spin the other way :), MS may be king of the hill in marketing, maybe rather than just accepting that we should make a challange.


"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

So what he's saying..... (1)

Mr.roboto (112555) | more than 13 years ago | (#237942)

Is that Linux needs a spin doctor. Anyone know any agents, campaign managers or anything like that? =)

Micrososft "Bugs" us All (1)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 13 years ago | (#237943)

Fact of the matter is, Microsoft released Windows 2K with over 65,000 bugs! Maybe if they had hundreds - if not thousands - of eyes pearing at source code, bugs would be fixed because people discover them and usually offer a fix, especially the thousands - if not millions - good programmers that do this kind of stuff as a second living.

Take Mozilla, for example. Yes, there were far too many primary developers and Mozilla was originally a to keep organized, but at least bugs got fixed due to the help of so many people viewing and review source for and bug testing. Maybe Microsoft should learn from this!

Overestimating the power of marketing... (3)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 13 years ago | (#237945)

Something I see in the Linux community over and over again is the overestimation of the power of marketing, and the underestimation of the intelligence of consumers. This article is a classic example of it.

By saying Microsoft marketing is to be feared, the Linux bigots are implicitly criticizing Microsoft's technology. I assure you that the latter - while not focused on the same things Linux is - is quite formidable.

People do not choose Microsoft over Linux (or vice versa) due to marketing. They choose it due to hard-nosed business considerations - cost of licensing, cost of ownership, support costs, training costs, documentation, features and uniformity of available applications, etc., etc.

Based on the above, it is easy to see why Microsoft has (and probably will always have) a dominant position on the desktop. Ms. Secretary values the ability to drag-and-drop her bosses' excell-based expense report into her email to send off to finance, than she ever will having an elegant Samba configuration. Linux will (due to it's many different subcommunities) never be able to create a consistent unified user interface - among other things.

On the other hand, Linux is obviously better for the network server type tasks it grew up doing. Microsoft products will never be as flexible as Linux, nor free.

we should be weary of microsoft... (1)

moojin (124799) | more than 13 years ago | (#237946)

(sorry for the double post, for some reason it was posted as anonymous coward.)

i see many open source supporters posting very optimistic messages about how open source will triumph over ms. though i too am optimistic that this will be the case, we should be more weary of microsoft.

when the browser wars first began, we were all confident that netscape would over come, but look at it now. even with open source, mozilla is still months away from a production release and it will take more months and years for us to be able to see if the endeavors of the developers of mozilla will actually pay off and help mozilla regain some of netscape's past glory.

microsoft is experienced in the ways of destroying the competition piece by piece. it has the monetary resources. it has the marketing resources. and even though the public may know that microsoft is monopolistic, they still listen to microsoft (the corporation) because they would rather listen to it than a bunch of geeks screaming open source (an idea that they don't understand) at the top of their lungs.

i'm not saying that we are defeated, but confidence alone will not help us win this war that we are being dragged into with microsoft. changes must be made on how we interact with the general public. we must get open source (not linux, but other software) onto the pcs of the general public. something that enables the average pc user to say, "i have no idea what open source is, but it is cool because i use this awesome program everyday and it is free!" something like winamp or napster ( i know that there are open source versions of these products, but they are not as popular as the original). perhaps mozilla will be able to do this for open source. perhaps...

we can not go on as if it is business as usual. that is the way that we acted for the past few years and it has gotten us far, but now microsoft has aimed it's mighty cannons at us and has fired a few shots. these shots were not meant to be damage open source, but to calculate ranges for the main barrage. the barrage is coming, it's time to dig in (and / or launch an attack of our own).

thanks for reading...

andrew

Linus replies: (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 13 years ago | (#237947)

http://web.siliconvalley.com/content/sv/2001/05/03 /opinion/dgillmor/weblog/torvalds.htm

Hrmm (3)

jbarnett (127033) | more than 13 years ago | (#237948)

Universal Law No. 312: If you call automatically equate GPL'd software with "open source," you will get a corrective statement from the FSF or Richard Stallman.

I think they teach that in physics 101, right after the gravity chapter.


MS master strategists - learn ppl, learn (1)

Project_2501 (128153) | more than 13 years ago | (#237949)

Yes, Microsoft did confuse the two concepts of GPL and open source. Care to take a guess why? Because they know the average listener is not going to know the difference. And like any good political campaigner, Microsoft is not going after the truth here. They are going for perception and sometimes that's all you need.

Ahhh yes I came to the same conclusion too. Its nice to know that the Linux community is becoming more aware that MS is not as dumb as they thought. I feel a little more secure knowing that MS won't pull the wool over the eyes of the Linux community. Kudos to you all, errr well except to those dipsticks who still think MS people are a bunch of idiots.

Re:Open Source (3)

evilphish (128599) | more than 13 years ago | (#237950)

Office is worth as much as the market will allow. if people still buy it at that price then microsoft has no reason to lower it. it sucks but *shrug* thats the way it works

Ha (1)

austinij (139193) | more than 13 years ago | (#237952)

Best I could tell, Microsoft dosen't beleive in the same kind of open source that the rest of us do. What was that whole mess last week with MSFT claiming open source will be the death of us all?

Linux needs more "professionals" (5)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 13 years ago | (#237953)

Article:
"And Microsoft knows this. Every time we fly off the collective handle when they do something threatening and they can just sit back and say 'see how unreasonable those people are? See how derisive the keepers of this Linux technology can be?'"

