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ESR's Halloween XI -- Get the FUD

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the strange-arguments dept.

Microsoft 771

dave writes "In the newest Halloween Document (mirror), Eric Raymond analyzes Microsoft's 'Get The Facts' road show. The anti-Linux arguments they are using now -- and, even more, the arguments they're *not* using -- reveal how desperate Microsoft is getting. He explains why he thinks we need to focus more on government adoptions, and predicts serious ugliness during the next year."

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771 comments

ESR, again. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507225)

Sorry there, but besides Fud, what has ESR brought to the Open Source community ?

Re:ESR, again. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507259)

ur mom and her butt

Re:ESR, again. (5, Insightful)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507424)

What has ESR brought to the Open Source community?

Stunningly accurate predictions, like MS's monopoly collapsing in 2001, and Windows becoming obsolete when computer prices dipped below $350.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/12/13/2162 37 &mode=thread&tid=99
http://slashdot.org/article.p l?sid=02/02/28/132424 8&mode=thread&tid=163

He's got a knack for predicting the future. You can rest assured that MS really is getting *DESPERATE* now, especially now that they're obsolete and their monopoly had collapsed years ago. :)

Re:ESR, again. (0, Flamebait)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507638)

Stunningly accurate predictions, like MS's monopoly collapsing in 2001, and Windows becoming obsolete when computer prices dipped below $350.

Oh, good Lord, you are sniffing glue, right? Microsoft is alive and well., and the only vanilla box you can get for below $350 is a used piece of shit that has Windows ME installed. Get out of your basement, your parents need the space.

Re:ESR, again. (3, Insightful)

paul.dunne (5922) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507440)

> Sorry there, but besides Fud, what has ESR brought to the Open
> Source community ?

Its name?

Re:ESR, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507589)

Vim and MLDonkey.

The beauty of government adoption of open source (5, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507233)

...is in the spinoff projects. For example, this open source Java memory profiler [cougaar.org] is a spinoff of the DARPA-supported COUGAAR [cougaar.org] agent framework.

And since both projects are hosted on a server running GForge [gforge.org] , I can help improve GForge during working hours. Good times!

You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (5, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507274)

If the DoD switches in near totality to OpenOffice, hundreds of corporations will switch too for the sake of compatability with their primary source of bread and butter. Microsoft is terrified at the idea of losing not just approximately 1-1.5 million defense desktops (not counting the other, smaller, departments) but the corporations that sell to them. A mass move to Linux, or better yet in 2 years, HaikuOS would be a disaster for Microsoft.

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (5, Insightful)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507355)

If the DoD switches in near totality to OpenOffice, hundreds of corporations will switch too for the sake of compatability with their primary source of bread and butter. Microsoft is terrified at the idea of losing not just approximately 1-1.5 million defense desktops (not counting the other, smaller, departments) but the corporations that sell to them. A mass move to Linux, or better yet in 2 years, HaikuOS would be a disaster for Microsoft.

Good luck. The generals and admirals want their Exchange/Outlook combo and Active Directory. At least in the Air Force there is a huge push to make Outlook the standard with a truly global address book and all the stupid little "features" it adds that I just turn off because they are annoying. Sigh. This will be an uphill battle. I hope open source can make inroads into the U.S. government, especially the DOD, but it will be a battle fiercer than any we have fought.

Steve Ballmer spoke at a recent Air Force conference that I attended. He let us know that the U.S. Air Force is the single largest customer of Microsoft. Do you really think we can "just switch the whole DOD" that easily? The military/DOD is a huge customer for Microsoft and one they will not give up without an epic battle.

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507571)

This is kinda off-topic, but I wouldn't have even bothered attending that conference if it hadn't been mandatory for military personnel assigned to SSG. What a joke.

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (5, Insightful)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507588)

imho, Outlook/Exchange's ability to handle meeting scheduling is a Big Freaking Deal. Of course, I'm just a college student working in IT, but I've never seen anything in the Free Software world that could compare to the power of Exchange for colloboration.

Am I wrong?

--
Phil

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507371)

Exactly. Windows DOES NOT MATTER.

If the apps are the same acros platforms, the underlying doesnt matter, except for cost and stability.. Guess who wins out on that?

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507620)

Windows 2000?

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507395)

"near totality"

LOL

Re:You're missing the point of gov't adoptions (3, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507528)

Hopefully, OpenOffice will be accepted in major areas like that - because then it would help to polish up the software and close any gaps that might exist between OpenOffice and MSOffice.

Personally, I've been trying to switch but find little things that make it harder to do - incompatibilities with my clients, things that aren't as usable as I'd like, etc. Without getting too much into it, I just think that MSOffice has had the benefit of time (which has good and bad consequences).

As always (4, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507242)

Be sure to order [order-4.com] your free evaluation kit. Lets slashdot this baby! It costs them a few bucks for every one. Get one for your mom!

Re:As always (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507457)

"Offer good until June 1, 2004"

Re:As always (4, Informative)

vk2 (753291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507502)

No need to register.!!

Offer already expired.!! Don't waste your disposable email address.

From the linked page:
Offer good until June 1, 2004 or while supplies last.

Re:As always (2, Informative)

norculf (146473) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507556)

You know if you use a real email address Microsoft might give you more free stuff in the future. No guarantees but it's happened before.

I got one better (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507244)

check out the new Apple liquid cooling photos

techseekers.net/modules.php?name=News&file=artic le &sid=3927

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507245)

First Fucking post

Cool! The Sequel! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507255)

Is Jamie Lee Curtis in this one? How about Michael Moore? *Gotta go AC on this one... :)

Slightly OT: I just gave birth (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507258)

TO A FOUR POUND LOG. JESUS H. CHRIST, IT WAS LIKE DELIVERING A BABY. IT CROWNED, THE WATER SPLASHED, AND IT TOOK ALMOST FIVE MINUTES TO GET THE WHOLE THING OUT. IT CAME OUT IN ONE PIECE, THOUGH, SO IT REQUIRED TWO FLUSHES TO GET THAT TOILET MONSTER DOWN. AHH RELIEF.

