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Linus On The Future Of Microsoft

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the crystal-ball-activated dept.

Microsoft 382

An anonymous reader writes "There's a pretty good interview with Linus over at Good Morning Silicon Valley. The discussion seems focused predominantly on the future of proprietary software and what the tech landscape might look like if Microsoft's market share declines. 'Says Linus: I do not believe that anything can "replace" Microsoft in the market that MS is right now. Instead, what I think happens is that markets mature, and as they mature and become commoditized, the kind of dominant player like MS just doesn't happen any more. You don't have another dominant player coming in and taking its place -- to find a new dominant player you actually have to start looking at a totally different market altogether.'"

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Future of Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876492)

Easy - take a long hard look at IBM.

Re:Future of Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876525)

I can't... Microsoft is...well...too "micro" and "soft"... :P

Re:Future of Microsoft? (5, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876548)

Easy - take a long hard look at IBM.

Exactly. When IBM's consumer software market dried up, they simply moved more focus onto their hardware.

MS will do the same, and when their consumer software market dries up, they'll focus on selling mice and keyboards for Linux and Mac PCs.

FIERST PoST1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876494)

FIERST PoST1 visit #gnaa

fp fp

"Like open source"? (2, Insightful)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876496)

So it's no wonder that Microsoft is one of the very few players who really don't seem to like open source.

Define "like open source". Do you think IBM or Sun "likes" about open source? Sure, they open source their products, but they're not doing so because it's a good development model or will produce better code. They're doing it for marketing and I guess it is working -- Seems to have Linus fooled.

Also, lest we forget Microsoft has open source'd code too.

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876528)

Also, lest we forget Microsoft has open source'd code too.

No, they haven't:

http://www.opensource.org/ [opensource.org]

KFG

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876556)

Sure they have [slashdot.org] .

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876624)

No they haven't. [slashdot.org]

KFG

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

Dominatus (796241) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876691)

yes they have [slashdot.org]

Re:"Like open source"? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876716)

He's behind you.

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876864)

Much better, although sadly pathetic.

KFG

Re:"Like open source"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876550)

Steve....Mr. Ballmer...is that you?!

Re:"Like open source"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876611)

Define marketing!

Re:"Like open source"? (2, Interesting)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876690)

The main reason companies go to free software is for tax reasons. It allows them to write off bazillions of software development dollars as a charitable gift.

How much tax do think IBM wrote off by donating Apache to the Apache foundation? Hundred million dollars? At least...

Re:"Like open source"? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876743)

But the tax write-off amount is not so obvious. There is this myth that if you think you go free software that estimates to $5000, you write off $5000. That's really not how it works.

It's also hard to make up numbers. For example if you claim you have linux on 20 dell boxes. You need 20 dell ID tags.

Re:"Like open source"? (2, Interesting)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876865)

No, we are talking of a company donating a large in-house developed product to a charity. That is hundreds of millions of dollars in tax reduction. Just see who is in on the game: MIT, U Berkeley, U Columbia, Sun, IBM, AOL. The list goes on and on. There is a good reason for that! If you don't believe me, go talk to an accountant.

Re:"Like open source"? (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876711)

Define "like open source". Do you think IBM or Sun "likes" about open source?

"Like", when applied to a corporation, is a metaphor. Define it with that in mind.

They embrace open source because it helps them.

They're doing it for marketing

Not really. Yes, they take advantage of the marketing opportunities Open Source provides, but it's more than that. IBM has only so much capital to invest in future business. By embracing Open Source, they add to their offerings with minimal cost, so they can offer their customers just as much as before, plus what Open Source has to offer.

Seems to have Linus fooled.

Yeah, right.

Also, lest we forget Microsoft has open source'd code too.

One thing, an installer. Maybe they're up to two now, I'm not sure. IBM's support of Open Source compared to MS's is like comparing a Saturn V with an amateur model rocket.

Actually, it's much worse than that for MS. Bill Gates calling Open Source advocates "Communists" more than negates the miniscule props they get for their one Open Source project. Add to that MS's demands that government not be able to use Open Source software (WTF?!)...

In other words, MS is in absolutely no way a friend of Open Source software, and in *no way* is a friend of anyone who believes in Open Source/Free Software.

Re:"Like open source"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876860)

One thing, an installer. Maybe they're up to two now, I'm not sure. IBM's support of Open Source compared to MS's is like comparing a Saturn V with an amateur model rocket.