This is very true, I know many people that have been turned off from Linux simply by reading Slashdot. Most people don't like ideas that are assciated with advocates and fanatics, which is what most people see from slashdot postings. They think of Linux as a cult of some sort, you know those groups that rant and rave about the world and then kill themselves off because they can't handle society. I'm not saying this is the Linux community, but what I am saying is that the Linux community needs a more professional aura around it. People should look at the Linux community as something they can comfortably come into and talk with, not something they have to worry about getting their head bitten off by if they say the wrong thing.

Re:It's not us vs. them (3)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 13 years ago | (#237956)

I for one would like to use Linux at work, but this is not a decision I can make. It's hard to find employers looking for Linux people. So from this perspective I do feel like I am forced to use Microsoft products at work. I do choose to use Linux at home, and they can't take that away from me, but I'm not truly free until I can make that decision at work as well as at home.

For this reason it is very important for main-stream acceptance of Linux, and PHB's are only getting one side of the story.

Just a personal note, I do use Linux at work to a limited extend, for our Intranet and diald/squid proxy server, but my PHB is still very anti-Linux, and won't allow me to implement an SQL server, or other things I've suggested. I guess part of the problem is that when I leave the company, they are going to have a hard time finding someone who can administer the Linux systems I have implemeneted, and therefor would rather stick with Microsoft "soultions".

---

Re:Ha (5)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 13 years ago | (#237957)

Don't underestimate what they "get" and "don't get". Most moves they make are well thought out and quite devious. This attack on open source seems quite well thought out carefully executed.

---

Re:I think I've lost the plot (2)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 13 years ago | (#237961)

Unfortunately, with customers lacking even the ability to see the source code, the reality is that software companies have come to rely on marketing strategies to make people think their software is better instead of actually making their software better. That is how the industry works today, and as usual, Microsoft is one of the prime establishers of this model.

You are right, though, in that it has the potential to totally negate the business model of selling shrink-wrapped software. It will not prevent businesses from making money, only force them to change their methods of making money to something which just might be a little more honest. Corporations don't have a right to exist, let alone make money in a particular fashion. Microsoft apparently believes otherwise, hence this FUD tactic. Smart people within the giant corporations will recognize the BS for what it is, and will exert considerable influence over what goes on in the software industry, in the coming years.

dont let em (1)

drfrog (145882) | more than 13 years ago | (#237962)

remember....
how microsoft blew java out of the water with the confusion they generated by introducing
incompatibilities with their version of java?

could they do the same to opensource?

by confusing the public with yet another buzz word
shared source bah!

Umm check your math there uber hacker (1)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 13 years ago | (#237963)

(~0)-1 is -2. I dont know what -2 marketshare is supposed to mean.

If you wanted to represent max positive int you should use (int)((unsigned)-1 >> 1)

perhaps you were thinking unsigned, which should have been (unsigned)~0 - 1

Yes, I think you have (2)

nick_danger (150058) | more than 13 years ago | (#237964)

. If I work for a company developing software (which I did) and they went open source then I can practically wave goodbye to my job.

Actually, I made quite a decent living for several years in the mid to late 80's working with open source software. It was an accounting package that was FAR from GPL'd, but it was nonetheless supplied in source code format. The customer purchased the base package from the vendor, and paid me to tweak it for them. Just because a hunk of code is Open Source doesn't mean it's a zero revenue stream...

Remember: Open Source != Free[1], GPL === Free[1].

[1] as in beer.

Uncle Linus Wants You For The Army! (1)

rneches (160120) | more than 13 years ago | (#237966)

Yes, folks, there's a war on. The Enemy is dangerous, determined and powerful. No one can promise that this will be anything but a long, difficult and exhausting struggle. But It must be fought if we are to live in a Free World.

This is a call to arms!

But we must all remember - Microsoft will never be beaten by words, so save them. If you want to put the scoundrels in Redmond in their place in history's dustbin, head out to your bookstore and pick up those tech books you've been meaning to read. Get started on that project you've been meaning to do. Squash those bugs in your source repositories. Finish writing that How-To, or think about redoing the documentation of your project. There are great projects out there that need your help, so fire up your build enviornment and lend a hand! It's time to fight, not argue - and our power lies in the strength of the software that we write.

So, the time has come to ask not what Free Software can do for you, but what you can do for Free Software!

And perhapse most importantly, help the nubies get on board! Get on those newsgroups, web forums and chat rooms! Start lending a hand and spreading what you know! That has always been what has made our community strong - where the documentation fails, the community lends its strength and know-how.

Everyone has something to contribute - even if you're not a coder, a 133t h4ker, or a bearded guru, you can still help your friends with configurations, installations and setups. This is, after all, our software.

--

Re:What we need is a debate (2)

rneches (160120) | more than 13 years ago | (#237967)

Ha! I'd pay good money to watch RMS bust out his arsenal of bushio-kung-foo rhetoric. It would be awsome! He'd probably convert the Microsoft enterage on the spot, and in three months they'd be seen sporting beards and sandals amongst the masses, doing pennace for thier sins.

Sadly, Microsoft is smart enough to know what a bad idea this would be, coolness notwithstanding. It provide RMS an opportunity to give his Sermon On the Mount on national TV, and we all know he'd rise to the occation. It would be an event of epic proportions.