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/______\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)_______|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\______/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Say it ain't so! (1, Troll)

MSFanBoi (695480) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507265)

Eric Raymond speaking out against MS! Say it ain't so!

For those of us who work in corporate environments, Linux is FAR from free. I don't know of any major company that can go without some level of support, and that's not going to be free folks...

Re:Say it ain't so! (5, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507298)

"Free as in speech."

Linux IS free.

It's just not neccessarily "free as in beer". It may cost you some money, but you're free to do with it (to a degree) what you wish, so long as you contribute any changes back.

Over-simplified, sure. But go download the windows source code, add a few features to explorer (heck, squash some bugs and security flaws while you're in there), and re-release the source back out there with a Makefile.

Let's see how long until your pants are sued right off of your legs.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507341)

Let's see how long until your pants are sued right off of your legs.

You wear pants?

Free as in beer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507559)

Where is this free beer that everybody keeps talking about? I haven't seen it.

Maybe "free as in air"?
Or maybe "free as in ladies night at the local pub"?
Perhaps "free the way I wish beer is"?

Help this confused old man understand.

Halloween Documents? (-1, Troll)

chumpieboy (257469) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507267)

It's frigging June!

The article does not concern "leaked" documents from inside MS.

Typical SlashDot FUD to rouse up the troops...

Re:Halloween Documents? (3, Insightful)

LO0G (606364) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507310)

It appears that ESR has decided that instead of highlighting the memos behind the FUD that was the hallmark of the previous halloween analysises, he wants to go after the published FUD instead.

Personally I think while his points may be valid he just ruined the value of the Halloween series.

The Halloween series worked because it was criticism of real leaked Microsoft memos.

This so-called "Halloween" memo is just counter-fud.

The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507270)

How many Linux machines have been zombied by Netsky, Sasser, MyDoom, or similar worms? Do your Windows TCO estimates include administrator time spent cleaning up after these infestations?

None, because they weren't created for Linux (as it doesn't have the market share that Windows machines do) *and* because *currently* Linux doesn't have the clueless userbase that Windows does (I won't go into the discussion of management telling IT what to do and IT saying "yes sir" and not deploying patches).

If Linux ever attains the userbase that Windows has the clueless users will outnumber those w/half a brain. That is when the worms and whatnot will spread like wildfire.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (5, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507346)

Actually, Ive ran across 1 of them..

This "worm" was about 1 MB, self contained and ran quite fast.

The full intention of this worm was as an auto-hacker for linux machines. It used a IRC seession, DES encrypted and MD5 checksummed. Once 1 machine was infected, it would use a large library of exploits against other known linux machines (with use of nmap-like scans) and attempt to dupe it to others.

Ive been able to isolate it, but whatever the coders did with it, they made it into semi-encrypted spaghetti. Crashes damn near every debugger Ive tried. It's now a collection on one of my cd's now. "Strange and infectous stuf"

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507408)

You have pegged my bullshit detector.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507472)

Have you tried decoding it at an assembler level? A lot of old DOS-based viruses were essentially partially-compressed executables.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (3, Insightful)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507353)

true, but it may also be the case that linux is just more secure. we won't *really* know until linux acquires a large clueless userbase.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507376)

This is very possible but what good does it do the worm authors to create something when most people are clueful enough to know what services are running, have the rest firewalled off, and to routinely update their machines?

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1, Insightful)

noselasd (594905) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507437)

Well, look at many of the "worms" spreading around these days.
They spread as .exe mail attachments, which you need to start yourself
to take effect.
Neither windows nor linux will protect against idiots.

Hey, FUD-packer. (3, Informative)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507364)

Let's pretend Linux DOES have that kind of userbase. You play the clueless user, I'll play the malicious h4xx0r.

I'm going to write up a painfullly malicious script that executes when you view an e-mail.

What, that's not possible? Okay...uh...

You're a pretty dumb user, and I'll name the file Brittney\ Spears\ Nekkid.jpg.sh.

So you double click the file, and it launches. You're a plain old user.

rm -rf /

Oops. Didn't work. Why not? No permissions.

rm -rf ~

Now that might, but I want to think that launching a shell script from an e-mail attachment has some sort of protections on linux. Right?

right?

Okay, so my argument is full of holes. Sue me. :P

Re:Hey, FUD-packer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507476)

"Oops. Didn't work. Why not? No permissions."

Right because no avergae use would be running in root right? And if you believe that, you are as dumb as I thought.

Re:Hey, FUD-packer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507582)

Good point. You probably don't have permissions to remove the easily replacable OS files. Secure!

But you certainly have enough permission to delete all the files that matter to you, to connect outbound on the internet, to start a backdoor running in the background listening for someone to connect in later, to run a local root explot, and many other fun and exciting things. H4X0r3D!!1!

Re:Hey, FUD-packer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507591)

is a virus deletes the contents of a users home directory that is just as bad if not worse that an OS - which can always be reinstalled.

user viruses will come in the form of:

mozilla xpi
code in openoffice docs

try making a Nekid.jpg.xpi that rm's the contents of a users home directory and any other files on the systems he she has permissions to.

have a nice day.

Re:Hey, FUD-packer. (1, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507592)

Let's play "everyone is now a clueless user" and needs to have superuser permissions to do everything because no one likes to have to switch to root to do anything important.

