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Microsoft Software Linux

Microsoft Sends Linux Survey 1051

Posted by michael
from the inquiring-minds-want-to-know dept.
GnrlFajita writes "According to Newsforge, Microsoft is sending Linux users a survey asking why they use Linux, and what can be done to make Windows better. The article suggests taking the survey (or surveys, one for business users and one for home users), then sharing your answers with others in the community." Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN.
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Microsoft Sends Linux Survey

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  • Splash! (Score:5, Funny)

    by niko9 (315647) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:05PM (#7780360)
    ...and what can be done to make Windows better.

    Mr. Gates taking a long walk off a short pier?

    --
    • Re:Splash! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:10PM (#7780401)
      what can be done to make windows better:

      remove all the spyware, follow international standards protocolwise, give the user full control over security, drop that stupid online registration
      and stop the we are at war with the rest of the industry attitude and you will have my cash again.

      To make it short become the microsoft of 82-83 again...
    • Entering Phase 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by benna (614220) * <mimenarrator@g m a i l .com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:20AM (#7783861) Journal
      Let us have a short retrospect of a quotation of Mr. Mahatma Gandhi:

      "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win."
  • by RussHart (70708) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:06PM (#7780366) Homepage
    ...how about fully documenting all protocols and formats used (under a nice license) so that people can make products interoperable?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:09PM (#7780398)
      Come on now, be serious. We were thinking along the lines of a new Office Assistant(tm)? How about a nice talking fish?

      -BillG
    • by Almost-Retired (637760) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:21PM (#7780513)
      I took a look, at the first page. That was enough to make me hit the back button.

      Any questionaire that starts out with a legal header is up to no good. Now, if Bill were to knock on my front door, and was willing to actually talk about it without getting bent cause I said his eula's were a work of the devil (the fact that they are isn't open for discussion IMO), then maybe we could have an informative discussion.

      But you *know* what the chances of that are...

      First, we kill all the lawyers.

      --
      Cheers, Gene
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:44PM (#7780708)
        Microsoft is deliberately seeking information they can use against Linux. They will make use of any unfavorable comments about Linux in their own propaganda.

        The bottom line for me is exactly what you stated. They have a legal statement at the beginning that says they can make use of your answers however they want. Frankly, my comments about both Windows and Linux are professional opinions. People pay me for those. Microsoft explicitly stated that they weren't paying.

        Also, when it comes to a decision about what OS to put on my own hardware, they must discuss it on my terms, not theirs. Here's what Windows would have to have to compete with Linux:

        • Full source code for all Microsoft products released under the GPL.
        • All protocols, APIs and data formats fully documented.
        • All security holes disguised as features closed, permanently, and no new ones added, ever.
        • Dump Trusted Computing. It is about restricting the rights of the end user.
        • A tool set comparable to Linux, free. That is, compilers and interpreters for C, C++, Fortran, Ada, Pascal, Objective C, Prolog, Haskell, Lisp, Perl, Python, Awk, lex, yacc, Basic, etc., etc. Debuggers, libraries, editors, profilers. Libraries for test scaffolding like CppUnit and JUnit.
        • A promise that existing formats will be readable and losslessly convertable to future formats, forever.
        • A repudiation of their old EULAs and conversion of all of them to the GPL.
        • No forced upgrades.
        • No coerced upgrades, where existing users have to plead with people who have already upgraded to jump through hoops to avoid sending unreadable new formats.
        • Choices. Under Linux, I can choose Gnome, KDE, plain X with a variety of window managers etc. I can also choose AbiWord or OpenOffice or many others. I don't want a world where one company maintains a de facto standard and actively hinders anyone else's attempts to interact with it.


        There is nothing to trust about Microsoft.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:27PM (#7781050)
          Full source code for all Microsoft products released under the GPL.

          You could have ended your list here. The GPL addresses all of the remaining items.
        • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#7781078)
          They have a legal statement at the beginning that says they can make use of your answers however they want.

          Yup. That's been in the small print of every survey I've ever taken, and on the "comment on our product/service/whatever" form I've seen.

          What's your point?
        • by Devil (16134) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#7781080) Homepage
          "Microsoft is deliberately seeking information they can use against Linux. They will make use of any unfavorable comments about Linux in their own propaganda."

          Of course they will, but Linux users can always say, "Hey, Microsoft knows they have an inferior product, so they came to us for help." As much as /. people hate Windows, this is, I think, a good thing.

          First, by asking Linux users what they can do to improve Windows, it is a de facto admission that Windows is an inferior product. Second, maybe we could get some good things out of it, like fully-documented APIs and more-open protocols from Microsoft.

          However, don't expect Microsoft to release jack under the GPL. Put it out of your mind, because it'll never happen. And don't expect that Linux users are going to go easy on Microsoft. We have put them in our sights and will take them down, not through legal wrangling, but because the open-source community will out-build them.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:50PM (#7781195) Homepage Journal
          They will make use of any unfavorable comments about Linux in their own propaganda.
          Then write something that can't be used as propaganda. For example:

          Flexible file/directory-entry metadata allowing both spacial and browser based file/application management solutions

          Imagine, if you will, a marketing person looking at that. Are they seriously doing to write in an advert:

          Linux users agree: Linux is deficient. Over 90% of them say that Linux needs file and directory entry based metadata, a feature completely missing from Linux's primative ext3fs file system. And of the rest, 85% complained that Linux's use of older file formats rather than XML for critical files in /etc is a bit of a problem.
          Just write something critical of Linux that would be nice, is rather technical, and is just as applicable to Windows. Then you'll be providing positive input without worrying that one day you'll read a Microsoft ad:
          Linux users agree: Linux is deficient. Take, for example, the anonymous but traced-back comments of Fred Jones, of Middletown, Connecticut, who wrote: "Linux really needs a consistant user interface. And what's the deal with that directory structure? It's a mess, look at all those shared libraies." Hear that folks? Even Linux zealot Fred Jones admits that Linux is unusable. You should switch to Windows. You should switch... right now. Come to the warm and friendly side.
          If Microsoft wants to improve Windows, let 'em.
        • by Trepalium (109107) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:20PM (#7781408)
          • Clear, documented interactions between components
          • Error messages that can be traced back to the faulting component, rather than just to the error reporter. (Microsoft crash error messages have become progressively less useful. Windows NT blue screens, and Win95/98 application crash errors were actually useful. Windows XP blue screens, and application crash messages are useless.)
          • Documentation of all registry settings, regardless of if they should be modified manually or not. Most Linux apps have all the configuration settings documented in the appropriate man pages, or when that fails, there's the source code.
          These are the three things that get in my way more often than not when trying to troubleshoot a problem. The answer to format, and reinstall is rarely, if ever, acceptable.
        • by sammy baby (14909) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:41PM (#7781571) Journal
          Only on Slashdot could you find someone who says, "Frankly, my comments about both Windows and Linux are professional opinions. People pay me for those," followed by a bulleted list of exactly the things Microsoft had asked for. For free.
      • by catbutt (469582) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:51PM (#7780753)
        Now, if Bill were to knock on my front door, and was willing to actually talk about it ...

        But you *know* what the chances of that are...


        Um, you are indeed right, the chances are pretty low. Go figure.

        I mean, if Santa can visit EVERY SINGLE HOUSE ON THE PLANET in one night, delivering presents to each child in the world, you'd think the richest man in the world would be able to figure out how to personally speak with each Linux user. Geez....
      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:04PM (#7781287) Journal
        True story:

        I took the survey on my windows xp notebook, answered truthfully, and when I clicked "done", IE crashed, and closed all IE windows instantly. No error messages, nothing, just desktop.

        I am not sure if this is Microsoft saying "screw you then, go ahead and migrate" or if this is yet more evidence as to WHY I am migrating to begin with.
    • by mindriot (96208) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:10PM (#7780896)
      ...to answer this survey would be, "we use Linux because it is Free as in Speech." Any other answer is just a cheap way of giving MS helpful tips on how to make more money. Too bad the survey does not really allow this kind of answer. But, I think, if everybody participating said that (GNU/)Linux is the single choice because it is Free, we could leave a good impression... at least I suppose RMS would agree.

      So, if it is possible in any way, fill out the survey saying, "none of the given reasons are why I /really/ use GNU/Linux (although, of course, I get all these reasons as a side effect). I use it because it is Free." I wonder what MS would do if everybody answered the survey like that?
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:19PM (#7780980)
      How about allowing OEMs to sell dual-booting machines and let the people/market decide? I think we're way past the point of "fixing" windows and are in the area where people should be able to test the "competition" from Dell, Compaq, or whoever without the OEM's fearing losing their contracts with MS.

      We should just be able to say "Yes, I want windows 2000 on there and Mandrake 9." And the OEM should make sure it has drivers for both systems.
  • by DeathPenguin (449875) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:07PM (#7780371)
    Last four options in the "rank the reasons you like Linux for the home" section:
    The satisfaction of not giving Microsoft more money.
    I don't trust Microsoft.
    I don't want to use proprietary software.
    I don't want to use commercial software.

    I was almost taking the survey seriously until I saw those options.
    • by ibbey (27873) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:14PM (#7780434) Homepage
      I was almost taking the survey seriously until I saw those options.

      Actually, those are important questions. Any surveys that say that any of those areas are "very important", are immediately assumed to be from zealots, and there answers are given less credence if not ignored completely. I haven't submitted my response yet (still debating on whethter or not I want to help them.) but when I do, the answer to all four of those questions will be #2 out of the 5 point scale.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:32PM (#7780615)
        So what would happen if someone taking a survey notices that a significant number of their responses come from what they consider to be zealots? Then maybe the survey takers are the zealots?

        Maybe it is just my zealotry. But those four reasons seem like real reasons to me. Not the only ones.

        I find it offensive that some people try to paint Open Source advocates as zealots, but Microsoft zealots are painted as "reasonable". It is reasonable that Microsoft wants to declare war on my profession. They want to take the bread off my table. They want complete and total domination. If there is anywhere left to work it can only be at Microsoft's pleasure as a Microsoft raped solution provider or somehow in collusion with Microsoft. They say in interviews that they believe that their fair share of the market is 100%.

        I am just being defensive. Microsoft is the one declaring war on me.

        Why it is unreasonable to take a customer-centric view of everything rather than a vendor-centric view of everything.

        I regularly have debates with a Windows zealot. He is every bit as biased, passionate and a zealot as I am. But he doesn't believe that he is. I recognize that I am. I try to still make reasonable decisions. But how can a True Believer Zealot (tm) who thinks they are NOT a zealot make reasonable decisions?

        How is it that only Open Source people are zealots?
      • However (Score:4, Insightful)

        by msgmonkey (599753) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#7780793)
        There is no option for "I prefer Linux over Windows", or "Linux suites my needs nicely and it's free". I don't know if its done on purpose or it's just arrogance but the question seems to assume that Linux is not very good and there must be some other reason for you using it home.
    • by catbutt (469582) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:26PM (#7780554)
      I'm confused as to why those would make you not take the survey seriously. They seem like valid answers, and if that's the way people feel, they should want to know about it, right? I would not be surprised if they designed their survey by first asking people to answer the questions "free form" (i.e. not multiple choice), and then tried to include the most popular answers in their multiple choice.
  • Somehow pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DuSTman31 (578936) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:07PM (#7780373)

    like when the retarded kid at school asks you how to become more popular..

    Still, the biggest advantage I can think of is the open source model - the industry has been working for years on ways to increase reuse, but commercial licensing and patent issues get in the way of that.