--

Re:Open Source (2)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 13 years ago | (#237973)

Of course if they did lower it then some of the people who are using a "stolen" copy might actually buy the "real" thing.

Then again, since the days of the printed manual are gone there is absolutely no difference between the "stolen" copy and the "real" copy. Bits are bits.

It's like buying music (although mp3's aren't quite the same as cd audio tracks in terms of quality). The "stolen" audio sounds just like the "real" audio. All you get for your money is some crappy packaging.

I don't advocate IP theft but admittedly there's not a whole lot of people that are going to fork over five hundred clams for a box with an MSFT hologram on the side (other than businesses who have the MSFT police beating down their doors).

Re:Amen, brother! (2)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 13 years ago | (#237974)

I would agree whole-heartedly, but there is a shitload of people in that tent. "Beware the power of stupid people in large groups" is a quote from a demotivator, and applies beautifully here.

Re:confused (4)

Bluesee (173416) | more than 13 years ago | (#237978)

It would seem that they are supporting techies who are in their camp, and seeking to provide a single career route for the average programmer: the MS way, where people can't rip off your stuff like the GPL lets you do. It would appear that they are investing in brainwashing techniques, where, if you repeat something long enough (GPL == Open Source == hackers == that evil guy who stole all those passwords) it becomes true.

Funny how the author of the article talks about how calm and reasoned spokespeople appear and yet there was no voice more shrill than Gates before the DoJ. In any event, I suspect that in the business world the average CEO doesn't avail himself of the choices before him. Maybe they remember having spent a bundle on Lotus and WordPerfect, and even though the secretaries swore by WP as a better product (not so sure Excel, the one app worth a damn, is worse than Lotus per se), they were forced to switch to the Word standard in oh, 1990 or so, as all their peers were perceived to have made that the standard.

In my business, engineers are free to establish their own platforms. But Windows and Office are offered as standard; you have to 'purchase' Red Hat. Hell, one guy still uses WordStar in OS2. But even he has buckled under the weight of all those PowerPoint attachments, and so he has learned to use alternative boot schemes.

But I digress. I believe that some of the best programming minds have settled on Linux/Unix, but whereas you have a bunch of tinkering programmers on one side of the fence playing with code to add features and constantly improve performance, on the other side you have a corporate Giant dedicated to the development of products that are targeted at each and every application niche in the business world, with a cadre of trained professionals hawking their product and publicly electrocuting elephants (so what was that time the BSOD showed up in a trade conference? Edison electrocuting himself with a battery?), spreading FUD.

I actually Do think it's time for Linux programmers to put on a tie for once, because, like it or not, it's about politics, it's about marketing, and it's about propaganda. And those dishes are best served with garnishes on the side; the businessman is used to being catered to, not lectured.

Re:It's not us vs. them (2)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 13 years ago | (#237979)

Microsoft "soultions"

I like that (Freudian typo?). Sell your soul to get a "solution".

What we need is a debate (2)

Nos. (179609) | more than 13 years ago | (#237981)

Wouldn't be nice to see a few of the top people from both Mirosoft and FSF, GNU, etc to sit down, in a live broadcast and have an honest to goodness debate! No fanatics from either side, but a true debate where they discuss issues like public licensing vs proprietary, open and closed source. Instead of all these articles, and responses, and follow-ups, an actual sit down debate.

Our own worst enemies (5)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#237982)

My take on this is as follows:

We have our own future in our hands.

We will not loose to MS because of anything that MS does.

If we loose, it is because we become our own worst enemies.

Foaming at the mouth is ineffective marketing technology. Microsoft is a master of marketing, using their strength in marketing to sell what is considered by some to be inferior products. They market to the masses, people who follow opinion leaders, because those folks do not have the time, ambition, or wherewithal to do the legwork themselves.

This is most likely the correct target to go after.

If you go to page three of the article, there is this bit which sums is up nicely:

There's a lot Microsoft can do, because right now, more people will listen to them than they will to the average Linux über-hacker. If you believe otherwise, then you may need to check your ego at the door.

Because when presented with a calm, reasonable-sounding statement from a large corporation versus sarcastic rants and flames from a bunch of apparent malcontents who do nothing all day but argue why Microsoft is an evil entity instead of stipulating exactly why their product is better, I will guarantee you that the average listener is going to give far more weight to the calm, reasonable-sounding statements every single time.

I am not proposing that everyone associated with Linux get haircuts, take manners lessons, and start wearing Tux-logoed polo shirts. But I am advocating that we don't rest on our superior technological laurels and think that's all we need to fend off Microsoft's very carefully planned attacks. Nor can we get so pleased with ourselves with how inventive we can get with hammering Microsoft with lofty insults. Because all of this is leading up to one inescapable conclusion: no one outside of our community is going to keep listening to this much longer.

And Microsoft knows this. Every time we fly off the collective handle when they do something threatening and they can just sit back and say "see how unreasonable those people are? See how derisive the keepers of this Linux technology can be?" We have our own future in our hands.

We will not loose to MS because of anything that MS does.

If we loose, it is because we become our own worst enemies..

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

It's not the OS, its the Apps (2)

cnkeller (181482) | more than 13 years ago | (#237983)

We all know that the app makes the OS, right?

It's all about providing alternatives. In my previous life/job, I was a java developer. So I introduced the Windows Heads to Forte, now NetBeans. Voila, a few people made the switch. They just wanted a graphical IDE. They could care less what's running it (although they do enjoy increased uptime now). A few more complained about email. I showed them prototypes of Evolution. Once that's up and running, perhaps they will make the switch as well.