So what do the people start doing? Logging in as root. That's right, they will ignore the fact that we have users (like they do w/Windows, no one wants to be anything but the administrator) and they will run everything as root.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (4, Insightful)

bob dobalina (40544) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507418)

Well spoken. The issue of "which platform is more stable, secure and usable" has less to do with the subtle genius of the design of linux and more to do with the fact that, currently, linux users are a self-selecting group of people who try to solve their own problems. If linux ever gets as popular as its proselytizers hope, they will have to deal with a whole new batch of users doing silly things, weakening security policies and allowing worm and virus writers a way in. Linux is not bugproof nor bulletproof, and certainly not foolproof.

I have to argue that, despite MS's other claims, I agree that TCO will be higher, primarily because most linux programs require a lot more user support than your average windows program, installed and patched with "software wizards". If you're a user installing openoffice and you don't have a certain library, or you have an outdated one, you're going to spend a lot of time learning about ldd and ldconfig. Personally I think the library linking issue is one of Linux's biggest achilles heels, despite a few relatively intelligent attempts to fix it.

I also think that the linux office products out there are simply substandard to Microsoft. That probably has to do with the fact that MS has been at that game for a long time. But nevertheless, linux office products like openoffice, while reasonable facsimiles, simply don't reach MS in terms of functionality and behavior. I spent four hours writing up a macro-enabled, data-validity-using spreadsheet for my company's linux users, while the identical spreadsheet in Excel took me about 45 minutes, and the linux version just didn't compare, and I'm not even a spreadsheet power user.

MS's dominance might be eroding, but it's not simply due to their being entrenched in the marketplace.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507494)

I have to argue that, despite MS's other claims, I agree that TCO will be higher, primarily because most linux programs require a lot more user support than your average windows program, installed and patched with "software wizards".

Well, that's only for the current time. As the Linux userbase grows so does the programbase. You will start to see a lot more UI friendly design, program offerings, etc.

No reason to support Linux via programs when there is such a small userbase.

No. (2, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507456)

> ...they weren't created for Linux (as it doesn't have the market share that Windows machines do) *and* because *currently* Linux doesn't have the clueless userbase that Windows does (I won't go into the discussion of management telling IT what to do and IT saying "yes sir" and not deploying patches).

No, you are wrong. The flawed security in Windows is a result of closed source. It has absolutely nothing to do with the knowledge level of the user base. Open Source means more eyes are fixed upon the project, following the bouncing ball, and that can only spell tight security for Open Source. Closed source has to compete with inner-office power struggles, funding diversions, corporate shenanigans, ad nauseum, and the user base remains clueless perhaps to how insecure their systems are, but that's not the point of it all. That's not why systems are being zombied. Spam, anyone?

Security is not compromised by the inept or idiotic, either, and any security system can be bypassed, so it must be about the will to do so, which *is* lacking in the Open Source community, for obvious reasons. Virus writers are actually intelligent people, with a wide variety of skills (read: m4dsk1llz), and they hate Microsoft, or they are bored, so they program destructively. There has to be something said about how corporations treat their programmers, in layoffs or forced overtime without pay, and this stress adds up to malicious rubuttals in the form of crushed company networks. Obviously not all viruses are written to get back at The Man, but many are. I may be an insensitive clod for pointing out how poorly us programmers are treated, but that truly is the reason malicious code is written -- because people simply don't like eachother, or they mistreat people who have a little knowledge and a lot of animosity piling up.

Re:No. (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507612)

"The flawed security in Windows is a result of closed source. It has absolutely nothing to do with the knowledge level of the user base."

Do you run as root? Do you open every email attachment you get? Do you install CometCursor, five file-sharing programs with spyware, and click Yes to install whenever a box comes up?

If you want the power to make a system more or less secure (hint: it's necessary for any network) then you have to accept that idiot users will cause problems. They will run with relaxed security, they will install programs that will make you cringe, they will not patch their OS, and they will become infected with viruses.

Re:The clueless userbase to propagates the worms. (1)

caffeineboy (44704) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507633)

More of a reply to the original poster:

Do you remember perhaps:
  • Ramen Worm?
  • Slapper worm?
  • Lion Worm?

Maybe these would not have been spread if people properly administered their linux boxes, but that is the same problem that causes the spread of worms on Windows. Slapper was designed with the express purpose of using infected machines as attack zombies. You just didn't hear about it as much since there are fewer poorly administered linux systems out there.

I don't know if a current Redhat default install has as many open services as the last time I installed it (back in the 5.x days) but their security was no better than default NT/2000/XP. If you didn't stay on top of updates, a worm would get you.

Take a look at the Linux worm site (OK, some of these are rootkits) here [sophos.com] .

Worthy Halloween? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507276)

Is this really a worthy Halloween memo? It's not based on a leaked document that I can see.

In case of slashdotting (0, Redundant)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507278)

Halloween XI: Get The FUD
22 Jun 2004
I've just seen a dispatch from the front lines of the FUD wars, Huw Lynes's report from one of Microsoft's Get The Facts roadshow in Great Britain. It's a fascinating read, especially when considered in context with Halloween VII and more recent leaks out of Microsoft. The outlines of the next stage in Microsoft's anti-open-source propaganda campaign are becoming clear. It's a good time to take stock of where we are, what our favorite evil empire is doing, and how best to respond.

Let's start by reminding ourselves of the stakes. For Microsoft (or at least its present business model) to survive, open source must die. It's a lot like the Cold War was; peaceful coexistence could be a stable solution for us, but it can never be for them, because they can't tolerate the corrosive effect on their customer relationships of comparisons with a more open system. (Anyone who thinks I'm being perfervid or overly melodramatic about this should review the direct long-term revenue and platform threat language from Halloween I. Other people may fool themselves about what this means, but Microsoft never has.).

