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Bill Gates On Linux 1194

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
King-of-darkness writes "USA Today had an interview with Bill Gates on june the 30th. Gates seems to be considering Linux as a passing thru competition just like OS/2., and That Microsoft are the ones that keep pushing new technologies."
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Bill Gates On Linux

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  • Typical (Score:5, Funny)

    by cageyjames (642932) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:19PM (#6339904)
    (-1) for Bill Gates for being a Troll
    • Re:Typical (Score:5, Funny)

      by Uatu (316549) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:30PM (#6340036)
      (-1) for Bill Gates for being a Troll

      Does this means I can actually ignore the article and not feel guilty when I post about it ?

      Great! That's a first...

    • Re:Typical (Score:5, Funny)

      by ThrasherTT (87841) <thrasher@NospAm.deathmatch.net> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:51PM (#6340280) Homepage Journal
      (-1) for Bill Gates for being a Troll

      A troll. Literally. See page 120 in the 3E Monster Manual.
  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2names (531755) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:20PM (#6339908)
    "passing through" technologies don't last as long as Linux has already.
    • Re:But... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Roto-Rooter Man (520267) <cleanthosepipes@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:23PM (#6339940) Homepage Journal
      OS/2... 1988-2002. This is shorter than Linux how?
      • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by laserjet (170008) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:31PM (#6340062) Homepage
        I wouldn't say OS/2 lived to 2002... it certainly was not completely dead, but it was nearly non-existenet in the early to mid nineties except in specialized markets like bank computer.

        linux had had about the same lifespan (1988-1994 = 6 years), but is still strongly growing and showing some ballz, and the community is much bigger than the OS/2 community was, at least online (a rought comparison, as OS/2 was largely before the internet wave).

        not to mention that MS basically partered with IBM on OS/2, then back-stabbed them while secretly working on a competeting OS (windows).

        Those who don't learn history (or choose to ignore it) are bound to repeat it, Bill.
        • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:44PM (#6340210) Homepage Journal
          the community is much bigger than the OS/2 community was, at least online (a rought comparison, as OS/2 was largely before the internet wave).

          Do you remember the "Team OS/2" astroturfing? The Linux community doesn't even need to do stuff like that. It's truly grassroots, even as it's attracted the help of the big names, including OS/2's father, IBM.

          The difference with IBM and OS/2 is that they were in an already weakened position when OS/2 was around. The PS/2 line was one of the biggest flops of all-time for IBM, and they were simultaneously trying to sell Windows-based machines and still push OS/2 as their main OS. They were too scattered with that, along with the big divorce lawsuit with Microsoft over their Joint Development Agreement. On top of all that, this is when Microsoft was insisting on per processor license agreements, a practice which got them hand-slapped by the FTC and later the Justice Department.

          Linux, on the other hand, is relatively unencumbered by all that baggage, with the noteable exception of the SCO lawsuit, which at this point, has no direct bearing over Linux itself, just IBM, and I don't think they're really sweating it any, despite what Darl McBride would have you think.

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:58PM (#6341105) Homepage Journal
            Exactly what astroturfing was that? Team OS/2 was a volunteer organization with very little actual support from IBM. IBM kept them at a distance due to the "Lunatic Fringe" of rabid OS/2 zealots who would view even constructive criticism of the platform as "FUD" and denounce it as such.

            I was a member of Team OS/2 and coincidentally an IBM contractor. A lot of us (Teamers) and a few (About 4 IIRC) (real) IBMers went to the '95 COMDEX on our own dime and our own time to do the grassroots advocacy there. All IBM provided was some OS/2 install CDs and some exhibitor passes to let us get into the show before the doors opened. Oh yeah, and some really gay pink OS/2 shirts...

            The astroturfing that year, as I recall, came from Microsoft. They brought a bunch of their own employees to try to counter the efforts of Team OS/2 and make it look like they had a grassroots group, too. We saw about a quarter of the number of "Team Microsoft" on the floor and someone suggested that they be waylaid and left duct-taped in a booth back in the skid row... Oh wait, that was me...

            Anyway, Team OS/2 was not an astroturfing effort. The Team's relationship to IBM was always an uncomfortable one and many of the teamers inside the company and out have since moved to Linux. Linux already has far more momentum than OS/2 did. It runs on more platforms (Including the IBM mainframes that OS/2 was SUPPOSED to be ported to,) enjoys the support of more big companies and offers a platform that can not be killed by a single company.

            Moreover, Bill Gates knows this. He didn't get to be the world's richest man by chance or luck alone. He didn't technically lie in his first statement; no doubt Linux is no different from OS/2 in his view in that he has to find a way to kill it as quickly as possible. Just as he did with OS/2 by providing discounts on his software PC resellers (including IBM's PCCO) who didn't offer an OS/2 pre-install option. OS/2's installation process was one of its weak points, and Microsoft made sure that every potential user of the operating system would go through it.