My current job is wireless broadband. All the embedded developers use an Windows IDE because the compiler is only available under NT. I introduced several people to a new idea in programming: it's called a cross compiler people. Developer under what OS makes you most productive. For me, that's Unix, or more precisely Linux. So, I'll just sit here under Gnome and use gcc to generate cross compiled objects for the PowerPC embedded processor.

So, get of your butts people, and show your windows-hooked friends the altnerative apps that Linux/BSD, Open Source, Free Software can provide. IMHO, the enemy isn't Microsoft (some of their products actually rock -- Age of Empires for example), the enemy (if we have to have one) are people who take what's given to them and think there is only one way to do things -- the Microsoft way!

Lose, not loose! (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 13 years ago | (#237987)

sorry, I have to do this:

"lose" is the opposite of win.
"loose" is the opposite of tight.

Using the latter in place of the former is the electronic equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, IMHO.

hugs,

Very interesting indeed. (2)

tomknight (190939) | more than 13 years ago | (#237989)

Yes, an interesting article. One point that really must be noted is that Microsoft are really not that bad at "perception handling", as the article puts it. Sadly, spin works, and could work in winning the public over against Linux - and after the author says this, he tries to justify it, thus:

"Perception is something, you may have noticed, I tend to put a lot of stock in. I know this earns scoffing from the more hard-core Linux user/hackers, who proudly proclaim that "Linux kicks ass, it will always kick ass, and there's nothing those [insert insulting expletive here] at Microsoft can do about it!"

Or some stupid thing to that effect.

How many comments like this will we see here today. Quite alot, I fear. Read on....

This is a foolish attitude to take. There's a lot Microsoft can do, because right now, more people will listen to them than they will to the average Linux über-hacker. If you believe otherwise, then you may need to check your ego at the door.

Because when presented with a calm, reasonable-sounding statement from a large corporation versus sarcastic rants and flames from a bunch of apparent malcontents who do nothing all day but argue why Microsoft is an evil entity instead of stipulating exactly why their product is better, I will guarantee you that the average listener is going to give far more weight to the calm, reasonable-sounding statements every single time.

Brian coninues:

And when they try to distort reality with their perceptions, of course we need to counter their statements with the truth. Not with scathing flames and rants, however, but with our own calm and reasonable statements. We have to get the word out beyond our little community and into the mindset of the wider public view.

That is where this argument will be won, not on the PC.

I know it's boring to have to read the article (again, for some of you), but I doubt most rabid MS haters will bother getting to the third page.

Tom.

Amen, brother! (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#237991)

Seriously, this is the clearest point I've seen on the topic. Microsoft et al. are making fools of themselves right now - witness the severely user-hostile decisions being made re WMA vs. MP3, and copy protection / watermarking - and those who want to win against them should simply let them.

Meanwhile, push your product based on its benefits (Free as in Beer ain't bad)! And try, just try, to standardize a little, for Joe User out there...

Proposed message of the day (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#237992)

Would you like to send a monthly bill to Microsoft, [cnet.com] or not?

This applies equally to the "enterprise" and Joe User audiences.

It's the "Klan technique" (3)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 13 years ago | (#237995)

The KKK have this policy where they decide to go out and have a "peaceful demonstration". The police oblige by putting riot troops between them and the people who show up to demonstrate. A few off-camera sly comments here and there by the protestors, and the protestors go nuts, hurling stuff at police and the Klan, while the Klan, cameras rolling, just stand there trying to look angelic. The spin? "Well, we're just here exercising our constitutional rights. It's those animals who were the problem."

Microsoft is trying to provoke the same in the Open Source community. "Hey, we're just the most successful and useful software company ever, while they're a bunch of unwashed, unshaved rabble."

Try not to take too shallow a view (2)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 13 years ago | (#237997)

For the most part, you're correct. But, look deeper. While your complacent with your use of Linux and not caring about PHB's use of it, the industry is going to change around you, and not for the better.

I submit as a personally experienced example of superiority left by the wayside because the idea wasn't defended as well as it should have been.

In 1988, I became the prowd owner of an Amiga 500. FAR superior graphics and multimedia than anything on the consumer market. True multitasking OS in 512K ROM space. Back then, I argued over the use of those superior aspects and how they'll make computing more enjoyable. The 'PHB' types would say "Well, I don't need anything like that". Years later, full color graphics and multitasking (of sorts) became available on PC platforms thanks in part to Microsoft. You'd think it was a brand new idea at the time. The PHB types would then say "Hey, look what I can do!!" Those hailing the Amiga knew about these features years before. And the Amiga was coming into its own with productivity software and was destined to be side by side with the MAC. But, in the early days of FUD, MS Windows was perceived as the best, and you could get it very cheap (**cough**) for your PC compatible computer. Eventually, the Amiga died off. Even though I still have an Amiga tightly closed in my white knuckled grip, I look at Linux as a new icon of superiority and creativity. And as an example of a beneficial computing platform even though PHBs don't know that yet.

My point is: If you believe it, and you know it's value to the PHBs even if they don't know it yet, don't sit there. Let them know. Take the time to provide examples. I let the public know about it all the time. I have "LINUX OS" as my state issued license plate. I answer questions people have when asked about it. I've even set a few people straight who thought Linux was only to hack other computers. And as soon as someone wants to bankroll it, I'll advertise Linux with a vinyl wrap on my car and a big Tux graphic on the hood.