Because coexistence is not a stable solution for them, it cannot be for us either. We have to assume that Microsoft's long-term aim is to crush our culture and drive us to extinction by whatever combination of technical, economic, legal, and political means they can muster. So, in evaluating the Get the Facts road show, we need to start by asking how it fits into Microsoft's larger strategic plans.

One level is obvious. It seems to me very likely that Microsoft's UK tour is designed as a trial run of themes that they'll take to the U.S. to the extent they look successful. The UK is not a trivial market, of course, but 50% of all IT spending is still in the U.S., so from a Microsoft strategic planner's point of view that's where the main battle is. We can afford to pin some of our hopes on growth in Europe and developing countries and elsewhere, but Microsoft can't -- the time horizon on it is too long for a company whose big challenge is to keep beating revenue expectations every quarter in a market where they have 92% share. If they don't beat those expectations every quarter, their stock tanks, the option pyramid collapses, and it's game over.

The Dog That Didn't Bark
So, how does this FUD campaign differ from all other FUD campaigns? Let's start by considering the things Microsoft is not doing in this road show.

They seem to have abandoned using the "open source is intellectual-property cancer" argument directly. This follows the advice their own survey group gave them two years ago that this tactic was backfiring badly. Instead they're pushing this line through bought proxies at SCO and elsewhere.

They've quit claiming that Microsoft's products are technically superior. Instead, they talk up transition costs.

Similarly, innovation, which was every other word out of a Microsoft exec's mouth a year ago, now seems to have quietly exited their voculabulary. It isn't in Huw's report, and it doesn't show up on the Get The Facts page.

Finally, we're not seeing the very recent Microsoft line that actually all software is proprietary because it's owned by somebody, so there's no difference between proprietary and open source.

Like the dog that didn't bark in the night-time, these omissions are significant, because Microsoft marketing is thorough and ruthlessly opportunistic. You can bet money that the reason they're not making these arguments is because they tried them on smaller focus groups, or individually with key customers, and they didn't fly.

The New Party Line
Now let's review what Microsoft is doing. Huw gives us five bullet points:

Claim that linux isn't free.
Pretend that Shared source is the same as Open Source
Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux
Use the Forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure
Belittle the quality of the toolset available on Linux
I'll take on all of these, but in reverse, saving the most interesting for last. Do I even need to point out that most of the factual claims are blatant lies brought to you by the same people who got caught faking video evidence in their Federal antitrust trial?

Belittling the quality of the toolset available on Linux actually reduces to a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) argument, because what a poor toolset means to a manager is that he'd have to hire more administrators to cover the same number of machines. I'll have more to say about winning the TCO argument in a bit.

Use the Forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure. Huw didn't give a link to Red Hat's counterargument. It's a good one, and I'll build some recommendations for action on it later on.

Make a big deal about the migration costs of moving to Linux. Beating this one is easy. All you have to point out is that migration costs money once; per-seat Microsoft licensing fees are forever. Unless Linux TCO is substantially greater than Windows TCO, the sooner you switch, the more money you save.

The really interesting and novel lines are Huw's report of arguments 1 and 2: Claim that Linux isn't free and Pretend that Shared Source is the same as Open Source. Though these have been foreshadowed elsewhere, we haven't seen these used as headline arguments before, and they add up to nearly a reversal of the position Microsoft has taken in the past. Whereas Microsoft has before tried to claim that its products and licensing are different from and better than and more innovative than Linux's, now they're reduced to arguing that you should stick with Microsoft because shared source is just the same as open source. Really. Ignore the attack lawyers behind the curtain.

Linux isn't free. Hello? If there is actually anyone still left on the planet who thinks the term free software was a good idea, I hope they're paying attention. Because what Microsoft is doing here is exploiting the old familiar gratis/libre ambiguity of the word free in yet another way. They're setting up for a claim that free software advocates are lying or deluded because Linux has a nonzero TCO. Therefore, goes the implication, you can't really trust them about that other freedom thing, can you?

Semantic warfare -- struggles over the meanings of words as proxies for political or market positions -- is just like other kinds of warfare; you want to fight it on the other guy's turf, not yours. Every minute we spend arguing with Microsoft flacks about what free means is a win for them and a lose for us.

This is also why we need to attack the shared in their shared source rather than defending the open in our open source. Fortunately this is easy. We can ask why they call it shared source when they're not giving up the right to sue people who share it for IP violations. Are they giving anything away except the opportunity to be hauled into a courtroom the next time you do something that Microsoft thinks is competitive with it?

Taking It To The Streets
Notice how defensive a position Microsoft is in now. Trying to neutralize shared source by equating it with open source implicitly concedes that open source is something customers want. Microsoft has given up a lot of ground here. Make them give more. Hammer them without mercy -- but do it in a quiet, reasonable voice and keep control of the terms of argument. Here are some sound bites for open-source advocates to use in response to the Get The Facts campaign:

Migration only costs money once; higher Windows TCO is forever.

Shared source is a poison pill.

Only the Windows boxes get the worms.

The thing not to do is talk abstractions. FSF-style propaganda about freedom or user's rights has its uses occasionally, but it will register on this campaign's target audience of bottom-line-fixated IT managers as irrelevant or nutty. And when you look irrelevant or nutty, you hand Microsoft a victory.

To put the Microsofties really on the spot, it's most effective to phrase your counters as questions, especially when you can use them to whack Microsoft with a combination of issues like TCO and security. Like this:

How many Linux machines have been zombied by Netsky, Sasser, MyDoom, or similar worms? Do your Windows TCO estimates include administrator time spent cleaning up after these infestations?

Can you explain why Windows IIS websites are cracked or defaced more often than Apache ones, despite the fact that IIS runs less than a third the number of sites Apache does?