            Microsoft's only open methods of attack against Linux are legal and in marketing. SCO's threat to sue every Linux user on the planet has already caused several companies that I know about to back away from the operating system. Expect to see more legal attacks from Microsoft or their minions and possible lobbying in Congress to make the OSS method of application development illegal. I expect a huge marketing campaign attacking the credibility of Linux as well. Don't put anything past them, they're protecting their monopoly here. You don't stay the world's richest man by luck or chance either.

    • by missing000 (602285) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:30PM (#6340028)
      Bill Gates: Well those are our current competitors. I mean, it's no different than in the past people used [IBM's operating system] OS/2.

      USA TODAY: Nobody used OS/2.
      • Re:I liked this part (Score:4, Informative)

        by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:54PM (#6340309)
        nobody used OS/2?
        I briefly worked for 'fortis' a huge international company, did insurance and investing. thousands, if not tens of thousands of OS/2 seats.
        and just the other day i pulled up to a wells fargo atm, and it was out of order... OS/2 in a reboot loop....
        OS/2 was a major player, if not for very long...
      • Re:I liked this part (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sentry21 (8183) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:54PM (#6340318) Journal
        Gates is right though. OS/2 was huge - just not in the desktop home-user circles. Hell, my bank still uses OS/2. They're one of the largest banks in Canada, and they're an IBM shop through-and-through. They run on IBM's big iron mainframes, they use IBM's WebSphere (JSP and the whole shebang), and they use OS/2 on their desktops (with Netscape 4).

        People nowadays just seem to think that nothing happened, but while it might have been as big a phenomenon as Windows, it sure isn't dead.

        --Dan
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bladernr (683269) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:31PM (#6340052)
      That depends on what you call a "passing thru" technology.

      CORBA has been around since at least 1991 (longer, I think), and most agree that it beat Microsoft in the DCOM-CORBA "Object Wars" (as evidenced by Microsoft moving on to Web Services). Although CORBA now provides the underlying technology for things such as J2EE, it is largely gone as far as a standalone technology. Was CORBA "passing thru" or was/is it a real technology?

      OS/2 was also around for quite a number of years, and was until very recently an actual product. Great OS, IMHO. If we want to define Linux as being around long enough to not be "passing thru", then that applies to OS/2 as well.

      DR-DOS? PC-DOS? Microsoft outlived them both. Or, to be fair, Microsoft did what it does best, redefined the game.

      Mac OS? Doesn't get me started (although I like to think its making a comeback with OS X... made me a convert... UNIX OS with great apps and interface)

      Now, I'm no defender of Microsoft, but I think what Bill Gates was probably saying was "Hey, we've faced down stiff competition before, and won. How is this different?" On that point, I have to agree. Maybe they will lose this time, but they have definatly been down this road before and know a little something about smashing threats.

      (no, this is not a troll. My favorite OS'es are Linux and Mac OS. Just trying to credit where its due)
      • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AstroDrabb (534369) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:14PM (#6340539)
        The thing is many people think the purpose of Linux is to "beat" MS windows. While I think that it will surpass MS in the server area, the desktop may or may not happen, or it may take a number of years for the desktop. But the most important point is that Linux will ALWAYS be around and it is not a competitor of any OS. It is a movement "By the Poeople and For the People". So whether it "beats" MS and takes 90% of the desktop and or server market does not matter. There will always be plenty of developers working on it commercially, academically and non-commercially.

        There is currently too much commercial money in Linux from many different players for it to just "go away". Also, MS's typical tactics that they use to "beat" the competition won't work on Linux. Price cuts may keep some from switching, however many that want to switch do it not just because of cost, but also choice. People and companies are tired of the MS slogan of give them the razors and sell them the blades. Most people are not dumb enough to buy into getting heavy discounts from MS. Because they all know that MS will try to make it back some other way once they are locked in. Many people and companies are also tired of the anti-competitve tactics and their freedom of choice being taken away. When you build your infrastructure on MS, then all those app you use are designed to function "best" when you ONLY use other MS stuff. I personally think that MS's goal is to be the ONE developer of all software. Sure, some of the small meaningless shareware type stuff will still float around. But for any of the bigger apps, protocols and codecs, MS wants to hoarde that and be the only controller. It kind of reminds me of a "One Ring to Rule Them All" type of deal.
      • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RoLi (141856) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:24PM (#6340663)
        Linux' open source nature makes it very different.

        And let's face it: All MS did the last 20 years was defend their DOS/Windows dominaton. Network effects helped them greatly, OS/2 went away almost by itself (of course MS will always be MS so they also blackmailed German computer makers not to preinstall OS/2 - however OS/2 would have died anyway.), hardware makers fought the battle for them on servers. Microsoft had only to make sure x86 stays MS-only and hardware-maker would make the hardware cheap and fast enough to endanger Unix.

        Linux changed all that.

        On servers Linux is extremely successful and has already surpassed Windows in Europe, on embedded systems it is about to do the same. On the desktop we still have the big problem of weak software support, but unlike IBM or Microsoft the open source community has the power to create a complete desktop from scratch: KDE. It includes everything from browser to office suite and is certainly good enough for mainstream needs.

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Azghoul (25786) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:35PM (#6340120) Homepage
      I gotta assume someone else has already brought this up, but come on! What else is the head of a major public corporation supposed to say?