True, but you're missing the point: They point had the same goal of marketing. Which was better at completing the goal: Microsoft's one thing or IBMs dozens? Microsoft's one thing probably got more press and thus was more successful.

Re:"Like open source"? (3, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876995)

True, but you're missing the point:

I wasn't addressing MS's "point" at all. I was comparing MS with IBM re: Open Source, in the context of the post I was replying to.

They point had the same goal of marketing.

No, they have different goals (IBM vs MS) wrt Open Source. IBM actually embraces it as a model, MS does not.

Here are three reasons MS open sourced that one program:

1. They can say, "we have open source projects" (when their customers ask), even though it doesn't mean what it implies.
2. They can continue with, "we haven't found open source all that useful a model, really".
3. The installer will be used and improved.

Microsoft's one thing probably got more press and thus was more successful.

I'm absolutely certain that if you were to take a poll, more people would associate IBM with Open Source than MS, hands down.

And your definition is...? (1)

Nahor (41537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876957)

Define "like open source". Do you think IBM or Sun "likes" about open source?

You ask to define "like open source" then you use it without giving your own definition!?

I call "troll".

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876498)

fp!

Sigh, ACs... (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876535)

when you make a "first post", make sure it's actually the first post...

What about Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876509)

Google is doing to the net what MS did to the Desktop.

1998 called (4, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876510)

He wants his story back.

Re:1998 called (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876566)

Yeah, 1996 is on hold for you on line 2.

Something about a joke.

Re:1998 called (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876733)

I took the message. It was just a voice mail forward from 1994 about desktop-Linux-something-or-other.

If only Linus... (3, Interesting)

WRoach (863245) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876511)

Was born 15 years earlier...

Re:If only Linus... (4, Insightful)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876597)

i dunno, in 1977 there weren't as many programmers as there were in 1992.

if linus was born 17 years earlier, i dont think we would have linux as good as it is now.

Re:If only Linus... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876972)

If there had been no Microsoft, there would have been no Linux. The old x86 machines which newer versions of Windows are too bloated to run wouldn't have been out there, therefore there would be no supply of cheap hardware for early adopters to experiment with Linux on.

Disagree, it's about innovation, not size. (4, Interesting)

seanmcelroy (207852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876518)

I'm not so sure about that. Think about foreign automobile makers and GM in today's world. GM is arguably a behemoth, and that in itself can be what drives a monopoly out of power. Even though this market is arguably very mature, market share can change fairly rapidly with innovation. Once you conquer enough of the market share, you will have a hard time keeping up with innovation in all the corners that could propel your rival to be serious competition someday.

Re:Disagree, it's about innovation, not size. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876724)

GM have merely purchased a number of smaller car manufacturers, as have Ford. Neither company innovates.

The trouble with this analysis... (5, Interesting)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876520)

...is that what happened in the past does not necessarily mean the same thing will happen in the future. Microsoft has so many built-in defense mechanisms and ways of controlling and monopolizing the market that there's no real end in sight for their domination of it.

Therefore, while I would like to believe that what Linus says is true, I sincerely doubt it will happen, at least not in the forseeable future.

Re:The trouble with this analysis... (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876554)

Therefore, while I would like to believe that what Linus says is true, I sincerely doubt it will happen, at least not in the forseeable future.

I would say that it'll happen about when/if Longhorn is released, MS already has difficulty competing with itself from the XP/2000 switch - it's just going to get worse with Longhorn.

Re:The trouble with this analysis... (2, Insightful)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876617)

All the "built in defense systems" won't keep a company alive forever if the market won't sustain them. Microsoft enjoys the Wal-Mart effect. People love to hate them and say "not here!" but they still go out and shop at Wal-Mart.

If MS were so destined to die and were only cheating to stay afloat, they'd be gone by now. The market just isn't that forgiving.

Power leads to self-destruction. ALWAYS. (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876663)

Take a look at the Roman Empire. When they became a "monopoly", their morals lowered and they became disorganised.

It was just a matter of time before the barbarians took over. Wait a minute... shouldn't the virus writers be considered barbarians? Deja vu...

Re:The trouble with this analysis... (2, Interesting)

electroniceric (468976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876752)

I think you're mistaking "desktop market" for "personal computer-related market". When MS controlled the desktop in the 90's it really controlled almost all of the personal computer market. It did fairly well in the corporate market, though it never achieved the same dominance as in personal computing. But you can easily rattle off multiple areas where Microsoft has not dominated the personal computing market: from phones to search to music, Microsoft hasn't been a big player. Yet their Windows/Office/Windows networking market is as solid as ever, barring a tolerable amount of self-competition.