  • by cRueLio (679516) <cruelio@@@msn...com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:07PM (#7780375) Homepage Journal
    First they were insulting Linux and saying it has problems bigger than windows, and in the last week they seem to have shown interest in learning from windows. this is like an admission that their software is worse than linux. just my $.02
    • by helix400 (558178) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:36PM (#7780647) Journal
      I thought just the opposite. This is what MS needs to do to gain respect. They flat out asked us "Ok, tell us, what do you think, we value your opinions and we want to know." MS has never done this before.

      If MS shows respect and tolerance to the open-source community, it can win over many Linux fans. Too often, they've spread FUD about Linux, and they write off Linux users any chance they can. If they show signs of friendship, and even show interoperability with open-source products, that would lessen many people's hatred of Microsoft.
      • by cornjones (33009) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:03PM (#7780847) Homepage
        They flat out asked us "Ok, tell us, what do you think, we value your opinions and we want to know." MS has never done this before.


        Do you think that is what they are really doing though? My first thought was along the lines of yours. If they are asking maybe they will actually listen. But I don't really see them listening to most of items that I see being brought up (here at least)
        1. Security. Everybody wants tehm to be more secure but it isn't like they are putting the bugs in on purpose. They may be sending the products out the door before they are ready but that isn't going to change, market pressures being what they are. They have made some strides but it is the most popular and hammered on OS. Add that to their old mantra of making everything work together (as long as it is MS branded) and they are always going to have some security issues.

        2. Open standards. We all want to see NTFS and the office formats documented and released. Never gonna happen. MS Office Rul3z the business world. They have considerable disincentive to make everybody else be able to use their doc formats. They have gotten where they are through "embrace and extend" and I don't see that changing.

        Those are the main two I am seeing and have heard people talking about. Maybe we will get some small things in there, people making suggestions for their favorite eye candy piece but the nuts and bolts aren't going to change.

        Do i think we should do the survey? Ehh, i am up in the air about that. It does seem like we would be giving them free market research but at least maybe we could get tab browsing or something built in.
    • by Kethinov (636034) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#7780767) Homepage Journal
      Linux does have bigger problems that Windows. Difficult installers and obscure, overcomplicated package management systems are just the tip of the iceburg. Then we get into all the bugs or missing features that KDE/GNOME have. Like no way to change the screen resolution without editing xf86config in KDE and no way to get a columned list view of files in Nautilus in GNOME.

      Yes, these are bigger problems that Windows doesn't have. In Windows, installation is easy, package management is (now) painless, and there are no major missing features or bugs that can't be solved with either some GUI workaround (as opposed to Linux's often "edit some obscure config file") or a quaint third party program.

      Despite these problems though if you can muddle through them Linux is still better than Windows. It's filesystems are vastly better written, the kernel is ten times more stable, and best of all it's the most configurable operating system in existence. You can make Linux look any way you want.

      I'm nowhere close to being a guru on Linux. I still can't even make it through a Debian installation (partly because my internet connection sucks). I despise portage and apt-get. RPMs, IMO, would be far better if they didn't suck with their can't solve their own dependencies problem. And worst of all, I have 10 years of experience with Windows. But despite all of this against Linux, I still prefer it over Windows.

      So, as you can see my from my post, it's easy to both critisize and love linux at the same time, and that is exactly what I believe Microsoft is doing.
      • by Feztaa (633745) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:39PM (#7781131) Homepage
        Like no way to change the screen resolution without editing xf86config in KDE

        X 4.3 introduced a method for changing the screen resolution on the fly, without restarting X. GNOME 2.6 has a utility to do it, I don't know about KDE, though. At any rate, there's no longer a technical reason that KDE can't change the resolution itself, so expect that to get fixed in later versions. I've always seen this complaint as a non issue, though, since I chose my resolution at install time and I haven't needed to change it since.

        no way to get a columned list view of files in Nautilus in GNOME.

        Are you trolling? Seriously dude, View --> View As List, you're done. Two clicks.

        package management is (now) painless

        Unless Microsoft has radically changed the installation procedure since I last used windows (win98), their "package management" is pathetic. Every program has to write their own nonstandard installation wizard program that puts files all over your filesystem, and then to uninstall that program you have to hope that the wizard cleans up all it's files (most leave lots of crappy stupid files behind, and they leave their registry entries behind too, giving way for little "clean up" utilities that scan the harddrive for files to delete and registry entries to remove, that I used to be so fond of before I discovered linux.

        I despise portage and apt-get.

        apt-get rules! It's almost as good as yum (see below) :)

        RPMs, IMO, would be far better if they didn't suck with their can't solve their own dependencies problem.

        The problem with RPM dependencies is a problem with the tool you're using, not any inherent problem with RPMs. For example, I'm using Fedora Core, and I use yum to install stuff, everything works great, all dependencies are handled for you. Want to install a program? "yum install programname". Want to update all the software on your box? "yum update". Want to remove something? "yum remove programname". No hassles. Windows can only dream of being this easy. If you want a GUI program to point & drool, I'm sure something like that exists, but frankly I don't give a damn :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:07PM (#7780376)
    That would make Windows better for customers.

    Oh, you wanted to know how to make it better for MICROSOFT.
  • by BlkPanther (515751) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:08PM (#7780383) Homepage
    If we were all really non-hypocritical, and truly interested in security, and usability, and not just microsoft bashing, this is a great opportunity to help them out and point out their flaws.... NAH!!

    But seriously, we all complain about MS's problems, now we've actually got a outlet to complain to. If you don't speak up now, you really have no room to speak later!
    • by tsa (15680) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:28PM (#7780573) Homepage
      Come on, MS reads /. too. If they don't know why we don't like them by now they will never get better.
    • by pirhana (577758) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:31PM (#7780604)
      >> But seriously, we all complain about MS's problems, now we've actually got a outlet to complain to. If you don't speak up now, you really have no room to speak later!