The self-absorbed Linux community (1)

Ergo2000 (203269) | more than 13 years ago | (#237999)

While I confess to skimming beyond the first couple of paragraphs, the intro pretty much set the tone: Whatever Microsoft does is wrong, and Linux is the saviour to all things. You can see this hilarious egotistical self-absorbtion by the claim that Microsoft didn't attack "Linux" (what is Open Source but for Linux? Open source didn't exist before Linux, right?) because Linux is "unlike any challenger Microsoft has ever seen" (though it then has some odd wording that seems to clearly state that Microsoft doesn't want anything in Linux, but they want to "embrace and extend" the GPL? Huh?). Is this a joke? It goes on to hilariously talk about how Microsoft is doing PR and is espousing only one side of the argument, a la Edison versus Tesla (which it claims is is an old game in "big business"). And this article isn't doing the EXACT SAME THING? The Linux community is just as guilty of overstating benefits and understating weaknesses, and as a basic personality trait in humanity I think it could hardly be called an aspect of "big business". Beware throwing stones when you live in a glass house.

I'm not even getting into the particular aspects of Microsoft's position, but this article seems like mindless propaganda for the already converted, and this was highlighted by the fact that it mentioned in "talkback after talkback": That's why they are demographic proof of anything: Linux/Open Source fanatics seem to be quite a bit more motivated than BigCompany Co. that simply wants their data systems to work and work well, hence the grossly overwhelming number of GPL enthusiasts rushing to fill every PC Mag talkback channel (while PC Mag rakes in the ad hits laughing their asses off).

Monopoly Thinking (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 13 years ago | (#238001)

I too am a tad bit confused by Microsoft's actions. I wonder if it is Microsoft thinking we need to keep the cash rolling in and since we are a monopoly this is how we can do it. They don't recognize the danger of losing their monopoly.

Re:True, perhaps, but so what? (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 13 years ago | (#238002)

If I can't connect my computer to the NET, if I can't share files with others, if I can view web pages, if I can't do with my computer what I want; what use is it.

I am not going to spend all my time, writing device drivers, additions to network protocalls, or patches to applications, I am not going to write my own version of ICQ or whater IM I choose to use. I have a life outside of programming.

Kill Mac OS X? (1)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 13 years ago | (#238004)

So, MS is trying to kill Mac OS X with XP? I dont really know... Those few Apple users that are left will probably not switch to MS just because they make their GUI look more like Apples (they've done that for like 10 years now ;)

But of course, substantially less people might switch from Windows to OS X if XP looks as cool as OS X. Fortunately it does not :)

I guess many Windows users today do not like the unstrict, toylike and colorful XP GUI, so I think MS would be better off not directing its entire production line against Apple.

I think I've lost the plot (3)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 13 years ago | (#238006)

Have I totally lost the plot? I read Mundies comments and actually found myself thinking "hmm, actually some of them are quite true".

Mundies states that GPL is bad because if you use a bit of code then you have to give away everything. This I can understand. After all, if you don't like the licence, don't use it. But were also getting to the stage where people are gpl'ing tiny snippets of code. This is almost as silly as record companies trying to copyright a couple bars of music and bill ringtone providers!

This is where I get all confused. Microsoft is essentially arguing that if I write something and release it then I can't make money from that code and, that itself is bad.

Well unless I fancy living in a dumpster for the rest of my life I think I can see where they're coming from. If I work for a company developing software (which I did) and they went open source then I can practically wave goodbye to my job. That company makes its money on the basis that its product is better than anyone elses (which for a very boring market - it kicks other competitors stuff up the arse). By opening up the source, any tom, dick and harry can view the source and the innovation.

This, for the open source crowd, is a good thing. Everyone benifits, the authors get people reporting bugs and the competitors get access to their groovy stuff. Provided of course they release their updates using that code to everyone else.

Sorry, I just can't see it taking off. The whole software industry is about coming up with something thats better than others and encouraging people to buy their product over others.

Okay, lets put this another way. There are three and only three companies (A,B and C) that produce a product called "X"). If X is GPL'ed then why on earth should A develop for it, if its only going to mean that B and C get a load of work for free? (You have to think like a corporation here)

You get this little loop where no-one will work on something because at the end of the day, its a total waste of time because your hard work will be just dropped into someone elses impementation because thats what the licence says they have to do. And for them, it'll cost a tenth of the cost.

Don't get me wrong, the GPL has opened up stuff and helped me enormiously and I'm grateful. But thats me, as in an individual entity, not a global corporation.

And thats where I'm not sure what they think about it ...

--

Well-written my ass (1)

Beatlebum (213957) | more than 13 years ago | (#238007)

There's a difference between well-written and good content. This article contains several grammatical errors in the first section. Is it asking so much to expect these guys to proof-read?

Re:What Linux Needs... (2)

Technician (215283) | more than 13 years ago | (#238008)

Wear your "Got Root?" shirt and show off your machine. Show that user A can't delete the OS and files of user B and how this is a great advantage if you have kids in the house. Stability and Security is one thing lacking in MS products. My wife needs Office so Windows has to be in a dual boot machine with password protection on the boot manager. It will be great when I can get rid of the MS partition so we don't have to shutdown to change users.