MS has competitive products in any of those new markets, but they don't come anywhere close to dominating them. And it doesn't seem likely they will. Google currently dominates ad-based search, and by all accounts seems to be using that to power a generation of applications that are basically disconnected from the desktop. Whether or not Google lives or dies, it's hard to see MS resuming control of the PC market in the same way as before.

Re:The trouble with this analysis... (3, Insightful)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876797)

I'm having a bit of trouble with this analysis myself. Linus is talking as if it's all a foregone conclusion and we're just waiting for it to come to pass. He sites IBM as a big example of what will happen with Microsoft but it seems to me he's comparing apples and oranges.

IBM produce hardware that ran software. Other companies produced a clone of that hardware to be able to run the same software. Software being the key to what people wanted. They could care less who made the machine as long as they could buy the software they want.

Microsoft is a software company and specifically an OS company. There's no such thing as an OS clone. Sure there's emulators, but that's not the same thing. In the end people just want to run what software they want to and Microsoft is positioned to allow that to happen and I don't see an easy way for someone else to come in and take that away from them. Sure you can develop this office suite that does mostly the same things or that browser but unless you get the OS, it's only chinks in the armor.

The other problem is his view of the role of open source. He seems to think that OSS is going to take over much of the development and companies are going to handle support (at least that's the impression I got). Now, I'm not saying this won't happen, but never before have we had this kind of situation where masses of people are putting out a free commodity to replace a proprietary commodity. Linus has no history to back him up. It's truly extraordinary to think about it. What would happen if proprietary software went away in favor of OSS? What would all of these developers do to pay their bills while they're developing their pet OSS projects? I'm just wondering out loud whether OSS is capable of scaling to the size of the proprietary software industry without the that industry supporting its developers.

To make a short comment way too long, just take his "analysis" with a grain of salt.

Interview with Linus !!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876526)

OMG .. Im gonna faint !!! Hail our Kernel-writing overlord !!

Re:Interview with Linus !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876749)

obviously this is a joke, but do linux users hold linus in the same esteem as most mac users do with steve? just a curious question from a mac user.

Another MS occurring? (5, Insightful)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876527)

the kind of dominant player like MS just doesn't happen any more.

Tell that to Google.

Re:Another MS occurring? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876573)

Tell that to Google.

Umm, Google's not in a mature market.

Re:Another MS occurring? (2, Insightful)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876636)

Considering that Google closed at $287.84, I'd say the market has been very good to Google.

Re:Another MS occurring? (3, Informative)

rpdillon (715137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876668)

He didn't say the market hadn't been good to them, he said the market wasn't mature. And it isn't. The market for toasters is mature. And maybe cars. But not desktop operating systems or search engines.

Re:Another MS occurring? (1)

Council (514577) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876630)

the kind of dominant player like MS just doesn't happen any more.
Tell that to Google.

Tell that to Yahoo and MSN Search.

Re:Another MS occurring? (3, Insightful)

inerte (452992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876650)

You can easily switch between web search engines while the same is not true for operating systems. Google is on a much weaker lead spot than MS.

Re:Another MS occurring? (1)

sathia (797192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876771)

and probably Linus was talking of today. google has its leadership since uhm... 4 years?

Oh, sure teh Evil Google. (0, Troll)

Erris (531066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876883)

the kind of dominant player like MS just doesn't happen any more. ... Tell that to Google.

Right, the company with a motto of "do no evil," and has earned it's patron's loyalty by excelence wants to act like Microsoft which has to use dirty tricks to keep customers. I'll believe that when I see:

  1. Websites that say, "best viewed with Google,"
  2. Dell and others gumming up computers with "Designed for Google" stickers on the case,
  3. Google is dragged into federal court for anticompetitive practices, such as making sure companies that offer computers preloaded with M$ search have to pay more to look at Google.
  4. Google calls my ISP and tells them to block port 25 because Google flaws result in massive spam crapfloods from residential computers and because alternate software provides mail service easily thereby reducing Google's competitive advantage.
  5. Google manages to suppres a superior technology like firewire.
  6. Google tells representatives to lie to School teachers about who they are.
  7. Google creates the Web Software Alliance. The new Alliance establishes fink lines for disgruntled employees to snitch on employers about illegal searches and shakes major public schools systems down in court.
  8. Google calls M$ Search an "unamerican" "cancer".
  9. Google hires people to polute blog, BBS and other web space with pro M$ spam.
  10. Google hires PR firms to spam lawmakers.
  11. Google creates the M$ Search "switcher" from stock model photographs and a poorly written essay.
  12. and on and on and on and on.