      "Yes, we think Linux is a serious threat to our core business". POW, stock prices get hammered, they get sued.

      The guy has to be the leader of the company, he's not there to look objectively at anything!
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swordboy (472941) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:38PM (#6340147) Journal
      "passing through" technologies don't last as long as Linux has already.

      He means on the desktop. Obviously, even Bill knows that Linux kick MS ass on the server side. But until Linus starts bringing the GUI into the tree, then I would tend to agree that Linux will never make significant inroads to Windows.

      Heck - Linux doesn't even have a desktop. X/KDE/Gnome/etc are responsible for that. And those run on other unices, too. I'm not sure why Linux = Windows competitor to most. It has nothing to do with a desktop OS.
  • new? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kmac06 (608921) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:20PM (#6339914)
    ...and That Microsoft are the ones that keep pushing new technologies. This is obviously some use of the word 'new' with which I am not familiar.
    • Oh, come on. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tom7 (102298) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @03:03PM (#6341850) Homepage Journal

      I use linux at work and for my servers, and I like it.

      But really, windows is pushing new technologies more than linux.

      Windows XP has USB 2.0, it has low-latency audio, it can play DVDs, it has translucent windows, built-in NAT, drag-and-drop CD recording, an MPEG-4 media player, it has an encrypted, compressed file system, they have fine-grained access controls, they have a common language runtime. They are pushing and developing modern programming languages so that we aren't all stuck programming in C. Some of this technology sucks, and most of it they didn't invent, but they are pushing new technology. (I also know that most of this stuff is available on linux, but it's also kind of a pain in the ass.)
  • Uhm, yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:21PM (#6339917)


    This is the guy that managed to overlook the internet when he wrote The Road Ahead in 1995.

    • by bstadil (7110) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:26PM (#6339982) Homepage
      or thought that a real breakthru would be an algorithm to factor large PRIME numbers.
    • Re:Uhm, yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sehryan (412731) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:38PM (#6340152)
      And then proceeded to realize his oversight, turn is company around on a dime, and now has a large slice of that internet pie.

      Just because he discounts it now doesn't mean he can turn around and dominate it later.
      • Re: Uhm, yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:48PM (#6340253)


        > And then proceeded to realize his oversight, turn is company around on a dime, and now has a large slice of that internet pie.

        Heh. Eight years later and Microsoft's biggest contributions to internet culture are browser integration, Outlook backdoors, and e-mail trojans. I don't think he 'gets' the internet now any more than he did in 1995.

  • by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:22PM (#6339928) Homepage Journal
    Lets see, chief shareholder of MS (which competes with Linux), in a PR interview claims that they are better, and linux will go away.

    What do you expect people? Bill Gates annouces that Linux is pretty damn good and may give it a whirl, in other news MS stock drops 50%.

    This is just bait to get you guys all riled up. Welcome to PR.
    • by Merk (25521) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:41PM (#6340183) Homepage

      Yeah, but it does make me really curious about a few things.

      • What is Microsoft's true impression of Linux as both an OS and as a competitor?
      • How clued in are the top-level people about the capabilities of Linux?
      • Will their strategy of ignoring it and spreading FUD change if Linux starts getting nearer to 10% market share?

      I think the mere fact they talk about Linux in a USA Today interview with Gates says a lot. Besides, in the interview itself he isn't completely dismissive about Linux or OS/2. He said that OS/2 was serious competition because it had the weight of IBM behind it. If he's publicly saying the same thing about Linux then they are saying in public that it's a major threat.

      Personally, I hope they misunderestimate Linux right until it kills them. I stand by my belief that once non-windows home computers have around 20% of the market share, MS is doomed. At that point, hardware manufacturers will be losing serious sales if they release products with only Windows drivers. Software manufacturers will either release only for Windows, or make the software multi-platform and increase their potential market by 20%. Game manufacturers will be in an even better situation. If they release for PC only, they hit a small market, if they make the game multi-platform, not only do they get the additional computers (Linux, OS X, etc.) but additional consoles as well. If MS loses the monopoly on Windows machines as game computers, and Apple decides to break their monopoly on Office by doing what they did with Safari... at that point MS is dead. Let's just hope they don't know it yet.

  • Yeah.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by TedTschopp (244839) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:22PM (#6339934) Homepage
    They keep bring us new stuff like MS-Bob.... and Clippy... and...

    Oh I don't want to have all the fun, you can come up with some...

    What other new innovative things has Microsoft done that really were flops.
    • Re:Yeah.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hendridm (302246) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:28PM (#6340004) Homepage

      > They keep bring us new stuff like MS-Bob.... and Clippy...

      Of all the stuff they've released in multiple markets over the past two decades, all you can find to troll with are Microsoft Bob (an application from 1995) and Clippy. Seems to me they might not be doing so bad after all. Why not compare modern versions of MS apps to versions of Mac OS or Linux from 1995 then?

      I love Linux, but the Microsoft Bob troll is so crusty, like no mistakes were made with Linux or OS X over the years...

  • OS/2?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyHair (589485) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:22PM (#6339935) Journal
    Silly Bill, did he forget that Microsoft and IBM partnered on OS/2?

