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Microsoft Developing Linux Policy, Plan of Attack 845

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the overused-gandhi-quote-goes-here dept.
Lil' Bobby Gortician writes "This new MSNBC article talks about Microsoft's developing strategy to deal with Linux. They are actually getting some of their sales people certified as Linux experts, and say 1/10th of their test servers now run Linux. My favorite quote? "There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness"."
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Microsoft Developing Linux Policy, Plan of Attack

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  • by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#9928346)
    Microsoft's strategy so far is to find people who used to be proponents of Linux and other open source products and get them to do a 180, possibly as a result of a very fat paycheck though who knows. Anyway, here is an example from the article:

    In January Taylor poached one of IBM's former Linux technical leaders, William Hilf, to test 20 versions of open-source software in Redmond. Hilf two years ago was in front of audiences touting the cost effectiveness, reliability and performance of open-source software. Nowadays he's working the Microsoft spiel: "There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness," and "the devil is in the details. This stuff is not easy to run."

    How can this fellow's opinion turn on a dime like that? Is he really credible to a corporate audience? I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.

    Another strategy is to fund studies that are purported to be neutral regarding Microsoft vs. Open Source. Once again, from the article:

    Microsoft has funded 13 studies over the past year comparing Linux with its own products. Guess what: All of them come out in favor of Microsoft. The studies are generously referenced in an advertising campaign dubbed "Get the Facts." Can Linux really handle crucial areas such as security and e-mail?

    Here is a skeptical customer:

    "I'm not sure how relevant this stuff is," says PCMS Datafit's Matt S. Scherocman. One Microsoft customer, ADC Chief Information Officer Jamey S. Anderson, agrees: "You don't know who's paying the bills. You can't trust the surveys."

    Of course, if all else fails, try an "SCO" and claim property as yours and sue the hell out of everybody:

    At a recent gathering of venture capitalists Ballmer went so far as to suggest Microsoft might own intellectual property in Linux and assured the audience that Microsoft would pursue any violation of its own patents. Before he spoke, a fire alarm went off. "It was eerily symbolic," says a venture capitalist in attendance. "We all scattered." Microsoft denies this, and says it will not litigate.

    Once again, I don't think corporate IT staff and managment can be so easily manipulated. I believe that the very health growth in Open Source is proof.

    Cheers,

    Erick

    • by savagedome (742194) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:18AM (#9928365)
      I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.

      Don't underestimate the power of stupidity, my friend. You'd be surprised.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:37AM (#9928519)
        Don't underestimate the power of stupidity

        You misspelled money .

      • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#9928543) Homepage
        ...the power of greed. If you can get away with it for free*, it's amazing what great lengths people go to.

        *even when said "free" costs you more to achieve than you saved.

        SCO has created a lot of negative press, but once eradicated it will turn to positive press "claims found groundless". A lot of huge companies are backing it. And don't pretend MS will be able to use patents at will. They're kinda like nukes - if MS decides to "nuke" IBMs Linux plans, trust me, IBM can "nuke" Windows as well.

        Kjella
        • by MikeDX (560598) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:44AM (#9928589) Journal
          if MS decides to "nuke" IBMs Linux plans, trust me, IBM can "nuke" Windows as well.

          With winuke.exe ?
        • Especially since, as Microsoft would probably rather forget, Windows NT had its genesis in a joint collaboration with IBM. Knowing how insane MS is about backwards compatibility, it's quite probable IBM would have ammunition all the way up into Winders XP/Server 2003.
      • I think the more appropriate statement would have been: Don't underestimate the power of greed, my friend.

        Money talks.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:03AM (#9928811)
        Microsoft is devoting a lot of internal resources to figure out Linux and how to fight it. The problem is: Linux isn't their enemy. Their true enemy is Open Source. (I've mentioned this several times before)

        When they almost missed the Internet boat, it was only because of Gates' annual Summer sabbatical (so it is said) which made him realize they were on the brink of being left behind. The 'net, and more specifically, the web, were not quite on the fast track for bringing in the dough. And this is part of what caused Microsoft to wait. They'll either invest heavily in something which they know will make money in the future (and they can lock it down now (or soon); or they'll hop on the bandwagon and start making money now, even if the software quality isn't there. When the "Information Superhighway" was the vogue term, Gates said, "I don't care what the Information Superhighway looks like as long as I have a tollbooth on it." (we know they've wanted more than that for some time: why rule desktops when you can rule the Internet?)

        Back to the topic at hand. Microsoft understands money and they know how to fight it and with it. What they don't understand is how to fight something which doesn't show up on their financial slide rule. '$ofties put in massive hours because they think it's cool and they like to do what they do. Open Source people tend to spend a lot of time doing what they like to do. (and make a lot of money, although they're restructuring^killing their stock system, that may change. 8-10 years ago, you could put five years in, cash out, and leave a millionaire. Not any more!) And [not by default], the bug count seems to be much less because there's the issue of oversight of code by anyone who wants to. This doesn't exist at Microsoft and never will.

        Microsoft is trying to brainwash itself internally. They need to hire some people who either know & believe in Open Source or some who don't eat, drink, and sleep it, but are young enough they haven't been indoctrinated by Microsoft's corporate culture. I don't think Linux has anything to worry about.
        • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @12:13PM (#9930362) Homepage
          Linux nor Open Source is Microsoft's enemy. If Microsoft would jump on the Free/OS train today, make a 180 degree turn, pour billions into Free/OS projects, they'd be welcome to. Linux, Open Source would profit from that (even when huge amounts of crappy code would be poured in OS; natural selection works quite well), and it wouldn't hurt their own customers either. Customers are always willing to pay for something that suits their needs, even if it's built using freely available stuff.

          But Microsoft would have to understand Open Source. Not from a marketing point of view, but in their gut, kidney's & toes. And to make a 180 degree turn, they'd have to totally change their company culture, views, and convince their own customers. And that is the hard thing.

          So Microsoft's real enemy is the one within: themselves.

        • by The Conductor (758639) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @01:16PM (#9931194)

          The problem is: Linux isn't their enemy

          The situation uncannily reminds me of Apple in the early 90's. They were so fixated on competing with IBM that they never saw the real enemy was Microsoft.

          The way things are going, MS could end up like the GE small appliance business. When Jack Welch was asked why he was selling the business even though GE toasters & irons had dominant market share, and thereby seeming to violate his rules of when to buy/sell a business, he answered that market dominance isn't worth anything if you don't get control. The business didn't have any ability to introduce new, more featureful products at higher margins; they were stuck competing on price like everyone else. In a like fashion Microsoft could end up maintaining dominant marketshare, but with Wine facilitating migration from their OS and open-source solutions running on top of their OS, they may wind up unable drive sales of any new profitable producs.