No wonder M$ is acting desperate. (1)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 13 years ago | (#238012)

The part that really said it all for me is how M$ is getting pretty frustrated with all the shops that aren't upgrading to 2K. I moved all of the servers at the shop I'm currently working at to Linux & *BSD and left one server with M$ too keep my MicroSkills up. Whilst that migration took a bit, upgrades on Linux & *BSD are no problem (and no reboot sometimes) whilst upgrades on Windows NT* are so painful, you might as well just reinstall the OS.

Slashdotted (4)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#238013)

Unable to connect to the database. Please email

Oh yeah, like thats a really good idea at this point.

Open Source (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 13 years ago | (#238016)

Who even really listens to MSFT anymore?? I believe it was Bill Gates who said the internet wasn't going anywhere, and that no one will ever need more than 640k RAM.... If open source software doesn't put MSFT out of buisness, it should at least force them to lower their prices. Who in this world really thinks that office is worth as much as it costs (500 for the standard edition....)...

Re:Open Source (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 13 years ago | (#238017)

Damn Right!! I prefer to have legal software, and because I am a student I can get software at descent prices. All of my software is legal, but when I get out of school, I don't know if I can say that I will continue to make sure all my stuff is real. When Microsoft implements the mandatory licensing I'm sure there will be ways around it. If they lower prices, a lot of people will try to make sure that their software is legal. Hmm $.50 for a copy of office, or 500 for the same thing with a Micrsoft Hologram and a box... I also refuse to buy software that has to "call home" in order to work....

The author is wrong. (1)

ti1ion (239188) | more than 13 years ago | (#238018)

While the article this story points to is an amusing read, I would say that the author is making mistakes he shouldn't be.

First off, I don't know how many people agree with the assessment of his "friend," but I for one do not. M$ is *not* releasing XP to kill Apple. Steve Jobs is doing that very well without any help. Apple is dying, and there does not seem to be anyone with half a brain around to make any difference. Only diehard Mac addicts care about the platform anymore, and they seem to drool every time Jobs steps on stage. OS X? Run a Unix-like OS on equipment considerably more expensive than PCs? Not for the majority, thank you.

M$ is aiming at all users with XP, and especially those that have been complaining for years that Win9x is not a "real" OS. That means many prospective Linux newbies.

The author states that people listen to calm arguments presented by corporations over passionate name-calling from Linux supporters. Where did that come from? Did you witness the last presidential election campaign? The theme is beat your opponent down with half-truths or outright lies, and keep hammering until everyone thinks that you must be telling the truth. Gore is such a liar, we all seem to know that -- even though /. carried a story about how that assertion was pattently untrue. Who cares; he's a liar anyway. We heard that too often for it *not* to be true. That's exactly what M$ is doing with Open Source and the GPL and Linux. Does the Linux community want to win? Here is how to get *many* people to try Linux: "Windows keeps crashing no matter how little you do with it; try Linux, it *never* crashes -- and it's *free*!" You will have thousands of people trying it *once*! If you have more there to hook them, they will stay. If it is too difficult, and they feel overwhelmed, they will go back to M$. But don't give me defeatist crap like "we have to point out what is good about Linux, and then we'll win." That's what the Democrats tried, too.

Please note that these are *my* opinions, slightly exaggerated to make a point.

Re:confused (2)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 13 years ago | (#238021)

I am a rabid supporter of GNU/Linux and Open source in general, but my job is mostly Microsoft-Centric. Next time we budget new servers, will I purchase NT? No, forget about it...

You are one of the converted so of course you will suggest Linux, but your comments would be more interesting if you had said "I am a techy who only knows windows but all the games Microsoft is playing is making me interested in looking at linux." I am not saying you should lie but if a lot of post came up saying more people are dabling with linux now, it would really mean MS's ploys have not been working.

Greasing the wheels (3)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#238024)

The article spent quite a bit of time on Microsoft's work on public preception, but there's almost no emphasis on the work Microsoft is doing to educate (subvert) the U.S. and other governments around to their way of thinking.

While I don't hold much hope of the antitrust trial helping to solve this problem one way or the other, what really can help this problem is if some of the larger linux shops... ARE YOU LISTENING, IBM?!?... will start dropping the Benjamins around Washington just like Microsoft's lobbies have been doing.

This is also a great opportunity to encourage the countries that are considering open source initiatives with promotions, recognition, and cooperative deals. It's also a great time to start building bonuses for international companies who use Linux and open-source software.

Think about all those Internet cafes in Mexico and Eastern Europe that use Linux and Star Office rather than trying to pirate MS Office. Wouldn't it be wonderful mindshare to maybe drop a few late-model or promo PC's on these guys to help speed adoption?

This is not going to be a hard thing to accomplish because no one company or individual will be the driving factor. It does need some big names to happen, however. Maybe if VA Linux ever comes out of Chapter 11, they can start doing some lobby work, maybe?

Re:MS loves BSD (1)

rogueuk (245470) | more than 13 years ago | (#238028)

you're probably thinking of hummingbird [hummingbird.com] 's inetd...Hummingbird Communication Limited...completely separate to microsoft

WTF is up with them? (1)

HairyBN (252481) | more than 13 years ago | (#238031)

Im wondering why MS is FUDing the OSS Movement so much lately...

And I think it has to do with all the support available in the 2.4(USB,pppoe,etc...) 'coz since the release we had Balmer, the windows guys(cant remember his name) and then Mundie, so what is it? It smells like panic.