    Off to RTFA to find out....
    • Re:OS/2?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:33PM (#6340095) Homepage
      Sure, but the last significant collaboration was OS/2 1.2. 1.3 was done primarily by IBM (and was considered pretty much the only usable 1.x release, which isn't saying much). OS/2 2.x was entirely IBM, and all MS code had been expunged from the kernel by the time OS/2 Warp came about... IIRC, the only MS code left at that point was in the file system (HPFS and FAT). OS/2 Warp was considerably more stable than prior versions.

      Of course, IBM couldn't market its way out of a paper bag when it came to desktop systems, they had absolutely horrid support, fairly crappy and overpriced development tools (VisualAge was too little, too late, and too buggy), and it never garnered the support necessary to become a serious contender... and I say this as someone who was an OS/2 fanatic back in the day. And while MS was slow on the uptake when it came to the Internet, IBM was downright glacial... most people ran Netscape for Windows under OS/2, which sucked... IBM did finally release a browser (which was damn good for the day), but long after most had given up.

      AFAIK, even the banks are moving off of it now... OS/2 was long a mainstay in the financial world, especially at banks and ATMs. Most ATMs now run NT or a proprietary OS. There just isn't any reason to keep OS/2.
    • Flaming Bill.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MyHair (589485) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:38PM (#6340145) Journal
      Okay, I RTFA'd. Bill neglects to mention that OS/2 was at one point the future of Microsoft.

      BG: . . . I mean, we've had to bet the company many times on big technological advances. We bet on the 16-bit PC. We bet on graphical user interface. We bet on the NT technology base.
      Huh? You bet on the 16-bit PC? 640k jokes aside, what other options were there at the time? GUI? Xerox/Mac beat you to it, and it was popular before you did it. NT tech? Hello, you stabbed 32-bit OS/2 in the back and used VMS as a model for the first NT, later making NT more like old Windows by incorporating more and more into the "microkernel".

      BG: . . . We will never have a price lower than Linux, in terms of just what you charge for the software. We compete on the basis of, if you look at the value you get out of the system and the overall cost that the system has that apply in our software. For any project, if you look at communications costs, hardware costs, personnel costs, all that, software licensing ranges -- the highest you'd ever find is, like, 3% of any IT-type project. And so the question is can that 3% [compensate], in terms of how quickly you get the system set up?
      Is it just me, or was he struggling? And I wonder if the reason MS licensing is such a low percentage due to the higher support costs for their buggy software. (Yeah, yeah, a flame.)

      USA TODAY: Is there a scenario by which you would at some point consider porting Microsoft applications into Linux?

      BG: There's no consideration of that at this point.
      "At this point"? Very interesting that he seems to admit they might consider it at all. Or maybe I'm reading too much into a figure of speech.
  • by pytheron (443963) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:23PM (#6339938) Homepage
    What is Bill Gates doing submitting stories under his pseudonym (king-of-darkness) ? Anyways, an interesting bit in the article I thought was:

    BG: Are you kidding? I mean, let's be serious. That was IBM, a company 15 times our size. Name a bank that didn't use OS/2. OS/2 was IBM's product, and the IBM army marched behind that product.

    Now replace IBM with Microsoft, and OS/2 with windows. Not so clever now Mr. Gates !

  • He is correct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnoyeb (547705) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:23PM (#6339944) Homepage Journal
    He is right. Windows is pusing the technologies. Pushing them in the way they desire. nevertheless, they are. Linux has a long way to go for smooth MultiMedia usage.

    Nevertheless, he is only right for now. Linux is a locomotive, and its only picking up steam.
    • Re:He is correct (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aadain2001 (684036) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:44PM (#6340214) Journal
      I would have to disagree with you. I think Linux is pushing new technologies faster than MS is. Take a look at the 2.5.x (soon to be 2.6.x) kernels. They represent the most modern kernel out there. MS doesn't have all the features in their ntkernel that Linux does, and probably won't for another 5 years. And Linux is very much multimedia friendly. Just look up a few programs such as Xine or Mplayer. These players alone will play ANYTHING out there, and do it very well. To this day I have yet to find a person saying "Linux isn't ready for desktop use" that has tried the latest release from Redhat or Mandrake or SuSE. They are always referring to distros over two years old or older, which was the last time they touched Linux. They just don't get that Linux moves faster than MS has, does, or ever will. And as someone above said, Linux is a train and it's only picking up steam.
  • by cloudscout (104011) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:24PM (#6339954) Homepage
    OS/2 was once a joint product between IBM and Microsoft. In fact, I have an old OS/2 book with a foreword by Bill Gates himself where he refers to OS/2 as "the future of computing". That is why NT originally had an OS/2 subsystem and supported the HPFS filesystem from OS/2.

    With Linux, Microsoft has never had its hand in the pie. They have never had any control over its development. Linux bears no similarity to OS/2 as a competing technology. To suggest it is just wishful thinking on Bill Gates part.
  • This is USA Today (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:24PM (#6339955) Journal
    The magazine with the widest readership in the nation. It probably has the lowest reader-IQ-average as a direct result. The last thing Mr. G wants to happen is for your PHB to read USA Today and think, "Huh. This Linux thing is a big deal."