          • by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @02:43PM (#9932324)
            Apple had started to realize that IBM wasn't the competition fairly early in the 1990s. Apple released their PowerPC Macintosh Computers in 1994; the Apple-IBM-Motorola Alliance produced silicon in 1993, and began in 1991.

            Microsoft has billions because they realized that the low-cost OS would win against others, and so PC-DOS and MS-DOS defeated CPM/86 and UCSD P-System. With the others defeated, Microsoft had their DOS monopoly. They leveraged their DOS monopoly into a Windows Monopoly, and used that to defeat other office apps (123, WordPerfect). And then cement their Office monopoly.

            When Linux and OpenOffice change from a thorn to a threat, Microsoft will turn on Open Source with every trick in their book, clean and dirty.
      • by rvw (755107) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:49AM (#9929351)
        Einstein said once: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." And I'm afraid he's right...
    • by unother (712929) <(myself) (at) (kreig.me)> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:21AM (#9928392) Homepage

      How can this fellow's opinion turn on a dime like that? Is he really credible to a corporate audience? I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.

      Plain to see you haven't been in the underbelly of corporate America, my friend...

    • by Chuck Bucket (142633) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:27AM (#9928441) Homepage Journal
      • How can this fellow's opinion turn on a dime like that? Is he really credible to a corporate audience? I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.
      The former Slashdot topic icon with Bill as the Borg has never seemed more apt. A quick Google image search turned up this parody [blueyonder.co.uk].

      PCB$#
    • by fitten (521191) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:29AM (#9928452)
      How can this fellow's opinion turn on a dime like that? Is he really credible to a corporate audience? I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.

      Quite easily actually... there's an old saying... there's no greater fanatic than the converted. I've seen staunch supporters of something do a 180 within a day when exposed to something they thought impossible (switching from Windows to Linux or from Linux to Windows... yes, I've seen both).
      • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@comca ... minus physicist> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:21AM (#9929002) Journal
        and "the devil is in the details. This stuff is not easy to run."

        While I can't explain the 180 easily, this line here says it all. Is brain surgery easy for a brain surgeon? Somewhat. For me? Impossible. Should brain surgery be easy for me? Only if I want to take the time to be a bain surgeon.

        Most people don't. Microsoft claims they can make brain surgery easy, with their "Windows Brain-Surgery-Made-Easy robot", and sure sometimes it works. Those initial incisions, cutting with the bonesaw... and then it slices the cerebrum into ribbons like a maniac. And people say "Gee, I hope when it's my turn to have the tumor removed, it get's it right."

        It's nuts. But then maybe this guy realizes that there will be a need for more computers, than there can ever be clueful people to use and maintain them, and this is his justification. Since they're clueless anyway, it doesn't matter... and it's better to be on the winning side.
    • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:37AM (#9928520)
      You're not actually showing why he's wrong, just screaming that he used to be in the linux camp and is now touting MS. It's hardly a good debating tactic (unless you're a republican :-P).

      Instead of looking for behind-the-scenes back-handers, actually stand up and show why he's wrong.

      Still, personally, I can kinda see where he's going with his arguments. I don't agree 100%, but there is at least a grain of truth behind them. Of course, this is slashdot, so I'm getting the fire-extinguishers ready ;)

    • Hilf two years ago was in front of audiences touting the cost effectiveness, reliability and performance of open-source software. Nowadays he's working the Microsoft spiel:

      Simple - he's been in sales for some time, and he's pushing a different product with this sales project.

      You can't trust the surveys.

      Since a video shown to a courtroom by Microsoft had been tampered with, why should we trust their surveys? They hold their customers and the legal system of the country where they are based in contempt.

    • by LibrePensador (668335) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:46AM (#9928604) Journal
      Hi Erick.

      Microsoft has started the largest FUD campaign that I can remember against open source. It is doing all it can to portray Linux as not a real operating system, but the hobby of bunch of loony hippies.

      I guess the fact that the focus of the campaign appears to be foreign governments and businesses means that it has stayed largely below the radar of US journalists and Free Software advocates in the US.

      They are taking page-size ads in the most recognized newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico (those are the ones that I know about directly, but I am told that the campaign is global) and they are displaying the stories of people who allegedly tried to switch to Linux and came back running to the safe arms of Microsoft mamma.

      And the stories are all very similar. For instance, in Argentina, they used Grimaldi, a shoe manufacturer as the example. When you dig into the story, you discover that the company that was supposed to carry out Grimaldi's migration to Linux is a Windows certified partner and a windows-only shop. The idiots could not get sendmail or postfix up-and-running and thus claim that it doesn't work. They then told Grimaldi, surprise, surprise, not to bother with Linux because it just doesn't work.

      The Free Software and open source communities need to have a global response to this last smear campaign, lest we allow others to define how Linux truly works. I can't tell you how many Windows techs I encounter who are convinced that there are no GUIs or IM clients for Linux or that it is impossible to watch multimedia content on a Linux box.

      In summary, Microsoft has been paying some big names to use them as poster children of their "Linux is too messy and difficult adn thus expensive campaign". We need to create a site where we exposed Microsoft lies and we need to do it soon. Anybody can get a plone site up and running that we can use to debunk these myths?
      • "In summary, Microsoft has been paying some big names to use them as poster children of their "Linux is too messy and difficult adn thus expensive campaign"."

        That campaign wouldn't work if there wasn't a grain of truth to it. You're only kidding yourself if you think things like Sendmail are intuitive to set up without needing to hit the web rather often to figure out the right commands to poke in. In the case of Sendmail, for example, it's a right pain in the ass compared to Exchange to get running.
        • by LibrePensador (668335) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:23AM (#9929027) Journal
          Although I much prefer postfix, I can set up a complex Sendmail site with multiple domains and aliases in under an hour. I can do postfix in 20 minutes.

          You failed to read my comments closely. I expect a company to hire qualified Linux professionals if they intend to deploy Linux, not the first monkey that walks through the door and certainly I wouldn't hire a Microsoft-shop to do a Linux job.

          There is no truth to the campaign, period. What your response tells me is that there are a bunch of fearful Microsoft techs that are spreading vile about Linux because they don't want to take a few hours a week to do a little retraining. Their loss.
      • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:59AM (#9929467) Homepage Journal
        Pretty easy to do when most of the US news media is 0wn3d. Unfortunately, today's media, at least broadcast media, is at the forefront of corporatism, and they Stick Together. (Try searching /. for Ted Turner, if your memory is short. I don't even have to get into coverage and non-coverage of the political season.)
    • by k98sven (324383) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:02AM (#9928807) Journal
      How can this fellow's opinion turn on a dime like that? Is he really credible to a corporate audience? I don't think people are quite that stupid or so easily manipulated.