      Its not that microsoft doesnt know their weakness or why people go after linux. They know the reasons behind all these. And people have on so many occasions shown them what is the problem with MS softwares and the business practice followd by MS and why they dont like it. But the response from MS have been less than encouraging at best and bullying at worst. This survey is also, I suspect not something to know the "heart and mind" of linux users and tailor their software according to that. But I would suspect that they will use the informations from such linux studies to look in to ways to CIRCUMVENT these problems in a clever way. MS cannot and will not change their busniess tactics easily. Their entire business culture is build upon un-ethical and shoddy practices. To expect any revolutionary or fundamental change from them is naive at best. They have never even admitted their wrong doing any time despite being found guilty on so many occasions. That itself shows what sort of a mindset the people at the holm of Microsoft does have.
    • by Idou (572394) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:34PM (#7780633) Journal
      I am sorry, but I believe this to be the point which they continue to miss . . . and apparently you do too. Without a process being "Open" there is no accountability and no assurance that the process meets the claimed criteria.

      What value is there for me to fill out this closed survey? So that MS can later make false claims about Linux users that I can never check because the survey was closed?

      It is not a matter of MS being able to scrutinize the community through surveys. It is a matter of the community being able to scrutinize the claims MS makes that affect us. The goal is to attain the truth, which is impossible in a closed process.
  • doh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:08PM (#7780385) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft asks Linux users, "How can we get your business?'

    ...

    They apparently don't plan to release the results of their surveys...

    They just don't get it, do they?

    Otherwise, I agree with some of the respondants on NewsForge - don't do the survey. It's just free marketing etc. info for Microsoft. They're not worth it.

    • by Cowardly Anonym (30327) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @06:01PM (#7782048)

      (I'm sure no one will read this comment because I'm about 3 hours too late, but whatever...)

      First, IAAMR (I am a market researcher.) I wasn't able to get into the survey, but a Newsforge reader posted the questions here [newsforge.com].

      I've seen a lot of consumer surveys over the years, and this looks fairly typical. Most surveys of this nature are proprietary -- the research results will be for internal use only and will not be released to the public, mainly because most companies don't want their competitors or detractors to find out about their product development or marketing plans in advance. Whenever possible, companies will try to prevent anyone from even knowing that they're conducting a survey. [1] Obviously, in this case, there's no way that Microsoft can prevent the (Linux-using) world at large from finding out that they're doing a survey, but I guarantee you that they do not plan to release the results to anyone outside Microsoft.

      This sort of questionnaire is designed to find out:

      • (a) What do people like about our products/our brand/our image?
      • (b) What do people dislike about our products/our brand/our image?
      • (c) How can we make people in our target market associate us with the things mentioned in section (a) rather than (b)?

      The questions that are of the most interest to Microsoft will be those asking for the respondent's opinions:

      • 10. Who would you recommend use Linux at home?
      • 11. Rank the reasons you like Linux for the home.
      • 12. Rank the importance of various tasks you use your home Linux system for.
      • 15. List the top one or two possible improvements that you would like to see made to Windows.
      • 16. List the top one or two improvements that you would like to see made to Linux.

      The rest of the questions require factual responses, and the responses gathered from them will be used to see if there are any patterns in the opinion data. In market research data analysis, we're not looking at the opinions of any specific individual; only those of various groups (Linux novices vs. experts, dual-booters vs. non, etc.), so you needn't worry about any personal retribution from Microsoft. They won't care that John Doe in Nebraska likes Linux for the home because it's "More secure than Windows", but they will be interested to learn that in general, the people who dual boot (Question 14) are more likely than those who don't to say that they like Linux for the home because it has "Better command line" (Question 11).

      You may have noticed the italicized phrase "in our target market" in point (c) above. Microsoft isn't going to try to convince the hardcore Linux zealots(TM) to switch to Windows. They're going after people who aren't totally committed to either Linux or Windows yet. People who have a strong preference for Windows are already in the bag; and it would be a waste of time and money to try to convert the diehard Linux advocates. Any product development or advertising based on the results of this survey will have only 2 aims: to make the lukewarm Windows users feel that they've made the right decision, and to make the lukewarm Linux users feel that they're missing out on something better.

      [1] Case in point: While I was typing this, my phone rang. It was a market research company (one of my company's competitors) conducting a survey. I agreed to participate, and lied when they asked, "Do you work for a market research company?" (People in my field do this all the time to find out what contracts our competitors have been awarded. We like to call it "gathering competitive intelligence".) Unfortunately, one of my responses to another question disqualified me from the survey. But now I know that our competitor has a contract to conduct research about tooth whitening for a manufacturer of dental care products. I'll be checking with our sales department on Monday to see if we recently lost out on a bid for this contract.

  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:09PM (#7780395)
    I use linux because..

    [ ] I am a communist
    [ ] I am a terrorist
    [ ] All of the above
  • by crushinghellhammer (727226) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:11PM (#7780411)
    Could this possibly be a fake? You would think Microsoft would plaster the website with TMs, and legalese.

    Also is it common practice for big corps to use SurveyMonkey. If they are being so open about it, why didn't they have it someplace on Microsoft's site?

    Just a thought..
    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:29PM (#7780586)
      On top of that, there's at least one mistake in the format of the survey.

      When entering processor speed, 1.1Ghz to 2Ghz is two options.

      The whole thing just feels somewhat unprofessional and hacked together. The options just don't gel.

      Given the amount of time and effort real marketing men put into surveys (and I've been on the wrong end of far too many), it just doesn't feel like something microsoft would put out.

      Plus, they would normally use microsoft.com to do the survey; http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/communi ty/centers/management/surveys/sus_survey.aspx
      for example. Or, they'd contract out to a survey company, which is their normal route.