    Linus Torvalds is only half right. Nothing can replace Microsoft but nothing should. The sooner they lose their ability to coerce [aka "dominance"] the better off we all are.

Re:Oh, sure teh Evil Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876919)

well, that's 30 minutes of our life you'll never get back.

Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876532)

Seriously, with all the stories slashdot devotes to Microsoft thru the years, it's amazing they never get their own section. There are probably more MS related stories and Linux stories on a daily basis.

Slashdot should put these stories in a dedicated section like they do with Linux, and Apple.

Oh, and they should get rid of the Gates borg icon. It was never funny, and it just looks so lame and childish. How come no other topic beside Microsoft gets that kind of immature treatment?

Re:Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (4, Funny)

mpontes (878663) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876579)

I really wanted to make a "You must be new here" reply for the first time. However, before you mod me Troll, please think of what my [emacs] psychologist said to me this morning: that I'm only doing this because I have a high user-id and that intimidates me, so I am desperatly trying to fit in the /. crowd by acting like your average /bot.

Or, if you prefer the Freudian approach: penis.

How come no other topic beside Microsoft gets that kind of immature treatment?

You must be new here.

Re:Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876583)

How come no other topic beside Microsoft gets that kind of immature treatment?

Because in the world of Slashdot, Microsoft = Evil (in the biblical, fairy-tale sense), and everybody else = Good. No, it in no way makes any sense.
You must be new here, huh?

Re:Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (4, Funny)

MmmmAqua (613624) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876584)

Oh, and they should get rid of the Gates borg icon. It was never funny, and it just looks so lame and childish. How come no other topic beside Microsoft gets that kind of immature treatment?

You must be new here.

Re:Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (1)

jon855 (803537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876656)

Even though if it may be not the average slashdot reader's thing. Slashdot is basically a upped BBS in which technologies related news makes its living from. I do back up MS on many cases and so on forth.
I do truly believe that if we swicthed Linux and MS in its place, the Slashdot could be having a penguin icon with a borg look. Even if somebody is new, please respect them and embrace them after all if you want to spread the Linux Loving, you got to be loving, not hating. But all in regards, I can understand where you're coming from.
I support both OS widely and I perfer MS still to this date. I'm sure maybe a third of slashdot readers or more are using MS as their main platform as well.
Have a nice day

Re:Why Isn't There A Microsoft Section? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876629)

You think Microsoft need sectioning so why don't they buy their own section? That would be a real bargin compared to the number of people microsoft pay to astroturf on here.

I do agree about the icon, they should replace it with an animated GIF of Ballmer doing his monkey dance. Lame and childish indeed, we should ensure Microsoft are recieving of the treatment they deserve.

There is. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876680)

Seriously, with all the stories slashdot devotes to Microsoft thru the years, it's amazing they never get their own section.

That's what the FRONT PAGE is for.

Linus is so modest and reasonable... (4, Insightful)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876536)

How does he remain a hero of fanboys and flamebaiters?

Re:Linus is so modest and reasonable... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876593)

How does he remain a hero of fanboys and flamebaiters?


Fuck off Asshole! Linus Rules! All Hail Linus!

Re:Linus is so modest and reasonable... (4, Interesting)

blackholepcs (773728) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876637)

I actually agree with your post. Linus is very honest, and does not make over the top flamebait claims. He tells it like it is, which is in stark contrast to his fanbase, who has a penchant for putting Linux on a heavenly pedestal and putting anything MS in a hellish glow, without rhyme or reason much of the time. It is refreshing to hear some sense from a person of his persuasion, and not just a bunch of fodder and spin-doctoring.

Its all about The Bottom Line (5, Interesting)

HaFBaKeD (893874) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876539)

As long as Microsoft has the money to throw at new projects, it will be a VERY long time before it looses any significant market share. All the new and inovative technologies coming out to compete with Microsoft, are either later copied by them, or bought out by them. And when 95+% already uses MS and doesn't care about alternatives, they'll stick with them when it comes to new technologies.