      You're working on the assumption that he either likes or hates Linux, and thus that he either now or before was compromising himself.

      Things aren't black-and-white like that. Presumably he just doesn't care, either way. He used to point out pros of Linux and is now pointing on the cons of Linux. It's what is paid to do, and presumably he doesn't think that his personal opinion on the overall situtation is relevant, and so he is not compromising any personal integrity.

      I'm a Linux user and OSS developer. And I can talk for quite a while about what's bad about Linux. I wouldn't do it for a living, but hey - that's because I do care about the issue, and have a sense of integrity.

      But just because you care, doesn't mean everyone else does.
    • He's a real person, and has been involved in using Linux to develop websites. His speaker bio at ApacheCon 2001 [apachecon.com] describes him as having developed a number of websites using mod_perl. He has contributed a little to the apache-modules mailing list, with a total of 20 messages the list over a three year period between 1999 and 2001.

      However, his name doesn't seem to appear in either the apache httpd or mod-perl credits file, and I can't dig up any evidence of him having participated in any other mailing list. He's never posted to the kernel mailing list, the perl mailing lists (on the basis that somebody using mod-perl might also be interested in Perl more generally), or anything much else.

      I don't know what the guy was up to at IBM, but to describe him as a technical leader of the Linux community would appear to be a considerable exaggeration. Somebody who actively adopted Linux for business use, perhaps, but he's hardly Robinson Crusoe there.

  • Innovation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draoi (99421) * <(draiocht) (at) (mac.com)> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:18AM (#9928359)
    [Re. MS innovation,] Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off, with programs still running.

    *sigh* There's another new field, fresh for 'sploits. Nice one, Microsoft. Keep up with the .. errm .. 'innovation! :-/

    • Re:Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:24AM (#9928414)
      Any network-aware service or program can potentially be exploited; what would you have people do, simply stop developing new network-aware stuff?

      Besides, I'm sure many similar comments were made about redsktop, and yet I don't recall any exploits appearing for that.
  • by bigdady92 (635263) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:19AM (#9928369) Homepage
    "There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness" -Microsoft

    I can see it now...
    • All roads may lead to madness, but some (Conexant modem drivers, Debian installation) provide a much more direct route.

      Of course on Windows, just trying to move an Excel or Word document out of that *&$#^$%& cage they lock them in is enough to induce mouse-smashing insanity within an hour...

    • by Morgaine (4316) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:31AM (#9929118)
      "There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness" -Microsoft

      The article is full of meaningless statements about Linux, words used for effect and without any attempt at reason or logic. The poetic "All roads lead to madness" really highlights how they've pretty much abandoned technical arguments and are now invoking defensive political rhetoric.

      That statement is pretty funny though when you think about it. Linux and the BSDs all have the architecture of Unix, and that's by far the most elegant and powerful O/S architecture available outside of academia at the present time. The fact that they can say something as laughable as "no set architecture in Linux" just shows how divorced from reality they really are.
  • by Embedded2004 (789698) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:19AM (#9928371)
    There plan of attack should include attempting to make a superior product. It will get harder and harder for them with an inferior product as they are now finding out.
  • Aha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rde (17364) * on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:20AM (#9928376)
    He's been at Microsoft since college and rattles off techie jargon like value proposition and customer sat (short for satisfaction) like any seasoned Microsoftie.

    Techie jargon? I think I've found Microsoft's problem.
    • Re:Aha! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mysticgoat (582871)

      He's been at Microsoft since college and rattles off techie jargon like value proposition and customer sat (short for satisfaction) like any seasoned Microsoftie.

      These are not examples of 'techie jargon'. Tech jargon is limited to words like 'bandwidth', 'optimization', 'standards compliance', and so on-- words that careful programmers use when they talk with each other about making good programs. Buzzwords like 'value proposition' and 'customer sat' are marketdroid crap.

      Implying that marketing buzz

  • by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:20AM (#9928381) Homepage Journal
    Sure.

    And this should be written on all boxes of Windows:

    Abandon all hope, ye who are about to open this.

    WinXP SP2, anyone? ;-)
  • by xiando (770382) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:20AM (#9928383) Homepage Journal
    It's nice to know they actually have a "Microsoft's top Linux strategist".

    And he has realized that "Linux is a different kind of opponent. It's not a company to bash, but a software movement with the backing of the entire tech industry.".

    And this is why the Linux community is winning. We are more developers in the Linux scene, we are better skilled and higher motivated.

    Understanding this, Microsoft should turn around and start providing Linux support and services as part of their portifolio. There is nothing wrong with selling both Linux and Windows! Software is all about support, not the product, today anyways.
    • would never go for that strategy. How will selling Linux services enhance shareholder return on investment?

      A publicly traded company exists solely to make profits for shareholders. This is accomplished by crushing competition (ideally). If you can't crush 'em though, you don't sell their products! This isn't a sound business model.

      • by minus9 (106327)
        "If you can't crush 'em though, you don't sell their products!"

        Not even if you get their products for free and then get to keep all the money you make on the sale?

    • by StressGuy (472374) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:54AM (#9928691)
      First off, I did *not* RTFA. This is just how I would approach the issue if I were Microsoft.

      I think they should start making Linux applications, providing Linux support, even making thier own distribution or at least a "Windows for Linux" desktop.

      Remember when Netscape was the dominant browser and I.E. first came out?. It took a while but eventually I.E. became dominant. They just have a huge financial pool to draw upon. Makes them well suited to corporate "siege warfare".

      You want to migrate to Linux, let us make it easy for you. Here is MS Office ported to Linux so you know your old docs will not only work, but be supported by us as well. Worried about migration? No problem, use the Windows for Linux desktop environment.

      With their resources, they can shred Linux from the inside and slowly undermine the GPL. ....at least that's the strategy I would employ.

  • ^5 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maelstrom (638) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:21AM (#9928386) Homepage Journal
    "Before, Linux was this cloud we didn't get, now it is Red Hat, Novell, IBM. We know how to compete with companies. I was high-fiving everyone I could find when Novell bought [German Linux distributor] SuSe. We already won once against Novell."

    I think I'm going to run around high-fiving everyone here, because to me this shows they still don't get it. You can kill SuSE, you can kill Novell, IBM, and Red Hat and you still wouldn't kill Linux.

    Microsoft, if you are reading this, you screwed me over once with OS/2. There is no way you will ever take Linux away from me. :)

    • Re:^5 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Judg3 (88435) <jeremy@nOSpaM.pavleck.com> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:28AM (#9928443) Homepage Journal
      I think I'm going to run around high-fiving everyone here, because to me this shows they still don't get it. You can kill SuSE, you can kill Novell, IBM, and Red Hat and you still wouldn't kill Linux.