    So, here he says it isn't a big deal. I'm sure that in real life, he cares a great deal about it.
  • by Radon Knight (684275) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:25PM (#6339968)
    > Gates seems to be considering Linux as a passing
    > thru competition just like OS/2.

    Well, what would you expect him to say? That Linux may (if people get their act together) start threatening Windows on the desktop, and that people are really not fond of Microsoft's draconian licensing schemes and forced inclusion of DRM in their products?

    A newspaper interview with a businessman is nothing more than an opportunity for free advertising. You don't think Bill knows that?
  • by Alpha_Nerd (565637) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:25PM (#6339973)
    Microsoft's secret weapon of mass destruction: http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3
  • Nobody used OS/2? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utahjazz (177190) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:26PM (#6339980)
    I gotta agree with Bill's reaction on that one. The interviewer lost all credibility when he said that. He's one of those people that thinks he knows the technology market because he uses technology, which at best only tells you about consumer technology.

    None of his friends used OS/2 so nobody used it. I guess nobody uses mainframes either, and the Internet was invented 10 years ago.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:27PM (#6339990) Homepage Journal
    In the article, he basically says that few companies have the guts to innovate, and that Microsoft does this constantly...

    Surprise: Xerox did that way before Microsoft ever thought about it. And Bill himself only thought about it when he saw one of the first demo model of the Apple Lisa (if I remember well). And that's just one example among many.

    Microsoft never innovated: it just latched on all the good ideas. GUIs, ACLs, www browsers, spreadsheet, heck, even the mouse was invented by somebody else.

    So, what kind of "innovations" has been created by Microsoft? Maybe Clippy. But that's it, and we all know how helpful that is...

    And for those who may believe that Microsoft improved on all of these, I have just four words for you: Blue... Screen... Of... Death.

    Whew! Enough ranting. You can start modding me down, now.
    • by tuxathon (626627) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:06PM (#6340432)

      Don't you know: Microsoft invented TCP\IP (backslash intended), text editors (vi is a clone), and 3D grapics (OpenGL stole Mr. Gates idea). Microsoft is the real victim here. If the rest of the world would simply respect their prowess, stop reverse-engineering their products, and sell their ideas to them, we would all be happy.


      Must ... not ... gag ...

  • Dear Bill (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spackler (223562) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:28PM (#6339995) Journal
    Bill,

    I am using Linux. Send me 8 copies of 2003 Advanced Server (under the GPL of course) for the same price, and I will be happy to switch.

    spack

    • by PDHoss (141657) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:40PM (#6340170)
      Dear Spack,

      Thanks for writing. I'll get your software in the mail right away; I just need your mailing address.

      Oh, never mind, here it is in my SQL box, right here next to your SSN, your home phone, your shopping habits, your mothers maiden name, your dog's favorite food, and a complete catalog of your web surfing history.

      MidgetsInLeather.com? Come on, spack.

      Love, Bill.
  • Mr Gates,

    Given that UNIX technology has been around for almost 40 years now and the Linux implementation of that standard in particular has been with us for 12 or 13 years, wouldn't it be fair to call Windows, the first 32 bit versions of which have only been with us for 8 years, the passing fad?

    • by Shippy (123643) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:44PM (#6340211)
      Who cares how long it's managed to be around? How could it be called the passing fad? It hasn't passed yet and is obviously doing very successful so.... where's the interesting point here? So what. UNIX has been around for 40 years and Linux for about 12 to 13 compared to 32-bit Windows' 8. Neither Linux or Windows has died out yet so none of them are passing fads. One's merely younger than the other *shrug*
  • by TrollBridge (550878) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:28PM (#6340003) Homepage Journal
    Now I haven't read Slashdot forever, but how many articles throughout /. history do you suppose were titled "Bill Gates On Linux"?
  • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:30PM (#6340033)
    I mean, we've had to bet the company many times on big technological advances.

    This is true enough; the latest big MS strategy is unquestionably .NET, and they are essentially the company on that (well, that and the next version of Office) by making it the core of all their latest server offerings.

    The fallacy is confusing "bet the company on" with "innovated the technology for". .NET, for all it's glory and marketing, is a hyperextension of what Java originally promised. Microsoft may have a lot of money in R&D, but they rarely push the envelope -- at least not before someone else has shown it can be pushed.
  • by bigjocker (113512) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:30PM (#6340044) Homepage
    I don't know about you, but that interview told me a lot more than BG wanted to. In the first answer he seems to get really angered about the claim that "nobody used OS/2" and ends up sumarizing why Microsoft is the best company in town.

    Linux is here to stay, and they know it. This is _not_ like the OS/2 days. OS/2 was IBM's, GNU/Linux is a comunity, they can't sweep linux out of the market because most linux users uset it because they won't run anything from Microsoft. I know I do.

    Even if RedHat, Mandrake and all commercial distros dissapear and SCO's FUD manages to kill Linux (highly unlikely) the mentality, press coverage and community that has gathered around GNU/Linux will live on in the *BSDs and even in OSX.