      I smell hoax.
  • by essdodson (466448) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:11PM (#7780416) Homepage
    Why did MS choose to use surveymonkey? This seems like a hoax.
  • My answers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cluge (114877) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:12PM (#7780417) Homepage
    Dear Mr MS Marketing,

    I use linux because

    1. I expect to own software I pay for
    2. I expect software I pay for to work as advertised
    3. I expect not to be foreced into downloading other components I don't want of said software to keep my machine secure. (IE media player has to be downloaded to make explorer secure)
    4. I expect to not be forced to give up all and any reasonable legal rights when I open the package.
    5. I do not want to deal with software that guarantees via the liscence agreeement that the publisher can remotely look at my computer at will.

    As soon as the law makers get their opposable digit out of their anal orpheus, and restore a modicum of protection to consumers I don't have any faith that any of the points that I have outlined above will be addressed. Lets face it, you pay for the software, break open the box, and you have no legal expectation that the software will work, in any way shape or form.

    AngryPeopleRule [angrypeoplerule.com]
    • Re:My answers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by goon america (536413) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:21PM (#7780522) Homepage Journal
      2. I expect software I pay for to work as advertised

      Strictly speaking, Linux cannot and probably will never be able to "advertise" in the same sense that Microsoft can. This, if anything, is a hindrance (not unsurmountable) to the spread of Linux.

      I think what you really mean is "What you see is what you get." Microsoft products are the exact opposite of both parts of that statment.

  • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda AT etoyoc DOT com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:14PM (#7780440) Homepage Journal
    Because I belong to a cult that believes that information should be free (in both cost and free of use restrictions.) This cult also believes in returning derived works back to the collective, so that the movement can continue to grow.

    We also worship caffiene and you have done bad things to Java.

  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:14PM (#7780441)
    From the survey:
    • Its cheaper
    • There is more free add-on software
    • Better gaming experience
    • Ability to run on old hardware
    • More secure than Windows
    • I want to get more Linux experience to help my career
    • No need to constantly keep installing updates and fixes
    • Integration with consumer electronics devices
    • Better performance than Windows
    • Easier to use than Windows
    • Easier to install than Windows
    • Better install and uninstall of additional software
    • No enforced license registration
    • Better scripting
    • Better command line
    • Better device and peripheral support
    • Access to source code
    • Easier to customize exactly how I want it
    • More intuitive, simpler to understand
    • Linux community support
    • Better reliability
    • The satisfaction of not giving Microsoft more money.
    • I don't trust Microsoft
    • I don't want to use proprietary software
    • I don't want to use commercial software
  • by inkswamp (233692) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:16PM (#7780455)
    4) Why do you use Linux? (check all that apply)
    ( ) It's not Windows
    ( ) It's not Windows-like
    ( ) It's not a Microsoft product
    ( ) It doesn't crush innovation with its monopoly
    ( ) It doesn't need a security patch every 15 minutes

    5) How can Windows be better? (check all that apply)
    ( ) By being Linux
    ( ) By being Linux-like
    ( ) By not being a Microsoft product
    ( ) By not crushing innovation with its monopoly
    ( ) By not needing a security patch every 15 minutes

  • riiight (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rumagent (86695) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:16PM (#7780465)
    Dear Rebel Alliance

    Why don't you like me anymore?

    Love
    Palpatine
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby (629248) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:16PM (#7780466)
    Here's what I would suggest:

    1) Stop violating the law and pay restitution to each and every company that has been damaged and run out of business by Microsoft's immoral business practices.

    2) Rescind the patent for the "long file name."

    3) Have Bill Gates and the current management team resign from the company.

    4) Drop your prices for your Office suite and OS to zero dollars and zero cents (plus or minus zero) to make it competitive.

    5) Do not release your code until it's done, so security can be improved (like some open source projects are able to do).

    6) Remove the requirements enter authentication codes and product keys. (Many open source products don't require this.)

    7) Use open protocols and stop trying to sabotage everything to make a buck.

    8) Try and improve your dismal reputation for shoddy work.

    9) When making a charitable contribution cease donating "in-kind" the value of software given just so you can fleece the taxpayers of the tax deduction.

    10) God forbid, pay some federal income tax you dirtbags.

    11) In short, there is nothing you can do. Have a nice day.

  • pay me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kardar (636122) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:16PM (#7780468)

    I always looked at stuff like this as helping some executive somewhere in the marketing deparment get a huge bonus.

    Give me some!



  • by goon america (536413) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:18PM (#7780481) Homepage Journal
    Why is "Don't want to help hegemonic evil spread across the face of the Earth" not one of the options?
  • by glassesmonkey (684291) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:18PM (#7780483) Homepage Journal
    You Must Enable Cookies...

    In order to take this survey, you must enable cookies on your browser. It's easy to do - just follow these simple instructions.
    Haha! They are so clueless, they don't even have instructions for Mozilla [mozilla.org] !! I thought, wouldn't it be awesome for them to see the UA strings being non-microsoft, then saw their moronic cookie notice for IE 6.0/5.5/5.0/4.1/4.0 or Netscape 4.0+... (I kinda feel sorry for them being so out of touch)
  • Question 1: Do you think Microsoft should be:
    A. More evil
    B. Less evil
    C. Microsoft is just the right amount of evil right now.

    Question 2: Concerning how much the next version of Windows should steal from Macintosh OS 10.3, Windows should:
    A. Steal more from Apple
    B. Steal a lot more from Apple
    C. Still every single element of OS 10.3
    D. The current crappy, half-assed ripoff of OS X is currently sufficient for all my computing needs.

    Question 3: Next year, how many Windows-specific viruses would you like to receive in e-mail:
    A. The same amount as now
    B. More
    C. A whole lot more
    D. I have a Windows box still sending out copies of SoBig at this very moment.

    Question 4: How large would you like the next Windows security hole to be?
    A. Large enough to accommodate a small dog.
    B. Large enough to drive an SUV through.
    C. Large enough to drive a Mack truck through.
    D. You know that huge crawler thing NASA uses to take the space shuttle out to the pad? Yeah, that big.