Is Microsoft willing to add a hold-harmless clause to Shared Source licenses that protects shared-source licensees against being sued by Microsoft for alleged IP violations related to the software? If not, then please explain again how Shared Source is just the same as open source?

What This Campaign Tells Us
We're winning, people. Microsoft has failed to stop us with better software technology or lower prices; they're incapable of the former and their business model wouldn't survive the latter. The SCO lawsuit isn't flattening our uptake curve enough for anyone to notice. The defections are mounting at previously captive customers; good recent examples include the French and Brazilian governments. Microsoft has to be particularly worried about the huge increase in Linux server shipments Gartner reported in 1Q2004; on current trends, we'll pass them not just in shipped units but in dollar volume early next year. They are not merely feeling the pressure, it has passed their pain threshold.

The choice of arguments in the Get The Facts campaign is an obvious circle-the-wagons move to defend Microsoft's base of large corporate customers and governments. In itself, it is unlikely to accomplish much; at best, if they're both lucky and persuasive, it may slow down the rate of defections temporarily. But it's not going to do any better than that, and here's why:

Microsoft's underlying problem is that it employs about 22,000 programmers; the open-source community can easily muster ten times that number. That means the capability gap that has opened up between the open-source codebase and Windows is only going to get worse from Microsoft's point of view, not better. Time, technology, and market forces are not on their side -- so, to survive, they're going to have to change the game so that market forces and the open-source advantage in technology become irrelevant.

Future Wars
So what is Microsoft going to do to try to claw back control after the Get The Facts campaign runs out of sufficiently gullible targets? I expect it to involve legal and political shenanigans much bigger and uglier than we've yet seen. We've been expecting an attack using junk patents as weapons for two years, and I think the only thing that has held it off is that a convicted predatory monopolist with 92% market share can't expect to sue a bunch of developers who are giving stuff away for anyone to use without taking a severe drubbing in the court of public opinion.

I don't douby they'll get desperate enough to do that, though. The emergence of institutions like the Public Patent Foundation and Groklaw gives us weapons of our own, but expect some bruising battles ahead.

Expect Microsoft to ally even more closely with the RIAA and MPAA in making yet another try at hardware-based DRM restrictions -- and legislation making them mandatory. The rationale will be to stop piracy and spam, but the real goal will be customer control and a lockout of all unauthorized software. Two previous attempts at this have failed, but the logic of Microsoft's situation is such that they must keep trying.

I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists. We can only defeat that by making sure that national governments become so attached to open-source code that their military men and bureacrats will short-stop the bribed legislators, rather than let their vital infrastructure be outlawed.

Large corporations were the right first target five years ago, because converting some of them was the most efficient way to change the demand patterns perceived by the rest of the computer and software industry. That trend is self-sustaining now; I think we passed the tipping point about six months back, and the Get The Facts campaign is evidence of this.

But in the next year, I think we need to focus more on government adoptions, in order to protect our political and legislative flanks. We need to make the cost of suppressing us higher than the sixty billion dollars Microsoft can afford to pay.

Re:In case of slashdotting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507329)

Come on moderators, you moderated it to +4 without the server or the mirror showing any trouble. Don't make karma-whoring so easy!

Perfervid? (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507290)

Anyone who thinks I'm being perfervid

Main Entry: perfervid
Pronunciation: (")p&r-'f&r-v&d, 'p&r-
Function: adjective
Etymology: New Latin perfervidus, from Latin per- thoroughly + fervidus fervid
: marked by overwrought or exaggerated emotion : excessively fervent

Yes, that's exactly what I was going to say.

Re:Perfervid? (1)

770291 (770291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507492)

oh, I just thought he was using a perverted form of "perverted", like seks, pr0n, etc.

Re:Perfervid? (2, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507495)

I thought I saw it on the front of an ATI video card box. "The Radeon is the best perfevid on the market!"

ESR's ego strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507498)

When you're a self-styled historian of the Open Source Community it's really counter-productive to let your ego get in the way of effective communication. Obscure words aren't necessary!

Re:Perfervid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507517)

ESR is under the mistaken impression that using big words make you seem more intelligent.

It doesn't. It makes the text harder to read and makes you look like you've something to prove.

Too desperate (4, Insightful)

KrisCowboy (776288) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507300)

The "Get the Facts" series is one of the funniest things I've ever read, especially about linux. M$ is unable to digest the fact that more and more governments are going for F/OSS. With hardware becoming surprisingly cheaper(well, atleast for some governments), they are no longer willing to spend more money for software. Even some state governments are switching to linux. The time/money involved in training the staff to adopt to linux is better than sinking huge amounts into fighting viruses and frequent shutdowns.

Re:Too desperate (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507538)

OK, first of all, can we retire "M$" already? It's not clever anymore!!

To my main point, Microsoft isn't "afraid" or "desperate". Perhaps they've been a bit shallow on innovation of late, but they're not losing any significant market share. Most of these places that Slashdot often reports as "switching to Linux" are either switching from another *NIX, or are only considering Linux.

Microsoft may be running out of ideas (other than finding new ways to keep their stranglehold on the home PC user), but they are by no means desperate.

Re:Too desperate (4, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507552)

The time/money involved in training the staff to adopt to linux is better than sinking huge amounts into fighting viruses and frequent shutdowns.
You sir have never tried to train Gov't employees, I'd rather deal with the viruses...

On the other hand, if Governments (especially the United States Gov't) start using more OSS-based applications / operating systems there will probably be a marked increase in viruses / worms that affect those platforms. Well, other than infecting OSS with a mostly clueless user base.

P.S. I'm mostly joking about Gov't employees, there are quite a few adept Government people, but I'm sure even you guys know about the "lifers" who still pine for their typewriters...