Re:Its all about The Bottom Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876634)

As long as Microsoft has the money to throw at new projects, it will be a VERY long time before it looses any significant market share.

Yes, but how long until they lose it as well?

I'm a +1 A-Hole! :-D

i like how he compares PCs to food.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876547)

In other words, I don't think the PC "goes away." It's an indispensable general tool for communication and computation. I just think it becomes some commodity thing you take for granted, like your groceries. You need them, every day, but you don't think of them as controlling your life.

.. let's see.. food, water, shelter, sex, cellphones, calculator watches, and the personal computer. yeah, i guess all those thngs are pretty indispensable, except maybe for shelter.

Re:i like how he compares PCs to food.. (1)

capicu (880524) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876557)

nice straw-man argument there

Re:i like how he compares PCs to food.. (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876710)

It was groceries, he compared them to groceries. Not food.

Re:i like how he compares PCs to food.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876730)

He said they were indispensable. Some things are indispensable; computers are not.

"But that would mean changing my lifestyle!" Yep. Dispensable.

you MISREAD his comment (1)

capicu (880524) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876819)

its even in your quote: It's an indispensable general tool for communication and don't come back saying that you meant the bit about "needing them every day", because it was the word "indispensable" you were rubbishing.

Re:you MISREAD his comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876881)

oh please, these are all commodities. have you looked at the rental property business in america these days? good lord. anything that can be bought and sold and marketed--- mcdonalds, evian, apartment buildings, prostitutes, tmobile, etc. add AOL and microsoft windows to that list-- oh wait, we did that 10 years ago--- and whatever will people claim they can live without next? grow a sense of humor about our twisted capitalist society already because you clearly missed the point.

People learn... (3, Interesting)

Ochu (877326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876551)

Linus is basing what he thinks will happen on his experience of past monopolies. How many of these have there been? Really? Maybe 10, 20? Nowhere near enough to start predicting the future on. We have had four and a half billion years of weather, and we still can't get that right, and god knows, big business is nearly as complex. The other problem, of course, is microsoft is learning every day how to protect itself from those other companies fates.

Re:People learn... (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876661)

Linus is basing what he thinks will happen on his experience of past monopolies.

You're right. And every "monopoly" is different. The PC market is completely different from most previous consumer-level markets that have existed in the past, and there's simply nothing to base this on. In business school, you do a *lot* of time reading and studying case studies of other companies because, you're right... business is so complex, it can't be boiled down to right and wrong answers, generally speaking. You have to look at the entire situation to see if there has been a precident. In the end, a prediction of the future of something as complex as Microsoft is just an opinion (educated or not). And, you know what they say about opinions...

Lets get this out of the way first, (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876553)

Ok, so Microsoft is the devil. Fine.

Now can we have a civilized discussion?

Re:Lets get this out of the way first, (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876563)

you must be one of the ms staff members assigned to monitor the /. ms-haters =0

Re:Lets get this out of the way first, (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876601)

Now can we have a civilized discussion?

You must be a Los Angeles Times editor. This is Slashdot. Maybe you want the New York Times instead?

Our leader has forsaken us!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876555)

NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Replacing Microsoft... (2, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876565)

A company that could replace Microsoft may not come directly from the computer industry. It could very well be Wal-Mart putting a squeeze on their inventory software that they decide own the entire the computer industry to get better effeciency out of their software.

Then again, it could always be a humble Chinese vegetable seller bent on world domination one cabbage at a time.

So, we can expect, (0, Troll)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876571)

if Linus is a true visionary futurologist

something like

a software version of

WalMart

beating suppliers into submission until wecome full circle to one huge vendor and a cornucopia of small speciality suppliers?

Does Bill G and company have the bux to take over software distribution in the area of commodity functionality?

Has he had that vision?

Yet?

OS Competition Is Useless (5, Interesting)

Jediman1138 (680354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876572)

Here's the way I see it.

I understand completely why consumers, especially us, want there to be OS choice and
OS competition for everyone. Having three or four major OS's that end user every-day
Joes would use sounds like a Utopia. In fact, if I had it my way, there would be Windows,
Mac OS X, a revolutionary easy to use, yet powerful, Linux (shh.), and another free OS.

However, since most consumers don't know very much about computers, they're not going to
understand that their software doesn't work between OS's without hard-to-use (for them)
emulation software. With all of those choices, people are going to stick with the name
and software package they trust. Windows is going to win no matter what, unless Microsoft
goes the way of the dodo. The vast majority cannot handle the confusion and differences
between OS's, and they don't want to understand it. Even if somehow all the OS's could
use each other's software natively, then what would be the point in having more than one?