    Question 5: C'mon, be serious. How much for your soul?
    A. Already sold mine.
    B. An Xbox with the complete library of available games.
    C. 10000 shares of Microsoft stock.
    D. Natalie Portman
    E. CowboyNeal

  • by Hellkitten (574820) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:27PM (#7780563)

    • Replace DOS with a decent shell with better scripting support
    • Add parameters to tools so they can be used without a gui (eg. in scripts)
    • Embrace but don't extend
    • Be standard compliant
    • Document own file formats and protocols. Without NDAs or agreements limiting how it can be used
    • Fix security, and be open about outstanding security issues
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:28PM (#7780578)
    Microsoft has these posters floating around with pictures of Tux on a milk carton "with a frown". It says "two down, three to go" Then it goes on to say if each MS employee converts 5 linux installs into Windows server installs, that MS could then "outsell" linux in the server market.
  • by O (90420) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:33PM (#7780619)
    I attempted to take the survey, and for one targeted toward Linux end-users, you think they'd make one that was functional with MozillaFirebird.

    I tried clicking on all of the little radio buttons, which instead of being normal radio buttons, are stupid little images that are supposed to do something when clicked.

    Well, I clicked and I clicked and none of them were selected. I submitted the survey anyway, and ended up with a blank page so I don't even know what will happen.

    I used Firebird on Jaguar (my stupid KVM broke, so no Linux box for a few days). But, I don't think Firebird acts radically different on OS X than on Linux.

    Guess they don't really want my feedback, eh?
  • by bigHairyDog (686475) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:50PM (#7780750)

    This is golden. Right off the survey, written by microsoft employee(s), suggested reasons you might not like M$!

    1. It's cheaper
    2. There is more free add-on software.
    3. Ability to run on old hardware
    4. More secure than Windows
    5. I want to get more Linux experience to help my career.
    6. No need to constantly keep installing updates and fixes
    7. Better performance
    8. Better support for networking standards
    9. Easier to use
    10. Easier to install
    11. Better install and uninstall of additional software and drivers.
    12. No enforced license registration.
    13. Better scripting
    14. Better command line
    15. Better wireless networking support
    16. Easier networking setup
    17. Better TCP/IP version 6 support
    18. Better device and peripheral support than Windows.
    19. Better centralized administration than Windows
    20. Better directory service than Windows
    21. Access to source code
    22. Easier to customize exactly how I want it.
    23. Fewer reboots required with system changes or failures
    24. More intuitive, simpler to understand.
    25. Linux community support.
    26. Easier to find qualified help.
    27. Doesn't require as much detailed expertise.
    28. Can hire skilled Linux experts more inexpensively.
    29. Better reliability.
    30. The satisfaction of not giving Microsoft more money
    31. I don't trust Microsoft.
  • Wow, what jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dolohov (114209) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @02:53PM (#7780775)
    No, I don't mean Microsoft, I mean all the posts I've read here so far.

    We have nothing to fear from the world's largest software maker paying attention to the needs and wants of the Linux community. Really. Honestly. We've loathed them for years because their software sucks -- why not help them do it better? If your answer is that they *can't* do it better, then fine. But that's not my answer. I can think of a number of things that I'd like them to do. I'll still use Linux, but I'm hopeful that those times I'm obligated to use Windows won't be as painful.

    Or are you too afraid that Microsoft can beat Linux after all?
  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burns.hotmail@com> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:04PM (#7780860)
    It might be helpful if Microsoft would act like a real business instead of a government subsidized utility and do some real risk analysis of the security risks associated with Windows. Is there any reason to assume that ever major gang tjat conducts financial fraud hasn't infiltrated Micro$oft at this point? What audits of the security of Windows have been conducted that would mitigate this?
  • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john DOT oyler AT comcast DOT net> on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:07PM (#7780873) Journal
    #1 Stability - Windows 2000 fixes this, relatively speaking. Still, it wasn't even targeted to me, the home user. Figures.

    #2 Webserver - I've been known to run a website off my cable modem, and while Windows could handle this, the 10 concurrent connections thing is ridiculous. They can't figure out how to license it to make money, without making is useless to me, that's their problem. And don't even get me started on IIS/PWS exploits.

    #3 Command line - It's taken a few years for me to become competent with it... but I never want to go back to the control panel bullshit. I don't why they're so scared of it, short of being ashamed of dos.

    #4 Developer tools - Let's face it, I'll never be a kernel hacker. The little coding I do, does suck, and that will never change. But I can, with so many languages, I couldn't even list them all. And for free. Compare this to $600 for a non-crippled Visual Studio. C'mon... something is wrong here. No provision is made for the hobbyist developer. Trying to wring money out of someone that is constantly broke like I am, or maybe even a teenager, just so they can write little doodad programs, it stinks. Hell, maybe even a crippled VS would do, if it were free. Even command line tools. The only guy I know who can honestly be called a guru, says that he might never have tried linux, if there had been some sort of hobbyist Visual C in win3.11/95...

    #5 You never innovate. Ever. Just steal ideas... I can think of 20 things off the top of my head that windows could improve, if it cared to. For brevity's sake, here's one example: Why can I only copy/paste one thing at a time? I'd much rather have a queue-based copy, so that it doesn't overwrite the last clipboard object. To select which to paste, hold the control, and keep tapping V until my correct paste appears. This is so simple, so obvious, that a loser like me sees it. Why can't the geniuses at M$? And don't even start with the little graphical widget in Office, not only is it Office specific, but it's the wrong idea. Duh.
  • My response... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SealBeater (143912) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:08PM (#7780884) Homepage
    15. List the top one or two possible improvements that you would like to see made to Windows.