Corrections in the ESR documents. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507316)

I just emailed ESR about the gross misreference to GNU/Linux as linux in his article.

We need more "freedom" emphasis (5, Insightful)

bollow (a) NoLockIn (785367) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507330)

Quote from the article:

Linux isn't free. Hello? If there is actually anyone still left on the planet who thinks the term free software was a good idea, I hope they're paying attention. Because what Microsoft is doing here is exploiting the old familiar gratis/libre ambiguity of the word free in yet another way. They're setting up for a claim that free software advocates are lying or deluded because Linux has a nonzero TCO. Therefore, goes the implication, you can't really trust them about that other freedom thing, can you?

Maybe we need a better / more effective / less easily confused way to talk about the "freedom" aspect. I'd be interested in constructive discussion of this. But there is a logical flaw in ESR's argument here. It's wrong to conclude that using the term "free software" is a bad idea just because MS tries to muddy the waters. MS may or may not succeed in making our current way of communicating the freedom aspect of Free Software less effective, but this is certainly not a reason to stop talking about "Free Foftware". Quite on the contrary, if after all their studying Microsoft is now trying to discredit the "freedom thing", isn't that an indication that emphasis on the freedom aspect is important, and should be increased rather than diminished!

Re:We need more "freedom" emphasis (3, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507507)

From the article:

Semantic warfare -- struggles over the meanings of words as proxies for political or market positions -- is just like other kinds of warfare; you want to fight it on the other guy's turf, not yours. Every minute we spend arguing with Microsoft flacks about what free means is a win for them and a lose for us.

From parent:

But there is a logical flaw in ESR's argument here. It's wrong to conclude that using the term "free software" is a bad idea just because MS tries to muddy the waters.

I don't believe that ESR is arguing that using the term "free software" is a bad idea, merely that we should be focusing on arguing how the term "shared source" is a misnomer, at least in the M$ case. I think their logic behind this is exquisite - the best defense is a good offense. Their arguments are so obviously flawed that we shouldn't focus on them, but rather focus on how bad their side of the story is. This automaticaaly makes the "free software" side of the story look that much better without re-iterating the M$ arguments at all.

RMS addresses this issue... (3, Interesting)

Brandon Glass (790653) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507568)

RMS addresses this issue in his speech given at Westminster University, entitled "The Danger of Software Patents". His opening line?

"You've probably heard of me in connection with free software, that's free as in freedom, it doesn't mean zero price..."

If RMS has to clarify this in a speech he's giving about something not directly related to the topic at hand, it's reasonable to assume that at least a few people were confused about the term. However, ESR and the Open Source crowd could easily develop similar problems if Microsoft targeted bringing their philosophy into disrepute by playing on the words "Open" and "source", for example, they might say "Open Source means that the source is open, that you can view it - you can do this just as easily with Microsoft's Shared Source license"...in the end, it's Microsoft who is spreading the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and they will try and discredit their opposition in any way possible - no matter who that opposition is.

Re:We need more "freedom" emphasis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507603)

Why not call it Freedomware? It carries the familiar ring of other *ware with none of the confusion of Free Software.

WTF is FUD? (2, Funny)

mattgoldey (753976) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507358)

Did I miss the memo? What is "FUD"?

Re:WTF is FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507520)

Funken Utkein Dergotten, it is the name of the final battle between the Gods and dwarven people in the Ring.

I'm not really sure what a German opera has to do with computers.

fear, uncertainty and doubt (1)

IshanCaspian (625325) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507544)

It's basically the results of a good smear campaign.

Re:fear, uncertainty and doubt (1)

denlin (733557) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507618)

It's basically the results of a good smear campaign.

more an attempt of a smear campaign. If Microsoft's crusade is any proof, it's not working.

Apache runs on Windows (5, Interesting)

ForsakenRegex (312284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507361)

I'm a bit surprised that ESR would point out the Apche vs. IIS differences when Microsoft could come back by pointing out you can always run Apache on Windows if you want to.

I'm sure MS would prefer you use IIS, but this seems an easily deflected statement. I'm positive that MS prefers you using Apache on Windows to you using Apache on Linux.

Re:Apache runs on Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507551)

Running Apache on Windows gives no benefits over running Apache on Linux. If you have someone running Apache on Windows you've given them an easy migration path to Linux. This is not good for Microsoft.

Re:Apache runs on Windows (3, Insightful)

countach (534280) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507619)

>I'm a bit surprised that ESR would point out the
>Apche vs. IIS differences when Microsoft could
>come back by pointing out you can always run
>Apache on Windows if you want to.

Irrelevant. The point is whether Open Source is a viable alternative or not. MS absolutely doesn't want you messing with Apache on any platform, because if all your apps are open source, you are no longer locked into Windows OS.

Yeesh (3, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507366)

The first couple of "Halloween Documents" were genuinely interesting, but their value has been asymptotically approaching zero for a while, and this one (which has no original content and is basically Raymond's thoughts on something he read about on Slashdot) has now hit zero.

(Yeah, OK, that's probably not quite mathematically correct. Here's a proposition -- if you explain that zeta function story from last week, feel free to then go ahead and flame over "asymptotically".)

Re:Yeesh (3, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507392)

Isn't it dishonest to use a title made famous by leaked internal memos to promote what is, when you get right down to it, a rant? Or, if you're being generous, an essay, maybe even a white paper?