      No, they wouldn't kill Linux, but they would shove it so far out of the public view it might as well be Amiga. I don't think they want to kill Linux completely - just the big players, the ones that matter to the high dollar corporate customers. The ones really stealing sales from MS.

      But MS is a tad to late to come to the table, they are trying to crush it after it's gotten to large. If they destroy distro X, another will rise out of the ashes and be just as big (I hope!). 10 years ago, if they'd invested all their energy into it, they might have kept Linux small - but it's gaining momentum now, and it's hard to stop a freight train.
      • Re:^5 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rokzy (687636)
        since when has public view been important to linux?

        and linux was doing just fine before IBM et al. hint: they came to linux because they saw great potential, no one cold-called IBM and made a sales pitch.

        fundamentally linux is about talented people writing software based on principles. to kill linux you pay everyone money to stop, kill everyone involved with it, or pass a law abolishing rights such as free speech.
    • Re:^5 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:42AM (#9928571) Homepage Journal
      Don't forget, though, this is part of a two-edged strategy. On the business front, they want to turn Linux back into a "hobbyist OS" that doesn't have support from any major corporate users or suppliers. On the legal front, they want to buy legislators who will then effectively outlaw F/OSS with DRM and "security" requirements ... which is only possible if they've removed the corporate support.

      I don't think they'll succeed, but don't be too sanguine yet.
  • "Architecture"!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#9928406)
    You mean like OLE? DDE? The Printer Driver interface where everything is standardized, but nothing prints the same?!

    No no... all roads lead to madness on Windows programming. I assure you. (Of course, if you HAVE the roadmap...)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#9928409)
    Yeah, there's a really startling lack of self-awareness in the statement that there's no set architecture to Linux and that all roads lead to madness.

  • Madness? (Score:3, Funny)

    by nagora (177841) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:24AM (#9928420)
    Yes, looking after a network of MS machines is like a real-life Little Book of Calm...

    TWW

  • by pohl (872) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:25AM (#9928426) Homepage
    I think Microsoft is setting an excellent example that happy customers (and fans) of Microsoft should imitate: learn everything that you can about Linux. Install it on your PC. Intentionally break your configuration just to practice fixing it. Install new hardware and figure out how to get it working no matter how much it seems like torture. Find free equivalents to software that you would normally run under Windows, and live with them for a while even if it means sacrificing features or quality. Absorb as much of this knowledge as you can, and share it with your other Microsoft-loving buddies. And once you all are as conversant in Linux as are those people who are choosing it over Windows, you'll be able to more effectively lobby against it...beacuse you'll be armed with knowledge. Never mind that you'll be helping the Linux culture to spread. Hey, look over there...it's an angel, and she's giving away free bacon!
  • They don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by archeopterix (594938) * on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#9928431) Journal
    "I just want the decision to be based on facts, not religion," says Taylor. "People are saying, 'It's not Microsoft, so it must be great.' Tell us what Linux does that we can't do. Don't tell us you're deploying Linux just because you can."
    Let me turn this question around: what does Windows do that Linux doesn't? For me, Linux is already there ( on several hundred desktop machines running a java client). So why should I pay several hundred bucks for each license?
  • by shoppa (464619) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:30AM (#9928467)
    "Linux is a different kind of opponent. It's not a company to bash, but a software movement with the backing of the entire tech industry.".

    So now the whole world is out to get Microsoft. Isn't such paranoia a classic schizophrenic symptom?

  • by houghi (78078) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:33AM (#9928485)
    First they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.

    I think Microsoft just went from step 1 to step 2. They are acknowledging that Linux is a danger (again). Slowly people will start to realize that Microsoft is fighting Linux. These people will then start to wonder why.

    Where people thought that a computer ran Windows 97 and had no idea what an OS was, the marketing machine from Microsoft is now spreading the name Linux. It will cause people to take a closer look.

    The rest is up to the Linux community and companies.
  • by leperkuhn (634833) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:35AM (#9928503) Homepage Journal
    Heh, here's a good "new feature"

    Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off

    My dear lord they are innovating at an exponential rate! Quite possibly next they will unleash "a pointer device cabable of interacting with the screen."
    • Re:"new feature" (Score:3, Informative)

      by molarmass192 (608071)
      Wow, just wow, I'm amazed by these "new" features. It's innovations like these that will allow MS to pull ahead of Linux. I mean:

      ssh -l root@myremoteserver init 0

      and

      Wake-on-LAN [sourceforge.net]

      obviously both infringe on MS patents for these pioneering technological advancements. *GRIN*
  • From the article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stromthurman (588355) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:38AM (#9928538)
    "Tell us what Linux does that we can't do. Don't tell us you're deploying Linux just because you can."
    • A complete GNU/Linux (henceforth: Linux) distribution provides me with source for free (or at a reasonable cost if you buy cds from the distributor), Microsoft does not.
    • Most linux distributions provide multiple choices for window managers/desktop environments, Microsoft gives me explorer (though Litestep and BB4Win are available to download).
    • In general, with Linux, I have more choices than I need for many things
    Granted, some will argue too much choice is bad for the getting Linux on the desktop. That may be, but Microsoft, specifically Mr. Taylor, asked a question, I provided my answer, which does not necessarily represent the views/opinions of others.
    If Microsoft can provide a reasonably priced, reasonably secure, distribution/version of Windows that comes with such choices, or if a 3rd party vendor started creating Windows distributions along these lines, I would go with what I felt to be a better value, just as I am right now. And for me, a poor, fresh out of college, person, the better value is Linux.
  • Desperate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JSkills (69686) <jskills.goofball@com> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#9928539) Homepage Journal
    I understand Microsoft's concern about Linux's growing ubiquity, but with there current market share of PCs and servers alike, it seems like they are over reacting to the situation and actually making it worse for themselves.

    Does this sound strange to anyone else:

    At a recent gathering of venture capitalists Ballmer went so far as to suggest Microsoft might own intellectual property in Linux and assured the audience that Microsoft would pursue any violation of its own patents.

    Or how about this?

    Windows group chief James Allchin accuses Linux of being a cheap knockoff: "There's no innovation. Linux is still in the business of cloning existing technology." Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off, with programs still running. Searches will extend across all data like e-mail, photos, Word. "We're creating things," he says.

    It just sounds so petty and even a little childish. Microsoft would do better to take the high road - and steer clear of lowering themselves in some kind of attempt at a smear campaign. It only makes them look weaker than they are.

  • by FreeLinux (555387) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#9928546)
    There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness

    To the newbie this perception is immediately apparent.

    First question: Which of the hundreds of distros do I use? Hundreds of different answers.

    Second question: If they are all Linux, why will this application run on one but not the other? Development geek speak.
    Third question: Of the hundreds of choices of this particular application, which is best? Hundreds of naswers and then a massive flame war.