    Nothing. You don't understand, your whole design philosiphy is flawed. You are presenting to the user little boxes that say "this far and no further" Such boxes do not exist with Linux. For instance, I can network every computer in my home, multiple firewire, multiple ethernet, SCSI if I want to, bond them all into one virtual interface, install openmosix, have a cluster, have it serve a webpage or my mp3s and I can do it from the internet cafe. From the command line. For free.
    I don't have to worry about viruses. I don't have to worry about a document I write containing identifying information about me. I don't have to worry about what's the next thing that is going to attack my box, due to your screw ups. I don't have to worry about my computer doing things that you want it to do rather that what I want it to do. Free upgrades, for life. Don't like something? Change it. Would you like to have no bloat? Rip out X Would you like your apps to be optimized to your CPU? OK, change your $CFLAGS. Got old hardware? No problem, what do you want to do? Mail? Web? Game server? GUI overhead? What's that? You don't understand. Windows is a fisher price toy.

    16. List the top one or two improvements that you would like to see made to Linux.

    Gnome, stop trying to be another microsoft. Don't walk down the same road. Some of us don't want binary format registry file configuration files that can't be edited by hand.

    GTK, some of us like to run ./configure --disable-nls and not have the script ignore us. We don't want all the translations and some of us do notice and don't like it when we tell software to do something basic like this and it ignores us.

    Glibc, modualize the security options. Let the user choose the level of encryption. There is a project that replaced the stock md5 with blowfish. This is a good idea.

    SealBeater
    • Re:My response... (Score:5, Informative)

      by caseih (160668) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:41PM (#7781144)
      Gnome, stop trying to be another microsoft. Don't walk down the same road. Some of us don't want binary format registry file configuration files that can't be edited by hand.
      I'm surprised how often this comes up. gconf is not binary only; it has a hiearchy and looks like the window registry, but it's stored in xml and you can edit it with vi! Each node in gconf is stored in it's own file (think equivalent to the dot file). Lets drop this little complaint here and how. It's simply not true. The registry in theory isn't a bad idea, either. It was just so poorly done in Windows that MS is dropping it completely in Longhorn. I think it will be replaced with a more distributed, meta-registry approach, which is actually what gconf already does. Hopefully that will mean each registry entry will be contained within the app folder itself in Longhorn (a la OS X).
  • by jdclucidly (520630) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:17PM (#7780964) Homepage

    The best reply to this has been one that Jonathan Hutchins posted to our KCLUG mailing list:

    You know, I was going to answer this. I even started to list the main reasons
    why I'm currently converting all of my Windows systems to Linux.

    Then I returned to my senses. Microsoft has made it abundantly clear that it
    views competitors as enemies. Competition is to be smotherd, obliterated,
    discredited, or if all else fails, assimilated.

    So why does Microsoft want to know what makes Linux great? So it can refute
    it, tailoring it's FUD campaigns more carefully? So it can find other
    tactics like it's support of SCO's lawsuits to impede Linux's strengths? So
    it can engineer it's own software to lock Linux systems out, prevent them
    from succeeding in mixed environments?

    We'd all like to believe that it's so it can target those strengths as ways to
    enhance it's own software, but years track record show that even when
    Microsoft does this, it also does the "take away their air" tactics and is
    ultimately more interested in it's own "triumph" than in the advancement of
    technology.

    No, Mr. Surkan, I don't believe you're the kindly uncle who just wants to
    understand us better. Even if your personal motives are pure, even if the
    infomation you collect is used for good, it will also be picked over by the
    best experts in the world for any scrap that can be used against Linux - and
    ultimately against us.



    KC Linux Users Group -- to unsubscribe send mail to majordomo@kclug.org
    Enter without the quotes in body of message "unsubscribe kclug"
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:42PM (#7781151)
    Maybe, if they've been paying attention to the infinite number of rants out there on the web, they'd already know the reasons why, instead of groping around in the dark. Slashdot is but one source of information about Why We Don't Like Windows. This looks like more of a PR move than anything, something they can point at and say "Look! We're trying to listen to the consumers here!" It's like the government holding a referendum once the populace have been openly revolting.

    At any rate, if they truly want to know why I don't like Windows and why I as a sysadmin would refuse to run it on any of our servers, here it is (again):

    • Our customers hate downtime. The time it takes to reboot a server counts as downtime. Therefore, I shouldn't have to reboot the server just to change a few settings, I should at most only have to restart the service, and I should expect that that will only take about 3 seconds at most.
    • When my boss pays $4000+ for a piece of software, he actually expects it to work as promised, he expects to be able to rework it to fit his peculiar needs, and do it without waiving all legal rights by opening a box that could very well be filled with air.
    • I would like it very much if you would stop introducing spectacularly huge, spectacularly obvious, and spectacularly stupid security holes into software that comes with Windows (or in Windows). There's only, oh, a billion people using Outlook Express, and yes, if by default you automatically run any and all attachments that come in e-mail from un-trusted parties, you're going to have a few viruses.
    • The corallary of this of course is "don't create a scripting language for e-mail please." It's not the hacker's fault for taking advantage of the security holes any half-baked 12 year old with two brain cells to rub together can see. Would you trust an engineering company that built bridges which could be toppled by any miscreant with a rowboat and a can of spray paint?
    • Real sysadmins use a command line. As a result of this, they can work real magic instead of just keeping things going. You have been actively taking steps backwards with your command line.
    • I want to be able to run programs automatically in the middle of the night and make them do whatever I want them to. With Windows I can't even use the CD player to act as an alarm clock. This is a result of having a crappy command line and windows programs that don't use command line switches.
    • What do you think historians will think of .doc format? I like open formats thank you very much.

    I'm not going to submit it to their damn survey. I'd rather do it this way. It's called an open letter. But then I guess they just don't like *anything* that's open.
  • Two birds... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stubear (130454) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @03:44PM (#7781166)
    ...with one stone. If people answewred this this survey with the answers they gave here then Microsoft got you guys hook, line, and sinker. Now they can demonstrate to the business community that you guys are irrational morons with the intellect of a three year old. Congratulations.

    If on the other hand you truly answered as responsible adults, which many of you don't seem to be, then they got some excellent advice on ways they can make Windows better and stem the adoption of Linux at home and businesses.