M$ vs. Linux "Roadshow" (5, Informative)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507384)

A friend at work attended one of these Linux vs. M$ roadshows in the UK a few weeks back. These are the basic points:

The basic messages about selecting MS/Linux for a system are governed by the following:
- Don't change for the sake of it
- Take into account what your people know (e.g. Linux possibly better if you have lots of Unix people)
- Much of the cost saving of Linux over Unix comes from hardware - i.e. using Intel over mainframe/AIX/zSeries etc.
- OS/Platform is just a tool - choose the right one for the job
- MS/Linux TCO's are nearly always within 10% for most projects by the time all costs are accounted for (this was from an independent solutions provider)
- Don't just focus on TCO - look at ROI (return on investment)
- MS is pretty well zero-development (no code or scripting)
- The People and Processes are more important than the technical solution
- Check licensing model of any platform (will any Linux development become your IP, or will it be open)
- Linux still does not have a really good desktop and the office suites available are still lagging
- security issues such as virus updates and patch management are more of an administration issue than a platform one
- Easier porting J2EE->.Net than the other way round (i.e. MS ties you in worse!!!)

Re:M$ vs. Linux "Roadshow" (5, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507543)

The basic messages about selecting MS/Linux for a system are governed by the following:

- Much of the cost saving of Linux over Unix comes from hardware - i.e. using Intel over mainframe/AIX/zSeries etc.

Wrong. Go buy a license for 100 mail users, or 50 MSSQL user licenses. OUCH. Now compare Postgres/MySQL or Sendmail/Qmail/god-knows-what-free-email-servers

- OS/Platform is just a tool - choose the right one for the job

Not quite. I get a bunch of apps with a linux install that windows doesnt see fit us have. Even compilers come free. Where's a free (stripped down) version of Visual Basic on Windows? You know, include a low VB 5 compiler for quick stuff..

- MS/Linux TCO's are nearly always within 10% for most projects by the time all costs are accounted for (this was from an independent solutions provider)

---As said by Independant firm who just got 50K from Microsoft.

- Don't just focus on TCO - look at ROI (return on investment)

Nope. ROI doesnt work in IT. IT is a loss leader to prevent bigger losses (downtime).

- MS is pretty well zero-development (no code or scripting)

Yep, and it it doesnt fit, you're screwed. Period.

- The People and Processes are more important than the technical solution

Ok, people are stupid. In Linux, you can people-proof more than you can in Windows. Easier to alias and block commands than it is to load some dumb "dont click here" windows program.

- Check licensing model of any platform (will any Linux development become your IP, or will it be open)

USING Linux is free with no strings attached. USING SOURCE code from GPL programs is where you get in trouble. However, using GCC to compile is fully legit.

- Linux still does not have a really good desktop and the office suites available are still lagging

Windows and everything teh sux0r. Face it, THIS IS AN OPINION. The statement is worthless.

- security issues such as virus updates and patch management are more of an administration issue than a platform one

They are? If I hear of root exploit, I take all harmed services down immediately, and patch one by one. I also give calls to the companies I work with. They agree that having a little bit of downtime is well worth the risk of not being auto-hacked.

- Easier porting J2EE->.Net than the other way round (i.e. MS ties you in worse!!!)

That's why you should use Java OR a server side program (who cares about OS then ;-)...

Re:M$ vs. Linux "Roadshow" (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507586)

With the exception of "Check licensing model...", which is mostly FUD, that all seems rather sensible. Or am I missing something?

They have done us a favour (5, Interesting)

sheeny (730803) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507385)


I firmly believe Microsoft have done us a favour.

"Windows vs Linux TCO..."

CIO, "Linux, what's Linux?"
Engineer, "Its that system I have been trying to tell you about that can save us time and money"
CIO, "Ok, tell me about it then"
10 Mins later...
"Ok do it, lets see how it goes."

End of Story. And even though the 'facts' are biased, lets hope most CIO's can consider both sides of the story:)

Striking Parallel (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507397)

"In the newest Terrorist Overview, George Bush analyzes the terrorist's 'Get The Infadels' road show. The anti-US tactics they are using now -- and, even more, the tactics they're *not* using -- reveal how desperate the terrorist's are getting. He explains why he thinks we need to focus more on helping governments become democratic, and predicts serious ugliness during the next year."

We're winning, people. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507414)

We're winning?

We're winning because MS isn't banging on about the same arguments year after year?

We're winning because MS is creating in the minds of the public a wide variety of flaws in the idea of open source?

We're winning because MS still has the same market share?

We're winning because we've driven out the smaller OS's without making a dent on MS?

We're winning because we still have ESR as our spokesperson?

Microsoft are educating their users on our behalf (5, Interesting)

epo001 (558061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507420)

I was at the Edinburgh event last week and spoke to many Microsofties and to their corporate customers. The customers were quite cynical about Microsoft's motives but many of them said, in effect, they wouldn't have attended such an event if it hadn't been organised by Microsoft. Microsoft are panicing, time is on our side. Ed

Good yes, but not great (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507431)

The defections are mounting at previously captive customers; good recent examples include the French and Brazilian governments.

Whilst these are good examples, it would be very naive to ignore the fact that a lot of companies used the threat of moving to Linux solely to get a cheaper discount from Microsoft.

In other words, they never were intending to use something else, it was always going to be Microsoft, they just they wanted a better price.

To me, being used to leverage a better discount from your competitor, isn't much of a "win" for the adoption of Linux.

In addition, the real wins aren't when Governments move to Linux, but when big Fortune 100/FTSE 100 companies do and mandate that those that work with them must move to open formats. These organisations (sadly, sometimes) have far more power over others than Governments do. When that happens, companies that work with them will be forced to change or find that a competitor will happily step into their shoes.

Then people will find that their OS at work is not Microsoft and will start to use that at home because that is what they are more comfortable with ... and so on ... and so on ...

Halloween XI!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507448)

Finally, something to rival Police Academy, driven by the same plot line and the same old gags. As the series goes on, the heavyweight actors (Bill G) drop out, to be replaced by unknowns...