    Microsoft's quote may sound pathetic to you but, when they tell a neophyte to check for themselves, they are "proven" correct. The uninitiated are confused and intimidated by the vast number of choices, incompatibilities and varied advice from a pleathora of zealots. Just ask a technical question about a mail program like Postfix or Sendmail. Half the responses will be to change distributions. Change the OS because of an issue with the MTA???

    • by Craig Ringer (302899) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:11AM (#9928888) Homepage Journal
      I love mail servers under Linux. Honest. Really. Like cleaning a boil under my big toe.

      Admittedly, I honestly do love it once it's all set up and running and the pain is gone, you can just forget it's there and it keeps on working, but the process of getting it there is ... unpleasant.

      Given n MTAs, o spam filters, p virus scanners, q IMAP/POP servers, and r webmail systems, how many different combinations do you think is possible - assuming (naievely and oversimplisticly) that you can only have one of each? Just going by the software I know of in each category, I'm counting hundreds of combinations - and that's with a reasonably common set of software. The worst thing is that many of those combinations require totally different ways of hooking everything together - often badly documented ways.

      We really need standardised interfaces between the MTA, webmail (OK, so that's mostly there with IMAP + LDAP), IMAP/POP server, and any filters such as virus scanners and spam checkers. At least that way we'd have a massive variety of software to learn how to configure, but wouldn't have to do battle with figuring how the f**k postfix plugged into Cyrus and and mailscanner with spamassassin and clamav (daemon mode).

      I don't mind (no, I like) variety, I just wish the variety would learn to read the same configuration for common options, and try to talk the same language where possible.
  • *cough*AD*cough* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Craig Ringer (302899) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:42AM (#9928572) Homepage Journal
    "the devil is in the details. This stuff is not easy to run."


    One could be forgiven for thinking that was intended to describe Active Directory.

    I run a mixed network, though mostly Linux these days, for work. I frequently hear about juicy new technologies for MS (I read several of the pro Windows mags) and some sound really good. Mostly, however, as I read the article I quickly find myself thinking "that's nice if you're a company big enough to pay someone to learn this one technology, and you'll really need the myriad options it provides. But for most people who could use that functionality, this is ridiculously complex and over-engineered."

    There are also times I curse Linux, often in ways that'd make your hair curl. MTA + spam filter + virus scanner(s) + IMAP/POP server + webmail is all well enough, but give me standard interfaces on each of them or I'll go insane very soon. Then I tried to set up an Exchange demo and, well, suddenly it didn't seem so bad anymore. It's still quite bad, but Exchange also failed to work sensibly by default, was hard to integrate with multiple plug-ins, and generally reassured me that in fact all mail server software is crap (though each may in isolation be quite good).

    MS needs to get a handle on the complexity of its own systems before they can talk too loudly about the multiplicity of configurations under Linux and the fact that every admin almost has to be a developer. At least with Linux, I can admin my hideously complex configurations via a collection of individual config files in a consistent place that don't change for no reason, vanish, get corrupted, or get bored and go for a smoke :-P . I can also version changes, which is nice (note to distributors: PLEASE start designing for a versioned /etc .).

    If Linux distros could offer a consistent config file format (Pick one. Seriously.), some form of config inheritance (eg load /etc/defaults/[someconfig], then /home/username/.config/[someconfig], then /etc/overrides/[someconfig]) and lockdown (think KDE's kiosk), that would help a lot. Yes, I understand that this is almost impossible given the nature of Linux distros as assemblies of independenly developed software, but nonetheless this would be awfully nice.

    If I could get consistent open and save dialog boxes for my Linux terminal server, I think I'd be in heaven.

    Overall, I must say that I see a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black here. They're both awful.
    • Re:*cough*AD*cough* (Score:4, Informative)

      by aardwolf204 (630780) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:41AM (#9929235)
      Exchange admin here. Your right, Exchange looks nice on the surface, but once you start actually using it for a while you realize that its not much better than the unix equiv.

      I've got a broken web interface for my spam filter (McAfee Spamkiller == spamassassin); a desktop client which serves up a java applet to config it.

      I've got a special application to config the anti-virus (Trend Micro ScanMail) filters, whos interface looks like a cross between eudora and outlook 2000.

      But on the MS side of things, I've got DNS, Active Directory, Certificates, Event Manager, Message Tracking Center, Exchange, IIS, and Services all in one package I call Admin Console.msc. Just start > run > MMC and File > Add consoles to your hearts content. I can administrate almost any aspect of all 5 servers from one console, including defrags and registry edits,

      but if I want to change a setting on the Spam Filter, or the Anti-Virus software, I've got to TermSvc into a box and get at some funky software with a GUI designed by an idiot. Please, give me MSC files to administrate my 3rd party Exchange tools, for the love of God, there is nothing special about your software, just tie it into M$'s standard MMC. It doesnt matter whos right, whos prettier, I just need to plug everything into one tree and relax.

      Signed, Pissed off Exchange Admin
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:47AM (#9928608) Homepage
    Anyone who has had to really use Windows XP knows that the current versions of Linux distributions have fallen down miserably in terms of performance and "shininess" in the GUI. Both of those are important if you want a credible, OSS challenge from Linux. For those that question the latter, I would remind them that the "shininess" of a GUI is one of the biggest things that consumers use to gadge as "modern." It's not a good metric by any means, but it is one that must be taken into serious consideration.

    A lot of work on Syllable would go a long way toward hurting Longhorn. If enough Linux guys would get involved with the underpinnings so that Vanders and the rest of the team could take a break to work on the GUI system, it'd be a damn good OSS desktop by the time Longhorn gets here. As it stands right now, their labor is too divided to get its hardware support good enough to boot on many systems. Come on people, it'd be a quick investment of time that'd pay large dividends later.
  • Quotes (Score:3, Funny)

    by manavendra (688020) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:48AM (#9928624) Homepage Journal
    (warning: This is a inflammatory, trollish post. Mods, please mark it that way)

    They are actually getting some of their sales people certified as Linux experts
    So at least they will be expert in *something*. Some day these very skills may bail them out.

    1/10th of their test servers now run Linux
    Smart move then! Less down time, less security hassles...

    There's no set architecture in Linux
    So they accept there are architectures in Linux? Conversely, they acknowledge Linux is smart enough to have different architectures for different components/modules, and understands that an OS is not a straight-jacket one-size fits-all thing?

    ..All roads lead to madness
    Which is why they are embracing that madness and studying it? ...

    (aah, this feels good!)
  • by randyest (589159) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:53AM (#9928685) Homepage
    Linux at some point could be good enough to run home PCs.

    Oh, we can hope, right? Holy cow that's nonsense.

    Can Linux really handle crucial areas such as security and e-mail?


    Yeah, email is tough. Maybe if we study OutLook really hard, we can make something so great . . . sigh.