I hate to see one operating system dominate the market just as much as you guys do, but
there will always only be one primary operating system for (at least) the consumer market.
Whether it's always going to be Windows, I cannot say. I just know that people are happy
with standards, and they don't want to have to screw with migrating to something new, even
if they know it could be better for them.

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876623)

>unless Microsoft goes the way of the dodo...

Actually, I see Microsoft going the way of the Passenger Pigeon [wikipedia.org]

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876665)

I disagree completely.

People don't use Windows because they "trust" Microsoft. People tend to be very frustrated with Windows and even very ill-informed people are at least vaguely aware that Microsoft has a reputation for buggy software and security holes.

People use Windows because that's what there is. It's pure momentum. They've used Windows before, everyone they know uses Windows, 99.8% of computer vendors they know about sell Windows computers.

In other words, it's not really a conscious decision where people actually THINK about what OS to use, and choose Windows. They just buy something.

This can change.

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (1)

Jediman1138 (680354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876708)

In other words, it's not really a conscious decision where people actually THINK about what OS to use, and choose Windows. They just buy something.

Oh, right. I agree with that completely. What I am saying is that people don't know what they're buying. Many people don't even realize there is more than Windows out there. They don't realize there are alternatives, but I know that even if they knew about other contenders, they wouldn't want to migrate once they realized what it entails.

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876719)

I predict that once OSX/x86 is released, someone will start producing a commercial Windows emulation package based off WINE. It'll make the setup and execution trivial, and otherwise it will be WINE. They will make a lot of money.

The day Microsoft releases an OSX emulation layer will be the day they've conceded defeat. It will happen.

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (1)

mikem170 (698970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876794)

Maybe Microsoft will end up like AOL. Not everyone uses AOL. Just the people who don't know any better!

software doesn't work between OS's (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876815)


That's why I'm working on making DirectX available under Linux via WINE, so that joe public can pop down their local store, buy a piece of software and have it run under Linux without having to know what's going on under the hood.

I use more or less identical setups for all the apps I run under WINE, and when you consider that the work I've done is still in beta at best the possibility of being able to run 'anything' on Linux doesn't seem so hard to swallow. I certainly hope that in a year from most games and media applications will be working flawlessly.

Re:OS Competition Is Useless (4, Insightful)

lafiel (667810) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876848)

Here's the way I see it:

Despite most consumers not knowing very much about cars either, there's plenty of competition within the market there. A car is an extremely complicated beast, but you don't have to learn how to drive just a Ford, or just a Toyota. The interface becomes standard, things might be in a slightly different place, but there's not much difficulty necessary to adjust from one to another. Under the hood, the car is vastly different within the same brand, much less between different competitors. And yet this highly complicated machine somehow has plenty of competition and it can be hardly said that one maker 'dominates' the market.

And yes, this analogy is flawed, but the premise that I am pointing out is the key. That you can hide all the gritty nitty surface details and present the consumer with exactly enough to do what they want. Typical competition will lead people from one OS to another, whether it be brand names, the placement of your start button, or the power underneath the hood.

Just as I don't see the streets dominated by mass-produced Fords, there doesn't always have to be one primary operating system. Things will mature.

Interesting...but what's the modern comparison? (1)

djfray (803421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876574)

what other market is comparable to what linus is describing?

new market? like ..... (2, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876576)

a market based upon supporting "Abstraction Physics" and "automated - code generation to execution".

Steps in this direction can be seen with MS's "Software Factories ideology" though its of course biased to feed MS more than being genuine about Abstraction Physics. And there is Apples "Automator" and plenty of other "code generation" and "automation" efforts all leading to the same "different then now" market.

This is relative to the "Software Patents battle ground" [ffii.org]

Two words: AOL and Linux (4, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876581)

Consider that the average user is willfully clueless with their machines and software. Consider just how much. Now imagine AOL throwing their resources at a tight, polished, bootable AOL-ified Linux which they push on all those CDs.

Linux will continue to move places in the techie arena like with workstations and servers. End users who can't grok Windows? No, not until it gets polished.

So from that perspective, Linus is right that Microsoft isn't just going away. Are they going to continue to have share eaten in serverspace? Yes. Not going away though.