    This has to be one of Microsoft's more ingenious marketing efforts to date.
  • by mr_burns (13129) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#7781511)
    Is this how SCO is going to find out who to sue?

    Nobody's going to tell SCO directly that they are strapped for cash (can't afford licenses or lawyers) so they have a couple thousand linux boxen instead. So MS puts out this 'improve windows' survey to do that job. Then they 'publish' the results to 'select partners' , SCO being one of them.

    Then SCO knows who will be a pushover for setting precedent. Maybe that or get the 'proof' that IBM is able to refute accepted by another judge in another venue.

    In other words, don't fill out this survey unless you've got a few hundred million dollars laying around and the will to spend it on lawyers.

  • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) * on Sunday December 21, 2003 @05:07PM (#7781709) Homepage
    Just reading their questions makes it abundantly clear to me that they don't understand the potential of Linux:

    2.What best describes your involvment with Linux?

    Hobbyist
    End user
    Informal team computer expert
    Front lines IT support
    IT administrator
    Developer of internally used applications
    Developer of applications for sale
    IT manager
    Consultant

    I'm focusing in particular on "Developer of internally used applications" vs "Developer of applications for sale". In Microsoft's world, those are the only two alternatives. In the world of open-source, there's a wonderfully happy medium in-between. What about the growing group of developers whose job is to take existing open-source software, improve it for internal use, then release it back to the community (like RedHat, Apple, AOL, RealNetworks, NASA, etc.)? What about developers who write free, open-source software to work with the hardware that their company produces (like Myricom)?

    In Microsoft's world, the only reasons to develop software are for your own personal needs, or to sell to make a profit.
  • by Zarf (5735) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @05:22PM (#7781804) Journal
    Microsoft could have crushed the Open Source movement if it had given away one of it's development platforms for free. If they had fostered a Java-esque or CPAN-esque software repository... if they had given free SDK's for windows out... if they supported or encouraged the development of free servers, browsers, desktop systems, and support utilities... THEN Microsoft could have crushed the Open Source movement when it was just beginning.

    But, then... it wouldn't be "Microsoft" would it? If Microsoft does these things... will Microsoft keep "Microsoft-like" control over the software market?

    People are lazy. If you could do everything you do now on Linux without having to learn Linux ... would you? Many people say yes, many people say no. Are enough people that are lazy enough to "just stay with Microsoft" developers? Are they a large enough group that they'd cripple the OSS movement?

    I doubt it. But, I think that it's still early enough for Microsoft to do a complete 180 and hold it's market share virtually indefinately. Try this on for size: GNUM, GNUM is Not Unix by Microsoft. I'm sure they'll call it something different.
    • by greygent (523713) on Sunday December 21, 2003 @06:34PM (#7782234) Homepage
      Microsoft could have crushed the Open Source movement if it had given away one of it's development platforms for free.

      They give away the .NET Framework (which includes everything you need to develop applications), their scripting languages, and vast amounts of documentations, case studies, examples, advice, and support (via newsgroups and community sites). All for free.

      If they had fostered a Java-esque or CPAN-esque software repository

      This doesn't make sense? Java-esque? CPAN-esque?

      if they had given free SDK's for windows out

      Sigh. They do. http://msdn.microsoft.com

      if they supported or encouraged the development of free servers, browsers, desktop systems, and support utilities...

      They do. I've received tons of help and support from Microsoft employees via their Development-related newsgroups. They have staff that proactively help developers, even us evil developers who like to write free, open source software (Gasp! Open source Windows developers?!?). They have bee extremely helpful, as is their vast MSDN site(s).

      THEN Microsoft could have crushed the Open Source movement when it was just beginning.

      They kind of have, that's why they're an illegal monopoly and "normal" companies don't have Linux all over their desktops.

      If anything, the open source community is starting to force Microsoft to stop being lazy once again and be innovative. Microsoft has a nasty habit of getting lazy when it has no competition, and fierce when it does have competition.

      But, then... it wouldn't be "Microsoft" would it? If Microsoft does these things... will Microsoft keep "Microsoft-like" control over the software market?

      See above. If you're old enough to remember, you might remember the days when IBM was the big evil, and Microsoft was the respectable underdog that everyone cheered for.

      If you could do everything you do now on Linux without having to learn Linux ... would you? Many people say yes, many people say no.

      I don't use Linux much anymore, except for occasional tinkering. This is due to many reasons: Microsoft now makes top-notch server products. NT 4 was complete shit. Just complete fucking shit. Windows 2000 was really good. Active Directory was great. Servers didn't crash all the time. Workstations could finally be TRULY managed centrally (via GPOs).

      Windows isn't just an OS that people who "can't figure out" Linux use. Some of us prefer Windows, because it does more of what we need, and is well-integrated. I could elaborate here if you wanted me to.

      Are enough people that are lazy enough to "just stay with Microsoft" developers? Are they a large enough group that they'd cripple the OSS movement?

      Your first sentence is a huge myth. While development tools and languages and libraries in the open source world stay fairly stagnant and sane, it seems Microsoft is CONSTANTLY changing shit around and adopting new technologies. To be a competent MS programmer (or system engineer) for long, you really need to keep up with the industry and what Microsoft is doing.

      This is both good and bad. Good because things are always getting better and you're getting new capabilities. Bad because you've always, always got to keep up with the game. Sometimes it gets ridiculous: you'll have something like .NET, which is still very new and already Microsoft is changing the game with the upcoming WinFX for Longhorn, which promises to change application development yet again. Sometimes, they'll just shitcan a technology alltogether because it didn't take off well with customers.

      This same phenomenom doesn't happen in the open source world (As much) because developers are not profit-motivated, they are passion-motivated, so projects stand a much better chance of surviving. See seemingly-deadend open source projects which continue to flourish against all odds, such as ReactOS and GNUstep.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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