    All the people and companies spreading FUD and satanizing Linux have, in some way or another, gained a lot from the GNU/Linux movement. SCO has lasted a little longer than it should have because of OpenLinux, OSX and Windows have incorporated software and ideas that were born in the GNU/Linux/*BSD world.

    Even if Linux is to dissapear the "damage" is already done ... USA Today is interviewing one of the richest and more powerful man on earth and the main topic is Linux.

    Some would say that the "world domination" thingie has already started.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:32PM (#6340079)
    I love the bizarre way Microsofties speak.

    Normal person: Hey, like your hair cut Bill!

    Bill: Thanks. I'm super-serious about my hair. Before it was totally random but now I'm totally dedicated to getting serious about it. My hair has my 100% committment and I'm going to be super-concentrating on that from now on.
  • wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex&phataudio,org> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:34PM (#6340106) Homepage Journal
    I never thought I would see hard hitting journalism coming out of USA Today, I thought the questions would be more like:
    • What's it like be the richest person in the world?
    • How big is your house?
    • Do you have a big gold vault like Scrooge McDuck, filled with cash?
    I'm glad USA Today surprised me with decent questions, maybe there is hope for other media outlets (cough.. Fox News).
  • by MsGeek (162936) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:35PM (#6340114) Homepage Journal
    Heh, this is so fsckn funny...

    Bill Gates bringing up OS/2 and comparing it to Linux is basically his way of raising his middle finger in the face of IBM. Gates and IBM had their rancourous falling-out over OS/2, and now that IBM has put much of its still-considerable muscle behind Linux this is his way of talking smack about IBM.

    Gates' arrogance is amazing. Read between the lines here. He's saying "we killed OS/2 and we're going to kill Linux...the SCO lawsuit is just the beginning."

    Thing is, you can't kill something that has no leaders and is not backed by a rival corporation. Even if Linux was temporarily crushed by MS action or government fiat, it could be revived at any time because the code is free and open and anyone who understands it can build on it.

    Read your Greek mythology, Mr. Gates. Hubris goeth before a fall.
  • by Jonny Ringo (444580) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:37PM (#6340138)
    BeoWoof Clustar? When Gates don't understand GATES SMASH!

  • Gates: Who has the guts and the willingness to do risk-taking to get ink into the standard user interface?

    Me: Apple [apple.com]

    Gates: Who else has the guts to get speech, get the recognition levels up, get the learning levels up in the standard interface?

    Me: Apple [apple.com]

    • by bheerssen (534014) <bheerssen@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @04:10PM (#6342602)
      Dragon Naturally Speaking by Scansoft has been winning awards [astvtech.com] since 1997. I first saw a demo of the product at the 1997 Comdex in Las Vegas and was suitably impressed. Microsoft, on the other hand, debued it's first speech recognition software in 2000 with the MiPad. [microsoft.com] And that was merely a prototype, not a working product.

      Without arguing the merits of either technology, it does look like another case of MS jumping on the bandwagon long after it had gathered steam.

  • by gosand (234100) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:46PM (#6340225)
    Who exactly conducted this interview? Think about this for a second: if you got to interview the richest man in the world, wouldn't you want your name on it? All I saw listed as the interviewer was "USA Today". (Beiser took the photo shown) Not only that, but:

    1. It was a very short "interview".

    2. Some of the questions had the tone of "devil's advocate", giving Gates the perfect opportunity to look like the good guy. (OS/2 question in particular)

    3. There was no follow-up to anything, it was just question-answer, question-answer. So if this interview ever took place, it seems like it wasn't an interactive interview. (no big deal, just wanted to point it out)

    My non-expert opinion? This was a canned PR interview that MS sent USA Today.

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:52PM (#6340292) Homepage Journal
    Justin Timberlake feels that because of the success of his albums, he's "one of the really great musical artists of all time, right up there with Tupak and the Beetles."

    The Anaheim Angels general manager uttered this statement: "This is a dynasty that cannot, and will not ever lose. We've won the Series once, and our destiny is to continue winning it every single year from now until baseball as we know it ceases to exist."

    Lawrence "Bull in a China Shop" Ellison has declared, "Only Oracle had the foresight to retain market share in the face of determined opposition. Our share of the market continues to rise. In fact, it now stands at just over 107%."

  • by N Monkey (313423) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:53PM (#6340302)
    "Bill Gates On Linux"
    Is he running as an emulation or natively coded?
  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:54PM (#6340312)
    1. IBM were utterly incompetant at marketing it, treating it more like a wedge to drive into business to sell training / hardware than as an OS in its own right. Neither did IBM bother to get its divisions to throw their weight behind it with the consequence that even some IBM software ran better on NT.
    2. It didn't even approach being consumer friendly until Warp 4, by which time it was already a has been
    3. Microsoft kept putting the boot in various over and underhanded ways - spreading FUD, threatening a Windows tax on new machines even those shipping with OS/2 etc.