Overall very good replies by Linus, one billionth the level of intensity of the zealots who squak the most in the Linux world which is reassuring. I do think he's wrong that there won't be future Microsofts. There's plenty of innovations in tech to be made that one really lucky company may corner the market through sheer chance and idiocy of their competitors. Microsoft won where Apple, IBM, SCO, Oracle, Netscape, and Sun failed to take them down in various areas despite throwing massive energy into it. It could happen again.

AOL: on the way out (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876685)

AOL has been sliding for a while now... AOL is not going to be a viable business if they remain an ISP for much longer. The writing's on the wall for AOL: they simply don't offer much (if anything) of value, even to the most basic customers.

Even so, what would the point of this be? What would AOL have to gain from spending massive R&D to build their own version of Linux? That doesn't make any sense.

Linus *On* the future of Microsoft (4, Funny)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876586)

You misspelled *Is*.

Microsoft can never die... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876651)

...what would slashdot readers bitch about?

Mod Parent Up! (0)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876823)

Hilarious!

Linux is not the future (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876673)

Microsoft will die one day, or be relegated to an already-run, but it won't be to Linux or Unix. No, Linux and Unix are too ancient, backwards and messy to be a replacement for Windows and Microsoft. And the community is too disjoint to ever mount a successful attack against Microsoft like a corporation could. Heck, Linux already has many corporate backers and look how it still continues to flounder as Microsoft improves Windows by leaps and bounds.

Windows went from crappy 3.1/95 to very stable and potentially secure XP with a large amount of free and non-free software and hardware support. What has Linux done in the past 10 years? It is still behind Windows and always will be. It tries to be too many things to too many people and in the process fails at being good at anything. Sure, it's a good server OS, it's usable on the desktop, but Windows or Mac OS are better desktop OSes and there are other versions of Unix that are better than Linux in the server room (except the cost lots of money or don't have as much community and hardware support).

But more to the point, Linux is just old hat. It's based on a 30 year old operating system. Things have changed, and certainly Unix/Linux has as well, but wouldn't it be better to have an OS designed from the bottom up to be truly modern and not hold on to all sorts of anacronisms and baggage from those 30 years? An OS that will beat Microsoft will not be Unix or Linux (perhaps based on Unix, but it would have to be heavily modified -- see Mac OS X). Backwards isn't the answer.

Re:Linux is not the future (1)

capicu (880524) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876736)

I truly would like to believe that a new OS like the one you hypothesise about could appear. You're right about old roots and baggage. It's hard to imagine or believe such a thing could happen, but that's just because of the sheer nature of it - it would be so new and unprecedented that obviously it feels like a strange concept. Sadly, I can easily imagine such an OS being produced by GoogleZon -http://www.robinsloan.com/epic/randommirror.php [robinsloan.com] or by Walmart-General-Motors

Re:Linux is not the future (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876873)

I see some thing that are wrong in my opinion.
First off, Windows is something that is being developed by numerous people who work full-time on it, Linux has/is being build mostly by people in their spare time so the amount of man hours is way less than that of Windows.
Second, Linux is hardly based on a 30 year old OS. It may look like it, share some parts of it, but it was build from scratch and is changing faster into a modern OS than Windows does with its huge amount of backwards compatible parts. Even Longhorn won't drop as much compatibility as they first talked about.
And what does it take for an OS to be modern? As long as an OS can take advantage of the latest hardware, run software in a stable and secure fashion it does what it is supposed to do, whether you want to call it ancient or modern. I myself prefer to use FreeBSD. Yes, one of the oldest Unix derivatives, but so far I haven't felt as good cruising the information highway in this vehicle as in any other ones.

What about FireFox? (2)

BakeryJobs (893972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876689)

It seems everyone I've talked to in the last 6 months is using FireFox. Plus everyone I tell FireFox about thanks me later. Everyone loves the tab feature and the "natural" defense against spyware. Anyhow... sure it's just a browser.

I like what he says but... (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876715)

...People look to Microsoft for brand name recognition and "trust." (I hear you laughing, but think like a consumer, not like a tech person.)

People still don't know "Linux" even if they have seen the IBM ads. So there's not a lot of established consumer trust. That will have to come from company trust really... and let's be honest, we're still quite a way from that at the moment. (I don't deny the progress but I can't ignore the distance to the destination either.)

When people realize that the OS and the Software as the means of operating on data instead of as "the thing" then we'll start to see an appreciation that software can be a commodity especially when they see that by divorcing Microsoft, their business data becomes free to be used by ANY software and not just Microsoft's. We've got a long way to go before that happens.