    "I just want the decision to be based on facts, not religion," says Taylor. "People are saying, 'It's not Microsoft, so it must be great.' Tell us what Linux does that we can't do. Don't tell us you're deploying Linux just because you can."


    Well, one of the answers is one of the "crucial areas" mentioned above. I bet you can guess which one.

    Microsoft is actively sowing uncertainty and doubt among potential Linux customers over who, if anyone, owns the intellectual property behind open-source software.


    What, no Fear?

    At a recent gathering of venture capitalists Ballmer went so far as to suggest Microsoft might own intellectual property in Linux and assured the audience that Microsoft would pursue any violation of its own patents. Before he spoke, a fire alarm went off. "It was eerily symbolic," says a venture capitalist in attendance. "We all scattered." Microsoft denies this, and says it will not litigate.


    Ruh roh.

    Windows group chief James Allchin accuses Linux of being a cheap knockoff: "There's no innovation. Linux is still in the business of cloning existing technology." Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off, with programs still running. Searches will extend across all data like e-mail, photos, Word. "We're creating things," he says.


    Undeserving of a reply.
  • by catwh0re (540371) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:54AM (#9928693)
    I like two parts. Where the MS exec, describes MS as the innovator, not copying technologies, then listed a few which aren't due until about 2006/2007. (Technologies that are already available in Apple's Mac OS 10.3 & 10.4 Dev Preview.)

    Then also asks what linux can deliver that MS can't. I think the short answer to that would be that linux has a social conscience of infinite magnitude in comparison to the 'black hearted' MS corp.
    MS offer plenty of stuff, patent lawsuits after agreements that read something like 'we can steal your patents, but don't touch ours'. Also MS can give you all the security updates you need.. 3 weeks after the internet slows to a crawl with Windows worm traffic.
    MS can also give you a hefty priced lock in cycle.

    MS's fear seems to come from the fact that you can get equal functionality and better quality from something that is free.(With acknowledgment that alot of users aren't interested in buying new hardware, with that, old hardware does exist.)

    Why pay excessive amounts of money to fund a company running it's own agenda? Or using that money to unfairly, and with questionable ethics, nail out competition?

    MS don't seem interested in developing a better product+service package that compels users to pay for it, rather they look for each companies funny bone and strike at it with lawyers and/or software contamination.

    So combining these business 'values' that MS have(in contrast to social values), it becomes clear to me that users would still run linux even if it ran at a fraction of the speed of MS software. The real world difference, (even in MS funded benchmarking) shows minimal difference between the speed of both platforms. This leaving the user to make an ethical choice. This is why MS miss out on future opportunities from the user bases of companies they've assassinated over the years. Note MS's failure to recognise that when they kill a company, it angers that companies user base(creating them more work plus a costly turn over program), who in return will endeavour to not use MS products.)

  • by On Lawn (1073) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:55AM (#9928708) Journal

    I've got to say though, there is a sort of Mickey Thomson sense of fun and accomplishment on these roads to madness. Like taking a trophy truck across dusty unpredictable roads with many obstacles.

    And don't get me wrong Windows is it's own road to madness. But it is for the most part large boring paved highway with no exits (just offramps that say "no exit"), and you are travelling in a very large Buick that seems to only go straight ahead. And while the road seems solid enough the bridges are rickety at every upgrade and fellow drivers seem to pull over randomly to restart their cars all the time.
  • by linuxtelephony (141049) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @09:55AM (#9928716) Homepage
    I read the article, until I found Laura DiDio, or whatever her name is, referenced as a source. Then I just closed the window. If they are quoting her as an authority, then the entire piece has lost credibility and I don't waste my time reading any further. I then realized this is the third time in as many days that I have done that to an article.

    So, how many of you read an article until they quote some person as an authority (could be Laura or anyone else) that you feel lacks any credibility, and then stop reading any further? I'm curious.

    I was reading something the other day, when someone was quoted spouting some nonesense that I firmly believe is untrue, and then they referred to the name and the "group" she represents. It seems she gets quoted a lot, especially anything remotely anti-Linux related. I would rather read an author's opinions than have that "group's" opinions quoted as facts. Articles carry more credibility with me when the author stands up him or herself, and doesn't resort to pointing fingers, "see, she said it".
  • Real world strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:02AM (#9928800)
    While no company would like to have to do it, Microsoft really need a back-up plan and need a strategy of how to deal with a vastly shrinking market share in OSes and office software.

    They simply can't grow their PC based business any longer and users are less likely to want to cough up hundreds of dollars for Office and Windows.

    Their problem is they've been so focussed on boring office applications for so long that they're not exactly that good at other market areas. Buying other companies is the quickest way to gain expertise but when you look at the purchases they have made, they have hardly captitalised on their gains.
  • by discogravy (455376) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:05AM (#9928830) Homepage
    no serious system is easy to operate at a server level. some are easier than others but you can't just become a sysadmin overnight and expect to get good results. MS's server products are just as complex as a linux system, and have just as many ways of being exploited and potentially fucked up as a linux or BSD or Solaris or Mac OS X box. The difference being that while the number of exploits against both types of systems is likely the same (have you SEEN the number of exploits available for *nixes?) the ease of pulling them off is heavily skewed to Windows because it's a) more likely to be unsecured and b) more ubiquitous. As more people install and run linux, the numbers will likely balance out. Put a windows box behind a secured firewall and kill all ports except those necessary and you'll cut down risk -- but MS requires a LOT more ports open for basic stuff (how many "ms ports" -- eg 135, 137 -- are hitting your firewall as infected or attacks?).
    Linux can be made more secure, all the way down to the software level where you can check source for yourself and see if the software is secure enough for you, and if you want to, you can run a particular piece of software in it's own jail, for added security. MS can't do that.
  • Best Quote (Score:5, Funny)

    by BrianWCarver (569070) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:06AM (#9928840) Homepage
    From the article:

    "Linux at some point could be good enough to run home PCs."

    I'm sitting here with my fingers crossed, biting my lip, hoping for that day!

    Oh, this message written on Debian Sarge, current uptime: 31 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes.

    HA!
  • As opposed to? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jridley (9305) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:08AM (#9928851)
    Windows, where there's a one true way; and it's an expressway to madness?

    Honestly, I use both Windows and Linux. There are things I use one for and not the other, because Windows is really good at some things that Linux is not, and vice versa.

    You'd THINK that if Microsoft wanted to keep Linux from growing, they'd identify the things that Linux does well and Windows does not, and work on that.

    I think they have this idea that Windows is really the best at everything, and people are just using Linux because it's free. Sorry, wrong. I pick my operating systems based on which one does the job the best.
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:13AM (#9928922) Homepage
    I've been working with UNIX/Linux for 10 years and was recently sucked into a Windows 95 to Windows XP upgrade/deployment.