    Linux suffers from some of these problems, but incompetency and bad marketing are hopefully not amongst them. The one thing Linux absolutely has to do however is start loading up with consumer features. This means making stuff easy, be it installing new drivers, supporting graphics and sound properly, playing games. At the moment Linux sucks unless you're prepared to put a lot of effort into it or never intend to change your hardware ever. At present I'd say that the big boys have just about mastered producing a reasonable desktop, but there is a long way to go yet.

  • Damn! They done ported Bill Gates to Linux!

    Ahh, he probably needs a P4 4.4GHz to run though....
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:58PM (#6340357) Journal

    By definition, CEOs are cheerleaders to the general masses. The article was written for USA Today, bought mostly for its 4 colour weather map.

    Of course his answers are going to be biased. Of course they are going to be "MS NUMBER ONE!" in tone. It would be irresponsible if he didn't.

    A CEO is a part sales person. He is selling MS. He and all sales people will streach the truth.

    Move along, nothing to see here.
  • Licensing Costs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkFyre (23233) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:05PM (#6340427)
    (From the article)
    > For any project, if you look at communications
    > costs, hardware costs, personnel costs, all that,
    > software licensing ranges -- the highest you'd
    > ever find is, like, 3% of any IT-type project.

    Wow. Not my experience, to say the least.

    To me, this is indicative of exactly where Linux does and will continue to shine. The above statement is probably true for Chase Manhattan, and I doubt we'll see Chase switching to Linux anytime soon (although I don't doubt that their big iron is still a commercial UNIX).

    Most of the people I deal with, though, are either small research groups or small businesses: Five guys with three computers and a world to conquer. This is where Linux is already excelling, and I think this is where it will excel for the immediate future.

    That is why Gates is wrong. OS/2 had some advantages over Windows (such as the 'IBM army' as he puts it), but it was competing with Windows for the same goal. Where I see Linux being really successful is in places where the Microsoft Barrier-to-Entry(tm) is just too high. Unlike OS/2, Linux isn't going to be driven from these places. Linux is not going away, although it may not be going to the foreground, either.

    And as more and more small businesses and contractors and researchers use Linux to do cool and interesting things on the cheap, bigger businesses will start to notice.
  • by jlowery (47102) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:09PM (#6340472)
    Passing through like the stake in a vampire's heart.
  • Consistent Message (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:11PM (#6340500) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft are the ones that keep pushing new technologies.

    This is quite consistent with what Bill Gates has said many times before, that "freedom to innovate" was endangered by any action against Microsoft, despite it being officially judged a monopoly.

    Alongside this use of doublespeak is the recent lobbying by the "Institute for Software Choice" in Australia for government organizations there to avoid free and open source because of the economic harm it would cause to MSFT, a corporation based in the United States.

    As a U.S. citizen, I've already enjoyed the benefits of free and open source software developed in Australia and look forward to seeing more of it. Likewise, a lot of free and open source software has been developed in the United States that could be of great benefit to Australian users in government, industry and at home. I don't see why the Australian government should be especially restricted from making the kinds of command decisions on IT infrastructure that companies all over the world make every day - you know the kind - the corporate standard is to run Windows and to use Word, etc.

    The hue and cry about freedom of choice and innovation is only raised when there is a palpable danger that the choice might be other than one designed to further bolster the financial interests of Microsoft, or that innovation might result in a potentially lucrative new technology being developed outside Microsoft.

    People like Bill Gates who, with his money and fame, enjoys instant access to government officials and the media across the world to promote his point of view (aligned to increase shareholder value at MSFT) is able to get an audience that common people, or even average knowledgeable IT people, simply cannot hope to get.

    The fact that free and open source software is making inroads through grass-roots word of mouth based on its own merits, devoid of such a heavily funded marketing organization, and despite this lopsided point of view being propagated by Gates at the highest levels and in most public venues, is a remarkable testament to Lincoln's adage that "you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

    It gives me hope.

  • by wardk (3037) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:16PM (#6340571) Journal
    I just want to know what everyone else is wondering, what size bowl is used for his haircuts?

    btw, MS didn't kill OS/2, IBM did to protect thier PC business and the Windows discounts that kept them competetive. It was IBM vs. IBM as much as it was MS vs. IBM. But I suppose it's the "victor" that gets to write history, no?
  • by chia_monkey (593501) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @01:24PM (#6340668) Journal
    Ok...it seems a bit silly to say "Well Windows beat out all the other OSes around" when you think about the computing scene then and the computing scene now.

    Back then, we had MS already deeply entrenched because of the licensing deal with MS-DOS. Windows was an obvious upgrade. So you buy a PC with MS-DOS, perhaps Windows, or a Mac. This is what the consumers bought. Large institutions were still working on UNIX, mainframes with COBOL, etc.

    Now...now you have a computer as common an appliance as a telephone and a toaster. MS is still deeply entrenched, no doubt about it. But this ignorance of "we beat other OSes before" won't last this time. Now we've got 8 year old kids beating the crap out of me with their *NIX coding, with these kids networking their house for their parents, playing with other operating systems. The kids see other alternatives to servers and OSes more suited to programming. So what if Linux isn't on the desktop yet. If it's got THIS much popularity without a pretty desktop face, just wait until it DOES get one. And do you really think...after the Internet bubble burst, companies would be blindly embracing something without a viable reason? IBM, HP going with Linux. Apple with a UNIX core...