1- 2.4 has enough hw support to make linux a serious competitor to Win for clueless users.
2- Linux is not a corporation thus MS is confused about how to defeat it?
3- The quality of OSS in general is getting too good to be ignored?
4-...

????

Re:It's not us vs. them (5)

clark625 (308380) | more than 13 years ago | (#238035)

Agreed. The absolute best thing the Linux community can do is simply do the best job we can in our respective positions. I'm a consultant, so when I walk into a Microsoft-only business I don't proclaim how terrible their systems are and how I must convert everyone/everything over to Linux. That would just get me fired.

Instead, I do my job. And when new servers/routers/etc are needed, I typically recommend a Linux solution. At first, businesses are uncomfortable with this--and then I tell them the price ($100+ for a supported version of RH) and that I completely support Linux and can do much, much more with a single well-configured Linux box than three or four NT servers. I've never had anyone turn me down.

Microsoft's biggest fear right now is really people like me--the guys that recommend a gradual transfer to Linux. But it's not a true Microsoft vs. Linux situation. If Microsoft had a product that better fit the needs of my customers, then I would recommend it totally. Right now, Linux is a better choice in the back-end. But I believe Win2K is a much better choice for workstations, mostly because people are used to Microsoft's OS and Office products.

The fear at Microsoft is that those of us using/writing free software are not competing with Windows. We're in a different league. We don't play by their rules, and they can't kill free software using the very practices that caused the monopoly cases.

By fighting Microsoft, we are stating they they are a threat to us--but Microsoft isn't our enemy. In fact, we should care less about what Microsoft is doing. Linux and other GPL software is getting to the point of "critical mass" where the software is on par or better (from the "average" user's perspective) with anything Microsoft can produce. Once that critical point is reached, there won't be anything Microsoft, or anyone else, can do to prevent the spreading of GPL software. People will just choose Linux because it's not only cheaper but also because it has a large amounts of advantages over Windows. So why "compete" with a company that only cares about money and market share? Instead, GPL programmers need only be worried about their individual products and inprovements to those. After all, in the GPL community, marketing is done through word-of-mouth and reviews.

The FSF and Microsoft's speech (2)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 13 years ago | (#238037)

For those interested, because it was mentioned but not linked to from LinuxPlanet, here's Stallman & Moglen's response [fsf.org] to Craig Mundie's interview.

Quote:

Moglen noted that Microsoft's confusion about the GPL's origins is not surprising. He said that "taking advice on what the GPL means from Microsoft is like taking Stalin's word on the meaning of the US Constitution.
Despite the above quote, it's a good response and also one that might take aback some of the "Free software is a tool of communism" people.
--

They're speeding up their attacks on us ... (1)

pherris (314792) | more than 13 years ago | (#238039)

Well, it seems that Microsoft [microsoft.com] has fired another shot across the bow of the Open Source community. This time it's in a speech [microsoft.com] on May 3rd given by MS's Craig Mundie [microsoft.com] (Senior VP of "Advanced Strategies") at New York University. He's quoted as saying "The GNU Public License poses a threat to the intellectual property of any organization making use of it," Craig believes that "... a sharing of knowledge, through source code and broader interaction, while respecting the importance of intellectual property rights." Translation: "Your source code will be assimilated and become part of the Collective. Resistance is futile."

Upside.com [upside.com] has an article [upside.com] covering this mess.

Re:What Linux Needs... (2)

PicassoJones (315767) | more than 13 years ago | (#238041)

I'll do it!!

Oh, right, I'd probably need credentials or something. I think that Eric S. Reynolds does a very good job at promoting open source. Linus also does a great job at this, IMHO. He's well spoken, intelligent, and most importantly, the media think of him as the father of open source because he shares a name with a certain popular open source project.

Poor Richard Stallman, he actually was responsible for the whole thing, yet he rarely gets much credit. Unfortunately, he seems too bitter about that to make an effective spokesperson.

I say, that Linus and ESR are the best choices. Fortunately, the whole community-oriented nature of open source means that anyone can write a press release for it. Just don't expect it to be published unless you have some sort of importance.

The day we start seeing press releases in newspapers written by "Anonymous Coward," is the day I stop reading newspapers.

Why in the world... (2)

ToddUGA95 (316111) | more than 13 years ago | (#238042)

Would Microsoft try and kill Apple? Apple has become their new R&D department! Where would they get new OS ideas from if Apple died?

Linux "losing" (1)

Claric (316725) | more than 13 years ago | (#238043)

Umm... Excuse me but how can Linux 'lose' to Microsoft ? I ask because it's free. It always has been free and will continue to be free. That's the point. If you are talking about the desktop market Linux may not win but it can't exactly lost can it ? It's free. And if the battle is 'lost' and the 'war' is 'won' by Microsoft do you really think that will be the end of Linux ? No. It's free. The source code is out there. Linux cannot be stopped unless some shitty law comes into place where it's illegal. Can that happen (I'm thinking of the first amendment and stuff). It's the same with the BSD varients. They are free. Linux won't kill them off.

If you are talking servers then right now the 'winner' of that 'battle' is clearly Solaris and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to know why, it's all to do with scaling.

If you are talking embedded systems then Linux may well corner that market. But that doesn't mean that it'll leave the server or desktop market. That's crazy thinking.