    In my opinion, Windows XP is a DISORGANIZED MESS! The XP software process works like this.... image a three sided hand-grendade. On one side you have DLL's, on another side you have Registry entries, and on another side you have executables and datafiles. Pull the pin and that is basic method of windows software installation. Also, there is no standard way to install software and people use everything from custom Java installers, Microsoft Installer, Install Shield which makes creating SILENT installations lots of fun. To get an MSCE you should have to package 20 different applications all using different installers to do silent installs under XP. If you still have your sanity at the end, you get the MSCE.

    What if something doesn't work? What if the installer fails? What if you have a piece of software that no one can locate the media for, how can you move it from one XP box to another? What if you have old software the requires a CUSTOM environment that conflicts with newer software?

    I imagine XP is a great product if you stick to using all brand new Microsoft products and don't try to run your business with older applications from 3rd parties.

    Moving on to security.. policies are an overly complex joke. Anyone with even moderate technical skill and intelligence can defeat domain or group policies.

    Now let's take UNIX/Linux. It definately has some sharp edges especially if you are trying to run with new or non-standard hardware. However, Linux has some great strengths...
    1. I know what package installed what file. (rpm -qf
    2. I can move applications EASILY from one system to another without going through the install process.
    3. I can backup and restore a Linux/UNIX box from a centralized tape backup system MUCH easier than a Windows server with custom RAID. You haven't experienced IT to the fullest until you tried to recover an older server class Windows NT/2000 box.
    4. I can run multiple version of the SAME software by creating custom environments. Trying installing two versions of an application like MS Office on the same Windows XP. The later install typically uninstalls the previous install. Running it under VMWARE doesn't count.
    5. Remote adminstration can be done EASILY from the command line under Linux. In XP I've installed Cygwin SSH on XP and have written some VBS scripts. Windows is definately catching up in the area of remote administration, but is still hard to use and books are scarce.
    6. Patching for security flaws is a breeze under Linux/UNIX. With Microsoft, install a SUS server and maybe, just maybe if the planets align the patch will saunter down to the PC. I had to write some scripts to slam patches in and reboot. Seems like every critical patch requires a reboot. 7. Figuring out what's going on under Linux/UNIX is pretty simple. You can clearly see what launches applications, what files they have open, what resources they are using etc ... Try to remove some of the newer Spyware from an XP box. You won't get a sense for how much you don't know and can't see on an XP box until you've tried to kill spyware. In most cases it's faster to reload XP than to try and track it down.

    I've been using both Linux/XP Servers and Linux/XP Desktops. Handsdown, I prefer running Linux servers over XP or 2003. If I must run XP or 2003 servers, I feel it's best to stick them into VMWARE ESX or GSX so that they are neatly contained and can be easily recovered, moved, and backed up. I know you take a slight performance hit, but the ability to manage the server and keep it up far outweighs it.

    For the desktop I prefer Knoppix and a thumbdrive. :) I can work anywhere and even have access to compilers, it's a beautiful thing :) However, for the population at large Windows XP in CLASSIC VIEW is still the way to go for the massess
    • by Wulfstan (180404) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:11AM (#9929591)
      Uh? You what?!?

      > 1. I know what package installed what file. (rpm -qf

      Yeah, on one Linux install. On another one it might be dpkg -l. On another one it might be some portage thing with unknown arguments. And what about locally compiled packages?

      > 2. I can move applications EASILY from one system to another without going through the install process.

      A man who has obviously never been through .so dependency hell. Good luck to you.

      > 3. I can backup and restore a Linux/UNIX box from a centralized tape backup system MUCH easier than a Windows server with custom RAID. You haven't experienced IT to the fullest until you tried to recover an older server class Windows NT/2000 box.

      Okay, so you can use tar better on Unicies. Point taken.

      > 5. Remote adminstration can be done EASILY from the command line under Linux. In XP I've installed Cygwin SSH on XP and have written some VBS scripts. Windows is definately catching up in the area of remote administration, but is still hard to use and books are scarce.

      Okay, so remote admin is improving, we can agree on that one.

      > 6. Patching for security flaws is a breeze under Linux/UNIX. With Microsoft, install a SUS server and maybe, just maybe if the planets align the patch will saunter down to the PC. I had to write some scripts to slam patches in and reboot. Seems like every critical patch requires a reboot.

      What about a kernel vulnerability? Last time I looked you still got to reboot a linux kernel. I agree that segmentation of applications is better on unix, but don't kid yourself; security patching linux requires a lot more effort. And to compare apples with apples here, you're talking about supplying a security patch to a bunch of linux boxes? That's at least as hard as deploying a windows security patch and, in a mixed linux distribution environment, an order of magnitude harder.

      > 7. Figuring out what's going on under Linux/UNIX is pretty simple. You can clearly see what launches applications, what files they have open, what resources they are using etc ...

      Yeah, right. cat /proc/???? is easy?!? The administrative tools in Win 2k, for example, aren't that hard to use. I would say that they're probably even on that front.

      Anyway, just correcting a few biases there....
  • Cheap knockoffs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NiceGuyUK (801305) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:26AM (#9929052)
    "Windows group chief James Allchin accuses Linux of being a cheap knockoff: "There's no innovation. Linux is still in the business of cloning existing technology." ... Searches will extend across all data like e-mail, photos, Word. "We're creating things," he says."

    Sounds eerily like a "cheap knockoff" of Dashboard [nat.org] to me.....
  • by mdemeny (35326) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:30AM (#9929096) Homepage
    What they really need is a Republican strategist to come up with talking points:

    -Linux is a flip-flopper (is it command line or GUI? Could they make up their minds already?!)

    -Eclipse sounds French. VisualStudio is a good, strong American sounding name.

    -Linux starts with the same letters as liberal.

    -These damned hippies always want a free ride (and they keep talking about 'free as in beer' - are they alcoholics?).

    Of course, we at Faux News are only reporting on what other people are saying about the leftist-pinko-commie operating system. We're totally fair and balanced on the issue of non-patriotic, foreign-made, non-capitalist operating systems.
  • MS Stock Price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:43AM (#9929269) Homepage
    Ballmer griped that Microsoft's profits have more than doubled in the past six years, but the stock, at $29, is right where it was then. "Linux creates a cloud of uncertainty over Microsoft. Every time Red Hat reports earnings, Microsoft seems to take a hit," says Goldman Sachs software analyst Richard Sherlund.

    Hmmm, let's see - it's a 300 billion dollar company with a P/E ratio of 36.19. To get to the point where they are bringing home a 10% return on that market cap (the traditional good rate of return), they would have to more than triple their earnings. They already have the entire market in their primary fields, which means they've got nowhere to go but lateral markets. Looking at XBox, MSN, WMA, and the like, it doesn't look like Microsoft is going to be able to pull a Microsoft in any other market.