    The point is, more people are actually willing to try other OSes right now, not just the select few that could afford a $3,000 286 Leading Edge Model D.
  • La vie en rose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLastUser (550621) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @02:18PM (#6341319)
    Bill's view of the world is predictably MS centric.

    Who cares what some corporate director thinks of Linux? Linux and OSS do not have to compete in the market as they are not of the market. They cannot be bought or sold, or controlled, driven out of business.

    OSS is not another Pepsi for the masses, its for coders, and people that want an OS that was created to be useful, not filled with stupid sh*t thought up by a focus group.

    Bill goes on about all of the hot new "technologies" that MS is creating, all with suitably meaningless code names, "longhorn", "lance", "infinity", "big sleek cat like thing". Who knows if any of these things will be useful. Most MS technologies seem to be focused on locking their customers in to their platform rather than providing any useful functionity. Paladium, Doc scripting, passport, the paperclip, need I say more?

    Commercial software is increasingly becoming a platform to get you to buy other stuff. Personally, I get enough advertising stuffed through my eyeballs already. Its like movie theatres, remember when you used to go to a movie pay your $2.50 and NOT be showen 30m of commercials before the movie started?

    In a nut shell, commercial software producers think a great enhancement is a talking paperclip whereas OSS producers think a popup blocker is a good feature.

    Just be happy, and grateful to OSS developers, that you have a choice.
  • OS/2 is the future. (Score:4, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @02:32PM (#6341497) Homepage Journal
    I sat in a room with a few hundred people way back when and heard Bill say that OS/2 was the future. I wonder if he will be proven right once again :)
  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @03:18PM (#6342022) Journal
    You mean Gates was sitting still for an interview, and no one thought to send a strike team or even a cruise missile? The spectre of this guy still haunts people. No one can move on because they think he might be lurking just around the next corner ready to exact retribution for abandoning him and his regime. What the He- Oh, wait. I'm thinking of Hussein. Never mind.

    Wait. You mean *Gates* was sitting still for...

  • by raw-sewage (679226) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @03:35PM (#6342198)
    As much as I love Linux and the free software movement, my biggest (personal) agenda is educating people about the pitfalls of proprietary data formats (vendor lock-in) and the freedom of open standards (choice).

    I think Bill's interview is typical PR material; anyone from MS's marketing group could probably give the same interview. But what scares me, is that every time Microsoft "innovates", all they really do is make stuff that is incompatible with anything non-Microsoft (and sometimes their own products aren't compatible!)

    That in mind, it seems more important to me to promote open standards than Linux itself. Of course I would love to see Linux have a respectable desktop market share for better OEM support. But what good is my Linux machine if I can't even surf the web because too many web pages are written only for IE? How much of a pain is it if I have to tell everyone to resend their MS Office documents in a format I can read (OOo won't always cut it)?

    And now we're seeing some cases where the US and/or state governments' are officially blessing Microsoft's otherwise incompatible data formats---this should be criminal! Public information that is avaialable electronically (either through the web or some other means) should not dictate which software is used to view, edit, modify or interact with that data.

    If you go to a "IE only" government website, you're effectively seeing a tax funded advertisement for Microsoft. Your taxes paid for the software purchase, for the staff to setup and maintain that system, and now you're effectively taxed again by being forced into purchasing some (very expensive) software. And people call open source communist?!

    I think we need to put some effort into a strong "inform the masses" campaign. An easy first step is to write editorials to your local paper brining to light the dangers of proprietary data formats and vendor lock-in. I was thinking about pre-scripting a lot of these letters and posting them on my website for all to use/borrow/steal/whatever. These letters also need to be sent to government representatives.

    The article should contain proposed solutions. As much as we love Linux and friends, we can't beat it down peoples' throats. Some other viable thoughts:

    • More pressure on Microsoft to release specs on their proprietary stuff (e.g. Office, IE-only features, etc) and insist on reference implementations for these data formats.
    • Push for legislation that guarantees public data sytems will use an open format (e.g. the OOo format)

    Finally, I think it's important to have some good, strong analogies or metaphores to illustrate the negative impact of the Microsoft monopoly (and their use of proprietray, non-compatible data formats). The most obvious analogy, to me, is as follows:

    What if Ford Motor Co. owned all the roads in the U.S.? Surely they would design the roads such that only Ford vehicles worked on them. And furthermore, they would hide behind IP laws to make it illegal for anyone to make a car for their roads. What if Ford only offered one or two models of cars that actually worked on these roads? And those cars were their most expensive?

    If the above scenario were true, public outrage would be rampant. Most people simply don't realize that this contrived situation is the case with Microsoft. Worse, people don't understand the implications of Microsoft literally owning your data.

    Welcome to the United States of Microsoft, comrade.

  • Summary (Score:4, Funny)

    by batkins (602341) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @04:13PM (#6342641) Homepage
    Let's be serious - he's in denial.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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