Still, I like the language Torvalds is speaking on this matter...

Obligatory Airplane (1)

good-n-nappy (412814) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876734)

to find a new dominant player you actually have to start looking at a totally different market altogether

<chorus>to find a new dominant player you actually have to start looking at a totally different market</chorus>

From Windows to Windows of Opportunity (1)

fruscica (637745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876758)

MSFT can do itself -- and the world -- an enormous service by recasting itself as a provider of customized education and career services, the industry Peter Drucker and other smart folks say will be the world's biggest within thirty years.

Of course, this recasting will take some adapting, as the basis of competition in CECS will differ from MSFT's historic competitive environment.

Which means there is a great opportunity for a CECS startup to benefit from a lucrative acquisition by MSFT.

Toward this end, you are all cordially invited to steal my Amazon.com-/Microsoft-approved business plan for a CECS provider, which can be found at Landof.OpportuniTV.com [opportunitv.com] .

Good luck!

Let the markets speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876798)

Linus: "I think the really interesting question is what happens to their profit margins. It's almost all profit for them right now. I don't think that's sustainable in any market, and yes, I believe that open source is one of the things that will "correct" the software market."

I think so too. If the profit margins are eroding even a bit due to spread of linux in the server market, or as concessional prices are given to governments and firms, the present discounted value of future profit stram can come down a lot.

But the present discounted value value of profit stram is pretty much what constitutes the value of the share price.

So would you invest to microsoft shares or not? Lets look how it's going..

from MSNMoney:

# MICROSOFT CORP price change in past 12 months: -12.1%.
Difference from the average for the Application Software group: -5.30 pct. pts.
Percentage of all stocks that MICROSOFT CORP outperformed: 26%

MS is actually performing clearly worse than the "Application Software" group. If the situation is the same one year from now, MS will start to panic.

Open source in the long term (1, Troll)

Halcyon-X (217968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876927)

Open source is well equipped to survive because of its long term goals. Successful open source projects are built from the beginning to be extended, to incorporate functonality that was not imagined from the beginning, and to be well integrated and share data with other applications. These are all qualities that you cannot depend on proprietary software for, it is at the whim of the project directors and other developers and users have no direct influence.

If we take a page from the video game industry, american companies would often abandon ideas that were not immediately profitable, often passing over truly good ideas if they could not control them or exploit them as quickly as they needed turnaround. With this sort of hit-or-miss shortsightedness and not striving to build a good idea until it is profitable and to grow around needs/uses of consumers, it is extremely difficult to find a successful formula without lockin.

Nintendo took over the video game market because their vision was that of the long term, in fact they planned out the next 10 years, and rebuilt the video game industry in america when others believed that it was a fad that was dead and gone. They furthered the platform by sharing their experience and helped licensees as in the end it drove demand for more Nintendo hardware and software. But when Nintendo tried to place too many restrictions on third parties, they would eventually find another platform (such as the Genesis, which at its peak had a 51% market share over Nintendo).

Open source software does not have these restrictions, is built with the long term in mind, and users may have direct influence over the applications they work with. Microsoft's place in the market is determined by factors they must control, but to do so they must sometimes overlook the needs of the users, developers, or even their necessity to Microsoft as they must look to their profits to ultimately decide whether to continue development in a certain area. The platform is driven by the interests of Microsoft's profits and success in reality could well be arbitrary. This requires a streamlined and highly successful process and may in the end drive Microsoft closer to open source methods, as they have developed many initiatives recently designed to provide greater interaction and sharing of information with developers, provided more information on APIs, and even produced some of their own software which the user may modify and download without spending money. They have explored their "shared source" avenue.

It will be interesting to see what happens on both fronts.

Linus is retarded (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12876962)

And he takes it up the ass, just like all the other OSS zealot faggots.

MSFT can still patent everything (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12876970)

and if it can get China to actually enforce - or permit enforcement, in practice - of patent law, then it still owns the marbles, even if others want to create solutions in that area.

It's like walking across a minefield where every 2-3 feet a new mine exists - or doesn't. You can let a bunch of gerbils fan out across the minefield and detonate the mines - which takes time and uses up a lot of gerbils, not to mention funeral costs for them - or you can buy a map.

Microsoft sells the map. Patents let them stop others from selling you the map.

Now, if those gerbils had maps, and could read them, well that's a different story.
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