    Frankly, Steve, if I were you I'd be real grateful for the 36.19 P/E. It doesn't look like you deserve it.
  • It's funny, laugh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @10:59AM (#9929469) Homepage Journal

    From the article:

    Linux at some point could be good enough to run home PCs.

    Yes, but he forgets that Linux could be ready for the home PC as early as 1998. What will Microsoft do then?

    No, we're not just a little biased, are we? I've been running RedHat on my home machine since 1998. I've had non-computer-genius friends and family running Linux on their desktops since 1999. If this guy had a brain, he'd be dangerous...

    Can Linux really handle crucial areas such as security and e-mail? The Microsoft people are ready with answers...

    And those answers would be... "install this patch and reboot..."? Can Linux handle email and security? I mean, really?! Gosh, I just don't know... Of course, to Microsofties, one Linux hole per year makes the OS insecure, but 100 security vulnerabilities a month make Windows "The choice for reliability throughout the enterprise..." As if MS even understood the term "Enterprise computing".

    "I just want the decision to be based on facts, not religion," says Taylor. "People are saying, 'It's not Microsoft, so it must be great.'

    No, actually, you don't want a decision ... based on facts... - because it wouldn't be favorably to Microsoft. People are looking to leave Microsoft for Linux because of the facts, not in spite of them:

    • They want an OS that Just Works(TM) for years on end.
    • They don't want to be forced into draconian EULAs.
    • They don't want to pay for the same software twice, or in some cases, three times.
    • They need something that runs, securely, out of the box. They don't have time to test dozens of "critical security patches", or the risk of applying them to a production server in a mission critical environment.
    • They want the ability to simply remove software they don't need, especially when said software has more security holes than swiss cheese.
    • They don't want to worry about viruses.

    Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off, with programs still running. Searches will extend across all data like e-mail, photos, Word. "We're creating things," he says.

    I turn off my machine with programs still running all the time - it's called FreeDOS. But yes, you are creating things - more security vulnerabilities. Why on earth would a home user want to power off their machine from a remote location? What - in your hurry to get out the door you forgot to shut down the computer, and at work you now have the sudden urge to turn it off?

    Tell us what Linux does that we can't do. Don't tell us you're deploying Linux just because you can."

    Linux can be installed without any risk of violating licensing provisions and incurring unseen financial liability on my employer. But also, the number one reason why I deploy Linux:

    • Microsoft doesn't understand Enterprise Computing.
    I could go on for hours on this, but I'll spare you. Suffice to say, Microsoft can't build a secure or stable Windows because they lack the mindset to do so.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:01AM (#9929498)
    We already won once against Novell.

    I really felt very reassured when I read this one statement by Mr Taylor because I now realise that this is nothing more than Microsoft settling some old playground dispute with Novell (and IBM no doubt) rather than actually developing a proper strategy to deal with the competition.

    Emperor Billy didn't manage to trash the Novell rebellion with his Death Star first time around - now he's really sore and is sending out Darth Taylor in Death Star II to finish the job...

    Sounds to me like a few MS CEOs need to get some maturity, forget about "revenge attacks" and just deal with it in a mature business-like fashion.

    Maybe then they'll start to realise that Novell (IBM, Red Hat, etc.) are competent allies for Linux to have but are nothing more than the customer-facing front-end of the FOSS movement.

    Destroy one of those and, like the hydras tentacles, another will just grow in its place.

  • by geomon (78680) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:08AM (#9929562) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft would have never reached the level of penetration they have to date. Keep in mind that everything that was done in personal computing in the mid- to late-80s was easier on a Mac than on a WinTel platform - hands down, no argument.

    The same arguments used against Microsoft's platform are now wielded as a weapon against their enemies. I remember the constant flame-fests between Mac and DOS users and how each of their respective platforms were "the best". Unfortunately for Microsoft, there are still things that are easier to do on a Mac than on WinTel PC - hands down. This is true despite hundreds of millions of dollars of investment by Microsoft.

    So the usability argument has proven to be an historically inaccurate guide to whether a particular operating system will gain prevalence.

    Microsoft proved it.

  • Innovation (Score:5, Informative)

    by hundalz (746586) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:31AM (#9929846) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Windows group chief James Allchin accuses Linux of being a cheap knockoff: "There's no innovation. Linux is still in the business of cloning existing technology." Allchin points to new features in the version of Windows due in 2007 that will allow users to remotely turn PCs on or off, with programs still running. Searches will extend across all data like e-mail, photos, Word. "We're creating things," he says.

    This has yet to be the biggest crap of all time. Linux (or technically, the distribution) has always had remote shutting down, # shutdown now, once logged in. So, who's cloning existing technology now? In fact, one can remotely suspend a machine as well.

    Infact, there are not many things that Microsoft has actually innovated, most of the time they use thier financial position to break existing markets (or duplicate technology). Does anyone know of a good product that Microsoft innovated, i.e. one that was a first-timer in the market?
  • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:39AM (#9929962) Homepage
    "There's no set architecture in Linux. All roads lead to madness," and "the devil is in the details. This stuff is not easy to run."

    This was my experience, too! I ran Linux in the early days, and stopped because I couldn't get the performance I needed for high-end network tasks.

    Then I went to FreeBSD. I was pretty satisfied (there's a standard distribution, and the networking code is a lot better), but there wasn't enough desktop support.

    When Windows XP came out, I discovered I could run nearly all of the Unix stuff I used to with cygwin, and that the Windows API had everything I needed. I really like the way Windows Update works (no kidding!); it's much easire than applying patches and recompiling. And, of course, there are tons of applications available.

    But what really did it for me was the .NET architecture. Microsoft's C# and .NET, combined with Visual Studio are by far the best programming environment I've ever used.

    In the 23 years since I graduated from college with a CS/Math degree, I've programmed in just about everything.(And, yes, I've programmed on NexTStep and Mac OS-X with that cruddy Objective-C and crashy development environment). And NOTHING beats C#/.NET for general application programming.

    Linux isn't even in the running!

  • Amusing! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @11:58AM (#9930198) Homepage Journal
    Just as Microsoft has gone through a wrenching transformation from a combative bully to a mature corporate citizen --

    You have got to love MSNBC's wording !

    Nick ...
  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Tuesday August 10, 2004 @01:36PM (#9931435)
    So it appears that Microsoft realized its initial approach was not going to work so well. And this resulted in them changing their approach. Is anyone else not suprised?

    Microsoft may have gotten to where they are though questionable means, but they are not stupid. Far from it. If they were stupid, they would just stick their head in the sand and pretend that Linux was not a competitor worthy of notice.

    END COMMUNICATION

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