Its full title is Halloween XI: It's not October and MS still hates Open Source. Big Woo."

Software costs... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507452)

Is this any surprise... I'm looking to buy a new laptop (with the goal of installing dual boot). I'm amazed to see with certain vendors that I have first to pay an additional 250 pounds to upgrade from XP Home to XP Professional, before there is even have the choice of a 80Mbyte drive or a 3.2Mhz CPU.

For a university department, the cost of six such licenses is the equivalent of one new new machine.

Who moved my cheese? (0, Flamebait)

ElDuderino44137 (660751) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507460)

Hey There,

If anyone out there has read this book ...
you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Things change.
Business models must adapt.
People must adapt.

Far too often we want today to be just like yesterday.
When we need to keep an eye toward creativity.

If these initiatives were a bad idea ...
they would collapse under their own weight.

Cheers,
-- The Dude

The "Security" Question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507462)

at the london show, i asked about why one of their (probably depressed and former) security directors never got any budget. he had stated, privately, that whenever he proposed security measures, he was asked "does it increase our profits?".

if the answer was "no, it will decrease our profits" then he was told to think again.

the people at the show were a bit unhappy.

Re:The "Security" Question (1)

marnargulus (776948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507518)

Then he should have explained that it would increase the profits, because all these security problems are causing people to migrate away. I doubt he really cared about increasing security if he couldn't even put some spin on his side.

I gotta wonder... (2, Interesting)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507501)

When you've got a market share that most companies in other sectors would kill for, you've got most of the Fortune 500 convinced they can't live without your product, and you make more money than you know what to do with-- I mean, you're Microsoft, fer cripe's sake-- how the heck do you get desperate?

-JDF

Microsoft survival (2, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507503)

MS can survive with Open Source. For all the bashing the slashdot crowd gives they aren't all that bad.

MS has made some nice stuff. They have some skilled people and good marketing. They just need to create value.

There have been some good things they have done.
MS Flight simulator, long history of an excellent product here.
Defined a standard window system, does anyone else remember back in the DOS days with a new GUI system for every app?
MS also did a good job with VB making it trivial to hack together a quick GUI app.

Um (5, Funny)

Requiem (12551) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507512)

Can we stop giving a soapbox to a man who claims to channel Pan? [catb.org]

Until I realized, finally, belatedly, what had been happening to me. Until the Great God Pan reached out of my hindbrain and thundered "YOU!" And his gift is music and his chosen instruments the pipes and flutes. And his, too the power of joy; magic so strong that when it flowed out of me, even before I knew what I was doing, it amazed people into awe and incoherence and poetry.

That day I was reborn; from a skinny lame kid with a flute into a shaman and a vessel of the Goat-Foot God, the Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Horned Lord. And the music was my first power, but not my last.

ESR is off the deep end.

Re:Um (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507613)

A cursory examination of Raymond's writings, such as that linked above, makes it clear that he is, at best, an unhinged individual and, at worst, psychotic.

The sooner the OSS movement disassociates itself with this man the better. Microsoft could merely point at his claims of channeling gods to discredit him. Can we get someone who doesn't make us look like lunatics to represent us?

ESR on the attack again (3, Insightful)

SWroclawski (95770) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507590)

Linux isn't free. Hello? If there is actually anyone still left on the planet who thinks the term free software was a good idea, I hope they're paying attention.

Can't go one whole article without attacking the ideals of Free Software, can you?

No one thinks the term "Free Software" is a good one, the issue has always been that there's nothing better. I can't use Open Source since the term doesn't mean the same thing.

The only other term I can use is Digital Commons, but Digitial Commons is a larger movement than Free Software.

Anyway, ESR, you can't go one whole article without going on the attack against Free Software, can you? You can't accept that many of the ideals of Open Source haven't panned out, and that with the recent legal attacks, the commitement and idealism of Free Software is what's driving so many to resist so strongly.

You're using such similar tactics to MS that it's startling. At first you ignored Free Software- refused to talk about it in many articles. Then you attacked it. Now you make subtle arguments aginst it in each thing you put out.

If you really wanted a unified movement- you'd stop with the blatant attacks.

ERS is a pompous blowhard (-1, Flamebait)

erf (101305) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507595)

Unfortunately, he's not a tenth the deep thinker he thinks he is, but he nonetheless gets put on some sort of pedestal by the free software community. Fetchmail isn't THAT cool folks.

Politics and the Us vs Them mentality downside (1)

jeoin (668566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507600)

What does the linux movement gain from attacking microsoft with such fervor? If microsoft has such a poor product then why is there a need to attack it? Why is so much time spent on the political offensive while the actual issues of Linux are deemed ignorable? It seems that the two "opponets" in this war provide products that are opposites. One works and is not secure, and the other doesn't work and is secure. Its time to stop bickering like children and get to work. Work on making a linux product that needs no introduction, nor political party. A linux product that is unified. Where drivers are available at a central location. A linux product that does not focus on itself, or "them", but rather on the users. Users are the only people that have to be convinced. Bad products go away by themselves, and good stable products advertise and defend themselves. This is not a war. It is customer service.

Somebody explain to me... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9507602)

...what Erik's done besides write some of the documentation for NetHack? The only desperate entity I see is him, to make people think he's relevant.

BTW, Sun Micro has the best commercial Linux desktop package according to an article published by eWeek last week, beating out RedHat's. I thought Slashdot was obligated to link to any article on the web with the word "linux" in it, guess they missed that one.

Terminology (2, Interesting)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9507605)

I like the way Raymond asserts that arguing over the exact meaning of "free" in "free software" is meaningless, but then takes care to use the word "cracked" instead of "hacked" when referring to MS IIS websites. :)

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