Now, can everyone just do me a favour and SHUT UP ABOUT THE MICROSOFT/LINUX WARS. It's a waste of time. Post a story about Eazel so I can post this witty quote I thought of:

"I gave a company $13m in venture capitalism and all I got was this lousy file manager."

Claric
--

Fiery invective is for the converted (5)

McSpew (316871) | more than 13 years ago | (#238044)

Fiery sermons may work in revival tents, but the people in those tents are already waiting for something. The people outside the tents couldn't care less.

The only way to get most people to pay attention to you is to frame your ideas in a context which means something to them. For IT managers, talk about improved uptime and security, reduced support costs, smoother upgrade paths and the knowledge that you can't be orphaned by your vendor.

For corporate executives, talk about reduced support costs, cheaper hardware, better IT productivity and superior performance.

For Mr. and Mrs. America, talk about Free as in Beer and explain that roughly 10% of the price of a computer these days is the Windows Tax.

When someone uses hyperbole or inflammatory language, most people start to tune them out, unless they're really charismatic. :::Cough::: Steve Jobs :::Cough:::

confused (5)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 13 years ago | (#238050)

I have to admit, I am a tad bit confused by Microsoft these days. Between this subscription model software (pay us every 3 years or we pull your apps), the .NET strategy (Host my applications offsite? I don't think so), and all this verbal warfare against open-source and free-software (we can't buy it, so lets just discredit it). It seems as though they are trying to alienate every hard-core techie out there. Do they not realize that these are the same techies that support their products day in and day out?? I am a rabid supporter of GNU/Linux and Open source in general, but my job is mostly Microsoft-Centric. Next time we budget new servers, will I purchase NT? No, forget about it, especially with all the new features in SAMBA, it's getting easier and easier to find alternate routes. I hope Microsoft comes to their senses and stops pissing off the people who have the most interaction with their business-class products.

Re:The self-absorbed Linux community (1)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 13 years ago | (#238051)

I love reading the one in ten sane and rational posts. Thank you. It gives me hope for /. as a whole. I can't can't figure out why MS is publicly commenting on OSS and the GPL, but the level of foaming and FUD in reply is only making the OSS communitly look like bigger fools. I respect Tim O'Reilly quite a bit but his FUDing comment on Windows code forking is making me lose that respect quickly.

Focus on the Benefits (1)

kallistiblue (411048) | more than 13 years ago | (#238052)

The FUD that Micro$oft is casting is brilliant from a marketing point of view. They have the reputation and the size that gives them instant credibility with many decision makers. The /. community has many brilliant people and the best thing M$ can do is to fluster us and allow us to fight the fight that they create. Think about what the true weaknesses of M$ are. What are the quantifiable problems with Windoze that a Decision Maker can understand? Give the DM applications(Office) that allow them to get their work done with a minimum of re-training of their employees. Then and only then will the beast be knocked to it's knees. I'm a recent convert to *nix and I love it. I like the idea of it and it works great. BUT I can't do all my work on a *nix box. I can't open the Excel spread sheets that I get sent on a day to day basis, nor can I open a Word document that people are always attaching to their email. The OSS community is doing a great job, but we still have a ways to go.

Re:Ha (1)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#238054)

MS and MS people just don't "get" open source. There's an MCSE guy where I work who assumed that just because we had some proprietary perl code we were using that it was "open source" and that we could modify it freely. I did the modifications, he bragged about them, and now the place is being sued for $100,000 + damages. Ah. I love it.

--
"Fuck your mama."

Re:What we need is a debate (1)

Tech187 (416303) | more than 13 years ago | (#238055)

Actually, no, that wouldn't happen.

It's trivial to 'bait' somebody like Stallman, it happens all the time at almost any public event he attends. All they'd have to go is get him going about how Linux should be named Lignux, or challange his assumptions in some way.

Stallman is easily distracted, because he's an ideologue, and used to preaching to a choir. You could dress him up in a conservative suit and tie and he'd still come off like the rebel he is to the core.

Re:Linux "losing" (2)

Tech187 (416303) | more than 13 years ago | (#238056)

For another example, if you are deploying a departmental application, then there is no valid reason to purchase enterprise class hardware.

Agreed.

So you install a cheaper Sun box in that setting instead, and it works seamlessly with the enterprise hardware, because it's all running Solaris. That's called 'scalability.'

PU/Linux (1)

Tachys (445363) | more than 13 years ago | (#238063)

Gee, doesn't this guy realize he is now going to get an angry letter from RMS telling him it is GNU/Linux not Linux.

"Guh-NEW" word a horrible "word" sounds like "Pee-U" so if RMS whines about this enough people will call Linux Pee-U/Linux

Re:I think I've lost the plot (1)

jeffc128ca (449295) | more than 13 years ago | (#238067)

This way of thinking, although makes sense in theory when explained that way, doesn't in real life. Red Hat does some of there own programming add ons to Linux. Then packages it. You can either buy the package shrink wraped in a box from the company or you can download it for free without paying anything. You can even go to a competitor and buy it for 3$ in a cd case. People pay more for the shrink wrapped version that comes with support and hand holding from Red Hat. Many people don't understand this. But it's how it works. Cygness has been doing the same thing with all there software they program for clients. It's GPL'd and they still have people knocking down there doors for more. Instead of software as the product, it's the service and hand holding that sells. That's what end users want. They are buying a solution, not a program.
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